Last day of the third week of training for the Berlin Half Marathon and let me tell you – this week has been the shittiest week of 2012. No joke.

Without really going into anything other than running, this week was hard as hell.

It started out with some ‘issues’ that I won’t dwell or go on about because as far as I know, everything has been talked about and resolved, but let’s just say that a situation occurred that  kind of made me very sad, disappointed and a bit upset.

On top of that, this no smoking business had resulted in pretty much insomnia. I had been getting on average about 3 hours sleep per night for roughly two weeks, which is not a lot when you need to be up by 6am the very latest every weekday morning to squeeze in either run or a bootcamp session before work.

Safe to say that the tiredness got the best of me – all I wanted to do was to cry my eyes out, dig a hole in the ground and disappear forever.

Everything was a struggle and I just couldn’t see how it was going to get any better.

After having a lovely run, and the longest one I have ever done, with Run Dem Cew on Tuesday, I went for another one on Saturday and it bloody hurt! Now don’t get me wrong, I know I am a beginner, but so far running has never really hurt in the way it hurt on Saturday. My legs, my feet, my thighs, my stomach, my back, my shoulders, everything hurt.

I wasn’t even doing my long run, “only” 3,5 miles and I felt like my body was going to fall apart. How the hell am I meant to run 13 miles if I am on my third official week of training and my body is falling apart after less than a quarter of the distance!?

I wasn’t happy but I tried not to think about it. Until I woke up this morning, on my “long run day”, and felt like my entire existence was shouting NO to running. The thought of having to go for a run was actually so upsetting that I started crying.

And before you start judging me – yes I do look horrible on that picture, yes I was silly enough to take a picture of myself looking that bad whilst crying my eyes out, BUT, how am I meant to share this journey with you all if I am not honest and show you EVERYTHING of what I am going through.

So I cried for a while, tweeted about how I didnt want to go for a run, and then decided to stop being silly and just do it because I would feel much worse about the situation if I didn’t go.

Little did I know that whilst I was crying a bit more and preparing to go out for this very much dreaded run, people were saying all kinds of encouraging and wonderful things to me on twitter:

I really wish I would have seen this before I went out, because it wasn’t really a very pretty run…

I got to 0,75 miles and started crying because I just didn’t want to be out there. I didn’t want to be running and I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t even done a mile.

When I got to 1,5 miles I was cussing everybody in my head.

I was cussing myself for having met Charlie Dark and for him to have started Run Dem Crew.

I was cussing Bangs for asking me to join Team Bangs and for making me feel so passionate about the team and the girls and this achievement and for getting me into running when in fact I was probably much happier when I was fat, lazy, smoking 20 cigarettes a day and not giving a flying toss about any stupid half marathon.

I was cussing all my girls in Team Bangs for being so lovely and great people and for making me looking forward to getting up in the morning to go training and for feeling so blessed about sharing this journey with them, because it is a crap journey that is too much effort and hard work.

I was cussing every person I have met in Run Dem Crew, at the sessions or online, for being so into this stupid fucking thing called running and for being so nice and encouraging to me. I mean, who the hell owns and wears so much lycra anyway!?!

It even got to the point where I was cussing my parents for making me and my mum for giving birth to me.

Yes it really got that bad. It got to the point where I literally wished I had not been born at all.

This was where I had my second cry. I think it was around 3,75 miles when I realised how far I had left to run.

I couldn’t breathe, my legs and shoulders were hurting, and I was seriously considering running in front of a car just so I could put myself out of my misery.

But somehow I carried on.

I was thinking of Berlin, of how everything was hurting, of how I’d never be able to do 13 miles, of how Candie was right – Come race day I would be there on my own. Me and the pavement. Nobody to run for me, nobody to carry me over the finish line. Every man/woman on their own.

And during all of it, I had the little devil on my shoulder whispering in my ear:

How all this wasn’t worth it.
How I didn’t have to prove anything to anybody.
How I wasn’t “built” for running anyway.
How my life would be so much easier if I didn’t train for this stupid half marathon.
How nobody would care if I just stopped running now and not in 2,5 miles.
How it was ok to walk a little if I needed.

Every single excuse you can think of, you can believe that the little devil whispered it to me. And I listened, and I took it in, hell, I even agreed with some of it.

But I didn’t stop.

After the last excuse I turned my head to the little angel that had been hiding behind my other shoulder, smiled, and tried to run the last mile as fast as I could.

That is when I had my third cry.

Then I got home and was greeted by these wonderful words (I can’t say thank you enough to all of you – I was blown away with how amazing and supporting and encouraging you all are!):

I am going to be honest with you all – I have no idea why I didn’t stop. It would have been so easy and nobody was there with me so nobody would have known anyway.

