Sunday, January 30, 2011

hello 2011, it's a 15 hour week already!

Today I finished up 2 really good, consistent weeks of workouts. A 70 minute run and a 60 minute bike this afternoon brought me to a total of over 15 hours for the week (14 if you don't include yoga). I am really happy with that. It's still January and I am hitting 15 hours already? Yes, some of it is strength, but even so, it helps me remain confident about my June Ironman. One more pretty big week and then I get a rest week (that will fall on a week of working nights so I should be able to see if my sleep issue has improved at all).

After a rough start (workout-wise) to the year, I feel like I have finally pulled it together. I feel my run slowly coming back and my swim getting faster. And I am REALLY itching to get outside on the bike. It's 33 degrees out, which is great for Rochester in January but definitely not "yay lets bike outside!" weather. But at least running outside will be fantastic!

I'm not afraid to talk about those weeks of bad workouts that I was having. I am a prime example of how your personal life can affect your training. How stress at work can affect your training. How lack of sleep can affect your training. And I don't even have a husband or family to worry about! Mix these things together and sometimes it's a struggle just to exist day to day, much less try to train for an Ironman. Everyone has low points, and the key is to just keep swimming. Do what you have to do to feel better, do the workouts you can do, do the best that you can. Sometimes it's a scramble at first but then eventually things start to improve. And when that happens, you realize that you haven't "lost it" or gone off the deep end..

And I'm going to go ahead and link you to one of my FAVORITE songs to listen to while I am running. Perhaps I don't really seem like the type of girl that likes Eminem, but I do. Unfortunately, people upload so much crap on youtube that I couldn't find the actual music video.

On an unrelated note, I have managed to keep my apartment clean and organized for over 2 weeks (might be a record), I have not seen the squirrel in the kitchen since my landlord boarded up its hole last weekend, and yesterday I finally spent my Christmas money on a pair of Lululemon Groove pants. They are currently being held hostage hemmed and I will get them on Friday - can't wait! Also, the Verizon iphone is finally going to be available for pre-order this week! I am totally hopping on board with the iphone.. I have only been waiting 2 years to be able to get one!

My parents called me today.. from the IKEA store in Philadelphia! My parents are awesome enough to have driven 3 hours to buy me a bookcase (and as it turns out.. TWO bookcases) for my new apartment because the closest IKEA store to me is in Canada. Seriously, you don't find better parents than that! I have set a tentative moving date for the Feb. 19th weekend.. everything just depends on the weather!

3 weeks and counting!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

the 3rd swim

I am currently loving AND hating my 3 swims per week (up from 2 swims per week last year). I am loving it because it  gives me an extra workout to do per week (more hours = more badass) and I KNOW it will make me faster in the water. However, I hate it because now I smell like chlorine almost all the time, I hate trekking to the gym that 3rd time (actually I hate all trips to the gym), and it messes up my schedule of MWF bike/run, TT swim/lift. The 3rd swim is on Friday. Friday is a hard day to have an extra workout, but it does beat having it on the weekend, where I was prone to skipping it. So last week I HTFUed it and got it done.. pretty late because I had to work til 6:30. Tomorrow I will HTFU it again and get it DONE!

The drive to destroy my (only) Ironman PR is what is REALLY getting me to the 3rd swim.

Today I had Mary's infamous "Ironman swim set." Let me run you through this set, which has been gazed upon by the eyes of many Train-This athletes, but I had yet to see it. I actually didn't even realize that I had this workout today until this morning because I tend to not really look at workouts in advance (I know more or less what my workout structure is like, and I look at details right before I do the workout). So, here it is!

Warm Up:
500 yds easy

Main Set:
500 yds: every 4th 25 FAST
500 yds: every 3rd 25/50 hard
500 yds: every other 25/40 hard
500 yds: maintain best average 100 yd time

800 yds: kick with or without fins

5x400 yds: pull with P&B on T-time + 10 sec

Cool Down:
200 yds easy

Total: 5500 yds

Now, this is not as bad as it looks. Instructions were to swim as much of the set as possible in an hour, and then stop. Every swim workout I do takes about an hour, so I was not overwhelmed by this. I managed to do all of the 500s, the entire kick set (I used fins FOR SURE), and 200 yds of pulling before I ran out of time, totaling 3500 yds. I think I did pretty well, and I REALLY liked the set. I loved the 500s with the hard/easy intervals because I think that caters to my swimming abilities (i.e. I am terrible at speedwork of all kinds) and will really be helpful for Ironman because during Ironman there is no resting at the wall!

Also, I will 'fess up to being the girl from Mary's blog post today who never remembers her T-time. That's me! For the past 2 months I have been blatantly disregarding my T-time (although I can gauge it pretty well while swimming) until Mary made me look it up and then double checked to make sure I had followed through (which I did!). If that's the worst thing I do as an athlete (Mary, no answering this!!!!) then I don't think I'm so bad!

