Digital Producer

An unnatural-born runner, a pretty regular yoga doer and a lover of cookies and other sweet treats, Times digital producer Laura Lane writes about her fitness journey. Questions, training tips or race suggestions? Throw her a line on email or Twitter.

It’s officially crunch time.

With the Chicago Half Marathon less than three weeks away, it’s time to put my game face on.

I actually tried on my game face for size yesterday with a 10-miler. I finished it with somewhat ease, which was impressive considering my allergies have been kicking my butt the last couple of weeks and I’m in the midst of breaking in a new pair of shoes for race day. Either way, it left me thinking I just may be able to finish this half marathon in my 2:30 goal time.

It really did help that it was the perfect fall-like weather. In spite of those pesky seasonal allergies, this really is my favorite time to run. The air is just a little bit more crisp, the humidity isn’t as brutal, the temperature is perfect and I get the added benefit of seeing all the autumn wildflowers start to bloom as the leaves slowly change colors.

I’d stop to take a million Instagram-worthy photos of the scenery if I could. But, ya know, I gotta keep that race pace up.

Instead, I just took one. Because I love those pretty flowers. And I needed a brief break to drink some water, stretch out my quads and find another podcast to listen to. So, really, stopping to smell the flowers wasn’t detrimental or anything.

So what does my training look like for the next three weeks? Good question!

This week will be one more rough week that will be capped off with a 12-miler Sunday. I’m still debating my route for this run, but I’ve got six days to figure it out. Then, instead of going on a long run the following Sunday, I’ll be hiking in some mountains somewhere near Denver. When I return from that trip, I’ll be days away from the race expo and the start line. I’ll also be in the midst of a very well deserved taper week. Then, and only then, the protein and carb loading can begin!

EXTRA: I’ll be running the Spay the Stray 5K in Lansing Saturday, Sept. 10! If you’ll be there, be sure to say hi. I’m looking to get another personal best time — I’ve managed to out-do my best 5K time every year I’ve run this race. What’s even more special is that my mom will be there walking the distance with my pup Franklin. You can still register, too. All the proceeds go towards spay and neuter surgeries performed at Humane Society Calumet Area’s Estelle Marcus Animal Clinic. So it’s definitely for a good cause. We hope to see you there!

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