I had considered not doing Vancouver next year. But, after weighing it over the last three weeks, including during my final few days in Vancouver this year, I decided Round 5 will happen once again on schedule next May.
I had other spring marathons I had been thinking about doing, especially overseas. I also had considered staying close to home next year and doing closer, local marathons in Utah and similar. Depending on how my fitness develops this next 6-12 months, I may still consider doing them as long training runs, or perhaps their half marathons if I really want to.
I’m also mindful that we lucked out with some mild, cloudy weather in Vancouver the last couple years, and that the other shoe could drop next year with sunnier, more difficult conditions a la 2018 (which I DNF’d for different reasons, but most finishers struggled badly with the warmer weather). Of course, you can never really tell until the race approaches what kind of weather you’re going to get, but the course is hard enough without it being hotter and sunnier. In fact, just the brief instance of sun we got this year really knocked a lot of runners over in mid-race. It’s been better than usual the last couple years: Is it nice and cool again in 2024, or do we get the heat lamp?
However, the expense to go overseas is rather great. I’m on schedule to pay off remaining debt by next year, and then I’ll have a lot more disposable income to work with. As it stands, I’m able to work with finances to make Vancouver happen and perhaps another trip (like Chicago this fall), but that’s about as far as I feel comfortable going with them. Even just the airfare and hotel for Vancouver is around $3K USD, just for a non-stop flight at a decent hour and a decent hotel near the places I frequent.
As for staying home and running local, the Utah marathons have the added challenge of being higher altitude than where I train. Most are about 4000-5000′, and that would create an aerobic challenge on top of running the actual marathon. While I could be swayed to do one or more anyway as a training tune-up, I’d like for that to not be Plan A.
Plus, I really enjoy the fresh nutritious food in Vancouver, and am quite familiar with it. Going somewhere new, I’ll have to figure out my entire diet for the trip from scratch, and running a marathon in a new land and different time zone is hard enough. Never mind how long and uncomfortable a transoceanic flight is. Maybe some other time.
I certainly have no problem with going back to Vancouver. I’ll probably go a day earlier than I did this time, as the Friday afternoon arrival made the logistics a bit tight before race day. I’ll probably still stay several days afterward, and fly back Friday instead of Saturday so I can have the full weekend at home before resuming work.