So I am excited about swimming more, I am being honest about my swimming, working hard, not cutting corners, and I am ready to go balls to the wall in all aspects of my training this year. I am already hitting 13 hours per week and it's only January!

Let's get GOING!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I had a kind of frazzled day today (mostly due to work) so although I am feeling nice and relaxed and happy right now, I think I am going to make this a post of randoms!

One thing that makes me smile is that right now I am typing this blog while lying on my couch, snuggled under blankets, with a candle burning and my cat lying on top of my legs! Also, it is 30 degrees out which basically means we are having a major heat wave in Rochester after the negative temperatures from yesterday!

I did ALL of my workouts last week. All of them! I am OFFICIALLY back at it!

I started a new set of swim workouts today.. and so far, I am loving it (I get bored with swim sets pretty easily).

I am trying to decide how to divide up my year-end bonus from work. Yup, you heard me right! I GET A BONUS!!! This will be the first bonus I have received in the history of my entire life! Ideas that keep coming to me include: iphone, Ironman, savings account, lululemon. I know what I should do with it. But I also know what I want to do with it. And these two things are very, very different! The main problem is that my supervisor has yet to tell me (or anyone else that he supervises) what my bonus is going to be, so I have no idea how much I am going to get.

I got renter's insurance for my new apartment (it's required). Also, by moving out of Rochester and into a suburb, my car insurance goes down by $70! So that's pretty exciting.

My brother sent me my birthday present in the mail, and he got me a cable kit for my Cervelo that comes with PINK CABLE HOUSING!!! My bike is going to look so freaking sexy at races this year!

Also, if anyone would like to watch my swim video from our testing day in Syracuse, here it is! (They call me... THE SHERIFF!!!) Make sure you check out my super-sweet flip turn. Yes, I am self-taught! (You can also check out my cleavage if you are so inclined.. those Splish swimsuit must be designed for flat-chested swimmers or something!).

Wow.. weird mood today!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

squirrels and social engagements

So I had a really amazing weekend (I am going to go ahead and call this my "birthday weekend" since my birthday was on Wednesday and I had to work instead of doing anything fun).

Friday I did nothing other than work out before and after going to work. And ate some pizza at work with the other B-shift guys.

Saturday, I had an interesting encounter with a squirrel IN my apartment. Now, if you are not aware of the backstory, there have been squirrels (not sure if that's singular or plural) living in the walls of my apartment for months. I can hear them running around at weird times, and you can see where they are getting into the walls if you are outside the house and you look up at the roof. Apparently, a squirrel finally chewed its way into my apartment on Saturday. I was getting ready to get on my bike when I saw my cat, fur bristled, in the hallway outside of my kitchen. I walked into the kitchen to see an oatmeal packet in the middle of the floor and a tail disappearing into the crack between the wall and my cabinets. Yikes. I took a bunch of plastic bags and stuffed them into the crack, thinking that would deter the squirrel, and then I hopped on my bike. Less than 20 mins later, I heard noises in the kitchen, so I went and checked, and there was the squirrel sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor. I yelled at it and it ran back into the wall. This kept happening multiple times! I ended up shutting the cat in my bedroom (because I didn't want her messing with it) and left 2 hysterical voicemails with my landlord, which went something like this:

Hi Rob, this is Alexa. There is a squirrel sitting in the middle of my &$%#ing kitchen and it's chewing on my garbage bags and trying to steal my oatmeal, and I had to shut my cat in my bedroom because I think it might have rabies, and I am trying to get a 2.5 hour bike ride done and I can't do it because I have to keep chasing the squirrel away, and I can't keep it from coming into the kitchen and I am FREAKING OUT AND I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO OR HOW TO DEAL WITH THIS. PLEASE HELP ME!

Dramatic, yes, but it worked. He came over, pulled out the cabinets, left some poison in the wall, and boarded up the hole. So far, no squirrels have been sighted in my home. I feel bad about the poison, but I don't want wild animals running through my apartment, chewing on my stuff!!

 After the squirrel drama had subsided,  I was able to finish my bike ride and run and then I went out to dinner with my friends Ari and Trevor to Owl House. After eating FAR too much, we went to their apartment and watched the movie "Case 39." Now I cannot watch scary movies when I am alone, but watching it with company was fun; I especially enjoyed both Ari's and Trevor's running commentaries, example: "don't go in the closet you stupid idiot!!" hahaha. Good times. Also, we all screamed simultaneously at the scary parts. It's kind of fun being scared - with company. :)

This morning I went running with my friend Amie (we ran for an hour in 9 degree weather) and then we met up with her boyfriend for brunch. Her boyfriend is into some crazy mountain biking and has done an Ironman, and Amie runs and does triathlons, so we had a nice conversation about peeing on yourself on the bike, in the middle of the restaurant. Classy.

Then I went to a teammate, Don's, house for a surprise baby shower for Kim H. (another teammate). Not your typical baby shower. No annoying baby games, no squealing over ridiculous baby presents, it was basically a Train-This party and was REALLY fun!

