Category: Saturday

Choices.

Life is about choices.

Where we are now is a sum of the choices we have made during our lifetime. The good, the bad, the stupid and even the mundane. But, they’ve been our choices — decided upon for various reasons.

I’ve learned over the years that choices aren’t easily classified. Sure there are good and bad choices, but I also like to look at the easy and difficult as well. But, life is defined these choices we make. Some on a daily basis, others when the necessity arises.

But, ultimately, the choice of direction, selection and action is in our hands — no one else’s hands. When you grasp that reality — it’s life changing. You literally are the master of your own fate.

Eight years ago today — I made a choice.

I made a choice to live — to wake up. I made the decision to be actor in the story of my life and no longer a background extra. Yet — it wasn’t this grand choice I made heralded by trumpet carrying angels and light of inspiration. I didn’t just want a change in my life, I needed one.

Today, eight years ago, I didn’t know where to start. I just knew I needed to start somewhere. I was tired of false starts and redos, so I embraced my imperfection. I didn’t fully see the end from the beginning and it took a lot of faith for me to take those initial steps — but, I took those steps.

I chose to wake up and be present. I chose to be optimistic and to find the best in others — especially myself. I chose to be the author of my story — a story with infinite possibilities of new chapters. No one else was going to write my story.

With these new choices, did change come overnight? No. Far from it. But, it began the process where I had the faith in myself to make better choices in my habits, health, diet, exercise and overall life.

I started my focus on my weight, because that was the easiest thing to tackle first. It was the most obvious needed change from a physical and emotional point of view. Weighing over 400lbs. impacts you in many areas of your life.

When I started having success with the scale, I soon realized that the joy I experienced was fleeting. As great as I felt physically — that did little for the person that I was inside. I knew that I also needed to eventually work on him as well.

And, that was a fight I delayed for as long as I could. But, I knew that when I made the choice to live a better life — that this would eventually have to happen. So, I focused on me — emotionally, socially and spiritually.

This was the hardest part of my journey. It’s not easy looking inward. That’s why dealing with the outward was so much easier. But, I started addressing things in my life that I had neglected.

The change was hard. Especially when you realized the pain you had to go through in order to get to the joy, peace and calm you wanted. But, as difficult as that realization can be, it can also be a driving force behind the daily choices you make.

My change and transformation inward wasn’t overnight and in many instances — is a change that is still ongoing. But, I feel when I made the choice to be a runner, that transformation was expedited.

I found that desired joy, peace and calmness much faster and often. I found a confidence in myself that went unrealized for over 30 years. And, I found a community of likewise people that could relate with me on many levels — physical, spiritual, emotional and social.

I felt at home.

The choices I’ve made as a runner are many, but the root of it all lays in the decision to make my ambitious goal of running 180 races over 13.1 miles before age 40. I made this goal at age 30 shortly after I ran my first half marathon. I made it because I wanted running to be a part of who I was and to see where it would take me.

And, like many journeys — I never quite expected the journey to go as it has up to now. By the end of the day, today, I will have finished my 169th race, that leaves me with just 11 races to my goal — that’s three years earlier than expected.

The early attainment of that goal has a lot to do with how running has changed my life. I have embraced the love of the unknown adventure — and each race has been an adventure. Whether it’s been a new distance, pursuit of a new goal or a race met with a “que sera, sera” attitude due to unforeseen circumstances.

Many of these adventures have led me to some of my most cherished friendships. Along with adventures that are too numerous to count and moments that will never be forgotten.

Whether it was running a half marathon in blue jeans in support of my Mom’s battle with cancer, running alongside Jill for her first marathon or running with wingless angels during the last five miles of my first 50 miler — those memories will never be forgotten, along with many, many others. I wish I could list them all here.

I don’t just feel lucky, I feel blessed, for the many people in my life. They’ve made my affair with running the life changing journey it has been in my life. And, I thank God for them all.

Often when I find myself pondering about this journey and the places I’ve been and people I’ve met — I go back to the beginning to that moment, when I made the simple choice. A choice to wake up and live. Who would have expected that choice to lead me to now? Eight years ago … not me.

But, here I am.

And, the great thing about my journey, is that you can take a similar journey too.

The choice is yours.


