Sean's Running Blog

Seattle Rock and Roll Half 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: Seattle Rock and Roll Half Marathon (13.1 Miles) 01:08:58, Place overall: 7, Place in age division: 7
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Well...I beat Paul in his homestate in May and he beat me in my home state in June. Seems fair I guess.

A beautiful day for running. 56 degrees at the start and not a cloud in the sky. A dreamy day for the race organizers of this inaugural race.

Caught up with Paul briefly prior to the race. It's always good to chat with him. There was a woman in the race with a 1:08 PR in the half which had me a bit nervous.  

Race started just a couple of minutes late. First mile was pretty much flat through the industrial part of Tukwila, just south of Seattle. By the Mile 1 marker there was already a lead pack and a chase pack. Crossed in 5:14. Perfect. Mile 2 was more of the same...industrial Tukwila. Slight uphill as we crossed over I-5 but right back down. Hit mile two in 5:15. Perfect again.

Mile 3 was more uphill than I remembered from my course tour the day prior. It wasn't anything crazy at all, but it was a slight incline virtually the whole way. By this time, the lead pack had gapped me pretty good. From this point on it was me and a local running friend Destry Johnson in our pack of two. We picked off a few guys in Mile 3 who wanted some camera time and went out way too fast. Despite the gentle uphill we hit Mile 3 in 5:12. Very happy at this point.

Mile 4 was basically flat and through the neighborhoods of south Seattle. This the was last mile that Destry and I passed anyone. From Mile 4 on we didn't pass anyone and no one passed us. Hit Mile 4 in 5:11.

Mile 5 was the hardest of all the miles. It's a steady 2-3% grade uphill the entire mile. I generally run well uphill but this is one of those points in the race you have to be really careful because you have almost nothing to gain by going too hard and a ton to lose by doing so. Crossed the mile marker in 5:48. Much slower than I thought but I think the mile marker was off as my watch had us at 1.05 for that mile and my watch is usually never off that badly.

Mile 6 plummets down to Lake Washington. It has one of those short downhill stretches that is so steep that you can't really get the full benefit of the downhill. All the elevation we gained over one mile we gave back in less than 1/4 mile. The next few miles are along a beautiful stretch of Lake Washington. Again, it was a race organizers dream. Mile 6 came in at 5:00 which was pretty easy to understand given the downhill stretch. Destry is a much better downhill runner I learned.

Mile 7-9 are all along Lake Washington. Again...just gorgeous...however the beauty has its risks. This stretch is littered with "S" turns that can lenghthen the race by a ton. So Destry amd I focused on running the tangents. There is no prize for running 13.3. My coach is the one who measured the course and he warned me about this stretch. He measured mile 7 the correct way (shortest possible route) and then measured it again following the centerline. The difference in the two measurements over just one mile was a staggering 100 meters! So run the tangents people. 100 meters is 20-35 seconds depending on your pace and that was for just one mile. Miles 7, 8 and 9 came in at 5:09, 5:27, 5:26. The only explanation I have for the slower miles is the wind did kick up off the lake and we were exposed to that more than I expected. I also think the markers may have been off. Mile 8 is where I really started to feel the effects of Grandma's. My calves were screaming way earlier than normal. At this point I was pretty sure I wasn't going to be able to stay with Destry.

Mile 10 starts with a VERY abrupt uphill as we climbed to the I-90 tunnel. It's probably a hundred meters in length but very, very steep. Once you get to the top you enter the I-90 tunnel which was really weird. There was a band playing at the far end of the tunnel and the echoing noise was eerie especially since you couldn't see the end of the tunnel around the bend. Mile 10 marker was inside the tunnel. Destry and I crossed at 5:10. Quicker than I thought.

Mile 11...pretty flat ending with a pretty aggressive downhill portion as we headed toward Safeco Field. Mark Mandi, a local elite guy had been showing signs of weakening and we were reeling him in. He was less than 100 meters in front of us now. Mile 11 was in 5:10 as well.

Mile 12 was through the heart of downtown Seattle. A little bit of up and down. Pretty gentle. Destry was starting to gap me...probably 15 meters ahead at this point. I was just about ready to concede at this point. Crossed Mile 12 at 5:10.

