Category: Monday

For the 144 …

This past week has been a VERY emotional week for not just me, but lots of people — nationwide and within my circle of friends. It’s been a week full of sadness, somberness, reflection, anger and frustration. Sometimes separately, sometimes concurrently.

It didn’t help that the week started with the news of the Vegas Shooting. I woke up at 2:45am to use the restroom and couldn’t back to sleep as I was following the updates. Not only was I checking Facebook for friends who live in Vegas, but the whole ordeal just made me sick to my stomach. Not to mention tears to my eyes.

And, then on Wednesday, our Addict II Athlete team got news that our teammate, Carlee, took a knee and lost her battle with addiction. This was a shock to the whole team. And, this has been hard to process, because of the range of emotions felt throughout the week.

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I had a couple of good runs to help with those emotions — including a 1.44 mile run I busted out on Wednesday in honor of my friend. I also had a couple good couple mile runs that were rather invigorating to be honest. Like I already mentioned — it was just a very emotional week.

During rough weeks, days, news, and whatnot my first inclination is go run. Not to necessarily escape, but to help me process what’s going on. This really started when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer back in 2012 and I haven’t stopped when life seems to dampen my spirits, breaks my heart or forecast a seemingly unknown future.

Those midweek runs helped — but, I don’t think the sorrow or frustration will go away for awhile. I’ve never dealt with a substance abuse addiction before, but I have lost family and friends to it — and it just has to stop. It has to. I hate seeing family and communities devastated by it. It’s heartbreaking — and preventable.

Over 144 people die a day in this nation from opiate addiction overdose. That’s one too many. My AIIA team has been running for the 144 this past year. So, when our teammate Carlee became one of the 144 last week — it hit home … HARD. It put a real face to this epidemic. And, I think for me, that’s been the hardest thing to process about the whole week.

My friend Lizz and I — who’s also a member of the AIIA team — decided to dedicate our hike on Saturday to Carlee. Carlee was one of the first people that introduced herself to Lizz and actually ran the AIIA 5K alongside her. So this news of her passing was just as harrowing for Lizz.

One thing that Coach Blu challenged us to do back in April was to go out and do things that the 144 would miss out on if they weren’t around to enjoy it. The response was awesome — we had posts of athletes out on runs, hikes, bike rides and races in some of the most beautiful scenery and locations. We wanted to show the 144 that there’s so much more to life than a life of addiction.

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Lizz and I chose to hike Mueller Park in Bountiful for a couple of reasons. One, I love it. Two, it’s a bucket list place Lizz wanted to hike. And, three, it’s gorgeous — especially during the fall weather. A perfect location to honor Carlee and the 144.

For a Saturday morning the trails weren’t necessarily busy. There were a few trail runners and bikers, but it felt like we had the trail almost to ourselves. And, the leaves were absolutely beautiful — something that we tried to capture with our camera, but, was impossible — it had to be experienced. So many intense colors of red, orange and yellow with green sprinkled amongst the leaves.

We hiked about 2.5 miles out before taking a couple minutes to take in the scenery and reflect on the week’s happening. It was a perfect peaceful moment in our tribute to our friend Carlee and the 144. After taking a few pictures we headed back for a good invigorating five mile hike.

For a non-race weekend — this was what I needed. It was the perfect opportunity to renew my spirit, straighten the ship and refocus my priorities, heart and intentions. Me missing the St. George Marathon was the farthest from my mind.

I have a lot of running head of me before I head to Greece in mid-November — seven races to be exact. That’s a lot of running. But, I am ready for them. I’m excited for them. I’m going to be running in some of the most beautiful canyons, state parks and a National Park I’ve been dying to run. Places that I can’t wait to share with the 144!

In addition to processing the loss of one of my AIIA teammates, I also want to let you know — that if you struggle with a substance abuse addiction … THERE IS HOPE! Please reach out to others to get the help you need. Even if it’s Coach Blu or one of the AIIA team members, we’re here to help!

Life is amazing — LIVE IT!


MY REMAINING 2017 RACES


Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 12.69 miles
Race Miles — 0.0 miles
Walking Miles — 25.05 miles
TOTAL MILES — 37.74 miles
Races This Week — None

October 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 12.69 miles
Race Miles — 0.0 miles
Walking Miles — 25.05 miles
TOTAL MILES — 37.74 miles
Races in September — (4) The Haunted Half — SLC, SoJo Half, Howloween Half, The Haunted Half — Provo

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 394.24 miles
Race Miles — 375.17 miles
Walking Miles — 1052.48 miles
TOTAL MILES — 1821.89 miles
Races done in 2017 — (23) 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, Riverton Half, Saltair Half, Provo City Half Marathon, Jordan River Half Marathon, Drop13 Half Marathon, Bear Lake Trifecta — Idaho, Wyoming & Utah, AF Canyon Race Against Cancer, The Hobbler Half, Handcart Days Half, DesNews Half Marathon, Elephant Rock Trail Half Marathon, Run Elevated Half Marathon, Nebo Half, Revel Big Cottonwood Half Marathon, Huntsville Half Marathon, Timp Elk Run and Jordan River Half Marathon


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RACE #162: Jordan River Half Marathon

One of my greatest learned life lessons didn’t come from my Dad, a grandparent or some guru — it actually came from Kenny Rogers. Back in 1978 — before I was even a twinkle in my parents’ eyes, Kenny Rogers came out with a song called The Gambler with this advice —

You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
Know when to run
You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealin’s done

There’s a lot of life lessons there. Probably enough that could fill a whole blog post. But, that’s not that kind of blog post — this is my race report for this past Saturday’s half marathon. But, it’s very applicable to this race.

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In running you gotta know when to go full force, when to hold back and even when to step away. Which is something I’ve been doing a lot this past year and it’s been very humbling dealing with my sprained ankle, thyroid and whatnot (whatnot is code for depression — thanks largely to my thyroid issues, but that’s a post for another day).

I’ve had to drop races, switched distances and even DNF a race. All in all — it’s been humbling and eye opening to me. It’s made me realize many things about my running, my priorities and life in general. Again, that’s a post for another day.

But, trust me, this is all applicable to this race report.

When I signed up for this race, I actually signed up for the marathon. I planned to run the marathon. I wanted to run the marathon. But, many factors lead me to the decision to hold back and downgrade to the half marathon.

Do I think I think I could have done the marathon on Saturday?

Yes.

But, I knew that I couldn’t. My training wasn’t what I wanted. Not because I didn’t want to put the training in, but my ankle prevented me from many of the needed training runs, long runs and whatnot (that’s not code word for depression, it’s just a filler for everything else you need to do to prepare yourself for a marathon).

Plus, right now the focus is on two long term goals — preparing myself for my 100 mile run in February and get closer to my 180 race goal. I don’t need another marathon right now to get me closer to those goals. Especially since my training plan for my 100 mile run is based on time on my feet and my 180 race goal is for any race over 13.1 miles.

So why potentially ruin both goals?

The answer to that question confirmed my decision.

I am starting to turn longer miles in my training. And, much like other ultra races, the training isn’t much about pace or time than it was about time on my feet. And, because of the relative flatness of this course, my coach and I decided to slow down my pace and really focus on time on my feet. This essentially would be a training run — with aid stations every few miles and a race medal at the end.

Being a somewhat smaller race, I knew I was going to be in the back. And, I was. My friend Julie and Jenni were sweeping the half marathon course — so I basically crashed their party.

I tried to just focus on my pace — not so much the running pace, but the kick in my walk. Transitioning from road to ultra training is a different mentality, because they’re different beasts. I’m excited for the transition — something I probably could have done a few weeks ago? Either way, here I am.

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I had a blast with Julie and Jenni. We fartleked the course, encouraged the marathoners running past and just had a blast. It really was a nice change of pace and mentality. Something I needed.

Somewhere around miles 7-8 my legs started to ache. I’ve had this issue the past couple of month or so. It’s not horrible, but uncomfortable for my long runs, training runs and races. Since Julie has been doing keto since January I used the time to pepper her with questions during the race. She suggested the aches were just the body still getting used to the keto diet — it was teaching my body to not rely on the carbs and insulin to fuel my body.

This made sense.

The transition has been easier in the past few weeks, but recovery is tougher and my mid-week workouts are hit and miss. Some are great and some are just miserable. But, I need to remember that I am retraining my body — a body that has rigorously worked out fueling with carbs over the past 7-8 years.

Patience. Patience. Patience.

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And, really, for me, that’s hard to practice. If I’ve learned anything over the past 2-3 years, especially THIS year, it’s patience. Patience with my health issues, patience with my ankle, patience in my training. There’s a point where you just get sick of it and want to move on — but, there in lies the need for the lesson.

I focused on my fueling the last 5-6 miles. I had my Powerade Zero with me and had to remind myself to drink it a few times. I had no need for my emergency applesauce packet, thanks in large part to the weather. The cloud cover was perfect and a nice change of pace from the heat of the summer.

The last couple of miles we were joined by Jason Henry. Jason is one of my favorite people, we ran our first ultra together a couple years ago at the Antelope Island 50K. He and his wife are just the kindness, nicest people. He’s been dealing with running injuries as well, so I haven’t seen him in a while. It was nice to have those few miles to catch up.

The last half mile I ran ahead of the group to finish with a good strong effort. I finished under four hours, which I was shooting for — nothing to write home about, but for the training and time I needed on my feet — it was what I needed.

The ankle wasn’t horrible either. There was some soreness, but the pain on top of my foot — nonexistent. Which I think kind of confirmed my belief that the ankle pain was more to do with that, than with my previous ankle injury. And, right now, as I write up my race report it doesn’t hurt — so that’s good.

I am looking forward to the next couple of weeks. I don’t have a race this upcoming weekend — it was suppose to be the St. George Marathon, but that’s not happening. So, I am planning on doing some time on the trails up here in Bountiful on Saturday. I am going to hike Mueller Park with my friend Lizz. To add some miles, I’ll probably run to the park and back home (which should add about 5-6 extra miles to the hike).

But, after that I am pretty much a running fool up until I leave for Greece. I have The Haunted Half in Salt Lake on Oct. 14th, both the SoJo Half and Howloween Half on Oct. 21st, The Haunted Half in Provo on Oct. 28th. And, then in November I am running both the Snow Canyon Half and Joshua Tree Half on Nov. 4th and then the Mt. View Trail Half on Nov. 11th.

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So, yeah, lots of running before I leave Greece on Nov. 15th.

I am looking forward to it. I am sweeping a couple of those races, so it will be great training for my 100. Especially on my double race days. I think those days will be great training, better than a marathon or 50K could do for me right now.

I’ll blog all about that training and my upcoming races in the next couple of weeks. But, I have 162 races down and 18 more to go!

The end is ‘nigh!


MY NEXT FIVE RACES


Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 6.0 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 22.72 miles
TOTAL MILES — 41.82 miles
Races This Week — Jordan River Half.

September 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 22.0 miles
Race Miles — 49.75 miles
Walking Miles — 106.19 miles
TOTAL MILES — 177.94 miles
Races in September — (4) Revel Big Cottonwood Half, Huntsville Half, Timp Elk Run & Jordan River Half.

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 381.55 miles
Race Miles — 375.17 miles
Walking Miles — 1027.43 miles
TOTAL MILES — 1784.15 miles
Races done in 2017 — (23) 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, Riverton Half, Saltair Half, Provo City Half Marathon, Jordan River Half Marathon, Drop13 Half Marathon, Bear Lake Trifecta — Idaho, Wyoming & Utah, AF Canyon Race Against Cancer, The Hobbler Half, Handcart Days Half, DesNews Half Marathon, Elephant Rock Trail Half Marathon, Run Elevated Half Marathon, Nebo Half, Revel Big Cottonwood Half Marathon, Huntsville Half Marathon, Timp Elk Run and Jordan River Half Marathon


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RACE #161: Timp Elk Run

Well, let’s answer the question you’re obviously wondering — no, I didn’t see any elk.

Like none.

I hope that doesn’t keep you from reading further into my race report? In fact, I didn’t even really see any wildlife. Well, there was a dead mouse I saw at mile six. It wasn’t due to the plague — probably got ran over by a mountain bike? What a sad way to go.

Anyways — onto the other stuff.

This race was tough. It was over 3800 feet of climbing over about 13.5 miles. So, yes, it was a fourth of a mile over a traditional 13.1 half marathon. But, as tough as it was — I absolutely loved it.

I was running this race with Zack Winters from the Addict II Athlete team. This was his first trail run, so I planned on running with him and just enjoying the experience. In fact there were quite a few AIIA runners among the 25 or so runners doing the race.

Traveling to the race, I was a bit worried if I was going to be able to do it. Around the point of the mountain — I got absolutely nausea and just felt sick to the stomach like I haven’t felt for a while. I was pretty close to just turning around in Lehi — but, I kept going hoping that the moment would pass.

Well, it didn’t.

When I got to the race, I stepped out of the car and knew I was going to lose my breakfast. Which I did. My stomach felt better, but I wasn’t 100% at the same time.

I’m not sure why I felt that way — other than I just don’t eat that early or as of late until around 11am or noon with my keto diet. My stomach was just not happy with my keto food that early. This happened to me the previous two weeks — to a less extent. But, either way, I need to figure that all out, especially before this Saturday’s race.

Anyways — Zack wasn’t feeling too hot either with his stomach. But, we both decided to give it a shot. There was always the choice that we could do just the 10K if we still felt ill at the Mile 5 turn off. Which was very much on our minds.

But, luckily, at Mile 5 we felt much better so we decided to keep going. We had to keep going. Especially now that we knew we weren’t going to die.

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We were well into last place — which as usual — never matters to me. We picked up the pace a bit after we started feeling a bit better, but we were well behind the runners ahead of us. Probably by close to an hour?

Once we got to the half way aid station going into Dry Canyon we were met up by Christy (Zack’s mother) and Jed from the AIIA team. I stripped off my monkey hat and windbreaker and Jed joined us to help pace us to the finish line. I am so grateful Jed joined us, because it made a HUGE difference.

We were also joined by the sweepers — so it was a true party in the back as we hiked up Dry Canyon. This was the toughest stretch of the race as we climbed about 1,000 feet in about two miles. It was gorgeous, but it was a beast.

Once we reached Mile 9 it was a decent to the finish. Zack and I picked up the pace and took what we could take during the decent. There were a few areas that we just had to navigate carefully. Luckily, I had my hiking poles which helped a lot in the climbing and decent.

The last mile and a half was probably the hardest decent of the whole run. The pressure on my toes made it hard to navigate a points. With my big huge clown feet my toes were crammed in my shoes. It wasn’t that much fun.

But, luckily, that was just a mile and a half of the course.

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We finished in 5:45 hours — which was about 15 minutes longer than what we expected. Not bad. But, not hot either. It was a good 45 minutes faster than the Elephant Rock Trail Half from last month — so that makes me feel hopeful of my recent progress.

I’m sore, but my ankle isn’t bad. So that’s a win. Most of my soreness is in the toes and quads. Which I guess it kind of expected with the amount of climbing and descending we did during the run.

My next trail race isn’t until the Mt. View Trail Half Marathon in November — once again running with Zack. Luckily that one doesn’t include a lot of elevation change. It’s the same day as the Antelope Island 50K which I’ve done the past couple of years. It’ll be a fun race.

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But, before that I’ve still got a number of races to do — Jordan River, both Haunted Halfs, SoJo, Howloween Half and Snow Canyon. I can’t wait to tackle them — even though it’s still a lot of running.

Bring it.

I can’t wait.


MY NEXT FIVE RACES


Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 2.0 miles
Race Miles — 13.45 miles
Walking Miles — 17.78 miles
TOTAL MILES — 33.23 miles
Races This Week — Timp Elk Run.

September 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 16.0 miles
Race Miles — 39.65 miles
Walking Miles — 83.47 miles
TOTAL MILES — 140.12 miles
Races in September — (4) Revel Big Cottonwood Half, Huntsville Half, Timp Elk Run & Jordan River Marathon.