A post shared by The Runcast (@theruncast) on

Because “Those who matter don’t mind” like at all …

Before I go into this story and experience I had while running the Revel Big Cottonwood Half Marathon, I want to make two things clear — one, I don’t want or need sympathy. Mainly, because I don’t need it. I know my self-worth, my capabilities and potential. And, second, I reluctantly share this because I’m sharing this not for attention, likes or shares — I’m sharing it because I once didn’t know my self-worth, my capabilities or potential. I share this because I know there others — who struggle with these feelings of inadequacies.

This past year of running has been frustrating for me. I’ve been dealing with a sprained ankle that really killed a lot of my intended training. At this point of the year I really wanted to be back consistently running a 2:30 half marathon time. But, that just never happened.

I am fine with that — I’m at the point of my running now that the focus is on the Jackpot Running Festival and running 100 miles in February. I’m far more concerned with my focus on weight loss and overall fitness than my pace. I just want to do and give my best during any given run.

This morning I ran the Revel Big Cottonwood Half Marathon. This is one of my favorite races. I am a Legacy Runner — which means I’ve run it each year since the inaugural race in 2012. I’ve done the marathon four times and the half marathon now twice.

The marathon course holds my PR that I set during the inaugural race at 5:39 and my fastest time during the half was a 2:10 half the following year. On the flip side I’ve swept the course the last three years averaging around a 6:45 to 7 hour plus marathon time. I tell you all this for preference to my experience this morning.

Going into the race this morning — I knew I was going to be slow. I was suppose to sweep the course again, but my foot doctor didn’t want me to do the marathon — neither did my ankle. So, I decided to keep my Legacy streak alive and run the half marathon. It probably wouldn’t be pretty — but, I was going to do it.

So going into this week’s race my goals were simple — do my best, push myself without injuring myself and have fun. A goal that’s been repeated a lot this past year. And, I am fine with that.

Needless to say, I had a blast. Even before the race started — I had a lot of fun chatting with friends, running into online friends and just getting ready to run. If there’s one thing that keeps me running after the past seven years — it’s the relationships, it’s the people. I don’t honestly don’t know how committed I would be not just to running, but my 180 goal without those relationships?

But, that’s a post for another day.

Throughout the race it was fun being stopped by other runners to say hi. Most whom are a part of the number of Facebook groups we’re a part of. Even when the marathoners caught up while in the canyon many said hi — and I even got a couple of pictures with them. It was just a lot of fun and it made the fact that I was slower than I hoped or wished for — a non-factor.

Around half way through the race I ran with Amanda and Michael Bjarnson for a good 3-4 miles. It was a blast just laughing, joking and making friends. Amanda being 34 weeks pregnant was going along slowly as well. But, her timing had more to do with bathroom stops than her speed. Even being extremely pregnant she’s a very strong runner — she beat me soundly at the Nebo Half a couple weeks ago.

After we got out of the canyon we parted around Mile 10-11 (Amanda had to the use the bathroom — surprised?) so I just kept going. I just bunkered down, tried to find a good pace and just get myself to the finish line.

The last stretch of the course is along Ft. Union Blvd. in Cottonwood Heights and while technically downhill like the course — it’s more technical than the canyon miles. Around Mile 11-12 a slight hill leads to a rather steep decline that at the end of the race is tougher than it seems. I was no exception.

My ankle was feeling the strain of the latter miles and after making that slight climb and then downhill — I had to stop and walk for a while to stretch my ankle and recalibrate for the home stretch. Nothing out of the usual as of late.

As I was lost in thought while focusing on my ankle a Mazda Protege in the far left lay rolled down his window and started yelling something at me. I took an ear bud out and immediately understood what he was yelling at me. And, it wasn’t anything pleasant.

I’m not going to go into the particulars of what he said. I feel like it’s irrelevant to the story. But, needless to say, it was a profanity ladened and fat shaming tirade — basically telling me that I shouldn’t be walking or out there because of my size, especially if I was going to walk.

There was a moment it got to me — a slight moment. There was a moment of anger — a slight moment. And, there was a moment I wanted to bark back something — a much longer than a slight moment. But, I knew from experience that no matter what I said — it wouldn’t matter.

I was surprised I kept my cool because his tirade lasted a good 25 yards as he fought through the traffic. I am sure his anger was rooted in not expecting or wanting to be stuck in traffic. I would understand that frustration. But, to target a runner and berate them? I felt more sorry for the guy’s patheticness.

But, I wasn’t going to let his words get to me. Ten years ago or so — oh, yeah, it would have gotten to me. Totally gotten to me. But, today was different.

