2012 (apparently the end of the world) was mostly a year of forced rest for TG with only 3 marathons completed. 

For the first time in TG's short marathon event history, she was pulled out of a race for being too slow at Arrowhead. Having suffered an achilles injury in the event, meant she had time on her hands and so redirected her focus onto various building projects around the neighbourhood. However poor lifting practices whilst carrying sand bags/cement and bricks meant she would suffer
with back injuries 4 times that year and one groin injury despite the building sifu (master builder Andy) telling her "less is better".

The year also introduced a number of unsavoury characters to blight the year, forcing TG's alter ego to become more discerning rather than to trust every Tom, Dick and Harry. And finally for a number of relatives and close friends' parents the death bus came a visiting sucking those close to us into the other world. It was a sad time accepting death is part of life.
 
The turmoil of change continued with a bad chest infection. However, Dec 2012 ended with being a guest speaker at a Tedx talk to inspire other women to challenge themselves, to find out who they are and what they can achieve.
2013 was a year of US friendship and being a spokesperson for changing habits. As 2013 wriggled in, TG and the tyres had to accept an offer from the Modesto Marathon organisers. This resulted in:
a) Being accepted by 3 other marathons within a 2 week time period
b) Speaking at schools about reducing trash and providing sustainable business ideas
c) Becoming key note speakers at pre-pasta dinner events to spread a message about reducing trash
d) The inspiration for the "pledge tyre". 

In 2013 7 pledge tyres were left in different states around the USA (see Pledges)

The year ended with 12 marathons completed plus a cheeky tyre-less 100 miler, a PB that totally smashed TG's last PBs and completes 40 tyre pulling marathons of varying marathon distances. Here are the 13 listed below.
PictureThe delightful May and the awesome Donkey Boy
Feb 2013:
50K Ultra Marathon
Here we met the awesome Donkey Boy, who felt strangely attached to Red, even when he hit the wall. At the Richmond checkpoint we met the bubbly May who easily hit her target of 40 marathons before 40 and now can't stop running.

This marathon took us through the dog poo streets of London, which are lovelier on the Southern side as more dog owners are poo conscious. This is also the marathon that Red retired on and is now used as a training tyre.

PictureThe Modesto Organisers & Volunteers
March 2013
Modesto Marathon (24th March) This was Ecuder's first run, first marathon. He was in training mode. He was also thrust into the limelight at the Modesto Marathon expo.

This is a closed road marathon (couple of thousand participants) that starts in the city, meanders into the vineyard countryside and farm lands before heading back into the city. The organisers and volunteers are enthusiastic and generous, giving as much as they can back to runners. They have a brilliant expo and pre-pasta dinner that is well worth attending, breakfast/coffee in the morning, food at the end, free massages, and more! This organisation is super friendly and is a recommended marathon.

PictureDanni & Endorphine Dude with Chewy
Crazy 8 Marathon (26th March) is a 5.5 times round Lake Merced in San Francisco. It is part of a 8 or 9 day series of marathons. Here I re-met the dynamic Endorphine Dude (last met in 2011 at Santa Rosa marathon), the magnificant Danni whose cheese toasties at the end of the event were "to die for" and of course the enigmatic Chewy.

I would meet these wonderful people again in Santa Rosa later on in the year.

PictureTop L: Ray; Top R: Julia; Bottom L: Bob Schluben
Forrest Gump Challenge (30th March) is a 2 lap out and back course along the highway just outside the amazing town called Branson (yes do the marathon and visit Branson with the family).

Have to thank Ray (the RD); Bob, hope you completed your 52 marathons; and Julia for getting me to the finish line/helping me break 7 hours....a new PB at 6:59:39

Ray is doing a number of themed marathon/ultra events throughout the year....and instead of taking a tyre out on a run, he carries a cross on his runs.

PictureSigning the Pledge Tyre
April 2013
The Garden Spot Village Marathon: is an exceptional out and back road marathon. That is part closed though this was not fully closed otherwise we would not have been able to enjoy Amish horse and carriage trotting by. Rave rave rave. From the start, during and to the finish. A village style expo; pre-pasta dinner with amazing cakes; incredible hospitality from Erica and Scott (organisers); breakfast in the morning and a start tent to hide from the chilly elements; an amazing buffet display at each check point; and a brilliant welcome at the end to cheers and more food. There is no excuse to to be hungry or thirsty at any point in time on this event. Furthermore there were massages; hot tub; showers and a swimming pool that you can enjoy after. And finally there that quaint ole "going back in time" element being right smack bang in the middle of the Amish community....cute Amish kids in traditional outfits waving us on, horses and carriages plodding by, etc etc etc.

