Thursday, December 30, 2010

Alexa the trip planner

My trip planning for Coeur D'Alene is going really well! This is not really the sort of thing that I am good at because I tend to procrastinate.

I found round trip flights from Buffalo, NY to Spokane, WA (with only 1 layover) through Southwest. Southwest is one of the better airlines and they have a really good baggage policy. Two checked bags are free - and I can take my bike box on the plane for only $50 each way (counts as a checked bag but since it's oversized - there's an added fee). I haven't booked the flight yet, but will do so soon. I also found a shuttle service from the airport to my hotel in Coeur D'Alene (I have to give credit for the shuttle service knowledge to someone else because I had no idea that this existed) which is really convenient - it's $45 and they come and pick you up after you arrive at the airport, then they deliver you back to the airport before your flight out.

Also, apparently like 20 members of QT2 (Coach Mary's tri team) are doing CDA so she is going to hook me up with them. I will have 20 babysitters while I am there! Hopefully some of them are young, hot, single tri-dudes. :) And hopefully at least ONE of them has a rental car so that I can bribe him or her to take me through the bike course. Maybe I will have someone to hug at the finish after all!

All I can say is.. I can't freaking WAIT to go to Idaho in June. I wish it was June right now. I have never been there and I like going to new places! Depending on who you ask, Idaho is sometimes included in the "Pacific Northwest" and sometimes it isn't. Either way, the PNW is someplace that I have been dying to go to for years, and I really hope to eventually relocate there. I like NY and PA and Rochester is fine, but.. I was made to live in Oregon. Seriously - temperate rainforest, hippies, it's super liberal, there are tons of bikes.. I could go on and on about why I need to be there.

I wish I had more time when I'm out there so that I could actually go places in Washington (other than the airport) and actually go to Oregon.. but I just don't have the vacation time. Soon.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

back to work

family Christmas photo
Unfortunately, after a wonderful 3 day weekend spent celebrating Christmas, I am back at work. I am alone at work all week and the factory is in "shut down" this week (because nobody with any sense is actually here) so I get to do things such as: clean, make buffers, look at equipment manuals, etc. What fun.

I had 10+ hours of workouts last week and that is even with a skipped swim! I did ALL of my workouts over the weekend - including my Christmas trainer ride. Also, I am running again! Last week I did one 20 min run and two 30 min runs. This week I have two 30 min runs and one 45 min run! I am definitely out of shape, but I am keeping my pace under 10 min/mile which I really don't think is too bad considering I have barely run since mid-September.

I watched "A Christmas Story" Sunday morning during my 90 min trainer ride. I FINALLY WATCHED IT! I've seen most of it in bits and pieces but this was the first time I have ever watched it the entire way through. I made it back to Rochester at about 7:30 on Sunday night after a detour through Tioga Co., PA (AKA an even MORE rural part of the state than where I'm from) so that I could attend my family Christmas party. The roads were kind of nasty out there and my car barely made it up my uncle's steep driveway. On my way back to Rochester, the drive got better the more northwest I drove. I was so happy to be back in my apartment and had my cat as my welcome wagon.

me, wearing actual real clothes
and hugging my new Pillow Pet!
I went to Mary's yoga class last night. I find myself REALLY looking forward to these classes. I bought a yoga mat last week as my Christmas present to myself, because renting a yoga mat was grossing me out. Besides that, I have been REALLY good about not buying things. I actually went into the Lululemon showroom, tried on clothes, put them back, and just bought the $30 yoga mat (instead of the $65 one at Breathe). That is some serious self-restraint for this sister! There are some things that I could use - like a new winter coat - that are on my birthday list. I would also like to find one nice winter-ish (think, wool) skirt.

I am already halfway through "The Girl Who Played with Fire." I have also been watching Season 4 of Dexter. I have ALSO been trying to clean a grease(?) stain off my carpet which got there thanks to my trainer. I guess gross bike dirt/lube flies off the chain and onto the carpet, and left a streak, which I didn't notice until I took my bike off the trainer. I've tried putting baking soda on it for 15 minutes then vacuuming it up. I've tried scrubbing it with a toothbrush and dish washing soap. So far neither have really worked - I am open to any suggestions.

I have Friday off because it's New Year's Eve. !!!!!!!! (That's me being excited about a day off that I don't have to spend driving somewhere). I doubt I will make it to midnight. Honestly, I probably won't even TRY to make it to midnight. I just.. don't care. I've had ~1 really fun NYE in my life and that was spent at a club in NYC a couple of years ago. Nothing that I could find to do now would top that! Hopefully everybody else is less lame than I am!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!


Yes, it is Christmas!

We started the morning with some delightful present-opening. Some of the highlights - I got my big suitcase for Coeur D'Alene, a Kindle (YES!), some books (yes I got actual, tangible books AND a Kindle.. don't ask me!), a Pillow Pet (yes, I am a 26 year old with a pink and purple unicorn Pillow Pet), and some other things! My dad got a camera, my mom got an ipod nano, my brother got a Flip Video camera. I also got a $50 pre-paid Visa card so I am now taking suggestions on how to spend that! I'm thinking maybe a trip to Lululemon, or Eddie Bauer!

I did my Christmas trainer ride after opening presents and watched the first disk of Season 5 of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (another gift) while doing my trainer ride.

Now we just finished eating dinner. I brought home a bottle of wine from a local winery. Everyone had a glass.. and then there was at least a 3rd of the bottle left so I am finishing that up! AKA.. I'm drunk. My friend Eddy says that I'm not drunk, that it's "Christmas cheer" and I like his way of thinking about it!

We still need to take a family photo.. so I am dressed nice in a sweater and boots - usually I spend all time at home in my pajamas.

My brother catches a bus back to Brooklyn later today.

I head back to Rochester tomorrow, after the yearly family Christmas party. I'm sure I will be able to regale you with tales of my relatives asking me why I'm not married, or if I have a boyfriend, or if I'm a lesbian now. Laugh if you want, but those questions happen! Maybe I should get drunk tomorrow too..

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

crazy Christmas-time

It's going to be an absolutely crazy week. Because Christmas is on Saturday, I work Mon. - Thurs. and I am driving home to my parents' house on Friday morning. In order to get my 3 swims in this week, they have to be Tues., Wed., and Thurs. (I'm being honest here - I think one of those swims is going to get skipped). I have bike rides Wed. and Fri. - Sun. Oh yes. On Christmas DAY I will be doing an 8 minute balls out lactate threshold test in the middle of my regularly scheduled trainer session. I'm sure my parents will love me setting up my trainer in the middle of the living room and blasting the volume of the TV! But hey.. at least I am going home!

So much for relaxing during the holidays. But I'm looking at is as: if I do big workouts on Saturday and Sunday, I can eat big meals Saturday and Sunday! :)

Then it's back to work on Monday.

My official apartment search begins after Christmas, because my lease is up at the end of February. I look on craigslist every day but I haven't made any phone calls. In theory, apartment hunting could be fun, but with my limited budget, it blows. What I want and what I can afford are very far apart. My apartment is small, but I don't think I'm going to be finding anything that's any bigger. What I do want to find is something in a better area, where I don't have to worry about what's going to happen when I leave for the weekend. I guess if I have to compromise some space, then oh well.

All I can say is.. it's very frustrating.

Monday, December 20, 2010

more swimming, less whining

Does anyone remember last week when I was whining about my horrible swim test time and several people told me to STFU because that is how periodization in training works? Slower in the early part of the season after taking time off, then spending several months building a base, and then progressively getting faster as the season progresses? I know that, but it still sucks being slow in the off-season - hence the whining.

Anyways, I need to focus less on whining and more on swimming, because yesterday I broke 6 minutes for my 400 yd time trial - twice! I swam a 5:59 and then a 5:58. That is 4 seconds faster than my fastest-ever swim test from last season before Lake Placid! I swam myself into major oxygen debt and was basically seeing stars for the last 50, but I think figuring out how to push myself to that point is also part of the test. As much as I hate, hate, hate swimming 3x per week, I definitely think it's going to help!

I also stepped out of my comfort zone yesterday (my comfort zone consists of swim, bike, run, and that's it) and went to my first ever yoga class at Breathe in Pittsford. It was a Power Vinyasa Basics class. For those of you who are not familiar with yoga (this includes me - I had to google "power vinyasa"), vinyasa yoga, or vinyasa flow yoga refers to yoga where you change positions in relation to inhaling and exhaling and the power means that this yoga class focuses on strength and flexibility. So basically we were almost constantly moving through poses in a hot room that smelled like incense. I was concentrating so hard on figuring out what I was supposed to be doing that I didn't concentrate at all on my breathing - I'm sure this goes with the learning curve. I went with a teammate, Jill, and I think we were both surprised at how physical it was. Also, I'm glad there was no crazy yoga stuff like chanting because I would have straight up busted out laughing. Even just trying to get the hang of these poses that I had never heard of before, I was giggling. Anyways, the class was definitely challenging, which led to me being very, very sore today. My arms, my sides, and my abs all feel like they got a major workout - I love it!

I also met another teammate at yoga, David, that I have only "met" on the google group. Which basically means I have seen his name attached to emails. I'm pretty active on our google group so people tend to know who I am when they meet me, AND he said that I crack him up, so thanks for that David!

