Category: Causes

RACE #144: Riverton Half Marathon

Six years ago when I made the goal to run 180 races (half marathon or longer) before I turned 40, I had no idea that y age 36 I’d be nearly done with that goal. And, that really speaks volumes of how much running has changed and influenced my life these past half dozen years.

Up until about two years ago I had the IDEA of slowing down a bit and evening out the number of races so I could hit my goal in 2021. But, that never happened. Partly, because I used many races as training runs for ultras, but also, because, I didn’t want to slow down.

Okay, that could be the only reason.

Regardless, I changed my timeline for the goal to next year. I am now planning to run race 180 in July 2018. And, of course it will be where I started this crazy journey — the Bountiful Handcart Days Half Marathon.

Because, of this new timeline goal I’ve looked at my race schedule for the next 18 or so months and planned each race one out leading up to the race. I should have about 30 or so races this year, which is a lot for me. But, I have the goal in sight and many of these races are great ultra training for me.

It’s been tricky finding races, because I’m not able to put the many, many Runtastic Events races I love — Timp Half, Nebo Half, The Haunted Half, etc., etc., etc. — because I’m working for them now. So, I’ve had to find races to replace those on my schedule and I’ve had to find a few small races to put on my schedule that I normally wouldn’t. I’m not complaining, because a run is a run to me and I do like new challenges and new courses.

And, that’s what kind of lead me to run the Riverton Half Marathon. This isn’t a new race to me. I’ve run it twice before. Once in 2012 and again in 2014. It’s put on by the city — and it’s honestly not that bad. The registration fee is extremely reasonable — $30 for early bird and $40 if you procrastinate.

But, you also get what you pay for. It’s not a race done by thousands. There were a couple hundred or so. Not crowded at all. And, the shirts and medals have improved over the past years. But, it’s very much a small town race so if you’re looking for BIG event like Big Cottonwood, Ogden or St. George — you won’t find it in Riverton. But, they do a good job given it’s a city race and the budget they work from.

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Anyways, going into race week after last week’s Emigration Canyon Half Marathon, I kind of viewed this race as another race toward my goal. But, that all kind of changed midweek.

This past week Coach Blu from Addict II Athlete posted a video on the AIIA Facebook Group page talking about the opidemic plaguing the nation. On average, there are 144 people nationwide that lose their lives to opiate addiction — overdose, suicide, etc. This is a staggering number. That’s over 52,500 people every year.

These 144 people are our brothers, sisters, parents, relatives, friends and neighbors. Chances are we know someone who struggles with the addiction — and it’s sometimes difficult to see. Especially since so many of these drugs are prescriptions. Coach then challenged us, the team, to share this message through social media showing the world — and specifically these 144 — how wonderful a life of sobriety is, by hashtagging #144 in our posts.

After watching Coach’s video I soon realized that my race this weekend in Riverton was going to be my 144th race! I couldn’t believe the coincidence. But, then again, I did — because I’ve learned since knowing Blu coincidences DON’T happen between the two of us. I strongly feel this was meant to happen this way.

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I decided that I wanted to run this race in honor and memory of not just the 144, but for the AIIA team and my friends and family members that have lost their battle already. I didn’t anticipate going into this race with THIS much emotion, but in just a few short days — here I was.

I wanted to run in silence in their memory. Something that is — obviously — difficult for me to do. I’m a social runner, I love making conversation with anyone out on the course, at the aid stations or in the Honey Buckets. Well, okay, not in the Honey Buckets. But, you get the idea. This would be a sacrifice for me, but it would also be an opportunity for me to focus my attention on the message, on the 144, on my loved ones and the AIIA team. So that’s what I set out to do.

I knew race day was going to be rainy, but when I left my house that morning I didn’t expect it to be THAT rainy. It was cold and pretty much a downpour. I knew from social media posts that the Strider’s Winter Circuit Half Marathon in Eden was already cancelled because of the weather. I was just hoping my race wouldn’t be as well.

I thought about checking the race’s Facebook page, but I kind of made up my mind that even if it was cancelled I was still going to run the course. As bad as the rain was, I knew it couldn’t be as bad as the Ogden Marathon this past year. Nothing could. So, I was just going to drive to the race and hope there was going to be a supported race.

The commute was pretty wet, but luckily once I got to Riverton the rain wasn’t as heavy and the race was on. So after picking up my race packet I went back to my car to stay dry for a little longer. I knew I would end up drenched. Plus, I didn’t really feel like socializing much, just because of the nature of the run. I was already beginning to get emotional about it all.

At the sound of the gun, I stood back for a couple minutes to let the crowd go. I plugged in my headphones and set out to run. I started out running to some MoTab and some other classic music, but I ended up just turning it all off. Mainly, because I wanted to focus and center my thoughts on the purpose of my run — so it was easier to just turn off the music altogether.

I kept my vow of silence pretty much throughout the run, with a few exceptions. I ran into a Facebook friend out on the Jordan River Parkway, I did stop to say hello briefly. And, after staying silent for the first couple of aid stations I decided to at least say “thank you” instead of trying to say it with sign language. Besides, I don’t know if I was signing “thank you” right anyways.