As ugly as his words were, they meant nothing to me. I quickly thought back to the previous 11-12 miles — I thought about the friends I spent time with, the runners who said hi and the laughs I had with a number of them. THAT. That, erased any doubts his words could have bred.

I thought back to my previous 158 races and those friendships and experiences I’ve made. Sure, I’ve had faster days. And, I will have faster days ahead of me — I’m not worried about that. But, the support group that I have around me — couldn’t be stronger. I’m grateful for that — truly, truly grateful.

I share this experience because I know his words could have gotten to other runners. They’re also words that I’ve sadly heard before shouted from a passing car while out on a run. I’ll never understand people’s need to put others down. But, I hope that those who get derogatorily yelled at understand — that they belong out there.

We all belong out there.

Like I said earlier, I don’t want sympathy for this experience. I don’t need it. But, I share it because I hope that we can all be a little bit nicer, be a little kinder and a whole lot more understanding toward everyone. We’re all in this together — so why make it harder for others? Support, lift up and inspire. Is it really that hard to do? Even if it is for you — just don’t say anything at all! Didn’t we learn that lesson from Thumper’s mother?!

I’m just grateful for the support around me. Without it I could have had a much worse experience. So, please — just be nice to others. Don’t make life harder than it needs to be.

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

A photo posted by @fight4phat on

InstaReplay: Handcart Days Half Marathon

HAPPY RUNNIVERSARY TO ME! Today marks the 5th anniversary of my first half marathon — and the first race I ran that counts (any race over 13.1 miles) towards my 180 race goal. It was fitting that it was at the same race — the Bountiful Handcart Days Half Marathon. A race that means a lot to me.

Not just because it was my first and 100th race — but, because it’s my hometown race. And, for nearly a decade my Dad was the chairman of Handcart Days. I basically grew up helping run the celebration. My Eagle Scout project was making bus signs for it — some 17 years ago (that ages me).

I love pretty much everything about Bountiful Handcart Days — well, everything except the parade. I hate parades. But, that’s a story for another day. We never had a half marathon, let alone a 5K when we were in charge of the festival. But, what a great idea! It’s my favorite thing to look forward to on Pioneer Day weekend.

I won’t go into too much detail, because I’ll have a full recap on Monday or Tuesday. But, I had fun. It’s not an easy run. It’s flat and hilly. Thankfully rolling hills compared to anything monstrously huge. Just one of those.

I did the early start as to avoid the heat — so instead of starting at 6am like everyone else — I started at 5:30am. It made  big difference, especially in the latter miles. I am pretty sure that I would have died if I waited the extra half marathon. In my opinion, if you are given the option during the summer to start early — TAKE IT!

Plus, you get done sooner.

Anyways — here are a few pictures from the race. I’ll post more on Monday after I run the DesNews Half! Fun, fun, fun weekend of running! YEEHAH!


HAPPY RUNNIVERSARY TO ME! Five years ago today I started this little journey right here at the Handcart Days Half Marathon. I had no idea where this journey would take me back in 2011. I just wanted to do a half to prove I could do a half. Now five years later and 100+ half marathons, 7 marathons and a 50K later … here I am. It’s been fun reflecting the contrasts of my journey from 2011 to 2016. The biggest difference? The people now in my life. The race bling (and countless race shirts) means nothing without the people, friendships and memories that I attach to those medals. Whether we’ve ran a mile, two or 200 together — thank you for leaving a footprint in my life. #handcartdayshalf #race126 #running #runniversary #halfmarathon #workout #wod #wellness #health #run #weightlossjourney #weightlosstransformation #runningjourney #keeprunning @southdavisraces @joshruns180 @fight4phat @josherwalla

A photo posted by @fight4phat on

RACE #126 is done! Celebrated not only my 126th race (over 13.1 miles), but my 5th RUNNIVERSARY of beginning that journey. And, at the same race to boot! I went in the race not wanting to push too fast, but coming in under 3:00. Mainly, because I’m pushing for a 2:30 on Monday at the DesNews Half. Thankfully the race gives the option of a 5:30am start for slower runners. I took that option mainly so I wouldn’t be out in the heat of the sun too long. The course runs along Legacy Parkway Trail before crossing over I-15 and Legacy to Main Street on its way back to the Rec Center. It’s not an easy course. But, it’s got a variety of flat to rolling hill terrain. Basically not a PR course. But, it holds a special place in my heart, so all is forgiven. Now I’m resting my legs and looking forward to Monday! That’s my goal race this weekend. Gotta reach the 2:30! It’s my destiny. Happy Pioneer Weekend! #handcartdayshalf #race126 #running #runningjourney #halfmarathon #run #bountifulutah #pioneerday #handcartdays #workout #fitness #wellness #workout #wod @southdavisraces @joshruns180 @josherwalla

A photo posted by @fight4phat on

InstaReplay: 13 Miles of Freedom

This morning I ran the 13 Miles of Freedom put on by Extra Mile Racing. It was a fun a little race along the Jordan River Parkway. I went into the race without any expectations — I got exactly what I prepared myself for! HAHAHA!