The biggest problem with going to Breathe is that not only am I going to spend money on yoga classes (that is fine), but they also sell Lululemon workout clothes AND they have regular clothes that are EXACTLY my style (total hippie girl clothes) but are expensive. I'm doing good though - no shopping - must pay for 2 Ironmans!

I went to Mary's yoga class tonight. I was hemming and hawing over whether I should go when I opened my training peaks and instead of seeing a 60 min spin on the books for Monday, I saw 75 minutes of yoga. So I went! It was hard because a) my arms and core are jello and b) because it's a more advanced class. But I think I did ok.

I also saw 1 pink yoga mat for sale that has Alexa written ALL OVER IT. Must buy pink yoga mat!

I will be back!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

mopping = a triumphant feat!

I cannot BELIEVE how productive I was today! I attribute that to a solid 12 hours of sleep. After going to see Black Swan (more on that later) Friday evening, I crashed at no later than 8:30 pm (but remember, I was up all night working) and got up at 8:30 am. I proceeded to do laundry AND clean my entire apartment, including MOPPING MY KITCHEN FLOOR with an actual bucket of bleach (is that what you're supposed to mop with??) and spongy mop thing! This has never happened in the history of my life. Yes I have used a Swiffer, but let's face it, the Swiffer dries out after about 3 "swipes" and really doesn't do a great job.

I did all of this cleaning because my friend Ari was coming over today to help me flip my mattress (my chiropractor thinks that not rotating my mattress is not helping all of the weird lower body soreness that I have been experiencing). She showed up with her boyfriend Trevor and we flipped that shit in about 5 minutes! So now I will sleep on the side of my mattress that does not have a "divet" from sleeping in the exact same spot for 3 years. Apparently a mattress is supposed to last for 7 years IF you take proper care of it, so hopefully I will be good to go!

I am feeling very at peace in my clean apartment! I got all of that cleaning done AND my bike test in before 3 pm, so then I could curl up on my couch and watch the Ironman World Championships on NBC at 4 pm with a mug of hot chocolate. (Only after I drove to Rite Aid in my sweatpants and bought milk and chocolate like the single girl that I am! Buuut, better to be the sad, single girl in the sweatpants than the girl in line in front of me, holding a First Response pregnancy test! Haha!)

I am feeling pretty tired after such a busy day, so I am laying low tonight, especially in anticipation of my first ever yoga class at 8:30 tomorrow morning! I'm psyched! I also have a swim test tomorrow, an hour bike ride, and 15 minutes of running, so it isn't going to be a snoozefest on the couch either.. but I prefer to stay busy so I am fine with it!

Anyways, back to Black Swan. I linked the trailer in my last post. I'm not going to spoil it, but I will say that it was really good. It was also REALLY weird. Like, ballet + blatant sexual-ness + psychological + thriller + creepy = Black Swan. I get freaked out easily and this movie did freak me out. I am also fairly squeamish when it comes to blood, vomit, etc. and there is enough of that in this movie to make me a little uncomfortable. So while I liked it and thought it was REALLY good, I'm not sure if I would watch it again. Just like when I watch Requiem for a Dream and I have to look away every time they show someone shooting up, I had to look away during some of the scenes of this movie, because I am a giant baby. I WOULD recommend it - however I would not recommend it to anyone who is super wholesome or doesn't want to watch a film that is "gritty."

I am off to paint my toenails for yoga! Happy training everyone!

Friday, December 17, 2010

work and the weekend!

Dang. It's Friday. FINALLY! Last night at work was one of the craziest nights I've had. I was alone, on nights (which usually isn't the case) and I got slammed with work. It wasn't quite as stressful as the night that I cried in the lab (because a test I was trying to run kept failing over and over again), but for the first 5 hours I did not leave the lab, I did not eat anything, drink anything, pee, sit down, or even stop moving. I think my ankles are swollen! Then there was a lull for about 2 hours where I got all of my paperwork done, cleaned up the whirlwind of destruction that I left trailed across the lab, did a ton of dishes, and set up for tests that would be coming in a little later.

Just to give you a insight into what I do at my job without violating any kind of J&J "confidentiality" - I do quality control testing on a product (that is used on medical devices) that our company makes. The speed that I do my testing at DIRECTLY affects our ability to make the product and get it on the shelf. If I am slow, mess up, or don't know how to do something, I hold up the entire process - because the product absolutely CANNOT get made until my test results pass. And if we have to hold up making something, the company loses money. Which pisses everyone off, a LOT.

Hence - when I am alone and very busy, I get really, really stressed out because I'm afraid that I won't be able to get everything done in time, or I will have problems that I don't know how to fix (and who am I going to call at 3 am?) or (god forbid) something will require a test that I don't know how to do (because we have literally thousands of possible tests that we might have to run and it's just impossible to train on them all).

So if you're wondering why I once cried in the lab? That's why. Add to that the constantly rotating shifts, and you can probably see why my job contributes a giant amount of stress to my life. I try to control stressers but unfortunately, I can't do much about my job other than try to take deep breaths and have confidence that I can do it without screwing up.


The week is over. Our factory is basically shutting down for the next two weeks because of the holidays so I get to work days and not be as stressed. The week between Christmas and New Years I will be holding down the lab by myself because the other 4 lab techs all have vacation time left, whereas I do not.

So it's time to relax and chill out for a few weeks before we get hammered at work, and I get hammered by my training - starting in January.

I think I will start that tonight by going to see "Black Swan" which is directed by the guy that did "The Wrestler" and "Requiem for a Dream" which are both great. And the trailer looks freaking awesome! AND it's rated like 9 stars on IMDB. I also have my FIRST EVER yoga class on Sunday morning! Wow.. crazy weekend for this girl!

I will reward you for reading this rambling blog entry with a triathlon joke!

Q: How many Ironman triathletes does it take to change a light bulb?

A: One, he holds the bulb up to the socket and the world revolves around him.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

rounding out 2010

This is my last rest week of 2010! Good thing I had a rest day on Monday because I went to bed at 8 am and didn't wake up until 5:30 pm - it was already dark out and I was pretty confused when I woke up! I had plans to go out to dinner with my friend Ari and I was worried that I slept through it. Luckily, I didn't, and she came and got me and we ate breakfast-for-dinner which is one of my favorite things ever!

Wednesday, it took FOREVER to drive home (traffic was literally moving 5 mph the entire drive home because of the snow) and I didn't get to bed until 8:30 am. I slept til 3, did some stuff, tried to relax by watching a movie but then gave up and went back to bed from 6:30 to 9:30 and THEN had to get back up to go back into work. I guess they call it a rest week for a reason.

It's crazy to think that Christmas is in 9 days, and we start a new year in a little over 2 weeks! I'm not ready. I haven't received any of the Christmas presents that I ordered (for other people) and the Christmas mood hasn't really "struck me" yet. I guess I should try a little harder to be festive, although I will be avoiding all mistletoe and 42 year old men that won't leave me alone.

A lot has happened to me this year. A new job, a new car, new friends, a half-IM PR, a podium finish that I'm really proud of, my first Ironman, more miles logged on the trainer than I care to think about, and a whole bunch of self-discovery. These are some of the better things - the highlights - if you will. June - July was the absolute peak of the year. I think it's better to dwell on the accomplishments than the low points, but truth be told - 2010 was a roller coaster of a year. I can honestly say that I'm happy to see it come to an end.. and I'm quite anxious to see what is up next for me.

Here's hoping that 2011 brings good things to everyone! Personally, I'd like to see myself having less of a love/hate relationship with my bike, more training miles, and an IM PR (can I go as far as to say 2 IM PRs??).

Is it too early to be posting this? I mean, we are only halfway through December...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

winter blues

I think a lot of people tend to get bummed out during the winter. I know I definitely do. I don't know if it's because it's cold and dreary outside, the loss of extra sunlight AKA Seasonal Affective Disorder, being couped up inside because of bad weather, or because the holidays can be stressful and overwhelming. It's probably a combination of these things.

Add to this the fact that we are triathletes, we're used to spending tons of time outside in minimal clothing, and many of us tend to have that ever-so-wonderful Type A personality.

Winter can get rough.

In order to combat the "winter blues" I have compiled a list of things that I like to do to cheer myself up! I used to go shopping.. but that is just bad news for my bank account so I don't do that anymore.

  • First things first, I force myself to do my workouts. Even if there's 2 feet of snow on the ground, I go to the gym and do my swim. I try to run outside when possible but there's always the treadmill. And winter is really the time to embrace the trainer! Even if it's freezing out and all I want to do is lay on the couch under a pile of blankets, I FORCE myself to workout because I know it will make me feel better, and not working out will make me feel fat, lazy, and guilty!

  • Another super important thing for me is to make time to see my friends. I live alone, and I have a tendency to be a shut in. I don't know if it's because I'm an introvert or what, but sometimes it's such a hassle to leave my apartment. And I HATE messing with my routine. (So you know I love you if I make an effort to see you!). I chat on the phone a few times a week with a few friends. I have one friend that I do a dinner date with pretty often, I have another friend that I do some workouts with, or I'll go see a movie with someone. Nothing crazy, just enough to satisfy my craving for human interaction!

  • When I was in grad. school in Syracuse (hello, horrible winters), I would come home after class/TAing/working on grad. school stuff, light some Nag Champa incense (yes, I'm a hippie) and attempt to do the Daily Orange crossword puzzle. I finished it ONCE (with the help of my 2 undergrad. TAs). I don't have a daily crossword anymore BUT I still like to light my incense and/or candles to chill out.

  • Drink hot chocolate. I like to make it with milk instead of water. It's warm, delicious, it has marshmallows, and it's still less calories than a giant Hershey's bar!

  • I pop in a TV show that I have on DVD (The Office, Friends, and GLEE are 3 of my mood lifters) or a movie (the LOTR trilogy is a favorite for crappy winter days because it's super long and I totally get sucked into it and wind up wishing that I was a hobbit living in Middle-earth, or that I could get married to Aragorn because he is HOT, and the King of Gondor!!!). <-- I am a nerd.

  • I curl up in some blankets, with my cat, and I read a book. I love to read. Hence the Kindle that I want for Christmas (hint hint to my parents).

  • Clean. I hate cleaning, but I like how my apartment looks when I'm done. Sometimes I play some Lady Gaga and dance around my apartment while I am cleaning. Or I'll just dance around to Lady Gaga for the hell of it!
Um, so this is probably what everyone else does too.. not very original. Workouts - increase endorphins. Seeing loved ones - makes us happy. Watching happy things on TV - makes us happy. Comfort food - makes us happy. I am sensing a pattern. Anyone have anything weird that they do?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

unicorns and rainbows

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are we not to be?"
-Nelson Mandela

Every day, you wake up and decide whether or not you are going to be happy. It doesn't matter what is going on in your life, there is ALWAYS something to be happy about. You determine your attitude. You decide if you want to look at the positive, or at the negative. If you are always focusing on the negative, how do you ever expect your life to improve?

Every day, you make choices. Those choices pave the way for choices further on down the road. Those choices reflect on who you are as a person and how you are perceived by others. There is no sense in dwelling on a choice once it's in the past. It is up to you to correct it or accept it. Most of the time, second guessing a decision will get you absolutely nowhere.

Every day, you decide how you view yourself. You can choose to believe that you are worthwhile. You can choose to believe in yourself. You can choose to surround yourself with people who care about you. You can choose to do what makes you happy and what fills you with life.

Some of that crap those words of wisdom were ones that I paraphrased from an email from my coach. (Just kidding about it being crap!). Regardless, it's applicable. To everyone. Unless you are in the throes of an armageddon, shit is probably better than you think.

Sometimes I feels like things are out of my control, and that the world is going to swallow me up. When this happens, I need to remember that I control how I feel and how I handle overwhelming situations. I don't believe in fate. I believe that every choice that I make affects the direction that my life takes. When I am feeling overwhelmed, anxious, sad, hurt, or some other unfavorable emotion, I have two choices: I can either shut down and succumb to that emotion, or I can take charge and kick its ass. I can stop focusing on the negative (like in my last blog post) and instead, be happy that I CAN train and that I WILL improve. I might not be riding a pink unicorn and farting rainbows, but things will be a lot more fun if I stop dwelling on things that worry me.

Monday, December 13, 2010

swimming backwards

I just did what might be the most depressing thing ever.

I am at work, on nights, required to stay awake, so I figured I would create a table showing all of the "testing" that I did in 2010 (most of these are swim tests - I also found one bike test) so that I can track how I am doing this season against last season. Every time I do a swim test, I have to click back through tons of workouts in Training Peaks in order to see how fast I was last time. I decided to get organized. (Alexa-organized which means I will create this testing table but I won't clean my apartment for another 3 weeks).

I also created a table to fill in my 2011 testing so that all the times will be there in one place for comparison - i.e. my refrigerator.

What is depressing is how much I suck.

I am NEVER taking a 1.5 month off-season again. I don't care how glorious the laziness was; it's just not worth the backsliding in fitness that I am now trying to deal with.

For example. My first swim test ever was on 1/21/10. It's a 400 yd swim test that we repeat twice. Always the same. I swam a 6:20. This was after I had been training with Mary for 21 days. This improved to 6:02 by May, and has now backslid to the horribly slow time of 6:27 as of Nov. 9th. Granted, that 6:27 was like my 3rd swim after many, many weeks of NO swimming, but it's still discouraging. I test this weekend, and if that time doesn't drastically improve, I may drown myself.

I AM swimming 3x a week at the moment instead of 2x, and I'd like to keep that up as long as possible because I'm sure it will be a huge help in improving my swim.

As depressing as it is to think about the loss of fitness during the length of time that I was out of the pool and off the bike, it is even more depressing to think about how long it's been since I've really been able to run. We're talking 3 months. I ran today for 30 minutes. I can't even hold a 10 minute mile. That right there is enough to make me cry. I am not a bad runner - I should be able to pop off 8:00 - 8:30 minute miles without a problem, but I am so out of shape that I just can't do it. I'm starting to freak out because I REALLY want to see gains on the run in Ironman, and how is that going to be possible if I'm barely running?! I'm ready to say f- this injury, which is what's going to happen anyways because as of the first of the year, my chiropractor is no longer going to accept my insurance.

Going back through my training log also made me lust after high volume weeks. Screw this recovery week that I am on, give me more hours! (Ugh, I know, recovery is apparently IMPORTANT). Pssssh. And perhaps since I am on overnights, I shouldn't fight the recovery week because this week is going to be hell anyways!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

frozen toes

This weekend started off by getting my Cervelo onto my trainer. This is a big deal! My trainer has been set up in the middle of my living room with my crappy road bike on it for the past year. I was too lazy to set it up for the tri bike (the tri bike has smaller wheels) and it just made sense to leave the road bike on there for shorter rides during the summer. However, I think it would be really advantageous to do my long winter rides on the bike that I am going to be racing on, so I enlisted some help from a dude (because trust me, me using tools is not something that ends well) and we got my Cervelo on my trainer (with a trainer tire) with only a few issues.

I've done a few rides on it so far and all I can say is.. I hope my crotch can handle it, because it's in for a loooong winter of riding!

The old road bike is currently at the bike shop getting cleaned up, because I am going to SELL IT!

Today I was ridiculously busy. I decided to go on a group trail ride at 1 pm because it was almost 40 degrees out. Since I slept kind of late and didn't get anything done this morning, I figured I'd ride for maybe an hour and a half and then get my trainer ride done afterwards, and still have the evening to chill out. WRONG. We rode for 3 hours. I'm sorry, but 3 hours on a horse in 40 degree weather is not fun. The first hour was fun. Two hours in I was wondering which of my toes would need to be amputated. We rode from the barn, down the road, under the thruway to a local park - Mendon Ponds Park - which I spend a LOT of time in during the summer for workouts. We got to the park and it was fine, but then we would ride across these open fields and everyone else would gallop their horses across the field. I am fine with that, except my horse is 20 years old and slightly decrepit, and it would be good for no one if I galloped my horse across a muddy, snow-covered field because despite the fact that she has arthritis, she is nutso and thinks she's a racehorse in the Kentucky Derby. I'm sure she would be MORE than happy to oblige me with a gallop, but I don't want her to hurt herself, so I had to hold her back with a death grip while everyone else took off.

Needlesstosay, I got left WAY behind. Matt, the owner of the non-profit group that this barn that I board my horse at runs, waited for me and we rode back to the barn together. To make a long story short, this guy has been asking me out for at least a month and a half, and I have been trying to avoid situations such as this one.

First of all, guys never ask me out. So to have someone persistently ask me out like this is a little unsettling. Also, I can't seem to thwart it. First I ignored it. Then I told him that I was seeing someone. Now, he must have some kind of radar or something because I am no longer dating anyone and he swoops in and starts planning this non-existent date. Regardless of whether or not I actually want to go out with this guy, I need some time, man! He's asking me what time I am done working and training in the evening. This time differs every day depending on what shift I am working, what workouts I have, whether I have to go to the chiropractor, etc. This is why I never go on dates! I don't know how to fit it into my rotating work schedule/triathlon training madness. This is also why I thought that the deal I had going on before, where I was dating someone I could only see on the weekends, was good - because I didn't have to worry about getting done with my weekday workouts at 7:30 pm and trying to squeeze in some hangout time before going to bed at 9 pm. But that didn't work out for me either. So right now I am just SOL.

But at least my toes finally thawed out! And I am quite possibly going to bed now because I am tired and unfortunately, tomorrow night I go back into work on nights. :( But first I must do my Christmas shopping.. on amazon! :)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Coeur D'Alone? (what a terrible pun)

I have been thinking a lot about Coeur D'Alene lately.

I might be worried.

Disclaimer: I worry about EVERYTHING. I am sure I will be fine. I worry for the sake of worrying. :)

Don't get me wrong, I am excited to race. I'm excited to go to a part of the country that I have never visited. I know that even though I am not running right now, that Mary will have me ready. I will be stronger for this Ironman than I was for Lake Placid because I will have two years worth of base miles in my system instead of one, and I am not going in blind this time!

I am worried about going alone. I registered for this race knowing that I would be going there by myself. It's not like I am being ditched by anyone!

I really like being by myself a lot of the time. I have no qualms about traveling to Idaho on my own. But 5 days is a long time to be somewhere and not know anyone. I'm going to have to find my way around, eat all of my meals, put my bike together, get my stuff organized, have my pre-race meltdown, get to the race start, and most importantly, get myself (and all my gear) back to my room after the race - all on my own.

Who is going to be there to yell encouraging things at me when I have 6 miles of the marathon left? Who is going to write me a message at the Ford motivational mile? Who am I going to hug at the finish line?

