Monday, April 21, 2008


2:48:45, 6:26/mile, 403 overall, 388 male. 8:46 off my goal.

1351 Meissner, Sean R. 34 M Sisters OR USA
5k 10k 15k 20k Half 25k 30k 35k 40k
0:18:43 0:37:26 0:56:08 1:15:54 1:19:55 1:34:55 1:55:00 2:16:37 2:38:42
Finish 2:48:45
Pace 6:26
Overall 403
Gender 399
Division 310

So I came to Boston looking to, and believing I could, run a sub-2:40. I'm in just about as good of shape as I've ever been in. My 1:16 1/2 marathon 3 weeks ago convinced me that I not only could break 2:40, but that I should, as well.

During my warm-up, I just didn't have any pep or bounce in my legs like I had at the 1/2. I knew it was going to be tough to get my goal, but what the heck, I went for it anyway. I hit the mile in 6:28 (minus 18 seconds to get to the starting line). Then I just started hitting high 5:50s to 6:05 for many miles in a row. I wasn't in an easy flow, so was fighting for every mile, but felt confident with my consistent pace. Around 12, I took a porto-stop, then stupidly tried to play catch-up with the pack I had been with, instead of just getting back into my 6 min. pace. Although I did get back up to the group, that strategy was, of course, totally lame. In the midst of being lame, I ran through Wellesley, and although the reality of the crowd and noise definitely did not live up to my pre-race expectations, I did get my kiss!

At 25 km, I was right back at 6:06 pace (and I got a big rah-rah from Meghan). Then things started to get bad. By 16, I just wasn't having much fun, and by 17, I knew I was done. I pretty much just shut down my race and tried to enjoy it. My pace immediately went from low-6s to low-7s; no slow transition, just a sudden drop. Brad Mitchell caught and flew by me here (and finished strong in 2:40:11). Next, Scott Wolfe caught me just before 30 km. He slowed for a second to ask if I needed anything. I mumbled "no", then he was off to a strong finish in 2:41:10 (not too shabby after 4th at the Rumble last weekend!). (At right, Scott about ready to put the hammer down on me).

Shortly before Scott passed me, I decided it would be fun to puke on myself. At the top of the last of the hills at 21, right in front of all the Boston College students, I thought it would be fun to puke on myself again. I didn't even try to move my head to the side; I didn't care.

Lots of people passed me the last 9 miles (at least 200, based on Brad's place compared to mine). Although it was humbling, again, I didn't care. I was just on cruise control and trying to enjoy the crowds and just being "in" Boston.

I eventually figured I should at least shoot for a sub-2:50. Passing 1 mile to go in 2:42, I knew that was pretty much a gimme, so I just continued to cruise, still not letting it bother me that lots of guys were still flying by to their own p.r.'s. In fact, I really did try to cheer almost all of them on. It was easy to tell the guys who were having stellar days, and it was fun to root them on to strong finishes.

I eventually trotted across the line in a gun time of 2:49:03, which translated to a 2:48:45 chip time. Then it just took a really long time to walk to the water; I think I started to get a bit cranky, wondering where the heck it was. But I got water, my cool little silver heat blanket, my medal, and finally my drop bag with warm, dry clothes and sandals.

In the Team Competition, the Central Oregon Running Klub (CORK) Men's Open Team that I was part of, with Danny Harris, JJ Howard, and Michael Dennis, placed 38th with a time of 8:54:55 (best 3 times scored). Nope, we didn't win any prizes, but this just made it a little more fun for the four of us.

I met up with Danny, Amy, and Amy's family, and we all went to get some drinks and food. That Coke was about the best ever. I desperately needed those calories. Then I took the t up to Harvard to meet the Maniacs at John Harvard's for some good pub grub. Two hard ciders, a Long Island Ice Tea, an order of bbq wings, and a big plate of greasy cheese fries later (as I'm still on my quest for the best-ever post-race cheese fries), I felt so much better. No longer Mr. Cranky. It was good. And it was just fun to hang out with my Maniac buddies and catch up (including Gayman, who ran in the Women's Trials yesterday!).

