Ask Alexandra – October 2003

Question #1:

Hey alexandra,

i just wanted to thank-you for playing a huge role in my life. i’m 17 and the past 10-15, that i’ve been watching baywatch, i’ve known 1 thing….that i wanted to become a lifeguard. so after 3 years of intense training, and long hours in the water, at home studying, and making time for school work, i’ve finally reached my goal. i now am a lifeguard/swim instructor, and i’m going for another course where i can actually teach teens like myself to become lifeguards. i own this to you and the rest of the cast of baywatch and i just wanted to thank-you, very much. i hope you have much sucess in your future, just like you’ve had in your past. Well, thanks for taking the time to read all your fan mails…i appreciate it. Have a good year!

Love, Ashley

Dear Ashley,

I am so impressed with you, and so honoured that I could have been in any small way responsible for you becoming a lifeguard! You dont say where you live, but the swimmers in your hometown are lucky to have such a dedicated and hardworking lifeguard looking out for them.

There is no job more noble than being responsible for the safety and well-being of others. That is what a lifeguard does, and dont you forget that even on the hottest, most tiresome of days. Lifeguards dont get paid much, but what you do is invaluable. My favorite piece of clothing is the lifeguard jacket Lt.Bill Oat of Cape May Beach Patrol in New Jersey gave me about 10 years ago. He probably doesnt know I still have it and that I cherish it so much, but I think lifeguards are heroes.

So, thank you for keeping us safe! I hope to swim in your pool, at your lake, or off your beach someday.

Thank you for writing.


Question #2:

Hello Mrs. paul. I am currently training to run my first 5k in a couple of weeks. I know that you are a veteran triathlon runner. Is there any information that you can offer to someone who is about to run their first 5k race? By the way, YOU ARE AWESOME!


Dear Runner,

Good for you for training for your first race! I know this will be a rewarding experience.

I consulted my darling husband Ian, who is a triathlon coach, and this is what he advises: 

  • It is more important to run often than to run long. In other words, several runs of two miles each week are better than one run of 4 miles.
  • Run at least 3 times a week. Do a longer run on the weekend, and give yourself a rest day after your hard run.
  • Run in comfort. You should be able to have a conversation during your run. Dont be afraid to walk for up to a minute if you feel too winded.
  • A fun thing to try during a run is to do sprints or “fartleks”. For example, run 5 minutes at a comfortable pace, then pick up the pace and run one minute fast, then slow down (do not stop) to a comfortable jog for 5 minutes, then one minute fast etc. Do this 4 times. This training will make you faster!
  • Running Technique: 
       – Run in a “proud” upright posture. 
       – Keep your hands relaxed. 
       – Shorten stride to 180 footfalls per minute. That is 30 steps every ten seconds. (this is my favorite – it definitely makes me run faster, but it takes concentration to keep my footfalls that fast)
  • Race Day: 
       – Do not overeat the night before (just eat normally). 
       – Nothing new on race day. Make sure you have trained with your race shoes, socks, shorts, shirt, sunglasses etc. so that nothing is going to chafe or not fit properly on the big day. (speaking of chafing, you can use vaseline if you have underarm or thigh chafing while you run)

Have a great time!



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