Tag Archives: happiness

Bonjour!

5 Mar

This weekend was my first major test. My first chance to show how my training was progressing. Really progressing.

The Paris half marathon.

What a weekend.

Me and Chris were up at 4am to get the 7am train to Paris. A mixture of excitement and nerves. Having never been to France before it was very exciting for so many reasons.

How am I so excited at 5.30am??

How am I so excited at 5.30am??

I decided to treat the run as just another training run but the reality was I wanted to run this non-stop, I wanted to pull in a good time and I wanted to feel like I’d won, this was never going to be “just another training run”.

We spent the Friday and Saturday doing some touristy bits and hanging with some of the Crew. Run Dem Crew love was major this weekend. RDC supports you at the best (and worst of times) but it was a whole other level this time. So many words of much-needed advice and love.

Hit up a party on Friday night. I bumped in to the gorgeous presenter, George Lamb.

I met George Lamb! Gorgeousness

I met George Lamb! Gorgeousness

Saturday we hit some of the tourist spots and generally tried to keep our creeping nerves at bay. There was a tension in the air, broken only by the fact that I had forgotten my jogging bottoms so bought some more but they in fact turned out to be mens long johns!! with that front pocket bit for easy access to the crown jewels. #fail!

We were in bed by 9pm on Saturday night, anxious to get enough sleep to leave us ready and refreshed for the morning.

we were up at 6.45 and outside the meeting point for 8.30 for the group photo and final words of support

The crew ready to roll

The crew ready to roll

Earlier that morning I had tweeted one word “nervous” and before we headed off to our “pens”, like lambs to the slaughter house, a few guys pulled me to one side, gave me hugs and whispered words of super encouragement. It really helped. You guys know who you are, so thank you!

So I dunno if French people time is like BMT but the race did not start at 10am. We were in our holding area until almost 11am. The time was passed with warm up exercises to universally annoying songs such as Gangnam Style. We had a ball!

Lots of hand waving

Lots of hand waving

My buddy during our time in the pen

My buddy, Tahirah and I during our time in the pen

Trying to hold back the nerves

Trying to hold back the nerves

And then we were off. The sun was shining and I was ripe and ready. I started with Tahirah and Charlie and as I passed the start line I had a real “oh Sh*t” moment but I was in it now.

I was determined not to start off too fast, but how did I know if too fast was too fast??? I’d soon find out.

We lost Tahirah after a couple of km. So Charlie and I ploughed on. Pushing each other and chatting when the silence got too much. Checking the other was ok. Too fast, let’s slow it down a bit.

I tried to take a couple of photos using the front facing camera on my phone but it didn’t work haha. I just have shots of my nose and the sky.

We hit 10k just after an hour. Doing pretty much 10min miles. We needed the loo. Found one but there was a slight queue, we didn’t to hang on so off we went again. A while down the road we saw a free toilet. We went for it. Watches paused. When it came to my turn, the door wouldn’t close. Charlie protected my modesty whilst I pee’d in the fastest time ever.

Off we went again. A hill. Nothing I hadn’t come across in training but it seemed to come from nowhere. It threw me for a moment but I pushed through. I was tired at the top. we dropped the pace just slightly and then pressed on.

11km, 12km, 13km and on and one, I know around 15km I was feeling very tired. But I just kept thinking at in 3km more I would be seeing my crew. Cheer Dem Squad are a vital part of RDC. Those who aren’t running, coming down to cheer you on and support you like you’ve never been supported before.

As we approached the 18km marker we talked about how much we needed those cheers. 18km was there, where were Cheer Dem!! OMG what if they had left us, but all of a sudden I could hear a mass of people calling my name, ringing cow bells and complete joy. They were here and they were cheering for us! Gun fingers in the air and smiling like lunatics we ran past the crew and it was alright again. Yes! we were so close now, we could do this!

Being given life by the Cheer Dem Crew

Being given life by the Cheer Dem Crew

We are winners!

We are winners!

So on we went. rejuvenated by love. Between 18km and 20km it seemed to really drag. Like, come on now, surely I’ve run far enough.

20km to 21km got really interesting… What’s that in the distance. Balloons!! it must be the finish……NO! Someone had the bright idea to make an arch of balloons about 400m from the finish. So confusing but I’m glad I didn’t do my sprint finish.

100m to the finish and yet more Run Dem Crew cheering us on. Those who had already finished had come back to see us through. And see us through they did. The end was there… Time for the sprint, lets finish strong! and we were off! Booom, across the finish line like a G!

Couldn't have done it without you Charlie

Couldn’t have done it without you Charlie

Check the bling!!!

Check the bling!!!

Did I really just do this? Half a Marathon, like a race. Not for practice with breaks at traffic lights or a little sit down at 10k.  I ran a whole half marathon.

I’ll admit it, I had a little tear up! high fives and hugs with my running partner. I was so lucky to have her!

my watch time was 2hours 17 mins and 58 seconds, the official time (sadly not taking in to account my wee break) was 2 hours, 21mins and 25secs. I’m happy either way!! Very, very happy.

Job not done though, I still had my Chris to see through the finish line. I had to be there to cheer him on and I definitely had to run him through the finish line.