So as I reflect back on my race, I would be lieing if I said I wasn't a bit disappointed. I had a goal, and I missed it. I'm not disappointed, though, with the fact that I layed it out there and went for it from the start. To get the time I wanted, I felt that's what I had to do. I really do appreciate all of the support from literally hundreds of friends and family, though. I know that many of you followed my progress on-line, and were sending me good energy the whole race. For that, I thank you all. It really is great to have such a tremendous cheering section, and that will always be more important to me than reaching a time goal. Always.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Pre-Marathon Fun

Danny and I arrived in Boston last night after a what-seemed-like-forever flight. We cabbed it to the house we're renting (with Amy, Chad, and Megan, who got in early this morning), then we hit the neighborhood Mexican restaurant for some food. I told the waiter that I wanted a marg, but couldn't have one. Then I remembered that it was only Friday, and the race isn't until Monday, so I indulged a little. Yeah, it was good.

After almost 10 hours of sleep last night (!), I had a nice and lazy morning. Eventually, Danny and I decided it was time to head to the Expo, but we also wanted to get in a 5ish mile run. So we ran to the Expo. We went in the convention center, got our numbers, and headed over to pick up our goody bags and shirts. As I was about to leave the shirt pick-up area, I noticed a volunteer looking at me, kinda like he knew me. Then, "Hey, you're Sean Meissner". "Yeah...and you?" It was Sherpa John from NH. It's always fun to see fellow ultrarunners at marathons.

Then it was in to the mammoth Expo. It was a bit overwhelming, so I decided my first stop needed to be at the nuun booth. Hart had set it up for me to hang out there for a while and help talk about the electrolyte drink that I love! Eric and Julianne were super-nice and stoked to have me there. I immediately started talking to hundreds of marathoners and their friends about nuun...all about nuun...even the sorbitol part of nuun. Yes, sorbitol. Yes, it's a natural laxative. Yes, it's also commonly found in most fruits. Yes, when taken in HUGE quantities, it will do the same thing to you as eating a whole bunch of prunes. Yes, it's tastes super-yummy and really is a great electrolyte drink; it's very natural and it just makes you want to drink. I'm actually even planning to start with a bottle of kona kola nuun on Monday.

After a short while at the nuun booth, a Japanese man came up to me, handed me his bib number and a sharpie, and said (I kid you not) "You're Sean can run, but you can't hide". Huh?! It was pretty crazy, but also kinda cool. I saw Pam Reed's signature already on there, so I figured he definitely knew some ultrarunners. So yeah, I signed it, and even posed for a picture with him. It was my 2 minutes of slight fame. I saw a few other friends go by as I hung out with nuun, including fast-and-nice guy Brad Mitchell from ID. I except to see him a few times on Monday, too.

I hung out at the booth for a little over an hour, then decided to brave the Expo. I saw lots of people and lots of things - some cool, some kinda weird, and lots and lots of logo merchandise being purchased. Legends were there autographing posters...Boston Billy, Dick Beardsley, Peter Reed (who couldn't stop praising nuun when he saw mine and Eric's visors!), Tim DeBoom, Bart Yasso, etc. I thought it would be cool to get a poster with all of their autographs for the store, but decided I didn't really want to wait in all of those lines. Maybe if Rod had paid for my trip... Michael Hayden spotted me through the crowd and we chatted for a bit. He's fresh off the Mad City 50k last weekend, where he set a new national age group record of 3:45...smokin', Michael!

I saw quite a few industry people that I knew or recognized, and even stopped by Superfeet, Balega, and a few others to give them the early scoop on the new shop (and yes, I'm charging Rod for all of that time).

After hitting the booths, I headed back to nuun for another 1/2 hour with Julianne and Eric. We were rocking, blasting 80s music, dancing, handing out samples, selling lots, and explaining the benefits of nuun to hundreds of thirsty runners. I got caught up in it all, and before I knew it, the 1/2 hour turned into an hour and a half. I was having a blast, but also getting tired. Although I knew that Julianne and Eric were obviously doing just fine without me, I felt bad for leaving while it was still busy. But they're cool, encouraged me to take off, and even sent me away with a new, clean visor (that will complement my skanked-out one nicely), and a few tubes of the new orange ginger nuun. Thanks, Eric and Julianne - I enjoyed the afternoon with you two.

