My name is Michael Magnussen. I am a 4th generation Seattleite and grew up in Redmond, graduated college from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, and currently work and reside on Mercer Island with my wife, two teenage daughters and dog.
My introduction to distance running started over a challenge from a buddy at my neighborhood watering hole in the summer of 2013. He asked me if I wanted to train for and run the Amica Seattle Marathon with him. I found the idea preposterous, and it took a couple of beers and some serious cajoling for me to reluctantly agree to compromise and participate in the half marathon. He said we could still train for the full, which would make racing the half easier. I said okay, knowing his real intent was to ease me into the idea of doing the whole 26.2 miles over time but fully prepared to resist. We began following the beginner training plan from the Book Marathon by Hal Higdon, and I will never forget the first run - a four miler across the I-90 bridge From Mercer Island to Leschi and back. I thought I was going to die, and told my friend, "There is no way I am EVER going to able to run a half marathon." However, it did get easier over the next 18 weeks, and by registration time my friend got his way and we signed up for the full. Despite the fact it was cold, wet, windy and brutally hilly, I finished with a decent time and was surprisingly not much worse for the wear. I recall crossing the finish line and thinking, "Now I can cross running a marathon off my bucket list". Reflecting on my performance in the days that followed, however, it ate at me that I had treated the race like a training run - I had stopped a couple of times to use the restroom, ran a pace that was too conservative, and had actually circled back on the course on several occasions to meet up with my buddy, who hadn't had his best day. Unbelievably, I found myself anxious to try it again soon; this time to see what I was really capable of. We signed up for the 2014 BMO Vancouver Marathon. Despite eating a big Indian dinner at Vij's with cocktails the night before, going to bed way too late, waking up to a false fire alarm at 3am and driving rain for the first half of the race, I finished in the top 5% overall and qualified for Boston by over 10 minutes.
I needed a new pair of shoes for my third marathon, Boston 2015, and went to Running Elements in Bellevue. The owner introduced me to Yon and Shelby. They didn't think much of my generic, one-size-fits-all training plan, and started working with me when I got back from Boston. Not just on training and running form, but helping me understand the importance of rest and nutrition. I started seeing immediate results. I qualified for Boston '16 by over 25 minutes, and Boston '17 and '18 by over 30 minutes. I have also watched my half marathon times drop from the high 1:20's to low (and sub) 1:20's. I have now run 11 marathons (4 of the last 6 in under 3 hours) and 22 half marathons.
My coaches and teammates at Cascade Run Club have made running enjoyable for me. It is much more than just a training group - everyone is friendly, encouraging and fun, and the coaches are extremely knowledgeable and experienced. I don't just look forward to the supportive environment during races, but the fellowship and laughs during training runs and social events. These people have become my family.
I will be turning 50 in October, and actually feel like I am getting faster. Just four years ago I was a non-runner with absolutely no desire to do so, and now I run almost every day and travel across the United States and abroad to participate in world majors. This sport and the CRC have changed my life.
Half Marathon PR: 1:19:27
Marathon PR: 2:52:40
Training Pace: 5:15 - 7:45
Favorite Shoes: Nike Lunaracer 4 (RIP), Vaporfly 4%
Favorite Race Distance: Anything but the mile
Favorite Racing Experience: Boston 2016. It was a little warm and I was off-pace by a good 15 minutes, but it was my 2nd Boston Marathon and I made sure to really take it in and enjoy the experience. New York and Berlin were both awesome events as well.
Favorite CRC Memory: Running with Yon and winning my first marathon, Ghost of Seattle 2017. I also really enjoyed traveling to British Columbia and running the Cunningham Seawall 10K and the Rock & Roll Vancouver Half and hanging with my teammates, as well as group trail runs in the Redmond Watershed and along the Iron Horse Trail.