I then did an hour recovery ride on my bike in my new Louis Garneau TT shorts while watching "P.S. I Love You" (I know, worst trainer movie ever) and then snuggled with my kitty. Great ending to a great weekend! But I had a really great weekend with a lot of different friends and I am heading to bed shortly feeling very happy. :)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

nothing to do with triathlon and everything to do with.. furniture?

One of the more exciting parts about moving is deciding what to keep and what to throw away. It's a given that you'll probably have to buy some new stuff or replace some worn out stuff. The problem that I am having, being that I am moving in a month, is that I don't have any money to buy any new stuff.

The only new thing that I am getting is a giant IKEA bookcase, and that is courtesy of my parents. It's going to be my room divider/major storage area - so doubly useful (if I can actually put the thing together).

Some other things that are high on the priority list are: microwave (because the apartment doesn't come with one), wine glasses (because who wants to drink wine out of a plastic solo cup?), and 2 stools or chairs for the "breakfast nook." After talking to my parents, I was made aware that they actually saved my microwave from when I lived in Syracuse a few years ago, so now I don't have to go out and buy a microwave! A guy from work told me that he has tons of extra wineglasses and would be happy to see if he has a set of 4 he can give to me. I'm not sure what I'm going to do about the stools. What I don't want to do is go buy some crappy, ugly stools because they are cheap. It's a small apartment, and I'm going to have to look at those stools (or chairs) every single day because the breakfast nook is also in the living room. I'm not sure exactly what I am looking for, but I like these, and these (so expensive).. I'm leaning towards stools over chairs because they take up less room.

In dreamland, where Fiona shits money, I would love to replace my living room furniture (the couch and chair that I currently have belonged to my parents and are at least 15 years old). Don't get me wrong, I have the most comfortable couch on earth but it is really ugly and is starting to look super worn out. But, couches are expensive. I also don't have end tables. I have a 2 drawer wooden filing cabinet that "acts" as an end table (that's where the lamp sits). My coffee table is handmade by some dude and was $25. The other lamp that I own is one of those dorm room floor lamps with 5 bulbs that you can bend to point in different directions. At least the cups are white and not multicolored, but it's still pretty embarrassing.

I have nice bedroom furniture, but that's because it's the bedroom set that my parents bought me when I was a little kid.

At some point I'm going to have to pull it together and furnish my apartment like a "grown-up" but for now.. it's going to have to be bits and pieces here and there. I don't necessarily care if all of my furniture "matches" (since I am really not the matchy-type).. but I would like my pieces of furniture to reflect my taste and personality. I like bold colors, I like originality, I am a bit of a hippie so I like "rustic" types of wooden furniture pieces in natural colors (nothing painted). Even though the bookshelf that I am getting is from IKEA (mass marketed box-store furniture = yuck), I feel like it reflects my personality: it's enormous and it can hold TONS of books/DVDs which are both something I really like, and I knew I wanted one the minute I saw one in someone else's apartment. I want to find the same thing with stools.. something that I really like that I will want to keep when I move, not something that I buy just to have for now. I am done buying things that work "for now" so I may even just hold off on stools until I find some that I really like.

This is what my current apartment looks like (the living room). That is where my bike typically sits. You can see my super-comfy but ugly, ugly couch and matching chair set.

Even without the bike, it is pretty cluttered, but is MUCH cleaner looking. Unfortunately, there is really no inconspicuous place for me to put my trainer in the winter (and in the winter I tend to just leave my bike on the trainer because it's a pain in the butt to keep taking it off and putting it back on) so it ends up in the middle of my living room. This is a BIG goal for the new apartment - get the trainer in the corner, against a wall, SOMETHING so it's not the freaking centerpiece of my home. I would also like to get that chair somewhere where I will actually sit in it - I NEVER use it where it sits in this apartment, and stuff (clothes, my coat, workout gear, etc.) gets piled on top of it.

I am also getting rid of a bunch of furniture. The bookcase (the shelves of said bookcase are only being held up by the books underneath it), the red chair, the cat condo, the 2 DVD racks, and my computer desk and chair (which are not in this picture, they are to my immediate left in this photo, to the right is a gigantic closet) are all going into either the garbage (the bookcase), storage (red chair, computer chair, desk), or sold on craigslist (Fiona's cat condo - she's going to be pissed because she LOVES it but it's just too big and it makes me look like a cat lady).

I'm not really sure what the point of this post is, other than the fact that this is what I have been thinking about lately. I signed my lease on Monday, I get my keys Feb. 9th, and then I can start moving stuff in! It's going to be a big change in my life, albeit a very positive one, which is why I am spending so much time thinking about it. So I just thought I would share (and I welcome ANY decorating tips, reorganizing suggestions, cheap/nifty storage ideas, or tiny apartment stories that anyone has!).

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Another year older..

..but none the wiser.

