Category: Friends

A whole lotta ughs …

The past couple weeks have been tough. Heck, this past month has been tough on me. I’m not using it as an excuse. But, I’d sure like a break or two once in a while.

I’ve been trying to get myself into a groove with my running and fitness and it just hasn’t materialized the way I envisioned it. Granted, I did meet my sub-three time goal a couple weekends ago during the Emigration Canyon Half Marathon. But, that’s about the only success I feel like I’ve truly met.

I’ve been dealing with bad backs, sprained ankles and this past week — a root canal. An expected root canal. My tooth started hurting during my race last weekend and then by Monday morning it was throbbing in pain.

I couldn’t go to my regular dentist, because this was the same tooth that they couldn’t get numb. So they referred me to an endodontist so they could knock me out to do it. And, that wasn’t cheap. But, that’s a whole other story for another day.

I finally got my root canal yesterday — and it really just killed my week.

But, despite all the road blocks, I’ve been trying to keep on track, even if my runs are short and my workouts shorter. And, for the most part — it’s working. I’ve lost about 10lbs. this past month. A lot of that has to do with my diet. So, that’s progress.

I thought of mixing up my diet and routine again, but I think I am going to stick with what I planned this past month. One, because I wasn’t able to get into a good groove or it and, two, I think I can see bigger improvements with a better focus. I’d really like to lose about 30lbs. and I feel like this is a good road. Especially for my thyroid.

I’m going to get a good run in tonight before my race this weekend out in Magna. I’m hoping for a sub-three. But, I’m not sure if I want to push it TOO hard since I’ve got my 50K coming up in the next couple of weeks. But, honestly, I think I’ll be fine. I think the variables that will determine my result really will be my ankle and back.

The focus right now is all on my 50K on the 28th of this month. I am a bit worried about it with my current mileage the past couple of weeks. But, honestly, I know I’ll be fine. The race director knows I’ll be a bit slower — 10 hours or so. It’ll be fun and that’s my only goal (besides finishing).

Plus, the 50K will be good training for my upcoming marathons in Ogden and Utah Valley. Along with my Bear Lake Trifecta races. I’m going to have a crazy spring and early summer schedule, so kick starting it with a 50K is an usual and — I think — good way to launch my schedule.

I won’t lie — I do worry about my back and ankle a bit. But, honestly, I think I’ve cared and rested both well enough that they shouldn’t be a factor. But, it’ll be on my mind for sure — I just don’t want to downgrade from the 26.2 to 13.1 if I can avoid it. But, that’s my last resort and something I don’t really want to entertain right now.

Anyways — I’m focusing on Saltair right now and focusing on getting my groove and consistency back. I just want to pull some big weight-loss numbers in the next month so I can go into marathon season lighter on my feet.

At least I know I’m on the right track.

The Runcast™ Playlist: Disney

For those that know me well — know how BIG of a Disneynerd I am. Whether it’s Disneyland, Disney World, Walt Disney or the countless movies, music and trivia — I love it all. I’ve read numerous biographies about Walt Disney on top of a number of books on the history of his animation studios, creation of Disneyland and everything in between. I love and respect Walt’s creative work ethic. It shows in everything he did.

Anyways — this post isn’t about all of that.

This past week I was a guest on PodBash’s The Park Hoppers once again. I challenged host Andy — DisneylAndy — to a Disney Music Duel! It was probably one of my favorite episodes. We answered trivia, challenged each other to complete songs and we even did a little singing. Scary I know.

You’ll have to check the episode out …

Listen to “Disney Music Special!” on Spreaker.

One thing I mentioned at the tail end of the episode was that I wanted to share some of my favorite Disney running music. There are a number of Disney songs that pepper my running playlist. But, I wanted to share a playlist — with nothing but Disney songs.

So, I made a list of my Top 25 Disney Running Songs. I hope you enjoy it. If I am missing one you think should be on there — let me know!

Happy Running!

Figuring this Hashimoto’s thing out …

It’s been an interesting couple of weeks for me. Besides figuring out this whole Hashimoto’s Disease out — I’ve been dealing with a beastly bout of bronchitis. I feel lucky it hasn’t been the flu, but that hasn’t stopped the fatigue of restless nights from coughing up a lung and a half.

I thought I was turning a corner after sleeping most all day on Sunday, but I ended up coughing all night Monday night and skipped work. It’s been frustrating, because I’ve wanted to get into a good rhythm with my workouts and runs. But, I don’t have the stamina or lungs for it — yet. And, I just need to be patient.

But, while I’m somewhat impatient to get back into my groove — I’ve really been focused on the adoption of my gluten and dairy free diet. It’s been tough. I won’t lie. I haven’t been as aware of labels and food content under any diet. But, this isn’t just a diet — this is my new lifestyle.

I wouldn’t say I have a specific diet down at this moment. To be honest with you I’m kind of trying things out to see what works best for me. I’ve been trying gluten-free breads and other foods to kind of see what I like. And, I won’t lie — not a huge fan of gluten-free bread — or at least what I’ve tried.

I’ve been sticking to a lot of what I ate while doing Whole 30 — and I think that’s where my focus will be mostly on my diet. Meaning, a lot of salad, steak and sweet potatoes — not to mention fresh fruit and veggies.

