October 11, 2010 | life

Blood, Sweat and Tears

As you may be aware, I’ve been training for a half marathon since May. The day of the big run finally arrived yesterday and you’re reading this which means, I’m still alive. VICTORY! And what a journey this four months has been.

When I first started training in May, I couldn’t run for 30 seconds. But I kept at it and soon, I could do 5K. I worked on building my fitness level through boxing, pilates and powerplates sessions. I did hill training (running up and down steps like Rocky) with my personal trainer, Coach Qu, who gave me fun workouts centred around building power in my legs. And I just kept at it. I hated it at first but, as time went on, I saw my body changing, but more importantly, my mind. Something was taking over. I was changing. I was more focused. I was more dedicated to everything in my life. I was thinking clearer. And I was determined. Boy, was I determined!

Along the way, the fantabulous Claire Nelson signed up to do the half marathon with me. You will be hard pushed to find a better Twitter friend than her, I tell you. She did it for Scope and raised over £500 – phenomenal! I had a lot of people emailing me saying I’d inspired them to get fit/lose weight/start a fitness regime. People on Twitter and Facebook were keeping up with my progress and it all just made me that much more determined to do everyone proud.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, I came down with laryngitis and couldn’t train. Not ideal in the home stretch before a half marathon. My last day in bed sick was 11 days before the big race. I was panicked because I’d only managed to train to six miles in my preparation, when technically, I should have worked up to 10 miles.

I went down to London on Saturday. After being out with my friends all day and feeling a bit snuffly, got back to my hotel that night to find I’d developed a full on cold. With the race just hours away, I wasn’t a happy bunny. But I got up on Sunday morning, sneezing, congested, with a totally blocked head and just thought ‘I’m not backing out now’. Another of my Twitter friends, the amazing Charlie Dark, had signed up for the race a few weeks ago, purely to pace me through it and ensure that I made it to the finish line. After he did that for me, I couldn’t very well say I wasn’t doing it ’cause I had the sniffles!

Charlie Dark and I right before we set off

So, me, Charlie Dark and Claire Nelson enjoyed a few laughs and the start line and then, we were off! I hadn’t realised it, but apparently, I took off like the clappers and kept a bit of a stupidly fast pace for the first five miles. But I felt good, so I just kept with it. By mile seven (which is the furthest I’d ever run), I took a couple of short walk breaks. By mile nine, my cold was really making my breathing difficult. I pushed on where I could, but had to walk in a few places to try get my breathing back (or breathe at all!).

Charlie Dark ran alongside me and encouraged me literally every step of the way. I couldn’t have asked for a better companion. We were taking a little walk break just before mile 10 when an old man in the crowd saw us and shouted some encouragement our way. ‘Come on guys! Not long to go now! When you get to that 10 mile mark, your breather’s over!’ He walked alongside us, egging us on and when we got to the 10 mile marker, Charlie and I started running again and this old guy (who must have been in his 70s) ran alongside us on the pavement for a few paces. He smiled and gave me a thumbs up and I was on my way. I’m not gonna lie, I got a little choked up at the kindness of that man.

Mile 11 was a tough one, I was so close and everything was hurting. It hurt to breathe, I had a stitch, my body just felt like a big sack of stones. But I knew the finish wasn’t far off. Seeing the 12 mile marker gave me a little buzz – my God, I can run a mile in 10 minutes, I’m almost done! We came around the corner about half way through that mile onto the home straight. Charlie grabbed my hand and said ‘let’s do this!’ Now I was emotional. I could see the finish line in the distance and all the work I’d put in over the past four months kind of hit me at that moment. I was almost there. Charlie was literally egging me on with every step. The closer I got, the more I smiled, the more I fought back tears.

And then I did it. I crossed the finish line. In 2 hours, 30 minutes and 21 seconds. It’s the most amazing feeling I’ve ever had. The whole day was amazing. 12,500 people participated in the race. So many were running for a charity, so many kind people came out and lined the route to cheer for us. There was such an energy about the whole day.

This is the hardest but greatest thing I’ve ever done in my life. Six months ago, I never would have thought I could do this. I am living proof that it is mind over matter. Tell yourself you can do something, work hard at it and you will. I want to thank my glorious blog readers and Twitter family who have been so amazingly supportive and sent me such lovely messages throughout. All my real life friends who kept me sane. Tabio for sending me some awesome running socks. Misticon Clothing for sending me some workout gear. The wonderful Coach Qu who pushed me just the right amount and believed in me during the moments I didn’t believe in myself. Claire Nelson who’s dedication and support has just been mind blowing and of course, the inimitable Mr Charlie Dark without whom, I’d probably still be on the race route in floods of tears!

This has been such a life changing journey for me. Thank you all for being a part of it.

Moments after I finished

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Done us all proud and we can all take something out of your journey, guts determination and not quitting, you go girl just take time and recover(ice bath):))

Primp and Preen

I got all emotional reading that too. Well done for doing it, despite being poorly. Do you have the bug now? Do you think you’ll do more races?


I’m so proud of you lady!!!! You are truly amazeballs, topped with amazing sauce and hundred & thousands of wonderment!!!


Claire Nelson

It was an HONOUR to stand on the starting line with you! Yes, you did take off at top speed, and lady, you kept a damn fine pace! I admire your dedication to the goal, especially given that you were more allergic to running than I was before all of this. (Which is sayin’ something).
You trained more than I did, harder than I did, and it clearly paid off. (My knees packed up and I limped my way to 2hrs 44mins). Your effort is proof that you can achieve anything if you put your mind (and body) to it.