For realz.

Today, I turn 27 years old. FML.

Kidding.. I am kidding. At least I am not 30 yet. I have not yet crossed over the threshold into the dreaded "30-34" age group. I actually like that my birthday is in the beginning of the year so that I am always racing as the "correct" age.

I celebrated my birthday by riding my bike for an hour, and then going on an awesome 45 minute endurance run in the snow on my pair of sprained ankles. (I am not being sarcastic about the run being great - it was a perfect day - chilly, snow flying, but no wind). And yes, I have TWO sprained ankles. One is about 2 weeks old - I slipped on some ice, crunched my ankle and fell right on my butt, in public, with people watching. The other one I sprained on Sunday night, running on a bare road, with no known reason why I twisted it. Nothing new about me with a sprained ankle, however 2 at once is a first for me - maybe they cancel each other out?

I got back from my run to two good things: a package from Amazon waiting on my porch and a photo in my email of our new team uniforms. The package was my birthday present from my parents, the photo was from Kim, our team uniform organizer/team manager/team bitch. Haha! The package included the book "17 Hours to Glory" which is a collection of real-life Ironman stories, The Office: Season 6, P.S. I Love You, a Skidless yoga towel, and a Kindle gift card!

I managed to actually obtain my new team uniform which arrived today (shhhhhh.. Kim may have done me a birthday favor). They are much higher quality than last year's uniforms; they are Louis Garneau. I got a tri top, a crop top, tri shorts, and a warm-up hoodie. The only piece I had time to try on before heading into work was the soft-shell hoodie/jacket thing. Pretty sweet, right? (There is also an adorable embroidered Train-This logo on the front of the hood!!!).

I had to rush home and take a shower before work (working 3-11 on my birthday = ewwww), and lo and behold, what was in my mailbox? Another package from Amazon containing The Office: Season 2, also from my parents. I'm not sure how I owned every season of The Office except for this one, but that is now remedied!

I have had quite an eventful night at work, concluded by me dropping an uncapped bottle of magenta dye. It got all over myself (hands, lab coat, sleeve of white sweater), the lab bench, all down the front of the cabinets, the floor mat, and underneath the floor mat. Thank god it was water soluble so I was able to pretty effectively clean up all of the surfaces with water. My hands were not so fortunate. For a good hour I worked in the lab with freakishly pink hands, until the B-shift supervisor brought in a "mystery" solution used by "guys working the machine" (I don't ask...). I was able to get rid of most of the hot pink by scrubbing my hands with the bleach solution and a Dobie pad for 10 mins. Healthy, maybe not, but very, very effective and now I no longer have bubblegum pink hands. Although they are now very dry, they itch and reek of bleach.

So after all that.. I can't wait to go home! I might drink a birthday beer! More likely, I will watch a birthday episode of The Office, try on my new uniform, and then promptly fall asleep at midnight. Cheers!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Train-This Testing Day in the 'Cuse

Yesterday was the most fun I've had in a while. A bunch of my Train-This teammates (as well as Coach Mary and Coach Kelly) congregated at the city YMCA in Syracuse for a testing day! This YMCA has a room with (I think) 8 computrainers and a bunch of spin bikes. 13 team members gathered from near (Syracuse) and far (Canada) with some coming from Rochester and Buffalo as well.

Those of us who hailed from the west hit a bit of a snowstorm about 20 miles out of Syracuse. This resulted in almost EVERYBODY arriving late (me included). No worries, since Mary is basically the most laidback coach ever.

that's me in the pink headband and
Amelia making the funny face.. looks
like we were really working hard, right?
I was in round one on the computrainers (supposed to start at 10, didn't even get to the YMCA til 10:15). We found the bike room, changed into our gear, and then warmed up on the bike and got them calibrated. The man in charge of the computrainers, Ted, did a GREAT job getting everyone calibrated and familiarized with how the system works. Then we did a 10 mile time trial. There were 7 of us "racing." I am not very pleased with how I tested but whatever, I don't train with power since I don't have a powermeter, so the watts are irrelevant to me. What I did get was actual good HR data for Mary because this was a legit testing day for me. I do NOT test well on my own. The computrainers are interesting (this was only my 2nd time on one). I'm not really sure if there is any way to really replicate riding outside, and when riding a computrainer it does change the resistance that you feel when you climb a "hill." However, it is pretty interesting to watch the elevation change. In my option, nothing will ever be a substitute for outdoor riding. But for the winter months, I think the computrainer is definitely the best option. Now just to rob a bank save enough money to buy one...

After cooling down and taking our bikes off the trainers, we changed and hopped in the pool while the other group did their bike tests. Mary had rigged up the "coach cam" which was basically an underwater video camera taped to the bottom of a broom. I kid you not. This way she could videotape us swimming directly at her, and then walk alongside us on the deck with the camera in the water so she could get side action shots. Pretty ghetto/awesome!

