Hello my friends!
So a week ago today I completed the most difficult physical challenge of my life – I ran a half marathon in 2 hours and 9 minutes.
Celebrating with my new bling & bubbly
I did it as part of Team Bangs On The Run but I went to Berlin with my much bigger running family, Run Dem Crew.
Bangs and Charlie - photo by RDCbridgethegap
Before I go any further I have to say thank you to Mama & Papa Running, Bangs & Charlie, for changing and improving my life for ever. I know I have said it before but I will probably never stop saying it. You two not only helped me achieve something I didn’t even think was possible in my wildest dreams, but you also helped me achieve and aim for dreams I didn’t even know I had. I don’t know if I will ever be able to give back the incredible gifts you both have given me, but I hope I can pass on some of them and help inspire and motivate other people the way you have inspired and motivated me.
Run Dem Crew Berlin - photo by TheMrWyatt
I feel like I could write 5 different posts about this half marathon journey because there are so many things I would like to share/cover. Not just the actual Berlin journey that includes pre & post race madness, but my inner journey, my physical and emotional journey these past 12 weeks and beyond, as well as the journey of friendships – some that kind of failed/broke and some that truly blossomed.
Teams Bangs On The Run 3 Post Berlin Half Marathon - photo by Bangs and A Bun
Not sure how much I can fit in, but let’s start with my Team Bangs girls who I simply would not have been able to complete this half marathon without:
Rhalou, Sarah Mei, Bangs, Rachel, Dani & Christiana (and Sarah Graham + the lovely Mia who sadly missed out) – thank you all so much for everything! You gave me the strength and motivation to get up at the crack of dawn almost every goddamn morning for 12 weeks to either go running or get my ass to boot camp. I am so grateful to have met you all, my life has been enriched in so many different ways thanks to you. I will always cherish the day Bangs sent out the tweet looking for a female DJ and me randomly seeing it retweeted by Charlie and getting in touch. I didn’t realise it at the time, but it was a life changing moment that led me down an unpredictable path and I am so happy to have shared some of it with you. You are all incredible young women and I am so proud of how far we all have come, individually and together since January.
My 11 year journey that only really started 12 weeks ago
See that 14 year old fat girl to the left? I ran those 13.1 miles/21km for her.
And for anybody who has ever been like her, felt like her, who is like her now and think that things can’t change, that they can’t be different – they can!
I have never really felt pretty, or smart, or funny, or sexy or anything that would make me “special”. I mean, I have tried and I have gotten pretty damn good at acting like I feel like I am all those things, but deep down inside, I’ve never 100% felt any of those things until recently…
It is a very overwhelming feeling to be able to look in the mirror and not feel like hiding away from myself and the world. Running has really helped me improve my confidence, not to mention my appearance, and even though I have a long way to go, I never thought I’d even come this far if I am honest…
My first run VS crossing the finish line in 2 hours 9 min
Looking back on these 12 weeks it’s funny to see how I have gone through exactly the ups & downs both Bangs and Charlie said I would… And it’s funny because I stupidly and arrogantly assumed I wouldn’t be “one of those” who would – when I probably was the best example of everything they were telling me about.
I have learned so much about myself these past few months – both good and bad things. Some things have been surprises, other things have been very embarrassing, but all of them have made me more aware of who I am, who I want to be and who I might have the potential to become.
So thank you all for joining me on this 12 week journey, it meant so much to have your support.
I would love to name every single person who has inspired, motivated and helped me get through this, but there’s too many of you and not enough time/space/mental capacity to mention you all!
But you know who you are, it would literally be everybody at Run Dem Crew. You welcomed me with open arms and I can’t imagine my life without you now. You all showed me support throughout my ups and downs and acted like the family/community I always wished I had and now feel so proud to be part of.
However…I do want to give special mentions to a few people who I literally would not have survived without:
Paul, Candice, Glenn, Shameek, Phil, Chaka and once again, Bangs, Charlie, Sarah Mei and Rhalou:
Thank you for believing in me, thank you for pushing me, thank you for giving me verbal slaps when I needed them and hugs & tissues when I needed them instead. Thank you for making me laugh, for making me feel part of the family, for being amazing mentors, friends and supporters, for being inspirational and motivational, but most of all – thank you for not giving up on me when I was ready to give up on myself.
I hope the Berlin Half Marathon was just the beginning of an even greater adventure, one that will last my entire life.
AWAY AWAY AWAY!