Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Posting 2 days in a row! That hasn't happened in a while! I had 2 SUPER great workouts this morning that I just had to talk about. I am working evenings this week so I don't get to bed until at least midnight, usually between 12:30 and 12:45 am. I don't like it but there's just absolutely no avoiding it since I don't make it home from work until right before midnight.

For some reason, I couldn't sleep last night. I was bad this weekend and stayed in bed far too late (think: sleeping in like in the college days) and I think it just really messed me up. I was tired, I took melatonin, it just didn't happen. So I slept in AGAIN this morning but finally had to force myself up because I had 2 hours of workouts to do before work. Normally on days like this, workouts sucks. I don't like morning workouts and I especially don't like morning workouts when I'm tired and it's cold out.

I pushed my grumpiness and desire to go back to bed aside, ate a bagel, and went to the gym for a swim. I had a warmup, 3x500, and a cooldown totaling 3000 yds. It felt great. I felt like I was swimming effortlessly which doesn't happen a lot for me. Usually I feel like I am really working in the water. It's a nice feeling to feel so natural! Also, even though the temperature was hovering right at freezing, it was really sunny out and the sun just made me feel so happy! I was actually excited to go for my hour run, blow off some stress, and listen to some sweet tunes!

I am soooo glad that my runs are getting kicked up a notch. I had those few months off and then it's been slow trying to get my shit back together, but now I am seeing 1 hour runs on Tuesday and Thursday with a shorter run on Wednesday, plus weekend runs. I think a higher frequency of running really helps me and works well with my body since my history = runner. It has been really difficult seeing my pace in the 9-10 min/mile range even for short 30 minute runs.

What makes me even happier is that my hour run this morning was at 8:46 pace! I know, no speed demon here, but it was definitely a good run! It is AWESOME that I felt sooo good at an hour run AND that I could hold a decent pace - that I wasn't forcing my body to try to recover and gain fitness faster than it was able to. Another tribute to Coach Mary here because she KNEW how frustrated I was and how much I was bitching about not running, asking teammates how much they were running, comparing myself to other athletes and she made me wait.

Things seem to be coming together! Kim and I are riding our bikes outside on Saturday come hell or high water (or snow, or hail, or sleet). And I am on strict instruction to up my long ride to 6 hours the minute it hits 50 degrees outside! I am getting a little anxious about this because....................

only 12.5 weeks until Ironman Coeur D'Alene!

As a special added bonus for my blog readers, here is a video that I finally shot of my apartment. I actually cleaned before I did this (except the counter - I did not clean that!). If you really want to see how dorky I am, just watch it and you will be enlightened..

Monday, March 28, 2011

I was born this way

I actually have a topic for this blog post, which was sparked by a workout that Coach Mary had me do on Saturday. Instead of the typical late winter/early spring 3-4 hour trainer ride, I got to do (what I have affectionately dubbed) the "super brick." My particular workout was:

45 min bike/20 min run
45 min bike (tempo)/ 20 min run (tempo)
45 min bike (tempo)/20 min run (tempo)

total: 3:15

I hate tempo on the bike, but I love tempo on the run. Guess why? I am a runner! I can feel my heart rate zones on the run like nobody's business. I could tempo run with no watch, no Garmin, no HR monitor, blindfolded and naked and guarantee you I'd nail the pace.

I did not think I would like this workout (I like to get in and get out when it comes to long workouts and all of the clothing changes added probably 20 more minutes onto my time frame) because I tend to be kind of lazy. Surprisingly, I REALLY liked it. It was long enough to really feel like a workout, but the individual parts were short enough to keep my attention. I tend to have major ADD during long workouts (ESPECIALLY long bike rides) because I get bored, which leads to texting, facebooking, tweeting, and worst of all - talking on the phone all while on the bike. (Give me some credit, I normally will only talk on the phone during recovery rides, although I did make an exception on Saturday when my friend Rae, who just had run a marathon, called me to tell me about it and I was on the last leg of this bike ride).