Mary knows a bunch of QT2 athletes that are racing CDA so if I need actual help (think: medical tent or worse) then there will probably be someone that can help me. But I highly doubt a member of QT2 is going to take my bike apart for me the night of the race (while I lie on the bed) because I have to leave the next day.

Part of what made Ironman Lake Placid so special was not just the fact that it was my first Ironman, but because I was there surrounded by people that I care about. CDA is going to be the total opposite of that. It's going to be me vs. the Ironman. Actually it's going to be me vs. myself because when it comes down to it, it's going to be a mental game. I won't get passed by half the team on the bike course. I won't get to run with Don at the final turnaround on the race course. I won't see Kim and Travis, or Jeremy and Glenn, and I won't have Mary or my parents to hug at the finish.

I will finish and it will be for myself, because there will be no one else there. Sure, there may be people curious as to how I am doing, but they can track me, they can call me; I can ignore them if I want to. There will be no one to face at the finish line if I do badly, but no one to celebrate with if I PR.

It's a totally different game.

I might be worried that if I die somewhere on the course - nobody will notice when I don't cross the finish line. But I am not worried about crossing that finish line alone. I need absolutely no external motivation to finish a race. It's nice to have and I'm sure it will be missed, but I'll be fine!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

giving thanks a bit late!

I'm finally getting around to my "this is what I am thankful for" post, even though it's a week and change LATE!

First and foremost, I am thankful for my parents. Regardless of how crazy they think I am for doing this whole Ironman thing and spending the majority of my money on it, they support it. They come and watch my races. They paid for the condo in Lake Placid because there was no way I could afford it AND they paid for my hotel in Tupper Lake. They took my bike with its flat tire to a bike shop that was over an hour away when I couldn't do it because I had to be at a wedding and I had a race the next morning. They humor me by buying me triathlon-related Christmas presents (in years past I have gotten a fluid trainer, running snowshoes, a wheel bag, lots of books, and more things that I can't remember).

My coach. Without her (and the rest of Train-This), I think I would have survived the Ironman, but it wouldn't have been pretty. And it wouldn't have been half as fun as it was just getting there. And I wouldn't have had a cool looking uniform to wear during the race. And I probably wouldn't have signed up for the IMCDA/IMOO duo for 2011. Need I say more? Plus in the year that I have been working with Mary, she has become a friend, confidante, and sort of a personal advisor. You cannot help but be happy and optimistic with a coach like Mary who is so positive all the time and who focuses on the good rather than the bad. Mary sees the good in everyone and everything!

My friends! They train with me, support me, listen to me talk endlessly about my training, kick my ass when I need it, and pick me up when I am struggling. They read my blog! They make me laugh. They love me and I love them!

The people in my life are what are important. Everything else is just stuff. Everything else could go away, and my life would not be empty. If everybody I cared about went away, I would have nothing.

Monday, November 29, 2010

the tale of the shrew and the suitcase

I have begun "the purge" on my apartment. I am sick of all the clutter and since I hope to move in a couple of months, the less stuff I have, the better. I am getting rid of crap that I don't need or use.

Yesterday, I recycled almost $15 worth of cans. Soda cans mostly. I can't help it. I have an addiction.

One thing that I cannot bring myself to get rid of are books. I have a lot of books - some here, some at my parents. I have more books than can fit on my bookshelf. In order to fight my losing battle with available shelf space, I have asked my parents Santa for a Kindle for Christmas. We shall see what happens..

this  little guy got recaptured so many times,
we named him Curly!

I have also asked my parents Santa for a suitcase and a ridiculous pair of Zoot recovery compression tights.

Why a suitcase? Shouldn't an almost-27 year old girl own a suitcase?

Well, I USED to have a nice suitcase. Then, a few summers ago, my then-graduate advisor told me he wanted me to take a week-long course in the Adirondacks called "Ecology of Adirondack Mammals." So I packed necessary stuff - hiking boots, raincoat, outdoors clothes, running clothes and left for a week in the mountains. During this week, we spent a lot of time in the field, setting and checking Sherman traps (live traps) in order to catch, tag, and release small animals. We caught mice, chipmunks, a squirrel, and a TON of shrews. (We also caught some little brown bats by mist netting).

this is me (4 years ago) holding a dead masked shrew

 There are a bunch of different types of shrews in the Adirondacks, and they all smell. They smell even worse when they are wet. And guess when they are wet? When they are stuck in a trap at 6:30 in the morning. Even if you handled them while wearing gloves, the stink still got all over you. So a whole bunch of my clothes smelled AWFUL because of those stupid shrews. And then I put all of the dirty clothes in my suitcase and drove the 6 hours home to Pennsylvania. And the suitcase was never the same. We febreezed it, we left it outside for days - didn't matter. That was the demise of that suitcase.

Fast forward 4 years later, it's time to get another suitcase because I have to bring a ton of crap with me to Idaho for IMCDA in June!

So hopefully on Christmas morning I will be lounging around in my overpriced Zoot compression tights, reading a book on my Kindle, and packing things in my new suitcase. :) In reality I will be trying to keep the dog out of everyone's way while my family opens presents and whining because after we open presents, there is absolutely nothing to do on Christmas. My goal this year is to watch, in its entirety, "The Christmas Story" because I have NEVER seen it the whole way through! Lofty, I know. Especially since it plays for 24 hours straight.

I am not asking for anything strictly triathlon related, but 2 of the 3 things are going to be quite useful for my 2 destination Ironmans in 2011! And since I can't ask for anything too ridiculous (say, a million bucks or a supermodel boyfriend) I figured these things would be useful items to own. What do you want for Christmas?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

happy Thanksgiving!

I had a good, fairly busy Thanksgiving weekend!

I drove home on Thursday morning. Even though they let us out of work 2 hours early on Wed. (I love it when they do that!) I had a chiropractor appointment and a bunch of stuff to do. Plus I hate driving home late. I opted to not bring my bike and trainer home and ended up skipping my bike ride on Friday and just moving it to Sunday.

So.. brace yourselves..

I DID ALL OF MY WORKOUTS THIS WEEK! No skipping and only that ONE moved workout!

While I was home I ate Thanksgiving dinner with my parents, went shopping on Friday with my friend Kerry (but not crazy early morning Black Friday shopping - I don't do that), watched some TV, went to bed really early, played with the dog, etc. It was good! But it's always good to be back in Rochester with my cat! I miss her when I have to leave her here, and she rewarded my return home by sleeping with me all night last night! Ugh.. I am like 1 year away from being a fully committed cat lady!

While on the subject of my apartment here in Rochester, I have officially decided that I am moving when my lease is up in March. My apartment is a dump. It's small, drafty, there is some kind of animal living in the walls, the people downstairs party all the time and smoke in the foyer, people's cars get broken into in the parking lot, and we can't forget that my mountain bike got stolen out of the freaking basement! I get scared to leave my apartment for the weekend because I worry that it's going to get broken into. It doesn't help when other people in the house leave the doors unlocked and the only thing stopping some crazy robber is the fact that my apartment is on the 3rd floor. So, I am out of here! I freaking HATE IT and NEED TO MOVE!!

On an unrelated note, when I was at home I found a scarf that I bought when I went to Ireland in 2003. The scarf still had the tags on it an everything! So now I have a nice scarf! Score. Also, I have been reading a LOT lately - I started reading "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" and it's SUPER good. :)

So anyways, things are good, unfortunately it's back to work tomorrow. :(

Monday, November 22, 2010


It is officially time to get back into it. (For real this time!). Some things have happened this past week that have put a damper on my attitude towards training. Time to get over it!

Lack of overall motivation. It was hard to get motivated for several reasons last week. I am not running, I was on overnights, I was having trouble sleeping, I had like 6 hours of scheduled workouts, and I was bummed out. I skipped a few workouts. I got the OK from Mary to do so (sometimes you just have a bad week where you need to sleep) but I can't be doing that anymore. I felt really guilty taking days off during such an easy week. Solution? This week I enter "Base 1" of my training.. so my hours were upped from 6 to 9! I am going to focus on getting quality workouts in every day. Everything else that has been going on is getting moved to the back of my brain because it does not do any good to dwell on things that I cannot change. Regardless of how bad I am feeling, I need to HTFU and get my workouts done!

I am cutting out all alcohol products that contain liquor. It's not like I drink a lot, but I do NOT need to be doing shots of tequila during Ironman training. Girls night out was fun. Dressing up was fun. Drunken singing and dancing to Billy Idol was fun. The hangover the next day was not.

However, watching Chrissie Wellington completely DOMINATE at IM Arizona yesterday was ridiculous. There is just not another female pro in the same league as her. 1st female pro, 8th OVERALL pro, came in less than 30 minutes after the first male pro and almost 30 minutes before the next female pro. She broke the world record for fastest female Ironman (Ironman brand) time. Absolutely disgusting. Anytime I watch Chrissie, I feel the need to go exercise for 4 hours and not eat for the rest of the day in hopes that it will make me fast like her!

Also, I have been discovering the many dimensions of Coach Mary. So far she has been a coach, a friend, a pimp (haha), and a therapist life guru. It's really good to know that she doesn't expect me (or any of her athletes) to be a triathlon robot who isn't affected by things that happen in daily life. I can come to her with problems, whether it be an injury, being stressed, lack of sleep from overnights, or a combination of them and she takes it in stride and has a solution, and never freaks out.