Although hilly TG would have beaten the last PB, if she hadn't decided to pick up runners' trash along the way. Also briefly met Bob again and thanks to Laurel for coming over (from Hatfield McCoy marathon).

TG has thoroughly enjoyed all her marathons but this is one she would extremely highly recommended marathon that out spoils any other marathon she has been in. There is prize money for different age categories and there is no time limit.

Picture
May 2013
Richmond Park Marathon
(5th May) is TG's local and is a lovely 3 circuit hilly marathon with deer watching, ducks/swans on lakes, views over central London, and having friends offer their local baked delights. It is a public park so be prepared to also be running along side cyclists, walkers.....and the occasional tyre puller :-)  TG pulled into another PB with a time of 6:55

As always excellent organisation, with spot prizes, massage tents and lots of friendly faces.  Thank you to Gaz and Ray (organisers) for their fantastic support.

Ridgeway 40 (11th May): is a 40 mile trail ultra marathon with a mid-point magically cake checkpoint. It is awesome and one that is hard to leave once you've stopped, salivated over the huge selection of cakes and had a cup of tea....especially when the choice is heading back out into weather that is a mixture of grey skies, wind swirls and spitting rain....or the nice warm tent with siren volunteers enticing you to stay.

TG pulled into another PB with a time of 11:45.

After the Up....Comes the Down
Feeling on top of the world, TG's alter ego decided to get back into building a drain.... and despite being told "less is better" attempted to drag several kilos of rubble around and unsurprisingly put her back out once again. This meant another forced rest and 4-6 weeks out of action.  Tyre-less she completed a 100 mile event (see here and here) at the end of June and strained her hamstring. Another forced rest for 6 weeks, though this time the focus was on IT projects, so the only other injury risk would be RSI.

PictureJoyce; Kathleen; Gaz
August 2013
Leading Ladies (18th Aug): is a women's only road marathon that goes mostly downhill. All marathons should go downhill....great for the quads. So despite having done no training from the last 100 miler, TG managed to complete the event in 07:30. Before, during and after, met so many incredibly inspiring women.

Despite hot temperature warnings, this was a surprisingly cool marathon starting in the mountains. Ecuder made many friends and managed to gatecrash some marathoners' tour of Rapid City and its surroundings.

PictureChris ensured TG did not get lost!
Santa Rosa (25th Aug): is a some what undulating road marathon that heads into the vineyards of De Loach. The expo was a cultural affair with live music especially from Albert's American Indian flutes, wine tasting and lots of exhibitors.....and a reunion with the Modesto bunch, lady Danni and Endorphine Dude. We also met the impressive Chris who has cut off the heads of so many depression demons that am sure she has enough medals to make a permanent shield to fend them off. Here TG was reunited with the animal friendly Rec who completed the event with TG.

The pre-pasta dinner was held in the exquisite grounds of the De Loach winery and is certainly well worth attending (TG likes food and cake!) with the sun setting, the occasional eagle seen (am sure it was an eagle) and the surround sound of live American Indian flutes being played. Runners are again spoilt at this marathon with fresh fruit, pancake, and cold beer after the marathon. If you're a goodies bag diva - then this one excelled with a bottle of nice wine and a jacket to celebrate their 5th anniversary.

Another excellent US marathon.

Picture
November 2013
Day of the Dead (3) and Day of the Dead (4): is a 4 day back to back marathon series. TG and Ecuder did the last two day and met/hung out with a bunch of fantabulous people (Andy, Charlie, Mark). This marathon has lots of food before, during and after and has no time limit and has a prize for the person bringing up the rear!

This was Reu's first marathon and had to endure goatshead spikes. TG was glad she had to purchase thicker sole sandals for this event (having forgotten to bring hers). For the medal squirrels, these medals are unique skeleton tiles that celebrate the day of the dead.