Bricks to me are not a big deal, I like running off the bike, so I'm not really sure what the purpose of this workout was - honestly it seems to me that it would serve me better if I was concentrating on short course instead of Ironman, however this is why Mary is the coach and I am the athlete and not the other way around. I don't think this could be a replacement for a 6 hour ride because I never got the fatigue and aches that come with 6 hours on the bike.. I don't think ANYTHING can replace that feeling. I DO think it is a good "pick me up" for this time of year when I am ready to kill myself and throw my trainer out the window because at least I got to go outside for SOME of the workout! However, I am definitely ready to rock some long-ass (outdoor) bike rides because IMCDA is merely 2.5 months away!

So herein lies today's blog topic: how do we know if our bodies are predisposed for short course or long course triathlon, the 100 m dash or the marathon, the 5K or the 50K, the hurdles or the steeplechase?

For my entire life, I have struggled with short, all-out distances. Running at lactate threshold HURTS. After failing to do as well as I'd have liked at the 5K distance in cross country, after sucking at the mile in high school track, after choosing to do 1 mile repeats vs 400 repeats, and after taking 25 years to finally break 22 minutes in the 5K, I gave up and decided to concentrate on longer distances. Enter: the half marathon. A distance that was not too short, not too long, and that I liked! PR: 1:41. Then came the marathon: other than my quads blowing up at mile 16 it was fun oh wait, not fun at all. PR: 3:59. Hmm. Something does not add up.

So then I looked to my results from last season. Two races that were 2 weeks apart and were probably the best races I have ever had: Tinman and mini-Mussel. Tinman was a half-IM, my 2nd try at the distance, I PRed big time, but didn't even place in my AG. Mini-Mussel was a sprint distance race 2 weeks out from Placid after MONTHS of long, slow, endurance training, and I placed 5th OA female. So what does that say? I am better at sprints? There is just better competition at longer distance events? Who knows.

I can't honestly say that knowing the answer to this question would make a difference in what races I choose to do. If my body has more fast-twitch fibers am I going to give up Ironman? No. If my body has more slow-twitch fibers, am I going to give up sprint distance races? No. But it would be nice to know strengths and weaknesses. Where I can expect to excel and where I will have to work a little bit harder. Where I am going to see the biggest improvements because my body was made to perform its best at a particular distance, or heart rate, or level of stress.

I know you can find this stuff out by lab testing. I had my VO2 max tested in 2008. And although I can tell you what my VO2 max was back then, I don't really know what that means other than I can use it while reading Jack Daniel's book on running!

The mystery continues..

Monday, March 21, 2011


Goodbye, bless-ed rest week. You were known and loved by all (ok, maybe not all, but at least by me). You were so nice to me when I was tired from working nights. You let me regain some of my sanity and catch up on things that I needed to do (like laundry and going to my yearly doctor's appointment). You made it possible for me to go out on Friday night and sleep late (WAY TOO LATE) on Saturday morning afternoon.

But mostly, you let me demolish my 400 yd swim test time, YET AGAIN. I dropped 5 more seconds off my 400 yd time - bringing it down to 5:43.

You have to remember, I am not from a competitive swimming background. I am from a Red Cross swimming lessons/lifeguard training/WSI background and that is all of the swimming experience I have. So my 400 yd time reflects that. It's not *swim team fast*. But it's fast for me! Considering that at this time last year I was swimming 6+ minutes for a 400 yd TT I will definitely take the 5:43.

I did this swim test wearing my new goggles, the Aqua Sphere Lady Kaimans. I have been swimming in Ladies Speedo Vanquisher goggles since 2007 and although they seal properly (a problem I have normally because my head is small) they also feel like they are going to suck my eyeballs out of my eye sockets, and by the time I am done with an hour swim they are killing me. So I decided to try some new goggles. They are a little more low profile than my vanquishers (meaning I could feel my eyelashes hitting the plastic of the goggles) and I think they are dorkier looking, but they are WAY more comfy. AND they are sparkly! Maybe that will up my game at picking up dudes in the next swim lane over. Or not.

