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I’m a Ragnarian!

Monday: 10m interval (6 x 1m repeats @ 7:13/p)

Tuesday: Crossfit, 9.5m easy 9:20/pace

Wednesday: Rest

Ragnar.

It’s over, but I keep replaying the 30+ hour trip like a favorite movie. I miss it. I miss the people I ran with. I miss the van. I miss running at stupid hours. I miss the pb + j’s. I miss the fun. It was SO MUCH FUN.

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VAN 2: Nick, Jennifer, me, Normailed, Steve, Jill

I didn’t know what I was getting into… I only knew the very basics. It’s a relay (duh) with 12 people split into 2 vans where each person runs three times, and it takes around 30 hours to complete. I did not organize our team. It takes a special kind of person to organize a Ragnar and I can’t thank Normailed and Nick enough for all the coordination, communication and driving for our group.

Our team started the race around 6am on a Friday. We were in Van #2 which didn’t start until about 1pm. Which meant our 6 runners got to sleep in a bit and head out to the first exchange mid-morning. I didn’t get coffee until we arrived at the exchange (Thank you Ragnar for the Dunkin Donuts coffee. I needed it soooo bad). I got several cups (these were tiny) and finally I felt more social and ready to run!

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However it wasn’t my turn. I was runner 11. There’s a lot of waiting around for your turn to run during a relay. Once our first runner got going we filled the van and headed up the road to cheer him on.

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We had a BLAST with the windows down, cowbell ringing, hooting at the runners. Oh our van name was the Hustlin’ Hookers. It got a lot of attention. I mean Steve. Steve got a lot of attention.

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When you’re on deck time flies! Making sure you have all your running gear together, bib attached and final trips to the bathroom are key and need to be timed right. The runners head into an exchange chute, slap a bracelet on your arm and you take off.

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The exchange: all of us waiting for our runner, Jennifer to come in

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My first leg was easy compared to most of my teammates who were scaling mountains. It was a super flat, five mile dirt trail. I packed my running outfits in separate ziplock storage bags which is recommended since it keeps everything organized and also gives you a bag to throw sweaty clothes in once you’re done. file_009

I took off around 5pm and my legs flew. I figured this would be my fastest segment just because I was waiting around anxious to run all day. As soon as I finished, i felt relieved from all the nerves and was finally able to relax and enjoy the experience. Which was basically talking about running, describing your leg of the run and how you felt, cheering on other runners, watching people run, watching runners having fun and interacting with complete strangers who also obsess over running.

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At one point we were driving by runners I blurted out, “I love running so much I would marry it.” I felt dumb for like 2 seconds then everyone agreed. Being completely immersed in running for solid hours at a time was so much fun we all would marry running. Til death do us part. Or at least until we get tired enough to try and get some sleep. Sleep was tough. I think we all slept 2 hours–at the most.

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Food wasn’t as scarce as I thought it would be. I always pack my own, but I panic if i don’t know where or when my next meal is coming from! Luckily our van had a great captain with excel spreadsheets galore so everyone had different things to bring. Our van was stacked with plenty of sandwich makings, protein bars, veggie platters, water, Nuun and Gatorade. There was an exchange at a gas station with a nice deli, another exchange at a school offering a spaghetti dinner (and showers which we took advantage of) and yet another exchange on a farm with bbq and burgers!file_007

We also got a chance to sit down at an ihop and order a meal. Bottomless coffee never tasted so good!

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Every runner in our van was most nervous about the night running. Myself included. I just didn’t want to do anything stupid like miss a turn or trip.

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Under Ragnar rules you have to run with a headlamp, tail light and a reflective vest. My leg started after Steve’s (check out those thigh highs!) and it started in a whirl–I was waiting in line for the bathroom and he was already finishing so I missed my chance for the bathroom and started running at 4:30am for my longest leg. 9.1m and 700ft of elevation.

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Running at night was much more fun than i expected. The runners looked like fireflies dancing along the road’s shoulder and the pitch black was sort of exhilarating in a –don’t fall, don’t die, don’t lose the person in front of you –kind of way.

