Lake Nabugabu in Uganda is a special because it is allegedly the only open water to be Bilharzia-free in Uganda. Finding a swimmer for the Lake Victoria triathlon is always the hardest part of the race; numerous bribes have to be made to entice people to swim a kilometer in the bilharzia ridden, crocodile infested water. But I did succeed, unfortunately my friend had to back out in the week of the tri because she had Bilharzia. She got the 'snail-fever' (which symptoms mimic Malaria) on our recent fishing trip at the Nile. We then found out another one of the 6 of the fishing trip had got Bilharzia, but I continued to feign enthusiasm for the triathlon and cajoled a swimmer from a local swim club to join our team.
The day of the tri began at 5 am, with a drive to the lush and quiet suburb of Entebbe.I then had a long wait
before I was to run and it became a running joke (!) that I had bilharzia - making excuses for a bad time before I even ran!!I actually introduced myself to the British medic on call, just in case he met me later in the morning!!
More than 100 people were gathered at the sailing club all ready for a fun day out! We did our school proud with a large number of employees taking part. There were tears of frustration, nervous giggling, broken bikes and stolen cameras all before 9am! My team did a great job and then it was up to me to,lets face it, just get over the finish line! I nervously fumbled to get my chip on and swap bibs before I set off in the heat of the late morning. My chest hurt, my breath was short and I felt nauseous... it took a lot of encouragement from my buddy for me not to jump on a boda-boda to the finish line! Thank goodness there was a beer and a silver medal waiting for me at the end of my leg of the race!
My running buddy and I made a lunch-date today with the doctors to take the Bilharzia test, secretly hoping that it would be positive so that I could justify my recent exhaustion, When we saw the red lines on the panel and the nurse counted out the horse pills we decided we had a valid excuse not to run tonight.
I have heard that tonight, the night of the pills, could be quite rough, but I think that is a small price to pay for the fun of fishing in the Nile. I do feel a bit bad for those swimmers on Sunday, including my running buddy, who has to repeat her meds in 5 weeks time! Think I will stick to running!