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 375.55 miles
Race Miles — 362.07 miles
Walking Miles — 1004.71 miles
TOTAL MILES — 1742.33 miles
Races done in 2017 — (23) 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, Riverton Half, Saltair Half, Provo City Half Marathon, Jordan River Half Marathon, Drop13 Half Marathon, Bear Lake Trifecta — Idaho, Wyoming & Utah, AF Canyon Race Against Cancer, The Hobbler Half, Handcart Days Half, DesNews Half, Elephant Rock Trail Half, Run Elevated Half, Nebo Half, Revel Big Cottonwood Half, Huntsville Half and Timp Elk Run.


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RACE #160: Huntsville Half Marathon

It’s hard to put this race into words. It was a tough race. A race I’ve done before — including the full last year. But, Saturday just wasn’t my day and it was tough for me — physically and emotionally.

I had such a great experience running the Huntsville Marathon last year that I decided to sign up for it again this year. The plan was to use it again for my ultra training — including my 100 mile run in February. But, my ankle had other plans — so I downgraded to the half marathon instead.

After spraining my ankle in April my training and running was just derailed. It really took a toll on my plans, aspirations, training and morale. It’s been tough being slower than what I know I am capable of running. I’ve dealt with that the past couple of years, but this year it seems like that my best now was my worst case scenario just a couple of years ago.

So, yeah, this year has been a struggle for me — to say the least.

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Going into this race, I knew it wasn’t going to be my best race. I knew I probably wasn’t going to sub-three. And, I knew it was going to be tough. So, I really just wanted to go into the race and just have fun. Fairly simple enough, right?

But, as much I say that, there are times — especially lately — that I say that, but do want to push myself a bit harder and further than what I should be doing right now. And, that was me on race morning. I want to feel like I am flying once again.

Race morning I felt pretty good. After carpooling up to Huntsville with my friends Rob and Joey. I hopped on the on the bus with Rachel, Jonathan and London and hung out at the start line for a good half hour before gun time. The later start time (8:30am) was kinda nice and I think that added to my mood.

But, needless to say, I felt optimistic.

My friend Monnica Skinner was pacing the 3:00 half marathon time so I decided to stick with her as long as I could. The best case scenario was the whole 13.1, but knowing my limitations I would have been happy with half of the race. Luckily for me, I was able to stick with her for the first 5 miles.

I really enjoyed those five miles with Monnica. I love the Skinners — Monnica, Corey and Cevan. They’re always a great conversation that ends with a laugh. If there was a saving grace from this run — it was those five miles with Monnica. I really enjoyed them.

But, around mile four, I knew I was going to be slowing down. My right foot started hurting — it wasn’t so much my ankle as it was the top of my foot. I’ve had issues with it since the Mt. Nebo Half about three weeks ago. I don’t think it’s serious — but, there’s some tendonitis going on and it’s just not fun.

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So at Mile 5 I let Monnica keep pace and I slowed down to stretch my foot a bit. I tried to keep up my pace and did pretty good for about another mile, but the foot was just in pain and I slowed down quite a bit.

Between miles 7-8 I just walked. I would stop periodically to massage my right shin and top of the foot. Feeling a bit embarrassed and not wanting another runner or race official to stop and ask me if I was okay, I would untie my shoe quickly and then retie it in between massaging the foot.

I must admit I’m laughing about that now — not the sore shins and foot, but the way I tried to disguise how I was feeling. I knew I could finish this race — regardless of how slow I was going to end up being. I didn’t want to be pulled off the course or asked if I was okay every time a race official drove past me.

This was also around the time I became frustrated with the situation. But, it soon grew into a frustration of the past year of running, my ankle and training. I let doubt creep and that just didn’t help things at all. I really took myself to a not so good place mentally.

I am not sure exactly what got me into that place, because I haven’t gone there before. I think part of that was because I was feeling down about having to downgrade from the marathon and a bit of anxiety about the training for my 100 mile run in February. I do worry if my ankle will be ready by then — and I think I dwelt on that a bit too long during this race.

I knew that I had to get myself out of this funk, so I just tried to get my mind off of it. Which is much easier said than done when you’re running by yourself. So I tried focusing on my music, singing out loud (that stopped quickly), playing the “I spy” game and just running from fence post to fence post.

This helped a little bit, but once I got to Mile 11 — I just kinda focused on getting done. I knew I was going to be well over three hours, so now it was just about finishing strong. And, really, this helped get me out of that funk.

I focused on passing runners in front of me and kinda of making a game of it. The foot was sore, but most everyone in front of me was walking so I knew I had it in me to at least power walk past them at this point in the race. So that’s what I did.

Of all the miles during the race those last two miles actually seemed like the fastest ones of the day. It was the distraction that really helped. I just wanted to be done and having that goal helped me get past a lot of those self defeating thoughts.

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I got to the finish line in 3:31:28 — definitely one of my slowest races. But, it was hard to celebrate it beyond finishing it. Almost immediately after I finished I just wanted to move past the race. It really helped having a number of friends at the finish line because they helped bring me back to why I love this sport so much.

Being able to chat with Elsha, Robert Merriman and his family, the Skinners and many, many others put myself in a good place. They were a great reminder that not only were my frustrations and obstacles minor in the scheme of things, but that I will get back where I want to be. I really just need to show more patience and do what I need to do with my physical therapy.

I’ll get there.

But, that doesn’t mean I am not nervous about my 100 mile run in February. Because, I am. But, I know I can still do it. I am not at that point of absolutely not being able to do it. If there is a moment where I hit that, I’d rather have it happen during the run instead of months out from race day.

But, that’s a post for another day.

I am looking forward to this weekend’s race. It’s a trail run that I’ll be running with my friend Zack. After this past weekend’s race the trail race will be a welcomed different change of pace. It should be a lot of fun.

