Q: Do you like the frigid cold?
A: Since the North Pole, I know that I suffer badly from Raynauds. Both my hands and feet could take an hour to warm up in negative temperatures. I have frozen my cheeks and ears from exposure to -30 C. I got hot whilst joining a lap of the North Pole marathon and moved my face gear as I was sweating. I learnt sweating is bad.

Q: So why have you joined Arrowhead Ultra, that is held in the coldest part of the US?
A: I missed the frigid cold! In fact I've forgotten what cold is. Although this year at the moment, weather predictions are that it is going to be warm compared to last year where temperatures went down to -41 C (-42 F). This year it may get as cold as -20 C. Half as cold compared to last year! So I should feel warm. Although last Sunday, I burnt my left cheek from wind chill in -3 or -4 C. But I've now got a balaclava to sort that out.

Q: The race is 135 miles in 72 hours and you have to be self supporting and carry your own survival gear. I hear most people do about 2 miles an hour. What plans have you made to cope with the endurance, cold and time?

A: For the first time, I am going to wear a watch and stop every 2 hours to eat and drink. Have planned in 3 coffee breaks. Don't know if that is cheating but I am very sensitive to caffeine so expect that to keep me awake for the entire journey. In addition to that, I will be singing songs of praises when I need strength and "Bob the Builder" for the "Can you do it?" "Yes you can"

Q: How long is that journey going to be?
A: Maybe 65 hours

Q: Have you done this before?
A: About over 20 years ago when I had to complete a write up for my degree. Stayed up for 4 days. I was delusional and emotional at the end of it. My brain was younger and could take more abuse. So right now in my head, I think I can do it but who knows since I am older, I might just collapse in the snow.

Q: So you must have done a lot of preparation for this?
A: Nope. Longest distance I've completed was a 40 mile race in 2008. Leading up to next week, I did 2 weeks of 20 miles, doubling the distance I've been doing from week to week. This week I have slacked off big time, gaining weight, preparing my gear. Just got myself a sleeping bag to cope with -40 F. One day before the race I will get a sled, stove and more extreme gear.

Q: Sounds pretty foolish preparation
A: Yes. Please do not do this at home for your own ultra marathon preparation.

Q: Why put yourself thru this?
A: It's all about slaying dragons

Q: What do you mean?
A: It's about finding out about yourself. The journey is more important than the end. 

Q: But you've been in extreme cold before
A: Yes with a buddy. Now I go alone. Although there will be 134 other participants cycling, skiing and running. So who knows I might pick up somebody or someone might pick me up :-)

Q: And if it wasn't hard enough, I hear you are still taking a tyre with you. 
A: Yes I've just got a tyre from the local diary farmer (Dave and Rich). She was a poor wretched thing when I first got her. But she's cleaned up real nice. We're calling her Bisaniiwewin  (Bi-sanii-we-win) which means peace in the Ojibwe language. Our mission is to pull for environmental peace as a continuation of the peace mission completed in Kilimanjaro.

Q: Well good luck to you
A: And may you all work harder to reduce your impact on this world's resources :-)
 
 
Picture
Landy on a frosty morning in front of the Roman Ruins
Landy thinks I've been rather slack, so on the 8th January, he dragged me out of bed to do some training. My pillow loves me, and mornings are for.....morning people! Anyway so Uncle got involved and dumped me and Landy at the park saying he'd be back in 4 hours. That week, I doubled my training mileage from 10 miles a week to 20 miles and instead of a mere 40-50 minutes tyre pulling, Landy had me going for 5.5 hours. The following week he had me out again for another 5-6 hours.

To keep my mind occupied, I either sing or look at people watching me. The looks on passerbys have been a mixture of emotions:
- Disdainfully - i.e. should not be allowed in the park.
- Incredulously with a "What are you doing?"
- Nutter with a slight shake of the head
- Doggy inquisitive look. Yes some guys have occasionally turned their head to the side
- Supportive - you go girl
- Congratulationary with laughs

Of course there have been the usual quips
- "You must be tired"
- "Think you forgot the car"
- "Excuse me, did you know there is a tyre following you?"
- "Did you forget your dog?"

Speaking of dogs, Landy has been teasing loads of them, inviting them for a sniff!


Picture
So am I prepared?

Probably not in terms of distance, but my mind is telling me I'm stubborn and head strong, so shouldn't be a problem!!!! Famous last words. Have just bought my sleeping bag. I have a pair of trail shoes that are large to accomodate an extra pair of socks, but am contemplating purchasing larger ones to accomodate more socks. I also have a whole load of gear to purchase when I get to Minnesota. Am I prepared? No, not really! In the back of my head, I hear Uncle Pete's (from Kilimanjaro) words - Poor Preparation leads to Poor Performance. My response is a plethora of excuses about work and feeling constantly tired.