I did my swim test on Saturday because Thursday (the originally scheduled day) and Friday I was a) tired from C-shift and b) worried about trying to do a legit swim test while fighting my way through the weirdos that I normally end up sharing a lane with. Weirdos include: 400 lb man with buttcrack showing, various snorkelers, man who swims with paddles AND fins at the same time, man who swims the length of the pool along the very bottom and then rests for 10 minutes at each end, man who does butterfly right over my head, variety of large women wearing swimsuits with attached skirts "water walking," etc. These are all difficult people to circle swim with when you're going for as fast as possible. A Saturday swim test was a really good choice because the pool was essentially empty and I was definitely feeling refreshed after a mere 14 hours of sleep. (Once again, the benefits of a glorious rest week). I think  I will repeating both (Saturday swim test and excessive sleep) the next time around!

photo was taken outside of a library..
and we annoyed a guy trying to use the book drop!

crazy horse! but I <3 her
Sunday morning I did a 45 minute run with some teammates and then we all met at a bagel shop to get team gear and take a team photo. It was definitely an invasion of Bruegger's Bagels by athletes in spandex! After the photo shoot I visited my horse (I tried to ride her but she is currently lame) and then spent the afternoon relaxing before nap time and then work time. I have a super crazy brick workout this Saturday and I haven't decided how I feel about it. It's a bike/run/bike/run/bike/run totaling 3:15. Yeah.


But I bet it will be worth it when I'm killin' it in Coeur D'Alene! :)

photo circa 2006: I fell down.
Greg picked me up. obviously, drunk at the bar.

Something that is totally unrelated but that I am really excited about - over the weekend one of my BEST FRIENDS from college - Greg, a fellow bio geek at Slippery Rock U., got engaged to his boyfriend Josh!! I am so happy for them! Greg and I were lab partners (or at least at the same lab table) countless times, sat next to each other in tons of classes, wasted time studied at the library together, screwed around in open labs, went to the bar to celebrate birthdays, end of the semester, etc. Now he lives in Washington DC so I don't get to see him anymore but facebook keeps us in contact! :) Congratulations Greg!!!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I am on Twitter!

News of the day. I am now on Twitter. (Actually, I have been on twitter since 2008 but have not "tweeted" since 2009. Until now). Damn you Mary Eggers.

Soooooooooooo crazy blog friends.. follow me on Twitter at AlexaSwims!!! I resurrected my Twitter account for blog-related purposes! BTW, thank god Twitter allowed me to change my username from what it originally was - which will remain a secret. Did anyone used to use AIM when they were in high school/college? I definitely did. (I feel like I must state, for the record, that I no longer use AIM or any kind of chat client except for the built in chats on gmail and facebook on occasion. I think there should be an age limit to using AIM and having a "buddy list.") Anyways, my old AIM username was what I used for my Twitter handle which is really embarrassing since I have had that username since I was 17. TEN YEARS. Actually that is my username on slowtwitch as well. Super embarrassing.

Alright, that's enough self-promotion for now.

I am resting it up during my rest week which also happens to fall on a week of overnights. (Is that good timing or what??). I am looking forward to actually having some time to myself this weekend. I believe I have a swim test on Thursday so that should be interesting, given that I swim at a new, much busier pool than I used to swim at. It's going to be challenging trying to do a swim test while sharing a lane with someone who does butterfly right down the middle of the lane heading straight towards me. Seriously. This guy butterflied right over my head. Or trying to circle swim with 3 other people that are swimming half my speed. I have yet to figure out the optimum time (AKA quietest time) to go to this pool in order to do a swim test!

I have obtained some new triathlon toys in the last week or so (new goggles, new fins, and a pair of Zoot compression recovery tights) that I will test out and review. I purchased all of these myself (well the tights are a very belated Christmas gift) but I always think it's fun to test out new equipment and give my personal opinion, so look for that soon!

Monday, March 14, 2011

busiest. weekend. ever.

I'll say it again. Busiest. weekend. ever.


typical unflattering race photo
Johnny's Runnin' O the Green was at 10:30 on Saturday morning so I got to sleep in until 8 am! Woohoo! I made it downtown with a few pitstops (forgot my bib # and had to go back to my apartment to grab it), nabbed a sweet parking spot on the street, and gathered with the rest of the Train-This race crew. The temperature was in the mid 30s so I decided to race in Lulu shorts, a pink short sleeved shirt (which really stuck out considering 90% of the race field was wearing green), black armwarmers, gloves, a regular running hat, and my Garmin/HR monitor - everything else got taken back to my car. I ran a short warmup with Mary and company and then lined up - AKA was packed like a sausage into a crowd of 1000+ where absolutely no one understands that runners go to the front and walkers go to the back.

