Sean's Running Blog

Boston Marathon

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Member Since:

Feb 24, 2007



Goal Type:

Local Elite

Running Accomplishments:

  • 2011 Boston Marathon -- 2:27 (Top 50)
  • 2011 Steilacoom 20k -- 1:04:57 (1st)
  • 2010 Indianapolis Monumental Marathon -- 2:26 (7th) 
  • 2010 Fall City 10k -- 31:06 (1st)
  • 2009 Indy Mini Marathon -- 1:07:53 (7th)
  • 2009 WWU Invitational -- 10000m (30:58)
  • 2009 UW Indoor Meet -- 5000m (14:49)
  • 2008 Orem Turkey Run -4 miler -- 19:55 (1st)
  • 2008 Seafair Torchlight 8k--25:03 (3rd) 
  • 2008 Time to Fly 5k -- 15:35 (1st)
  • 2008 Newport Marathon -- 2:22:47 (1st)
  • Steilacoom 15M--1:18:30 (1st)
  • 2007 Olympic Trials -- 2:30:41 (91st)
  • 2007 St. George --2:18:55 (3rd)

Short-Term Running Goals:

  • Feb 23 -- Ft Steilacoom 15M
  • March 23  – Ft. Steilacoom 20k
  • April 15  – Boston Marathon
  • June 8 – Sound to Narrows 12k
  • June 22  – Grandma’s Half Marathon (USATF Champs.)
  • July 7 – Run of the Mill 5k
  • July 27 – Torchlight 8k
  • September – SJJ Half (maybe)
  • October/November – Fall Marathon (maybe)
  • December – Club XC Nationals

Long-Term Running Goals:

 Stay healthy


Ran track my junior and senior years in high school and cross country my senior year. Went to BYU but did not run. Served LDS church mission to San Bernardino, CA. Started running again in April 2005. Marathon debut was St. George in 2005.

I coach the Mount Si High School Track Team (distance)

Been married for almost 17 years. My wife, Mara, and I have four kids ages 16, 14, 13 and 11.

Miles:This week: 0.00 Month: 0.00 Year: 0.00
Brooks T5 Lifetime Miles: 34.00
Ravenna Lifetime Miles: 250.00
Race: Boston Marathon (26.2 Miles) 02:27:33, Place overall: 50, Place in age division: 44
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

There is just nothing like Boston. Nothing.

Before I get into my report, let me just congratulate Paul Peterson for an amazing, amazing run of 2:17. Not only did he OTQ, but he finished 17th overall and 3rd among Americans. Stunning. I am so proud and happy for him. He deserves it.

Now for my report...

What a day. A lot is being made of the tailwind. When the course record gets crushed like it did today, then it’s certainly understandable. There is no question the tailwind helped with times today just like headwinds slow them. It's simple math and physics. But there was one thing about a tailwind that is a definite negative: your body can't cool as well when the wind is not in your face or not in a crosswind component. We have all run with tailwinds before and generally, you feel a lot warmer because the evaporation is less. Such was the case today. The temperature at Mile 24 was 52 degrees in the shade according to a bank on Beacon St. I’m sure it was closer to 60 running out on the black pavement which made it feel warmer and more uncomfortable than if the wind were in my face or to my side. Not a complaint at all. Just a reality. So is my sunburn.

The good news is that I hydrated today like I have never hydrated before. I would rate today as a satisfactory hydration day, a vast improvement over every other marathon I have ever run. I took water every water station through 21 and then every other from there on out. I took a GU at 10k and 20k. Planned on one at 30k but heading into the hills I didn’t want to mess anything up. By the time I got to the top (Mile 21) my stomach was cramping a bit so I passed on the GU because taking GU means drinking more water than I felt my stomach could handle at the time.

The crowds were great. I don't know if it's possible to run a slow mile through Wellesley. The roar of those young ladies can be heard for a half mile before and after and it's simply deafening during the quarter-mile stretch or so where they line the streets. Probably my favorite part of the course. There was shade through that stretch too which helped.

