January has been a hard month. Not just due to it being winter, but because of being hit by flu. I blame this on the flight back into the UK, because it really has not been that cold here. I thought I would be ill for at the most 3 days; it took weeks to be able to breathe without wheezing on exertion. However on the positive side, I have done a lot of sleeping/resting which is what I wanted to do but I have done absolutely no tyre pulling training at all. This has made me keen....keen to run.

On the negative, next week is the 4 marathons in 4 days (Quadzilla). With lack of training, I am a little nervous. I will need to rely on:
- Technique - from having learnt Pose in Sept 2009 and practising it all of 2010
- My last marathon was in Dec and was able to pull tyres throughout that month
- A very stubborn will

I know some of you will be holding your breath, thinking about the "i" word.  Let's not think any more about that word. I am rested, my spirit is back, so bring it on Feb!
 
 
Recently I have had dreams about running with my tyre! Yes dreams that have occurred over a couple of nights.

I am running with my tyre in a marathon and at some point I begin to speed up and run faster. I look behind me and my tyre has disappeared. I stop and look back perplexed and then return back in my tracks to look for my tyre.  I am unable to find it. I want to continue the marathon regardless but I continue looking for the tyre and then that out of body experience.....I am telling myself to carry on running but my body continues to look for the tyre!

I wonder if this means I am bound to my tyre forever?
 
 
With Tyregirl down with flu, we, the tyres, are taking a rest in the British sunshine!

The next major event will be 10-13 Feb where TG and Rec will attempt to complete 4 marathons in 4 days. We are hoping TG's chesty cough clears by the end of the week so we can go play somewhere for her training.
 
 
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Tring and Box on the back seat
I am excited, because Tyre Girl (TG) has cleaned me up and her father has seated me on the back seat of the car! I am normally placed in the boot to keep the spare tyre company. Don't get me wrong, the spare tyre and I have a lot of common interests but sitting in the car with a person is rather exciting! Perhaps TG's family think I am special....Although Box did have a better view than me....

Reminder: have to persuade TG to remove Box off me for our next outing.

Ok let me get the sight seeing out of the way. The Southern Ridges route is a series of parks that are seemlessly inter-connected by bridges woven into the natural surroundings, so that visitors can experience the ecosystems from the ground to the top of the trees. It is a "hilly" route but very pleasant and has a lot of lighting for night time walks/runs. Below are some photos of the route. Click on one of them to view better images and see if you can read the graffiti on each photo!!!
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Balasing drags Tring
Today I was to train Balasing to run with a better posture, of course all in line with the pose methodology. He was a little nervous for me to train him, calling me girly! How dare he! TG told him off "This 'girly' tyre is going to improve your running! So please respect Tring".  Balasing apologised.
Balasing runs with a small k-bend, which makes me jittery. So to remind him to push his hips forward and use his hamstrings, I complain by bouncing up and down. He tried to correct himself but he still wasn't quite getting it, until TG pushed his hips forward. He finally got it on a downward slope. Balasing ran with a perfect posture and so I happily glided down with him, until he got to flat ground and then bent forward again.

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No motorised vehicles allowed
However my complaints soon tamed him, although he did have a small dilemma when he saw a sign about "no motorised vehicles allowed on the bridge". For a brief moment I was worried he was going to leave me behind. However there was reassurance from TG. She would never leave me looking abandoned :-).

After running 5km with me, I let Balasing off the rein. His running was quiet and looked effortless.

Now Balasing is considering how to ask his "missus" for his own power tyre. :0)

In Summary
For those learning Pose technique, any deviations from Pose will make your tyre bounce. If you are running efficiently and are within the Pose standard, your tyre will glide along/will have very minimal bounce.

 
 
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Box with monkey-proof lid
One day on a cool Sunday afternoon, Tyre Girl (TG) wanted to explore a trail run between Bukit Timah and Macritchie Reservoir. She called some friends to join her, but unfortunately they cried off sick or were busy running an ultra marathon. So I piped up and asked to come along. After all, how many tyres get to watch water monitor lizards, monkeys swinging from branch to branch and who knows...... I might even get to see one of those mysterious Pangolas. After all the Bukit Timah Nature Reservejoins with the Central Catchment Nature Reserve providing just over 3K hectares dedicated to storing water and housing wildlife.

So Box climbed up on top and got "lidded" to stop the monkeys from stealing the food, water and extra clothes TG would place into Box.

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Map of Kampong Trail
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Looking up at the trees
We set off on the Kampong trail. It is called "Kampong" as once upon a time the indigenous people used to live in zinc-roofed houses in villages, keeping chickens and growing their own crops.