But, I just focused running alone in my thoughts. And, it was a rather somber run. The rain was pretty persistent throughout the whole run. It didn’t let up until about mile 11 or so for me. I almost wished it kept raining because the sun came out and the last mile and a half were pretty warm. With my jacket and hat I felt like I was running in a sauna.

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The run as a whole was really emotional for me. I caught myself a lot in thought of friends and family members who lost battles with opiate addiction. I thought about the AIIA team and how so many of them fought to overcome their addictions.. I thought about the message of the team and how important it is to carry it’s message, because it can save lives.

The last mile was pretty uncomfortable for me physically. Between the increasing temperature and normal race fatigue, my sprained ankle was also flaring up a bit as well. But, that all felt secondary. I just focused on that finish line and the message of the team.

I got to the finish line in 3:05:11, not the best time. But, there wasn’t really a goal time for this race. After last week’s Emigration Canyon Half, where I pushed myself, I knew I’d have to pull pack just a tad. So I was happy with the finish time. I didn’t feel like I went backwards from the progress I made last week.

After refueling with some Gatorade and bananas I made the trek back to my car where I sat there for a while in silence. The culmination of everything just built up and I got rather emotional. It honestly kind of surprised me, because I don’t easily get emotional — I mean — I do, but it takes me a bit to get to that point. I was just grateful to be able to carry the banner of the team.

So what was assumed to be “just another race” became a race I’ll remember for many reasons. It was an emotional run for me. And, a moment I hope that someone out there that can draw inspiration from to make a change in their own lives. Whether that is moving toward living a life of sobriety — or simply resolving to live life more fully.

The focus now turns to the Saltair Half this upcoming weekend. I don’t have a game plan yet. But, I’d like to get a sub-three time, especially since I won’t be racing the following week due to PrepperCon. But, all of that is secondary, because my focus is on the Salt Flats 50K at the end of the month.

And, I can’t wait.


MY NEXT FIVE RACES


It’s hard to believe this was five years ago today. But, I share this picture every year on this date, because this is what LOVE looks like to me. This was right after my Mom’s double mastectomy and the moment my parents were reunited post surgery on what was their 38th wedding anniversary. What has struck me about this photo is the love in both their eyes. The concern and hope of my father and complete devotion of my mother. I can’t remember what was said, but words can’t convey the whole message being shared. There’s a lot to celebrate today. Not just for my Mom being five years cancer free, but 43 years of marriage for my parents. The decision they made over four decades ago set the tone for our family and the searches all us kids would make in finding a spouse. If I’ve learned anything from my parents’ relationship it’s that no matter what trial is in front of you, it’s tackled together in love, faith and devotion to each other. Which is symbolized so well in this picture.

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RACE #144: Riverton Half Marathon; April 8, 2017 (3:05:11) Did you know that on average 144 people lose their lives DAILY to opiate addiction? These are our brothers, sisters, parents, family, friends and neighbors. Utah is no exception to this opidemic. This week, Coach Blu challenged us Addict II Athlete athletes to show these 144 people the lives they’re missing not living a life of sobriety. He wants us flood social media with the hashtag #144 with the moments they’re missing out on in life. It was no coincidence that Coach would ask us this week, the week of my 144th race in my 180 goal. I’ve stopped believing in coincidences with Blu. So I made the decision to dedicate this run to the 144. I wanted to dedicate it to the family and friends I’ve lost to addiction. I wanted to dedicate it to my AIIA family. So I set out to run it in silence. Which I almost did. I muttered a few “thank yous” at aid stations and a couple hellos, but I just kept to myself with my heart and mind on the meaning of this run. The rain was persistent nearly throughout the whole race. I had soggy feet and cold hands. But, I didn’t care. My heart and mind took my attention elsewhere. It was a very emotional run for me. Especially as neared the finish line. I kept repeating in my head, “You are a Warrior! You have erased and replaced your addictions. Your mess is message.” All mottos of the AIIA team. After crossing the finish line and grabbing a few bananas, I just sat in my car for a while and kind of wept. It was a lot of emotion to process for me. I want this run — and my journey — to hopefully be a beacon for someone, anyone, to have the courage to take that first step toward a better life. That’s one reason why I share so much of my journey on my blog and social media. I know if I can do hard and difficult things like 50 milers and Marathons — others do hard and difficult things too. And, sometimes it takes someone else sharing their light to ignite that spark. If you struggle with addiction and you need help … REACH OUT! Life is too beautiful to let it pass by. #race144 #rivertonhalf #running @fight4phat @joshruns180 @josherwalla @addicttoathlete

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Kids are exhausting. Cute. But, exhausting.

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If you’re a model, would you put this in your portfolio?

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People sometimes worry about me being single and all. But, they needn’t worry about me … I get plenty of dates.