PictureHanding over Rizzy the Pledge Tyre
December 2013
McDowell Mountain Frenzy 50K: is a trail ultra marathon in the beautiful McDowell Mountain regional park. There are a number of other length events at the same time. There are rocky tracks; single-pass trails; steep up and downhills and throughout exceptional desert scenery. There was food before, during and after the event. Food and drink check points about every 3-6 miles.

Much gratitude to Jamil and Nick (organisers) for their most excellent support and to Paradise Valley High school for giving Rizzy (the pledge tyre) a home.



TG and the tyres are thankful to all the brilliant organisers, volunteers, amazing high school teachers, other runners and to all the new and old friends for their help and support. Thank you to everyone who has listened and heard my message and have pledged to reduce their trash by first reducing their single-use plastic trash, making 2013 a positive year of pledges to change. Now to reign in the time in 2014!

 
 
Sung backwards from 12 days of Christmas....starting from the 12th day:

12
said "looks too hard"
11 wry smiles
10 looks of confusion
9 said "a tyre's following"
8 dog's a barking
7 replied "Merry Christmas"
6 asked what I was doing
5 wanted a ride
4 hill reps
3 muddy puddles
2 asked about the arctic
1 tyre pulling training day

Yes first pull around the lake. Training is back on.
 
 
 
 
Picture
Type of Race/Course: Desert, hilly, rocky, sandy trail - some single track, some very rocky, others lots of fun. Expect uphills and downhills.
Location: McDowell Mountain Regional Park, Arizona; Entrance fee = $6 USD
Organisation and volunteers: Excellent organisation. For a change I did not get lost on the trail! It was so well marked :-)
CPs: @ every 3-6 miles with water, gatorade, salty snacks, sandwiches/bean rolls, chocolate, oranges, bananas and excellent, encouraging volunteers.
Weather: 32 degs F - 57 degs F; sunny
Start Time: 07:30
Finish: Ends at start point
Post Runner Recovery: Lots of food/drink

Event's website: http://www.aravaiparunning.com

Having been in Arizona once before, I had expected hot, dry,sunny afternoons and  cool mornings. I had not expected to find ice on my windscreen that I could not scratch off with my bare hands! Emergency shoe, well sandal, saved the day becoming an adequate ice scrapper.

Thankfully got to the park 15 minutes before the start, to a relaxed atmosphere and a breakfast banquet table. Pledge tyre in one arm, Reu in the other, we were ready to recruit runners/volunteers/spectators/others to think more seriously about the trash they generated and to pledge to reduce their single use plastics with a B.Y.O. (Bring Your Own) attitude. Thank you to the organisers for promoting the B.Y.O cause and thank you to everyone who has pledged to reduce their single use trash with B.Y.O. The tyre is now living in Paradise Valley High School to encourage the change makers (students) to find a solution to our society's apathetic attitudes towards trash.
For a slight difference in the journalling, thought you might like a video log and some waffle about the run, the weather and the location.....which I thought was "mind delicious"....could have spent a day taking photos if time permitted....I love them 1...2...3... hundred year old cowboy cactus.

Hardest part of the event was the last 5-6 miles. On 3 occasions it looked like the trail would take us back to the finish point, and then an evil bend would appear to take us further away....a mind torture. There was a final sado-masochistic short steep climb to the finish. It was awesome!

In summary - an excellent organised event and probably my favourite for the year based on the scenery.
PictureHanding over Rizzy to Jack Clark (CREST)
Monday 9th December:
Paradise Valley High School

It was time to give the pledge tyre a name and a home at Paradise Valley High School and CREST.

Here we met the change makers of the future. The generation who can make a difference by changing their ways, find ways to make it easier for their parents and relatives to change their ways.

It was time to pass on the dream to have a zero trash society:
- that reuses and repairs "trash" at home
- and what cannot be reused or repaired is then upcycled or recycled and in turn is again reused

...Thus reducing the poisons we release back into our environment as well as our demand on resources and our impact on our precious rain forest resources. Some will go for the baby steps provided with the B.Y.O attitude, and others in the school will guide the way to help their home, school and society become totally sustainable.

The dream is possible with a bit of determined effort....just as a "gal" drags a tyre in a 50K marathon.

Found dumped and alone in an alley, our pledge tyre was named Rizzy (as in Resilient) by the resident sustainability instructor, Andrew Bernier. May Rizzy inspire many more students to be the change that the world needs.