She knows that I'm already worried about Coeur D'Alene even though it's 7 months away. I'm worried that I am not running yet. I'm worried because I am so incredibly out of shape right now. I never got this out of shape between 2009 and 2010. But I know she won't send me to an IM unprepared!

So I guess that's that! I have a 4 day weekend coming up! I get to go to my parents' house, play with the dog, watch cable TV, eat lots of good homecooked food, and relax for a few days!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I wish triathletes rode brooms

So, I might be the world's biggest Harry Potter fan. OK, maybe not quite. But I am a HUGE Harry Potter fan. I go to sleep every night under a giant blanket with Harry playing quidditch on it. I wake up every morning with a Deathly Hallows tattoo on my wrist. I have read all the books over, and over, and over again. I have been to 2 midnight IMAX movie showings and I went to the midnight release party at Barnes and Noble for the 7th book.

(I have never dressed up as a character. I know where to draw the line).

I would freaking SCHOOL anyone in Harry Potter book trivia.

I own the first 6 movies. Now while I am fond of all of them just because they are Harry Potter movies, some of them annoy me by leaving out giant plotlines, adding in things that didn't happen, or making changes to what did happen. While I understand that a movie cannot encompass everything in a book - some of the movies are better than others.

That being said. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I was phenomenal. It's been a while since I read the book (probably a year) but since I've probably read it 10 times already, I'm pretty familiar with it. :) The movie really nailed it! It was funny, scary (just ask Matt who was sitting next to me every time I leaped out of my seat in fright), emotional, and freaking spot-on with the book. Some minor things were left out.. but not much!

See, I am not all about bikes and running and whining about bikes and running!

I have other interests! Harry Potter! horses! and.. uh.. boys?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

bad decisions, bad week

Hello, my name is Alexa, and I make bad decisions. For example. I ran for an hour on Sunday. Running for an hour totally messed up my hamstring that WAS getting better. Would I have done this if I was left to my own devices? No. But when someone asked me to run, I went. I am blaming no one but myself. I could have said "no I can't run because I am trying to fix this problem" OR "yes I can run but only for 20 mins." But I suppressed these thoughts and ran anyway, hoping the run wouldn't do any real harm. I rarely run with anyone else so I was excited for the opportunity to have company. Halfway through the run when my quads were burning, my hamstring felt tight, and my heart rate hit 181 (not kidding) I knew that I had made a stupid decision.

Stupid, stupid girl.

I have not been writing much as of late. Mainly because I am still not doing much, I am depressed that I am not running, and I'm worried that I am not going to get my running fitness back to where it needs to be for next year. I am also kind of emotional and while it helps me to write things down, the entirety of the internet does not need to read about my angst. I have a whole bunch of unpublished blog posts written that serve as a catharsis without letting too much of my personal life out on the internet.

I am entirely too sensitive. I wish I had the ability to let things roll off me without affecting me. Instead, I take everything personally, I CONSTANTLY over-analyze situations, and I get myself worked up - usually over nothing.

Working out is my outlet, however since that is not going so well at the moment, I need an outlet for my outlet.

Work has not been going well for me this week either. I am on a week of overnights, which I hate, but normally I can cope with them ok. This week is different. Monday and Tuesday I experienced what I can only describe as severe anxiety after waking up in the afternoon and thinking about having to go to work all night. Monday I dealt with it by crying, skipping my workout, and immediately going back to bed for 4 more hours before work. Yesterday I cried, forced myself to do my workout, watched Glee, and then went into work. Every day this week I have been nauseous and the smell of food disgusts me, which has led to barely eating anything. Because of this, I have dropped a few pounds. Now while I am thrilled at any weight loss, losing weight due to being so stressed out and nerve wracked that I can't physically eat is not my ideal way to do it. I will take sanity and a couple extra lbs of chub ANY DAY!

I shall probably regain all of that weight back on Friday as I binge eat candy in the movie theatre when I go see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I!!!

At least there is the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.

Monday, November 15, 2010

lazy blog list

I think I am going to follow suit with what my friend Amelia did in her blog. Yes I am copying her, but I am really tired, forced to stay awake, and I can't think right now. Basically, she made lists of the highs and the lows of her week. I am pretty much doing the same except mine is more.. current/upcoming things. Let's face it, I am exhausted and being lazy. I don't even have the energy to type out any more complete sentences! I can't wait to go home and pass out. (I may have already napped sitting upright in my computer chair at work - that's definitely a first).

Things that are bumming me out:
  • I am still on C-shift at work
  • the daunting task of cleaning my apartment
  • my cat might have a cavity which means she may have to have a tooth pulled
  • I will not get to see Ultra Adam for a long time.. like a month!
  • having no vacation time for the rest of the year
  • I have a freakish amount of bills to pay this month
  • I ran for too long on Sunday and now my hamstring and my quads hurt

Things that make me smile:
  • the new Harry Potter movie comes out this week
  • I am all caught up with episodes of Glee
  • the thought of going to bed immediately when I get home
  • I got to go to Chuck's on Sunday (my favorite bar from when I lived in Syracuse)
  • I also got to see a Syracuse Orange basketball game!
  • the weather is SO NICE for November
  • it's almost that time of year ---- CHRISTMAS!

Friday, November 12, 2010

give me a "P"!

The word of the day is: priority.

I can thank Kim for this topic, as we have had numerous discussions about it lately.

Prioritizing is something that every person, ever, has to deal with. Regardless of whether you are an endurance athlete, a couch potato, single, married with kids, unemployed, or a CEO, guess what you have.. priorities! Even if you're 5 and the #1 thing on your list is finding some toy you lost - it still counts!

Obviously, lots of people share a lot of similar priorities - family/friends, career, money. But then these things can branch out in so many directions.. it is amazing to me that someone will stand in line for hours to buy the new Call of Duty, but that same person probably is amazed that I stood in line for over 6 hours to register for an Ironman. My dad prefers watching PSU football games. I think my brother's #1 priority is drinking as many PBRs as humanly possible. :)

It's pretty easy for me to determine what should become a priority in my life. Simply - if it's something that I love, if it's something that makes me happy, or if it's something that helps me attain either of the first two things (AKA my job) - that's all it takes.

My current priorities include: friends/family, triathlon, my cat and horse, my job, and "me" time. I think that last one is really, really important. There are a lot of people out there that try to cram too much crap into their day and neglect to take time for themselves. And how much of that stuff that they are doing is REALLY something that is important to them? I understand that people have obligations, but seriously, sometimes you just have to say no. You have to be your #1 obligation! Perhaps that is why I spend so much time in my apartment with my pants off?

Everything in life is dynamic. At one point, triathlon did not even exist in my lifestyle. Five years ago, school took precedence. Time spent riding my horse has been reduced. New people have entered my life. Shit changes. You have to be able to adapt to things coming into and leaving your life. People always tell me that they would never have the time to train for an Ironman. That is bullshit. The time is available. That's what 5 am is for. I don't get up at 5 am to train because I don't have to, but if it was necessary, I would. I will move my workouts around in order to visit my family or see friends. Because Ironman is important to me but so are the people in my life.

It's all about balance. But I'm probably preaching to the choir here.

If you want something, or it makes you happy, then make it happen. If not, then move on.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

ice ice baby

I think there is something wrong with me.

Before 348957 people chime in and say "well, yeah" - let me explain.

I am always cold. From October - April I freeze 24/7. In the summer, it's more sporadic. I'm not saying that if it's 95 degrees out that I'm cold THEN, but the problem with summer is air conditioning. This is why I will not wear shorts. (Well, I also won't wear them because I think that shorts are trashy and gross - and by this I am not referring to athletic shorts, but like.. denim shorts). Because no matter HOW hot it is outside, within 5 minutes of stepping into some public place that is air conditioned, I am wishing for a winter coat. I deal with this by always bringing something warm with me (such as a sweater or hoodie) if I know I am going to the movies, to dinner, to a doctor's appointments, or basically anywhere that I am going to be in AC for longer than 30 mins.

This is pretty normal for a girl.

What is not normal is the degree of cold I have been this week. I have been cold in places that I am normally cold this time of year - such as in my car first thing before the heat comes on, or in Wegmans, however I have been freezing my ass off in really weird places.

I am not normally cold at the gym. When I am there, I am either lifting - which makes me sweat and therefore makes me hot, or swimming, and my gym likes to heat the pool to a temperature suitable for "water walkers" AKA it's like 85 degrees in there. Usually I am DYING while I swim laps. Not anymore! Now I shiver and wonder if it would be inappropriate to wear my wetsuit in the pool.

I AM typically cold in my apartment. It's drafty and I don't really have a good source of heat (I have 2 weird portable plug-in heaters - one in my living room and one in my bedroom). This is what I get for living in an attic. Anways, I freeze in my apartment all the time but usually I can combat it by blasting the living room heat and snuggling up under some blankets. Yesterday, it didn't matter what I did. I had the heat on, I had multiple layers of clothes on, I had 2 blankets on me AND my cat on my lap with my hands underneath her, and I was STILL F-ING COLD!

At work I have been cold all week. I wear a thick button-down sweater over a short-sleeved shirt every day at work. (Actually, I wear the SAME sweater every day - yes I know this is gross. I am gross. I do wash it.. weekly.) But this in addition to the lab coat I wear at work is usually enough to keep me warm. Not so much now. I had to switch out the short-sleeved polo shirt for a long sleeved shirt, and I am STILL COLD. The only ways that I have been able to temporarily warm up at work are to stand behind one of the instruments that blows hot air out of its vents (problem is, this only occurs when the instrument is being used which is maybe twice a week) or to run scalding hot water on my hands.

