It's been nearly three months since I last filled you magnificent readers in on my unnaturally-born athletic gifts.

So what have I been up to? Why, I've been training super hard for the Chicago Half Marathon in just over one week! Duh! OK, training super hard is a bit of an exaggeration. In all honesty, I've been slowly chugging along, knocking out one long run at a time at turtle speed while skipping some of the shorter runs along the way.

I planned to go about this round of half marathon training following the same program I've used the last few times (I've been following the Hal Higdon half marathon training guide, intermediate 1 plan, which I started a week early to allow for a week of rest and easy runs before race day). I was about halfway through the program when I decided I just wasn't into it. My motivation was waning and I was missing my other favorite workouts. That was when I decided to listen to my body instead of following a training program.

Listening to my body has been going well. It helps that I'm already pretty well conditioned to run a half marathon. Just this week I completed a 12 mile run in two hours and 23 minutes. That puts me on pace to complete the Chicago Half Marathon with a new personal record. Exciting!

But on a serious note, training this time around hasn't been easy. Part of it is, I think, that I simply lack the motivation. I just wasn't as excited about this half marathon as I have been for past races. I don't know exactly why. I do know it's a lot of effort, especially towards the end of a training cycle when I have to set aside a 2 1/2 hour block just for running. This leads me into the second reason why I think training has been tough, which is I miss my other workouts. By the time I'm done running an 8-miler (which takes me approximately 1 1/2 hours on a good day) on a Wednesday, I don't want to spend another hour doing weight training and yoga. I want to stretch, shower, stuff my face with carbs and relax. But that doesn't change the fact that I still want to do that weight training and yoga.

That's why I've been listening to my body. It's a good compromise. I still make an effort to get in those longer runs, like the 12-miler I ran this week. But I've been shortening those shorter runs and adding in whatever cross training feels right that day. It's been nice.

The best part? Now that I've gotten that 12-miler out of the way, I can taper. I'm planning a 10K Saturday before I leave for vacation, followed by a couple of easy shake-it-out runs and lots of yoga later next week after I return. Then comes race day.

Wish me luck!