I ended up getting lost and running 16 miles total, I ran into a naked homeless guy under the 2100 South overpass and just had the adventure of my life. If you want to hear about my race in my own words I have a link below my Instagram pictures of my livestream — or you can come back on Monday for the full recap.

Enjoy the pictures …


RACE #124 IS COMPLETE! What was supposed to be the ’13 Miles of Freedom Half Marathon’ became the ’16 Miles of Freedom Ultra Half Marathon’ for me. I missed a turn at Albuquerque and ended up going a mile and half further than I needed to. It was totally my fault for missing the sign. But, I’m not that upset about it. Turned out as a great training run. Ran my 13.1 miles in 2:47 and the whole 16.3(ish) in about 3:50? I ended up catching up with the sweeper, Tammy, and went the last three miles + with her and another runner. I had a blast! I was just happy to be out there today! I felt strong especially considering the flat and hot course. I even ran into a naked homeless guy (twice) that made for an awkward situation (twice). But, more of that on my blog come Monday. Have a great weekend! Be safe and of course Happy Fourth! #13milesoffreedom #race124 #running @extramileracing @joshruns180 @fight4phat

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

RACE #124 IS COMPLETE! What was supposed to be the ’13 Miles of Freedom Half Marathon’ became the ’16 Miles of Freedom Ultra Half Marathon’ for me. I missed a turn at Albuquerque and ended up going a mile and half further than I needed to. It was totally my fault for missing the sign. But, I’m not that upset about it. Turned out as a great training run. Ran my 13.1 miles in 2:47 and the whole 16.3(ish) in about 3:50? I ended up catching up with the sweeper, Tammy, and went the last three miles + with her and another runner. I had a blast! I was just happy to be out there today! I felt strong especially considering the flat and hot course. I even ran into a naked homeless guy (twice) that made for an awkward situation (twice). But, more of that on my blog come Monday. Have a great weekend! Be safe and of course Happy Fourth! #13milesoffreedom #race124 #running #halfmarathon #fitness #run #workout @extramileracing @joshruns180 @fight4phat

A photo posted by @fight4phat on


FACEBOOK LIVESTREAM RACE RECAP


Runcast - Podbash Banner

This was released late yesterday afternoon. But, there’s a new episode of the Runcast out. I’m sharing more of my favorite running music — including some Imagine Dragons, Fallout Boy and some new songs.

Download the episode and take it for a run!


A photo posted by Runcast USA™ (@runcastusa) on

InstaReplay: AF Canyon Race Against Cancer

WOWWEE! That was a tough run. I ran the AF Canyon Race Against Cancer this morning. It was tough. I’m a little sore (well, whole lotta sore). I went into the race shooting for a 2:30-2:40 race time and I was on pace for that finish time coming down the canyon. But, around mile 9-10 I tripped on a stupid bump on the Cedar Hills Trail caused by a tree root. I’m fine — it just slowed me down quite a bit,

It didn’t help that the last 3-4 miles were pretty flat and hot. But, hey, I finished — still under three hours. So, I’m fine with my finish time. Especially considering my first 8-9 miles. I’m feeling stronger and it’s a matter of time I get more consistent.

But, I’m not going to give you a full race recap — yet. Come back Monday morning for the full recap. But, in the meantime — enjoy my Instagram snaps from the race …