In fact, the only places that I have been able to stay warm are in bed, while riding the trainer, and in the shower.

What is going on? I'm not sick. I feel healthy. I'm finally sleeping again. It's not even winter yet!

I'm a girl.. I am genetically predisposed to retain fat. Isn't this fat supposed to insulate me?!?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Alright, so I don't really have anything to write about. I have completed 1 week of very minimal training. Whoop-di-do. But I am being pressured by a certain friend to blog. So here goes (apologies in advance for being lame).

My super-random list of things, in no particular order:

1) I don't think anything in the entire world pisses me off more than Americans and their bottled water. Things including: screaming babies, uber-religious zealots, people driving Hummers, any kind of conservative bumper sticker on a car, skinny hipster jeans on dudes. All of these things bother me less than bottled water. WATER IS FREE, PEOPLE!

2) I thought unicorns were real WELL past the age that it was appropriate for me to be believing that unicorns were real.

3) There is a guy at work named Gary Fisher. Every time I hear his name, I wonder if he owns a bicycle company.

4) I hate having to cram my cat into her cat carrier. Although I pick her up and snuggle her all the time, she seems to somehow KNOW when I pick her up with a non-cuddling motive (i.e. stuffing her in the travel box). She combats this by wriggling, meowing, spontaneously shedding massive amounts of fur, and clawing me. She has a vet appointment on Friday. I already know I am going to show up to that appointment covered in fur, probably bleeding, and feeling really guilty.

5) Another thing about my cat.. she is awesome. She sleeps with me, she snuggles me every day on the couch, when it is cold out she will lie on top of my hands to keep them warm! I love her! Best cat ever!

6) I ran today for 15 minutes. It was cold and dark out. I wore my Lululemon shorts and a long sleeved tech shirt. It felt GREAT!

7) I cannot even begin to explain the warm, fuzzy feeling that I get while watching Glee. I know, it's really ridiculous. I actually went and bought Season 1 on Sunday because Netflix couldn't send the discs to me fast enough!

Friday, November 5, 2010

there's a first time for everything

It is now Friday evening.

This week has been a week of many firsts. My first week of structured training since Syracuse 70.3. My first "run" since admitting to myself that I have a hamstring issue (more on this later). The first sick day I've taken at my still relatively new job. The first time I've actually voted at a polling site. The first time I've turned on my heat in at least 6 months. My first time eating a crepe.

I could probably continue..

Mary, Matt, and Alan are all racing IMFL tomorrow! I have an epic case of Iron-jealousy. I wish I was there. Not necessarily racing, but cheering, taking photos, volunteering, supporting friends and just taking in the Ironman atmosphere! (OK, maybe racing..). Also, getting away from the cold, rainy, miserable weather here in Rochester wouldn't be awful, just sayin'.

On Wednesday, I successfully ran for 10 minutes. Haha! I would have run for longer but I had to squeeze it in after work but before my chiropractor appointment at 4:15. It was stiff, but it wasn't painful. I am supposed to start adding in slow, easy runs to my schedule. Kenny the chiro thinks that the stiffness is more of "non-use" than being injured and he thinks that running will help stretch the muscles out. So I will continue to go get poked, scraped, stretched, etc. but I can start running again. YAY!

That is all for now. Time to go eat some PIZZA!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

swimming, sweatpants & Syracuse marathon!

Just want to wish Coach Mary and her family good luck as they travel to Panama City for IMFL today! Matt C. will be joining them down there at some point as well. Ironman day is Saturday!
I don't know where my brain has run off to lately. Yesterday was my first swim workout for the new season. Swimming is my least favorite of the 3 things to do, but I understand that it needs to be done so I go and I do my workouts. I may whine, but I get that shit done. I printed my swim set at work, stuck it in my purse, and then went straight to the gym after work. I was all ready to go - swimsuit on, cap and goggles in hand - when I realized I had left the workout in my car. Which was parked half a mile away in the parking garage. F%*&. There went my motivation. The tiniest thing can derail my motivation to swim because it's BARELY there to begin with. I did not want to have to put all of my clothes back on and walk back to the 3rd floor of the parking garage for a piece of paper. This is where having a cell phone with internet capabilities would be so very useful. Unfortunately, I am stuck with a 3 year old ghetto cell phone that likes to turn off at random. Anyways, I decided to pull my workout out of my ass. The only thing I could remember was the drill that I was supposed to do. So I did a warmup. Made up a set. Then I did the drill work.

Not the way I wanted to get back into swimming, but oh well.

I went home after the gym, changed, then walked to my polling site and VOTED! Yeah America!

On my walk home from voting, my friend Mark over at TriDadofFive called me. He wanted to see how my training was going. Also, he is hosting one of my Syracuse teammates (teammate AND Train-This coach), Kelly (TriMommyLife), for a 50K in the Rochester area this weekend. I think they know each other from grad school maybe? Not sure. Anyways, while I was talking to Mark, Kelly called him. And this is what ensued..

Mark: Hang on, Kelly is calling me on the other line.

Me: ok

Mark (comes back to the line I'm on): Kelly wants to know if you're wearing pants.

hahahahahah! I think these crazy triathletes know me a little too well.

Unfortunately, I was wearing pants. It is just too cold in my apartment now to go pantsless. :( It is a sad day for Alexa when the weather turns cold and forces me to slip into my winter version of no-pants: giant sweatpants.

On a final note, Ultra Adam brought this to my attention last night - Syracuse is getting a marathon (and half-marathon)! It's surprising to me that Syracuse does not already have a marathon, but good for them!

I'm always up for a half-marathon within driving distance. It's kind of funny, the course is just a giant loop around Onondaga Lake, which I believe is one of the most polluted lake in the USA. Maybe the runners can pass the time by looking for wildlife with odd-numbered legs. However, October in Syracuse is very pretty so that will be nice! So all of you NY state residents, keep that one on your radar!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

it's trainer season..

Wow. Yesterday I did my 1 hour on the trainer. It was rough - I am REALLY out of shape! It will be good to get back into it though. I had to pack my swim bag for today because I go to the gym right after work. Swimming? What's that?!

One thing I need to do is get my tri bike onto my trainer. My old, ill-fitting road bike has been set up on my trainer for the past year. Literally, there has been a bike mounted on a trainer in the middle of my living room for over a year. (Don't worry, I have it positioned so that I can lie on my couch and the bike does not obstruct my view of the TV). I did all of my winter pre-Placid training rides on my road bike/trainer combo and while it's ok to use during the summer when I don't feel like setting my tri bike up on my trainer for an hour recovery spin, I really need to get the tri bike on the trainer now for the upcoming long rides, because they are important. The tri bike is more comfortable and is what I race on so it only makes sense to do all of the long trainer rides on it. Unfortunately, that means I have to adjust my trainer to accommodate the smaller wheels.. and that might take me an entire afternoon to do because I am not so good with tools - wrenches and whatnot.

A non-tri related task that I need to start working on is organizing/cleaning my apartment. I'm not talking about dusting, vacuuming, bathroom cleaning type stuff. I'm talking about a purge of all the shit that I don't need or use. I have always wanted to have one of those adult looking minimalist homes where there's not a lot of clutter.. but in reality my home is the exact opposite of that. I have a pretty small apartment and a TON of crap. Especially because I have lived there for almost 3 years - stuff just tends to accumulate. This weekend I was trying to find my cat's nail trimmers and I just couldn't find them! However, during the search, I found 3 Yankee candles that I bought last Christmas that I previously had been unable to find. I have an assload of clothes that I will probably never wear again, old college biology textbooks, parts to a computer that is no longer in my apartment, just sooooo much crap. Winter is the perfect time for "the purge" to happen.

So the moral of the story is.. I am messy. And out of shape. I aim to fix both of these things ASAP!

Monday, November 1, 2010

back to it.. sort of

It is November 1st.

Today, is the first day of tri-season training.

Unfortunately, today is a day where I also feel like ass.

I have not been sleeping well for the past week. Last night, as I was falling asleep on my couch at 6:45 pm, I decided to surrender, take 2 Ibuprofen PMs, and crawl into bed before 8 pm.

I crawled OUT of bed at 5:45 am to get ready for work. That is nearly 10 hours of sleep.

I still feel absolutely horrendous. I don't know if I am getting sick or what. I am exhausted, I have a headache, my stomach is queasy, and I just feel.. off.

Unfortunately, even after I escape from leave work, I still have to go to a chiropractor appointment, Wegmans, and do an hour ride on my bike before I can crawl onto my couch and snuggle under a pile of blankets.

It looks like it's going to be the type of week where I pound orange juice with extra calcium and vitamins, and spend all of my spare time sleeping. I guess it's that time of year.. I hate getting sick. I hate the cold. I hate winter. I hate that I still need to take the AC unit out of my bedroom window, and that soon I will be forced to turn on my heat. I hate putting the flip flops away for the next 6 months. I will be cold from now until June.

In an attempt to "think ahead" to a time that is warmer..

I am currently looking into a half IM for May. Two that are on the radar are the Kinetic half in Virginia, and the Little Smokies half in Ohio. Unfortunately, I WAS looking for something that was within driving distance and that would take 0 vacation days for me to do. I'm not sure if that exists in May.. but both of these are driveable with perhaps 1 vacation day needed. It's a long way off so I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet. More research needs to be done!