But, for now, I really want to see what I like and don’t like within the realm of gluten and dairy free foods.

One of the biggest omissions in this new lifestyle is that of cheese. I love cheese. I love it. And, I miss it. I’ve had some tips on vegan cheese that’s a good substitute. I haven’t tried those yet — but, I am sure I will get around to it. Especially when it comes to nachos.

Anyways — this is transition isn’t easy,

But, this week being sick and not able to get a whole blown workout regime in, I’ve had to focus on my diet. Which I think is a blessing in disguise, because focusing on just the food has helped me kind of further — process — what I am going through. Mainly, that this is a new lifestyle and my decision for food need to be precise.

Plus, I need to find that rhythm that works for me and I think I am getting that down a bit better. Not to mention changing my thought process so I’m not focusing on what I CAN’T eat and what I can or should so I can feel better.

I guess in a way, I’m approaching this like any other race or new distance. I’m starting it in slowly — learning, experimenting and doing — while mentally and physically preparing myself for the long haul. While there is no finish line to all of this, the mentality and approach is the same. This journey just happens to be longer than any race I’ve run before.

Anyways — I’ll keep updating you on all of this throughout the next few weeks and months. But, while my focus has been acclimating myself to the new diet, I’m also focusing on my training and fitness. I’ve got a few looooong runs and races coming up that I want/need to be ready to tackle.

This weekend I am running the Olympic Oval for 5-6 hours, hoping to get in a good 20-25 miles. I have the Jackpot Running Festival in about a month I want to get a couple more looooong runs in before I tackle the 12 hour race. And, since you won’t find me running outside right now with the air and weather — I’m taking it inside.

There is a group of runners meeting tomorrow morning at the Oval at 6am and — well — just running. We’re running circles around the ice sheet. It should be a lot of fun. There is quite a group gathering that should make it fun. It won’t be as big as the New Year’s Run Resolution, but it’ll be a party.

Besides Jackpot, I also have my self-supported 50 miler in March and the Salt Flats 50K in April. So, I’ve got some training to do. And, not that I am getting past this stupid cold and bronchitis — I’m feeling up for the challenge. Not to mention now that I am fueling myself even better.

LET’S DO THIS THING!

A photo posted by The Runcast (@theruncast) on

RACE #137: New Year’s Run Resolution

Um, okay, first off — I just and I mean JUST realized that I have been calling this race the wrong name for the past six years. It’s not the New Year’s Run Resolution — it’s the New Year’s Revolution Run. I would fix all of my graphics (including the ones in this post), but that’s too much effort (translation: I am too lazy).

So let’s pretend that this six year mistake was Extra Mile Racing’s problem, okay?

As I stated above — this is the sixth REVOLUTION RUN that I have run. And, I think that each one of them? When I ran it on New Year’s Eve in 2011 I didn’t know ANYONE at the race. I mean nobody. It was only my 5th half marathon so I was very much a rookie to the whole running scene.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

That race report was pretty bleak. I came, I ran and then I went home. That was about it. I didn’t even take any pictures when I was there. Not even a selfie. Shocking, huh?

But, it’s funny how time will all change that. I am not at 137 races and I look forward to this race each year, because it’s nothing but a huge party with friends. I am kinda surprised that I went back the next year, but for a fun holiday tradition — I love it.

The race is a five-hour timed race on the track of the Olympic Oval in Kearns. Most years I just crank out a half marathon and call it good. That’s because I tend to take a number of “friend breaks” to stop and talk with friends. But, in 2015 it was because I ran with the flu (unbeknownst to me at the time).

A photo posted by (phat) josh (@fit.phat) on

Needless to say, it isn’t always a 100% efforted race, because the focus has been on socializing and cranking out the needed mileage to count towards my race goal. But, this year I wanted to change that and really give a good effort.

Since Jill and I are running the 12 hour race at the Jackpot Running Festival in February, we knew we needed some good training hours and miles. So we decided to use this race as one of our training runs — to not just train for the race, but to gauge where we are in our training and to see what things we need to work on.

Our goal was to do lap intervals. A basic run/walk interval. My goal was to do 2:1 intervals in the first, third and fifth hour and then 1:1 intervals in the second and fourth hours. I didn’t want to OVER do my run, because I hadn’t had a longer run than 3.5 miles since November after my 50K. But, I felt those intervals were doable, especially preparing me for 12 hours of continuous running.

So that’s what I set out to do.

And, it was harder than I imagined. Not necessarily physically, but socially. I am such a social butterfly that it was hard for me to not to want to stop or walk so I could socialize. But, I had to constantly remind myself what my goal was and how it was going to prepare me for Jackpot.

Now, this doesn’t mean I didn’t take an extra walking lap occasionally. I very much did — but, only twice. And, when I did I made up for the running lap with an extra running lap — either running two or three continuous laps.

I felt strong throughout the run. The later miles were getting increasingly tougher and I did end up walking my last three laps, but that was because I had hit my goal of 20 miles by then. The extra laps were just bonus mileage.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

But, I was proud of myself throughout the run. I gave it good effort. I fought through a lot of fatigue and heavy legs — but, I did it. And, I really felt much stronger than I gave myself credit for. I might not have been doing tons of running since Antelope Island 50K, but between boot camp, my strength training and daily two mile runs I haven’t lost much.

