I am about to attempt to do a 40 mile event and my training has been another joke. I have been slack since completing 30 miles 3 weeks ago. Slack, lazy, tired, what ever! I wondered whether TyreGirl should just hang up her tyres.
I promised Landy a couple of hours and looked up at the sky. Dark clouds were collecting in the sky, ominously hanging over the park I would be training at. The weather forecast was rain for the rest of the day. It has been very correct for the week. I could not find my wet weather gear, but I forced myself out the door with Landy and sighed. No more excuses.

As I entered the park, I was greeted to big smiles from a group leaving the park; followed by a pair of ladies laughing incredulously as they took their dogs for a walk.  The day continued with more fellow park users giving me the thumbs up, words of encouragement (I must have looked bad - I certainly felt it) and generally being happy despite the darkness above.

3 hours later and very little rain fell. I can only believe that the positive vibes emitting from the park users kept the rain at bay and their sunshine happiness caused rays of sun to beam into the park. As I walked in everyone's happiness, it reminded me that maintaining inner peace is so important as we are surrounded by the turmoil of others. Being able to forgive those who choose to try to pull us down is part of keeping our peace, as well as deflecting their angry hearts away.

I thank God for giving me the strength to be out there today and to the other lovely park users for being so cheerful despite the threatening skies above.
After accidently doing 30 miles.....well I meant to do 20 miles and then my head got distracted and .....anyway....after doing 30 miles, legs felt fine. Did a fast 5 miles the day after and then have felt a little dead except when pushed to do another 6 miles 3 days later. No problems with the legs, just feeling lethargic and eating everything in sight.

Landy had a bad 5K race (46:33), mostly due to me not waking up and then starting a couple of minutes late.

Got to get better at waking up. I love my pillow at the moment (sorry Landy).

Hopefully a good massage will get me back up for another couple of long runs and ready for the 40 miler on the 5th May.
Yes - I know there has been a lack of activity. I have just recovered from an achilles injury and wanted to ensure it was strong before pounding the streets.  I have now been training in a pair of "minimalist shoes" and was recently told by a fellow runner, who is also a podiatrist, that those types of shoes are most likely to cause an achilles injury and that I should wear a pair of shoes with more heel support to encourage a heel strike that will help stretch out the achilles.

Just for the record - my achilles injury was caused wearing a pair of supported trail shoes on terrain that was soft snow packed. The ground continually collapsed underfoot causing the ankle to twist and turn in all directions. I was not the only one to suffer an ankle injury from the terrain. (ref: Arrowhead Ultra)

Up until 2010, I used to be a heel striker and had no end of injuries. At that time I was "wearing out my legs". Until end of 2009, I was constantly suffering from "runner's knee", and people around me were telling me I should give up running when I'd only started long distance running in 2006 with and without a tyre.  From 2006-2009, I spent time seeing the physio for shin splints, achilles pain, ITB strain and finally plantar fasciitis. Fed up of simply throwing money at my problems, that is seeing the physio and buying a different pair of "supported" shoes when injury struck, I decided to research about running techniques.

Introducing Rec to Dr Romanov!
The one that appealed to me was Pose running. It had scientific studies and facts about what was happening biomechanically in different "poses". It became obvious why certain injuries were happening. At the end of 2009, I went to an excellent "pose clinic" with Dr Mark Hainsworth (GP and a level 4 coach) and discovered I could run injury free with or without a tyre. I also started running in sandals to free my feet. My physio was waiting for me to injured.

Injuries in 2010 - NONE! No pain, no niggles after 10 marathons

In 2011, Dr Romanov came into town. Another fantastically awesome person to meet.

Injuries in 2011 - NONE! Again no pain, no niggles after 11 marathons.

Injuries in 2012 - as indicated - one. This has been sorted out with advice from Jon Port to do eccentric stretches. I have worked hard and my ankle that suffered an achilles injury is now more stable than the other ankle (oh dear better put more work in on the other). It has taken about a month for the achilles to feel completely fine. My current challenge is to be able to do the pistol version of the one legged squat .
1st April is when this fool starts her tyre dragging marathon again :-)
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!

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!!!

Meeting other runners before an event can be a hotch potch of nervous emotions.
Some random lady looks at me and says: Wow you look fast
Me: Nah am a plodder
Lady: You'll definitely beat me

Hmm she's been sizing me up!!!

Me: Dunno - will be anywhere from 3:00 - 3:30
Lady: Really? I'm sure you'll do better than that.

