I was watching some self video on YouTube and it asked to summarize my past year in one word. And, I won’t lie — I am having a hard time picking just one.
I can think of many one words that have described my year — inspiring — frustrating — thyroid — testosterone — running — running — running — friends — family — running — burritos — opportunity — growth … and the list could go on and on.
But, what one word could describe my 2015?
I can’t even decide.
Luckily for me (and you the reader) I am a blogger and this is my blog — so I don’t have to be subject to just one word. Because, seriously, I can’t summarize it in one word, so I decided to highlight just a few of my favorite memories — and life moments — here on the blog
I RUN MY FIRST RACE OF THE YEAR — WITH THE FLU
Probably not the best way to start out 2015 — but I ran my first race of 2015 with the flu. I didn’t think much of it during the run, it just felt like a normal cold. But, once I got home after the run I got the chills and started fevering — I had to cancel my planned race later that weekend.
But, at least I can say I’m a hardcore runner, right?
GRANDMA KAYE — MY HERO — PASSES AWAY
My Grandma Kaye — my hero, inspiration and biggest fan — passed away on February 11th. She had a quick illness that she just couldn’t rebound from. For someone who was healthier than healthy it was a shock.
She was the strength and glue of the family. She was the first one to volunteer to help — whether it was with simply a card or dinner. Even at age 88 she was always on the go doing good for others.
Personally, she and I had a close relationship. We always found humor in everything and a way to fix today’s troubled world. She always looked forward to reading my birthday and Christmas cards because the messages always came from the heart. She always encouraged me to keep writing — even on her death bed. Her last words to me were — “you better keep writing — or I’ll beat you up!”
A promise I made her — and plan to keep.
I JOIN THE GABICAS ON A FAMILY TRIP TO VEGAS
The week following my Grandma’s passing I joined the Gabicas on a family trip to Las Vegas. But, before hand Jill and I swept the Dogtown Half Marathon course in southern Utah. A memory I’ll always hold of us getting lost during the last mile.
While in Vegas we met up with our friends the Copelands and, my Vegas Girlfriend, Angie Smith. We did the Strip — ate at Hash House of Go Go — and of course visited the M&M World. It was a fun trip and getaway. Much needed!
I JOIN JILL ON AN ‘EPIC SH*T’ ADVENTURE ON ANTELOPE ISLAND
In October 2014 Jill and I did a half marathon that was 6.5 miles UP hill and then 6.5 back down. It was an epic run. One that made up start planning for more epic runs in the future — including the Antelope Island Buffalo Run 25K in March. The race was Jill’s first trail run and my third — we didn’t have a goal other than just finish.
This run was the inspiration for me to finally tackle my first ultra marathon in November (scroll down for that).
THE LEGS & WHEELZ TEAM RUNS THE LAGOON HALF MARATHON
My friend Josh Twelves — we’ve been friends for over a decade since going to SLC together — ran our first half marathon together. We ran the inaugural Lagoon Half Marathon and we had a blast. We were joined by our friends Tim and Chanda and pretty much had a party.
We’re planning on running a number of races in 2016 together including the DesNews Half Marathon and more.
FAMILY LAUNCHES PREPPERCON HERE IN SALT LAKE CITY
My family gets involved in many interesting things — whether it’s ghost hunts, UFOs, card shops or what have you. This past year we started PrepperCon — an emergency preparedness convention — here in Salt Lake.
But, it shouldn’t really surprise anyone that our family started PrepperCon — emergency preparedness has been something we’ve always been involved in. Ever since I was a kid helping my Mom can our grapes, peaches and apricots it’s always been “who we are” — down to food storage and emergency plans.
Plus, PrepperCon isn’t like your typical preparedness fair — it’s a mixture of that, but with a dynamic infusion of a Comic Con. It’s a lot of fun — we had over 12,000 attendees in 2015 and look for even more in 2016.
PrepperCon will be returning again to the South Towne Expo Center on April 15-16, 2016.
BEN & KELLI (FINALLY) GET HITCHED
After some 70 years — okay just 7 — Ben and Kelli finally got hitched. We were all kinda worried until the last minute that Ben would get cold feet. But, alas, he went through with it.
The marriage left just Luke and I unmarried — and come next June — just me. Hopefully that will change in 2016.
But, I couldn’t be happier for my brother and Kelli — she’s been a part of the family for many years, it’s just nice to finally make that officially official.
I RUN MY FASTEST HALF MARATHON OF THE YEAR DOWN BIG COTTONWOOD CANYON
It’s been a difficult year with health issues for me. My thyroid and testosterone have had a hard time regulating itself and my running and weight have been kinda all over the spectrum.
But, there’s nothing like a summer downhill race to kind of cure the mounting frustration. I ran the Drop 13 Big Cottonwood Half Marathon in just under 2:37 — not a personal record, but for the year … my best.