Maybe it was pride, maybe it was because I was determined not to, maybe it was just luck – I don’t know.

But what I do know is that I am ultimately doing this because I want to be able to wake up every morning and be the best person I can be.

And I know that sounds cheesey, and a bit ‘self-help’/motivational coach bull-shit talk, but it is the truth.

That is the goal and I need to remember that, especially on the bad days and weeks.

Why? Because you need the bad to appreciate the good.

And people can take the piss and people can laugh, but I know that I will come out of this as a better person.

It’s not easy, and this week definitely was a reality check compared to the two previous weeks when I started to think that it might be a piece of cake to run 13 miles after all. It has grounded me, made me think and definitely made me appreciate rest days!

So much love and respect to all of you who are going through this journey as well.

And much love and thank yous to all of you who have been encouraging me to go out there and smash it. Words are not enough for me to express how much I appreciate and value your support.

So you know those amazingly talented teenagers I was raving on about that performed at Gilles Peterson’s wordwide awards? Well their tracks have now been offered as free downloads, so make sure you get them because they are amazing!

The fabulous J’Danna:

J’DANNA – Winter in America (Gil Scott-Heron Tribute) by 2morrows Victory Records

The talented Joey:
JOEY – Revolution (Gil Scott-Heron Tribute) by 2morrows Victory Records

Please check out the whole article about them on the Brownswood website, they deserve all the praise they can get! So spread the tunes, spread the word and share the love!

The only word that really captures the 2012 edition of Gilles Peterson’s worldwide awards is WOW!

Gilles Peterson at the Worldwide Awards 2012

It was the first year I wasn’t working during the awards so I wasn’t sure what to expect…

The line-up looked very varied – from electronic music to jazz to folky soul to you name it. Despite knowing how brilliant all the individual acts/DJs are, the line-up looked like it had the potential of being a massive hit or a massive miss, all depending on how the entire show was executed, but also on how the crowd would be handle the mixture of upbeat, quirky, soulful, spaced out and so on music.

Wordwide Awards 2012 Line-up

However, despite my worries it has to be said that Gilles and the Brownswood / worldwide crew really pulled it off this year! They really went above and beyond, with extra gold stars sprinkled on top!

Before I go any further I have to give massive props to the amazing Peggy who I know works so hard on these events, and Saturday night was proof of her excellence, but also of how much she’s grown and developed and become super-duper good at her job! I can without a shadow of a doubt say that it was the best worldwide awards show I have been to so far!

So massive props to this insanely talented and driven lady, as well as the rest of the crew who made the night happen – Ems, Simon, Alex, Fawaz and the rest of the Brownswood crew plus all other people who I probably don’t know but who made the night a reality.

As for the music and the performances… I think I cried 3 times during the evening because it was so overwhelming. I don’t even know where to begin since all of it was so good, but I guess some of the many many many highlights were:

The absolutely amazing and mind-blowing Pyramids

Michael Kiwanuka and band - they stole my heart <3

The incredibly cool Thundercat who did an awesome performance

The very talented Matthew Halsall who won Best Jazz LP

Another memorable moment was the Gil Scott Heron tribute with the two young and amazingly talented artists, Joey and J’Danna, from south London. They took my breath away – it was an incredible feeling seeing two stars being born on stage like that.

Hmmmm… what else? I guess my favourite DJs of the night were Hudmo, Kutmah and Lefto. Not because the others were bad, but probably because I am biased, because I was too drunk when the others were on to appreciate them, and also because I look up to these three gentlemen – especially Lefto who is like a slightly cooler version of superman (trust!). He even made this video below… Does he ever rest!?

Apart from the music side of things it was fantastic to meet so many new people, as well as seeing a lot of old friends who I haven’t seen for ages – Emanative, Thristian, KATE (!!), Dayo, Alex P, the Wah Wah 45s crew and so so many more.

I know a lot of people diss Gilles from time to time – haters gonna hate and all that, but honestly speaking – I don’t think a lot of people would have been able to pull off what he and the crew did on Saturday.

It really was a magical night (and no I am not just saying that because I used to work for him, if the night was shit I probably wouldn’t bother sharing it with you). I have so much respect for that man, the fact that he is still going from strength to strength, that he is taking chances when so many people in music like to play it safe, that he has big visions and he tries to make them happen with the help of great people and so on – it is very inspirational and if I can ever achieve a tiny bit of what he has in my own career I will be very happy.

So much love and respect to you Gilles! You keep pushing those boundaries and even if I don’t personally like all the music you play, I still very much appreciate what you do for people like me who represent and love independent and niche music.