Friday, July 30, 2010

at least I didn't shoot myself with a nail gun...

I haven't talked about my crotch in a while because that would be weird I didn't do any 6 hour rides after training camp until the actual Ironman, so it had over a month to recover before the race. I will give an update though, in case anyone is curious.

I have what I will refer to as: Ironman crotch.

Without going into a lot of details (because even I have a limit to the gross things I will share with the general public) it involves a lot of chafing. Ouch.


I am bored. I don't know what to do with myself when I am not training. I sit around, I eat, I watch movies.. it blows. Seriously it's only been 5 days and I can't take many more like this!

I am sooo ready to get going on my Syracuse 70.3 training, however I know that I cannot start just yet. I know my body needs to recover from the Ironman and that it's going to take more than a week. My legs are finally feeling almost back to normal. I just really want to have a good race in Syracuse (ugh.. yes I am already eyeballing a PR of under 5:16.. seriously I just cannot help myself) and I need to be out training in order for that to happen!

BUT recovery first, train later.

I have to go to a family reunion at my parents' house this weekend. This will entail explaining what an Ironman is over and over again to my relatives. I've already been instructed to bring home various Ironman trinkets such as my finisher's medal, race gear, photos, etc. I know my parents are proud but it's going to be difficult to explain to a bunch of family members what exactly an Ironman is, and more importantly, WHY someone would do such a thing! I love my family, but they are definitely kind of crazy - I have an uncle who brings a different date to the family reunion every year and a cousin who shot himself in the leg with a nail gun.

Nail gun victim or not, it would be even harder to explain to a non-triathlete why I would ever have to utter the following sentence without having some sort of medical condition: "Mary! I didn't shit my pants!" Because I did say that to my coach - with friends and my parents standing there - immediately after finishing the Ironman.

I doubt anyone in the Harding family would understand what could possibly motivate someone to continue running with GI-related issues.

I just really hope that my dad didn't capture that particular conversation on video camera...

Thursday, July 29, 2010


After I posted my race report on the team google group (it's basically a forum), a friend and teammate Matt Kellman read it and commented, "Over the past three years I've read a lot of race reports, this may be the most honest report I've ever read. I love it!"

Apparently, over the years, I have developed into the "emotional girl who wears her heart on her sleeve." I have never understood why people hide their feelings away. What good does it do? I also absolutely HATE lying. I really think I may be one of the most honest people in existence.

It bothers me to no end when people cheat, lie, steal, etc.

Case in point, when I arrived in Lake Placid on Wednesday evening, it was late, cold, raining, and my parents were hungry (I was hungry too!). I was scheduled to swim for 30 mins but I skipped it. I planned to do it on Thursday. However, I also had a bike and run scheduled for Thursday. Thursday arrived and the weather was less than ideal - it was raining. I texted Kim to see what I should do (she was driving up to Placid with my coach). They told me to drop my bike ride, because I needed to drop a workout. But then the weather turned and I wanted to make sure my bike was shifting ok, so I went for my 40 min ride and then my 20 min run. Later, I swam with Adam. Thursday night, I went to a team dinner. Mary asked me which workout I dropped. I said "none." Apparently, they had seen me riding my bike and were curious whether I'd lie about dropping a workout.

I don't lie.

I don't see the point. If I lie to my coach, how do I expect her to do her job? Seriously, if you have to lie because you are ashamed of what you are doing, then just DON'T DO IT!

I know that I am an emotional person and I have tried - and failed - to hide that about myself. It's just not worth it. I am not ashamed of the emotions I felt during the Ironman. I am not made of stone. I get upset when I cannot execute a race correctly. I get frustrated with myself when I can't live up to my expectations, but instead of hiding those feelings away, I talk.

Ask me anything.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Ironman Lake Placid Race Report

It is Wednesday and I've had 3 days to soak up the experience of Ironman. I am finally feeling human again, and I finally have internet access so it's time to write up my RACE REPORT! (Also, I can almost walk down stairs like a normal person)!!

The first thing I want to do is thank everyone who has supported me for the past year of training. At times I may have been cranky, selfish, a bad daughter, and a bad friend. Sometimes I feel like I do not deserve the friends and support that I got during the race. My parents were there cheering for me and supporting me for the duration. My coach was there coaching TWELVE athletes through the race. I had Train-This friends/alum., creepy blog friends (haha), as well as the other TT athletes doing the race, and countless others at home tracking me online! All in all, it was a fantastic support system that I could not be more grateful for!

That being said..

Lake Placid is NUTS during Ironman week. People wearing compression socks are everywhere, there are bikes worth thousands of dollars, the parking lots to the bike shops are packed. It's just complete insanity. Ironman is all about waiting in line. I waited in line to register. I waited in line to buy merchandise. I waited in line all freaking weekend!

Thursday I registered, got my gear bags, bought some Ironman goodies, did my workouts, and went to a Train-This dinner at Don and Chris's, the original bromance brothers of Train-This. I also bought a spare tubular so that I would have mine for the bike and Kim's spare in my special needs bag (aw how adorable, Kim and I both ride identical tiny bikes with 650c wheels).

Friday I can't even remember what I did other than the athlete banquet which was really fun! Oh, and I drank 2 beers: one courtesy of Matt Kellman and the other, Ultra Adam.