As difficult as my day was out on the course — I really do love this race. I’ve done the full and half marathon before and it’s just a well run race. The city gets behind the race and it was kinda fun being greeted by musicians along the last 3-4 miles. There was a bagpipe player, country singer and an accompanying guitarist, a cello and someone playing clarinet or some other kind of wind instrument — it was kinda cool.

I definitely want to run this race again — especially the marathon. The canyon is absolutely gorgeous. And, the first 17-18 miles of that marathon are some of my favorite miles of any local race.

So I want to be back.

I will be back.


MY NEXT FIVE RACES


Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 8.0 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 28.87 miles
TOTAL MILES — 49.97 miles
Races This Week — Huntsville Half.

September 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 15.0 miles
Race Miles — 26.2 miles
Walking Miles — 65.69 miles
TOTAL MILES — 106.89 miles
Races in September — (4) Revel Big Cottonwood Half, Huntsville Half, Timp Elk Run & Jordan River Marathon.

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 373.55 miles
Race Miles — 348.62 miles
Walking Miles — 986.93 miles
TOTAL MILES — 1709.1 miles
Races done in 2017 — (23) 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, Riverton Half, Saltair Half, Provo City Half Marathon, Jordan River Half Marathon, Drop13 Half Marathon, Bear Lake Trifecta — Idaho, Wyoming & Utah, AF Canyon Race Against Cancer, The Hobbler Half, Handcart Days Half, DesNews Half, Elephant Rock Trail Half, Run Elevated Half, Nebo Half and Revel Big Cottonwood Half.


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RACE #159: Revel Big Cottonwood Half Marathon

When I ran the inaugural Big Cottonwood Marathon in 2012 — I never expected it to become what it’s become six years later. Like most inaugural events — it had it flaws. The miles in the canyon were short, the aid stations were less than desirable and I thought I got lost a couple times in the latter miles of the race. But, I loved I spinning finishers’ medal that I got and the scenery was absolutely extraordinary.

And, much like Disneyland — you can’t judge an event or entity on it’s first day. If you did — no one would have come back to Disneyland the following day or decades after ‘Black Sunday’ in 1955.

It’s been fun watching this race grow from that first event in 2012. The following year I was surprised at how much it grew. It made a leap from a local race to a nationally spotlighted race — almost overnight it seemed. That second year each state in the union was represented. That speaks volumes about the ownership, leadership and marketing.

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And, each year — it just seems to get better. There is a weight that Revel holds nation wide and you see that in their races and courses in Colorado, California, Nevada and Arizona. These courses are fast and a target race for many hoping to BQ or PR on a downhill course.

Originally, I was going to be sweeping the marathon course — as I have done the previous three years. But, I had to back out a couple weeks ago after my doctor didn’t want me running 26.2 miles on my ankle. Despite knowing that I could do it — I concurred and decided to stick with the half marathon instead. It would still keep my Legacy Runner status alive — and I’d still be able to enjoy the canyon.

Plus, I haven’t done this specific half marathon course yet. Back in 2013 when I did the half marathon the course ended at Cottonwood High — not on 1300 East and Ft. Union Blvd. I was excited to try this course, because it pretty much drops you right down the canyon and to the finish line. How can you not love a race like that?

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Sure I was bummed that I had to drop to the 13.1, but I knew that if I was going to heal properly and get myself prepared and ready for my 100 mile run in February. Everything at this point in my recovery and training is for that race. And, I need to remember that when I get discouraged at momentarily setbacks.

The morning of the race was abnormally warm for a September canyon race. I brought my usual hoodie and gloves, but I really didn’t need them. I should have taken it as a sign that it was going to be a tough hot day, especially for the marathoners out there shooting for a BQ & PR — because as evidenced from many social media posts it was.

Even at the starting line I believe the nerves and heat were getting to some people. I made the horrible mistake of stepping into a Honey Bucket where a previous runner threw up all over. I couldn’t contain my gag reflex and lost it as well — unlike the previous occupant I was able to successfully aim for the commode. It was absolutely disgusting.

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After composing myself and refueling a bit I got ready for the gun time at 6:45am. The race started with a slow walk toward the starting line and then a quick quarter mile out and back. I wasn’t expecting the out and back, but it was fun being able to see a number of my (much faster) friends along the course.

Where they started the half marathon is probably my favorite stretch of the canyon — which is about 9-10 miles above the mouth of the canyon. It was absolutely gorgeous as the sun was slowly rising above the surrounding mountains. It was the perfect way to warm up into my run.

l didn’t really have a goal for this race. My pride wanted a sub-three time, but my reasoning knew I really shouldn’t push my ankle too much. So I just decided to take what I could from my ankle — but, more than that — I just wanted to enjoy myself and have a good overall experience. So that’s where I set my expectations and heart.

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Around Mile 5-6 the marathoners — the elite marathoners — caught up with us half marathoners. It’s always amazing watching these runners streak past. It’s usually  during this part of the race where I get major calf envy. Seriously, have you ever noticed how well defined and strong many of the elite runners’ calves are? If I only had likewise calves.

But, enough of that. — one day I’ll get myself some sexy calves. Hopefully sooner than later. But, that’s a conversation for another day.

Around this time a number of marathon friends came running past — Ty Hansen, Monte Riding, Bill Hiatt and Elsha. It was really neat. Ty stopped and got a picture with me and I am pretty much the race photographer got a picture of me running alongside Bill and Elsha. I was on cloud nine.