A t-ride back home, a quick stop by the local market, and pasta primavera was served. Now it's just been a nice, relaxing evening at the house with the gang, watching the Red Sox game and talking geeky runner-talk. Danny and I are excited to join some fast guys from Eugene to watch the fast women tomorrow morning, while Amy, Chad, and Megan are headed to Cambridge to check out Harvard.

I'm loving it here!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Track Fun and Rumble thoughts

Well, last week, on the Thursday between the Wheatfield 1/2 and the Horse Butte 10 miler, I did a Yasoo 800s workout. It was a prelude to the 10 miler - it sucked. I think I barely managed to average 2:49. As with Horse Butte, I was tired and my legs just felt like crap.

Fast forward past the 10 miler last Sunday and on to this week of training. Monday was spent with Dan Harshburger and Sascha marking almost 20 miles of Rumble course. It was nice and slow, and just great to be out on the trail with my favorite running partner, Sascha, and one of my very favorite people, Dan.

Tuesday morning was supposed to be a hill workout on Overturf Butte: 8 x a little less than 1/2 mile, with probably 175' vertical per repeat. I awoke to a couple inches of new snow, and it just got deeper and as I drove to Bend. Hm, what to do? Well, the hill workout - that's what! So I did, and was happy with my decision. I ran hard on each repeat and felt great. It was fun to be feeling peppy again - especially in the middle of a snow storm!

Wednesday was a planned day off, with thoughts of a solid track workout on Thursday morning. Well, I decided I needed a massage in the morning, so the track got pushed back to after work. The massage was great, if not a bit painful on my chronically tight calves. But still wanting to get in a solid track workout, I decided to go for a little 40 minute jog at lunch to loosen up my legs.

That jog was just the ticket I needed. Warming up on the way to the track, I felt a familiar sense of lightness and springyness - kinda like I did while warming up for the 1/2. This was my last intense track workout before Boston (which is in 11 days), so I wanted it to be good.

I ran an unorthodoxed psuedo-ladder of 400-800-400-1600-800-400-800-400. I ran a similar workout last year 10 days before my 2:44 at Yakima, and I loved the mix of quick 400s and 800s, with one 1600 in the middle for a little strength. My friends were just finishing as I started, but they stuck around to cheer me on. Even though they weren't running with me, this really helped. So, by the numbers: 78-2:40-77-5:24-2:37-75-2:37-71. I NEVER start out a workout that hard; I was a bit worried that I was going to die, but I just kept feeling stronger and going faster. And to end with a 71...I don't remember the last time I pulled out one of those.

Besides a few short tempo runs before Boston, the biggest thing on my plate is the Rumble this Sunday. With 312 entrants, this is by far the largest field ever (170 in the 30k and 142 in the 60k). In the 30k, defending champ, champ of the inaugural Rumble in 2003, c.r. holder, Olympic Marathon Trials runner, and nice guy Andy Martin is easily the favorite on the men's side. I expect Steve Larsen, Matt Lieto, and Joel Wirtz to be duking it out in the chase pack. I'm sorry that I'm not too familiar with the women's 30k field, but Tonya Olson should be in the mix. In the 30k doggie division, defending champ Chili, from Campbell River, BC, is expected to be challenged by Piper from Seattle. That, folks, might just be the race of the day. Seriously. On a side note, there are currently 31 dogs registered, which just happens to be the number of runners in the inaugural Rumble - that's awesome!

In the 60k, defending champ Rod Bien has been a bit behind in his preparation, as he's been busy having a third kid and opening a new running store. But he's fit and he'll run his heart out; plus, he'll be pinning on that #1 bib, which is always good for 10 minutes. I expect Eugene's Dan Olmstead and Scott Wolfe, and Bend's Billy Barnett and Paul Saladino to be trying to take down Rod. On the women's side, the Rumble's only three-time champ ('04, '05, '07) Kami Semick is looking fit and fast after a winter of injuries. She might be challenged by the whipper-snapper Jenn Shelton. However, Jenn did just win AR50 last Saturday so she may be a bit tired; but, as mentioned above, she is a whipper-snapper, so I'm sure she'll bounce back and give it all she's got. Also expected to be in the mix is another Bendite, Prudence L'Heureux. Along with Jenn, she recently moved to Bend and has definitely proven her toughness at Smith Rock.