Saturday I had to get my bike ready to go and pack of my transition bags. I had a minor meltdown about whether or not to rack my transition bags on Saturday. The athlete guide says it's mandatory, Mary said that you can bring them in Sunday morning. I'm more of a "follow the rules" kind of girl so that freaked me out. I talked to Ken about it and I calmed down. I wound up taking my bike AND my bags in on Saturday to rack them. The morning was stressful for me and I was glad to get it taken care of and get out of town. There's just too much going on, too much traffic, and it was freaking me out. I watched American Flyers in my condo with Ultra Adam during the afternoon (this was good as it took my mind off of the race for at least a little while) and then I packed up my special needs bag and got everything else ready for the morning. I barely slept at all on Saturday night.

I woke up at 4:00 am on race day to eat my breakfast of protein shake, banana, and 2 fig newtons. I also had to gather up my nutrition. I took a shower because I wanted to at least START the day feeling clean! I took the shuttle into town at around 5:00 am. I had to put my nutrition on my bike and retape my tubular onto the back of my bike because the duct tape fell off overnight.

I got rid of all of my extra clothes and took my special needs bags to Mary where I met White Hot and ran into Jeremy, Glenn, Rae, and several TT athletes. I felt excited, calm, happy. I walked over to the swim start.


There were people EVERYWHERE - in the water, on the shore, wow! Mary wanted me to start on the right. I actually started more to the right side of the center, a few rows back from the front. It was a good choice. For as terrified of the mass swim start that I was, I was calm and not freaking out at all. The cannon went off and I started swimming. I tried to swim as passively as possible i.e. no grabbing legs, no elbowing anyone, I just let the chaos happen. It was surreal. I was PARTICIPATING IN A FREAKING IRONMAN! I angled in towards the turn buoys and went around them, and got on the cable on the way back. I could feel a MAJOR tow along the cable, people aren't joking about the whirlpool effect in the Lake Placid swim! I was out of the water and running across the mat to jump back in at around 31 mins. I hopped right back on the cable and let the current suck me along. I swam very easily. The time flew by and the next thing I knew, I was DONE. I ended up with a much faster swim time than I thought I was capable of which was a GREAT way to start the day!

Swim: 1:07:04


It's a long run from the swim into transition. I laid down and a guy yanked my wetsuit off of me. I ran through a HUGE crowd where I saw Kim and Travis yelling for me. I grabbed my bag and ran into the women's changing tent which was fairly empty. We (we being me and my volunteer) got my socks and shoes on, helmet on, sunglasses, bib # and salt pills were grabbed and I was out of there. I actually ran right past a volunteer and grabbed my own bike.. force of habit I guess? I also ran past the sunscreen volunteer and I was wearing absolutely none. Whoops!

T1: 5:32


I was freaking PUMPED to be on the bike. The bike is fun, it's fast, and I love it! I saw Mary and Ultra Adam a little ways out of transition. I knew I had to take it easy on loop 1. It's hard to do. I was surrounded by men that were flying past me. It was hard to let them go! It rained a little on the first loop. I peed twice on the Keene descent (once on each loop). On the 9N section I started getting passed by teammates: Jochen, Jackie, Kellman, and Don all passed me on 9N! It was nice to see them and see that they survived the swim! Loop 1 went really well and I was back in town with a split of ~3:05. I saw my parents in the Train-This tent, I saw some other random people. I felt like a freakin rockstar riding through town because it's lined with fences and there are people EVERYWHERE!

The 2nd loop.. was harder. The big climb out of town that I didn't notice on the first loop seemed to take forever. The downhill was still fun, as was 9N but I was getting passed by more and more people which was discouraging. By the time I started climbing on 86, I was tired. I had a very low point climbing past Whiteface where I wasn't sure if I was going to make it to the top. I was in my small chainring the entire ride back from that point. I was worried that I had screwed up my bike pacing on my first loop. But I got pumped up again after climbing Papa Bear because of all of the spectators and coming back into transition. My nutrition for the bike was spot on - it went exactly like I had planned it.

Bike: 6:23:59, 17.5 mph

Threw the bike at a volunteer, hobbled into transition and got my running shoes on. I have never been so happy to see my running sneakers! I dropped my salt pills exiting transition and ran back to get them. I made sure I had a volunteer apply sunscreen on me because the sun had started to peek through the clouds. I couldn't have asked for better weather for race day - 70s, cool, overcast - it was PERFECT (which led to KILLER race times).

T2: 3:44

Immediately after exiting transition I saw some of my blog friends, Mandy and Jon. I heard them yell my name and I know I made eye contact, but it's hard to tell if people actually knew me because my bib had my name on it in giant letters. It's cool having lots of people yell your name but it makes it hard to distinguish friends from strangers when thousands of people are all screaming at you! I figured out who they were like 20 minutes later. But I appreciated the cheering! I believe both of them signed up for IMLP 2011 and I plan on going and cheering for everyone next year!