That’s excites and comforts me.

A photo posted by (phat) josh (@fit.phat) on

And, knowing if I am committed and true to my diet — the gluten and dairy free — I will only get stronger and faster in time. I am excited at what 2017 has in store for me. I feel optimistic. Especially having the blue print that should get me there.

Anyways — HAPPY NEW YEAR! Here’s to a new year, new goals, new aspirations, new adventures and new challenges.

2017 OR BUST, BABY!


My next race is actually — NEXT WEEK! I am running the New Year’s Half Marathon in Pleasant Grove. This will be the third time that I’ve run this race. It’s put on by Jonathan Crampton, owner of Utah Race Pacers, and a surprisingly fun race.

I say surprisingly because it’s put on in the dead of winter when temperatures are sometimes below freezing. When I ran back in 2013 the starting temperature was a balmy 2 degrees. I worn layers upon layers for that race — including my Levi’s.

I don’t have a goal — yet. Right off the bat, my goal is to not get lost, hit by a car or freeze to death. These are goals I have for most races and/or long runs. But, really, I think I just want to give it my best effort and see what happens. That’s a good goal, right?

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

I think this was meant for a Kardashian? #shutupfortunecookie

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on


RUNNING MILES

305.8 miles

RACE MILES

420.55 miles

WALKING MILES

1526.73 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

2253.08 miles

MILES LEFT FROM GOAL

413.92 miles


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A photo posted by The Runcast (@theruncast) on

The 2016 Joshby Awards Family & Friends Winners!

The goal was to have these awards out — LIKE — two days ago? HA! Didn’t happen. I’ve been pretty dang busy. And, I am fine with that. Plus, I wanted to write a little blurb about each of the winners — but, time did not permit me to do so. So, I blurbed on a couple of the key winners.

But, seriously, I am thankful for all of the nominees and winners. The impact you’ve all had in my life this past year is truly appreciated. I count myself a very lucky man to have so many great people in my life. So — thank you, thank you!

But, without any further adieu — here are the winners of the Family and Friends categories … CONGRATS!

Friend Category 2016

Friend of the Year: David Stuart

Dave has been Friend of the Year the past couple of years and there’s a reason for that. Because, he is one of the most loyal, caring and attentive friends you’ll ever have. No matter the time between phone calls or hangouts — nothing changes his friendship. It starts up where it left off.

I’ve known Dave for years, but it wasn’t until about 5 years ago playing church basketball that we became fast friends. If we aren’t going to a movie together, we’re going to Walmart or a basketball game. And, above all that we’re also going out to eat. As much as Dave asks me where I want to go — we usually end up at a Chinese Buffet at his insistence. Which I don’t mind, because I just love spending time with Dave.

You really can’t ask for a better loyal friend than Dave and I’m lucky that he considers me his #1 best boyfriend — even though I think he might tell this to everyone else.

New Friend of the Year: Blu Robinson

Blu — or Coach Blu to many — and I have become fast friends over the past year. We somewhat met last year during the Thankful 13 when he took a picture of me dressed as a turkey. But, not much came from that until the Frigid 5K this January when we formally met. He was a guest on The Runcast talking about Addict II Athlete.

Going into that episode I really had no idea how that episode would affect me. I really didn’t know Blu THAT well and had just heard about AIIA in passing. But, over the past year it’s changed my life — not just AIIA — but his friendship as well.

If it wasn’t for Blu’s encouragement I don’t know if I would have ran my 50 miler? I know if I did attempt it, I couldn’t have done it without the help of Blu and AIIA. Beside that Blu has really encouraged me to also share my message and to be more vocal of why I am on the road I am on now. It’s the whole message of AIIA.

Inspiring Friend of the Year: Jorge Garcia

Jorge has always inspired me. He really has a ‘never say never’ attitude. Plus, he’s one of the most real, most authentic and kind people I know. He’s really like an older brother in many regards, especially when we get talking and go off tangent after tangent.

But, Jorge has gone through a lot this year and through it all — he’s hardly ever complained. He just focused on the task at hand. Because, in his experience he’s learned that’s all you can do. And, I have the utmost respect for that attitude — something I try to emulate.

But, Jorge hasn’t let a heart attack and other injuries set him back. Sure, he might be pulled back physically — but, he’s still out there looking forward, aspiring, inspiring and reaching for his dreams. He’s a great example of perseverance and the ABSOLUTE need for a positive attitude to get through anything in life.

I want to be Jorge when I grow up.

I also want some chips and queso, but that’s unrelated to this award.

Running Friend of the Year: Jill Gabica

This is different from the Runners’ Choice Awards that I give out. This is a running friend that’s impacted MY running experience and life the past year. And, it once again — the award goes to Jill.

We’ve done some epic runs this past year — or aspired to do some epic runs. I can’t think of anyone more encouraging of my running. She was there for me during my 50 miler and the months before hand giving me ideas on training. She was the one who encouraged me to run a 20 miler on the treadmill at midnight.

But, seriously, we’ve got some crazy epic goals in store for 2017 and I can’t wait to tackle them! It’s always a party in the back with Jill!

