Posted in Uncategorized on April 22, 2012 by lauratri

The Escape

20th April.

3 pm.

Flippin’ eck its hot today!  Is it bad, boring, unappreciative of my surroundings, if all I want to do is roam up and down the aisles of the local seven eleven, deliberating over what flavour gatorade I should go for…radioactive yellow, or smurf blue?  Don’t make me choose.  Don’t make me leave the glorious cool of the AC…my pitta’s flaring up like an enraged dragon.

Surprisingly, I’m finding it particularly difficult to motivate myself into practice today.  It’s a primary day.  I can feel it.  I need some upwards energy burning in my belly…but its the whole burning bit that’s  turning me off.  Do you have any idea how much sweat I’m going to produce amid this spaghetti western heat?  It’s the type of detoxing that will make me feel sick…hence the gatorade mission.

Perhaps I can wait until the sun turns his attention away from…

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Needless to Say

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on July 21, 2011 by lauratri

I woke up this morning to an oasis of calm.  The headache had eased, nausea gone.  I’m not sure of what or who I dreamt of, but it was like a blanket that had covered me up and kept me warm.  When I sat up, it fell off my shoulder and the discomfort slowly crept in.  It rolled down my body and fell to one side.  It’s true.  It really happened, but I feel like I need to check just one more time.

Brendan.  This is not what we agreed.  Don’t you remember?  We were going to get through all the shit life throws at us, and when we were battered and bruised and tired of it all find each other.  Live in a house on the beach, with great windows that let the light in.  I was going to write, you were going to play guitar.  Needless to Say, Bay Street, all those Radiohead songs you used to play for me.  High and Dry and Fake Plastic Trees, I even sang them with you some nights – around the fire, by the bar at Sunrise Villas with Heinz and all the rest.


I’ve not seen you for a few years, and in some ways I thought that it might be easier to bear, but sitting here in my room, you’re all around me.  You’re everywhere.  In pictures on the wall, sounding through the stereo, posts on facebook, diary extracts, letters, e-mail, you’re in so many terrible poems I wrote and never shared, a character in a book that is resting in a file somewhere.

I spoke to you a week ago.  Told you that I loved you and missed you.  Now I can’t believe you’re gone.

London Marathon 2011: This is the end…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on April 18, 2011 by lauratri

So, I’m pretty sure you’ve guessed by now that I made it.

Writing those words feels bloody marvellous.  I made it.

800m, 600m, 400m…

Somehow, from where I left Phil calling me a hero, I managed to run every step of the way.  I drew strength from everybody I’d seen along the route.  And when I saw that sign – only 385 yards to go I thought to myself – that this is it.  This is the end.  From somewhere I felt a surge of energy and a determination to fulfil at least one part of my marathon dream – the sprint finish!

I’m sure it wasn’t as dramatic or as fast as I saw it in my own head, but I’d just spent the last 5 hours and 9…10 minutes wading through sludge.  That last stretch was like breaking free!  And I was so close.  5 hrs, 10 mins and 40 secs.  For a first ever marathon, with a short training schedule, cut even shorter I couldn’t ask for anything more.

I knew it was going to be tough, and I knew I was taking a risk.  Was it worth it?

Damn right it was.  The next 24 hours have all been a blur.  Crossing the line and stumbling into Matt.  We were both delirious and walking in erratic circles; shaking as they cut my chip from my shoe; crying as they gave me my medal; collecting my bag; seeing the Oxfam point…

Walking beyond the barrier and falling into the arms of my family.  Being carried up the stairs to a palace that had been occupied by an Oxfam-clad rebel group – broken warriors and soldiers being tended to and reunited with loved ones.  They all cheered as I walked in through the door…Marky G and Caroline gave me a much needed hug.  I was plonked in a queue for a quick massage…that was just fine – but didn’t feel quite right.  It wasn’t Massage Man.  I had an audience as a caring physio chap tried to pry two of my toes apart.  Bandaged up, I was assured that at least two of my toe nails are coming off.

I wasn’t elated or euphoric – I was confused and I think slightly traumatized.  It wasn’t until I tentatively asked a fellow runner, “did you enjoy it?”  as we clutched onto each other trying to get down the steps, and he said: “HELL NO!”, that I felt a massive rush of relief.

You see, some people have great runs and some people have bad runs.  Some people’s stories are filled with success and happiness, others with pain and disappointment.  My story has it all.

I couldn’t say that I enjoyed it.  Enjoyment isn’t the right word.  It was unforgettable, it was epic, it was terrible, it was wonderful, it was worth every painful second.

What I did enjoy was my vanilla ice-cream at the end of it – followed shortly by some Thai food and a pot of glorious tea.