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Weekly Review

Last weekend at the tail end of my race down Emigration Canyon I rolled my ankle and sprained fairly good. Not fun at all. I did a couple slow runs mid-week to help straighten things out, but it was pretty sore the whole week. Not what I wanted or expected for my training.

And, I won’t lie, it’s been a frustrating month of ups and downs for my runs. If it’s not my ankle, it’s my back or this week — oral surgery. I’m having a root canal on Wednesday, so I am not sure what to expect from my running this week? I have a race on Saturday, but I’d like to get a run or two in before then.

Ugh. I just need to have patience that it’ll all work out. But, I’m getting a little anxious with my 50K coming up at the end of the month.

Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 4.0 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 21.32 miles
TOTAL MILES — 38.42 miles
Race(s) this week — Riverton Half.

April 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 4.0 miles
Race Miles — 26.2 miles
Walking Miles — 24.02 miles
TOTAL MILES — 54.22 miles
Races in April — Emigration Canyon Half Marathon, Riverton Half, Saltair Half, Salt Flats 50K and Tulip Festival Half

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 185.75 miles
Race Miles — 122.32 miles
Walking Miles — 349.48 miles
TOTAL MILES — 657.55 miles
Races done in 2017 — New Year’s Half Marathon, Sweethearts 5K, Jackpot Running Festival, SL Tri Club Indoor Half, March Madness Half, Lucky 13 Half Marathon, Emigration Canyon Half Marathon and Riverton Half.



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InstaReplay: Pony Express 50 Trail Run

It’s hard to put all of what I went through on Friday into perspective. Mainly because there was a lot that I experienced. Both of the highest of highest and the lowest of lows. It really was one of the toughest things I’ve ever done.

I am working on a more complete race report that I will post either Tuesday or Wednesday. I am taking a little bit more time on it, because it’s turned a bit more into a book than a race report. So there just seems like so much I want to cover.

Anyways, here are a few pictures I took a long the way …

Last minute stop go essentials. #ponyexpress50 #race134 #ultrarunning @joshruns180 @fight4phat

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Look who I found out on the course! #ponyexpress50 #race134 #ultrarunning @joshruns180 @fight4phat

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Private dance session, mile 30(ish). #ponyexpress50 #race134 #ultrarunning @joshruns180 @fight4phat

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I wish I could adequately describe to you this moment. This was Mile 45. I was spent — physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and everything in between. My feet were excruciating sore. Every step was like walking on pins and needles. Even when I sat down on the back bumper of the car to refuel and rest for a moment that pain stayed with me. But, here, was one of the lowest of lows I've experienced not just out on the trail, but life. I'll explain more on my blog, but I was done. I was done. I was DONE. This was taken as I decided to switch shoes to see if that would help. It didn't. But, I knew I just had to keep moving forward as painful as it might have been for me. I took two steps forward after standing up and I just started bawling. And, in that moment of despair I muttered one of the most basic and heartfelt prayers of my life. I told God I couldn't do this alone and I needed someone to be with me. I needed this pain to go away or for me to be distracted enough it wasn't my focus. I got an overwhelming rush of peace that assured me I was not running alone and that someone was on their way. It was no more than half a mile that my friend Jed hopped out of a car and asked if I needed a pacer. I almost wanted to breakdown there again because he was an answer to my prayer. He was my angel. Jed stayed with me until the end, and I couldn't have done it without him. He was my answered prayer. I'll always be grateful for this moment because it taught me so much about suffering, pain, prayer, faith and friends. #ponyexpress50 #race134 #ultrarunning @joshruns180 @fight4phat

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I PONY'D UP! Officially done. Well, I was done before I was done. But, that's what made being done done that much more special because I pushed myself past being done. Follow me? After months of training, weeks of marathoning and doing things I never imagined I'd be doing 5-6 years ago … I officially ran my first 50 miler! Is this a one and done thing for me? I can't say no, but right now it's a no. But, ask me again in a few months. I learned a lot about myself out there on the trail. I always knew I could do hard things, but I feel like I expand that limitation tenfold during the race. I learned how to process and deal with suffering. I learned that attitude can affect all of that and it's all by choice not circumstance. I learned so many life lessons out there that I've written down to share later on my blog. But, I'm done! I'm done! I'M DONE! #ponyexpress50 #race134 #ultrarunning @joshruns180 @fight4phat

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I DID IT! I DID IT! I DID IT! I'm still processing all of what I just did and most of that will come in a more detailed race report on my blog later on. But, that was one of the toughest, inspiring and most rewarding things I've ever done. The course was full of ups and downs both physically, emotionally and spiritually. If it wasn't for Tim Sedgley crewing me every 2-3 miles I would have been a deadman. And, the miles spent with dear friends Coach Blu, Jed and Jill were nothing short of divine. Gratitude for their part in this cannot be sufficiently communicated in words. They were my angels. I will cherish every moment of this race. I had some beautiful highs and some lowest of lows. And, I relished in that, because I constantly reminded myself that I CHOSE THIS! I could have done anything else with my day, but I chose to experience EVERYTHING I had ahead of me. And, I have a deeper appreciation for many things in my life because I CHOSE TO DO THIS! I am exhausted physically, mentally and spiritually, but I'm smiling. I'm proud of myself … I'm proud of my effort, I'm proud my resolve and I'm proud of every single footstep taken by everyone out there that chose to do this. I have so much more to say in much more detail. Watch for my race report. But, I did it! I DID IT! I DID IT! I DID IT! #race134 #ponyexpress50 #ultrarunning @josherwalla @joshruns180