New Running Friend of the Year: Jed Jensen

Cyber Friend of the Year: Brian Rayburn

Out of State Friend: Angie Smith

Friend Mom of the Year: Jill Gabica

Dad of the Year: Jorge Garcia

Friend Kid of the Year: Grace Warnock

Friend Couple of the Year: Stephen Hendrickson & David McCord

And, here is the family category …

Family Category 2016

Family Member of the Year: Tatum Rex Snow Minson & Thalia Grace Hansen

This past year was a BIG baby year for our family. Not only did we welcome two babies into the fold, but Jessie announced she was pregnant just a couple months ago. We’re finally becoming the baby making machine our parents always wanted. Then again — most of us are all in our 30s so it might not last that much longer.

Still — I can’t think of any other family members more deserving of this award than these two kids. They’ve got the whole family on a string. Tatum is Mr. Personality and just loves people. He has no perception of “stranger danger” and can endear himself to someone within minutes. Thalia’s personality is 100% chill. She has an easy smile which really strokes my ego quite well when I try to make her smile. I mean, her sister and brother were a tough crowd.

I am sure Jess and Scott’s baby will have the same affect on the family. And, will probably sweep the same three awards Tatum and Thalia won this year. YEAH BABIES!

New Member of the Year: Tatum Rex Snow Minson & Thalia Grace Hansen

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Baby of the Year: Tatum Rex Snow Minson & Thalia Grace Hansen

[SEE ABOVE]

Family Kid of the Year: Maya Faith Hansen

This has been a BIG year for Maya. She turned 8 and was baptized — but more than that, she’s really blossomed into quite the awesome young lady. She’s a reader at heart and such a tender soul. She truly has a heart of gold that I adore.

But, the other thing about Maya that has stolen my heart — is she’s become a RUNNER! She ran her first 5K with me in October and we are planning on once again running another 5K here in February. She doesn’t just love running — she’s pretty good at it too. She took first place in her age group in October and I am sure she’ll do it again in February. I’ll have to train to keep up!

Cousin of the Year: Chris Pope

I don’t see my cousin Chris that much — but, that doesn’t mean I don’t keep up with him. I’m very proud of the man he’s become. He is a Deputy for the County’s Sheriff Office and while he’s in the news for a number of “police” things. However, this past year there were two incidents that — quite honestly — put me in tears, because it’s something I know our Grandpa would do in the same situation.

In September Chris was able to assist a cyclist who had a heart attack — besides being a Deputy he is also a trained paramedic. In fact the Sheriff’s Office he works for is the only one in the state that requires deputies to be trained and certified. Talk about luck — no — a blessing.

But, later that month, Chris was a part of a chain of events that helped a struggling couple. I can’t rehash the story well enough to give justice — so read this. But, watching it on the news and reading the story has put me in tears — because I saw so much of our Grandpa in his actions and words. I also shed tears knowing how proud he, our Grandma and his Dad are of him.

I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this year’s award. I hope he knows how proud I am of him,

Family Mother of the Year: Nannette Hansen

Family Father of the Year: Matthew David Hansen

Sibling of the Year: Jenny Minson

Sibling In-Law of the Year: Scott Stallings

Welp, that’s it for 2016! It’s been a great year. Well, it’s had its’ moments. But, I feel like any setback felt has been setting up 2017 to be a year to remember.

But, thank you for being a part of my life. You all have made an impact and I am truly grateful for that — truly, truly grateful. I hope you have a magical holiday season and start off 2017 with hopes and dreams that will carry you places once unimaginative in your life.

God bless!

Of Rest and Sickness …

I should have seen it coming. This always happens after I run long, long distances for many, many weekends. My body gives up and decides to rebel. It gets sick.

And, if you’re wondering. Yes, I am now sick.

No more than 2-3 days after running the Antelope Island 50K last weekend my body went into automatic sickness mode. It started around Election Night — and just got progressively worse. It fed itself into an anxiety attack, to a cold and then into something of a mixture of cold and … maybe the flu?

I’m not a doctor and WebMD was no help. So, basically, I am just a hot mess.

But, then again this happens to me every year. This happened last year after I ran the same race. Maybe I’m just allergic to buffalo? That’d be an easy culprit. But, really, it’s just my body telling me enough is enough. And, I am fine with that.

This cold/flu/buffalo allergy is no fun though. I was out of work on Friday and pretty much slept all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I’ve pretty much screwed up my whole sleeping pattern and I think I am now nocturnal? But, alas, I’m turning a corner and heading to work on Monday. Not, only because I’ve got a lot of work to catch up, but I want to share this fun with my co-workers.

Well, okay I kid … sorta.

But, no, I am really feeling much better. The large amount of sleep I’ve gotten the past few days has helped a lot and thanks to a cocktail of Zicam, Benadryl and Flintstone vitamins I’m 93.8% cured.

The nicest thing about this past week — besides the sleep — has been the fact I haven’t ran at all. And, quite honestly, I am fine with that. I kinda burnt myself out. And, how would not after running three marathons, two ultras and a few half marathons in the past two months? You’d think I’d be going everywhere in a jazzy.

And, I won’t lie — I looked into rentals.

