Sean's Marathon Race Report

Houston Marathon 2022

Wow, what a journey!  I don’t remember the last time I had a training block with so many successes!  This journey literally started 2 years ago when I signed up for the Houston Marathon back in 2020.  Unfortunately, I suffered a stress fracture during that training cycle and was forced to defer, and then the pandemic struck pushing this race another year.  The stress fracture snowballed into a number of other injuries throughout 2020 & 2021 and I almost forgot what running pain-free felt like.  To help manage my masochism I teamed up with Andrea McArdle (Running With Confidence owner/founder/coach) in early 2021 to have another set of eyes on my training with the hopes of getting healthy again.  We had a lot of success training for Bryce Canyon 60k, but the magic really started in this recent training block for Houston.

To up the ante on my durability, I also partnered up with Sofie Schunk to help build weight lifting plans to work on my imbalances and improve my running mechanics.  The happy accident with this is that she also became my primary training partner for this training block as well, and a pretty damn good one at that! 💪

With the Houston Marathon lingering for so long I really wanted it to be a memorable one, it was also the Houston Marathon’s 50th Anniversary.  My initial meeting with Andrea was to set up a training plan with a race goal that would get me to the starting line healthy and finish with a positive experience.  We were looking to optimize things to give us a high probability of success.  Although this wasn’t my first marathon, this was the first marathon I’d actually train for so it was kind of like my debut.  The 1st marathon is another story… 

So often when you train for longer races you load up so much time in training and sacrifice opportunities to jump into smaller races, putting a lot of weight on the final race.  My goal was to enjoy the process along the way but to use the smaller races as benchmarks to help guide my pacing throughout this training block.  This is part of why I think this training block was so special.  I PB’d in both the 5k & 10k since college and had the privilege to run with the Dukes Track Club at Club XC in Tallahassee.  With all the success from the PB’s, race/workout executions, strength buildup, friendships & most importantly staying healthy I basically checked all the boxes to make this training block feel complete.  The weight of performing at Houston was light, I was already victorious and I wasn’t going to let the result of Houston define me.  I still wanted to race well, but the stress & anxiety that I would normally put on myself for an “A” race was lifted.

Fast Master Squad - USATF Club XC Nationals

I think that’s how I ultimately found my success.  I was at peace well before the big show, but my confidence was also higher than it’s ever been going into a race.  I was strong, I was fit, I was prepared.  I had a race plan and it wasn’t much different than how I executed my workouts and I had the most amazing support from my family, friends, coach & teammates.  Our goal was the run ~2:48.  I ended up crossing the finish line in 2:46:58.  The icing on this cake couldn’t be sweeter!

I’ve got big plans for 2022, but my biggest priority is learning from this training block and continuing to work on the small things in order to stay healthy and continue to progress.  I can’t end this without calling out a few key people that were a big part of this success story.  Of course, Andrea McArdle for her belief and collaboration to help me realize my goals.  Sofie Schunk for her dependability, unwavering support, friendship & simply being a really fun training partner (competitive training partner at that 😂).  Brett Winegar for always being a gamer; races, workouts, doesn’t matter, he in!  Our future training together is going to be absolutely epic!  Adam Doe & Joey Byrne for letting me hop into a few runs along the way which lead to some epic banter.  The Dukes Track Club for their consistency to get after it every day and their unwavering support and best wishes for the success of everyone within the group and running community.  Likhaya Dayile, if it wasn’t for this man there’s a chance I wouldn’t be running today.  Amber Zimmerman for not only setting a marathon PB & OTQ but for also jump-starting this Houston chapter over 2 years ago.  Marc Quiñones whose belief in me, friendship, and hard work is unmatched.  And my wife, Anna Abeyta, for her commitment, her sacrifices, and support while I took on this task.  I seriously could not have done this without her.  She is my absolute rock.

Thank you all for your continued support!  As I turn the page to this chapter what’s waiting in the next is going to be a hallmark!


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