*      *       *     *    *

So where do I go from here?  Well there’s always the Iron Man, but that is definitely for another time.

Right now, this very minute I’m going to say goodbye for a while.  The past 15 months of blogging has been an amazing experience.  The adventures and challenges, friendships formed, friendships broken, bringing people to life who I was so frightened of losing, and learning to say goodbye.

It’s time to have a bit of a rest, take some time out to reflect and maybe I’ll be back later on in the year with something new.

Until then.  Massive love to you all.

Laura xx


London Marathon 2011: the Run (fear behind. road ahead. power within)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on April 18, 2011 by lauratri

Drum roll please…

It was hot.  I’m talking topless English men with scarlet chests hot.   Don’t get me wrong.  I like the heat.  In fact – I would have loved to have trained in some warmth.  But alas, when I last ran I was in leggings and a thermal, long-sleeved top, exhaling smoke and wondering whether my fingers were going to fall off.  It drained me pretty quickly.  I was careful to keep to the shaded areas where possible, hit every shower and was quite regimented with my timings.  11 minute miles for the first 4, which quickened ever-so-slightly when I’d got through a wave of sickness and started to adjust.

I wasn’t thinking about the distance.  To look ahead at that point would have been like looking into a black hole.  I just smiled a lot and ran with the crowd.  The crowd.  What an unbelievable crowd.  I’ve never in my life experienced anything like that before.  There were so many of us packed in together radiating heat and energy.  At times it felt difficult to breathe, but mostly we carried each other along.  A giant wave flooding through the streets.

I could relive the race mile by mile, but when I spoke to Katy this morning and edged into the 20’s I found it too much and ended up crying into the phone. Instead I’ll write about it from how it will be remembered for years to come.  The supporters.  The moments I heard my name.

Mile 6.  Quarter of the way through.  I’d just stopped feeling sick and was starting to feel quite confident in my stride.  No shooting pains and I was getting the intake of water and lucozade just right.  Wasn’t expecting anyone for a while yet, and then suddenly I heard my name.  It was high-pitched and urgent – piercing through my left ear, funneled into my brain, and caused a knee-jerk reaction.  I turned my face towards the voices, and there they were – Lucy, Sue and dad, jumping up and down, arms flailing wildly.  Without even thinking I darted across the road with uncharacteristic speed and reached out to them smiling and waving, “it’s fucking hot!” I said, and felt much better having been able to complain to someone about it.  Chuckling to myself I carried on, their voices captured and stored.

Mile 9.  Blue for water; Yellow for sun; Black for the power of the people.  I saw the bright and bold colours of the Bahamian flag from about a mile off.  My family were near, and my slackened pace picked up once again.  I weaved my way towards the right hand side of the road, and slowly their faces came into focus.  They were frantically scanning the crowds and so I started to wave.  It was Daniel who saw me first, and flickers of recognition crackled and sparked across their faces like an electric current until all at once I was right beside them, body held upright, hand outstretched.  High-fives all-round and the volume of their collective voice was almost deafening.  exhilarating.  Once again, I captured their energy and packed it away.

It was shortly after I saw them that the pain started to kick in.  An amazing person told me to break it down.  Ten miles.  Another ten miles.  Then it’s just another 10k.  I was ten miles in, same again.  You can do it Laura.  You can do it.  I took it one step further and broke 10-20 into three stages.  5k would get me to half way through the marathon.  No stopping if you get to half way.  Next 5k would get me past the half way point of this 10 mile section, and then I’m close to no-man’s land.  18 miles.  You’ve done it before.  You can do it again.  Thankfully I’m terrible at maths so all this dividing and calculating occupied me enough to distract me from the inevitable stiffness that was creeping into legs unworn.  Remember, in the last four weeks I’d run a total of 8km.

I saw Andy B at mile 12.  Outside a pub – as promised.  Yelling my name if he saw me – as promised.  My bottle of part lucozade/part water wasn’t working as well for me as it had in training.  So I asked him to look after it for me.  Handing it over as if I was abandoning something dear to me.  What struck me most was how happy supporters were to spot their friends, and relatives.  They shared that same look.  Eyes lighting up and voice gaining momentum as they screamed.  Their voices.  Those wonderful voices that were filled with so much care, encouragement and compassion.  To run a marathon is very lonely, despite being surrounded by so many.  It was those voices that got to me.

Mile 13 -14, getting just past half-way.  Half-way.  Fear behind.  There was Julia B and Nina.  What a moment.  Julia’s face was red from screaming my name.  I was in so much pain, and I was half-way…only half-way.  When I saw her I wanted to run to the barrier and hug her.  Road ahead.  I had to keep going.  For the first time that day my chest tightened and I couldn’t breathe.  I was so overwhelmed by everything  and everybody, and time was slipping away.  I felt my eyes burning and clenched my jaw.  Get to no-man’s land…get to no-man’s land.