But, I am welcoming this rest and I am in no rush to get back into a full running regime. I’m sure I’ll get a few more miles this month, but I am focusing on my strength training for a while. And, again, I’m fine with that.

Plus, I’m busy working as the volunteer coordinator for the Thankful 13 that Runtastic Events is organizing on Thanksgiving morning (the main reason why I’m not running it this year). It’s a big task. Fun and something I’ve done before. But, it’s taking most of my free time outside of my 8-5 job.

So, while we’re on that topic — if you’re available to volunteer on Wednesday or Thursday of next week we could sure use your help. We need help with set up, take down and race day support. You can sign up for shifts here.

I like this change of pace and it’ll be a fun challenge for me. And, one that doesn’t require me to run (just be on my feet on race day, but I can live with that). So, I’m excited to see what comes of it.

I’ll get my groove back eventually. But, rest is good. I’ve put my body through a lot the past couple of months and quite honestly, the past two weeks have been real tough on me. I probably shouldn’t have done the 50K last week with what my body was telling me after the 50 and Haunted Half, but I also knew I could push through it. Which I did quite awesomely.

But, for the time being I’m going to focus on runs so longer than 2-3 miles and then put more of my workout energy into my strength and weight training. I’m still taking my class after work at the U on Monday and Wednesday of each week and I am also planning on working out at my gym Ignite Fitness on Saturday mornings and at least once a week in the morning before work.

I feel like the gym is where I need to spend most of my time right now so that as I hit the trails more next year I’ll have a better stronger base and core to work off of. Plus, I want to cut some more weight off the body — about 20-30lbs. And, that’ll be a topic for another day. I stopped following my diet about three weeks ago going into my 50 — namely because I was a bit worried about fueling, etc.

Not that I haven’t completely gotten off the wagon, but I need to be better at eating on the wagon. If you get my drift. I gave myself a couple days off after my 50 and 50K — but, in my defense after my 50 miler that was something I was NOT expecting. I wasn’t craving anything for the first couple of days, but come Monday and Tuesday I wanted to eat everything — from tuna fish sandwiches to pretzels.

Anyways, I’m not planning on anything to dramatic right now. I’m back on my Isagenix shakes with a chicken salad for lunch and hardboiled eggs and a banana for snacks in between meals regime. But, I’ll blog all about that later. I just don’t want to go completely off the rail and completely undo what I did in the summer. And, Isagenix shakes are a good way to stop that, because I love the shakes a lot.

But, like I said … more on that later.

For now the focus is just the weight-room, letting my body relax and heal. I’ve got a few goals in mind that I want to hit coming up in the first part of the year and I’ll eventually figure out how to tackle those in the next couple of weeks.

But, that’s not my concern for now. Getting ready for the Thankful 13 is the bigger concern. And, getting past this cold/flu/bison allergy.


A photo posted by Joshua Hansen (@fight4phat) on

A couple weeks ago Coach Blu, from Addict II Athlete, and I sat down to do a double recording of our podcasts. We sat down and recorded our experience running the Pony Express 50 on my podcast The Runcast … and then we recorded an episode of the AIIA Podcast with me sharing my story with Coach Blu.

It made for a long evening because both podcasts ran looooooong (Runcast — 90 minutes and AIIA — 70 minutes), but both episodes turned out awesome. I consider Coach Blu a dear friend and it’s been really quite a miracle how our paths have crossed in the past year.

But, sharing my story has been something I promised to myself — and God — when I made the decision to seek a new direction. That’s why I blog, that’s why I tend to OVER share my thoughts and feelings on struggles and successes in my life and that’s why I was more than willing to share my story with Coach Blu.

There is a lot to me that I don’t share about me here on the blog — and that’s not by design, but merely because of the audience. And, this episode of AIIA delves into my past and gives a background of where I’ve come from and had to work myself out of.

Nothing has come easy to me in life — and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve had to overcome a world that tried to label me, I had to overcome my own doubts and at times just get stubborn and do what I knew to be right.

I won’t give away a lot of my story, but I invite you to give it a listen. It hopefully gives you a window into the type of person that I am and why I do what I do. And, hopefully you’ll get a thing or two out of it that will help you along your own journey — wherever that may lead you.

Give it a listen here …

Listen to “Blu & Josher!” on Spreaker.


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I won’t lie — it’s been kinda nice getting rest from lotso running. This week was mainly walking miles, but being sick I didn’t get much on the ‘ol pedometer Friday-Sunday. And, I’m fine with that.

The goal this upcoming week is get more walking miles and then a couple 2-3 mile runs on top of my weight training. No races this weekend or for the rest of the month — which is nice. I’ll get back into the swing of things sooner than later.

RUNNING MILES

253.55 miles

RACE MILES

400.05 miles

WALKING MILES

1299.73 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

1953.33 miles


A photo posted by The Runcast (@theruncast) on

RACE #134: Pony Express 50 Mile Trail Run

Going into my race on Friday I had a hard time expressing my thoughts and feelings about what I was about to accomplishment. Mainly because I was just so eager to experience what was ahead of me. But, now I’m here. The 50 miler is behind me and I’ve been processing the experience the past few days.