I am looking forward to 2016 to getting back to where I want I want to be and hopefully going for a PR in the fall.
JORGE AND I LAUNCH NEW RACE SERIES — THE BUGOUT RUN
About eight months after coming up with the idea — my friend Jorge and I — start The Bugout Run. The concept of the Bugout Run is simple — it’s an event where participants can test their first aid kits, bugout bags and other emergency preparedness skills in a simulated scenario.
Our events are free and we do at least one event per month. Our goal is to get more people thinking and acting in their preparedness.
I RUN MY 100TH RACE ON FOURTH ANNIVERSARY OF MY FIRST HALF MARATHON
On the fourth anniversary of my first half marathon I ran my 100th race (over 13.1 miles) at the same race in my hometown of Bountiful. Instead of going solo like I did back in 2011. I was joined by my friends Tim and Elsha on my milestone race. There’s no other better friends I’d want to share in on this adventure.
At the end of the race I was greeted at the finish line by my family, countless friends and a 100 banana salute. Yes, a 100 banana salute. The gesture was beyond appreciated and very much a surprise.
The race was a celebration of my journey and quite the contrast compared to my first race — when I ran in alone. Running has definitely changed my life.
I LAUNCH A NEW RUNNING PODCAST — RUNCAST USA
In July along with friends Jorge and Jim we launched a new podcast — The Runcast USA — on the PodBash Network. You can listen to our past episodes on iTunes as well. We’ll be back up live with regular shows in starting in January.
ELSHA & I DONATE ‘BIRTHDAY MONEY’ TO BUY A RUNNING STROLLER FOR FRIENDS
Since I’ve met my friend Elsha last year — she’s inspired me in many, many ways. She might be small in stature, but she’s got the biggest heart I know. Each Christmas she sells cards she designs for donations that go to African charities and she will do anything for anyone — it’s just her nature.
This past August — we decided to team up during our birthday month and do a fundraiser to raise money for two new racing strollers. We then donated them to two friends that needed them the most.
I am looking forward to doing something similar again next August with her.
I TAKE A VOW TO NOT CUT MY HAIR FOR AT LEAST SIX MONTHS IN SUPPORT OF MY CANCER FIGHTING FRIENDS
This past year I have had two friends fight breast cancer — while normally — like I did with my mother’s cancer diagnosis I’d shave my hair alongside them. But, I always shave my head. It’s not much of a sacrifice for me.
So I decided to go in reverse and grow out my hair instead. I decided to go at least six months — if not longer — in support of my friends ‘Dith and Amy. I’d like to have it long enough to donate to somewhere like Locks of Love, but we’ll see — that might take me longer.
I BUY MYSELF A PINK SPORTS BRA — TO SUPPORT MYSELF & TWO FRIENDS
In addition to vowing not to cut my hair for six months — I also bought a pink bra that I sported at the Timp Half in honor of my friend ‘Dith. I surprised her at the starting line with my new purchase — it was a great moment.
And, the funny thing is — I haven’t ran a race since without it. Since I’ve starting wearing it — I’ve had no problems with bloody nipples.
I RUN MARATHON #7 DOWN BIG COTTONWOOD CANYON
My only marathon of the year — but one of my favorites. I swept the Big Cottonwood course alongside friend Ramie. And, we had a blast. I love the marathon distance, but it’s tough. Well, it’s meant to be tough.
But, what was worse than running 26.2 miles — was trying to go horseback riding afterwards. Yeah, that didn’t happen.
I RUN A HALF MARATHON WITH JILL — WHO WAS 26 WEEKS PREGNANT
My friend Jill is my hero. She does some pretty epic sh*t — it’s pretty much her nature. That’s why I think we’re such great friends.
So at 26 weeks pregnant Jill and I ran the Sandy Fire Station Half Marathon together. We knew we were going to be slow so we started early — and even though we finished last, it was a memorable race.
This was also a triumph for Jill after having two previous difficult pregnancies. She gave birth to her son Henry in December and though he’s had some difficulties the example his mother set is nothing short of legendary and something to be proud of.
Nothing stops Jill. Nothing.
THE FAMILY GOES TO DISNEYLAND!
At the end of September the family got away for a week to Disneyland — and by family, I mean the shebang. It was the first family vacation with everyone involved in a number of years. Nearly over five years.
Besides going to Disneyland we also spent time with extended family and attended a taping of The Price is Right. Nobody from our family got on, but Drew Carey talked to my Mom and we were seated exactly behind Contestant’s Row. Our episode runs on January 13th, 2016 — so set your DVRs!
It was a fun getaway — especially for my parents who got to spend time with the grandkids. A very memorable and fun trip for everyone.