Seeing him approaching in the distance, I have never felt such love or pride for someone. It was clear he was in pain having had issues with his knees for so long but knowing that he went on and did da ting was just amazing. Lesser people would have quit. Not my king!

A couple that runs together....

A couple that runs together….

Never happier!

Job done, I passed the halfway part of the journey, half marathon race under my belt, time to up that mileage and get ready to run this marathon. 6 weeks to go! Lets do this! Thinking back, it was hard, but at no point did I feel like I really couldn’t go on. I’m ready to keep going. It weren’t easy but it was so doable. Training works maaaaan.

You can watch a video of me going through different check points here. See if you can spot my (trademark) pink headband.

That night, we linked up with all the other crews who are part of the Bridge the Gap family, the guys who just like RDC are a movement in their cities. Paris Running Club hosted an epic party for us.

I’ve met some seriously fantastic people. I have to thank Charlie Dark and all the Run Dem Crew for the amazing support. Cheer Dem Crew, including Clare and Araba for super cheering!  And my King for being so, so inspirational. We did it babe.

This weekend will forever stay in my memory.

Spartan Family Sunday Collaboration with Nike Fly Knit

20 Aug

Image

I’ve been attending the Spartan family work-outs for almost a month now, so when Chaka told us about this special event Spartan Family Sunday in conjunction with Nike I knew it was going to be an epic day.

Up until just a few days before it was a complete mystery how the day would run. All we knew was there would be food, Vita Coco and hard work happening!
On arrival at Aske Gardens in Hackney on Sunday 19th August, the vibe was already electric. The sun was shining and I knew we were in for a treat. The small gated greenery had been transformed with music and giant trampolines. In the shade of the trees were massive bean bags ready for us to chill out on after our hard Spartan work outs.
Image
As more people arrived T-shirts and training gloves generously supplied by Nike were handed out to us. We were now one! In our Spartan uniforms the community spirit was out in full force. A brief downpour of rain wasn’t going to stop us and as soon as the sun reappeared we were ready to roll. Spurred on by the enthusiastic and encouraging MC for the day, Rapper, Ty, we began.
The first work out started and we took over the tennis court. Chaka had been installed with a microphone and as his voice boomed out we knew there was no messing.
The gentle warm up soon turned in to a powerful body working session of core, abs and leg work, Push ups, squats and planks. Let us not forget the dreaded burpees.
I suppose that some of us thought, well since this was a “fun day” we might be given an easy time. Nope, this was as brutal as our Friday evening sessions. Perhaps even a little more so, since we were hear to prove to the people of Hackney that we are Spartans and this is how we really roll. The “games” followed next. Piggybacks and wheelbarrow races. Crazy hard work but so much fun. We cheered each other on with our mantra of “Ahooo”. The session ended with the traditional tug of war. Always a fierce competition with epitomises team work and joint strength. Every one was worthy competitor.
Image
A sweaty hour or so later (and when I say sweaty I really mean it. It was approximately 30degrees and our bodies knew it) we ate. Amazing grilled chicken with salad and roasted veg. Insanely healthy and sooooooo nutritious. The adults replenished ourselves whilst the wonderful Spartan babies did their thing.
Kids aged between 4 and 14 showed us that it doesn’t matter what age you are, Spartan is within you. Supported by the Spartan family training team. They did almost the exact work out we did. They went hard and showed up so many adults. We have a new generation of Spartan superstars coming to get us.
ImageThe kids loved it. They felt grown and powerful and they certainly learnt a lot about what they can do with their bodies and health and team work too. So important in the kids of today. They too finished their session with the tug O war and it was amazing to watch. My nephew’s team won both rounds. I might be biased but they certainly did da ting.
During the break before the next adult session, everyone got to know each other and relax together. Soca music poured out over the gardens, early carnival vibes spread through the area and everywhere you looked there was a smiling face. One of the Spartan Family philosophies is that We are a community and Chaka stressed that when we left we should know the names of at least two people we had never met before. I think I went home with about 6 new names.
Most people who took part in the first session stayed and took part in the second as well as quite a few new faces. No time for apprehension or worry that our bodies wouldn’t hold up for a second session.
In we went, much like the first session, core work, cardio, abs and legs. Straight in to the games which continued along the same competitive themes. leapfrogs and more piggy back races and relays. People sprinting their hearts out.
Again the session finished with a smashing Tug O War match which was worthy of being televised it was so fierce. We lose as a team and we win as a team so at the end of the match we all dropped to the floor to do 20 burpees.
Image
We ended the day with the traditional group photo and the call of “Spartans, what is your profession” The booming “Ahooo Ahooo Ahooo” I’m sure could be heard for miles around.
Image
With thanks to all the Spartan Family team for setting up this great collaboration between Nike and the Fly Knit Collective, who gave us space, food and love as well as Vita Coco who kept us truly hydrated.

A perfectly timed quote

13 Jul

I saw this quote on twitter. Via @ikedaquotes.

” Defeat lies not in failing or making mistakes; rather, it lies in giving up on ourselves when we do so.”

I feel like this perfectly sums up my last blog post.

Daisaku Ikeda is President of Soka Gakkai International, a lay Buddhist association pursuing the values of peace, education and culture.