I ran my last leg of the day with Jill in the Bethesda/Chevy Chase area. It was fun because it was familiar and it was even more fun to run with someone. Plus we kept each other going even though it was clear our legs were getting tired.

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The last day went by too fast. Each of us were running our final legs, excited to be done, sad to be finished. I didn’t want the weekend to end. I even thought about running an extra leg with Nick, but at the last minute decided against it because my right arch started cramping. Running 3 times in 20 hours is a lot. My final mileage was 21 for the trip.

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Nick was our anchor, and we headed to Navy Yard to have a beer and wait for him to finish so we could all cross the line together.

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Already reminiscing over the good times…

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I’m excited that I get to cross Ragnar off my never ending race list, but I can’t imagine that being my one and only. I loved the whole race and loved the runner bonds I’ve made with great people. Now, go find yourself a group of strangers in a van to run a Ragnar with. And make sure to pick a van with candy…

Last Week

Monday: 7m easy 9:50/pace

Tuesday: 8m interval (3 x 1m repeats 6:40, 6:37, 6:35), Crossfit

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 11m MGP tempo ( 8m @ 7:50/p), Crossfit

Friday: 6m easy 8:47/p

Saturday: 10m easy 9:00/p, 10 to 1 workout (65# push press + 135# deadlift)

Sunday: 10m easy 9:31/p

Total Miles: 52

Ever run a Ragnar or relay race?

What is your favorite race distance or type of race? (marathon, obstacle, color run, ragnar etc)


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DE Beach Trip + Parks Half Marathon Recap!

 

Monday: 7m easy 9:50/pace

Tuesday: 8m interval (3 x 1m repeats 6:40, 6:37, 6:35), Crossfit

I broke my phone a week back and a lot has had me on the go, so i’m a little behind in uploading pictures and sitting down to blog. Forgive me? Good, cause a lot happened. Two weekends ago I drove out to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware for a friend’s bachelorette party. It was a super low key, relaxing girls night. Just the way I like it.

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Seriously such a pleasant quick trip. Sarah got married on September 18th and I was so happy to spend time with her family!

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Sarah & Kristin

The following day the beach was beautiful. The weather was perfect, the water was green and blue and we spotted dolphins on our walk down the sand.

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As much as I wanted to stay at the beach all afternoon, being a runner called for an early trek back home to pick up my bib for the Parks Half Marathon race the next day. I ran it last year and it’s one of my favorites. As long as I live here I will run this race. It is so fun, so coordinated and the swag is killer with a Brooks long sleeved shirt and a finisher’s blanket!

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The race start is 15 minutes from my house making the morning of the race super easy. I ate my normal meal: pb & banana, coffee, water + Nuun, and a Honey Stinger Waffle during the drive to the start. I actually had time to use the port-o-potty twice and got a quick warm up in. Compared to the last several races, this was a big deal!

The weather was warm and humid (73 degrees & 75% humidity)- if you’ve been following any blogs from the DC/Baltimore area the summer humidity has not let up! It feels like we’re living in Florida. It’s getting annoying.  Annnyyyway… my goal for this race was to run 7:20/pace however, with the warm weather, I naturally fell into a 7:30-7:40/pace instead (about 20 seconds off my goal marathon pace) which felt generally easy.

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I love running the Parks Half because it runs along several trails I’m on often. It’s familiar, i know every crack and divot, every turn and hill, so i knew where to push and where to slow down. I had a huge mental advantage with this race.

The physical advantage had to do with the marathon training plan I’m on. Hansons is not joking when they talk about cumulative fatigue and how you will learn to run on tired legs. Training for an ultra and then heading straight into this program, I can’t remember what it feels like to run on fresh, rested legs. It sounds bad, but I love it. I love knowing I can run through fatigue and run well at that. I keep envisioning the last 10 miles of the marathon and I know this is what will make the difference when the general fatigue sets in.

