I've been putting off writing this post for some time. I've been mentally attributing this to a number of things: I have no time, I have nothing to say and no one reads this anyways. None of those are true, so its finally time to put finger to keyboard and get 'er done. This triathlon, conceived little over a year ago, is finally complete and has been more wildly successful than I could ever have hoped or dreamed. I have pushed my body to its limits, both mentally and physically. I am among the 1% of the worlds population that has successfully completed a marathon and one of an even smaller percentage that has cycled solo across Canada. I took part in the Polar Bear Swim, something which even my family and friends living in Vancouver have never attempted.
I'm not going to say it was easy, far from it. The preparation for both marathon and bike ride came at huge expense, both physically and personally. Running a marathon requires months of intensive physical training, with injuries to ligaments, muscles and social status. Cycling across Canada required expensive equipment which I couldn't afford, necessitating months of ebay trawling, careful bargaining and a steady diet of staying out of the pub and tesco value baked beans. Simultaneously, I was attempting to complete a PhD, whilst also coming to terms with all of the reasons underpinning the triathlon itself. Over the last year, I have shed more than toenails. This triathlon has cost me a boyfriend, several "friends" and definitely some sanity.
But this pales in comparison to what we have achieved. I set out with the impossible goal of raising £10,000 for CRUK and Macmillan. I hit this target before I even set off across Canada. Before the Polar Bear Swim, I had already raised over £12,000. My total is currently at £12,365 with a few more days to go before I close down my fundraising account. This project was my idea but I could not have done any of it without you. 216 people donated their hard earned cash to this cause, some of you more than once. Some donated anonymously and some donors I have never even met. Some of you ran me a hot bath when I came in from training runs, some of you trained with me. Some of you gave me a shoulder to cry on when training got tough and some of you came to cheer me across the finish line. Some of you gave me shelter and kindness as I traveled across Canada, some of you honked and waved your support as you drove past. Some of you donated costumes, and one of you swam with me. Long distance running, cycling and swimming are not often considered team sports. In this particular case, they were lonely feats of individual endurance. But I never felt alone. You guys were with me every step of the way. Every text, every email, every facebook "like", every penny raised and status shared meant the world to me. There was never a time when I wanted to quit or a time when I thought I couldn't go on. And that's because of you guys, right behind me the whole way. You never doubted I would make it and I never even considered letting you down. I set out to even things up for Sue, Janet and Mum but I realised just how many lives are impacted by cancer in one way or another. So this triathlon is for all of you, in honour and memory of your mums, your grans, your sisters, your daughters and your friends.