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Living up the 20s

There's always that moment when training for a race -- the "Holy Crap" moment. It's the one when you realize that the clock really is ticking and that all the work is coming to a peak, with a sharp decline to follow.

I had that moment this weekend.

As I lined up for a half marathon in the Chicago suburb of Oak Brook, a race I had signed up to use merely as a supported and safe training run, my husband said to me that what I ran on that course was likely what I would run on Sept. 28.

My face grimaced, and I became defiant. I rattled off a number of reasons -- weather, course, intestinal issues, fueling, sleep, rest, effort -- that could affect my run on Labor Day and my race on Sept. 28.

Sadly, to me at least, there was truth in what he said.

Fort4Fitness is less than four weeks away now and though there are training gains to be had, the work is nearly done. I am not going to magically get into PR shape in the next 24 days. Endurance can be increased but not built. Speed can progress but not -- poof -- appear. Mental toughness can be honed but not acquired.

In my race on Monday, I was happy to finish feeling that I did have endurance and mental toughness -- both of which I'll need to tackle the half marathon in a way I'd like.

The speed, though ... well that was questionable. I ran a pretty reserved race but even still I didn't manage to come in under 2 hours. It's not the greatest of signs if I'd like to run a 1:53:59 or better.

But it's also not the worst sign. As long as my hip is lying (another post for another day), I can throw in some longer repeats (1-mile or 2-by-2 mile tempos) to help sharpen what I have and improve my confidence.

To share one of my favorite mantras, it's time to grind it out.