Anyways, I was psyched to be running and knew that the finish line was close (relatively speaking). For some reason, I had this thought in my brain that the Ironman marathon would be easier than a regular marathon. Really? Don't ask me why I thought this. The marathon was difficult from mile 1. I had side stitches/cramps from mile 1 to the end. At the start of the run, I was easily on pace for a sub 12 hours finish - I needed a 4:15 marathon to make it. Halfway through the run, I had kissed that goal time goodbye. I tried everything to stop the cramping: salt pills (I seriously took like 40 on the run alone), Powerbar Perform, pretzels, water, cola.. nothing worked. I gutted through at a sub 10 min/mile place for a while and then my quads were just.. done (maybe around mile 18). Just like what happened in the Philly marathon. Aerobically I felt fine. But with the cramping and the quads, I was screwed. I just kept slowing down. 10 minute miles, 11 minute miles, 12.. etc. Seeing Train-This teammates on the run was a life saver. I yelled at everyone I saw. I yelled that they looked great, or to keep moving. I tried to motivate and it turn, it motivated me.

I saw my friend Greg at the aid station near the turnaround. He was great - he cheered and told me I looked strong. I think I yelled profanities at him multiple times, such as "this f$*&ing blows" and "I feel like SHIT." I had SUCH a bad attitude on the run. Luckily, Greg did not let my bad run hinder his choice to register for IMLP 2011! At around mile 20 I started to get really upset and emotional. I knew I wasn't going to make my goal time (and Mary's estimated finish time) of under 12 hours. I was near tears and slightly hysterical and had to walk to try to calm down. I was upset and disappointed with myself. I was worried that Mary was going to be disappointed in me (perhaps Ironman makes people slightly delusional???). I was walking DOWN the hills because going downhill made me cramp up more (this is normal for me) and my legs felt like they were going to buckle. I just wanted to be done. Actually I REALLY just wanted to walk but I wouldn't let myself (other than through aid stations). I saw Kim right before turning to go up the hill for the out and back on Mirror Lake Drive. She made me feel better - Kim is such a good cheerleader and friend! Travis and my friend Adam were also in that area before the big hill.

I finally made it to the oval. Jeremy and Glenn were working security for transition and they both gave me high fives. It was great to see their smiling faces! I zipped up my tri top (hahahah) and made my way around the oval. I crossed the finish line and Mike Reilly announced "Alexa Harding you are an IRONMAN!" I couldn't help but smile! I got a medal around my neck, my finishers shirt and hat. I saw Mary and Ultra Adam in the corral and I went around to find them, and found my parents also.

Run: 4:38:37, 10:38 min/mile

I thought I would be more emotional after finishing an Ironman but I wasn't. I guess I can chalk that up to being somewhat of a perfectionist - I am never happy with my results and always strive to do better. I am not sure what caused the cramping in the marathon - perhaps pushing loop 1 of the bike too fast? I am going to chat with Mary about it after everyone has calmed down from Ironman and after I've had some time to think on it.

However, I am over it. I finished in 12 hours, 18 minutes, and 56 seconds. I am a freaking IRONMAN!

Total: 12:18:56
13th in AG!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

if you want to follow me during IRONMAN!!

This post is for those of you who are going to be in Lake Placid volunteering/cheering OR those of you who have a vested interest in the race but are at home. Regardless of whether you are going to be in Lake Placid or at your computer, this is how you can find me in a crowd of 3000 athletes or track me online!

(I say this assuming that at least SOMEONE will want to do either of these things!). I know I have some "creepy blog friends" (as Mary likes to say) that are going to be up in Lake Placid volunteering! I can't guarantee that I will get to meet any of you but I would like to if possible! (And I really don't think any of you are creepy). :)

If you are at home on your computer and you want to track me, tune into IronmanLIVE (or I think you can just go to and punch in my bib # 2352. By doing this, you will be able to see my split times as I progress through the race. I think they also may stream the race live, however this normally concentrates on the pro field.

If you are in Lake Placid (either volunteering or spectating) I will give you some pointers on how to find me!

I am wearing my triathlon team's kit. It is a kelly green top with navy blue shorts. There will be a number of us wearing this on the course, but only 2 girls. The other girl is significantly taller than me (I am really short) and will probably be ahead of me! On the bike, I ride a black and gray Cervelo with pink handlebar tape. On the run I will wear a white hat.

This is what I look like!

Monday, July 19, 2010

and now I am down to 2 :(

To the jackhole who stole my mountain bike out of my basement:
I hope you rot in hell. and I hope you enjoy riding a ladies 15" turquoise bike with a pink seat. and I hope you have SPD cleats you bastard. If I ever see you riding my bike down the street, I will tackle you. Actually I will chase you down the street screaming "I AM AN IRONMAN" and then I will tackle you at full speed. And while I may be short, I am solid, and you will hit the ground, and it will hurt.

Goodbye pretty bike :(

I know my bike was turquoise and at one point it did have a kickstand, but it was my first "real" bike that I got as a birthday present from my parents when I was living in Syracuse in 2007. It was a Specialized and I loved it! I did my first triathlon on it, I mountain biked (and fell down a lot) on it. I rode it around the city. I did an off-road duathlon 3 years in a row on it which I can no longer do because it is gone. Because of this bike, I fell in love with triathlon. It being stolen makes me feel like I have been violated, and like part of my soul was ripped away.

It is safe to say that I am upset. And PISSED.

This was the 3rd bout of bad news that I got today and was by far the worst of the three things.