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This race was so much fun and worked like a long tempo which i was more than happy with. I crossed the uphill finish with a time of 1:40:22, grabbed a coffee from Panera and made my way back home.

2016 Parks Half Marathon - Photo by Dan Reichmann, MCRRC

2016 Parks Half Marathon – Photo by Dan Reichmann, MCRRC

I took my bib number 2612 as a sign that i’ll have a good marathon in Philly since it looks like 26.2🙂

Last Week

Monday: 6m easy 10:00/pace

Tuesday: 9m intervals (6 x 800s), Crossfit (also did 3 x 800s)

Wednesday: 7.8m easy 9:40/p

Thursday: Crossfit

Friday: 5m 7:30/pace Ragnar Relay

Saturday: 9.1m 8:15/p Ragnar, 7m 12:00/p Ragnar

Sunday: Rest

Total Miles: 43.9

Do you have a favorite local race?

What’s the best race swag you’ve received?

 


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Weekend in the Mountains

Monday: 6m easy 9:39/p

Tuesday: 7m interval (3 x 1 mile @ 6:40/pace), Crossfit

We kicked off our 1 year wedding anniversary right! Friday night dinner and dessert with Cameron’s parents and a lot of wine🙂

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Saturday morning I woke up extra early to fit in a long run. It was finally a little cooler out and very welcomed. 13 miles later we headed out to Shenandoah National Park to hike and check into our cabin.

It was cute but also kinda creepy…I kept thinking the lighting made it a look a little serial killer-ish. How else do I describe it? hah

Then we headed on the trails. The weather was beautiful, temps were cool and there were too many trails to choose from.

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For dinner we ate at Big Meadows Lodge (where we stayed) and it was outstanding.

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Wine of course, cheese plate, oven roasted chicken, mashed potatoes and green beans.. oh and blackberry cobbler.

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We continued the evening with a bottle of wine back on our porch. Being away from home was so relaxing.

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Sunday morning we rolled out of bed to catch the sunrise…

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After breakfast we headed out again for more hiking. We both felt accomplished since we did a variety of hikes that included waterfalls, rock climbing and summits with views.

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Today I’m doing my first workout of mile repeats. Wish me luck, these are going to hurt. Especially after all the hiking…my poor calves.

Last Week

Monday: 6m easy 9:24/p, Crossfit

Tuesday: 8m intervals (400, 800, 1200, 1600, 1200, 800, 400)

Wednesday: 8.4m easy 8:58/p

Thursday: 6m easy 9:40/p

Friday: 10m tempo (7 @ 7:47/p)

Saturday: 13m long 8:58/pace, 5m hiking

Sunday: 5m hiking

Total Miles: 51.4 running, 10 hiking (first 50+ mile week!)

Do you like to hike?

What did you do for labor day?

 


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Phone Dump Friday: 1 Year Anniversary Edition!

Wednesday: 8.4m easy 8:58/p

Thursday: 6m easy 9:40/p

I know 3 posts from me in one week is not normal, but hey it’s our 1 year wedding anniversary and can’t miss this! We’ve been together for 8.5 years, married one year. It feels like we’ve been together forever in the best way and marriage is still super new and feels different in a much deeper, much more loving way. I’m not going to get too gooey on you though, i just wanted to share some pictures of us, old and new, some from the wedding and some from my personal stash. Enjoy!

First family trip to NC, been kickin’ it with Kyle and Elise for almost a decade…

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same trip!

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we dated long distance for the first 4 years of our relationship- so a lot of skypeing happened!

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Colorado trip 2015

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The time we got married

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Colorado shananagins, the time we lost Patrick.

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we go to plenty of baseball games…

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sometimes we even run together..

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and make faces together…

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and vacation to Jamaica together…

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and make faces together without knowing we’re making crazy faces together…

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our first thanksgiving as a married couple!

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our first Christmas as a married couple!

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our first hug as a married couple!

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the butt squeeze was pre-wedding…consider it the bachelor party !

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We’re heading out for an anniversary dinner with my in-laws and then off to Shenandoah National Park to hike for 2 days this weekend, keeping our camping tradition alive!