DOCTOR TELLS ME TO JOIN ‘WEIGHT WATCHERS’
With mounting frustrations with my thyroid, testosterone and weight — I’ve been going to doctor after doctor, searching for an answer. I have gained between 35-50lbs — depends on the day — the past year. And, it’s not like I am staying at home eating cheeseburgers and Coke. I watch what I eat, exercise and run regularly.
But, no results.
The tipping point came in October when my doctor looked at me and without asking questions — assumed — I didn’t know how to eat or exercise. He simply told me to join Weight Watchers to help me learn how to eat and diet. Um, wrong answer — especially considering you never asked what I was doing.
I’ve gotten to the point where I am done searching for answers from doctors and finding the solutions myself. If he only dared asked me first — he might have had a returning patient.
I AM INSPIRED BY NEW FRIEND WHILE SWEEPING ‘THE HAUNTED HALF’ IN SLC
God puts certain people in your path — some by design and some by accident. But, the more I grow older, the more I believe the latter. Nothing is by accident.
I swept The Haunted Half course in Salt Lake and met someone that truly inspired me. JessicaSue was running her first half marathon and had gone through a lot to get to that point — a lot. She had many reasons to keep running that as well — for her husband, children and more importantly … herself.
As I ran beside her and listened to her story — I was in awe of her determination and sense of what she was doing. She helped me put my feelings and trials into perspective — and made me more than determined to keep going despite my current circumstances.
I BECOME AN ULTRA MARATHONER
When I started my running journey over six years ago — I had NO aspirations to run a marathon, let alone an ultra marathon. None. Zelch. Nada.
Yet, this past November — I did what I once thought I could or would ever do — an ultra marathon. I ran the Antelope Island 50K (33+ miles) alongside a couple awesome friends. It definitely was the hardest thing I had done — yet one of the most rewarding.
It took me the full ten hours to complete, but I did it! And, in a year where my health and running frustrated me to no end. Further proof that if you put your mind to something — your body will follow.
I GOT INVOLVED WITH AN O.U.R. FUNDRAISER
There are certain causes and things that come into one’s life that just kind of rearrange everything. And, usually it’s unexpectedly. Out of left field. Yet — you know it’s not. You know it’s where and what you were suppose to be doing all along.
Getting involved in Operation Underground Railroad — aka — O.U.R. has shifted and changed my perspective on a number things — including my running going into 2016.
But, my whole family got involved in the O.U.R. fundraiser held in Bountiful in December. We helped sell merchandise, gather donation, put together the program and I even helped put together a video of our month long fundraising efforts.
As of right now our efforts helped raise over $100,000 for O.U.R. — enough to fund four missions to save children from sex slavery.
LUKE & JULIE GET ENGAGED
My little brother Free got engaged this past month to his girlfriend Julie. He popped the question at This Is The Place Heritage Park here in SLC during the Candlelight Christmas. They’re planning on getting hitched in June 2016 — we’re excited to be growing in size.
But, now that he’s engaged all eyes are on me. But, what can I say … “the last’s the best of all the gang!” Congratulations Luke & Julie!
2015 MONTHLY MILEAGE
This past year — like I have the past couple of years — I’ve kept track of my mileage. This includes my miles ran, walked and raced. I do this kinda of being of my underlining OCD tendencies, but also because it’s a good way to track the miles on my shoes and knees.
Total Mileage Breakdown for 2015
Race Miles — 485.9 miles
Training Miles — 259.5 miles
Walking Miles — 553.05 miles
TOTAL MILES — 1298.45 miles
January — 78.8 miles
February — 72.85 miles
March — 115.3 miles
April — 76.3 miles
May — 97.4 miles
June — 131.15 miles
July — 101.65 miles
August — 110.2 miles
September — 115.69 miles
October — 164.7 miles
November — 148.95 miles
December — 91.45 miles
As you might have noticed — my blog has changed some as of late. I am no longer using the Running180 URL. I am back to my old blog URL of PhatJosh.com. This was a decision I made a while ago, I was going to switch at the start of 2016, but it was just easier to switch when I did.
So please make sure to change your bookmarks from the old to new (or new old) URL. I’d love for you to join in on my 2016 adventures.
Please also make sure to keep in touch with me — I am on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I am probably more on Facebook and Instagram, but I like to pretend that I am an active tweeter (I still don’t get it).
Look forward to a few changes on my blog as well — I am going to blog a bit more during the week and include more of my weight-loss journey, health struggles and everyday life. Well, everything except for my work life — I just don’t go there.
Plus, I have enough to blog about with my running, health, workouts, family and shenanigans. But, 2016 is shaping up to be an amazing year — it’s going to be fun, difficult and rewarding and I can’t wait to tackle it all.
I hope you have all had a wonderful 2015 and that your 2016 looks brighter and more rewarding than any year past.
Let’s all make 2016 the best one yet!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!