Well well well, wasn't Sunday a day and a half. It was the day that me and my rather amazing Team Bangs on The Run2 girls took on the Nike Run To The Beat - The Half Marathon.
After nearly 4/5 months of hard ass training, through blood, sweat and (huge amounts) of tears, it was Running Day for us all as we finally put the pedal to the metal and let rip in London. This weekend, for me, and everyone else was the weekend of my life. Never before have I ever gone through quite so much of a journey, felt so many feelings and been so proud of a group of people than I have done so, this weekend. Alot of you have been following my Team Bangs journey, Right from the beginning it meant so much to me to be part of it, as the weeks and months carried on, the Team and the process meant more and more - it became part of my life, it started to shape me as a person and in the end, has made my life change. After all the hard training - the highs and the lows, we decided that Sunday was going to be our celebration of all things Team Bangs.
On Saturday I met with all the gorgeous Team Bangs girls,at Pasta heaven, otherwise known as Carluccios, well and truly starting the celebrations: we're talking about big, size of the moon type plates of creamy yummy pasta - err, yeah, one of the best things about running, is indeed the carb-loading *rubs belly* It was evening full of laughter, deep conversations, comparing nerves and talking about the journey's each and every one of us have gone on - Between us,we all know what they are and we all have a deep rooted understanding for what it all meant to us. Eating at half 5pm was interesting, I'm sure this time classes as some senior citizen happy hour, but us Bangs girls were so wrapped up in our little running world, we weren't fazed. After a presentation of cards and pressies to our heroic leader, Bangs, and in return probably the most tear inducing cards were given back, the tears had begun to flow and to be frank, didn't stop. After saying goodbye for the evening and heading back to the hotel room, me and my roomie and soulmate JoJo spent the evening summing up how we were feeling about the impending day and perving over Gary Barlow... yes... he's a hottie!
Rising on Sunday morning in Docklands, to the most amazing sunrise, the goosebumps appeared and the anticipation had begun. Greeting ma gurls at Greenwich station was what we all needed - to be back together, be back as a group to face this task ahead. I finally got to meet the gorgeous Jayne who has been a tower of support for me whenever it go too much and alongside her, was her lovely hubby Dom, and greeting other member, The Machine that is Samantha C I call her this because the girl only went and ran the GNR the week before!!! Heading to drop our bags off, grab our drinks and get ourselves ready, and by ready, I mean don our Team Bangs Tee (Thank you Simon!). We were escorted to the Start Line, and there, in front of absolutely everyone, did we style it out good and proper in front of the cameras - I sodding loved this, I truly believed at this point that this group of women, standing before me,was going to seriously kick some running butt!
Before I go on, let me tell you about our Sammi. Sammi is truly amazing - unfortunately our Sammi had become injured and despite trying and working herself so hard, she had no choice but to pull out. But this girl done something amazing: despite being in full-on pain she still made it down to be our very own Team Bangs cheerleader! Complete with T-shirt, Pigtails and Pom Poms this girl supported, shouted, screamed and made us all feel like superstars, when in fact this was her.
Being placed in our pens before the start, the music was pumping, and the Team Bangs girls were giving it some - nothing quite like a pre-race grind sesh to get you in the adrenaline pumping mood. The mood was full of anticipation, excitement but nervy. I had a slight moment when waiting and let the tears flow... a part of me just couldn't quite believe I was actually there and had made it so far.
We were off... starting steady, I luckily found my pace early on. Normally, the first 3 miles are pure and utter hatred, and I know that if I don't find my stride in these 3 miles, I'm pretty much out of the game. I began to run with my 'Chelley who has kept me constantly smiling along the way, and has taught me how to believe in myself. However, and this was my only regret, I kept up the pace and began my run alone. Despite being surround by hundreds of purple shirted people, I suddenly felt really out of my depth and lonely, but I knew it was my time to just go. Up with the volume on the Ipod, and with Daft Punk blasting in my ear drums, I knew I just had to give it my all. By Mile 3 I was hotter than the proverbial hinges of hell, it was just our luck that the sun was shining, it was like the Great British Summer had decided to show its face on just this one day! A high point for me, was when I just passed Sam (The Machine) as she was going the other way - with a swift Squeal and 'point of love' at each other, I suddenly felt alive and reminded why the flaming hell I was doing this!
