This is actually an unmet goal from last year. I registered for 2 full marathons in 2009, but bad luck with injuries forced me to run the half distance both times.
First, I planned to run the ING Miami Marathon on January 25, 2009, my 26th birthday. I had this lame idea that it would be so cool to run 26.2 miles to celebrate my 26 years of life. My training was going pretty well, I was going 16 miles on my long runs the summer before the race. However, one day I was chasing my newly adopted doggy around the house and brilliantly stubbed my toe on a door frame and fractured the little guy and couldn’t run for 6 weeks. Once I was allowed to run again, I realized that I lost a lot of fitness and became very discouraged. Although I could have pushed hard and trained for the full distance in time for the race, I decided to be lazy and barely trained for 13.1.
My second attempt at 26.2 was the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco. I ran my first half marathon at this even in 2007 and thought it would be a good place to run my first full. For me, the greatest appeal of this event is the training program they offer (not the necklace from Tiffany & Co. you get for finishing). I thought I had a pretty good base established by the time the group runs started in the summer, so I was ambitious and chose my long run mileage according to the advanced training plan, instead of the intermediate plan that was more appropriate for me. So one Sunday morning in August, a few of us were heading out for a 18 mile run. I was feeling pretty confident because I ran 16 the week before without any problems. The run didn’t go as well as I anticipated because around mile 10, I started getting a sharp pain on the outside of my left knee. I realized 18 miles wasn’t going to be an option, so did the 14 mile course instead and had to limp-walk the last 2 miles. It turns out that I had an IT band injury and needed a month of physical therapy. By the time I recovered, the race was only a few weeks away and it wasn’t possible to safely ramp up my mileage quickly enough to run the full marathon so again, I ran the half. Of course, running down the steep hills of San Francisco re-injured my IT band and I was forced to walk the downhill portions of the course.
To finally accomplish this goal, I need to be smarter about preventing injuries. In the past, I didn’t see the merit in cross training and simply ran all the time. This year, I am diversifying my training. I started cycling, swimming, and weight training. I also discovered that I really enjoy kickboxing and take several classes a week.
This year, I would like to complete the Space Coast Marathon in Cocoa, FL. It appeals to me because it’s not a huge destination race with big crowds. I also lived in that area for some time when I was in college, so it’s a great excuse to visit again.