I think I've settled on a spring marathon, and looks like the scheduling will work out!
It'll be the Eisenhower Marathon, in Abilene Kansas. This race will be the antithesis of every megamarathon, will barely 160 runners last year. Runner feedback on Marathonguide.com overwhelmingly says the organization and course support from the volunteers is second-to-none, though, and the small field means I would be able to just focus on my race without having to play dodge 'em, like at MCM. Granted, dodge 'em isn't THAT bad, but one less thing to concentrate on when I will be trying again to squeak through sub-3:46, and won't have a huge cushion against that time if things are going well. If I can arrive healthy and uninjured at the start, and repeat the things I did right at MCM with nutrition and hydration, then I think this race could be my big day that punches my ticket to Boston 2010.
Training will start the week of December 7th. This should be good timing-I'm recovering slowly, but am losing the dead legs day by day. I think I'll be chomping at the bit and energized to get going again then. Even though I'm impatient to try again for the BQ, I think it was a great call to just take a pass on Rock and Roll Arizona. Besides being tapped out financially after the trip back east, I don't think I could physically recover fully, get trained back up, fully tapered and ready for a 100% effort in ten weeks. Some people can do that and rock it....I think I'd just be inviting injury and burnout since I know I'm kind of slow to recover, and need my rest days...I'll never be a "streaker" with daily runs for years.
I think Pfitz worked well for me the first time around, so after a little bit of thought and Q and A with other runners, I've decided that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. I'll follow Pfitz 18/55 again with a few minor tweaks. I've heard some poo-pooing on this plan lately and suggestions that it is the cookie-cutter plan du jour, but I don't know that any other plan would've had me within seconds of a BQ right to the end. It was the right intensity and mileage for me, so I don't worry about what the big dogs have to say about it, though I did consider their opinions and thought about other options before deciding to stick with what works. Others can do it without injury, but I don't think my body would react favorably to entering that 70+ mpw zone. Pfitz gives me good bang for my buck, so we'll give it another go.
This'll be a notable trip to my April marathon for another reason...it'll be the first child-free trip for my husband and I since having kids! It's kind of funny that we'd hoped the trip would be to Boston, but it's all good because it's cheaper and closer. My dad will come out to visit with the grandkids and keep an eye on them, and we'll drive on out the Thursday before, returning west on Sunday.
I even found this kickass little bed and breakfast that boasts the unofficial title of "Inn of Champions." They've had several marathon overall and age group winners and placers stay there since the marathon started a few years ago, so I can't help but think that's a good sign.