Last June (2010) I ran the Rock N Roll Marathon here in San Diego and had a terrible race. (More on my blog Dealing with Disappointment.) I had stomach issues early on in the race and though about quitting several times, and in the end I made it through the whole course with a lot of walking and my slowest time ever. Missing my 4 hour goal for the 12th time completely broke my heart, and the pain of that disappointment was so great that I decided to give up full marathons and to focus on halfs and try out triathlons. This plan actually worked out quite well for me and I PR'd several times in a row in half marathons and I won overall female in my first super-sprint triathlon! (Race recap here.) As time passed though I started to miss the full marathon.
Last November when I was named a San Francisco Marathon ambassador, I started to feel like I should run the full for some reason. I ended up committing to the full marathon but was scared to have such a challenging course as my first full back in the game. SO .... I signed up for the OC Marathon which was in May .. and then for some crazy reason I signed up for the Marine Corps Marathon which is in October. How did I go from no more full marathons to three this year? I must be crazy.
Triathlon & Marathon Training
Before committing to three full marathons, I planned to increase my triathlon distance from a super-sprint to an Olympic distance this year, with the hope of doing a 70.3 distance next year. When I added the three marathons to my racing calendar, I squeezed them in among my triathlons. Suddenly I had this crammed racing schedule of triathlons, half marathons, full marathons, and some shorter running races in between. Ack! Over committed! I was able to massage my 12 week training schedule to accommodate swims, bike rides and long runs, but my schedule was tight and didn't leave me with many rest days.
Travel & Triathlon
To complicate matters worse, in addition to doing a triathlon in the middle of my SF marathon training, I was also going to be going out of town on four trips. One was a week in Paris for vacation, two were four day trips to Vegas for work, and one was a weekend trip to San Francisco to go see a concert. I planned my long runs around these trips but my schedule didn't leave much room for error... and error occurred! There were days that I was tired, too busy at work, and just needed a break.
My Training Plan
My crazy training schedule is below. I have Mondays and Thursdays scheduled for swims, Wednesday included spinning, Sunday was biking, and four days had running including my Saturday long runs. As usual I planned on two 20 mile long runs.
Unfortunately in the middle of my training a few weeks ago I injured my hamstring. My legs were pretty sore from the triathlon I did on June 26th (race recap here), a few days later my hamstring soreness went from sore to pain, and then a few days later when I tried to do a long run a strong stabbing pain kept me from running completely. Oh no! I went to get a massage and the therapist said I had a charley horse in my hamstring and that the muscle felt like a rock. He prescribed rest and NO running. Shoot, I didn't have time for much rest! I decided to try to get into physical therapy to rush the healing process and was going to find a sports medicine doctor to give me a referral. I was talking to my boss about this and she recommended her chiropractor who was also a sports medicine doctor and actually bills himself as "The Running Doctor". I called his office and was scheduled for the next day. Score!
I had never been to a chiropractor before and was a bit apprehensive, but was happy to find out that not only did I get an adjustment, but I also received laser therapy on my hamstring. From the adjustment I found out that my hips were off and both ankles were jammed. The doctor said that any one of three could cause a hamstring injury, and with three all together its not surprise I got injured. He suspected that my hips were off from a zero-speed bike crash I had a few week prior (which left me with a bruised hip which I didn't think was too serious), and that racing in the triathlon and then running hard at track just flared things up.
Healed from Injury
I saw the chiropractor four times over the next couple weeks and received adjustments and laser therapy. During this time I rested, didn't run, and mostly swam ... and wouldn't you know the injury went away! Yay! BUT ... I had now missed three of my crucial long runs. With three weeks to go before the SF Marathon the furthest I had run since may was 12 miles. This past weekend I decided to try upping my long run from 12 to 18 miles to see how my body would react. Its not advisable to jump more than 10% in mileage from one week to the next, but I thought I'd try it to see if I'd be okay and ran a route where i could stop running and walk back to my car pretty easily at any point.
Half vs Full Marathon
I was so happy to see that i felt great mile after mile, and the 18 miles went by pretty quickly. This run was only 2 weeks out and in the taper zone ... but I needed a run near 20 miles to test out my distance confidence. Prior to running the 18 miles I was afraid I'd have to switch over to the half marathon. After talking to others and the doctor this seemed like the smart,conservative choice .. but heck, I'm smart and risky. I wanted to go for the full!
Its now 10 days until the SF Marathon and I'm excited but nervous. This training cycle has been my most off-schedule ever! I haven't done enough long runs and feel a bit under-prepared for a full marathon, especially a challenging course like SF. Since returning to full marathons after my terrible race last year though, I've been able to take the pressure off myself a bit and am now able to just enjoy a race.
SF Marathon Goals
My full marathon goal is always to PR and break 4 hours (I'm stuck at 4:00:32 .. argh!!), but for this race I just want to take it easy and enjoy the course. The city is beautiful and the course makes for a great running tour through the different neighborhoods I got to know growing up in San Francisco. I can't wait to run marathon #14 and for now I just need to get through the next 10 days without doing something stupid like tripping in my heels and spraining my ankle.
10 days! Ack!