With temps. in the 70s, all of the happy runners, and wagging tails, it's going to be a great weekend for Rumbling!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Blogging Slacker

Well, let's see...since I left off some time last month, I've been pretty darn busy. Busy getting the Fleet Feet ready to open, busy hiring and training employees, busy opening the store, busy getting all sorts of Rumble stuff ready, and busy trying to fit in some training and a tune-up race or two in my Boston-prep.

On March 29, I was hoping to get a group of Boston Bound Bendites to go to The Dalles with me to run the Wheatfield Half Marathon. At 3 weeks before the big day, I figured it was a perfect tune-up. Well, everyone bailed except Sascha, so she and I made the easy, early morning drive north. I saw some familar, friendly Red Lizard faces, and even another ultrarunner, William Swint. William was getting in some tempo running for the upcoming Rumble. During my warm-up with Sascha, I felt, really good. Light, springy, bouncy, just excited to be out there.

I had a goal of 1:18ish, which was going to be a p.r. The course was gentle uphill going out, and gentle down coming back. With my goal in mind, I went out faster than normal. First mile, 5:18...okay, that mile was a bit on the short side. The rest of the miles going out were in the 5:50s - perfect. I felt like I was just floating up the hill. I turned around, gulped down a Gu, and let gravity take me down. I was cruising back, feeling great, hitting mostly 5:30s, with a couple 5:20s thrown in for fun. I seriously could not believe how great I felt and how effortlessly I was cruising.

Hitting mile 12 in 1:08:xx, I knew I was going to go sub-1:15. Sure enough, I finished in 1:14:41. I was elated...and, I knew the course was short. After talking with 3 people who wore gps's on the course, we agreed it was about 1/4 mile short. So that would have put me right about 1:16:00 (5:48 pace). Still a huge p.r., and I was still elated!

After that race, and how easy it felt, I concluded that I will now be disappointed if I don't run sub-2:40 at Boston.

So, less than a week after the 1/2, Fleet Feet Bend opened on April 4. Kathy and Dan Harshburger were sitting on their lawn chairs outside the doors when Rod and I got to work that morning because they wanted to be our first customers. They are awesome!

We opened early at 9:35, and by our 10 a.m. regular opening time, the store was full. We couldn't believe it - it was so cool! Some were our friends, some from CORK, some people who had just heard we were opening, and some were just driving by and saw the crowd inside.

Rod, Chad, and I took lots of people through our in-depth fit process, sold lots of shoes, met lots of new runners and walkers, and were just excited by our big first day. The rest of the weekend at Fleet Feet was great, too. Thank you to all who stopped by - we really appreciate it!

A couple of our customers on Saturday afternoon were two speedy ultra girls Krissy and Devon (well, they're nice, too). Devon was in town for the weekend visiting, and Krissy got to take her out to Smith for Krissy's first bigger run back since her injury. It sounds like she's finally healed up and ready to get rolling. I even got an invite over to Krissy's house that night for a grand feast, planned and prepared by master-chef Devon. Chile Chocolate Mole Squash & Sweet Potatoes, and Sauteed Greens with Carmelized Onions - mmm, good eatins'! To make me feel useful, they even let me build a fire. Thanks for the fun evening, girls!

On Sunday morning before work, I decided to run the Horse Butte 10 miler. I thought it would be a nice, fun tempo run on soft trails. Well, that didn't happen. I felt like crap, my legs were dead, I felt super-sloppy on the trail, and I just generally struggled the whole way.

Why was this little 10 miler such a struggle for me? The 1/2 only a week before? Well, I wouldn't have usually thought that, you know, since "I'm an ultrarunner and it was only 13 miles...". But after thinking about it a bit, and talking to a few people about it, I'm thinking that 1/2 took more out of me than I originally thought. Cool. Maybe that means my body is getting ready for the roads of Boston.

I hope so.