Not much to say about the race. I think I went out a little hard but running has been challenging lately because I was off for 3 months and I am still trying to get my run back to where it should be.. so I attempted to race at where I know I am capable of running and then couldn't quite do it because I'm not that fit right now. So I went out too hard and then just slowly died (except for the last mile) and the race ended up hurting pretty bad.

My chip time was 37:07 with a pace of 7:25 min/mile. This is WAY suckier than last year where I had a chip time of 36:11. Seriously? A minute slower??? WTF. I am annoyed.

Then I had to do a 5 mile run which was absolutely torture for my legs. I ran with Karin and Chris and thank god they were there to talk to because otherwise I don't think I would have lasted for the entire thing.

After the race I scooted home, changed, and then headed down to Middle-of-nowhere Middlesex, NY to help my friend/teammate Solveig move out of her house and into an apartment. Other than being 30 minutes late, it went smoothly and we managed to move a whole bunch of boxes using both of our cars. I got home from that adventure at 7 pm and forced myself to get on my bike for a 1 hour recovery ride. And seriously, I was looking for ANY reason to bail from this ride - my legs were KILLING me, I was exhausted and starving. I called Kim and left her a voicemail saying "I called you to see if you thought I should bail on my ride but since you're busy doing fun things unlike me, I am leaving you this message." And since Kim was unable to give me permission to skip it, I did it! It felt good on my legs so it was definitely the right decision.

I said f-you to the lost hour of sleep and rode 3.5 hours with Kim which was not my best ride ever. I was super grumpy all day because this week I am on overnights and that just destroys my Sundays and any positive attitude that I might have had. After riding I forced myself to run for 30 minutes even though my legs were still wrecked. I was finally done with my workouts at 3 pm which gave me a few hours hang out with my cat before trying (and failing) to nap before work.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

craptastic weather is ruining my life but everything else is *awesome*

Rochester weather has been a suckfest for the last week. It's either raining and sleeting while the temperature hovers around 40 degrees or it snows all day. Neither of these are great for outdoor running so I have hit the treadmill for the last 4 out of 5 runs. This may not seem like a big deal, I mean it is winter and I do live in western NY, however I am not a treadmill runner. This is the most I have run on the treadmill ALL WINTER. I am not a fair weather runner. I run outside, year round, through wind, hail, blizzards, and icy sidewalks. However, doing this resulted in 2 sprained ankles this season so I'm trying to watch it for the remainder of "winter."

Hence, I have been moving my runs inside when the footing is too dangerous (snow and ice) or when it is too cold and rainy out (40 degrees and rainy is not enjoyable no matter what kind of running clothes you have on). I have the race on Saturday and 5 miles to add on after the race and that is getting done outside regardless of the weather - it's supposed to rain - hopefully it will hold off!

Unfortunately, running on the treadmill seems to be aggravating my hamstring which, up until now, wasn't bothering me at all. So I have busted out my foam roller again and we've been spending some time together.

Screw you winter!!!! It's MARCH. GO AWAY.


For those of you who asked about the t-shirt quilt that I am aiming to have made in the fall, I think I am going to go with this place: http://www.campusquilt.com/. The pricing is pretty typical but they have a turnover time of 2-3 weeks which is great and they do the style of quilt that I want. They also can make quilts in several sizes so you don't have to have 40 shirts in order to get a quilt made. You can design the layout of the shirts if you want or you can entrust it to them, and they offer choices in colors for the back of the quilt and for the color in between the shirt blocks which is exactly what I am looking for. I'm pretty psyched to get the rest of my shirts! (Am I a dork or what??).

I am STILL getting around to completing the unpacking/cleaning process of my new apartment (yes I have been living there for at least 3 weeks and it still isn't totally unpacked) but when I am done I promise an episode of "CRIBS" like the hilarious one my friend Matt did with his apartment (it's worth watching just for the shot of his closet full of shoes!).