Thank you to the brilliant teachers for their support and the classes who listened.

 
 
Picture2006: My first beloved tyre called Trang
I am writing this entry to my fellow runners, most excellent volunteers/crew, fellow people who enjoy nature, and any spectators out on the McDowell Mountain Frenzy on the 7th December.

Although I like to hear people chatting away, on the day, we won't have time to chat. My run is your fast walking pace. This means whilst you can comfortably talk to me when you are beside me, I will be gasping for air. If you should chance upon me from mile 20 onwards, and unless there is time in the bag (there rarely is), I will be looking to finish the event before the end time.

So what is with the tyre?

The tyre has become my buddy in all 39 marathons I have completed. For the McDowell Mountain marathon, I will be taking Reu.

PicturePulling a pulk to the North Pole
In 2004, I had decided I would go to the North Pole in 2008. In 2006, I convinced an amazing woman called Matty McNair to be my buddy and guide. So I needed to get down to training! I dislike training and the only running I liked then was to run after a ball in touch rugby or hockey.

I had to find an incentive and so I entered the Singapore marathon, Dec 2006, since it is where I grew up and is my family home. I managed to do some training towards it (looking back it was pretty pathetic), and then in Dec I coyly stepped onto the line at the back of the crowd of marathon runners. On that day, I had a number of people/reporters tell me I would not complete the marathon and secondly I was only a woman!!! So with pure determination, I completed the marathon and went on to complete 2 others and one 40 miler before going to the North Pole.

PictureA landfill for household trash
Having been injured by the end of each of those first 4 marathons, decided to do a running course in 2009. To prove the tyre and my footwear were not the issue, I took my tyre into 10 marathons in 10 months in 2010, sometimes running in sandals. No injuries. Somewhere in one of those marathons, a challenge was made to do a 100 marathons with my tyre to join the 100 marathon club. I accepted (well how could I not when this lady in her 70s who has done 180 something marathons put down that challenge!).

Yes it is a burden pulling a tyre. Many have told me to drop the tyre - I would be soo much faster!.. but I have a challenge to fulfill. What has kept me going is being able to highlight the burden of trying to reduce our own trash and our consumption of resources in our rapidly developing societies.

PictureEffects of plastic trash in the oceans
As developed nations move towards an automated disposable society, our minds have become apathetic to how much trash we really contribute. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency(EPA), in 2011, the US produced over 250 million tonnes of municipal trash. Of that 31 million tonnes was plastic trash and only 8% of that was actually recovered for recycling. That means @ 28 million tonnes was either landfilled, incinerated, sent to China to dispose of who probably sold some of that back to us in another format, or somehow has found its way into our oceans.

Now you might have heard about the great plastic oceans. There is plastic in all oceans and someone has provided a conservative estimate of about 315 billion pounds (143 million tonnes) - some say is twice the size of Texas! So the yearly rate of plastic trash, the US creates, amounts to about just under 1/2 the size of Texas (if my maths is correct).

PictureReu's stats: Weight=10kg/22lbs; Width=60cm
I Need Your Help...
I need your help, 'cos many people can make a difference.....to pledge to reduce your single use plastic trash. Make BYO (Bring Your Own) your mojo. BYO:
- Thermal cups for take away coffees
- Take out containers for take away
- Bag for shopping
- Bottles for water
- etc

Please sign my tyre as your pledge :-) and let us jointly guide the next generations.

Thank you for reading and see you on the 7th Dec!

 
 
Picture
The Day of the Dead RD had found an abandoned tyre, and knowing TG's affinity for tyres gave it to her. Its treads and ribs were pitted and embedded with razor edged stones.

As the RD made his announcements before the start of the race, TG butted in.

TG: Ladies and Gentlemen, Runners, Spectators and Volunteers: Today I will run with a tyre to signify it takes a lot of effort to reduce our trash. I would like you to help me, to pledge to reduce your single use plastic trash. To concrete that pledge, I would like you to sign this poor abandoned tyre.

RD: ...and we will make this pledge part of our events.....

Picture
Reu: About 2 miles into the route
Last night TG had slept (unlike the night before) and despite the slight stiffness of her legs last night, they were feeling great today. Being the last runner to move out of the starting block, she rapidly caught up with a couple of end runners/walkers.