Married couples out there- how did you celebrate your first (or if it’s been too long, the most recent anniversary?)

Singles- do you camp?

ALSO- Shout out to my sister, it’s her 27th birthday today and now shares her b-day with our a-day!

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Roller Coaster Race @ Six Flags!

Tuesday: 8m intervals (400, 800, 1200, 1600, 1200, 800, 400)

I was going back and forth with wanting to run the half marathon at Baltimore’s Running Festival- but it’s about a month out from the Philadelphia Marathon i’m training hard for and I can’t risk doing a hard half that close to the marathon. Instead, I was invited to run a 10K at Six Flags America (Upper Marlboro, MD) on Sunday, October 16th.

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Im excited about the Roller Coaster Race for a number of reasons:

1) I haven’t raced a 10K since 2013! It’s not a distance i race often, so i’m excited to hopefully update a new PR.

2) With the entry purchase of the 5k or 10k you get a free ticket to the park (good for the day of the race) and free parking! Cameron and I have wanted to go to Six Flags all summer, but it’s been so humid we haven’t ventured out that way. October sounds like a more enjoyable time to be walking around a theme park. And i’m never going to turn down a post-race funnel cake.

3) If you have friends or family who want to participate, but aren’t runners there is a Roller Coaster Ride challenge they can sign up for. Then they complete a 5k’s worth of roller coasters throughout the day to snag a custom medal!

4) The race starts at 9:30am. Hello beautiful.

If you’re interested in signing up do it today! Price increases tomorrow. Check out more information here and let me know if you plan on going so we can meet up! I’m so excited about a day at the park!!!

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Remember a while ago Cameron and I ran a Color Me Rad 5k through Six Flags? It was fun, but they didn’t give us a free park ticket! We both thought it was odd to bring all these runners and walkers to a theme park and not offer a discount or ticket for the day.Screen Shot 2014-05-11 at 10.50.26 PM

Ever run a race through a theme park?
Roller coasters? Love em or leave em? 


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Marathon Things

Monday: 6m easy 9:24/p, Crossfit

I don’t know where all the summer days went, but i’ve started Week 7 of marathon training. Seven!! I love being on a schedule and each workout (especially the marathon paced tempos) scares me a little. Marathon training is soooo different than half marathon training, which i’m usually signed up for.

This training cycle has me waking up at 6:00am to fit in mileage. Which makes me feel like an 80 year old who’s ready for bed by 9pm. Sad thing is that I’m beginning to like these early morning miles. But I’ll be dead honest with you,  I’m still not a morning person. I can’t get myself to do speed or tempos that early because I like being awake and alert, so those types of runs happen mid-morning or early afternoon.

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The bulk of marathon mileage needs to be run EASY (two minute-per-mile slower than race pace) which leads me to another strange thing. Sometimes I go out for easy runs in the middle of the hottest, most humid days just because the heat will force me to slow down. I thought marathon training was going to be horrible, but training for an ultra in the dead heat of summer has helped with both the mental and physical side of the sport as well as learning to run slower.

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Now the normal marathon stuff: Increased appetite. Holy mackerel, the runger hits like a baseball bat sometimes. I definitely do not deprive myself of seconds to vegetables or an added snack during the day. The key is to eat substance and add healthy calories (like an extra serving of avocado with my breakfast or a protein shake in the day or a bigger helping of sweet potatos at dinner) and not just looking at all the mileage as an excuse to eat crap. I most definitely indulge in dessert or a beer, but it’s not where all those excess calories are going.

Sleep and recovery! It’s a necessity to prioritize sleep! Recovery is a HUGE part of marathon training AND general fitness! I aim for 8-9 hours a night. The elites, the NBA stars, the Olympians you just watched in Rio–all of them have coaches, trainers, massage therapists, chiropractors, cupping therapists etc– there is a TEAM to help them with recovery because it is that important. I’m not saying you need a full team, but have a place to get the kinks worked out and utilize those foam rollers laying under your couch!