The testing was really fun because I was able to do it alongside teammates - some who I see often (such as Kim), some who I see rarely (such as Amelia) and some who were there for their first time (like Greg). I also met some teammates that previously were only known to me through the Train-This google group. Fun times are had when everybody gets together, especially when the 4 vegans on the team convince us to go to a vegan cafe to get lunch after testing. (For the record, I am vegetarian, not vegan). Note: vegan milkshakes are delicious, but my stomach was still disagreeing with me 12 hours later!!

Greg got his initiation into Train-This while at lunch; all of the girls were talking about how Bree Wee dropped out of IM Cozumel because she got her period, and we were discussing what our strategy would be if we had that problem. He was the lone guy left at the table with nothing to contribute and probably was feeling pretty uncomfortable. Oh Greg, you just have NO idea what you're in for with this team! :)

book & itunes from Kim, mix CD from Amo, bottle brush from Mary!
I just love seeing friends and getting to spend the day with them, especially doing something that we ALL love! I love that my friends care about me, and that I got 3 birthday presents! (Not that I care about presents at all, but getting gifts from people makes me feel special!!).

I mean really, could I have asked for
an any more fun day than this?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Top 10 of 2010

These are the top 10 moments that stick out most to me in 2010 AND as a 26-year old.. Yes, most are triathlon-related, but not all! And since I am turning 27 way too soon in a few days, here you go!

1) Ironman Lake Placid (the week. the race. the friends. the finish. everything about it.).

2) Training camp in Lake Placid with Train-This. Especially the part where Mary dumped a gallon of water on her head. Or when Kim rode her bike in her underwear. Or when Mary got drunk.

3) PRing in a MAJOR way at Tupper Lake Tinman half-IM (5:16).

4) Placing 5th overall female and being the first woman into transition at the mini-Mussel.

5) Forming some new, really awesome, friendships!

6) Getting hired full time at J&J. Yes my hours are awful but I have never had job security before.

7) Getting my sweet new car!

8) Long rides. All of the 6 hour rides with Kim and Ken. Going to pick up Kim and Ken when they didn't want to ride all the way home. Getting pep talks from Kim while I was dying on a solo ride. Riding around Canandaigua Lake 50 million times. Riding in a wind tunnel with my brother. Complaining about my crotch with Kim. Never wanting to taste Gatorade again.

9) A short-lived, but fun, romance.

10) Watching everyone band together to help Amelia after she forgot all of her nutrition at Syracuse 70.3. (And then she went on to really kick some ass!).

Thursday, January 13, 2011


This post has nothing to do with triathlon, or my weird sleep issues, or really anything that I normally write about, but I have been thinking about it all night after reading Kelly's blog post while I was at work.

In particular, this phrase "...sometimes someone just needs to give us permission to feel overwhelmed. Permission to feel sad. Permission to feel hurt." really resonated with me.

I commented on the blog post and Kelly emailed me back some encouraging words and we exchanged a few emails.

It is ok to feel hurt. It happens to everyone. Unless you are a robot, there are people out there that have the ability to make you feel bad. It's worse if you have an unfortunate habit of letting people get a little too close. When I was in college, I had a big falling out with my best friend. For years I felt betrayed whenever I thought about her. We are acquaintances now; but we will never be close like we were before.

I don't deal with being hurt very well. I take it very, very personally. Like it is a personal vendetta against me rather than something else that might be going on in someone's life. I'm not saying that there is any kind of excuse for being hurtful. And I'm DEFINITELY not saying that I have never said or done anything that is hurtful. It is human nature - humans are selfish because that's how we had to act in order to survive. It takes work to be less selfish. And it takes patience and compassion when forming relationships with other people.

I find that there are always two options that come to my mind when someone that I care about makes me feel like shit. The first option is to acknowledge that someone hurt me and then move on. Cut them out of my life and walk away knowing that I am better off. Because theoretically, I am the one who allows that person to continue hurting me. This is the graceful method of dealing with this - a friendship that is demeaning, a family member that is berating, a boyfriend that is uncompromising. Walking away - no angry words spoken, no accusations, no crying. Just the statement of "I don't need this negativity in my life." I envy people who can do this. Mary can do this; I cannot.

The other option (which unfortunately is the one that always wins out for me) is to lash out at that person as a defense mechanism. This person hurt me, so I want them to understand what it feels like. Unfortunately, not only is this immature and mean, but if the person that I am lashing out at actually had the capacity or compassion to understand my feelings, then they probably wouldn't have hurt me in the first place. It's a waste of time, and then instead of feeling happy and avenged, I end up feeling even worse because I let my emotions take control. The low road never yields good results for me.

I write about this now because it just happened to me. I chose option #2. Months of anger due to pent-up hurt feelings came exploding out of me. (And I use the term pent-up pretty loosely because I tend to let everyone around me know exactly how I am feeling). Do I regret it? Absolutely. But there is nothing to be done about it now.