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RACE #128: Timp Half

AMERICAN FORK — I love running. I especially love giving myself challenges through running. And, the past week was definitely a challenge. It’s nothing unprecedented for me. I’ve done it before. But, considering my health the past couple of years and the fact I’ve been pushing myself through these races — three half marathons within a week has been a good challenge for me.

As you might recall it started with the Bountiful Handcart Days Half Marathon (July 23) last Saturday, followed by the Deseret News Half Marathon (July 25) on Monday and then the Timp Half this past Saturday. I deliberately pushed myself at the DesNews Half and came close to a sub-2:30 time goal (2:32) and I really wanted to push myself towards that goal again during Timp.

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I wasn’t sure if it was not only doable, but a good idea? And, I was unsure what course to take for my race plan. I kinda decided to let how I was feeling that morning dictate my goal for the race. So I was going to stick with the 2:30 pacers as long as I could — whether that was one, two or all 13.1 miles.

For any other race I would commit to something more concrete, but considering it was my third half in a week — I just didn’t know how my legs were going to react. So I just went by feel. I really wanted that sub-2:30, but anything with effort was fine by me. I just wanted to do my best.

After being bussed up the canyon I was feeling pretty good. Especially considering I got about a good hour of sleep the night before. I felt really optimistic about keeping up with the 2:30 pacers — London and Jay. So when the gun sounded I stalked them. Though I am close with both of them I kinda decided to hold back a little bit, mainly to let them do their thing.

So I just stalked them.

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The first couple of miles were great — granted the course was at its’ steepest. But, I felt good. At the 2:30 pace it gave me enough restraint to not blaze down the canyon. But, around mile three — my legs just kinda gave out. I tried to push through it, I just didn’t have any spring to the legs. Like at all.

While the legs weren’t giving me anything, I didn’t want to give up. I felt too motivated to just kinda bag the race, especially at mile three. So I just kept running.

But, even just running, I knew I had more in me. So around mile five something kinda snapped. And, though my quads were sore and felt dead — I just hit this other level and started kinda sprinting down the canyon. Okay, it really wasn’t sprinting, but I switched up my gait and just wanted to fly down the rest of the canyon.

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I decided to make a game of it too. Every so many hundred of yards I picked a couple of runners ahead of me and just chased them down. Some were closer than others, I just wanted to keep going — strong. So I looked for ways to do it.

Even when I got out of the canyon and onto the paved trails, I wanted to keep that mentality going. I knew it was going to be tougher without gravity’s help. But, I looked for ways to keep that motivation and drive going. And, the easiest way for me to do that was to tackle the hills strong.

So every hill I had to run up, I literally ran UP the hill. I looked for another drive and floored it. The golf course had a couple of nasty hills, but I didn’t care. I was sprinting up them. I might not be going for my goal, but I was preparing myself to destroy it come August 27th.

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There were a number of times I felt like slowing down or easing off the gas, but I couldn’t. So that’s when I would keep pushing myself. I just didn’t want to quit. I didn’t want to be satisfied with anything NOT my best.

One thing I was worried about coming out of the canyon was the heat. It has been 100 degrees on average the past couple of weeks and it was supposed to be another 100 degree day. Part of my motivation to keep pushing was to avoid the late race mile heat. But, luckily, it was mostly overcast. It was muggy, but no blazing sun until about a mile out.

Even then I just wanted to keep pushing. Not just to give my best, but it was getting hot and I just wanted to be done. My legs were dead and I was really sore. The sum of 40+ race miles in the past week added up and I was ready to pass out. I literally gave it my all. And, once I crossed the finish line — I kinda just passed out.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

Well, okay not literally — I grabbed my medal, some water and found a shady part of the finish corral to just plop myself. I was finished. I was done. And, I was happy with what I gave out there on the course.

Since I wasn’t running with my Garmin I wasn’t sure of my time. I thought there was a chance I was sub-2:40, but when I checked on Saturday night my official time was 2:43:31. I’m fine with that. I feel good about that time, because I earned that time. My race was pretty much a 13.1 mile fartlek.

It was great prep for Run Elevated and by last stab at a sub-2:30 half. Additionally, it was better preparation for my ultra. This race gave me great experience to push through pain, mental road blocks and sore legs. Because let’s be honest — the toughest obstacle I’ll face during my 50 miler will be what I create mentally. I know I can do it, especially when I mentally prepare myself for the task at hand.

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August 27th is circled for my sub-2:30 half goal and I can’t wait, but first — let’s get through August’s training runs first. Two 20 milers that will further prepare me for Run Elevated.