We meandered initially over crude bridges made of solid wooden doors placed over drains before reaching the main trail. Looking carefully in the plant overgrowth, one could see foundations of houses and low crumbling walls locked in battle with vines and creepers. Singapore has left this part of the island to be wilderness and for this moment, nature is mostly victorious. "Mostly victorious" because the trail through is kept clear and maintained by Singapore's highly efficient gardening machine. The same gardening machine that keeps the entire island looking manicured and pristine. Though they failed me today, as I got stuck on debris that had fallen from the night's storm. TG gingerly picked me up a couple of times, and didn't seem too enamoured by the task. Okay so I had a bit of mud and leaves on me......"it's the jungle TG, and it's damp from the night's downpour!"

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Looking over the canopy
Once we crossed the Rifle Range road, the trail narrowed, and I don't think TG got the trail quite right 'cos I'm sure I caught a glimpse of a wider trail deeper within the jungle that looked more like the trail we were on initially. Anyway after getting caught on roots and rocks and woman-hauled over fallen trees,  I began to feel a little worn. Thankfully, TG decided to break away from the trail and head out onto the road (Rifle Range Road). I was kind of glad as my poor rubber suffered a bit of abrasion.

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Chapped lips from scrapping on rocks
It was along this road when we would see our first group of humans plodding along in the mid-day sun. They gawked at me and I threw them a chapped lip kiss whilst TG wished them season's greetings.

Anyway I was now happy, gliding along the sunny road until we had to leap over a barrier to enter Macritchie Nature Reserve. More stones and roots to bump and grind over....my poor rubber treads.

A sweaty man walker looked at Box longingly...."Do you have any drinks in your box?". TG replied "Yes, it's $5 a sip.  All proceeds to Acres". The walker laughed and walked on.

Another lady walker looked at Box longingly....."Do you have any ice creams in your box?". TG replied "Only drinks and sandwiches. It's $5 a sip. All proceeds to Acres". The walker laughed and walked on. Oh well, TG could only try!

A family came walking by and the 8 year old son yells...."Hey what's in the box?". TG replied "It's a secret and if you are good, you will see good things inside". The parents stopped and talked to TG, then took a couple of snapshots. The young daughter seemed scared of little ol' me.....although I blame that on Box. Box was really getting all the attention.

As the parents continued to talk with TG and check if I was a real tyre, the boy's curiosity intensified, firstly repeatedly asking...."What's in the box?", and then began to repeatedly demand to see the contents of Box.

TG replied "If you really want to see what's in the box, then you will have to pay $5 to see its contents".

The boy immediately turned to his father and asked him for $5. His father laughed and said "Wait until we get to the car, son".

The boy looked up at TG and asked "so how?"

TG responded "Sorry kid. The secret has to remain"

Suddenly the boy tried to lift the lid off Box, but TG had secured the lid so that the "monkeys" would not be able to lift the lid. The lid stayed on guarding Box's contents. The boy's parents told him off for being so rude. TG told him gently "Sorry kid, the box does not want you to see its secret. Just be happy that you couldn't open it, otherwise it could have been bad!" The parents laughed and said goodbye and as we parted company the boy demanded one more time "Tell me what's in the box!"

Am sure there is a moral to this tale.....

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Finally we got onto a broadwalk that belonged to the end of the Macritchie treetop walk and passed many walkers. I felt TG was a little rough with me as I got bounced down multiple sets of steps as she tried to hurry on, and was happy when we finally reached the trail after 1km. There was an ultra marathon going on in one direction, so TG went in the opposite to avoid blocking runners.

The trail appeared to be deserted and I was able to see monkeys playing and a 1 metre water monitor lizard.  Soon we entered a golf course and were stopped by an American couple Dan and Emily who were curious about me. After a conversation they made a donation to Acres.

Note to Dan and Emily
The charity website is http://www.acres.org.sg/ and for more Asian adventures, speak to Jack or Jo from Ace Adventures http://www.aceadventure.com.sg/

After 3 hours of trail from Bukit Timah to Macritchie, we ended at the Macritchie Park Cafe: me for a wash down; TG to catch up with some friends doing the ultra and of course food.

It soon began to rain and TG shied off returning back through the jungle. We instead took a bus home. Thank you Mr Bus Driver for your patience, as TG had to angle me  and Box through the door to get us in and out of the bus.

Summary
Overall, as a tyre that is game for anything, this was a hard track to cross especially when crossing into the Macritchie Nature Reserve. For runners, trail shoes and strong ankles would be recommended. The track from Bukit Timah to the start of Macritchie is easy as long as you follow the trail which is a wide path! If you are concerned about the path, do as TG did and use the road instead. It is a fairly quiet road with very little traffic. Could do this part in normal road shoes but be prepared for undulating hills.

Next week, I'm looking forward to checking out the Southern Ridges with TG.