One of them, Charlie, decided to be her companion for the day and the two of them fixed the trash issue, the US political system, abuse of benefits, tax evasion, plus a host of other topics!

As we encountered runners passing in the opposite direction from the turn around points, a number of runners proudly held up their cups announcing that this was the first and only cup they would take for the whole event.

Picture
Ed: The pledge tyre
Runners/spectators/volunteers signed the pledge tyre but he did not have a name. At the hand over of the pledge tyre TG asked the RD to give him a name.

RD: Can I think about it?
TG: Sure, how does he make you feel?
Volunteers: Call him "ED"
RD: Ed - short for "Educate"

A most excellent name for a pledge tyre and one that will educate people from now on about reducing their trash and all runners to BYOB (Bring Your Own Bottle).....AND this is why the mainly marathon organisers travel with a pledge tyre called Ed!

 
 
Picture
Type of Race: Trail - it is 100% flat! This is a series of 4 marathons in 3 different states. I did the last 2 days
Goody Bag: Great shirt and picture card momento
Course: Trail route that is out and back. Day 1 repeats the route 4 times; day 2 repeats a varied route 2 times
Organisation and volunteers: Excellent organisation, despite the organisers travelling to different states for the 4 marathons in 4 days with equally excellent volunteers.
CPs: @ every 1-2 miles with water, gatorade, salty snacks, sandwiches, chocolate, oranges, bananas. On the second day there was pizza at a lot of the CPs
Weather: Day 1: @ 35 degs F - 75 degs F; Day 2: @ 40 degs F - 75 degs F. Both days there is a lot of sun
Start Time: 07:00
Location: Day 1: La Lorona Park; Day 2: Field of Dreams
Finish: Ends at start point
Post Runner Recovery: Lots of food; milk; drinks

There is a prize for the last runner. I was honored with this on my first marathon day!

Marathon #38: Breaking the Rules
I have read and been told the ground rules of marathon running and I broke all of them for the first marathon.

Picture
Reu dolled up with box and bones
1. Sleep well the nights before the marathon.

These count more than the night just before the day of the marathon. Had about 4-5 hours a night for the last 4 days (work and jetlag), including the night before as I was trying to dress up Reu (my tyre). The day of the marathon, my neck was sore :-( and still is sore. Ahh the joys of stress!

First 10 miles was fine but quickly after that my head and eyes were tired. I wanted to lie down. Thankfully Frank (one of the volunteers who was lead biker) decided to keep me company for the last 10 miles! Although I normally hate talking during the end stages of a marathon, the brain stimulation helped and was gratefully accepted.

2. Carbo-load the day before the marathon.
Didn't have much of an appetite the days before the marathon, but I did eat bread and junk snack food 2-3 days before the marathon. The night before the marathon, I wanted something healthy so I had a large green leaf salad.

On the day of the marathon, I carried 3 cereal bars and ate all 3 of them starting from mile 6 onwards. However the aid stations had plenty of food. Despite the leafy green salad, I did not particularly feel massively hungry and bowel functions were fine! No nasty "chemie" gels (like gu and others) were consumed. As DIY Diva (a running buddy) would say - "eat before you are hungry". This is a philosophy I now always use and don't need to eat those nasty gels!

Picture
The "evil" goatshead thorns
3. Never try something new in a marathon.
As well as Reu being a virgin tyre and would be her first run with me ever, I'd forgotten my sandals that I'd run in for the last 5-6 marathons with Ecuder. I had a pair of shoes I'd run in, but really wanted a pair of sandals as I hate hot feet. So the day before the marathon, I went sandal shopping. As this is the wrong season, shops were not selling sandals. However at the nth hour someone directed me to a "Payless" store. I power walked over there as time was ticking on towards shop closing time.

There was one style of sandals, a mens sandal reduced to $8. There were 2 sizes available: mens 8 or 9. I tried to kid myself I could fit into an size 8 and ran around the shop in them to test them. The shop assistant tactfully told me the mens 9 would look better on my feet! She was right, a mens size 9 fitted better, and so purchased them and ran in the marathon the next day. No regrets at all! Just had to learn to avoid the "evil" goatshead thorns that clasp onto your flesh and wedge into the sole of your foot. Having pulled out a ton of them from my sandals, I was glad I was forced to purchase a new pair of sandals as these nasty devils would have certainly pierced through the sole of my older pair.