So now I am sad, and I may have cried over my bike. I was already in a sour mood and now I am just miserable.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Summer of Love

Yesterday I had the pleasure of going for a 30 minute recovery run. I live on Park Ave., which apparently is the "Greenwich Village" of Rochester, if you can even compare Rochester to the Big Apple (doubtful). Usually I do these 30 minute runs down Park because there are lots of people to look at. So I was running and all I kept seeing were these rainbow blurs (I didn't have my contacts in). Apparently, it was the Gay Pride parade! I am pretty much oblivious as to what goes on in this city. I had to ask someone the other day what the local news station was (he didn't believe that I didn't know, but I really didn't). So I went up a block to run just so I wouldn't have to constantly dodge people.

Now I am all about gay pride. I am probably as liberal as you can get without actually liking politics (thinking about politics just makes me sleepy). I'm pro-gay, pro-choice, anti-Bush, anti-war, pro-feminism, etc. If it was 1969 I would be twirling around in a meadow, wearing a long skirt, probably stoned out of my mind. However, it is 2010, I was born in 1984, and the phrase "drugs kill" has been burned into my brain since the age of 7. I was so terrified of my parents yelling at me while I was growing up that I didn't try any drugs and didn't drink at all. I missed my curfew once and got grounded for months. I am still terrified of my parents getting mad at me (note: my parents are not mean to me, I just absolutely hate yelling confrontations with ANYONE). Maybe this is why I have yet to tell them about my 2 Ironmans next year.

Buuuut, they read this blog, so hi Mom and Dad, I am doing 2 Ironmans next year! P.S. One is in Idaho, the other is in Wisconsin.

So while I was running, I saw people dressed up to support the gay pride parade, and I saw the church groups there to protest it. And this is why I cannot get on board with going to church. Or being religious. I can't deal with the haters. I am agnostic and this is because I refuse to believe that a god would allow so much hate.

I would like to insert a plug right here. I am not gay. I like men. People seem to have the wrong idea sometimes because maybe I like to ride bikes, and maybe I don't wear a lot of dresses, and perhaps I was (for the most part) single from the ages of 21 to 25. And I am now single again. Just to reiterate, I like men!

Anyways. I promise this is the only post like this that I will make. Seeing the pride parade just made me think about things. But in general I do not judge, so carry on!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

swimming backwards

Since I missed a swim this week due to bad weather, I decided to do the Sawbellies 2 Mile Open Water Swim Race today in Canandaigua Lake. I swim in this lake all the time (as much as 2x per week recently). I figured it would be great practice for Placid and fun to socialize with teammates. There were several TT members doing this race. Ken, Joe, Jochen, Jo (a Syracuse girl who I just met today), and myself. Imagine my surprise when the normally calm Canandaigua Lake had some major chop (it was really windy out). The 2 mile course was 2 loops of the buoys where you had to get out of the water and run across the timing mat, and then dive back in, just like Placid!

This is my race recap. I got pummeled in the face with waves for 1 hour and 14 minutes. The end.

It should not take me that long to swim 2 miles. I am annoyed. I know I shouldn't care. I do not come from a competitive swimming background. My swimming background is: swimming lessons as a child, lifeguard training, WSI training, reading Total Immersion, and 2 months of masters swimming. That's it. I swam without a wetsuit and it was really choppy. But man, I was SLOW. Oh well.

I want to talk a little about my IMLP race plan. I'm not going to divulge it. It's private. Mary sent it to me and it's for Mary's eyes and my eyes. But I will say that it is not very "set." What I mean by this is that Mary did not tell me to split particular times in each leg. I have more of a range that I am supposed to be within. My overall goal finish time is actually a quite broad range. She specifically said that for me she wanted to stay away from tight timelines (perhaps this is just because I am new and this is my first Ironman, but I think it's more than just that). Now I don't know what anyone elses plan looks like because those plans are for those people's eyes. But I think this shows just how well Mary knows me. It's honestly pretty crazy how well Mary knows me, since I have been working with her for less than a year.

Mary knows that I am a "numbers girl." I stare at my Garmin trying to hit a particular HR. If she told me to go split such and such a time on my bike, I would probably kill myself trying to hit that time, even if the conditions were slowing me down.

We have been working on "racing naked" (as I like to call it!) and so far it has really worked for me. This means I race by perceived exertion and by feel. For races, I lose the HR monitor. I don't even look at my speed on the bike. I only check my pace on the run in the beginning and that's so I know if I need to slow down. So I will be racing Placid equipped with just a watch which will show my overall time, a computer on my bike to show me my overall bike time, and my Garmin on the run so I can keep track of my pace early on. That's it. No powermeter, no megabattery life Garmin for the entire race, no heart rate. I don't want to get lost in data. I want to race. I know and trust my body more than any piece of equipment. That is what I will be paying attention to on race day. It worked for Tinman and the mini-Mussel, and I have faith that it will work at Placid as well!

Also, check out Mary's blog post for today, where she is profiling all of the IMLP athletes! Today it's myself and Matt the speedo boy! :)

Friday, July 16, 2010

commence freaking out mode

Yesterday was a nerve-wracking day. Yesterday, my Lake Placid race plan showed up in my inbox with the title of "Hello!" It was supposed to show up at 5 pm but it came early!