I’m not sure if the word ‘experience’ is the right word — experiences — is more appropriate. There were so many ups and downs from mile to mile that it felt like a lifetime of lessons I learned out there on the trail. It’s hard to put all of that in words, especially when it felt like my circumstances and mentality could change every quarter of a mile.

But, I did it! I did it! I did it! I did it!

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

Going into the race I didn’t know exactly what to expect, but I wanted to set a few ground rules for me to follow throughout the race to make I gave myself the best chance of success. I wanted to make them as concrete as possible, but I also knew they needed to be fluid enough to change as needed — because this was something I’ve never done before.

My rules were simple —

1) Keep moving forward.
2) Don’t sit down at aid stations.
3) Don’t spend more than 2-5 minutes at aid stations.
4) Eat and hydrate every 2-3 miles.
5) Don’t be shy asking for help.
6) Don’t poop my pants.
7) Don’t give up.

Simple rules really — and as #6 might seem like a joke … it’s really not. I was one of my biggest worries, because unlike your typical marathon the only port-a-potties on the course were at the starting and finish line. Everything in between was pretty much up to you. And, that scared me.

But, really the focus was just moving forward and getting where I wanted/needed to go … the finish line. I really didn’t want to sit down at the aid stations, but that ended up changing in the later miles. But, luckily my crew car was my aid station and that helped ease a lot of angst for me. I wouldn’t have to lug a pack with me and I could just focus on running. It really helped a lot and one of the reasons why I chose this race as my first 50.

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Anyways — I had a great crew and support team. Tim from the Addict II Athlete team was my support vehicle. He volunteered his car as my ‘meals on wheels’ for the entire race. And, then somewhere around noon-1pm Jill was going to show up and help pace me to the finish. And, then Coach Blu said other AIIA team members were planning on coming later to pace team members into the finish.

We got into a good rhythm early into the race. After crashing at Coach’s place the night before we headed out from Orem to the West Desert for a 5am start time. Coach and I ran together about the first three miles together. Coach Blu is such a great guy and such an easy conversationalist — the miles really flew by.

We parted so he could catch up with some other team members and I had to use the restroom. Which was an adventure and a half for me. I had tried to use the restroom at the starting line KNOWING there wouldn’t be anywhere along the course to go. Nothing. Which is typical of me.

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And, as typical as it is for other runners — I had to go — after running 3-4 miles on a bumpy dirt road. Sooooo — in a desert with nary a tree or shrub I walked out as far away from the roadside as I could to dig a hole. I felt so awkward — I felt like such a cityslicker — but, luckily it was still dark enough that I don’t think anyone could see me since I turned my headlamp off.  Anyways, I did my thing, covered it like a cat and moved along hoping that if anyone did see me they be faster than me.

But, I kept a good slow steady pace in the first 12-15 miles — which was all by design. I didn’t want to burn out too quickly, because I knew I’d need gas in the tank for the last 10-15 miles. So after Coach moved ahead I played leap frog with a few other 50 milers and an increasing number of 100 milers — I even ran into Wan who was running the 100 miler. And, of course hugs were included at that reunion.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to be in the mood for music, but I brought some just in case. I wanted to make a custom playlist on Spotify, but I just ran out of time. So I downloaded a mood playlist I found called simply, “Have a Good Day!” — seemed like a good idea since that was kind of my goal, right?

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And, starting at mile nine, I plugged in the earphone and jammed out. It wasn’t a bad playlist. Lots of Beach Boys, Beatles, 80s music and really good UPBEAT songs — most of them were oldies, but there were a couple of John Mayer and Maroon 5 songs on there that just didn’t jive well with me and were quickly fast forwarded.

I kept the music going and just cranked out the miles. I mall walked the hills, ran the downhill and jogged the flat with intermediate mall walking in between. Then every three miles I’d hit Tim and my aid station. It was a good rhythm I had going. I had this going for about the first 27-30 miles.

But, around Mile 28 I found myself in a pain cave that was hard for me to get out of. I was still a couple miles from Tim’s car and Jill wasn’t there yet, so I knew I just had to find a way to get through those two miles. I tried speeding up and I tried slowing down, but none of that had really helped. So I just moved forward as best I could.

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Then I had remembered that I had grabbed a rock somewhere around mile 2-3 and slipped it in my pocket (mainly as a souvenir). I grabbed the rock and tightly held it in my hand and then just focused all my energy into the rock. I visually gave that rock my pain. And, you know what? It worked!

After wandering in the desert herself, Jill found me — literally with my pants down. I stepped aside from the trail to “water the plants” and of course she came up right behind that. It’s my impeccable timing. But, this wasn’t the first time that’s happened either. Anyways — like I learned early on in ultrarunning — there’s no modesty in ultrarunning. None.

But, Jill came at the perfect time to get me over Lookout Pass. That stretch was tough — not just the climbing part up to the pass, but all those flat unglamorous terrain before all of that. Having her to chat with saved my sanity. Plus, I was grateful it was Jill, because it was yet another trademark epic adventure of ours.

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Once we got to the pass and back to her car, she decided to drive to the finish line and then carpool back with Mark. I hated being alone again for about 3-4 more miles, but I knew I could do it. Plus, the other AIIA support vehicle was right ahead of me so I wasn’t THAT alone.

So I just trudged along.