It’ll be a good month of training!

BOOYAH! YEAH RUNNING! YEAH GOALS!


129 - Run Elevated Half Marathon

This is a goal race. This is basically my last half marathon of the season before I get into the swing of my marathons in preparation for my 50 miler. It was going to be Nebo, but I am going to be out of town Labor Day Weekend — so I had to drop it and pick up this race. I’m not complaining, because I love this race.

It’s fast.

I do have other half marathons scheduled for the year, but besides the Snow Canyon Half — the rest of them I am sweeping or pacing. So this really is it as far as getting that elusive sub-2:30 half marathon. And, I am going to get it. I’ll be prepared, well rested and eager to race down Little Cottonwood.

I’ll work on a more detailed race plan later. I have until the 27th. But, until then it’s my training runs — a couple 20 milers and a 12-15 miler down Big Cottonwood Canyon the week before. If I am going to be prepared for this race, my marathons and ultra — August is going to be the key to my success.

I can’t wait to get at it.

YEAH RUNNING! YEAH TRAINING! YEAH SUB-2:30!


MY NEXT THREE RACES

130 - Revel Big Cottonwood Marathon 131 - huntsville marathon 132 - st george marathon


RRR-20-coupon


WEEKENDGRAMS

If you don’t want to be judged. Don’t do stupid things. #noshoes #kindagross #likealot

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2667in2016

This was kind of an odd week of running and walking. I didn’t do much outside of Monday and Saturday (because of my races). I kinda designed it that way. I knew after two halfs last weekend I needed some recovery time. I did some slow, slow, slow mileage on Thursday to shake out the legs a bit.

I didn’t get as much walking as I wanted and part of that was because I was out sick on Wednesday. That shot my mileage BIG time. But, that’s fine. My focus is really now on August. I want to rock August. I want to hit my 5 miles — Monday through Saturday — and get some good runs in mid-week.

And, then of course I have my two BIG training runs as well. My 20 miler next weekend and then the 27th. BOOYAH!

RUNNING MILES

159.1 miles

RACE MILES

189.8 miles

WALKING MILES

906.39 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

1255.29 miles

MILES TO GOAL

1411.71 miles



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InstaReplay: Timp Half

WOOWEE! What a race! I ran the Timp Half this morning down in American Fork. One of my favorite canyons and races — seriously. It’s hard to compete with AF Canyon in beauty and grandeur. Big Cottonwood Canyon is up there — but, AF Canyon is my favorite northern Utah canyon by a landslide (probably not the best use of words there, huh?).

With this being my third race in the past week I didn’t know what to expect from this race. I really wanted to take another stab at a sub-2:30 finish time. But, I struggled convincing myself whether or should try again or not? Especially having done 2:32 on Monday.

Anyways — I decided to just start off with the 2:30 pacers and see how far that would get me. It got me two miles until I ran out of gas. But, that’s not story of this race. The story of this race is one of merging physical and mental toughness. I won’t go into details until my race recap on Monday, but I was very proud of my effort and time.

I am waiting for the final race results to be posted, but I think — THINK — I finished around 2:39? I didn’t run with a Garmin so I am not sure. But, based off the glance of my phone’s clock and quick math equation at the finish line — I think it was 2:39? But, if not — I’ll be happy with any time because I earned it.

And, it was tough. Yet so rewarding.

Here are a few pictures I took before/during/after the race. Make sure to come back on Monday for my full race report.

This canyon. 😍❤💩💩️💩 #timphalf #race128 #running @runtasticevents @joshruns180 @fight4phat

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

RACE #128 IS ON THE BOOKS! Not only that, but my third half in the past week. My legs are spent, but I feel extremely happy with my effort and time. I don’t have an official time yet, but I think it’s somewhere around 2:39(ish)? I didn’t run with a Garmin so I wouldn’t know for sure and time is posted. But, today was a mental victory for me. After running two half marathons last weekend, I had many reasons to take it easy, but I didn’t! BAM! I’m feeling stronger and lighter and my stamina is returning. There were times today I felt on top of the world! Others, not so much. But, that’s running for you. Such a metaphor for life. Next up Run Elevated in a month. And, then marathons galore in September leading up to 50 miler in October. BAM! #timphalf #race128 #running @runtasticevents @joshruns180 @fight4phat

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

RACE #128 IS ON THE BOOKS! Not only that, but my third half in the past week. My legs are spent, but I feel extremely happy with my effort and time. I don’t have an official time yet, but I think it’s somewhere around 2:39(ish)? I didn’t run with a Garmin so I wouldn’t know for sure and time is posted. But, today was a mental victory for me. After running two half marathons last weekend, I had many reasons to take it easy, but I didn’t! BAM! I’m feeling stronger and lighter and my stamina is returning. There were times today I felt on top of the world! Others, not so much. But, that’s running for you. Such a metaphor for life. Next up Run Elevated in a month. And, then marathons galore in September leading up to 50 miler in October. BAM! #timphalf #race128 #running #fitness #workout #wod #whole30 #round3 #day15 #runutah @runtasticevents @joshruns180 @josherwalla

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InstaReplay: RAGNAAAAAAAR!!!