Additionally have just been to the docs due to a mystery with my right hand. The finger joints have been swollen for the last 3 weeks for no apparent reason. There is no pain, just a little discomfort from excess fluid around the joints. The strong possibility is some type of autoimmune disorder. I'll know in a week's time when the blood tests and x-rays come back. Or perhaps not, as I'll be in an event in North Minnesota. Doc has given me diclofenac sodium to take 3 times a day to reduce the swelling. Am still thinking about taking them......have you seen the potential side effects!

Next time I blog, will be in the snow and ice. Apparently the Minnesotans are having a hot winter at -20 degrees celcius!!!

 
 
February: The year was kicked off with the Enigma 4 marathons in 4 days challenge and the fastest time was completed by Rec (7:10:49) and our longest event so far.
March: Red was introduced to the world in the Daffodil Dawdle and by December she has finally accepted to being dragged!
April: We finally got a time in the London Marathon.
May: Landy was introduced to the world. Currently he is the highest tyre (15 kg) and is in a relationship with Red.
June: Had fun in the Hatfield McCoy marathon - this has the bestest, most excellent value for an event
July: Had a beautiful race in the High Weald Challenge
Aug: Rec did a reasonable time in Santa Rosa at 7:45:32 and stayed for the sunshine rather than return to the UK. He didn't want to have cold treads
Sept: Armani was introduced to the world and went to the top of Kilimanjaro. He is the highest tyre - 5895m.
Nov: Red was still sticking her treads into the ground, picking up mud and leaves in the Gatliff Challenge.
Dec: Red helped TG complete her 25th tyre dragging marathon and has decided to try to be a better tyre for 2012!
 
 
_I know, am late writing up my diary. TG has been running and I've had to follow her! So down the rabbit hole and we go back in time....

25th December: 5K Run
It's the time of giving and today I thought I'd give TG a present. To be more giving! :-) So in today's 5K race, I pulled up my treads and allowed myself to slide along the ground. TG was happy to have completed the event in 40:41. Which means on the tyre league table, that places me in second position. TG was unusually happy. Hmm, perhaps I might try a little harder and beat the old gal Tam or my bro Rec who holds the top position at 36:57. We're not sure who holds the top position as most of us think it was Rec but he's in California and cannot confirm it was him and TG thinks it was Tam but Tam's a little off her treads now a days so she can't confirm either!

Picture
Chamy and Me
27 December 2011:
Christmas Challenge 26.6 Miles
TG was disappointed about the lack of snow this year, however having gorged herself on food for the last 2 days, TG was keen to run and I was in the mood to please!

The website directions to the venue were perfect and we received a warm welcome by Glen, the RD, who said he was so happy to see me. Of course I gave him a little shake of the ol' rubber ;-)

Now the race......what is wrong with the next set of pictures?

Picture
Dec 2010: Rec and Me
You'd never guess it was winter. Let me help you all remember Winter last year. The picture on the left is 18th December 2010. We had Arctic weather. In contrast this year it was a balmy 10 degrees Celcius. It was warm and TG took the opportunity to get her legs out for an airing! It was not only warm it was relatively dry. I enjoyed gliding on the ground. Yes I know, this also is in contrast when I got my treads stuck in the mud and leaves in the last marathon, but hey it's a new year and sometimes it's good to change. I've made a realisation that it's more fun to go fast. Perhaps a new year's resolution needs to be made to beat a couple of records made by Tam and Rec as long as TG can find her way. Sometimes it's a bit worrying when the sheep follow her. The blind leading the blind!

Picture
Signs
Speaking of navigation, this is the best TG has ever done on a self navigating trail marathon. 5-4-3-2-1 had excellent signage, but the large signs made it easy for hooligans to play a little havoc with the system. The signage on this race was subtly brilliant. Despite the signs having been put up 2 days before, it did not appear anything had been disturbed. This was all backed up with a route description that was exceptional. It would be great if more LDWA events used the style of the route instructions from this event. (TG does not trust signage due to past experiences with hooligan's changing signs around!).

TG seemed completely in control and for TG's 25th tyre dragging marathon, we completed the 26.6 mile event in 7 hours 55 minutes. TG was very happy at the end. Perhaps I should carry on being more giving ;-)

Collected £5 in donations. Thank you to everyone who donated, your donations will be going to Earthwatch.

Highlights:
A Doggy Tale: In the first mile and a half, a bull-terrier decided to goad me, pretending to attack me, yapping at me, telling me I was like a bicycle tyre. TG was on a mission, so we ignored him expecting him to return to his owner. He continued with us for a mile ducking into ditches scaring pheasants. TG tried to catch him and I tried to roll over him! Thankfully one of the participants managed to catch him and return him to his owner.

The Guardian Angel:
For a while TG appeared to have a guardian angel. The same participant that had returned the dog to its owner, finally caught up with TG and kept her in view in the first half of the event, always ensuring that at a turn she would see him, before he continued onwards. Heading towards mile 18, TG lost sight of her guardian angel, as she was distracted by two labradors who kept bringing us things!

Race Overview
Signage and route description: Excellent
Checkpoints: There were 4 checkpoints, 3 had water, the first two also had biscuits. The first one at 3 miles had gels. TG carried her own food and water.
Certificate at end
Event cost: £20