I think I am super close to selling my old road bike. I have two people that are really interested in it - one is a woman who is coming to look at it on Monday, and another is a man who wants it for his son if the first person doesn't want it. So I could potentially have it sold sometime next week! That will be some extra storage space for me and some more money for my husband, Mr. Ironman.

And last but not least, some excitement on the Train-This front:
  • we are getting some really awesome Headsweats visors showcasing our new-and-improved logo (which you can see in the top right corner of my blog) - SUPER EXCITED about this
  • we are getting Train-This water bottles from super awesome coach Mary!
  • TONS of us are doing Johnny's Runnin' of the Green and then are pub crawling (Mary's term for running the course again post-race)
  • we are doing a team breakfast/picture/meeting next weekend
  • we are just plain *awesome*

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

things are getting cRaZy!!

I have discovered that a LOT of people don't like olives after my last post. (Is an olive actually a vegetable, btw, or is it some kind of "seed"????). Olives are grosssss.

In other news: single, slightly crazy, triathon-obsessed, reclusive me went on a date on Saturday night. Where did I meet this fellow? At the gym. Obviously. Where else would I even meet someone because the gym is the only "social" place that I go!! I'm not going to post the dirty (or lack thereof) details because really, the general public does not need to know them (and nothing interesting scandalous happened anyways). But it was fun! I will say that 99% of the time, anyone who talks to me between 200s in the pool annoys the living shit out of me. The other 1% asks me out (which makes me forgive the annoyance). This guy asked me out. On Thursday. Definitely a rare occurrence! And then I had to spend an hour on Saturday afternoon trying to find an outfit that was not made up of race shirts, Lululemon, or any type of "wicking" material and that matched and that didn't make me look like an outdoorsy, hippie, lesbian. It wasn't easy!

Speaking of "wicking" ...

I am 6 shirts short of being able to have a t-shirt quilt made. I am doing it entirely with tech shirts that I get from races (because I don't wear most of them). I'm hoping with some strategic race entries this year (i.e. doing lots of races that give out tech shirts) I will be able to hit the # I need and send the shirts out in the fall to get my quilt made!

As for upcoming races/training weekends, I have some fun plans that have just been made!

I am running a large, local St. Paddy's Day 5 mile race this Saturday with a whole bunch of Train-This teammates - it's called Johnny's Runnin' of the Green and it's sponsored by a local bar. Can you get more awesome than that? (This is my 3rd year doing this race). Except that Mary is making everybody run the course again post-race.. so that will be a fun day of running 10 miles?? What???? Last year it was warm. This year, I'm not sure if that's going to be the case.. yuck. Here's hoping!

Then, over Memorial Day weekend I am going up to Lake Placid for a training weekend. Because I cannot go to training camp this year (camp is 1 week before IMCDA and I would rather be freaking out/tapering/packing/cleaning my bike at home rather than spending money to do those things in Lake Placid whilst annoying everyone else that's up there to actually get some work done) I have been seriously bummed out because camp ROCKS.. but then Kim invited me to go up to Placid with her and a bunch of people so I think I am going to do that. I can do exactly what I would do at training camp (AKA crush the mountains on my bike) except at a date more conducive to my Ironman schedule!

THEN, I am doing the Keuka Lake Sprint Tri the first weekend in June, which isn't a big deal except that Mary is making me do the sprint (I prefer olympic distance) because she is making me ride my bike the 60+ miles back home to Rochester from Penn Yan, NY after the race. WHAT?!? So I have to either leave my car down in Penn Yan and get someone to drive me back to it after I make it back to Roch., or I have to hitch a ride to Penn Yan in the morning, or I might have a friend that wants to ride with me and her boyfriend will drop us off.. plans are still up in the air, but then again, this isn't happening until JUNE so really, no need to worry about it now!

....BUT I am sensing a theme here.. Mary is making me do these crazy training things that are hard and sound kind of crazy and I LOVE them!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

hopping on the bandwagon

Age: 27

Bed size: full

Chore you dislike: all of them?

Dogs: my parents have a dog named Joey

Essential start to your day: cranberry juice

Favorite color: pink and green

Gold or silver: silver

Height: 5’ - yup!