RAGNAAAAAAAAAR!!! Going into a RAGNAR I never know what to expect. It’s always an adventure, it’s always a blast, it’s always a party. I’ve never ran with the same team twice and more often than not — I don’t know that many runners on the team. I love it that way, because we always tend to end up friends after some 200 miles.

Anyways, I’ll write up a full review tomorrow morning, but in the meantime enjoy these pictures (and live cast links at the bottom) of my RAGNAAAAAAAR adventure this past weekend …


RAGNAAAAAAR!!! #ragnarwb #race122 #running @ragnarrelay @joshruns180 @fight4phat

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Hello Baldly my old friend. #baldmanjosh #ragnarwb #race122 #running @ragnarrelay @joshruns180 @fight4phat

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RAGNAAAAAAR!!! #runner11 #ragnarwb #race122 #running @ragnarrelay @joshruns180 @fight4phat

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Gorgeous. #nofilter #ragnarwb #race122 #running @ragnarrelay @joshruns180 @fight4phat

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Getting ready for my last leg of RAGNAAAAAAR! #ragnarwb #race122 #running

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LIVESTREAM AFTER LEGS

Besides Instagramming my RAGNAAAAAAR experience, I also decided to live streamed after my legs. I won’t lie — the inspiration came right before my first leg when our car watched this other runner awkwardly live cast his review. We laughed — so I kinda mockingly decided to do it too. But, you know what? It’s kinda fun! LOL!

Here are my live casts …


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#FitnessFriday: Epic adventures in (half) marathoning and I’m kinda now a Disc Jockey (be impressed)

I love race weekends — especially BIG race weekends And, by big I mean like the 2,000+ participants race. Hear in Utah that usually means — Salt Lake City, Ogden, Utah Valley, St. George and Big Cottonwood Marathons. They are always FULL of energy from the expo to finish line. I love them.

Plus, now that I’ve been running for over 5 years — I’ve ran a number of races multiple times. This will be my fifth year running Ogden. Tomorrow will be my fourth half marathon — and I did the marathon back in 2014 as well. That was a fun one — because only a few select people knew I was running the marathon, so I could surprise my friend Becky.

But, I am excited for the expo tonight — the buttcrack of dawn drive to Ogden — the buttcrack of dawn drive up Ogden Canyon — and then of course the running part.

I will be running with Jill and Tim. Jill wasn’t planning on running Ogden, but this week she bought a bib and decided to give it a go. Speaking of buying bibs — it’s been crazy seeing how many bibs are for sale online. You usually see race bibs for these big races for sale, but I’ve seen a lot more than usual. What gives? Is it just injuries? Or lack of training? Either way, if you want to run Ogden, just wait until a couple weeks before to find a cheap bib.

My game plan is pretty simple for tomorrow — beat my 2:55 time from Provo City. It’s doable, very doable. I had a good run last night and felt great — so that’s a good sign. I’m going to rely on Tim and Jill to help push me and I’ll do the same for them. The biggest obstacle will be the first couple miles because of the climb into the canyon and then of course the last few miles are fairly flat as you make your way into Downtown and the finish line.

Tomorrow’s run will also be dedicated to the children trapped in the human trafficking sex trade. This past week after watching The Abolitionists we challenged everyone there to run this week in honor of these children. We have a goal of running two million miles for these children.

Why two million?

Because, there are approximately two million children worldwide stuck in the sex trade industry. TWO MILLION! It’s a heartbreaking reality. And, something we intend to fix. The more we run and get our message out with RACE the more revenue will be directed towards organizations like Operation Underground Railroad who go in and rescue these kids.

Our goal is to rescue those two million and we’ll do one mile at a time. That’s why I am dedicating my 13.1 miles tomorrow to these children. We can’t be silent about it any longer.

Well, on that note — I’m peacing out. Thanks so much for everyone who supported RACE and the movie this past week. I hope you get your miles in and think about what we’re doing for these kids. And, if you want to add to our goal of two million miles for the two million children sex slaves hashtag your runs with #run2m and #rescue2m. The more the merrier, right?

Happy running!


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This episode of the Runcast strays a little bit from the normal thing we do. This is a music-filled podcast. From help of our listeners, my own playlist and Google search — I’ve picked a 10 song set interspersed with some dialogue.

We’ve been told a number of runners will actually download the Runcast to listen to while running. So, why not give some tunes as well? If we get a good reception — I hope to do some more in the future. I’m kinda searching out some 80’s, 90’s, angry chick and inspiring running songs for possible future episodes.

Let me know what you think … it’s really a mixture of genres and styles, including a little K-Pop! Yes, K-Pop! It’s really fun to run to actually.


