Thursday, February 6, 2014

Sean O'Brien 50 Mile Race Report

Photo by

Thanks Keira for another stellar event!  I love all your races, and since the Griffith Park 1/2 Marathon I've learned that your shorter distance races are just as much fun and will have to do more =)  Loved hanging out with tons of friends at the finish, eating good food and rehashing the race.

D-Bo, whoa.  Congratulations on your victory way to keep your SoCal streak alive.  Congrats to Cassie Scallon too for a stout W.

Predictions: I was spot on, predicting the male and female winners within minutes!  I'm going to start taking bets next race, house will get 10% cut...jk jk.

How'd my run go?  Felt like I paced myself well, might have pushed it a little too hard up the 2nd big climb coming up from Bonsall Aid Station.  Up to this point I ran a lot with my good friend Jesse Haynes, and then yo-yo'ed for miles with William Tarantino from Mammoth, watch out for this guy in the future.

Wolfpack Hustle
photo by Jayme Burtis

Approaching the top of the final big climb, I kept seeing Mike Wolfe a minute or too ahead and exerted myself to catch up with him.  It was an honor to meet Mike Wolfe, and I enjoyed chatting for a couple miles.  Good luck at Transgrancanaria next month Mike!  I felt great coming into Kanan Aid Station at mile 36 and got a little boost upon hearing that I was now in 4th place and a golden ticket for Western States had my name scrawled in pencil on it, I was only 5 minutes off my splits to finish in 6:40.

Photog. Erik Schulte "Fox"

A couple miles later the wheels started falling off.  The muscles in my legs just died.  I've never hiked so many gradual climbs in a 50 miler before.  Dom and Timmy Olson caught up to me just before the Corral Aid Station (6 miles from the finish), I briefly passed them as they filled up their bottles.

The way my race finished was very humbling.  Dom out raced me for the first time in our 7 races together.  He has stepped up his game big time.  He did not just got lucky this time, he has improved immensely and I'm looking forward to toeing the line with him again... but before that I'm sure we'll log a ton of training miles together.  He's a good friend and I'm excited to see that unicorn tear it up at other races this year.   It was also humbling to have Timmy Olson catch me, then meet up with his wife and father-in-law and cruise to the finish with them (which allowed me to pass), other wise I wouldn't have gotten 4th.  Upon getting caught by those two I was in a low spot physically and mentally so I told Dom, "just go, you can catch Wolfe and get on the podium, I'm not going to take the ticket to states," but in an act of generosity he cruised in to the finish with me, letting me cross a second in front of him.

Brothers don't shake hands.
Photo by Ivan Buzik

My shoes, The Hoka One One Rapa Nui's were awesome.  Best shoe's I've ever worn on the trail.  My feet felt great the whole race, better than they ever have after a 50 miler.  I'm looking forward to hitting the roads a bit as I recover with my Hoka Conquest's and start doing a lot more speed work for my wife and I's next race, the Cheseboro Half Marathon next month.

Thanks for covering the race Bryon Powell!  Nice getting to meet you and hang out a bit pre-race as well.

Thanks to Wolf Creek Brewery for sponsoring the race and giving us a 5 cent pint after the race.  Loved eating a delicious burger post race with a ton of friends there.

Congrats to Michael Ryan on a solid first 50 miler which qualifies you for AC!  Way to go Jim McClain & Jon Foley on your first 50k's!

I'd like to thank Rose for a couple amazing massages prior to the race.  She really helped me work out a couple kinks.  Anyone in the Pasadena interested in massages should hit me up for her contact info, she gives the best massages I've ever had.

My Garmin deets are here.

I'm sure some people think that it is kind of lame that I got my ticket the way I did, having a friend back off a little to let me finish in front of him.  I agree.  I much rather would have just gotten 4th place outright.  But should I pass up this opportunity?  I don't think I should.  The whole situation is unsettling, but interesting.  The best way for me to proceed from here is to train my ass off, have fun doing so and prove my worthiness by circling the Placer High School Track around 10pm on June 28th.

Speaking of training, time for me to head back to the mountains... here's a shot of my backyard training ground Echo Mountain, the former "White City," before it burned down:

If you've ever run up here you know how different it looks now, crazy hunh?  If I've learned one thing during my recent inhabitance here in SoCal it is that everything burns, it's just a matter of when.  The way the winter is looking so far, we better start doing some rain/snow dances (my micro-spikes are getting rusty).

Here's a cool video Billy Yang made of the race: