Week 17: At least I ran a lot?

Hey, hey! It’s Tuesday and I don’t have much to report on the training front this week. The weather was crappy and I was preoccupied, so it was definitely a lighter week. But, on to the next! I did have 2 good runs over the weekend so I’ll take what I can get :)

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Wednesday I had to be in Hamilton by the early afternoon, so I only had time for a brief treadmill run (4.1 mi, 31:45). On the plus side, I did get to hang out with these lovely ladies!

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Thursday I snapped a picture of this desperate attempt to get myself to drink more water – I know I perform better when I’m hydrated, but for some reason water just seems so unappealing to me during the day. I think it’s because I’m always cold. Anyway, I added frozen berries and fresh mint to the pitcher, and it kinda worked! I’ve been more hydrated since then. The workout for the day was a Koala’s one, but I kinda slacked on the swim (I was a bit tired from the night before). 1800 m swim (mix of longer sets), followed by speedwork, which I did on the treadmill because of the weather: 1 mi WU, 1 mi @ 7:30, 0.5 mi jog, 1 mi @ 7.30, 0.6 mi CD


Feeling stretchy – the yoga is paying off :)

Friday Heading into a weekend of running, plus a bunch of random work/life commitments during the day meant I only had time for a 90 minute yoga class in the morning. I think this ended up being a good way to head into a higher mileage weekend although I did feel guilty about not getting a workout in at the time. Sometimes yoga is such a nice way to reset. I posted about a really nice example of this here.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetdoing laundry on Saturday – I realized I wear a lot of neon. and pink. 

Saturday Race day! I took it easy during the day and ran the EndurRace 8k in the evening :). Total with warm up was probably around 9km… I know, I know, I should warm up more!


pre-race nervous selfie, as per usual

Sunday Race day part two! I ran the Waterloo Half Marathon in the morning, and then went home to shower, study and eat. I was pretty tired by the evening, and even though I was planning on an easy spin at night on the trainer to flush my legs, I was just too tired :). Race + WU was maybe 22 km.

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Monday Back to the regular schedule after a lot of running and not much else. I felt really recovered from the weekend, so I did an easy 1 hour on the spin bike (18.6 mi – it was just a touch too cool outside to bike by the evening), followed by 1 mile on the treadmill just to find my legs. Add some strength and I was definitely done!

Tuesday I couldn’t help but join some friends for a speedy 5k in the park this morning, since it was so sunny! There’s also the Koala’s workout planned for today: 2000m swim and 7km easy run. Overall should be a solid day – I feel pretty good!

Totals: Swim 3800m / Bike 18.6 mi (1:00) / Run 35.9 mi (5:00) + strength and yoga –> let’s not talk about how badly I need to get back on the bike :)


A Weekend of Racing – Waterloo Half Marathon Recap

13 hours and 53 minutes after I crossed the finish line of the EndurRace 8k in Elmira, the starting gun went off for the Waterloo Half Marathon. Originally I had planned to race this and test my fitness a bit, but my early season legs weren’t having any of it after a lot of running mileage this week. So, I ran the half this morning mostly for fun and also to work on running with tired legs.

A few of the Koala’s were running this race, which is always a lot more fun than racing on my own: Koach Rob, Jakob, and Simon all came out and had great runs today (shoutout also to Steve, who raced the Paris to Ancaster 70k, and also to Jill for the cheering and photography!). We met around 7:45 to pick up race packets, get ready and warm up together. Since this race had a relatively “normal” start time of 8:30 am, I went back to my usual nutrition gameplan – oatmeal with honey at 6ish, then a banana and half a black coffee from Starbucks at 8. Have caffeine, will run :).


I wore crops, a lightweight tee, and arm warmers. I also tucked my hair into a ponytail under my cap – a go-to for longer runs because it does double duty of hair and sun control :).

The race started on a bit of a narrow path and I pulled ahead a bit just to get out of the traffic. I found the 1:45 pace bunny and hung out by him for a bit when the other guys caught up. Jakob and I were at a pretty matched pace, so we started running together and let the pace bunny pull ahead and Rob and Simon fall back a bit. At this point, I wasn’t fully warmed up, so I let Jakob pace me and we chatted. I was a bit worried about how my legs were feeling but really settled down by mile 5.

Mile 1: 8:11

Mile 2: 8:35

Mile 3: 8:29

Mile 4: 8:30

Mile 5: 8:35

Miles 6-10 are a bit of a blur. We held a really comfortable pace, and I don’t really remember anything remarkable about them – the half wasn’t a big race and so there weren’t tons of other runners around us. We tackled a few hills, but nothing crazy. Every once in a while Jakob or I would look back to see Rob and Simon about a minute or two behind us, and our conversation kept things from getting too monotonous. At the end of mile 10 there’s a little section of the course that’s a blind out and back, which I wasn’t really a fan of – obviously it was just added to get the distance right, but whenever I do that I find it makes my body remember I’m not just running for fun and it feels more like work. No biggie, though.

Mile 6: 7:58

Mile 7: 8:36

Mile 8: 8:36

Mile 9: 8:13

Mile 10: 8:31


mile 10-ish. Thanks Jill!

Around Mile 11 Jakob pulled ahead towards the finish, and I thought about going with him but I decided that I would just keep an even pace. Simon passed by not too long after, and again I considered a little more effort but held back. I was feeling good and with the first half ironman of the season only three weeks away, I didn’t really want to push. I came towards the finish with a lot of energy left to open up a bit and I felt SO strong at the end – I’ll take it as a good sign.

Mile 11: 8:21

Mile 12: 8:07

Mile 13: 7:59

Last 0.1: 6:15

Final: 1:49:42 (6th AG, 12th female overall)

I negative split the race, but I would have liked to see top 10! whomp whomp. Overall, it was a great day for running. I took gatorade at every aid station (definitely not my usual but I think it worked well) and ate a salted caramel GU over about half a mile (6.5-7). That was definitely helpful, and I think it’s something I’ll start to do more often, even though I don’t normally like gels.

When I think about my take-homes from this race, I think I realize how even though I love running longer training runs, I’m pretty inexperienced racing half marathons. This was my third ever, including the one I did as part of the Barrelman half ironman last year. I probably need to practice pacing and the mental side of racing a longer distance.

My hips and ankles are a bit sore this afternoon, but I’m sure I’ll be back to normal by tomorrow. Time to hit the foam roller and then the books! #medicineproblems


standard car selfie on the way home

A Weekend of Racing – EndurRace 8k Recap

Hello! I raced both the EndurRace 8k and Waterloo Half Marathon (recap here) this weekend, so there’s a double whammy of a race recap coming for you! Hopefully I’ll post more photos once the official ones are up online, but for now feel free to enjoy these stellar quality pics courtesy of my iphone :).

I’ll start with the EndurRace 8k – this was on Saturday evening, and it was the second part in a 2-race series, which started last weekend with a 5k (recap here). I felt good last weekend, and went into this race nice and relaxed. The only goal I really had for time was to go sub-40:00, which would have been a very comfortable pace for me – perfect given that I had a half marathon 12 hours later.

IMG_3691standard pre-race selfie as I rush out the door

It was a bit cooler, so instead of the SOAS shorts/shirt combo I wore last weekend, I put on a pare of crops and a tank top, and added my trusty arm warmers (don’t forget you can use the code ALYSSACANTARUTTI for 10% off :). I felt cool and vented but not overly cold. Given the later start, I opted for a similar nutrition pattern as last weekend (early light breakfast, brunch-ish meal around 11, snack + coffee at 4:30).

Koach Rob met me at the race, which was really nice, and before I knew it we were lining up to start. The gun went off and I weaved a bit to find some space. I settled in with a group of men and when we came through the first km at 4:20, I knew I needed to back off a bit. The group was thinning, so I found a spot on the inside of the course and just chilled out for the first 2.5 km or so.

We turned the second corner and came to the long back stretch of the course. It’s pretty flat, but the roads are crappy on the shoulder and the wind was right in our faces. At this point, I was pretty much running alone, so I started watching people and slowly picking them off. That’s one of my favourite tricks for hanging on in shorter races – instead of thinking about where I am or how many miles are left, I just chase people down one by one.

Mile 1: 7:07

Mile 2: 7:13

Mile 3: 7:42

I had towed up another runner and paid for the solo effort with a slower mile three, so when we turned the 3rd corner to start mile 4, I dug in a bit and used some slight downhills. I bridged up to a group of 4 men and we worked together (mostly I tucked in behind them) to get to the last 0.5 mi.

At that point, I saw Rob and waved (I was feeling good again!) and the front two guys took off. I knew I wasn’t going to catch them, but I had lots of kick left to finish in front of the second two guys in our pack.

Mile 4: 7:35

Mile 5: 7:37

Final – 4.98 mi, 36:58 (2nd AG, 4th female overall)


post-race medals and selfies #favouritethings

I didn’t stop at any aid stations along the way for this race, which is pretty normal for me whenever I’m doing less than 10km. They looked well-organized though, and there was lots of water, gatorade and post-race food at the end.

Overall, it was a good race. I think I struggled mentally around the 2.5 km point – do I go hard or hold back? Can I hang on to a faster pace? I busted out a couple of my usual mantras (“I’m tough enough to do this” and “it’s not supposed to feel easy”) and I think that helped me. Next time, though, I’d like to be a bit smarter about windy sections. I probably could have surged a bit at the beginning of the back stretch to catch someone and work together, rather than face the wind for a mile. Also – I’m told I looked comfortable but slightly more even pacing would probably feel better :)

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That’s it! Home to shower, get some sleep and on to the next!

Week 16: Digging for Motivation, a little race and Marathon Monday

Hello again! Hope you’ve all had a good week – there was some lovely weather in there and it’s been great to enjoy the sunshine. I have a feeling it won’t be long before my permanent summer tri-shorts / tank top tan lines are firmly in place. FullSizeRenderI had a pretty good week of training and raced a local 5k. I was feeling a bit fatigued at the beginning of the week with lots of biking, so I scaled back a bit. Physically I feel ready to take on this new week, but mentally I might need a little push… someone remind me how soon those tris are creeping up!

Wednesday I got a text from my coach about my fatigue levels in Training Peaks – my TSB (training stress balance – read more about fatigue, fitness and form on TP here) was -42, and my daily ramp rate for CTL (chronic training load, or fitness) was quite high. So, I opted not to bike and just hopped on the treadmill for a quick run between lectures – 4.3 mi in 34:18, plus a strength workout.

IMG_3625Thursday In the pool for the first half of the Koala’s workout. I was starting to feel a bit better but still not 100%, and to be honest I kind of phoned this one in. We did a few longer sets, so I still managed about 2000m, but there was a long break in the middle for me. After the run we had a tempo scheduled, but I lightened my pace a bit because I wasn’t feeling it. I did 4.4 mi, 34:32.

Processed with VSCOcam with x1 preset Friday The sun was shining, I had a super productive day, and I went for a lovely run in Victoria Park – I wore my watch but I paid zero attention to pace or distance. Just ran for fun, enjoyed the warm air and all the kids playing, and headed home when I’d had enough. 4 mi, 31:58.

Later in the evening I also went to a really nice hot yoga class in Aurora. It’s so great to stretch after lots of biking! I find that my hips get incredibly tight… way worse than anything ever did with running alone.

IMG_3633 Saturday I was at home and kind of had to juggle some awkward timing with a dentist appointment and driving back to Waterloo in time for the EndurRace, which had a 6 pm start time. I only had about an hour to bike, so I just did some loops in my parents’ neighbourhood. I focused on maintaining a high cadence on the uphill, and forced myself to sit in the aero bars for the rest of it. We can call that hill and bike control training, right? 12.3 mi, 47:43.

IMG_3653 In the evening I ran the EndurRace in Elmira – details in my race recap! 3.1 mi, 23:03.

Sunday I started the day with a bike ride. It was supposed to be the long ride that I’d skipped on Saturday. I really had great intentions to stay out for the full 2:30 on the schedule, but the wind was totally crazy. I was pedalling and barely going forward, and after about 50 minutes I decided I needed to turn around and head home. I was getting frustrated with pushing hard and only holding 24 km/h. 23.5 mi, 1:35. Sometimes you just have to pack it in, even if you are totally annoyed after the fact.

