Clearly, January was not the month I had hoped for in terms of running. Had I been able to follow my marathon plan the entire month, I would have ran approximately 200 miles. Instead, I ran only 95 miles or so.
Yesterday, on the two week anniversary of my last run, I decided to see an orthopedist before beginning physical therapy to make sure that I was being diagnosed correctly. The good news is that the hamstring is not torn. The bad news is that it's still strained, and that it still hurts almost all of the time. According to the doctor, the average person takes about 3-4 weeks to recover once PT starts.
So what does this mean for the DC Marathon?
Well, it's already been 2 weeks since I ran, and since I won't even start Physical Therapy until about 3 weeks in, and once recovery time is factored in, it could be 6-8 weeks total without running. The worst case scenario is that by the time I could start running, I would already have to start tapering for DC, and in the best case scenario, I would have maybe a week or two to put any quality work in.
My ability to finish a marathon is not in question at this point. I'm sure if I went out there in March, and was able to run without pain, I'm sure that I would get it done. The real issues are whether I would be able to safely build up to the distance & whether I would be able to perform to the best of my ability.
For me, unfortunately, the answer to both questions is no. I don't want to do too much too soon and risk injuring myself even further. I also want my first marathon effort to be something that I'll be proud of, and in order to do that, I need to get to the start line feeling confident in my training, something which won't happen if I only complete 3.5/12 weeks of my training cycle.
My goal for February 2013 has changed - it is simply to recover from this injury. I now have a physical therapy prescription for 2 times per week for 8 weeks with the caveat that if things don't start getting better by the end of week 4, I should contact my orthopedist again for a follow up visit.
While I am heartbroken & angry at this turn of events, I am now more determined than ever to do an amazing job at the marathon when I am finally able to make the start line in November 2013.