I love that you inspired me to do this, it has been something on my “bucket list” for a long time. I’m hurting, I’m hobbling, but I’m proud as punch of what we achieved!!!! You’re amazing. xxx

PS – I am NOT looking to do a marathon now, but I might do another half… et tu?


Congrats sweetie, sooooo proud of you! What a moving and inspiration blog of your journey too. x


Amazing, I’m very teary and you rightly feel very very proud of yourself! Good Work bangs! 🙂 xxxx


I am so envious, and proud, and, oh, I don’t know…all the other words I could use at this moment are avoiding me. Simply because you did what I was not able to do this year – persevered. I am so happy for you and yes, you are inspiring.

By the way, you had just finished a 1/2 marathon and your hair looked great! LOL!

Big Fashionista

Congratulations girlfriend. Maybe if you do it again next year I will join you.

And I’m so fricking lazy even my mascara doesn’t run.

THAT’S how much you have inspired me.

X x


Many congratulations & thanks for your inspiration. (And to your terrific friends & coach–well done!)


Lisa Sherratt

Well done! Got more than a little choked up just reading about it! 🙂 xx


What else can I say other than you look fantastic! I can’t believe that’s you. Well, in case you ever come back to Toronto (or I visit London) we should hook up and jog; I too have been jogging nearly everyday and have recently reached 14km. congrats! Thanks for your (unintended, but greatly appreciated) continued inspiration.


Well done bangs!! u did so well!! Enjoy this moment of satisfaction!! much lov! xxxx

Jen @_alittlebird

Huge, massive, great big fat congratulations! I knew you’d smash it, and what an amazing story you have to go with your achievement.

It was your #OperationDrop20 Twitter initiative that inspired me, after a year and a half of lazing about doing absolutely nothing, to join a gym. I couldn’t run 30 seconds when I started either, but last week I ran for 9 mins straight, walked for 2 then ran another 6 minutes. I know that’s no big shakes to most, but to me it’s a huge achievement. I wanted to punch the air and hug the person on the next treadmill!

I’m building up my fitness level, albeit slowly. And here’s something I never, ever thought I’d say – I’m enjoying it. 3 months ago I would’ve happily sweat it out on the dancefloor for 2 hours, but actually going to a gym regularly? No way! Now I can’t get enough. Thanks Bangs! 🙂


wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!! well done mrs !!!! sooooo impressive you looked awesome too!!! well done !!!!!!! you can forever tell the ale of your first ha;f marathon !!!!!!! wow – how emotional ! xxx lots of love hun xxx


Well done! What a fantastic achievement, you should be very proud of yourself, all your twitter friends are! x

China Blue

Congratulations! You should be very proud of what you’ve gone through, what you’ve achieved, and what you’ve inspired! Lady, that story gave me life.

I’m going to run with Charlie Dark’s Run Dem Crew tomorrow, after a couple months of not being able to go. He made the beginner’s group run 10k by mistake, and I’ll never forget the utter exhaustion and pride I felt afterwards.

Knowing you can do it is a hell of a drug!

Well done… do you think you’ll do another one, or is it too soon to ask? 😉


I happened upon your blog after your ranting letter got up speed on Twitter. I’m so glad I did. I started running for the first time a few weeks ago and after making a bit of progress (i.e. running about 1.8 km!) I dediced to give myself a goal and aim for 10k at the end of January. Last week I was struck down with strep throat which sapped my energy,stopped my training and has left me worried about having enough time to prepare and whether I should give up. Your account has made me pick myself and be determined to get back on track. I’m setting my alarm for 5.30 am tomorrow. Thanks so much for the inspiration.


Gob bless that old man, Charlie Dark and Claire Nelson – there really are some angels around you.


I have just signed up for the Bath half marathon in March and as much as it is very daunting, your blog has really helped and inspired me and even made me a little tearful. Well done on completing it – you should be very proud! Hope you aren’t still aching!!


Well done! Well done! Well done! Luv! I can’t believe I’ve been reading your blog for this long as well!


There was no doubt ever in my mind that you weren’t going to conquer this hurdle just like you’ve conquered the many others. I’m ecstatic for you! Did you get like some kind of medallion, certificate or cookie?? If not then shame on the organizers.. haha. Wait it was for charity! Okay fine it was for a good cause! I’ll be doing my marathon in less than a month. I’m already starting to write out a will.. Don’t worry you are listed on there 🙂


Congratulations Min! So proud of you….but you know I would do anything to see you look a little sporty. Nice arms, by the way. Kick ass.


So my coworker tried running a marathon without training for it last weekend and he went to the emergency room! So way-to-not-pass-out-on-the-concrete face-first like Steve did! LOL


What a fantastic tale… Of endurance, certainly, but am I the only one to have recognized the total devotion? Charlie Dark signing up for the sole purpose of pacing you through? Admittedly, he’s no Idris Elba, but sometimes we overlook what’s right under our noses, so to speak… And you look great together!


This just made me cry! Well done chick! Can’t wait to do it french stylee with you in march xxx


All I have to say is WOW. After reading all the comments on your Tale of the Pr and the Blogger, and then this; it’s been an emotional rollercoaster of 2 hours, nevermind the four months you trained for! I am SO proud now (even prouder than I was before) to be running in Team Bangs on the Run 2! I just hope someone will be there to pace me along, Lord knows I’ll need it!!
PS – I agree with aussiegirl, Charlie Dark signing up just to pace you… very sweet 😉
PPS. – I didn’t know you knew Coach Qu! 😀 He used to work at my school!

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