Fight4Phat1

I won’t lie — it’s kinda weird not updating my numbers on here. Why you ask? Well, it’s part of the Whole30 diet plan. It specifically states that you can’t step on the scale or take any body measurements. I like this. I’ve been a slave to the scale before — and while I haven’t weighed myself daily for quite a while, I’ve made it habit to jump on the scale on Friday (and sometimes on Mondays to see the damage from the weekend). 

But, I like this mentality — and not stepping on the scale for the next month will be good. This means I’ll have to measure my health in other ways — namely with how I feel, how my clothes are fitting and my endurance lasts during workouts and runs. A very healthy way, in my opinion.

So far — the diet is going good. I have noticed more energy. I had hunger pains the first day — but, I think that had more to do with the food I ate the day before (ice cream and a McGriddle — had to say my formal goodbyes). But, I am focusing on just downing water, eating every few hours and reading labels. 

There have a few things I’ve had to cut out that I THOUGHT were okay to have on the Whole 30 — namely my Postum. I have some herbal teas I can sip on throughout the day that would be a good substitute for me. I’m a major sipper — it used to be coffee, now it’s Postum — and some herbal teas. Not sure if I can stomach unsweetened herbal tea? But, I’m willing to try.

Anyways — this is a process for me. I am still excited about it. My sister is doing it along with me — and my Mom will probably be joining us next week (she couldn’t commit until after my Dad was out of the hospital). So, it’s a good support of people — I need that. I want that.

I am a little nervous about fueling at the Ogden Half tomorrow — I will have my sweet potatoes and bananas in tow. I am just wondering whether or not I want to carry a backpack stocked with them or just carry enough for a pre-race meal? If you are an expert at fueling during long runs while on Whole30 — PLEASE — comment below. I’d love your advice and opinion.

Anyways — I’m on day three today — 27 more to go!


UPDATE ON DAD

Welp, my Dad’s surgery was this past Tuesday — and everything that needed to go well … went well. Thankfully. Initially, he was only supposed to be there until today. And, well, I guess technically he will be. But, instead of coming home he’s going to spend a two-week vacation at the Rehab Center.

Nothing is wrong, the doctors just want to be cautious about administering his medication, etc., especially since it was a staph infection that got him there in the first place. Smart move.

His release date from the Rehab Center is slated for June 3rd, so roughly two weeks before Free’s wedding. Luckily, it won’t be any longer — at least we hope so.

I’ve said this before and I’ll continue saying it — thank you so much for all the prayers, thoughts and concern for my Dad. This has been a tough couple of years. Especially the past 5-6 months. We’re hopeful this is the last surgery — and we’re optimistic that it will be.

But, seriously, thank you for the prayers. They really do mean a lot.


PHATGRAMS

I don’t believe in coincidences. I’ve seen and experienced too much to believe otherwise. This is Maureen. She was the winner of our Ragnar Relay giveaway for RACE. The drawing was random using mathematical equation and sequences way beyond my comprehension. It was random. But, it wasn’t. Because she is a survivor of child exploitation. A story she shared with us tonight at the movie. Maureen is such a dear lady. I couldn’t think of a better representative of RACE to send to Ragnar. She’s strong. She’s a fighter. She’s simply awesome. So glad I could finally meet her in person! Join us in the race to stop child sex trafficking with @race2erase, @theabolitionistsmovie and organizations like @ourrescue. #rescue2m #race2erase #run2m

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RUN BOY RUN

I just discovered this song over on Spotify this past week — and, I won’t lie — it’s kinda become a favorite of mine. Seriously. It’s got a great beat, message and I love the vocals of the run. I might even make it my new theme song?

Anyways — the music video is just as awesome and addictive. I know you’ll love it as much as I did, check it out …


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Hump Day Happenings — The Abolitionists, Knee Surgery Update & Whole30 Diet.

I have an ‘exclamation complex.’ If it was update to me every sentence I write would end like this!!!! But, over the years through my vast communication education and blogging I’ve learned how annoying the exclamation point can be to the reader.

No, I don’t write like a 14 year old girl with bundles of excitement and energy after every word. But, man on man — sometimes — I just want to let those exclamation points rip!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Excuse the odd rant — I started thinking about my complex I was writing the title of this post. I really wanted to lay on the exclamation points, but I restrained myself (and used a period instead). Mostly, because I wasn’t THAT excited and I secretly hated myself for wanting to do so.

Okay, seriously, the rant is over — if you’re still with me, congratulations! (that exclamation point was warranted)

Seriously.

I’m done.

Promise.

Lots going on this week — and have gone on this week. Namely, three things of main focus right now (if you haven’t read the title of this post already the next three things will be a surprise to you) — 1) Hosted a viewing of The Abolitionists last night, 2) My Dad is recovering from knee surgery and 3) I started the Whole30 Diet today.

Here, let me compartmentalize the three for you …


THE ABOLITIONISTS

Last night — Jorge and I — hosted (along with RACE) a showing of The Abolitionists at Jordan Commons here in SLC. Just a few thoughts about the evening — I was OVERWHELMED with the support. It was so great seeing many old and new faces in the theater. This is a cause near and dear to my heart and it’s great seeing others impacted by it as well.

