Sean O’Brien Race Report

Following the Bandera 100k in January, my recovery (1 week) and training started clicking back into place.  Had 4 tough road workouts with my Team Rogue mates, 3 massages, a steady 18-miler, and a 2 ½ hour bike ride out on Parmer Lane leading into the inaugural Sean O’Brien 50k on February 1 in sunny and gorgeous Malibu, California.  I had heard that RD Keira Henninger puts on amazing races and this one would turn out to be no different!

Meredith and I flew out on Friday morning, grabbed some groceries, checked in to the hotel, enjoyed a quick shake-out run at the race site at Malibu Creek State Park, and then a fantastic easy swim at the Westlake Athletic Club, as Meredith did a long swim, before hitting packet pickup and finally enjoying some pre-race dinner.  Leadville 100 stud Michael Aish and his wife Nicole joined us briefly for some pre-race discussion, and then it was off to bed!

My goal going into the 50k was to run the race that I SHOULD HAVE run in Bandera, where I went out way too fast and paid the price.  The cool breezy morning, steep climbs out of the chute, and out and back course made this an ideal venue to “recalibrate” my race effort.  All systems were “go” and I smartly did not get sucked into the early fast pace of both the 50k and 26m runners, both of which started at 7am.  Wore a thin pair of gloves for maybe the first 30-45 minutes and then I didn’t need them anymore.  Quickly refilled a water bottle at aid station #2 (mile 11), and then made up some spots cruising through aid station #3 where some runners had drop bags.  The turnaround at mile 15.5 was supposed to have water but didn’t;  luckily I had been nursing one of my two bottles and made it back to aid station #5 (mile 18) none the worse for wear.  Believe I was somewhere in the top-5 at this point and within striking distance of 4th and 3rd, so I buckled down on the 2 mile stretch to aid station #6 (mile 20) and ran really strong all the way to the finish, absolutely LOVING the long downhill stretches and views of the coastline that came with it.  We don’t get long descents like that in Texas!!!   My finish time of 4:25:57 was only about a 2 minute positive split so I was really happy with my effort.

Meredith smartly opted for the 26M run, after being sick, as one of her last “long” runs before Ultraman Florida in 3 weeks, so I got to see her on the trail in between aid station #5 and #6.  She was running GREAT, and finished as the 2nd place woman!  The finish line post-race spread was absolutely fantastic, with plenty of food, drink, friends, sunshine and photos to go around.  (need to find some photos and get them posted, maybe they are somewhere in the facebook cloud?)

Up next, it’s my turn to be ultra-sherpa at Ultraman Florida, can’t wait to support my wife in her epic journey like she has for me SO many times!!!   Thanks for reading y’all.

P.S. Definitely put next year’s SOB on your race calendar, especially if you need a mid-winter break from some dysfunctional weather!!! J

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