Picture
In the Army
Doing a out and back 4 times to complete 26.2 miles is a brain challenge. As I am not particularly fast, a change of scenery helps stimulate my brain. However, quick exchanges of encouragement between runners is also helpful.

On the second lap of the out and back, the army were doing 5K runs along the trail. Am not sure if my exchange of "If I can take a tire, you'd better beat me to the finish!" was helpful. Well I was called an "animal"!

Having high-fived a number of marathon runners, one runner (Scott) pressed a medal into my hand. He runs for the fallen military heroes who have given their lives to their country. Although I certainly do not feel worthy of such a medal, thank you Scott for the encouragement to continue on with promoting "Reduce Your Trash".

Am hoping all runners can BYOB: "Bring Your Own Bottle" - to fill up with water/energy drink along the marathon course. This has the added benefit of being able to drink when you need it, rather than to drink when you have to because you are waiting to get to an aid station. Drinking from cups means the contents often spill on the ground and then the runner tossing the plastic cup on the ground a couple of hundred metres from the aid station.

Last lecture: Volunteers volunteer their time which is often unpaid time. Although picking up runners trash has become part of a volunteers role, it would be nice for them never to have to pick up runners' trash especially sticky gel packs that become glued to the ground. Runners: BYOB and leave trash at an aid station.

Marathon #39 to be written up at the end of next week!

 
 
Picture
TG's first mail item!
Postman: Package for Tyre Girl. Please sign here.
TG: Really? My first package EVER!

Amused, TG signed for the package. It had a bit of weight and noted it was from altruistic Elaine, the RD from the Leading Ladies marathon.

TG wondered if it was one of Lady Suzette's shoes or perhaps something she'd left behind.

Picture
Cryptic words
As TG explored the packaging, there on the taped side were some cryptic words:

19+ Champ Full
Tyre Girl
And why not?!
7 yrs old


Preplexed TG carefully opened the package. Upon seeing its contents TG burst into laughter......

Picture
TG, Reu and the champions trophy
A champions trophy for the under 19

Picture
On behalf of Ecuder, Reu accepts the champions trophy!

Reu's will be tasting her first marathon event on the 1st November.

 
 
Silver Sunday is a day of free activities for older people and on the 6th October. I had been pulled in to help organise the Paddington Mile for the charity SilverFit (http://www.silverfit.org.uk/). The morning went really well and we had about 15 silver surfers running round a track for a mile. I had been told to expect times of about 20 minutes. These silver surfers (aged between 50-80) ran times between 6-10 minutes!

The day went well, although received an ear bashing from a lady in her 70s who took exception to the day being called Silver Sunday and the charity being called SilverFit. Respectively I took Obama's stance: "I did not call it Silver Sunday, London called it Silver Sunday. As for SilverFit, it is a charity that was started by a lady in her 70s...."

And so I received even more ear bashing about how disrespectful and condescending I was.

Just hope I don't become a grumpy old lady when I grow up!!!

I hope I am like the 99% of the other ubber cool 70+ women I met, who had a sense of joy, humour and an active life :-)
 
 
I've looked everywhere.....under the tyres, in the wheels, within the collection of running shoes.....but I can't find it anywhere. My mojo fled after the 100 miler at the end of June. Long runs were beaten into submission.

Had hoped the last 2 marathons might have helped but no, "Lala" came out to play.

At the moment I don't like long runs. My head sometimes thinks it must go training, but after the first mile the brain melts to an unshakeable CBB (Can't Be Bothered) moment and soon the quick steps slow down to a plod. Two more miles are forced walked in the hope that the brain can send a signal...."OI legs! Do your job". The legs faff about further and the command centre forces the body to return back to base.

A quick check up on the body:
- Legs fine
- Body fine
- Head has an atitude problem.

With damp, grey days blasting away the last hot days of the year, nestling in a warmish room feels so much more motivating. Going to have to use diversion methods to shake up the brain to respond to running. Back to circuit training and spinning classes and maybe some hockey might sort me out.....

Picture
In the mean time a new tyre is being prepared. Maybe she (Reu) might inspire me to get running.