I just got done sending my coach an angst-y email (lucky her) about planning my 2013 race season. My two "A" races for 2013 are the same as 2012 - Ironman Lake Placid and Vegas 70.3 Worlds. Both great races, challenging races, and in pretty awesome venues. The "A" races in your schedule dictate when the rest of your "B" and "C" races will fall during the season - and when you have the same two "A" races two years in a row - chances are pretty good the rest of your season is going to look kind of identical to the previous year's as well.
Two years ago was the year of dream races, with little regard to the costs associated with them (fun, but not the soundest choice financially). There was Wildflower in California! A half Ironman in Galway, Ireland! Timberman in New Hampshire! All races I had never done before, all in beautiful venues. It kept race season fun, interesting, and allowed me to ride my bike in some gorgeous places. 2011 was more tame - only one race required a flight and the rest were in easy driving distance. I had a chance to see (and race with) alot of my local tri friends. I also save a fair amount of money by not racking up frequent flier miles for my bike. Here in the mid-Atlantic, we are lucky to have a plethora of well-run, organized, and established races to choose from.
In a continuing attempt to be fiscally responsible, 2013 will be the year of (relatively) local races. This means that I'll likely be doing many of the same races that I did in 2012. I had never considered Eagleman 70.3 because it always seemed to take place in the 7th ring of hell - but after this year's debacle at Vegas, maybe racing in the heat as practice wouldn't be such a bad idea. And then the race sold out before I could give them a large chunk of change so I'm back to the drawing board. It's not necessarily a bad thing to do many of the same races and it's nice to race on a course you are already familiar with. But I think I'm still going to look for ways to mix up my 2013 season so I'm racing in a few more new-to-me venues. And I'll likely be racing at Quassy again, now that Eagleman is sold out (Dear Santa - if you want to get me something pretty awesome for Christmas, please give all the roads in Middlebury, CT brand new pavement by this coming June).
I also need to sit down and think hard about what my goals are for 2013. I'm trying to be more deliberate in my actions and goals, as opposed to simply flying by the seat of my pants and crossing my fingers that I'll be happy with the result.