This was also my second time seeing the documentary — and it was just as difficult as the first. Probably worse. There were many times I wanted to simply get up and leave, because I knew what was coming up. I knew what was next. And, emotionally — I didn’t want to go through that again.

But, it hit me pretty hard while sitting in the theater watching it — those kids can’t simply walk away when it gets hard. Quite the opposite. Plus, my discomfort and uneasiness PALES in comparison to the hell these children have gone through.

I also dedicating my miles that I am running this weekend at the Ogden Half to the pedometer of #run2m that RACE has set forth. We are pledging to run two million miles for these kids — and we’ll get there! We’ll be posting more information about that a bit later this week.

But, if you haven’t seen the movie yet — DO SO! The Larry H. Miller Group has donated theaters from Friday to Friday (May 20-27) for its’ viewing. The proceeds from the ticket sales go to The Abolitionists and OUR in their fight against child sex slavery.

Plus, the more we PACK the theaters here — the more theaters nationwide and internationally will pick up the movie. Human trafficking is a worldwide issue — even here in the US and little ‘ol Utah. So please — grab your family, friends, co-workers … whoever! And, go see the movie this weekend or next week. It’s important that we get this message out!


MY DAD’S SURGERY

Yesterday my Dad has his last knee surgery — well, hopefully his last — since he had to have his knee replacement replaced back in January. After that surgery he had to spend a couple of months a rehab center before allowed to go home.

He got the go ahead for the surgery last week and the doctor was optimistic that everything would be good for a quicker recovery. He wouldn’t need a rehab center stay nor a week long stay in the hospital post-surgery.

In fact he thought he could have done the surgery much earlier — which is good. My parents just waited mainly because they thought the recovery period would be about the same — so they wanted to wait until after my brother’s wedding in June.

Luckily — they didn’t need to wait longer.

My Dad will be coming home on Friday — and while there are many difficult (and painful) days ahead for him with recovery — it won’t be as bad as his last surgery. All of the permanent parts are in and hopefully within time — he’ll be able to walk more pain free and without the aid of his walker.

But, thank you so much for all the prayers, thoughts and well wishes — they’ve meant a lot to him and our family. I know he’s just eager for a sense of normalcy to return to his every day life — and it will.


WHOLE 30 DIET

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So, I’ve been talking some this past week about the Whole30 Diet I am undertaking. Well, today is day one. And, so far — I am still alive. No big cravings — I am a bit more thirsty which is good. But, I also had quite a bit of sodium yesterday.

Either way, I am just excited about doing this — I am hoping it helps me pin-point food triggers that are slowing down my thyroid and metabolism. I don’t think I have a gluten intolerance — but, I know I have a lactose intolerance. So that won’t be a problem giving up.

Well, okay, I lied — it will. I’ll miss ice cream. I had a last milkshake yesterday in preparation for the diet — partly a farewell to dairy and sugar and partly as a fat load. I’ve found when I change my diet — if I eat more than usual more fat the day before I don’t encounter the hunger pains as bad the first couple of days.

I usually do that with guacamole or other more natural fats — but, I treated myself to some ice cream because of the specs of this diet plan. It was perfect too — an In n’ Out neapolitan shake.

Anyways — I’m still reading up on the diet. I know most of the ‘nos,’ but I am working now on the ‘shoulds.’ I am glad that I am doing this alongside my sister — we’re both eager to right our thyroids and lose some weight as well.

If you want to keep up to date with my Whole 30 diet plan — I am posting most of my food, exercise and thoughts over on my Fight4Phat Instagram page. I’ll post some here and some on my PhatJosh Facebook page as well. Oh, and I am keeping a daily journal I’ll share after the 30 days are up.

But, so far, so good — my morning Postum was a little hard to get down sans Splenda, sugar, dairy or creamer — but, I can do this, because I am doing this!


119 - Ogden Half

Another focus of mine this week is the Ogden Half Marathon. I am excited for this race for a number of reasons —

  1. It’s a race!
  2. I love the Ogden Marathon.
  3. The forecast calls for ONLY a 20% chance of rain (it’s Ogden — there’s a 100% chance it will rain).
  4. I am aiming to build on my 2:55 finish from Provo City.
  5. I am running with Jill!

Seriously, this is one of my favorite races. I’ve done the race five times — once the marathon, the other four the half. It’s well organized, beautiful and just a fun energy from the crowd of runners. I’ve planned other races in the past on Ogden Marathon weekend — but, more often than not — I find myself in Ogden running.

I can’t complain about that, right?

Anyways — the focus is to build on my Provo City time, but also to fuel myself on my Whole30 diet. I’ve been reading online for tips — and mainly — eat lots of bananas, sweet potatoes and no-sugar added applesauce. I can definitely get behind bananas.

I just want to make sure I have the energy to at least beat my Provo City time — I already told Jill that’s our goal — so now it’s just a matter of doing it, right?

OGDEN OR BUST!


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