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remember when I cupped during Christmas? before Phelps made it cool. That’s right. #coolerthanphelps

Of course I’m experiencing the normal marathon stuff– smelly piles of laundry, weird looks at the gym when i hog a treadmill for 1.5 hours, dry skin peeling off my feet, extra time on foam rollers, naps, weekend plans revolving around long runs, candy cravings, saying the word just before the number of miles you have to run, crying during a run as you picture finishing the marathon, feeling stupid for said cry, the elusive runner’s high, the constant questioning of holding xx:xx pace for 26.2 miles, dreaming of a fresh pair of running shoes, and brunch–oh the brunches you will have, and the afternoon coffee pick me ups…

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I love marathon training.

Last Week

Monday: 6m easy 9:11/pace, Crossfit

Tuesday: 8m interval (5 x 1000s @ 6:45/p)

Wednesday: Crossfit

Thursday: 10.5m tempo (7m @ 7:50/p)

Friday: 6.1m easy 9:35/p

Saturday: 10m long 8:46/p, Crossfit

Sunday: 8m easy

Total Miles: 48.6

Add to the list! What always happens to you during marathon training?

How do you spend time recovering?

 


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I got My Phil of Indiana ;)

Monday: 6m easy 9:11/pace, Crossfit

Tuesday: Rest

I’m continuing to receive congratulations for the ultra i ran a week ago and each time I get confused for a second. I swear I keep forgetting it happened. haha. I think my brain is trying to erase it from my memory.

Marathon training is going very well. I’m using Hanson’s Marathon Method this training cycle and so far I love it. I choose my time goal, Hanson’s provides the paces and the workouts. I’ve also recently started Crossfit and will do a post about it soon! I have so many thoughts so a blurb just isn’t enough.

To the main event! I found cheap airfare and headed to Chicago/Northwest Indiana last week to hang out with my former roommate/Bff who had a baby over 4th of July weekend. Marie is on maternity leave and I wanted to see her family before her life gets hectic.

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This trip was so fun and relaxing. Her 6 week old baby, Phil, is such a cutie and sleeps and eats very well. We spent time watching the the Olympics, movies, eating pizza (nothing tops midwest pizza) cooking, trying new local coffee shops and catching up on life. She’s the kind of friend you can tell anything to, she’ll finish my thoughts and join in when I start singing songs outloud.

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When I found a break in the weather (it was humid out there and rained on and off a couple days) I fit in training runs. I had a tempo and a long run to squeeze in. And let me tell you something: the flat terrain was easy, but running in a straight line 6 miles out and back was mindnumbing.

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I can say now, I appreciate running in Maryland. The terrain changes, the hills and the trail systems are incredible. I’m super grateful i’ve been able to live in different states and continually grow as a runner.

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I’m also growing as an eater. We stopped at Baskin Robbins for a large waffle cone. They have a flavor called Oreo Milk. It’s oreos, kelloggs cereal, and frosted kelloggs corn flakes. I can’t even tell you how good it was. Just go try it. Even if you just get the pink sample spoon.

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yes i had a stomach ache after this

My last day was spent with Cameron’s cousin Kyle and his wife Elise. I missed them. They are another amazing couple who I’ve grown extremely close to over the years.

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They have an HTC Vive virtual reality headset. It was so much fun! There’s nothing to compare it to either. It’s so different than any video game, 3D or 4D Universal Studios ride. There is nothing like it- if you know someone with a Vive go play on it!

Kyle and Elise had me in a Minecraft world, and asked me to step of the ledge of a very high building. You are lucky enough to watch me with my scared high voice freak out. Here ya go..my first appearance on video on the blog. So proud of this moment.

Last Week

Monday: 6m easy 10:30/pace, Crossfit

Tuesday: 8.1m interval (5 x 1000s @6:40/p)

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 9.1m tempo (6 @ 7:47/pace)

Friday: 12m long 10:09/pace

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: 8m easy 8:20/pace

Total Miles: 43.2

Ever tried VR?

How do you workout on vacation?