IMG_3646 In the afternoon, I played in a student vs doctor basketball tournament. 1) I’m pretty bad at basketball and 2) I wish I’d worn my watch because even though point 1 is true, I was definitely the only person who could easily run up and down the court for 80 minutes. I didn’t put this workout in TP and I don’t think it should count for mileage, but it definitely was active time! It also led to me skipping my long run due to more awkward timing.

IMG_3656 Monday Despite a rainy day I knew it was time to get back to it – I get anxious deviating from the training plan too much. (Healthy? Normal? Don’t answer that). Did 1:00 on the spin bike (21.9 mi) followed by 5.2 mi on the treadmill (42:45) and a strength workout.

I also loved watching Boston Marathon coverage! Even though I was pulling for Shalane Flanagan, I thought Desi Linden had a fantastic race and obviously Caroline Rotich had an awesome day as well. Shoutout to local KW lady Jessica (a total speed demon)for her fantastic performance!

Tuesday I felt like I desperately needed to keep up the stretching and a little mental reset heading into the final four weeks of training before my first tri of the season (Challenge Knoxville), so I went to an early morning hot yoga class to get things going. Amazing way to start the day.

The Koala’s workout is planned for tonight. We’ll do our usual swim (about 2000m) followed by a run in the park or on the treadmills if the rain is just too much – lately I’ve been such a fairweather athlete! I guess I’ve gotten used to the dreadmill after all those winter days.

Totals: Swim: 2:00 (4000m) / Run: 3:30 (25.2 mi) / Bike 3:20 (57.7 mi.. oops) + strength and 2 yoga classes (3 hours-ish). Definitely a lower volume week!


EndurRace 5k Race Recap

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Good morning! Yesterday was the 3rd race in the Waterloo Running Series – the EndurRace 5k (The first was the ReFridgee-8er, and I missed the Pancake mile in March). This race is actually a mini series – 5k and 8k races one week apart.

So, yesterday I headed out to Elmira to run the first half. Coach Rob and I had talked a bit about the race, but to be honest, it wasn’t really part of my training plan and I couldn’t afford to take time off just for the race, so I just kind of added it in as an extra workout. I figured I’d run it as a training run, and just go by feel.

The weird thing about the EndurRace is that both races start at 6 pm – which totally throws off my type-A, routine-loving self. I decided to simulate my regular race day eating pattern as much as I could (you might remember how much I struggle with nutrition and nausea while racing). In the morning, I did a quick bike workout, then ate brunch/early lunch around 11. Then, I ate a pre-race snack at 5, and I felt good. My only niggle is that I might have started out a bit dehydrated.

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I got to the race site early to pick up my packet, so once that was done I had some time to kill. Earlier this week, I read an interesting idea about how running after a mental task or while listening to music slows you down, so I decided to clear my head and rest my legs… by napping in my car ;).

30 minutes before the race start I got ready (wore my team SOAS tank and shorts – the weather was amazing!!) and headed out for a little jog, some strides, and general warming up. Once I felt good to go I ditched my arm warmers in the car and chatted with some Waterloo running friends who I usually see at races. All day I’d been thinking about paces, but I decided I’d really just go by feel.

We lined up and the clock started at 6 pm. It was a beautifully sunny afternoon, and I knew the course was pretty flat, with one long but very mild uphill and a little downhill section at the beginning of km 4-ish.

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I went out fast (too fast?) and glanced at my watch at the 1k mark – 4:20. Time to pull it back a little bit… like I said, I needed to be fresh enough after the race to continue with the regular training plan. I held a steady 7:35/mile pace for the rest of the race, and came around the final corner with lots of energy left for a little kick. The pace for the last 0.1 miles was 6:40 :). I’m really happy that even though I’ve been doing lots of longer distance training (and it’s been a long time since I ran a 5k!!), I could still hang in to this typically fast event.

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My final chip time was 23:03, which I’m very happy with – I think it’s actually a race PB (I may have run faster in training, according to Strava?). It was good for 1st in my age group (a brand new one, at that!) and 6th woman overall. Knowing that I had more speed in me makes me confident that I have lots of great racing ahead.