There are many reasons why I run — the joy, thrill and personal competition is something I love. I love the friendships I’ve made over the years and the people I’ve met. But, running for someone close to your heart, deepens those reasons. It’s hard to put into words. But, it gives those miles extra purpose and meaning. You’re not just running by yourself, but with them as well. Even if they aren’t physically there. When my mom was diagnosed with cancer in early 2012 — I ran for her. My year of running was focused on her. I wore pink shoes and accessories throughout the year. It was therapeutic for both me and even my mother. She showed me what it meant to be a fighter. Her chemotherapy was in the middle of training for my first marathon. When I wanted quit or stop I simply thought of her and how she couldn’t stop. She couldn’t quit. Well, she could. But, she chose to fight. That example gave me courage to keep going. Tomorrow as I run the AF Canyon Race Against Cancer I’m running for my Mom. But, I’m also running for those who are fighting, have fought and will fight this ugly disease. My grandpa, my Aunt Mary, my Uncle George, my dear friend Dith (who will be RUNNING the race with us!), my other friends Marie, Nathan and Emily. Cancer sucks. But, they’ll always have my heart. Now … GO FIGHT! RUN! #afcanyonhalf #race123 #running @afcanyonrun @joshruns180 @josherwalla

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

I wish it was as easy as 1-2-3, but RACE #123 is on the books! The race started beautifully. Tried to bank some time for the later miles so I could come in around 2:30-2:40. But, around mile 9-10 I kinda biffed it and tweaked the ‘ol knee. I’m fine, but it bothered me enough that my run went from a consistent run to a Galloway run/walk and then to a walk with occasional runs. It was tough, especially mentally to accept. But, I’ve got to look at the positives — I felt strong during those first 9-10 miles, I get a massage and I looked dead sexy in pink running for my mom, Dith and the many people in my life who’ve fought cancer. There are other races and I’ll get where I want, this wasn’t a derailment, just a speed bump (but, one built annoyingly tall so it shakes the whole car). Next up The 13 Miles of Freedom on Saturday! No goal for that — yet. #afcanyonhalf #race123 #running @afcanyonrun @joshruns180 @fight4phat

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

I have a banana problem. #bananaaa #afcanyonhalf #race123 #running @joshruns180 @fight4phat

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

InstaReplay: Drop 13 Half Marathon

I don’t run with a watch — well, I have one — but, I choose not to run with it. I have a Garmin that I bought about three years ago — it works fine, does its’ job and all that jazz. But, about a year or so ago I stopped running with it mainly because I felt like a slave to it. I hinged my happiness on what I did or did not run and mentally I had to take a break and focus on the WHYS of running.

I just haven’t bothered strapping it on for races or training runs.

So, after my run this morning — it’s KILLING ME that I didn’t wear it, because I want to know what my time was. It was one of my best races — if not best races — in two years. After a myriad of thyroid, testosterone and other health issues my time took a backseat to just finishing and enjoying the race at hand.

But, today changed that and gave me some hope that the tide is turning. My meds are balanced or feel like they are — and now that I am about Day #24 into my Whole 30 program that is helping even more. The boosted energy and dropped weight for the past three weeks is making a difference.

Anyways — I am not going to give you my whole race recap — that’s for Monday. But, I’m anxiously waiting for On Hill Events to post the race times, because I really, really want to know where I finished. I know it was somewhere around my goal range of 2:35-2:45 well below a sub-2:40 — and possibly even sub-2:35?

I just want to know!

Anyways here are some of my pictures from the race this morning while I wait with baited breath!


Me and Boojah. I look up to her. #drop13half #race121 #running @onhillevents @joshruns180 @fight4phat

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

I needed this race today. It wasn't a PR, but that doesn't matter. It was still my best time in nearly two years. I'm waiting on official results, but it's somewhere around 2:35ish. It was a physical, mental, spiritual and emotional effort … but, I gave it my all! I credit a lot of my success on my preparation, streaking and Whole30 diet. My energy and stamina are increasing and my thyroid seems to working on all cylinders. I couldn't be happier. Like I said, I needed today. My sore quads, calves and butt muscles are a sweet painful reminder (for probably the next week) that I gave it my all today. Now to continue to build upon this and shoot for the moon! #drop13half #race121 #running @onhillevents @joshruns180 @fight4phat

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

YES!!! I needed this victory today. A physical, mental, emotional and spiritual victory. I attribute today’s successful race on many factors — attitude, adequate prep, but more then that — my @whole30 diet. Seriously. If it wasn’t for the increased energy and dropped weight I’ve experienced in the past three weeks — the outcome would have been much slooooower. I’m waiting for my official time, but I feel like it’s easily my best time in the past two years. Somewhere around 2:35 … ish. I feel and see the difference, which excites and encourages me to keep going well beyond my 30 days. But, one step at a time. #day24 #whole30 #running #workout #fitness #halfmarathon #goals #weightloss #drop13half #race121 @onhillevents @whole30 @fight4phat @joshruns180 @josherwalla

A photo posted by Fight4Phat® (@fight4phat) on