Luckily, after the climb came a lot of good downhill, so I just kind of let gravity take me as fast as it wanted. I got myself into a nice rhythm and I felt really good, especially considering that I was around mile 40 and less than 10 miles from finishing. Looking back to that moment I laugh, because within five miles that all changed — quite dramatically.

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Around mile 43 the sun started setting and darkness came quite quickly. The moon wouldn’t raise until well past midnight and I didn’t grab my headlamp at the last break so I had to rely on my Rhino-sharp eyesight. My body was starting to just breakdown — physically, emotionally, spiritually and everything inbetween. And, I could tell I was not going in a good place.

I just wanted to be done. Since my goal was to finish I didn’t wear a Garmin or watch on me. I just relied on mile updates from Tim, Jill or strangers. I never asked other runners, but I’d ask their support vehicles. I’m not sure how good of an idea this was for me to do? Mentally it felt like I’d ask for updates every two hours, but then when I’d get a reply I would have just moved a mere half mile.

Mile 42.5
Mile 43.0
Mile 43.5
Mile 44.0
Mile 44.5

It was brutal.

I just wanted to be done. I was hurting everywhere. My feet were plotting to kill me. The thought of peanut butter made me nauseous. Heck, the thought of anything on my stomach made nauseous. I was just going downhill fast.

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I tried walking with a couple ladies who I had yo-yo’d a bit, but that didn’t have the same effect that Jill’s presence had for me earlier. I wanted to be alone. But, I didn’t want to be alone. I wanted to die. I just wasn’t in a good place at all.

At Mile 45.0 when I got to the car, I sat on the trunk and I tried to drink some water, eat some applesauce while I avoided a whiff of peanut butter or potatoes. I just sat there in silence. Jill was in the car, but she sat in silence as she was battling a migraine (that’s another story) herself. So I just on the bumper in pain, nauseous and discouragement, because I just wanted to be done.

I. Just. Wanted. To. Be. Done.

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The pain in my feet felt like needles and I thought if I changed my shoes that’d help not just the feet, but somehow my mental state of mind. It didn’t really. I knew my five minutes were up at the car, so I slowly got up on my feet and just tried to stagger forward. Each step hurt. And, as I told Jill to go forward another mile and a half — tears just kind of flowed down my cheeks.

As she pulled away the tears came streaming and my pouting turned into an ugly cry. I was once alone out there on the trail with no one in sight ahead or behind me. The tears came with every throbbing step. I couldn’t do this anymore. I didn’t want to be alone. I wanted this pain gone. I wanted to be at the finish line.

With tears in my eyes I gave the simplest and frankest prayers in my life. I said, “Heavenly Father, I can’t do this anymore. Please send someone to be with me. I can’t do this alone. I can’t do this alone.”

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After uttering my feeble prayer I kept weeping as a rush of comfort rushed through me. And, the thought immediately came to me — “you’re not out here alone, someone is on their way!” I took comfort and faith in that feeling and just focused on each step forward.

Those tears of pain started turning into tears of appreciation as I reminded myself that I CHOSE THIS! I chose to go through this moment. I didn’t HAVE to do this, but I CHOSE it. I thought all of my Dad and his battle with gout and knee replacements who battles pains much worse than this temporary pain of mine.

I thought of my dear mother and friends Meridith and Amy who have battled cancer over the past few years. They didn’t chose to go through that. And, battled through much more than this moment of mine. Surely, if they didn’t give up, I sure as hell couldn’t now.

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Those tears of appreciation taught me a lesson of my Savior’s love. His infinite sacrifice was by choice. He had the power to stop … but, he didn’t. He pushed through much more pain than I was experiencing at that moment. How could I give up now, especially knowing that I had an empathetic partner who’s felt all that I have felt and more?

I know what I just shared is very personal to me, but I can’t tell the whole story of this race without including it. Even writing my recountment of this moment brings me to tears. The Savior’s atonement is real. I’ve felt it. I know it. And, in a world where there are bigger problems out there — He was aware of me and comforted me when I needed Him the most.

But, wait … that wasn’t even the total fulfillment of my prayer. No longer than a half mile later my friend Jed rolls up and asks, “you need a pacer!” And, of course this just brought more tears to my eyes and I exclaimed, “Dude, you’re the answer to my prayer — you’re my angel!”

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I wasn’t expecting Jed to be there, mainly because Coach said he was planning on going elk hunting instead. But, apparently, he bagged an elk the day before and managed to get out the West Desert around 9pm — just when he was needed the most. I’ve been around too long to not believe in coincidences. And, as much as Jed probably wouldn’t want to hear, he was definitely my angel.

With a renewed focus the last 4-5 miles went so much more smoother than the prospected view a mere half hour and half mile prior. Jed kept me amply distracted and focused and because of that I was in a much, much better place.

There was a 3/4 mile out and back stretch once you passed the finish area before you were REALLY finished. And, once I passed the finishing area my determination to just be done was stronger. Tim joined Jed and I for the out and back — and once I got my sticker and headed back to the finish line, I sprinted to that finish line.

A photo posted by Joshua Hansen (@fight4phat) on

Okay, I lied, I mall walked like my Grandma at Hobby Lobby on Black Friday — but, it sure felt like a sprint. I was just determined to get where I wanted to be the most at that moment — the finish line. As I approached closer and closer my mind ran through dozens of emotions again — mainly where this journey has taken me and all those who have been a part of that.