Hello Alexa! I am your race plan. I am here to make you hate your life for 12 hours. When you are done executing me, you are going to want to punch Mary in the face. And then crawl under a rock and die.

OK maybe not but still, it's kind of scary seeing it. I think it's pretty ambitious. But I will do what I can do on race day. Apparently Mary has faith in me. I am fairly confident.. IF the weather cooperates. If the weather does not cooperate, then it's going to be a crapshoot. One thing I DO feel good about is my nutrition plan. Stick to the nutrition plan and the rest of the day should be ok. Just a hint, my race plan does not have the words "balls" or "out" in it ANYWHERE!

Apparently Mike is going to tell Mary to go F herself at mile 20 of the run. Sounds like a good idea to me! I love our Placid team (there are ELEVEN of us!)! :)

Yesterday, Lake Placid teammate Ken sent me a facebook chat that said "are you freaking out yet?" I didn't get it because I wasn't home, but YES KEN I AM FREAKING OUT!!! I will be freaking out for the next 9 days.. 8 days.. whatever it is!

I ran into another Lake Placid teammate, Joe, in Canandaigua yesterday. Apparently he is dragging ass also (I have been walking around like a zombie all week). He's doing the same 2 mile open water swim race that I am doing tomorrow morning, so that should be fun. And by fun I mean I hope I don't come in last place!

This blog is so scattered today. This is how my brain is working this week. Actually my brain just is not working at all. Ironman ate my brain! I can't form a coherent thought or string 2 sentences together. I need to chill out, relax, calm down.. listen to some Enya or something. I'm on edge man!

Maybe I shouldn't be making major decisions while I'm in this state of mind. You know, like registering for Ironmans that are on the other side of the country. Yeah.. oops.

But next week I will be in paradise, AKA Lake Placid.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

oh no you didn't

I registered for Ironman Coeur D'Alene! AHHHHHHH!

queen of transition

I want to detail my experience in transition on Sunday at Musselman, however, first a little update on my pre-IM taper.

I am MOODY! I am not sure if I am moody due to the taper, pre-race anxiety, PMS, or (most likely) the delightful combination of all of these things. Either way, I was texting Kim yesterday and telling her that there is a high probability that I will cry every single day this week. Not cool, but inevitable. I am not really a "crier." Granted, I cried when Charlie died on LOST, I cried through most of P.S. I Love You, and I cry whenever an animal dies, but otherwise, not really.

Anyways, I am going to combat the moodiness the best I can with running, chocolate, etc. :)

Back to the main topic of this blog: transition.

I organzied/worked transition at a local half-IM on Sunday, the day after my own race. I had to get up at 3 am to be in transition at 4:30 am. That's early! (And to whoever saw me there, yes I know I looked like a HUGE tri-dork in my pink compression socks). Anyone who has done a triathlon knows how transition works. Let me begin this by saying that I was impressed by how these Musselman athletes were in transition. I think my day probably went so smoothly because there were a lot less first time athletes at this race than say, the day before, where Eddy had the pleasure of dealing with a ton of newbies. I had no big issues at all for the entire day. However, it was a very long, hot day and by the end I wanted to die.

The best part was obviously watching all of the smiling athletes have great races. (And there were also a TON of hot guys - sorry!). Also there are a LOT of people who take FOREVER in transition - even fast people! The first woman out of the swim must have been in T1 for 5 minutes! Seriously if you are that fast, you need to work on those transitions.. The worst part was the bike cut-off. I had to go get the bib # of a girl who missed the bike cut-off and she was sitting on the ground crying in transition while putting on her running shoes. She asked me if she could still run. I felt so bad for her. I told her that she could run unsupported. I didn't know what else to do, I understood how disappointed she was.

There are some things that I would like to make note of - because often I think that athletes are not aware of what they are doing when they are nervous on race morning.

My tips:

Please be nice to volunteers. I know it's a pain in the ass that you have to get body marked BEFORE coming into transition. Chances are, the volunteer did not make this rule. They are not the one that set up body marking in an area that was not close to transition. Please don't yell at them! They are just trying to keep the race organized and running smoothly.

Seriously, don't be a jerk. Especially if YOU are the one that is running late. Transition opened at 5 am! Why you are rolling in 5 minutes before the race is beyond me.

If a person isn't racing, they can't come in. Think about it - there are thousands of dollars worth of equipment in there. If you can't carry your stuff into transition on your own - maybe you brought too much shit with you! And no one wants kids/dogs/dads with fanny packs running around in transition when they are trying to prep for a race!

Respect the mount/dismount line. Not doing this can cause an accident. You wouldn't want to ruin your race or someone elses race just because you couldn't brake 5 seconds earlier, right?

Don't try a flying dismount for the first time on race day. Although if you do, it will probably be amusing!

If you are a spectator, WATCH OUT when you cross the course. If you MUST cross the course, make sure no one is coming! Those bikes are going 20+ mph and they don't stop on a dime! Also, if you are a smoker, I realize that you can legally smoke outside, but seriously, you have to smoke at a race? AT THE SWIM EXIT??!?! Athletes who have been taking 1 breath every 10 seconds finally get to breathe regularly and the first thing they suck into their lungs after exiting the water is your cigarette smoke. That is just so not cool in so many ways.