Instruments you play: if you would change this to "played" - flute and piano and a tiny bit of guitar

Job title: QA Tech II

Kids: I have two furbabies - Cherry the horse and Fiona the cat

Live: Rochester, NY (technically I live in Penfield now!)

Mom’s name: Donna

Nickname: Seabiscuit, Lexa

Overnight hospital stay: none

Pet peeves: sooo many - slow drivers, SUVs, idiots.. etc.
Quote from a movie: "My friends, you bow to no one." -Return of the King

Righty or Lefty: LEFTY BITCHES!
Siblings: 1 younger brother
Time you wake up: depends based on the hours that I am working

Underwear: I have at least 50 pairs of underwear and they are all from Victoria's Secret
Vegetables you don’t like: olives
What makes you run late: I underestimate how long it will take me to get there
Xrays you had: abdomen (for kidney stones)
Yummy food you make: scrambled eggs?
Zoo animal favorites: zebras

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

random weekly stuff and.. THE BET

Lots of craziness has happened in the past week. I am back into the swing of my workouts after a week of being sick and week spent recovering from being sick. I just registered for my first race of the year which is next Saturday. It's a 5 mile race called Johnny's Runnin' of the Green. It's a pretty big race in Rochester- gets lots of people wearing costume and also lots of fast runners because there is a monetary prize! I did it last year and the year before. Some of the highlights of this race are that it a) does not start at the crack of dawn and b) gives out nice cotton long-sleeved t-shirts. I hate getting tech shirts because unless they make women's specific shirts, they NEVER fit me! I have like 30 unworn tech shirts from races. Do you think I could get a t-shirt quilt made out of tech shirts or would that be weird?

Being that I now live in a new neighborhood, I joined a new gym. I used to go to a small gym called the Downtown Fitness Club. It was small, quiet and didn't have a lot of patrons, and had absolutely no kids. However, that gym is now a good 15-20 minute drive from my new apartment, so I let my membership run out and joined the Y which is around the corner from me. This Y is super nice - there are rock climbing walls, an indoor track, a nice pool, a kid's pool, etc. but it is much, MUCH busier. Which is fine. There are also a lot of kids - also fine. Surprisingly though, there are a TON of really, really obese people. I was there yesterday for maybe 2 hours and I saw at least 10 morbidly obese women in the locker room. It doesn't matter to me - these people don't affect me or my workouts - it was just shocking to me. I don't understand how people can get so large.. especially teenage girls or young kids!!

Some fun team news: we are getting team visors and team water bottles! I love stuff like this so I am very excited.

I am STILL not totally unpacked.. this is due to sheer laziness on my part. Also, I had my dishwasher all loaded up with dishes from the past week, I went to run it last night and it wouldn't work! I think when they installed it, perhaps they forgot to plug it in? I have to call the apartment office today so that they can come fix it!
I discovered a new TV show (thanks to Kim) called Parenthood (I think it's on NBC??). I am now trying to catch up on all of the episodes - it is currently only on its 2nd season. I might be obsessed..

I have been toying with doing REV3 Costa Rica 70.3 next February because I am going take a break from IM in 2012 and would actually like to travel to some places that I WANT to go to (AKA not Idaho OR Wisconsin). I have been dying to go to Costa Rica for several years, and now there just happens to be a race there!?! AND I found a girlfriend that wants to go with me!! So it is looking very promising and I am super excited even though it's a year away. My ideal vacation is a destination race followed by a week of vacation-y activities in the jungle!!

This is all over the place - my apologies!

One last thing: THE BET. I made a wager with my good friend Mark O. We are both racing Ironmans on Sept. 11th - me at IM Wisconsin, him at REV3 Cedar Point. As of 2010, I am about 30 mins faster than him for Ironman finish time (I did IMLP, he did Cedar Point). As I am quite confident that I can beat him again, he told me that if he beats me, I have to eat a cheeseburger. Why a cheeseburger? I am a vegetarian and I am quite opposed to eating meat for ethical reasons. (As a side note: the cheeseburger has to be organic, free-range beef - otherwise there is no way I will touch the thing). Even with that disclaimer, it grosses me out.

Now I have to figure out what to make him do when I beat him. It's gotta be something REALLY good and most likely very embarrassing!