Welcome to ‘Getting to know…’ number 12. I am excited to be sharing this post, as I got to know Alexandra through Instagram and she is amazing. I originally started following her as her Instagram is Lexielovestorun and my daughter is called Lexie, so why wouldn’t I? haha Then I realised what an amazing runner she is, and so inspiring.
We have been chatting via DM’s for a while now and we thought that we were finally going to meet at Endure 24 this year, but then COVID happened! Hopefully, meeting IRL will happen soon!
If you have missed any of the previous interviews, you can find them here.
How long have you been running?
Since January 2013 so just over 7 years.
What made you start running?
I left my job as a Chemistry Teacher to follow my serving military husband to a posting in the USA. I’d just turned 31 and having largely coasted through my 20’s doing not a whole lot and being warned that “when you move to America you should be careful you don’t get fat” [insert retrospective eyeroll] I decided I needed to get a little fitter. So when I saw literally LOADS of people running past the window of my new home, I wondered what all the fuss was about. I suppose I was influenced by that without even realising it, but at the time I felt like I literally rolled out of bed one day and decided I’d go for a run.
So I looked up a loop route from my front door. I did a mini google search for how to start running. I decided to follow a beginner to 30-minute plan I found from, I think, Runners World that I hand-copied out (and still have) It started with 1 minute run 1-minute walk. I had no idea how far or how fast I could go so just decided to do that on this 3.5-mile loop.
Why do you run now?
I fell in love with running pretty quickly and though it has definitely broken my heart a few times (and I’m sure may do again) I can’t go a day without thinking about it. It is now a HUGE part of who I am. I hope I can run until the day I die!
My why changes. It can range from wanting to challenge myself, to seek out a new PR or push my limits, to needing therapeutic time to clear my mind, to give me peace and time to think alone to or enjoy time with friends who love it too. I LOVE the running community and have even found some of my closest friends through it. I have extended my family with people that I would have never met had I not found running. That’s pretty special if you ask me.
What was your last event?
What is your next event?
Who knows!! But next thing on the schedule until it’s cancelled is Loch Ness Marathon on October 4th.
Favourite thing about running?
Running has been the vehicle through which I found myself. I grew into my own skin and fell in love with that same skin and just being me. It taught me I am stronger and more capable than I ever realised, or would give myself credit for. Also that I have only scratched the surface of what I can do. It continually reminds me to be brave, to take chances and love life. Whether or not my children appreciate it now, I love that it reignited a zest for the outdoors and taking every opportunity to share that with them.
Oh and I also just LOVE the process of training… love love love it!
Worst thing about running?
Is there such a thing? Except maybe pooping yourself!
What one piece of advice would you give to a beginner?
You vs You! Ultimately, you must ALWAYS follow your own path, and I REALLY mean that. Don’t pay lip service to it, REALLY seek what sets YOUR soul on fire and celebrate all the milestones along the way. Nobody else REALLY cares, so YOU need to.
Best piece of advice given to you?
Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.
Favourite race distance?
The marathon has my heart
Funniest thing that has ever happened to you whilst running?
I once ran a marathon in Pennsylvania in 97% humidity and 28/29C at the finish line. Oh MY GOD, that was a rough one! I was wearing a pad in my shorts. It was SO hot that I was throwing water over my head to keep me cool at each of the aid stations. I was also wearing a new belt to hold my phone and wasn’t 100% sure if it was waterproof so when throwing the water and running I was aiming the water down my back and ultimately into my shorts.
The pad got so full of water I hadn’t realised until it got so full of water it was basically a nappy (this is so embarrassing but too funny not to share)… at about 20 miles I realised it had got so heavy it had started to move and shake until it was threatening to fall out of my shorts altogether!! Just as it was about to fall out, I managed to grab it and fling it in a nearby and oh my thank god luckily timed bin on the side of the street. (thankfully it was a quiet part of the course with not many spectators around) – I’m not sure if anyone saw me combat grab it and fling.
I was pretty proud of my quick thinking as I was dying in the heat. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud! Nobody ever said this marathon running lark was pretty right!
Most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you whilst running?
I think the above counts for this one too!
On average, how many miles do you run per month?
When I’m training 220 – 300 miles depending on the season and but when I’m not training I hover around 160-180 miles mark.
Do you belong to a running club?
Yes – Windle Valley Runners.
Do you do any other forms of exercise in addition to running?
Yes, I strength train 2 or 3 times per week. Cycle (I try for once a week but that’s the discipline I struggle to get in around the family at the moment) and I swim regularly. At the moment 2/3 x per week open water in the nearby lakes.
Favourite pre-race/pre-long run meal?
Rice and salmon evening before a long run/ race and I like oatmeal made with hot water the morning of.
Favourite post-run meal?
Banana, a latte and then often have something like a juicy burger!
Do you have any superstition?
Nope, but I do like routine.
What is your biggest achievement sport wise?
I’m really proud that I coached myself from a 4.05 marathon to a 3:14 marathon and that it came from my own sheer hard work, drive, research, dedication and commitment. But during the process, I also lost myself a little for a while and began to rate my success and how I felt about myself to the time on the clock.
There’s a fine line between passion and poison but through a lot effort, soul searching, reading and listening to some wise people, I think I’m proudest of overcoming that and being happy to do what I can, with what I have, where I am. That’s all we CAN do and it should ALWAYS be enough.
If you were granted one wish related to running, what would it be?
To be able to run forever.
This or That
Early Morning Run or Evening Run
Tea or Coffee
Winter Running or Summer Running
Solo running or Running with Friends
Road Running or Trail Running
Dog or Cat
Miles or Kilometres
Run with someone chatty or run with someone silent
Run with no sock or run with no underwear
Run a hilly 5k or flat 10k
Run a hilly 10K or flat half marathon
Run a hilly Half Marathon or Flat Marathon
Run a hilly Marathon or Flat Ultra Marathon
Run as much as you want on the treadmill or only run once a week outside. You KNOW my answer is going to be run ALL the miles on the treadmill! I can’t wait to get back to training on one at least sometimes!