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Not long after passing Stormy Mountain both Amanda and Mike Bjarnson caught up with me. Being 34 weeks pregnant the race for Amanda was more like a 13.1 mile progressive bathroom break — as she had to stop at pretty much every Honey Bucket. We joked about it a couple weeks ago at the Nebo Half and then again when I saw her at Mile 3 waiting in a long line for the potties.

But, as pregnant as she is — she’s still a STRONG runner. And, was able to catch up to me despite all the breaks. I ran with her and Mike for a good 3-4 miles — and we just had a blast! We joked, cat called a marathon runner running in a Speedo and made new friends around us — I couldn’t have asked for a better stretch of miles than what I spent with the Bjarnsons.

We split around Mile 10 when we got to some more Honey Buckets. I decided to keep going, mainly because my ankle was starting to nag at me and I just wanted to be done. But, also because many if I kept going I would FINALLY beat Pregnant Amanda to the finish line?!

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I was really enjoying the run and despite the heat and varied elevation change of the last three miles — I just tried to zone in on finishing. It was around this time that I got heckled by a passing motorist. I recounted the experience in an earlier post that you can read here.

I will say this about the experience — it’s unfortunate that it happened — but, I feel worse for the guy who spouted off his insecurities and frustration. I mean, how would you like to live a life where to gain any value of self worth you have to tear down others? What a sad reality.

But, thanks to him, I was also reminded at how blessed and lucky I am to have so many wonderful friends within a community of a sport that I enjoy and love. I wasn’t going to let his words negate the experience I had running down the canyon being passed by my marathon friends or those miles of pure fun with the Bjarnsons. Those experiences spoke louder — much louder than any word he yelled my way.

I spent my last mile or so thinking about that experience as I inched toward the finish line. I was a hot mess thanks more to my ankle and sore quads. But, I didn’t care — that last mile of pondering carried me. I was done. I did it. And, I couldn’t wait to do it again.

I have a lot to be grateful for during this race. Just the fact that I was able to do it, I am grateful. I am also grateful for the friendly hellos and greeting from so many in the running in community. I don’t take those for granted. And, I cherish them — I hope no one shies aways from saying hi to me — PLEASE DO! Because it’s those friendships that make that motorist’s words meaningless.

I am already signed up for next year’s race — I signed up yesterday for the half marathon. But, depending on where I’m at this point next year I would like to be in a position to sweep the course again with the RYR Pacers.

But, we’ll see.

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I plan on continuing my status as a Legacy Runner at Revel Big Cottonwood for as long as my legs will allow me to run. It really is one of the best organized races I’ve done and a race I look forward to each year. It’s come along way from it’s inaugural run in 2012.

Now my focus is shifted toward the Huntsville Half Marathon this upcoming Saturday! No specific goals other than do my best, have fun and finish strong. And, luckily, no motorists along the course to heckle me!


MY RACES THROUGH OCTOBER


Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 9.0 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 31.02 miles
TOTAL MILES — 53.12 miles
Races This Week — Nebo Half.

August 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 47.5 miles
Race Miles — 40.0 miles
Walking Miles — 104.27 miles
TOTAL MILES — 191.77 miles
Races in August — (3) Elephant Rock Trail Half, Run Elevated Half and Nebo Half 

September 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 7.0 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 36.82 miles
TOTAL MILES — 56.92 miles
Races in September — (4) Revel Big Cottonwood Half, Huntsville Half, Timp Elk Run & Jordan River Marathon.

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 365.55 miles
Race Miles — 335.52 miles
Walking Miles — 921.24 miles
TOTAL MILES — 1622.31 miles
Races done in 2017 — (23) 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, Riverton Half, Saltair Half, Provo City Half Marathon, Jordan River Half Marathon, Drop13 Half Marathon, Bear Lake Trifecta — Idaho, Wyoming & Utah, AF Canyon Race Against Cancer, The Hobbler Half, Handcart Days Half, DesNews Half, Elephant Rock Trail Half, Run Elevated Half, Nebo Half and Revel Big Cottonwood Half.


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Moving forward — one step at a time

I love running. But, I won’t lie, this past year of running — has sucked. It started off promising with my ultra in February — and a couple good races. But, then in April when I sprained my ankle — it just all went downhill from there.

I had to back out of a number of races or downgrade to a lower mileage. It’s been mentally and physically challenging for me. Difficult difficult lemon difficult. And, I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was rubbing thin with me.

Since June I’ve been doing physical therapy for my foot and I’ve made big strides toward recovery. It’s been slooooooow, but I’ve corrected the over pronation in my right foot — which has helped a lot. The over pronation was prevented proper healing in the ankle and, according to my foot doctor, the reason why it probably got sprained.

Ugh.

This past summer I’ve made progress. I ran 20 miles in August — relatively pain free, I’ve found a diet that’s working and have dropped nearly 18lbs. and I’m feeling optimistic moving forward toward my 100 mile run in February. And, then this past week things kinda got derailed.

During the Nebo Half I aggravated my ankle — again. Not horribly, but enough to cause some discomfort. It was from a couple of factors — I think I tied my shoe too tight, I lifted my big toe (as usual) too much on the steep course and I think I just got lazy with my form in the later miles. All of that contributed to my ankle feeling very aggravated.

Not fun.

After talking to my foot doctor and physical therapist this past week they wanted me to rest the ankle a bit — especially from the long distances. Not only did they not want me to run this past weekend (not a problem — was only planning 6-8 miles) but that meant no marathoning for at least a month. So instead of sweeping the Revel Big Cottonwood Marathon — I was regulated to he half marathon.

