Setting up this new challenge is moving far more quickly than I ever have on a marathon race course.
Shortly after barely completing Chicago earlier this month I signed up for the Carlsbad Marathon, north of San Diego. Having survived the heat of Chicagoland, perhaps I was drawn to the January race because I was in serious need of some cool ocean breezes. Little did I know it would end up being #2 in my 12 race series. Since then I have set the previously-mentioned CIM/Sacramento as the kick-off event.
Today, I nailed down #3, which is of course assuming I survive the previous two, still able to put one foot in front of the other. Turns out February is not chock-full of stellar marathon options. Only a handful fell within my acceptable time frame.
I could have chosen Valencia, Spain, which is running its marathon in the middle of the month. Trouble is I'm already going to Valencia in August of next year on my way to La Tomatina in nearby Bunol. I love to travel, but two transatlantic flights to Spain? I may be nuts, but I'm not sadistic.
The massive Los Angeles Marathon is on the 16th...but it's LA, for heaven's sake. The organizers set up a pre-run bike ride over the marathon course that I rode with a friend a few years ago. I swore then I'd never run LA. I can hardly imagine an uglier course, and I've seen a few.
That left...Austin. A very cool place to test my "limits", I'm thinking. So I've signed up for the run in the Lone Star State capital on February 15th, three weeks after Carlsbad.
I can only afford to do it because I have lots of airline rewards miles thanks to Amex...and I've recently read that it's a good idea to cash them in as soon as you acquire enough for a plane ticket to somewhere you'd like to go. Seems some companies are closing their rewards programs without notice during these tough economic times, leaving people who thought they had lots of points to spend high and dry with no recourse. When it comes to budget travel I didn't just fall off the turnip truck, "my friends" (apologies to J.McCain).
Now I think I'll slow down a bit. It's always a bad idea for a marathon runner to start too fast. It comes back to bite you in your running shorts-clad behind. I'll continue to research my rest-of-the-year options but will not commit to anything else until I've finished Carlsbad, and recovered from it.