I may have cried a bit. But, thankfully, for the benefit of Facebook pictures it wasn’t my Mile 45 ugly cry. I am pretty sure I used up my year’s quota of tears. But, my mind couldn’t help but think of all those triumphs, defeats, friendships and accomplishments that lead me to that moment. And, to be IN that moment at the time made it even more powerful for me.

I crossed that finish line in 17 hours and 48 minutes. It definitely wasn’t a landspeed record, but I didn’t care. That was never the point of this goal. The goal was to cross that finish line. Which I did.

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As I crossed Jill was immediately taking care of me. She got me food galore and made sure I hydrated properly. She did such a great job the volunteers remarked how wonderful it was to see a wife take such good care of her husband. We didn’t bother to correct her.

But, I downed some of the best portobello mushrooms I’ve ever had. And, I’m pretty sure the chicken sandwich I ate could have given Chick-Fil-A a run for its’ money. I was just grateful my appetite was back. Well, I say that conditionally, because I don’t think I’ll be eating peanut butter for a solid 2-3 years. Seriously, that’s no joke.

The ride home took us a solid four hours — and somehow I managed to stay awake the whole time?!?!! I remember having conversations with Jill, but I am pretty sure I didn’t make any sense. She gave me the same reaction she gives when her daughter says something that doesn’t make sense, but she doesn’t want to point out that it really sounded idiotic. I probably should have just passed out?

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I stayed at Jill’s place and after a painful post race shower at 4am, I managed to get about three hours of sleep before leaving for Salt Lake to help at The Haunted Half. I was so worried about falling asleep and not waking up until 4pm later that day, but that never happened. And, quite honestly this past weekend I never truly “crashed” … I’ve just taken a lot of cat naps.

I think my ultra turned me into a cat?

Volunteering at The Haunted Half and keeping my legs moving really helped keep them fresh and from seizing on Saturday. They’re still a little sore, but stairs haven’t been as “BAD” as I imagined they’d be. I know that will all change when I take my first post-race run/jog/walk/jaunt. I am sweeping the Provo Haunted Half on Saturday so I should get at least a two miler in sometime this week to just get things going.

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Anyways — enough of that. Now is the time to just enjoy the moment, relish in the accomplishment and take pause to ponder on the journey. I accomplished everything I set out to accomplish. Everything from finishing to not pooping my pants during the race.

But, more than that I experienced this race. I experienced some very highs and some very lows and everything in between. That’s what I was looking forward to more than anything in this journey. I wanted to just EXPERIENCE it.

And, I did.

Now, I’ve been asked if I’d do it again. And, up to the race — I said that I’d never say never. Post-race — I want to say “HELL NO!,” but again I can never say never. But, if you really want to know if I’ll ever do this distance again — ask me about 2-3 months. It’s such a big accomplishment with lots, lots and lots of work to be done before even daring to toe up on the starting line.

But, it can be done.

Anyone can do this. I firmly believe that. Why?

Because I did it.

I did it.

I did it.

I did it!


135 - haunted half provo

As mentioned above, I am sweeping the Haunted Half course. All by design of course. There was NO way I was going to pace a 2:45 a week after running 50 miles. I have swept four Haunted Half races to date and I love it because it’s ALWAYS a party in the back. Plus, I’ve met some amazing people running this race so it has a special place in my heart.

It’ll be a party once again. My friend JessicaSue (who I paced last year at the Salt Lake Haunted Half) and her husband will be there, along with Jill and possibly my sister. I am trying to talk her into it. But, we’ll see if she comes. She’s always wanted to run down Provo Canyon. Either way — it will be a party and a half.

The Haunted Half is one of my favorite races. They always do a good job with their races — plus I love this year’s medals! I am thinking of signing up for the virtual race so I can also get the sugar skull medal. I love that thing!

Anyways — just a few races left for the year. I am still debating on running the Bakers Dozen Half Marathon in December, but we’ll see — should be 3-4 more races on the docket before the turn of the calendar.


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I love this week’s Addict II Athlete Podcast — not just because it is one of my favorite podcasts, but because of who Coach Blu interviewed. I’ve gotten to know Tim over the past several months and really well this past Friday when he crewed my 50. He is one of the kindness and most sincere people you will ever meet.

I mean — this guy gave up HALF of his Arby’s sandwich to me on Friday! He didn’t have to and tried explaining that to him, but he was having none of that. He insisted on it, and he knew I needed it — which I did. But, I know he would do the same thing to anyone. That’s just the type of guy he is.

That’s why I love his story so much. This is one of my favorite episodes of AIIA to date and I know it will be yours’ too. Give it a listen …


I always love running into @u2elshanator! She’s a champion of champions! #thehauntedhalf

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“So I told her … LADY, THREE HOURS HERE SHOULD EQUATE TO MORE THAN ONE FRUIT SNACK!” #theLDSlife

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Wowzers! I’m loving this red hot #sunset! #utahsunset

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2667in2016

RUNNING MILES

250.55 miles

RACE MILES

355.88 miles

WALKING MILES

1224.97 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

1831.4 miles


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