P.S. I watched an episode of Glee yesterday where they sang "Defying Gravity" from Wicked and my heart almost melted because I love Wicked! I also love Glee more and more every episode. :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

we didn't start the fire

I haven't slept well for the past 4 nights. Sometimes this happens to me. I'm not a great sleeper, but once in a while I literally CAN'T sleep at all. Eventually I get tired enough and it stops happening. Yesterday at work it was all I could do to stay awake and then run errands after work. By 9 pm I was practically passing out on top of my laptop at home. I went to bed, hoping to god that I could FINALLY get a good night of sleep. What happens? I am woken up at 1 am by the smell of smoke.

I immediately got out of bed and checked my apartment. (Highly unlikely - I barely use my stove and don't use my oven.. EVER). Then I opened a window to see if it was coming from outside. Nope. By this point, I had started to panic because house fires are pretty much my #1 fear. My brain started going through a mental list of what I would grab on my way out: Cat. Will I be able to stuff her in the carrier in time? Macbook. Because my whole life is on that thing. Purse. It has my cell phone and all of my vital information. Ironman finisher's medal. Because I am a freak. Bike. Might be too big. Ironman finisher's shirt. OK now you're just being ridiculous.

Before going into flight mode, I went down the back stairwell to see if I could locate the source of the smoke. The guys on the first floor were still up. I knocked on their door. Turns out, a towel caught on fire in their apartment. Don't ask me how. They opened the door and all 3 of them were hanging out, shirtless. It was 1 am. I don't ask questions. I do wonder why their smoke detector didn't go off. That scares me.

Sleeping was pretty much fruitless after that. I was wired. So here I am again, exhausted, only to come into work and find out that I have to work 12 hours today because our evening guy called in sick and I have to stay late to cover half of his shift. The bad news: I'm really, really tired and it's going to be busy. The good news: 4 hours of overtime is a lot of extra money. Hopefully this gets straightened out by tomorrow - either someone else takes over evenings for the rest of the week, or the evening guy calls in ahead of time so I can work 11-7 instead of 7-7.

As much as I dislike having to do overtime, I'm looking at it as a chance to put some extra money into my Ironman fund. This only happens once in a while, and at least I don't have any workouts to try to squeeze in. I can work, go home, watch NCIS, and go to bed. Everything else can wait until tomorrow.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

too much pie!

I had a pretty good, relaxing weekend!

Yesterday I mostly laid around, did a very small amount of cleaning, and rode my horse! Today, my legs and thighs are KILLING me from the riding! Cherry was nutso as per usual, however she started out pretty calm but then quickly turned into the she-devil that I'm more familiar with. I still love her though. She's such a good girl - even though she's bad! Cherry had her very warm winter blanket on when I got to the barn. It's been getting pretty chilly and rainy out at night so the barn staff put her blanket on her, but she's pretty furry with her winter coat and she definitely doesn't need to be wearing that blanket yet - it was 60 degrees out! I am going to buy her a lighter, waterproof turnout sheet for this in-between weather. Between the blanket and the new uniform, goodbye to my next paycheck! She also needs a new halter because hers broke! I think I will go for a hot pink one this time (her last one was purple). She looks adorable in girly colors!

My parents came today for a visit. They got here at about 1 pm. They brought me a new cat carrier for Fiona (hers broke when she was at the vet and I had to borrow one from them to take her home), an entire pumpkin pie (!!!!) and some chocolate. Then we went out to lunch and we went to L.L. Bean. My mom bought me a shirt! It was fun.

Also, I have just started watching Glee (I am netflixing it) and I LOVE IT! I am really into singing, musical theatre, and music in general. If they had a glee club or show choir at my high school I would have totally been involved. But.. in a high school with 300 people total, that just doesn't happen. People already had to play multiple sports year round just to fill the rosters. I ran cross country and track, was in band (both concert and marching), chorus, and was in a musical production one year. And there were a lot of people that were as involved or even more involved than I was.

But.. I love watching Glee!

And.. can people please come help me eat this entire pumpkin pie?!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

my poor hamstring

So I have a few things to blog about that are actually triathlon related!

Today I had my 6th trip (I think??) to the chiropractor. Kenny, the chiropractor, has been doing a variety of things to my hamstring, glute, and hip flexor including ART, ultrasound, and Graston. While I am fairly optimistic that this treatment WILL help me, it has succeeded in making my hamstring more sore than it was before all of this nonsense. Today was my first foray into Graston since.. 2001 when I had it done on my ankle because of tendonitis. And my memory was correct - it HURTS. Actually, it REALLY F-ING HURTS!

I was lying facedown on the table and he was flexing my hamstring and rubbing the stainless steel Graston tool along the grain of my muscle. You wouldn't think it would hurt but it really, really does. You can feel the tool scraping against the scar tissue. It's making me cringe just thinking about it right now! He said to me, "I can tell you're in pain when I hear the crinkling of the paper." There is a paper thing under the headrest of the table - I'm assuming for sanitation purposes, and while he was doing the Graston I was cramming my head as far into the table as I could. Seriously, I need a leather strap to bite on or something. It's just awful. My hamstring is now KILLING me. But if it helps, then I don't care! I think next weekend he is going to send me on a run to test it out, and hopefully I will be ok to do some short runs because my off-season is over in 10 days!

Tuesday morning, Mary dragged me out of bed to swim at 8 am. Yes, I know, I'm lazy, but I worked until 11:15 pm.. so I think I'm allowed to not like getting up at 7 am the next morning! We went to her super swanky gym where there is a heated, outdoor pool that is still open in mid-October! I was skeptical that it wouldn't really be that warm, but it was sooooo nice to be swimming outside, in the morning, in freaking October! I would say I swam for about 45 minutes and then she taped me using an underwater video camera thingy, which will get analyzed this weekend! I really don't even want to see it. I hadn't swam in weeks, I was tired after 10 minutes, and I don't think my swim form is great to begin with. Plus, swimsuits are not flattering. Period. Every time I saw her with the camera, I started laughing.. while swimming.. so I'm sure that the video just looks absolutely ridiculous. But then we sat in the hot tub which made up for the embarrassing swim video.

Our machine is down at work so we are really, really slow this week. Last night I had one thing to do. The most exciting part of my night was when my coworker left his cell phone on his desk and I had to take it out to him at the gate at like 8 pm because he didn't want to come inside. Tonight I have one thing to do as well. I'm hoping that tomorrow (Friday) my supervisor will let me come in on days instead of evenings because it's pointless to be sitting at work on Friday night with nothing to do. I'm hoping to work 8-4 or so (it's hard to work evenings on Thursday and then get up and go into work at 7 am on Friday.. 8 is more feasible). It's not that I have any fun activities planned for Friday night (I never plan anything on Fridays when I'm on an evening shift).. it just makes the weekend longer when I don't have to spend Friday evening at work.

So that's that! 10 days left of being a lazy blob! I am almost excited to start training again. Almost, but not quite. :)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Halloween means pumpkin time!

Thank you to everyone who commented and left words of encouragement on yesterday's blog post. I read them all and I really appreciate it. It is something that I am going to consider, most likely not for 2011 but probably for 2012. Sometimes I get a little too excited about something and I forget to fully think it through. I have 2 Ironmans to fund next year, and they both require travel. I want to make changes in my life but I want to go about it the right way, and not use the "I'm excited and I want to do this NOW" half-assed Alexa method.

I deleted the blog entry after thinking about it for a while - you can never be too careful with what you say on the internet. I can talk about my personal life as much as I want but when I start talking about other people or sensitive situations, I cannot forget that I have absolutely NO IDEA who reads this blog. When I google my name and this blog pops up on the first page, I need to be careful. Seriously, if you read and you are not a follower or a commenter, introduce yourself (this is an invitation, not a threat haha)!

Anyways, I had a fun weekend full of uniform fittings, seeing friends, carving pumpkins, and watching scary movies.

We are ordering new uniforms through Louis Garneau for Train-This. I am excited about this! I love racing in a team kit but I don't love the current ones that we have (they are made by Champ-Sys). The uniforms look great and fit fine but they do not breath well, so wearing that uniform on a hot day during an Ironman would not be pleasant. The new uniforms will look very similar to the old ones, but the quality should be better. The problem with ordering uniforms is trying to figure out what sizes to get. Even with a fit kit that LG sent us, it's still difficult, at least for me. I am very short but curvy and clothes tend to not fit me well. I tried on a small top and that fit great, but the small shorts were a little too big. (Someone please explain this to me because I am definitely smaller on top than I am on bottom....). Unfortunately, we did not get XS shorts with the fit kit so I am just hoping to god that they aren't too small. We did that Saturday morning at a bagel place so it was nice seeing members of the team that I haven't seen in a while!

Saturday afternoon I drove to Syracuse for a Halloween-themed visit with Ultra Adam. We picked up 2 pumpkins at one of those country roadside stands where you pay using the honor system (which we honored!). Then we stopped at Wegmans in order to get carving tools and some food and he was pissed that all of the pumpkins outside of Wegmans were cheaper, bigger, clean, and perfectly round. Personally, I prefer the slightly misshapen and muddy country pumpkins - the Wegmans pumpkins are probably genetically modified freaks of nature because they all looked identical!

