Marathons offer great discounts if you register early. When you are certain you want, and can, do the race, it's a great way to save some money and spend it elsewhere, perhaps on a good massage. And this time I took advantage of them for three races.
First up is the Bellingham Bay Marathon, as mentioned before on this blog, on September 25. This race offered a 15% discount at the Vancouver Marathon expo this year during the four days immediately after that race. So by registering early, the total cost was only US$70.
Next I registered for the Victoria Marathon, which offered an $85 early bird fee until May 15. With a $3 BC Athletics membership discount, my total came to $82.
Since my Vancouver Marathon this year was such a great experience (Top masters woman, 5th woman overal and 3rd Canadian woman), I looked into the early registration schedule of that as well. And this race offers until June 1 a 20% discount on the marathon.
Committing to a race a year ahead of time is perhaps a little hard to do. But given that I've done this race three times in the past four years, I think it's a safe bet that I'll feel like racing there again. It's a `home town' marathon for me, coming from Squamish, and that discount was attractive. So I registered for that marathon, too. With the 20% and BC Athletics $3 discounts, the grand total came to $77.95.
It's the first time I've been registered for three marathons and I'm excited about it. Running Victoria a mere three weeks after Bellingham is going to be an experiment. The closest I've raced two marathons was five weeks apart (the Vancouver Marathon followed by the North Olympic Discovery Marathon in May and June 2009 respectively); I ran both in 3:10 which earned me second in my age group in Vancouver and an overal win (plus the course record) at the Olympic Peninsula.
This year I had planned another experiment. As you may have read, I had registered for a 50-mile trail race between Squamish and Whistler that was held two weeks after the Vancouver Marathon. But this race was moved because of excessive snow on the course to June 18.
I believe, with the benefit of hindsight, that might have been a good thing as it probably would not have been a positive for my body, given how I felt after the Vancouver Marathon. It allowed me to take a big mental and physical break, with only three runs in as many weeks since. I recovered with daily walks, a big day of yoga (4 two-hours sessions at the Whistler Yoga Conference) and lotsa sleep.
It also allowed me to realize that my quest for the sub-3 marathon is alive and well. Last year's detour into ultramarathons has helped me understand myself better as an athlete and combined with a few other developments have given me the confidence to take the jump into becoming a self-coached athlete as I chip away at those 7 minutes and 11 seconds that I need to find before crossing a marathon finish line in less than 3 hours.