With a mile to go, we went down a really steep hill as we approached the Alaskan Way viaduct. This was a turning point in the race for me. Up to this point, Destry had crushed me on every downhill stretch. This time, he didn't gap me at all and I was right on his heels headed into a brief uphill stretch that put us onto the viaduct. It was here where I passed him. But Destry is a competitor and once we got onto the viaduct and it flattedned out, he passed me one more time and took the lead with about 3/4 of a mile to go. With 1/2 mile to go, we hit one final downhill stretch coming off of the viaduct and I passed him as I started to make a final move to beat him. As we made the final turn the finish line was about 250 meters away. It seemed a lot farther than that. Destry and I were now in an all out sprint for the finish. I pulled away a bit and with 150 or so to go looked back and felt like I had him beat. Then I looked back with about 75 meters to go and he was right there giving it one last push. I managed to hold him off across the finish but it was a fantastic race. Mile 13 was in 5:07...a strong finish.

Finishing time was 1:08:58. Destry was just one second behind. I ended up only a few seconds behind Mark Mandi. Another 1/2 mile and we both would have had him.

Finished 7th overall. 5th american and third Washingtonian. So I just missed out on the money. Oh well.

Destry is a good friend and I love racing with him because we are so similar in ability and style. He totally pushed me to a sub 1:09 finish which I didn't expect given my partially recovered state. So thanks to Destry for pushing me the whole way.

Great race. Great organization. Good course. Very scenic and not as difficult as I would have expected.

Congrats to Paul on the nice PR. Amazing what a little extra oxygen will do. He ran a very smart race and knew when to back off the leaders. While he was in sight at the finish, he smoked me.

As I sit here, my calves are wasted. I'm just glad I'm sitting here in my kitchen and don't have to get on an airplane. Ugh.

I have serious doubts about running the Logan 15k next weekend. We shall see.


Brooks ST3 Racer #3 Miles: 14.60
Weight: 142.00
From Little Bad Legs on Sat, Jun 27, 2009 at 14:25:40 from

As always, a very entertaining read. Great job, especially after Grandma's.

I especially appreciate your thoughts on the importance of running tangents.

From Kelli on Sat, Jun 27, 2009 at 14:28:20 from

WOW! What a race, I wish I had been there to see that awesome finish. You two were crowd pleasers I am sure! It is so cool to see people compete like that at the end when you know they are wasted. And very cool that the two of you are friends.

Rest up and take care of the soreness!!

From Burt on Sat, Jun 27, 2009 at 16:51:20 from

I just read your report while I was eating my wife's yummy pork enchiladas. I don't know why I told you that. But reading such a great report made me enjoy my lunch all the more. Great job!

From allie on Sat, Jun 27, 2009 at 18:27:31 from

awesome report. congratulations!

From paul on Sat, Jun 27, 2009 at 21:22:44 from

Great report, very thorough and helps me remember some stuff I forgot. I hate running alone, because I was figuring you and whoever else was chomping at the bit to catch me, but the downhill came at the right time, and then I could "smell the barn". I just wonder why my Mile 13 was so slow and yours was so much faster. Eh. Anyway, great job. Days like this should never be wasted, so it's good you ran. How often do you get mid-50s weather with little wind? Hopefully I will see you again next week.

From Snoqualmie on Sat, Jun 27, 2009 at 23:05:37 from

Great race, Sean! I heard them announce your name in the elite list from where I was, waaaay back in corral 17. I'm so glad you had a good race - an amazing achievement just one week after the Duluth furnace.

From jtshad on Sun, Jun 28, 2009 at 09:46:54 from

Great race once again! You are truly an amazing runner.

From Dale on Sun, Jun 28, 2009 at 11:36:31 from

Quite a feat pulling this off after turning around from last weekend's race! Great job

From Sasha Pachev on Mon, Jun 29, 2009 at 16:16:39 from

Good post-Granda recovery! Good for mental health. Sub-1:09 on that course is very solid. Probably close to PR in value, possibly even better, who knows what those hills were worth.

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