Can’t wait for next weekend! The next race in the series (8k) on Saturday and the Waterloo Half Marathon on Sunday are both on deck. For now – recovery run Sunday! See ya in 9 miles.

Week 15: Loving the Sunshine


It’s Tuesday again! This past week has flown by, and I really think it has a lot to do with the weather being so much nicer! Spring in Ontario always seems really short. It’s winter forever, then there is a week of spring, the leaves come out and bam! Summer weather. Can’t wait. This week was a little less active because…

1) I turned 25! On Friday (April 10th). It was also the same day as my med school graduation gala

2) I had to recover from the above mentioned turning 25 ;)

3) I ended up getting a bad cold – I can’t believe it! I haven’t been sick since my pediatrics rotation almost a year ago… I thought my immune system had seen it all.

Here’s how the week played out:


Wednesday It was pouring rain, so even though I was so excited about getting the bike outside, it was back to the trainer and intervals for me. I had a 1:30 ride on my plan, and it took me a while to settle into it. Towards the end I found that I had to decrease the intensity a bit (33.3 mi).

After biking I ran on the treadmill to find my legs. Again, once I settled into the run I felt good (3.1 mi).

Finally, I did my strength workout, stretched and just laid on the mat for a bit :)

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Thursday It was rainy again on Thursday but I had a Koala’s workout scheduled so I headed to the pool. Unfortunately, everyone else was either stuck at work, sick or not able to make it, so I swam this one solo. Pros: I was done super fast because there was no one to chat to. Cons: There was no one to chat to! 2050 m.

After swimming I hit the treadmill for a 9km tempo run, but the gym was really hot (and I didn’t know it yet, but I was starting to get sick). I managed 5.1 mi, though not all at tempo pace.

When I got home on Thursday I spiked a fever, so I had a bit of soup and went to bed very early.

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Friday My birthday! I woke up feeling quite a bit better, and since I didn’t have anything scheduled for the day it was so fun to be able to do whatever I wanted! I treated myself to a really good coffee, then went shopping, and then met up with my sister. In the afternoon, I did a tempo run (I had a bike ride on the plan but it was crazy windy/stormy) – this run was MUCH better (5.5 mi at tempo pace with some strides thrown in). After that, I got ready for the gala and a bunch of my friends came over to celebrate before we headed out. It was a great night :).


Saturday Oh boy. I spent the first half of Saturday trying to recover ;). Around noon my sister came over because we had planned to run some errands together. We got smoothies from one of my favourite local places (pure), and that picked me up. Finally around 3 in the afternoon I felt ready to meet up with Koach Rob for a little brick. We headed out to the Maryhill (flat) loop, and for the first 10 minutes I was REALLY slow. I honestly wondered if I was going to have to turn around. I knew I was feeling a bit off but I was surprised that I could be that bad. We came to a stop and I looked down at my bike and there it was – my front brakes totally locked. No wonder I was dying. Once that got fixed I was much better (21 mi). Lesson learned – check your bike before a ride!

After biking we did a little run just to find our legs, but it included a huge hill (1.6 mi) and I was so done!

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in love with the warm weather and my favourite SOAS kit

Sunday Sunday was hands down one of the best days we’ve had in a long time. It was 16 degrees, sunny, and the winds were light. I basically spent as much time as possible outside! The morning started off with my long run. I was still feeling a bit off with early cold symptoms, so I started out slow as I ran into Waterloo. Well, the day was so perfect that I felt a lot better pretty fast, and just enjoyed the run. I ended up doing ~19 km, and at that pace I felt like I could have run another 20.

In the afternoon, I met up with Simon, another one of the Koala’s for a bike ride – we went back to Maryhill since my legs were tired but I ended up doing just over 50km. Perfect day! (33 mi)

At night I barbecued with a few friends and then realized how tired I was – I think I was asleep by 10 :)

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Monday Another great day of sunshine (although a lot more wind) and a much more sniffly, virus-y me. Boo. I got out for a nice ride with a friend to flush my legs, and we kind of went at his pace, stopping occasionally to stretch and say hi to friendly cows. Suits me just fine. 28 mi


Tuesday Sniffles or not, I was determined to get back into something today. I couldn’t make it to the Koala’s practice, but the weather was nice again. First I went out with two of my classmates (and best girlfriends) for a run, something the three of us used to do all the time but hadn’t done in ages. It was great!

