Sean's Running Blog

Windermere 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: Windermere Marathon (26.2 Miles) 02:32:18, Place overall: 2, Place in age division: 2
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

**UPDATE** the official time is posted as 2:28:02 so not counting the silly turnaround at the finish.

Where do I start? It was simply a beautiful day. But of course, a beautiful day is not what you want on marathon day. It was 48 degrees at 5am when I woke up but it was probably close to 60 by the start and near 70 by 9:45 or so when I finished. Met up with Michael Bresson who was the clear favorite to win the race. He is a few months older but has had a much more profitable training year than I have had. His plan was to go out in 1:10 and then hang on for dear life.

The race got started 15 minutes late because they had to synch it with the start of the half marathon because they only had one clock at the finish line. Not acceptable. But I would have let it slide if that had been the only hiccup today.

The plan was to run 5:35s shooting for a 2:26.

The start of the race was the only portion of the course that was remotely confusing so since I knew I would be toward the front of the pack, I asked three different volunteers at the star, including one of the lead bikers, which direction the first part of the course took. I got three different answers. I should have seen the writing on the wall. They finally got us started and about 1.25 miles into the race we passed the 2M marker. Ummm…what the freak? I set a world record in the 3M crossing in 12:10. Awesome. I have to say that it was a pretty deflating thing to know that just more than a mile into the race I was no longer running a certified, full-length marathon. I spent much of the race trying to figure out if I should drop out and look for another marathon in the next week or two, but I couldn’t think of one so I plugged along. I thought again about dropping out and thought about maybe the Newport marathon in three weeks, but that would have a really negative impact on my summer race schedule. So I carried on. I think what really kept me going was the desire just to finish the marathon regardless of the actualt distance. I hadn't finished a marathon since Newport in 2008 so I really "needed" to finish this.

Mile 3 – 5:34

Mile 4 – 5:28 (By this point, no one was in sight. It was me, myself and I which is how it stayed until Mile 18 or so when I started catching up to a few of the half marathon walkers. Beautiful, but lonely)

Mile 5 – 5:31

Mile 6 – 5:37

Mile 7 – 5:32

Mile 8 – 5:31

Mile 9 – 5:35

Mile 10 – 5:38 (Somewhat of a guess because they were still putting up mile markers when I got to this point. Seriously)

Mile 11 – 5:36

Mile 12 – 5:41

Mile 13 – 5:45 (Knew I was slowing down but was hoping to hang on to sub 6:00 miles for the rest of the race)

Mile 14 – 5:51

Mile 15 – 5:50

Mile 16 – 5:54

Mile 17 – 6:00

Mile 18 – 5:57

Mile 19 – 5:56

Mile 20 – 6:03 (10k to go and at this point, I was getting pretty upset about the course screw up. All this effort and training to run 25.5 miles.)

Mile 21 – 6:03 (Things are getting pretty crammed with half marathoners. Narrower trail combined with many packs of walkers and slow runners with headphones on made for some frustration)

Mile 22/23 – 12:35

Mile 24 – 6:20

Mile 25 – 6:22

Final ¼ mile to FINISH LINE -- 1:23 (2:28:02) – So about ½ mile before the finish some guy was yelling at me to go to the finish, turn around and run back to him, presumably because he was standing at a place that would make the course the right length. So with hundreds of people, including my family, standing at the finish, I arrive there only to turnaround and try and find where this mystery man was running against a constant stream of half marathoners. Fortunately, I was the second place guy as the winner, Michael Bresson, flagged me down at the "new finish" to tell me I was no done. No clock. No one there to take my time. So my time from the real finish line to the new finish line was in 4:15 for a total time of 2:32:18. I don’t know if this was actually a certified distance. Probably not. My watch said 26.17. So it was closer, but who knows.

Bottom Line: I had a mediocre performance. The course fiasco wasn’t the cause for me falling 6 minutes off my target finish time. It was probably a small mental factor, but it wasn’t six minutes worth. I still continue to struggle in warm marathon conditions. I had cramps from Mile 6 on such that I could get my stomach to accept the amount of fluids my body needed to perform at the desired levels. That is frustrating because I feel like I had the fitness to achieve my time but I simply haven’t figured out how to hydrate in warm weather.