And finally, can I just say thank you to all of my volunteers on Sunday! You were all a huge help and did an awesome job! Jeremy rocked the Eggaphone (and I think he made the news!).

Monday, July 12, 2010


This post has been a long time coming.

I feel like I have had a very successful race season. The best race season that I have ever had. I have majorly PRed in a half-IM. I have placed overall at one of the most competitive sprint distance races in the area. I do not want to jinx my Ironman. Every time I have a great race I worry that it will cause my Ironman to suck. I'm not particularly superstitious but apparently, when it comes to giant races that I have 6 months of time and a lot of money invested in, I am.

Given all that, people continue to ask me my time goal for Lake Placid. I think that time goals are personal, so I try to be elusive. I try to give them a time goal that I KNOW I can do. Then they ask me what my half-IM time was. I tell them "5:16." When they hear that, they don't buy the time goal that I give them. I normally tell people that I just want to survive, and if they persist, I tell them I want to go under 13 hours.

In reality..

I want to go sub 12 at Ironman.

I will throw it out there. I don't know if I can do it. I think if the race plays in my favor, and I execute well, I can. But the marathon is a wild card. I have no idea what I can do in that marathon.

Sub 12 may not seem that fast when you compare it to what the pros do, or even what someone like Mary can do, but it's fast for me.

So we will see. All I can do now is try to stay fresh until the race, and then race intelligently.

As for next year, I'm thinking about a 2 Ironman year.

Coeur D'Alene in June, and Wisconsin (AKA IMOO) in September. I think Mary is almost on board to do IMOO as well!

I'm sold on the idea. My wallet.. not quite yet.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

mini-Mussel Race Report

I'm going to write a quick race report for the mini-Mussel, and then I have to go on a 30 minute recovery run! I may embellish the race report after I run. :)

I was unenthused about this race. Honestly I have Ironman tunnel vision right now and I can't get excited about much of anything. But I paid, so I raced. I didn't expect much. I'm not a short course athlete and I've been doing all long course training for the past 6 months. I assumed this race would hurt.

I arrived at the race site a little later than usual, around 8 am. Took forever to pick up my packet because it was at Hobart and William Smith College, and body marking also took forever. I ran into Glenn and Jeremy at packet pickup. Saw many other Train-This athletes in/around transition. Mary had the "Eggaphone." I got my stuff set up, went to the bathroom, and then went over to the lake. I ran into a friend of mine from grad. school at ESF, Brandy. She was doing her first triathlon! We TAed zoology together for a semester. I gave her some pointers for her first tri!

Musselman is a really well run race. They have a great packet, they have great post race food (ICE CREAM) and the do a lot of neat little things like customizing the stickers where you rack your bike in transition. This year, they had you put an inspirational mantra on your transition spot, and you can see mine in the header above. :)

I was waiting to go into the corral when I got recognized by Erin Mullaney, who is a friend of Kim and Travis's. I had never met her but I knew who she was via race result stalking. I knew she was fast! I knew she did Ironman. That's about it.

My instructions from Mary were to go "balls out as fast as you can the entire way." That's it. I almost emailed her during the week to tell her not to bother making up an official race plan, and then she didn't anyways which was totally fine. Balls out is not something that can be defined in mph or min/mile. :) You can't pace BALLS OUT!

I was in the 2nd swim wave: girls and guys were both in this wave. We had to swim out to the buoy and then swim back towards the canal and then into the smelly river. The swim was easy. I tried to redline it. I'm not a fast swimmer. I really tried to push it out of my comfort zone because the race was so short that I knew I'd be screwed if I didn't get out the water fast.

Swim: 12:22
T1: 1:30

Got on the bike. This part is my FAVORITE! I immediately started cruising and I saw Kim yelling for me in the park. I passed a TON of men, a few younger girls who must swim well, and then I saw Erin in her Tri-Spot team kit. We played leap frog for a while and then I passed her and held the lead. I know Erin can run so I figured I should get as far away from her as I possibly could. She's the only one in my AG that I saw. I was riding really hard. I passed Jason W. right before entering the park. We got into the park and he went by me and yelled "Alexa my ego won't let you beat me!!" he then proceeded to do an awesome flying dismount and ran into transition ahead of me. I cannot do a flying dismount because I am a PANSY. As I entered transition, people were yelling at me that I was the first woman into transition. WHAT!?! I was in the first swim wave, so clearly I was not going to win the mini-Mussel (there are some FAST LADIES in this race) but I was winning my age group and I felt like I was in the freakin' Olympics! SOOO COOL! I grabbed my shit and ran out of transition in #1 feeling like a super awesome bad-ass rockstar!!

Bike: 44:47, 22.0 mph, 3RD FASTEST bike split of all the women
T2: 1:12

I saw Kim again and that was exciting! I caught and passed Jason. Erin caught me in 3 minutes. I knew it was coming so I wasn't surprised or bothered. She blew past me and took off to the point where eventually i couldn't even see her. I'm not a 5K runner. But I was still 2nd in my AG and I wanted to hold that spot. A few guys passed me and I asked them if there were any women behind me (I always get run down in these short triathlons). They said that I was in the clear. I never look behind me! It shows weakness and fear! They then told me to go catch the girl in front of me. Hah! I was like "ummm I was ahead of her and she already passed me!" They liked that and laughed. I saw Jeremy at the water stop! I just tried to hold a consistent pace. I saw Faris Al-Sultan Matt Curbeau running in just a freaking Speedo. I almost died laughing! My first mile was 7:25. My second mile was 7:17 and my 3rd mile was 7:19. I'm happy with that! I brought it into the finish without being passed by another girl!