After that, I headed out for a quick bike ride (33 mi) solo.

Totals: Swim 2050 m (oops again – I’ll fix that this week) / Bike 145.3 mi / Run 32.7 mi  — ~16:30 hours, including stretching 

As usual, follow along on Strava and Instagram if you’d like!


Week 14: The Bikes are Out!

Whew! A really busy Tuesday and Wednesday totally derailed anything close to a timely recap post, but better late than never right? :)

This week was a busy one with heading home for Easter celebrations and the final year OSCE on Tuesday (OSCE stands for Objective Structured Clinical Exam – it’s a practical exam where you are given a clinical scenario, asked to take a history/do a physical exam, then come up with a differential diagnosis for your patient and suggest the next steps/treatment).

Overall, I think the week went pretty well. Some days I am finding that I’m really hungry, and I’m certainly sleeping more, which I think is just my body adjusting to the slightly higher volume. Biking really takes it out of me!


Wednesday I did my bike/run brick indoors since it was still a little too cool to be outside. I did my usual trainer workout of late: intervals on a 30 minute cycle (6 min WU/6 min L14/3 min L9/6 min L15/3 min L9/6 min L14) – since this was a 90 minute ride, I just repeated it x3 (only did the WU once). Total: 90 min, 33.9 mi

After biking I ran on the treadmill. I always find that the first 5-10 minutes are tough, but once I push through that and find the right muscles I feel great. 32:30, 4 mi.

Finally, I did a little strength workout (mostly core/arms since my legs were wiped).


It’s hard to tell in this photo, but I’m completely drenched and VERY happy to be back in the car

Thursday In the morning, my friend Jenny and I decided to take advantage of the warm (but cloudy) day and go for a run in the park – we did about 6k. Later in the afternoon, I went to the regular Koala’s workout: 1 hour swim consisting mostly of drills and repeats of 100’s –> 1800m total. After swimming, we did a speed workout that I just was. not. feeling. It had started to rain, and I think I was still getting used to the higher biking volume, and I just couldn’t turn my legs over. The workout was WU / 3 x 1600m fast with 800m recovery / CD. I got it done, but it wasn’t very fast.


 Koalas fixing fast bikes

Friday Since everyone had the day off for Good Friday, a few of the Koalas got together for the first outdoor bike ride of the season! Yipppeeee! I really don’t like the trainer/spin bike, and even though it was a little cool and I’d forgotten that it’s hard to keep up with those cycling superstars, it was so nice to be outside. We did about 75km (3 hours with a stop for bike adjustments).


 wearing about 15 layers of cycling gear to keep warm – it was only 1 degree!

Saturday After my Friday ride I was raring to get back on the bike, so I brought it home to Aurora with me and talked my cousin into the coldest 45km I’ve ever biked. I couldn’t feel my toes for about 30 min when I got home, but it was worth it! Lots of hills and sunshine :)

Sunday I left my long run till the end of the day because of Easter family stuff, and I guess I was tired and too full of chocolate because it was the worst run in a while. I originally had 21k planned, but I had to bail at about 16.5. I was feeling dizzy/kind of puke-y and just like I couldn’t push forward, so I finally decided to call it quits :(


Koach biking into the sunset on Crowsfoot road

Monday I felt a lot better on Monday, so Koach Rob and I took the bikes out to one of my favourite routes, the Maryhill P-loop. Since it was evening and windy, this was another coldddd ride but I’m glad we did it (45 km, 1:50). Earlier in the day I also did my strength workout.


 post-run/pre-exam brunch of champions!

Tuesday I missed the Koala’s workout because of the above-mentioned OSCE, but I did manage to get a good run in early in the morning: 8 km / 38:30. Now to get back on track!

Totals: Swim 1800 m (1 hour) – oops / Bike 136.3 mi (8:35) / Run 27.8 mi (4:00) + strength (~1 hour) and stretching (~1 hour)

Hope your week is going well! Follow along on Strava here!