Observation: My marathon PR days are almost certainly behind me. I’m fine with that. At some point, that becomes the case for everyone. It just so happens that at age 37, that time has come for me. No worries. That said, I do feel like I have a 2:25 left in me which is something worth going after.

Observation: Nice course for the most part. Lots of potential but very poorly managed.

Observation: It was nice not having any pressure on me this time around. No Trials to qualify for. No crazy, unrealistic time to shoot for. It makes running a lot more fun.

Observation: The one thing a race director absolutely has to get right – especially for a marathon – is the course. I am a race director. I direct for races a year. Getting the course right is where 90% of my focus is each and every race. It is simply unacceptable to get this wrong. This is especially true for a marathon which people train months for. There are 400 people today who will not be eligible for the Boston Marathon because the race director screwed up the course. The course records are out the window. It’s as if the race didn’t happen because a marathon is 26.2 not 25.5. My so-so performance had more to do with poor hydration than the course screw up. But I feel for those who spent $100 and months of training to qualify for Boston and now can’t. Total bummer. The ironic thing is that their motto is “we don’t bring elite athletes to our marathon. We bring an elite marathon to our athletes.” Ummm…not so much.

I don't know what time they will put me down for...the 2:28 or the 2:32. There wasn't anyone at the end of the "26.2" to take my time, so I guess they will have to go wit the 2:28. What a mess.

So now the recovery begins. A few days of no running and then ramp up for the summer road race season leading up to Club Track Nationals in SFO.

ST4 Miles: 26.70
Weight: 0.00
From Snoqualmie on Sat, May 15, 2010 at 20:06:29 from

CRAZY!!!!! If I ever want to just have an expensive long run, I'll know where to go.

That warm air probably took it's toll along with the frustrating mental challenge. We just don't have the heat conditioning this early in the year where we live, imo.

Good luck with recovery and leaving this one behind you. You're still one of my all time heros!

From Dale on Sat, May 15, 2010 at 20:06:34 from

Bummer. You can say the course fiasco wasn't worth 6 minutes but I wouldn't be so sure. That's a mental mind game of the worst order and we all know the mind is critical to a top-level performance. Okay, so add in the sunshine and you've probably got your lost minutes and maybe then some.

It's hard to train for warm weather events here in WA.....the weather tends to quickly warmup just prior to the May marathon's and doesn't give you adequate time to adapt, not that you can even adapt fully enough to compensate.

Kudos for sticking with it even after the early fiasco and putting in a solid racing effort.

From Little Bad Legs on Sat, May 15, 2010 at 21:07:37 from

WOW! What a mess! Starting late and a jacked up distance are the 2 biggest sins for any race, ESPECIALLY a marathon.

This was going to be my spring marathon but an injury in March has kept me home--looks like it was worth missing.

Good luck with your future races. There's nothing wrong with shooting for a 2:25 and enjoying the race at the same time. Here's to a quick recovery!

From JamesH on Sat, May 15, 2010 at 21:09:01 from

Sounds like quite an adventure. Nothing more frustrating than trying to race when you cant focus your mind totally on the task. Still a solid race dispite everything going on around you.

From Burt on Sun, May 16, 2010 at 02:15:53 from

Knowing you're not running the proper distance just takes it all out of you. Way to plug on.

From Paul on Sun, May 16, 2010 at 15:33:20 from

Bummer. But nice job, and way to stick it out, and finish the race. I encourage you not to give up on the idea of a marathon PR. You are only one year removed from strong PR's in the half, 10K, and 5K. You are still the same runner. I think you still have a flat-course sub-2:22 in you.

From MichelleL on Sun, May 16, 2010 at 21:40:09 from

I agree, an accurate course is critical, especially for marathons. Sorry the race didn't quite work out, distance and weatherwise. Both are important components.

From Superfly on Thu, May 20, 2010 at 12:19:17 from

This is delayed but good job. It was fun to read through your report and all the insightful observations. I'm feeling it in the body too that my PR times are behind me. Oh well. I just want to try and run as good as I can "now".

Plus with the official 2:28 time your still doing pretty good man. Specifically on a course that had a bunch of issues.

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