(I didn't - I completed the event in 3:02)

The same lady seemed to find me at the starting line.
Lady:Have only run 17 miles this week
Me: 17 more than I have over 2 weeks and plus played hockey yesterday and have sustained a foot injury.
Lady: Oh I've just come back from injury and I've gained a whole lot of weight. I'm unlikely to beat my PB as I am a whole stone heavier than last year.

This lady has been running since 1997 and was ahead of me for most of the way. She flagged off in the final four miles, yelling as I overtook her - I knew you'd beat me! As for beating her PB - she beat it by 1 whole minute!

Making excuses is not limited to running. I have found that in many sports that I play that if there are people around you, one should get an excuse in before you start so that if you perform badly, at least you can't be too disappointed psychologically.

But I don't want to start negative any more. It's time we gave it a more positive spin :-)
I have done certain things on the day of the event that are in the running books of the "do not do":
  • Ran with a pair of new shoes - thankfully no blisters or anything.
  • Worn new clothes - once had a scratchy bit that irritated my skin so now I definitely do not wear new clothes on the day unless tested.
  • Eat or drink anything new that you have not trained with. Mixed views here - during one event found that I could eat during a run as I was starving and ate a donut offered with only a positive energy boosting effect after; found that gels are disgusting and need to drink a lot of water after one. Overall thankfully have had no runny-tummies from food/drink I've had on events that I've not trained with.
  • Sleep - I rarely sleep well the night before the event - but that is only mental. The physical body still has had rest and so can move. Have learned to ignore the head.
Things that I would add to the "do not do" running books:
  • Hot spicy foods should be eaten early and not in the wee hours of the morning before (such as 2am). Running with a hot tummy on the day of the event means you'll probably vom at some point (well I did).
  • Play a sport where you could get damaged the day before. My thick head has not learned this lesson well. Had a mashed toe last year from a game of touch rugby that resulted in a throbbing toe and limp the next day. Unfortunately the toe throbbed after each event for the next 6 months. Yes after 6 long events last year my toe throbbed but I was determined to complete all of them.

    I have a 20 mile event tomorrow and played hockey today. My foot is bruised in two places and now feels stiff and on the same leg, the  shin stopped a hockey ball from going anywhere!  Hopefully ice, heat and some arnica will help do some magic.

    Just checked - my stupid head is still there and would probably do some type of sport the day before if the opportunity arose again after all accidents can happen anywhere and there is no statistic to say that I am increasing the chance
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!
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!!!
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.

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.

I hate long haul flights. Am not good at sleep adjustments, so since touch down am getting by on 3-4 hours a night.  Temperature wise, well managed to burn myself on the first day out swimming despite putting on sun block factor 50. Having eczematic skin is sensitive and vulnerable. I prefer to hit it with more sun to harden it up and on the same sentence, moisturise to soften it up!

Now for every marathon I have done this year, my "monthly" has popped up.  I thought the timing between Steppingley Steps and the SCSM would mean I would at least have one marathon without having to worry about.....well other women readers will understand. Amazingly all the signs indicate that my body clock wants to sync in with my last marathon for the year.  *sigh*

So preps for this coming Sunday.....got to reacquaint myself back with my 2 Asian tyres that are looked after by another friend who perhaps one day will become.....a tyregirl :-)
Strange things have been happening. I was  on a 2 week break to allow my toe some healing time....and I get a call from a running buddy who says "hey want to go pull some tyres this weekend?" The tyres were excited. A new puller!

So now there's a new gal on the tyre pulling scene. She took Rec and I took Ted and Drag. Drag is one of the Olympic kids who came out with me to Hackney Marshes. Ted's the first tyre I took on a 5 mile run and is the veteran of the group. He's pulled into retirement age but likes to take the youngsters out for training sessions.

So Drag started out behind Grand-Pa Ted, and I plodded along with Tyre Girl 2. She thought I was being kind by being slow! But Drag is called Drag because......

Anyway after about 3 miles Tyre Girl 2 took them both. Drag sensing a new puller mischievously tried to escape in the car park. Grand Pa Ted said something and Drag began to sulk and be more of a.....drag.  Drag was tired! Grand Pa Ted softened and put Drag up upon his broad treads. This surely made the pulling process slightly easier and both Tyre Girl 2 and myself were thankful for the short relief.  Short 'cos although the drag was less, the load was heavier!

Ok so what's up with Tyre Girl 2? She's all shiney and new and the tyres think she's wonderful. Tyre Girl 2 - well she's in it for her running technique - the tyres give her immediate feedback about posture to support a nice lean. Then take her off the tyre and woo hoo she boings into action like a bungee!!! I think Tyre Girl 2 will be back for some more sessions. :P