The 16-20 mile chunk of the race was pretty bleak if I’m going to be brutally honest.  I was forced to walk at mile 19.  I wasn’t alone.  A guy put his hand on my shoulder when he saw me brush frustrated tears away.  “I’ve got nothing left” he said.  We talked for a bit about IT Bands and how debilitating the pain could be.  Mile 20 came into view.  Just another 10k.  I shook his hand, wished him luck…just another 10k.

I can’t quite describe what it felt like trying to force my creaking body back into a running motion.  There was a crunching of bones, and jagged, uncoordinated movements.  This is when my jedi-knight yoga came into play.  I looked inwards and breathed into my hips, my knees, my ankles, my lower spine.  I tightened my bandhas, and forced my shoulders up and back.  I had just over 6 miles to go.  I could still make it within 5 hours if I kept running through to the end.

21 miles.  I had to walk again.  Then I saw the comforting glow of Oxfam Green.  Bandhas, spine, smile, breathe!

There were loads of them!  Cheering and yelling.  Determination is everything lining the streets.  I picked my feet up once again and rocked my body into a slow-moving jog.  Man alive those last few miles took a long time.  I clung to those voices with desperate hands and stuffed them down into storage, careful to not let miles 6, 9, 12 and 13 escape.  Come on Laura.  You can do this!

23.  Had to walk again.  There was nothing left.  I was done.  5k to go.  I tried to imagine the easy 5k route close to home.  Out the door up through Iffley village, across the lock, along the river and back again.  It’s easy!  I could do it in my sleep.  5k.  That’s all.  5k.

Bandhas, spine, smile, breathe.  CREAK!

Then I saw him.  My saviour.  Leaning over the barrier and screaming: “Hancock you’re a hero!”

I could have kissed him.  The lovely, remarkable Phil, with a 2.46 marathon to his name.  I steered my body towards him, using my arms and shoulders to add a bit of momentum and held his hand as I passed by.

3 miles left.  Laura you HAVE to do this.  You have to do this.

I had lost sight of 5 hours.  I’d have to push it back once again.  5 hours 10.  I could do it in 5 hours 10 if I just keep running to the end.

Power within.

London Marathon 2011: The start

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on April 18, 2011 by lauratri

37,000 people ran the London marathon yesterday.  Each of us has a story.  Some are filled with happiness and success; others with pain and disappointment.  But, each and every one of us has done something that we’ll never forget.

This is my story.

5am.  Alarm went off.  Had 2 hours sleep.  Crept down the stairs trying not to wake my family up.  Sat on the kitchen counter and forced my porridge down.  One by one my family piled in – groggy-eyed and talking rubbish.  Anything to distract us all from the fact that in a few hours time I’d be running the marathon.

Dad arrived just after 6, so we could head down to Greenwich together.  Meant I didn’t have to think about anything – just follow the crowds and get there.  All my kit was laid out.  Arm bands, vaseline, compede, lucozade, energy gels, you name it – I got it.  “You look like a ninja!” mum said.  I was pleased with that.

“It’s time!”  Dad said.  So I put my trainers on and we left the house.  It was one of my favourite moments, sitting on the underground and watching an ever-increasing throng of runners with red bags sipping lucozade and looking focused.  I was about to be a part of something massive.

At this stage I was sloth-like.  With two nights of no sleep, I didn’t want to expend any energy unnecessarily.  I didn’t think about lack of training, put the nerves to one side…”enjoy the day – enjoy the experience!”  I was wide-eyed and curious.  Looking behind me as we veered towards the red start in Greenwich Park, all I could see was a thriving river of runners.  Hoodies with holes in, and lyrcra shorts.   Skew-iff race numbers and playschool names etched across vests.  It was nothing short of amazing.  There were absolutely thousands of us.  My cousin Joe and his girlfriend Jennie joined us, and we joked as I made light of my fears and pressed on to the starting point.  I bid farewell, tight hugs as if they were my last, and bee-lined to the port-a-loo, pausing to gawk at Jonathon Edwards (who is incredibly tall by the way, and has the most striking silver hair!)

Once I was through the gate I had a healthy hour to kill.  I looked around me and soaked up the atmosphere.  Watched groups of people stretching on plastic bags, and scanned the crowds for any fellow Oxfam vests.  It was pretty warm so I decided to put my bag onto the lorry – looked like some sort of war-camp scene.   Lobbing our belongings onto numbered vehicles, tagged and milling in bewildered circles.

