Alexandra has a true passion for sports and has her sights set on qualifying to run the iconic and prestigious Boston marathon. She talks to Sundried about some of her adventures.
Have you always been into sport?
I have, actually. I come from a very athletic family, so from a young age I have been participating in soccer, swimming, and cross country running. In university I was a varsity rower (crew), and also tried out many other sports like boxing, CrossFit, and even competitive lifeguarding (yes, it's a thing!), but have since changed focus to be more specifically marathon, trail running, and triathlon events.
What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?
I've always loved running, no matter what else I have taken on, I have always had running as my opportunity to stay grounded, to explore my city, think through anything that's preoccupying me. Additionally, it's been a way to make like-minded friends as I have moved around to over 10 cities in two different countries over the past 10 years.
Since swimming is another favourite activity of mine, it just followed that I would try out combining them and trying out triathlon. Cycling is for sure my biggest weakness, but I'm getting more comfortable with it and starting to enjoy it more each season.
What’s been your favourite race to date and why?
Hmm, this question is a tough one - I have done some pretty incredible courses!! I think it has to be the Athens Marathon. As a marathon runner, it represents the history of the sport both in legend and in the olympic story, so though there are specific courses that I have enjoyed more or found more incredible, and results that I am more proud of, the magnitude of getting to follow the footsteps of olympic and mythological legends is definitely a crowning moment.
And your proudest achievement?
I think my proudest moments in athletics is the feeling of sharing the joy that being active brings me. The feeling I get when someone that I've encouraged or who has asked me about running or triathlon starts really committing to it and starts improving. I coached a learn-to-run program a few years ago, and seeing how the group's confidence and motivation changed from being apprehensive about running for even 5 minutes the first week, to them running the whole length of a 5km race at the end of the program was beyond rewarding.
Have you ever had any racing disasters/your toughest race yet?
Definitely the toughest race I've done (but also one of my favourites) was the Day 6 Marathon of Orta 10-in-10 in northern Italy. It was one marathon in a series of 10 marathons in 10 days (so most of my fellow runners were on marathon 6 of 10 - I was only doing the one).
I was undertrained, under-hydrated, and over-touristed after spending 3 days walking around Venice before making my way to the small down of Gozzano, in the Lake District of Italy, for my race.
I thought I felt great and took off with everyone else... only to have the glaring sun and 32 Degree C heat wreck my by KM 27. I was able to keep running until about 34 but after that, even walking seemed to take a herculean effort.
Disaster race, disaster result, but nothing less than a HUGE smile at the end. The smile was for not only getting to participate in such an unusual, grass-roots type race in a beautiful little Italian village, but also for getting a peek into the world of Ultra Running. I had the privilege of meeting so many interesting Ultra runners from around the world, who had all come to take on this 10-in-10 challenge.
How do you overcome setbacks?
I overcome setbacks by reframing how I am looking at the issue into one of gratitude - for the learning opportunity, for the ability to have tried, for the results or successes I did have. I also spend time creating a concrete plan for approaching the challenge again, in a new way this time.
What advice do you wish you'd been given before you started competing?
"Less is more". I have a history of overtraining from the mentality of "if you're not training, your competitor is". It has lead to a number of injuries and illnesses - luckily none too serious. However, I have had the most success in my marathon training by reducing the intensity of much of training, and listening to my body more closely. My training has been more fun, and much more effective since I changed my approach.
What are your goals for 2020?
This year I have one goal - which is to run a Boston-Qualifying marathon time. It is a huge goal, as my fastest race yet was still over 20 minutes from my age-group qualifier, so it is going to take all of the dedication and discipline I have to make it happen.
Who do you take your inspiration from?
I take my inspiration from both of my parents - they have been athletic all of their lives, and have stayed passionate about it even as their goals and abilities have changed.
My mom would wake up at 5am to run before work while I was growing up. She also played in a competitive soccer league even well into her 50s, and now does cycle-touring trips to remote locations.
My dad qualified for Boston over 10 times having only started running marathons in his early 40s - and while juggling his training with 2 young kids who were both heavily involved in their own sport leagues at the time. Now, at 60, he has run over 40 marathons (plus countless other races), and is eyeing the new goal of getting to 50 marathons.
What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?
The thing I like most about Sundried is their commitment to being an completely ethical business - both working with the community through their charity work and how they treat their staff and suppliers, but especially their dedication to developing ecologically sustainable sportswear . As someone who aims to change how humans interact with their resources and each other, and who sees sport as a catalyst for creating a happy, healthy society, I have been looking for a brand like Sundried which can connect those two passions.
I am beyond excited to put the eco-charge and eco-tech products to the test with my training and run-commute activities as the weather starts to warm up , as well as make the leap to the Sundried bib-shorts this year to train for the next step in my cycling progression: a Century Ride!