They also didn’t want me running both the Jordan River Marathon and St. George Marathon since they are on back to back weekends. They wanted me to choose one — ONLY — if my ankle was feeling better after my next appointment. I can live with that — sorta.

I’ve already decided that I’ll choose the Jordan River race over St. George. As crazy as that seems — I’d rather run closer to home and save the additional money of gas, hotel, etc. for Greece. Plus, I’m not 100% confident that I’d hit the cutoff times for the marathon? I’d hate to put in all that effort just to get a DNF. At least I know Jordan River is more lenient with cutoffs.

But, with that said — I just hate going through exactly what I did this spring with my races. I hate dropping races. But, on the other hand, I have to remember that there is wisdom in this for the long term. This is also allowing a more successful attempt at my 100 mile run in February. That’s why I need to keep doing what my therapist and doctors tell me to do, because I AM RUNNING A 100 MILES IN FEBRUARY.

I’d be lying though saying that I am not nervous about it. I am less than six months from race day — and many of these marathons were supposed to help in my preparation for the race. Luckily, my ultra training consists of more “time on feet” than average pace. But, still, not getting those marathons in are a mental strain on me.

The good thing is — I will have plenty of time to get time on my feet in the next few months. I am still sweeping the Haunted Half in Salt Lake City. I am also running the SoJo Half and Howloween Half the following weekend — the later might be me hanging out with the sweeper, but I don’t care. And, then I have a couple of trail races that will be good change of pace runs before my trip to Greece in mid-November.

Once I am back from Greece my plan is to ramp up the miles toward my 100 mile attempt. I have my training schedule planned which includes a lot of miles at both the Olympic Oval, Liberty Park and the treadmill. I only have two races planned between December and race day — the New Year’s Run Resolution (Jan. 1) and Sun Marathon (Feb. 3).

I’ll be doing a lot more Friday-Saturday runs, night runs and mental test runs — much like I did last year in preparation for my 50 miler. I’ll share all of that at a later time. But, I’ve got to get my ankle to the point where it can handle all of that. Which I believe will happen — but, it’s hard to not be skeptical.

So really the only thing I can do right now is focus on the continued rehab — no matter how frustrating that is — and just doing what I can do. I am focusing on strength training and weight loss right now, especially with my keto diet. I am down about 18lbs. which will help a lot with my running and ankle more than anything else right now.

I am just trying to stay optimistic about what’s in front of me and just do what I need to do to get there. More than that — I’m just trying to stay positive about it. And, some days — that’s hard.

But, I’ll get there.


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RACE #158: Nebo Half

NEBOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! I love this race. Absolutely love. I would marry it if I could. But, alas, I can’t marry races — which is pretty sad. But, that won’t displace the Nebo Half within my hearts of hearts.

The course race holds my PR (2:08) that I set back in 2013. I am nowhere near that pace right now — and that’s okay. That can of worms is a post and a half for another day. But, this course is FAST, it’s beautiful and just downright fun — regardless of my pace.

Nebo will always be my favorite half marathon.

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As I have mentioned numerous times — this year has been a TOUGH year for running for me. Whether it’s been DNFs, DNSs, my thyroid levels, sprained ankles or the recovery aftermath of said sprained ankles — I just haven’t been able to get a rhythm to my training. It’s sucked. Sucked hard.

So going into Nebo — I didn’t really have a set goal. I wanted to sub-two. I also wanted to sub-2:50. That would have been my best half time of the year. But, after last week’s “Keto Krash” — I just didn’t want to set a time goal. My goal was just not to crash. It was more important to figure that all out now than to get a year’s best time.

So that was plan. I would still plan on doing my best. But, that wasn’t my first priority. I just never want to feel the way I did last week after my race again.

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I decided from last week’s experience to do things a bit differently. First thing, no eggs. They upset my stomach — especially so early in the morning. So my protein intake was cheese, turkey and some almond butter instead.

Second thing, I decided to eat a half banana before the race. That’s 10 grams of carbs for the half banana and I was hoping that’d give me a good enough jump during my first half of the race. Which it did.

And, then lastly, I decided to run with a hydration pack full of Powerade Zero. I usually don’t run with a hydration pack for anything shorter than a marathon, but on this diet I really should because the shortage of electrolytes probably did me in more than anything last week.

I also decided to run with an applesauce packet JUST in case I felt like I was crashing. There’s 13 grams of carbs in one pouch so it wouldn’t be killing my diet. But, I wanted to avoid using it unless I absolutely needed it.

Race morning went fairly well. I drove from Bountiful to Payson which is about an hour drive — so my wake up call was at 2am. Too too early. But, the nature of being a runner, right?

After loading the bus with my friend Zack we wandered up the canyon. Our driver missed a turn which we didn’t realize until we were at Mile 8 … of the marathon. There were some upset runners, but honestly — I didn’t mind, because that meant it was less time spent in the chilly canyon weather.

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After waiting about an hour or so for gun time we were off at 7am. It was hard not wanting to go “balls to wall” down the canyon. But, I knew I had to temper that excitement to avoid a crash later in the race.

I found myself a comfortable pace a couple miles in the race and decided to just focus myself at that speed. It wasn’t too fast, but it wasn’t too slow either. It felt comfortable. And, if I felt like I could push it a bit more later in the race — I would.

It was just a good nice pace.

Besides focusing on my speed, I focused on my breathing, gait and energy levels. It really helped having my hydration pack with me, because every time I felt thirsty or a need for a jump of energy — I just took a sip of my Powerade.