So anyways, that's just what I have been thinking about. It's off to listen to some "white noise" and hug a horse pillow!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

where I'm racing in 2011

So now that it is 2011 (it's almost halfway through January already!) - I feel that the training season has officially begun. Especially since my weekend training hours have been creeping up shooting upwards like the Tower of Terror. (It unofficially began in Nov. 1st when I was forced to get off my ass and back onto my bike). What's the most fun thing to do early in the season? Plan races! Here is my alleged schedule. (Pending Coach Mary's approval, of course. But Coach Mary NEVER says no to me! Ok, she said no once. Big deal.) Note: only 4 triathlons this year. :( But 2 of those triathlons make up for the lack of others. Also, zero half-Ironmans. That makes me really, really sad. I loved the 2010 Tinman/Lake Placid combo but sadly, I could not find a half-IM that was within a reasonable driving distance at the end of May, and I'm not even going to TRY to fit one in between the 2 Ironmans.

Johnny's Runnin' of the Green - mid-March - 5 mile road race

Spring Forward Distance Run - end of March - 15k road race that is hilly as shit

Flower City Challenge - May 1 - local half-marathon

Keuka Lake Triathlon - June 5 - olympic distance tri

Ironman Coeur D'Alene - June 26

Cayuga Lake Triathlon - Aug 7 - olympic? sprint? who knows

Ironman Wisconsin - Sept 11


I am set for Coeur D'Alene. My flights are booked, my hotel is booked, I have transportation to and from the Spokane airport, and I have like 20 members of QT2 that are going to be there to keep an eye on me.

Wisconsin is still completely unorganized.. but it's months away! Plus, I am driving to that race so there are no airlines, rental cars, or bike bags involved.

This is the least amount of races I have done since 2007. It's gonna be weird!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Alexa can't sleep: the saga continues

Sleep Experiment Day 1: Ambien

Yesterday, I discovered what it's like to REALLY take Ambien. The first time I took it, I swallowed the pill without first reading the warning labels on the outside of the bottle - turns out, you're supposed to take it on an empty stomach. I had already eaten breakfast.


I got home from work yesterday morning at about 7:30 am. I was exhausted. I am used to taking Tylenol PM when I get home and then watching a little TV or reading a book for 30 minutes before my eyes start to get heavy. I figured I would do the same thing. I took the pill with some water (no breakfast), sat on the couch, and turned on an episode of Friends. No more than 10 minutes later I was seeing double. There were 2 Ross's and 2 Rachels on the 2 TV screens that I was looking at. Whoa. Time to go to bed.

Now let me reiterate. I don't do any kind of drugs. I barely even drink. Seeing double is NOT normal for me.

I got up to go to bed and immediately lost my balance. I am not exaggerating when I say that it was a BIG struggle to get myself down the hall, to the bathroom to pee and brush my teeth, and then to my bedroom to pass out. I left a wake of destruction in my path where I knocked things off my coffee table, kitchen counter, bathroom sink, and dresser because I had to grab ahold of these things (along with the wall) in order to stay upright. I woke up covered in bruises and with a very sore funny bone.

I guess Ambien has some crazy side effects such as sleeping while: driving, talking on the phone, eating, and having sex. I don't think I did any of these things? I live alone, and I barely have any food in my house. Maybe I should check the dialed calls log on my phone.. I wonder who I would call in my sleep?!

Taking this shit is like being shot with a tranquilizer! Next time I take it I will be sure to be in my PJs and in my bed so that I don't have to move once it's in my system. I actually only slept for about 4 hours. I woke up at noon and couldn't fall back asleep. However, when I was asleep, my cell phone buzzed with a text message and it was approximately 2 inches from my head - and I slept right through it. Normally, my phone buzzing from a text while in the NEXT ROOM is enough to wake me up.

When I went to the mall yesterday afternoon to return a winter coat to L.L. Bean, I wound up in Brookstone where I bought this sound therapy system. It was kind of a spontaneous purchase and rather pricey (which I am trying to not do) but if it helps me, it will be worth the money, and if it doesn't help me, I can return it (per the Brookstone employee I talked to).

If it's not obvious, I am starting to get desperate for more than 4 hours of sleep at a time. This desperation is resulting in me taking controlled substances which I am not in favor of doing, and spending lots of my hard-earned money on an f-ing sound machine.

Monday, January 10, 2011

hello, controlled substances

Wow. Crazy weekend. Wow. The really crazy thing? I did nothing but my workouts this weekend (and clean out my closet). I do not know where the time went.

I do know that I slept like shit last week (I was on nights). Friday, I went to my doctor to talk to him about it, and he prescribed Ambien for me. This is something that I had discussed with Mary because my lack of sleeping is interfering with my ability to go to work, my personal life, my training, and my general happiness and well-being. We're not just talking "a little tired." We're talking "not sleeping more than 2 hours a night (or rather.. day) for 5 days in a row." I was a zombie all week. I don't like the idea of relying on a drug.. but in reality, I am already taking Tylenol PM several nights a week to help with sleeping, which isn't much better. The doctor also asked me if there were any other reasons that I couldn't sleep (besides the shift work). I just cannot shut my brain off. Certain people, certain situations - just run through my brain and I can't stop it - I am attempting to remedy that. In the meantime, hello controlled substances, my name is Alexa.

Usually I sleep like a log Friday night so I did not try out the Ambien - big mistake - couldn't sleep. I then went to yoga on Saturday morning, cleaned out my closet (which resulted in 3 bags of clothes/shoes going to Goodwill and ~10 pairs of old running sneakers being donated to Fleet Feet), ran an hour, and biked 2 hours. I had the best bike ride that I've had in MONTHS. Nailed my heart rate zones, sweated my ass off - it was great.

Is it sad that the best Saturday night I've had in 2 months was one that consisted of a 2 hour bike ride and then taking an Ambien?


The Ambien didn't help me much on Saturday night. I fell asleep pretty easily but I still woke up multiple times throughout the night which is typical for me. However, I think Ambien is supposed to only make you fall asleep.. not help you stay asleep. I'm hoping that moving to a quieter neighborhood helps me with this - less street noise. I may invest in some kind of sound machine or something. Jesus, I am probably the most high maintenance person ever to exist.

Sunday.. was worse. I just couldn't pull it together. I cut all 3 of my workouts short. By 2 pm I was so lightheaded that I thought I was going to die so I ordered takeout from IHOP. Yes, this is my life. 12 hours later, here I am. At work. My quads are SO sore - they have that post-marathon feel to them.. the feeling that if you take a step down some stairs, your leg may not be able to catch you. I'm a wreck.

I am hoping to wipe the slate clean in the morning when I go home. That is my new thing. Every time I lie down, it's a new day. It's a chance to put anything negative that has happened the previous day to bed as well. There is no need to carry around all of that negative energy because that is no help at all. And that is not helping with my sleeping AT ALL. I dwell on things which keeps me awake. Last summer, before Ironman, I was incredibly content and I never had problems like this.

Tomorrow (ummm - today) is a new day. It is also a rest day - thank god, because my entire body hurts AND I have to get my apartment presentable. Not just "looks ok from a distance" presentable or "suitable to have a boy over" presentable. Like, "my landlord is coming with possible future tenants" presentable. Meaning - bikes gone, ALL clothes put away, kitchen organized, nothing lying around. Yeesh. That's going to be a workout in itself!

Also, I need to return this winter coat that I bought for myself (that still is sitting in the bag with the tags on it after 2 weeks) so that I can buy this bookcase/room divider/storage solution for my new apartment. I am lusting after that bookcase like you would not believe. So much storage space for zillions of books and DVDs, so many possible ways to make my small apartment look more "adult." If it was acceptable to date a piece of furniture, well.. there you go - I would be dating an affordable, Swedish bookcase.

Happy Monday to everyone.. and happy rest day to MEEE!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

home sweet home

I have a been a busy, busy girl this week!

Big news of the week: I am moving into a new tri-cave (you know, the place where I eat, sleep, play with my cat, and store my ridiculous amount of triathlon equipment) at the end of February.

I looked at one apartment. Just one. I hate apartment hunting. I liked the one I looked at so I made the call. The apartment is in one of the eastern suburbs of Rochester where there is less noise, better roads for cycling, and more security. It is also a studio apartment. A 27 year old girl living in a studio - pathetic? Perhaps. Carrie Bradshaw lived in a studio. I have better things to spend my money on than rent (such as plane tickets to Idaho. or IM merch. or anything, really). But it's a cute studio; smaller than my current apartment but nicer quality, better location, no wall-inhabiting squirrel or leaking windows - and after weighing the pros and cons I decided to go for it. It has a freakin' DISHWASHER. (Anyone who has scrubbed the grime out of 10 bike bottles using a paper towel wrapped around a fork knows how epic this is). I am going to buy a big-ass bookshelf. And although I detest moving, this is the perfect opportunity to do "the purge" of all the crap I have that is not needed. I am starting "the purge" this weekend by cleaning out my closets and donating all the clothes/shoes I don't wear to the Salvation Army.

Smaller apartment, simpler living. That's the whole idea.

Of course, the first thing my mom asked me was where my bike was going to go. Um, hello mom.. in the middle of my living room, exactly where it sits in my current apartment. Bike in the middle of the room, Ironman posters on the wall, finisher's medals and awards scattered around, a pile of dirty workout clothes in the corner, foam roller on the floor, wetsuit hanging off the shower rod, 6 different types of "ointment" for "areas" that my bike saddle comes in contact with in my bathroom. I don't pretend to be classy. My home will never be featured in H&G. I will never have a mature, grown-up apartment. I am just not that kind of person. I am less "pulled together" and more "mildly chaotic."