Things were pretty chilly at the athlete’s village but I managed to get in a massage mostly so I could spend almost an hour inside the warm gym. Good move. One more trip to the bathroom to change into my clothes and take care of business and then it was time to begin the walk/jog down to the start line. The biggest bummer about not being in the elite group with Paul was not getting to do any strides or meaningful warmups since we were packed like sardines for about 15-20 minutes before the gun. Fortunately, it had warmed up enough that it wasn’t a huge deal.

As usual, the race started right on time. We were set back about 30 feet from the elite guys which translated into about six seconds lag.

I had a plan. In fact, I had a pace bracelet I had made with goal times for each mile varying by difficulty of each mile. Basically, my plan was to put a little time in the bank for the first four downhill miles but nothing to crazy. 5:20s was the goal. For whatever reason, that didn’t go so well. But I didn’t panic and everything felt nice and relaxed. What it did mean though is that 2:26 was going to be very difficult to reach without the buffer I had planned for heading into Newton.

Miles 5-16 were “budgeted” at 5:30-5:35. On average, I came out of this right on pace. So I was actually on pace for a sub 2:26 heading into Newton, but knew I would give back some time in the hills. I had budgeted two 5:45s and a 6:00 mile through the three hilliest miles. Missed by only a few seconds so I was really happy as I crested  the final hill, I was only 23 seconds off my pace which was totally fine. I had planned on having enough left to run 5:30s for the final 5 miles which would have put me just under 2:26. I felt like the din of Boylston would be enough to get me there.

Just one problem. I couldn’t get my legs to work. They were mush. I wasn’t tired. But my legs had little to no strength left. The pounding your quads take running downhill is brutal enough, but when you are already sore and tight, it’s almost unbearable.

Mile 22 hurt. 5:44. Mile 23 also hurt. 5:44. Right about this time a teammate of mine, Josh Ricardi, pulled up alongside. I hadn’t seen him since the starting gun. Uh oh. He looked really good. Bordering on fresh. I don’t know how I looked, but I know how I felt. It wasn’t a total collapse like Indy, and most of the other final 10ks of my marathons, but I felt like I had no additional speed to give.

I passed him back fairly quickly mostly to test his will. Tested. By Mile 24 he had passed me back and was now opening up a lead which grew pretty quickly to about 30 yards. Insurmountable I thought. But Josh did something interesting that caught me off guard. He took Gatorade at Mile 25. Maybe it’s personal preference, but I don’t take anything ever that late in a race. In my mind, it’s too late to do any good and only increases the chances of something bad happening like cramps or a slight choke that causes you to gasp for air and throw you out of a rhythm.

From that point on I reeled him in and with one-mile to go, I passed him. Hopefully, for good. What I didn’t know until the end was that a second teammate of mine was also right on my heels. But what I did know is that one guy ahead of me was really struggling. He had passed me at about Mile 22 or so as we headed into the downhills. Right at the 26M mark as you turn onto Boylston, he got lazy around the turn and I catapulted around the turn and passed right by him. It was the mental bump I needed to power through the seemingly endless .2 miles to the finish line. It seemed like a full mile. The crowd was deafening. Or maybe I was completely delirious. I think both were true based on my trouble at the finish line.

With about 100m to go, I did what I don’t like to do. I looked back to see what had happened to Josh and the other dude I passed. I had gapped them hard. As they announced my name as I crossed the finish line, I was really stoked. It’s always cool to hear your name called. The guy ahead of me had finished at least 20 seconds ahead and the guys behind me were far enough back that I was the only name to call at that moment. It was awesome.