Here are the finished products! mine is on the left!
 I haven't carved a pumpkin in many years. Now I remember why. Cleaning out the inside of the pumpkin is gross. By the time I was done doing that I was tired of pumpkins. And I didn't want to use one of the premade stencils that came with the carving tools so I tried to draw my own.. which I did.. with some help from google images on my Ipod touch. I can draw pretty well but I cannot draw using my imagination so I always have to look at something. Good for sketching still-lifes, bad for trying to design a pumpkin using only my god-given creativity which is nonexistent. We finished them, lit them up, took some photos, and then promptly blew out the candles so we wouldn't burn the house down.

Then we watched a scary movie, which I will ONLY do if I am not alone or not returning to an empty apartment, and Adam thought it was funny to periodically poke me and scare me even more. So thanks for that. It actually wasn't that scary of a movie.. I need to watch classic scary movies such as Psycho or The Shining that I have somehow gone 26 years without seeing (probably because I am terrified of watching scary movies).

Now I am back to work on evenings for the rest of the week with nothing exciting in sight except for swimming with Mary tomorrow morning, another chiropractor appointment later in the week, and a potential visit from my parents!

I am still not working out! 2 weeks til off-season comes to an end and I will be required to get up off my couch.. 2 weeks and counting!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

next time, I'll wear shorts

Today (well technically Wednesday) was the day of my first ever chiropractor appointment! I slept until 3:30 pm or so and then had to get moving so I could get to my appointment at 4:45. I saw Kim in the parking lot because she had an appointment with the same guy at 3:45! She has new pink K-Swiss running sneakers and I am jealous.

After I made the appointment last week I asked Kim a crucial question. Will I need to remove my pants for this appointment? (Since my problem area is my upper hamstring). She said that she had never had to so I just wore warm-up pants.

First question I'm asked by the doctor. Are you wearing shorts under your pants? Um, no. Sorry! Guess I'm taking off my pants and wearing that cool looking gown instead. Note to self: wear less inappropriate underwear next time. Scratch that, wear shorts next time. Because I wound up lying on this table thing on my stomach, wearing a sexy blue hospital gown, heating pads on my butt and upper legs, underwear riding up, praying to god that the young, cute chiropractor does not look at my ass.

Apparently I am known for my love of no-pants situations (which is true), however these are generally in the comfort of my apartment and not in public with cute doctors.


This guy specializes in A.R.T. (active release technique) and Graston Techniques. The first one is a soft tissue massage technique used to get rid of scar tissue and smooth out muscle tissue (at least from what he explained to me and what I researched after the appointment because I'm a NERD). I had never had this done before but I have heard of it. The second one is massage with the use of stainless steel tools, used to stimulate blood flow and get rid of scar tissue. Unfortunately, I HAVE had this done a long time ago on my ankle when I had tendinitis, and it hurts like a bitch.

He did some massaging to find out where the tightness was occurring in my leg. He did some range of motion tests and some stretching. Crazily enough, the weird tingling that I've been getting in my toes on my right foot is DIRECTLY related to this hamstring thing.

After he did his range of motion tests and massage and whatnot, he deduced that I am having issues with my glute and my hamstring. What I think happened was that last year I pulled my hip flexor while training for the Philly Marathon. It hurt but I could still run, so I ran through it. Eventually the pain went away but I then developed a soreness in my butt when I would run (by this point it was winter and I was doing some hilly snowshoe running which REALLY bothered it). Apparently, the hamstring is there to help out the glutes - the glute is a primary extensor muscle and the hamstring is a secondary extensor muscle (the glute extensor is paired with the hip flexor meaning they work opposite of each other). I guess the change in my running gait or whatever to compensate for these sore muscles affected my hamstring and effectively was too much for it, which is why it is now really sore. This is all theory, but I told him what kind of niggling injuries I've had over the past year and that is how he explained it to me, and it makes sense to me!

Today he did some ART and this is how we discovered that the toes tingling is linked to the hamstring. He would do some massage-y thing to my hamstring and my toes would immediately start to tingle, it was nuts! I never knew if they were related, or if my sneakers were bothering my foot for some odd reason, but it's definitely the hamstring! Thank god because the tingling was starting to really freak me out! I was instructed to go home and ice my hamstring because it would be irritated and inflamed, so I did. It is now quite sore.

I'm going back for another appointment on Friday. Next week starts the Graston...

I am very optimistic about this treatment! The appointment was not at all hokey like I had imagined these things to be, where a chiropractor is trying to crack my back, etc. It seemed like a legitimate sports medicine solution to my problem. We will see. He said he should know within 4 sessions whether or not he'll be able to help me.

I am also very interested in stuff like this, clue #348957348573 that I should have continued on with my schooling for physical therapy instead of stopping with the biology degree.

But.. c'est la vie.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

lazy blob-girl off-season

My off-season = blehhhhhhh. I have been so so SO lazy!

My motivation is still MIA.

I guess this is the purpose of taking an off-season - am I right? To rejuvenate and get excited for next season. I think you know that it's time for the off-season to be over when you start getting antsy to train. That feeling.. is not there yet for me.

Currently, I feel lazy, sluggish, and a lot like the blob. Even with the accompanying guilt, I do not feel like working out. I have relished sleeping for 10 hours a night and clocking quality time on my couch. I do not miss the extra load of laundry per week. My cat is now even more clingy with me since I am constantly at home with her. (Although I will admit that I like when my clingy cat crawls all over me because I feel loved!) :) My appetite is FINALLY decreasing. My urine is no longer fluorescent yellow. My friends know what I look like again. My daily wardrobe has improved (slightly) from running shorts and a sports bra to jeans and a hoodie (heh). I am catching up on the 2 newest seasons of Dexter! I might have even gotten over my disgust of Gatorade that resulted from 238475893475 bottles of Gatorade being consumed from January through September! I still don't want to look at a Gu Chomp though..

I need something to fondly look back on in May/June and then again in August when I am at peak weekly training hours for the 2 Ironmans that I stupidly decided to register for. (I hear that Ironman year 2 with coach Mary Eggers is at a whole new level.. I'm psyched!) I need to keep in mind that halfway through my season next year I will be DYING for a lazy month of off-season.

If I were to keep training right through the end of the year.. I would be screwed for next year. I've been burnt out since Placid and if this is what my body and my mind need in order to get me ready for a huge (well, huge for me at least) year next year, then I'll be ok for a little while as a lazy blob-girl.. I might even secretly enjoy it! And potentially may carve a Homer Simpson-esque ass groove into my couch while I'm at it.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

crossing over to the dark side

I have done the unthinkable. After battling with a hamstring "niggle" for well over a year which has failed to go away even with several weeks of complete rest, I caved and made an appointment with a chiropractor. I do not believe in chiropractors or "alignments" or any of that nonsense. However, I have heard that this guy that I made an appointment with is a miracle worker. When I emailed Mary about my hamstring niggle I got a slap on the wrist for not telling her about it sooner and then a recommendation to Greater Rochester Chiropractic Group!

I am having a whole slew of issues with my right leg. Currently I have a deep soreness in my hamstring that flares up when I sit for a lengthy amount of time (such as driving), bend my leg, and run. Yeah - that's a problem. I also have had this weird tingling in my right foot that I've had since partway through my Ironman training. And now my right ankle is starting to bother me which could be a flare up of some lovely tendinitis. So I need to get this shit under control now. Hence me violating my belief system which includes real doctors and not chiropractors! But many, many teammates swear by this guy so I am going in with an open mind and hoping to god he can help me!

I am slowly trying to get back into it!

I cannot even begin to explain how bummed I was that Chrissie pulled out of Kona on Saturday. I was geared up and ready to watch her dominate the field. I absolutely LOVE Chrissie and honestly I don't really follow any other pros besides her. So when I found out that she wasn't racing, it basically killed my desire to watch Kona. I streamed it to my laptop and then hooked it up to my TV via some crazy wire that my dad got me last year and basically had it playing while I napped on and off on a very, very lazy Saturday. I started paying attention again during the last miles of the run because that's really the interesting part.

And because I can't go a week without some type of over-sharing about my life..

I am really fed up with how I handle things in my personal life. I am very sensitive and tend to take things way too personally. Therefore, my mood is directly affected by what other people say to me or how they treat me (or how I interpret them treating me). If someone is having a bad day and they snap at me, it will literally upset me for the rest of the day (this could be a friend, coworker, anyone). If someone ignores me because they are busy, I get offended. (Do you see a trend in how ridiculous this is?). And god forbid if I am actually fighting with someone, I can't focus on anything else. I have been known to cry after a crappy workout, or a stressful day at work, or a bad grade (like.. a B --> I'm a freak). Trouble letting go? ... never.  I know I am like this, it sucks, and I hate it. I need to CHILL OUT. So far my ideas on dealing with it better are to: smoke some weed, take Valium, go to therapy, ???????. Perhaps yoga.

*Just kidding about doing any drugs, mom and dad! :)

Shockingly, right now I am in a great mood which is a big relief after just being bummed out for no legitimate reason for a while. And I had a HORRIBLE night at work (like.. worst night of work ever) Sunday night and I think that was my breaking point, because the stressful night on top of being upset just wasn't working out very well. Today (or yesterday for all you normal people who sleep at night) I talked to a good friend, ate some Chipotle for dinner, cuddled with my cat, and watched some YouTube videos of cute kittens! And I made the executive decision to chill the f- out.. now I just have to execute.