Ploughing through, I felt my running pace was steady and felt like I was making good progress until the 'Hill of Death' appeared, and I am not joking when I call it that... this bugger was not only steep, but it went on for over a mile.
With my heart beating out my chest, sweat pouring down my face and Girls Aloud blasting on my ipod (yeah, yeah I know) at Mile 8, I felt suddenly very emotional. I no longer believed I could do this anymore, I missed the girls and I hurt, alot. Seeing a young boy with a supersoaker made me squeel with joy as he blasted me with ruddy freezing water - let me just say, this will be the only time a child wont get a clip round the ear for that! It was much needed and soothing in a weird, moist way. Mile 10 - the sign was loud and proud, the music from the course was pumping on a whole new level, and along with all this, came the one thing I had dreaded the most: My Hamstrings.
At mile 10, the oh so familiar twinge came back to greet me like it had never been away, the twinge grew, until the full-on tugging and unstoppable pain blew out from my right hamstring. The pain was worse and harder than I had felt before, but I knew that, without a doubt, if I had stopped, that would've been me out. gone. race over. It was pretty much a make or break it for me, and with one slap of the hand from the sweetest, most adorable little girl, I grinned and very much, bared it. I carried on, the pain was insignificant in comparison to what users of Refuge suffer. There was a real raw meaning as to why I was out there, not only is this just for me, and selfishly that's what I keep harping on about, but mostly this was about raising money for people who really need it. I sprinted for the finishing line, and made it, I cried alone, but in my heart was every single one of the Team Bangs girls. Making my way back to the media centre, I was greeted by our Mumma Run, Sam and the supremely stunning Elle. I felt so much love to these three girls who had, worked their asses off and each ran their own P.B.
With the rest of the gorgeous girlies finished, there was a joint feeling of shock and awe that we had indeed just done it, run the Half Mara. I was proud of these girls, proud of them, proud of their achievements and proud of what we had all done as a team. Without them, I was nothing and without them I would've never achieved the best thing I have ever done in my life. And that, will stay with me, until the day I die.
I cant quite thank Mumma Run/Bangs enough - this woman has plucked me from a place that had no beginning but only one end, and the end was not a good place. With her kindness and support I have grown so much as a person. I owe her more than she'll ever know.
JoJo and Michelle: Wowzer - you two are my angels in disguise. You both know where I was at the start of this process and without a doubt I dont think Id ever got to where I was. Your 24 hour support and kind words have made me finally feel like what it is to have real friends.
Jayne: You amazing woman you - you have come furthest in my eyes, you have excelled yourself and proven yourself to be so strong. This is the beginning of you.
Sam (The Machine) - Ruddy hell woman, you are the meanest, leanest but most gorgeous machine! A running star is born and an inspiration to me. I cant wait to see more of you!
Lauren - You blew me away on Sunday, you ran so blooming well, you are truly a strong women both inside, in your heart and outside in your physical abilities. You and your mum (and your brownies) have made this so much more enjoyable - here's to next time!
Candie - Whit Woo lady! I look at you and just smile! You are one gorgeous, smart, sexy, amazing lady! I look up to women like you cos you are everything I'd love to be! You are awesome in every way and have, no matter what, bought the fun into this team! Your commitment to running and your performance is beyond impeccable. I can only wish to run with you again.
Cass - you know what I'm going to say to you. You complete me lil lady. Your time is still coming, and I am ruddy well going to be there cos you are all sorts of awesomeness, I believe in you, and love your spirit. Be proud of you, cos I sure as hell am!
Tahirah - Oh lady come give me a smoosh! You are beyond fabulouso! what an amazing lady you are and an inspiration! I look to you for smiles, I look to you for clairty and most of all, I look to you because I aspire to be like you. You rocked it!
Elle - you jet setter and amazing lady you! How does someone look so god damn amazing even after they have run 13.1 miles!?!? Sell your secret! what a trooper you are: enthusiasm and awesomeness, you rocked Sunday and let this be the first of many running events we do together!
Sammi - An inspiration and high spirited girl, who Im pretty much in awe of! You are amazing in every single way. Berlin is yours and I'll be there with you!
Over n out....