SEAN MEISSNER Q&A
Facebook Live Q&A with Coach Ian
1. Coaching accomplishment(s) you’re most proud of and why?
Coaching a woman in her upper-50s through her first 100-miler. She lives in Minnesota and had to train through the bitter cold winter, but apparently, that only made her tougher. Before the race, we were talking strategy and time goals, and when she mentioned her sub-24 goal, I gently suggested 26 might be more realistic. She proved me oh-so-wrong, as she went on the crush her race in just over 22 hrs, placing 5th female!
2. Most exotic personal running experience?
Ultramaraton de los Andes 80km outside of Santiago, Chile in 2010 (which was an all-expense paid trip from The North Face for winning the Canadian Death Race in 2009). Just getting to the venue for the 2 a.m. start was a fiasco, as the taxi driver didn’t quite know where he was going, so we arrived only 10 min before the start. I got to the line just before we started running and settled in nicely. Since it was dark, I had no idea where I was running, but just as it was getting light, I distinctly recall running around a bend, looking up, and being in the middle of the Andes! It was a one of those all-hairs-on-my-body-standing-straight-up moments. Magical.
3. Favorite local trail?
The 25-mi loop around Engineer Mountain outside of Durango, Colorado
is pretty sweet. Although not wilderness, this trail gets pretty remote
and much of it has very little traffic. With a low point of 9,000’ and a
high point of almost 13,000’, it stays nice and high the whole time.
The views are amazing and it’s pretty cool to circumnavigate on of
the iconic peaks in the Durango area.
4. Favorite cross training activity?
Playing with my dogs, Milo and Ardy. They’re the best.
5. Personal running accomplishment you’re most proud of and why?
Running solo, unsupported on the Wonderland Trail around Mt Rainier, all 93 miles and 24,000’ of vert. I had never done anything like that before, I carried way too much “stuff” (i.e., excess weight), and I had to emergency bivy for about four hours during the night, as I was doing a bit too much weaving when I started getting sleepy, but being out there all alone at 1:30 a.m. under a full moon, with my headlamp off, and vividly seeing the vibrant purples and reds from the sea of wild flowers, was pretty spectacular. Although I never doubted my ability to finish, when I did, I was pretty proud of myself. And exhausted.
6. Most unusual coaching issue you’ve had to deal with?
I can’t think of anything too unusual. I’ve always had clients who like to race very frequently, sometimes, too frequently, but that’s not necessarily unusual for runners. Instead of telling them they can’t run certain races, I try to work with them to make sure they rest properly, which sometimes means no workouts between races. Some people initially don’t like that, but after they see the benefits of resting, most really come to appreciate it.