Run: 23:30, 7:21 min/mile

Final time of : 1:23:21

I knew I was getting an award. I thought I was getting 2nd in my AG. I also was 5th overall woman. WHAT!?!? How did I do that in a sprint tri?? Anyways, after the race I was chatting with Erin and we were waiting for awards. And neither of us got called up for 25-29, and she was 1st and I was 2nd. Sooo apparently Musselman does overall awards to 5 places! So I got on the podium, got some sweet hardware and $25!

Good f-ing race! 2 weeks and 1 day til Placid. I just need to keep this fresh feeling!

My team makes this sport the most fun I've ever had. When I finished the race, I had voicemails, texts, and facebook posts asking how I did and congratulating me. I had teammates, Train-This alumni, family members, and friends at the race cheering for me. I cheered for teammates that I saw on the run course. It just doesn't get any better than this. Teammates congratulate you on a race well done, but they also pick you up after a bad race. Tomorrow I get to spend the day in transition cheering for my team, which has evolved into my family. I can't wait. :)

Coach Mary has had a lot to do with my improvements this year. My bike improvement is what I see the most. I am so so happy with this! Now I just have to catch the swim and the run up with the bike. ;)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Musselman weekend!

This weekend is Musselman weekend here in western NY. Musselman is a local, very well run sprint distance and half-IM tri in Geneva, NY. Musselman was my first ever 70.3 last year. This year I will be racing in the mini-Mussel sprint on Saturday - much less exciting. However, Lake Placid is a mere 2 weeks and 2 days away!

My race plan for the mini is short and sweet: "balls out as fast as you can the entire way." Perfect. Also, this is classic Mary. :)

I am not a sprint distance racer. I am not fast. ESPECIALLY this year, so this should be interesting as the Musselman races are pretty competitive.

The Boilermaker is also this weekend, which I have always wanted to do but have never been able to race. Someday!

I will be in Geneva all day on Sunday in the transition area. I am transition captain! How did I get this gig? Mary. Now I am not the most organized person ever. Just look at my apartment. Or take a peek inside my scattered brain. But, in order to run transition, I had to find volunteers for the entire day. 4-5 volunteers to be in transition at all times. So, I made a bitchin' spreadsheet to organize it and I think I did pretty well! Jeremy H. and I are going to be there all friggin day. Various other Train-This athletes will be there in shifts and I even got Gretchen to recruit a Mom in Motion and some high school girls to help out! So this excites me! Should be fun, and by fun, I mean hot. And by hot, I mean Jeremy and I are going to be starving all day so they'd better let us in that food tent!

I also get a radio, so if you're on the other end of it, I apologize in advance. Sometimes.. I am a bit ridiculous.

I know a LOT of people doing Musselman so I will be yelling for all of you as you come through transition! I love the Rochester triathlon community! :)

One person who was supposed to be doing the mini AND the Musselman was Solveig, but she got in a bike accident recently (a loose dog ran out in front of her and she crashed her bike) and she fractured her pelvis in 2 spots. So I will be thinking of her. I cannot even imagine how awful it must be to go through what she is going through right now, but I give her a lot of credit; she maintains optimism and a great sense of humor through this entire situation. If it was me... well, I don't think I'd be in such a good place, mentally. But she is strong and she will come back! We will see her next year!

So if you are doing the mini-Mussel, come find me in my Train-This kit! And if you are doing the Musselman, look for the short, loud girl in transition! :)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I hate annoying questions

So it has been hot out. Very very hot. It's pretty horrible, especially living in a 3rd floor apartment with no central air.

This unbearable heat caused me to cancel a "social outing" (get-together, date, call it what you want) on Monday. I know this makes me a huge baby. But I was grumpy, lying on my couch in my underwear with my fan 2 inches from me. There was NO WAY I was getting dressed.

I told a guy at work about it and this was his response, "You've gotta be kidding me! You're never going to get married."

Ummm.. thanks man.

Let me just add that to the ever-growing list of things that I am worried about. Going to get a flat at Placid, going to have nutrition issues on the run, Musselman transition is going to be outta control this weekend, never going to get married. Awesome.

I guess I'd better set the rest of my shit aside because I GOTTA FIND ME A HUSBAND!


There are several questions that I just don't want to be asked anymore.

First and foremost, I currently hate being asked why I can't change a flat on my Zipps. The next time someone asks me this I'm going to throw a Zipp at their head. I'm sure my hatred of this question will fade with time.

The number 2 most hated question is: why are you single? Hmm maybe if I knew why, I wouldn't be single. Because apparently, I'm a freak for being single. I'm not allowed to be picky? I should just GET MARRIED ALREADY! Let's face it, I am not very girly, I don't have a tiny dog, I don't go to "the club" and I can probably kick most boys' butts in athletic endeavors (excluding triathletes). This does not bode well for me. So perhaps I should set my sights on single male triathletes? Good call. There are 2 in existence.

And rounding out the top 3 is: why are you a vegetarian? Now this question I only hate in certain context. If you ask me and you are merely curious, I don't mind. But if you aggressively ask me this like I am some kind of hippie freak, I will get defensive and tell you to shove it.

So I guess I should go to the pound and start adopting cats now.

(If you can't note the sarcasm dripping from this post...)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

race result cyber-stalking

I'm having a pretty good 4th of July! I did a 2 hr ride this morning from Mendon Ponds Park and then I met Kim at Schoen Place in Pittsford for a nice long run along the canal path. And when I say nice I mean BLISTERING HOT! The run wasn't super great. My heart rate was ridiculously high and Kim had some issues with her ankle. Did I mention it was hot as balls? Also we got videotaped by a super creepy fat guy wearing just blue spandex shorts where you could totally see his junk. Gross. But I did eat a donut afterwards and it was really really good.


We sat around in the shade chatting after the run because it was such a nice day!

See I do this thing.. maybe it's creepy.. I stalk peruse race results. If you are a girl in my age group, a girl that I see at a lot of races, a cute guy, a friend/teammate, or a stranger who tells me they've done a race, I look up your race results. If you've done an Ironman EVER and told me about it, chances are I've searched through Ironman results to find your time.

Then Kim told me that she does it too. "Everyone does it!" said Kim today!

The reasons differ. If it's a girl in my age group, I'm checking out the competition. If it's a cute guy, I'm checking to make sure he's faster than me (and I'm checking to make sure he's in an appropriate age group so that I'm not creepy if I accidentally stare at him a lot). If it's a friend or teammate, I'm checking to see how well they did so I can congratulate them! If it's a stranger or random person who is bragging, I am checking to make sure I am faster than them. :)

I check out Ironman times because I am currently Ironman-crazed and I am jealous of anyone who already has lost their IM virginity!

But at least I'm not the only one who does it!!!!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

the calm before the storm

I have been thinking a lot about the Ironman lately. I mean, I'm always thinking about the Ironman, but lately it's been less "these are my workouts" and more of "I am ready." Introspective Ironman thinking.

I still cannot get over Tinman. I can't get over how happy I am with my results and how easily those results came to me! Last year when I did Musselman, I thought that nothing could be physically harder. That race beat me. (Then I did the Philly Marathon which gave a whole new meaning to beatdown). But in Tinman - I bested it. The only thing that hurt was the last 16 minutes.

I am not worried about Lake Placid. I did a 1 hour swim in Canandaigua Lake yesterday - friggin' easy. I have my wheel issue sorted out. I am ready to take on that race and leave my soul out on the course. I am calm. WHAT?? I am NEVER calm.

I am waiting for the meltdown that I KNOW is coming.

But until that meltdown comes, I will enjoy the feeling of prepared-ness that I currently have.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

less training = less interesting things to blog about

Tuesday's grumpyness has faded. I still have almost 4 weeks til Ironman and if I'm grumpy for that long.. life will not be fun.

I am currently not tapering but I feel like I am! I had a rest week before Tinman, and now I'm on a pseudo-rest week after Tinman. I feel like I haven't done any legitimate mileage since training camp! And I probably won't do anymore big girl rides now that I'm this close to the race.

I ALREADY know I am going to be a big bitch during taper. So this is your warning.

I talked to Kim about my wheels. I think I am going to rent tubular 404s for Lake Placid and worry about what I'm going to do about my own race wheels after the race. She is right - I don't need to be stressing about things like that right now.

I got a shout-out in Coach Mary's blog and it's a good shout-out commending my bike fitness and pacing at Tinman. Tinman really made me a lot more confident for Lake Placid - for both pacing and nutrition. Even though the 2 races are different lengths and totally different beasts, I have had issues in the past with both pacing AND nutrition so this was definitely a confidence boost that at least I can execute ONE race correctly. Hopefully I will be able to really rock that marathon off the bike! This - in part - will be due to a large base of bike miles built over months of riding. When you were hanging out watching movies under your Snuggie in late winter, I was riding for hours on my trainer in my apartment. I'm hoping hard work pays off.

As for next year, IM Texas, IM St. George, and IM Coeur d'Alene are ALL currently accepting online registration. Must not go to MUST NOT GO TO IRONMAN.COM. I am slowly being convinced to do IM Wisconsin next September......

And because I can't go for one day without some kind of grossness, I will share. Apparently after Tinman my wetsuit was not completely dry when I packed it up to head back to Rochester. It baked in my car, in the bottom of my tri bag, for like 12 hours. And then I brought it into my apartment but never took it out of my bag because I assumed it was dry, and I am lazy. So when I brought the wetsuit (still inside-out in my tri bag) to Canandaigua for my OWS on Wednesday and finally removed it, it was damp and smelled like ass. When I took it off in the locker room post-swim, it was spewing brown liquid. GROSS. So I took it in the shower with me when I got back to my apartment. I rinsed the hell out of it, but it still SMELLS HORRENDOUS! Seriously, first my shoes, now my wetsuit. I am a classy, classy lady. How in the hell do I clean this thing? I'm considering dish soap, or perhaps lighter fluid, a match, and then a new wetsuit.