After much deliberating, I chose CIM. The California International Marathon on December 6th in Sacramento.
Air miles get me there and I found a cheap hotel and car hire deal. Unlike Chicago where I flew in a couple of days early and then took an extra day before coming home - this is much more of a 'business trip'. I arrive at 2pm the afternoon before the race. I'll get the car and drive straight to the expo, pick up my chip and bib, then go to the hotel. There's a FE that night which I may attend, although more likely I'll probably just relax at the hotel.
The course itself is point to point, so I'll drive to the finish line early on race day, hopefully find a parking spot, and then take one of the buses to the start line. The start is at 7am and is meant to be an undulating course back into the center of Sacramento. If all goes well I'll pick up the car and be back at the hotel around 11am. There's time for a short rest, and then off to the airport for a 3pm flight back to Denver. I did notice there's a Denny's next to the hotel so I'll likely stop in there for a 'healthy' brunch. It'll be interesting to see how my body feels after being cooped up on the plane so soon after a race.
December seemed a long way off, but after I booked everything I took the middle Pftiz plan (40-60 miles / week) and mapped out my training schedule. Just 6.5 weeks, so really only 3-4 weeks of actual hard training with the rest taper. I feel I'm already at a fitness level to run a decent race so this is more a maintenance and fine tuning exercise than having to push myself to another level. That I'll try next year for Boston when I do the 60+ miles / week program starting in January.
I was out at a party last night and met a couple of other runners - both having run plenty more marathons than me and both were trying hard to qualify for Boston. Makes me realize that even though I think I can run a little faster, getting in on my first attempt was still pretty special. Not that it matters now - that's done, I've now got to get ready for Sacramento.
Over the summer when I was training for Chicago, my biggest concern was the heat - I've got the opposite issue today. I'm writing this on a Sunday morning just before heading out on a long run. 21 miles are called for. It's 35F outside with a strong wind and snow in the air. At least I won't overheat... And to think. This time last week for the Denver marathon we hit 85 degrees. Fall in Colorado.