Maybe I will follow suit with Mr. Curbeau and get rid of all of my furniture altogether so that my only options are to a) sit on the floor or b) ride the trainer. (I think I would opt for the floor most of the time).

Maybe not. My cat would get pissed.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

to sleep or not to sleep

I have been having trouble sleeping. Again. This pisses me off. I got home from work Monday morning, crawled into bed, and couldn't sleep worth a damn. After laying there all day, I eventually gave up and got up at 3. I had plans to go to yoga at 7:15. By 5, I knew that wasn't going to happen because if I didn't get at least a few hours of sleep, I would never make it through work on Monday night. So I went back to bed until 9:15. I spent like 12 hours in bed and probably only got 3 hours of sleep total.

When this issue with sleeping starts interfering with my LIFE, and things that I want to do - and ENJOY doing, I get mad. I don't want to not go to yoga. I don't want to cancel dinner plans with friends. I don't want to be constantly tired. And all of this stressing out about how I am going to sleep, or how I am going to do my workouts when I haven't slept, is just making it worse.

And this is why I love Mary. Because I sent her a ridiculously high-maintenance email in the middle of the night asking her to rework my weekly schedule because it's stressing me out. Part of me expected to get a "suck it up" response. Because part of Ironman training is sacrifice. Sacrificing a crazy social life to train, trading sleeping in for early morning workouts, getting on the trainer instead of lying on the couch in the evenings. And while I am prepared to do this, I also need a weekly schedule that I am TOTALLY on board with - that I can repeat week after week after week without skipping workouts. And so far this year, I haven't hit that. I haven't gotten into the groove like I did last year. And I need to find that place again because 2 Ironmans is not a joke.

And yes, I am super resistant to change. I am stubborn. I am set in my ways. I like consistency and knowing what is going to happen ahead of time. I want to rarely have to move workouts around. I want my schedule to be like last year's. I'm not sure if this is possible. My abilities as an athlete are evolving and perhaps my training schedule has to evolve with them. A swim is added. Weekly bike rides are getting longer. Can all of this happen while maintaining the same weekly structure that I am so familiar with? I don't know. That is why Mary is the coach and I am the one being coached.

But the fact that Mary is willing to listen to my demands says a lot. I might get similar workouts week to week, but it's definitely NOT a cookie cutter training plan. She helps fit my training schedule to my life to reduce my stress and make training easier on me. That's a lot of work. I'm sure just reading my whiny emails is work enough!

I have always been a sort of "troubled sleeper." I have trouble falling asleep, and I am a very light sleeper so things such as: my cat crawling on me at night, a car alarm going off outside, drunk people running up and down the stairs, or a squirrel living in my walls tend to wake me up multiple times per night. Sometimes I take Tylenol PM to help me sleep - but I try not to do this very often because it makes me really groggy for several hours after I wake up. Plus, I don't think you really get quality sleep when you take that kind of sleep aid, but I do use it occasionally.

Sleeping is SO IMPORTANT to training, recovery, happiness, and health. It is so frustrating that I have to deal with this. My body is tired. Why can't I sleep?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

My new year's eve day was pretty good! Going to bed super early has its advantages - I was up at 7:30 and read a book on my Kindle until yoga at 11 am. Yoga was NUTS! There were probably 45 people at Mary's class.. and let me tell you, the hot room gets WAY hotter with that many people in it. I'm not really a "sweaty type" but I was dripping onto my mat and my hands and feet were slipping from the sweat. Gross, I know. TMI. Sorry!

Kim, Matt and I went to eat lunch after yoga and as Kim and I were walking to our cars I was like "Kim, my underwear is SOAKED." And she replied, "Why don't you take it off? Mine is in my pocket!"

Only ladies of Train-This are THAT classy.

(Sorry boys, Kim has a boyfriend)!

Anyways. I watched "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" on my trainer ride yesterday, and then "The Girl Who Played with Fire" on my ride today. I wasn't too sure how well I was going to be able to ride and read subtitles (the movies are in Swedish) but it worked out just fine.

I think I already posted some "resolutions" (if you want to call them that) a few weeks ago - they were all triathlon related. I have some non-tri things that I am going to try to work on during 2011. These include:

-reading more books (should be easy with the Kindle) instead of turning off my brain to watch some movie I've already seen 5 times.

-simplifying life - not buying things that I don't need, getting rid of things I don't use, keeping my apartment clean and picked up; all these things make my environment better and REDUCE STRESS!

-saving money. I have discovered that it is quite easy to save money, IF you have something to save for. In a few months I have managed to save a lot more money than I thought, and I can still pay all my bills and whatnot. It just takes a little willpower - so after I am done saving for these Ironmans, I am going to pick something else and start saving money for that - perhaps a vacation to somewhere cool!

-try not to be so neurotic. I haven't figured out how to tackle this one yet! :)

That's about it! I still have tomorrow to chill out.. I LOVE 3 day weekends! Unfortunately, I have to go back to work on nights for the next 2 weeks. :(