At aid stations I still took water, but made sure to drink my Powerade Zero instead of what was offered me. Of course because of the added sugar. But, I really got into a good groove around Miles 4-5 and felt like pushing myself a bit — so I did.

Things were going pretty good until a couple miles later when my foot and ankle started hurting. I haven’t had a lot of pain in the ankle since I’ve started physical therapy, but it really started during around Mile 7-8 — and this killed any mojo I was building up for the rest of the run.

Not only was my ankle hurting, but the top of my foot was hurting as well. During the race I was rather concerned about it, because I didn’t want to unravel everything I worked hard to strengthen. But, after my race I Googled my symptoms to see if that might show what reveal what was going on with the foot.

Fortunately — and unfortunately — I found out it was a two fold problem. Easily fixable. But, I figured the combination of me tying my shoe too tight and focusing my gait to land on my big toe first caused the muscle to strain, which also caused my ankle to hurt as well. It was sore most of the day, but luckily by Sunday — I was fine.

I really need to be more careful with my shoes. That was a total rookie mistake. But, I can see why I did it — I wanted to give that ankle a lot of support. Which I did. It was — unfortunately — just too much support.

The last five miles were tough. I yo-yo’d my friend Amanda a bit which made the miles go a bit faster since we bantered a bit back and forth. The course got fairly hot around 9-10 which zapped a good amount of energy, but I just kept on going.

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Despite my foot and heat I didn’t want to leave any doubt that I gave everything, so in those late miles I forged through the rolling hills and streets of Payson passing a number of other runners. They were small victories, insignificant to the masses, but big to me in the moment. Especially since I just wanted to finish strong.

As I made the turn toward Payson Park and the finish a large gathering of my AIIA team was cheering me on. I was joined by Zack and Russell for the home stretch — I couldn’t have asked for a better group of fine young me to run me in. Both of them of ran the half — and Russell who’s barely 10 even got a sub-two time! So proud of both of them!

After I finished I grabbed some water and felt a crash coming on. I gave my all. Which is a great feeling, but at the same time I just found a patch of grass and sat sipping on water and my Powerade while chatting with friends.

I know I have a lot of work to do to get myself back to where I was a couple of years ago, even in 2013 when I PR’d on this course. I know I have it in me. And, I feel very hopeful with the changes that I’ve made with my diet and workout regime — that I’ll get there. But, at the same time — if I never get back there — I am happy running the rest of my life at any pace or speed. Just as long as I can still do it.

But, I’m never NOT going to try to get back there — no matter what curve ball life seems to throw at me. I can’t wait to see what I can do on this course within the next year.

And, that’s what drives me to come back for more.


MY NEXT FIVE RACES

My next race is the Revel Big Cottonwood Marathon. I am sweeping the course, which is always a party and a half. This will be my fourth year sweeping the course. I did downgrade my Huntsville Marathon entry from the full to the half — I need to focus on strengthening the ankle, not running it into the ground. That is also why I decided to drop the St. George Marathon. There’s a remote chance I’ll still do it. But, with my training right now — I don’t feel confident enough that I’ll hit the cut off times.

Anyways, still lots of running and training to do this fall, I can’t wait …


RACE #158: Nebo Half, August 26, 2017 (3:02:55) NEBOOOOOOO!!! Always my favorite half, because it's fast, beautiful and fun! Took it easier than usual as to avoid a crash like last week — also still trying to get used to my keto diet. But, still loved every minute of it! The race benefitted the @addicttoathlete team, so there were AIIA athletes at pretty much all the aid stations. It was so great seeing their smiling faces every few miles. I felt strong and I can tell my body is acclimating much better to my new diet. No crash. Running with my own Powerade Zero helped. I'm hoping for some better times here in the fall to finish off 2017 strong! It's been a tough year for me. #race158 #nebohalf #running @runtasticevents @addicttoathlete @josherwalla @ketoshua @joshruns180

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One of the best parts of keto — once a guilty pleasure no longer associated with guilt. On my way home from Payson to Bountiful, I stopped in American Fork for a Double Double Protein Style Burger from In n' Out! It definitely hit the spot! ———————————————————— #innout #proteinstyle #doubledouble #ketolunch #lunch #ketoshua #fitness #wellness #health #running #runnerslife #runner #run #weightloss #weightlossjourney #hashimotos #hashimotoswarrior #thyroid #hypothyroidism #workout #wod #instarunner #run4fun #runningcommunity #keto #ketodiet #ketonics #ketorunner ———————————————————— @ketoshua @josherwalla @joshruns180 ———————————————————— Follow my blog at www.phatjosh.com

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She's so angelic, she even has a halo.

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Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 9.0 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 31.02 miles
TOTAL MILES — 53.12 miles
Races This Week — Nebo Half.

August 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 42.0 miles
Race Miles — 40.0 miles
Walking Miles — 92.39 miles
TOTAL MILES — 174.39 miles
Races in August — (3) Elephant Rock Trail Half, Run Elevated Half and Nebo Half 

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 353.05 miles
Race Miles — 322.42 miles
Walking Miles — 872.54 miles
TOTAL MILES — 1548.01 miles
Races done in 2017 — (22) 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, Riverton Half, Saltair Half, Provo City Half Marathon, Jordan River Half Marathon, Drop13 Half Marathon, Bear Lake Trifecta — Idaho, Wyoming & Utah, AF Canyon Race Against Cancer, The Hobbler Half, Handcart Days Half, DesNews Half, Elephant Rock Trail Half, Run Elevated Half and Nebo Half.


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