Then I stopped. And oh was I thankful for the three volunteers who kept me moving and from falling over. I just wanted to lay on the ground and go to sleep. Terrible thing to do but it’s all I wanted. It was a weird two or three minutes because I felt almost detached from my body. I had given every last ounce that I had today and that was good enough for me. I didn’t get the 2:26 I wanted but the 2:26 wasn’t realistic as it turns out.

I truly believe I have a 2:22-2:23 left in this rickety old body. I just haven’t been committed enough to the core strengthening exercises that I need to do to avoid the inability I had on the final miles to take advantage of the downhill.  It’s the little things that make all the difference at this point. I do all the big things…mileage and workouts. But if I really want a legitimate shot at another awesome time, then I have to put in the work. I’m fast enough. Just not strong enough. I guess I will find out how committed I am.

I have a lot to be happy about. I hydrated really well which allowed me to hang in there as the heat index rose. I ran really even splits on a course that isn’t very even. I beat my previous Boston PR by 36 minutes. Granted, the first time was only my second marathon and I had no idea what I was doing, but I largely conquered today what conquered me in 2006.

The tentative plan is to return to Indy for the marathon in November. I’m sad that Paul won’t be there given his OT race in Houston two months later, but I have some unfinished business there and it’s an ideal course to put my speed and new-found strength (I hope) to the test.

I hope to be back in Boston in 2013 when I will be 40 and have the chance to run as a Masters.  

Here are my mile splits. Managed to get all of them.  I also posted the timing mat splits showing how each 5k and 10k went. I am really happy with how the 10k segments went. The third 10k was nice even though it included almost a mile worth of hills. The final 10k wasn’t a disaster at all. It was just sub-par and I have learned a lot.




















































































































ST 5 Racer Miles: 27.20
Weight: 0.00
From Walter on Mon, Apr 18, 2011 at 18:46:35 from

Nicely done and what a day to be on a course that had so much talent! Keep up the good work and its great to watch you guys!

From Holt on Mon, Apr 18, 2011 at 22:36:19 from

Good job Sean!

From jtshad on Tue, Apr 19, 2011 at 11:24:39 from

Wow, you ran a great race. Very consistent and well planned. There are a lot of variables in a marathon to deal with and you used your teammates to help motivate Congrats!

From Lily on Tue, Apr 19, 2011 at 11:26:11 from

Impressive! Good work out there yesterday.

From jeffmc on Tue, Apr 19, 2011 at 11:38:03 from

Good job. Solid race, and you avoided the late race crash that has hit you a few times in the past. The miles slower than goal pace at the beginning may have saved you at the end.

From Derunzo on Tue, Apr 19, 2011 at 11:40:28 from

Great report! Awesome race!

From DLTheo on Tue, Apr 19, 2011 at 11:48:27 from

Nice job Sean. Way to finish as top Washingtonian! You represented us well out there!

From Russ Runs on Tue, Apr 19, 2011 at 13:22:32 from

Great job! It looks like you were 4th among Americans 38 and older. As one who turns 38 today I'm in awe. Great race.

From Snoqualmie Ridge Runner on Tue, Apr 19, 2011 at 13:54:52 from

Amen brother!

From Burt on Tue, Apr 19, 2011 at 13:58:57 from

Oh, I haven't read Paul's race report yet. You ruined it for me! Kidding.

Excellent job and excellent report as always. Even Steven splits there.

From Superfly on Tue, Apr 19, 2011 at 17:04:43 from

Very consistent 10k splits. Good job and keep at it. Get that core stuff going and see what you can do before your over the hill:)

From steve ash on Tue, Apr 19, 2011 at 19:33:47 from

Sean, Great race. I know we'll see some awesome stuff in the future also. You definitely have the dedication and talent.

From Paul on Wed, Apr 20, 2011 at 08:51:45 from

Great job Sean. That's a really solid race when you look at the splits, and you can take a lot of satisfaction in knowing that you gutted it out hard and gave everything you had. Sorry I missed you before and after the race though. It's funny how we've both done the same races, I think 4 of my last 5 marathons...

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