“Laura!”  And there was Rachel.  Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.  Energy and enthusiasm just spilling out of her.  She looked like a true athlete, and I couldn’t help but laugh at myself.  Stood there like three of her rolled into one with “Hippo” adorning the back of my vest.  I knew then and there that this day and our stories were going to be very different.

People weren’t lying when they said the queues at the starting points were going to be mega.  Would have attempted the she-wee female urinals but figured that I had quite enough hurdles to conquer for one day.

By the time I emerged from the plastic cubicle everyone was charging towards the starting line and I felt a rush of panic.   This is really happening!  And then I felt a niggling irritation on the side of my foot.  Ripped off my shoe and sock with blinding speed and whacked a last-minute compede on, and set forth.

The beginning of a race is very telling.  No matter how well you’ve trained, or not.  How prepared you are, or not.  You have good runs and bad runs. It usually takes me about five minutes to decipher between the two.

The gun went off, we watched the elite men begin on the big screen and there was a surge of excitement through the crowds.  It was brilliant.  And then the mass slowly edged towards the red bands of the start.  I talked to the woman next to me.  She was running in memory of her mum, and we shared fundraising stories and training troubles.  Were equally shocked by the inappropriate banter of the man on the speakers.  Wished each other luck as we crossed the line, and this is how it all began.

Five minutes in – I shifted gears emotionally and psychologically and did a quick stock-count of my reserves.

It was going to be a bad run – but I was up for the challenge.

this is it folks!

Posted in Uncategorized on April 16, 2011 by lauratri

I woke up at 4 this morning.

There’s a move in yoga I learnt the other day.  It’s called the “stomach churner”.  As you exhale you fold your body in-half.  When you uncurl, back to standing, you act as if you’re breathing in, without inhaling any air and it creates a vacuum.  Your stomach caves in and presses against your spine.  Whilst holding your breath you contract your stomach, and your aim is to rotate the muscles from side to side, and when done properly actually looks like a stick in your stomach is churning your insides.  That’s how I’m feeling right now.

My plan for today is to rest and eat a lot…and get to London at a leisurely pace.  That’s easier said than done.  I’m jittery and nervous, can’t keep my food down, and have taken my neurotic fears of pending illness and dormant injuries to a whole new level.

“Enjoy the day!”  I’m sure I will – once I get there.  This countdown is flipping killing me.  In EXACTLY 24 hours I will be standing amidst thousands waiting to start.

I-pod is syncing the soundtrack for the big day.  A bit of reggae, a bit of hippy stuff, 80’s classics, peaking with Eye of the Tiger and then lulling back to a bit of ragga.  Then about 4 hours in it descends into thumping drum and bass.  When that beat starts I know I’ll be nearing the end.

Right people.  This is it!

Good luck to all the runners out there!  Supporters, whether you’ll be there in person or spirit – THANK YOU!  Am absolutely positive that it will be you guys that get us through the lows – and hopefully be there for the highs too…when we all cross that line, one by one and can finally, at long last….CELEBRATE!

LAURA xxxxxxxx

check!

Posted in Uncategorized on April 15, 2011 by lauratri

 So I’m packing.  I got my check-list clutched between my fingers.  Chris next to me, double-checking as I run through each item.

WEARING:

Trainers w/chip; socks; sports bra x2 (I told you – my boobs have grown); unflattering but sturdy sports knickers; shorts; Race number attached to Oxfam vest w/safety pins; patella strap below the knee; something borrowed – arm-band-gel-thing w/two lucozade gels; i-pod attached to shorts (playlist still to be determined); vaseline, tampon, compede plasters, ibu profen in back pocket; water bottle (part lucozade/part water) in hand; stop-watch (lets hope the battery doesn’t run out) on wrist; hairbands x2 to hold my hair out of my face.

BEFORE THE START:

Ratty hoody and trackpants I don’t like to keep me warm in the morning after I’ve said goodbye to my family and am queueing for the loo; Race Bag w/number secured on the front; final instructions; route map (which I need to memorize); sunscreen (it’s going to be warm and sunny); immodium (JUST IN CASE!)

IN RACE BAG:

Green hoody and trackpants; towel; deodorant; fresh top, bra, knickers, socks; mobile phone; cash; fruit bar x2; another lucozade.

CHECK!

Right guys!  I’m off to make another batch of pasta, then I’m mooching in front of the TV.  If any of you want to do any last-minute sponsoring – well – you know where to go…come on….say it with me:

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/LauraHancock  

I’ll check in again tomorrow, and then that’s it…I’ll see you on the finishing line.  AHHHHHHHH!!!!!

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