Category: Life

The Runcast, Epi. 004: Classic Rock

There’s a new episode of The Runcast out today. In this episode I sit down with Joe Coles from On Hill Events and jam out to some classic rock, while talking about some his upcoming races. We talk about his new race — the Sun Marathon, the rebranded Antelope Island Marathon and his holiday races during Halloween and Christmas.

You can listen to the episode below or log onto theruncast.net to listen to this and past episodes, including playlists from Spotify from each episode!

Listen to “The Runcast Episode 004 – Classic Rock” on Spreaker.


There’s a new Addict II Athlete Podcast episode out today as well. Listen in as Coach Blu interviews Amber Baum tell how addiction came into and affected her life. She shares how a tragedy of losing a daughter to heroin can be turned into a message of advocacy and love.

Catch the episode here or on PodBash.com.

Listen to “Love and Loss.” on Spreaker.


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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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And, so it begins …

I’ve been waiting for this day for quite a while. Well, okay, for like two weeks. But, those two weeks seemed like forever ago. You’re probably wondering why I didn’t just start — like — two weeks ago?

Well, two reasons — one, I didn’t want to NOT have cake on my birthday and, two, the 16th would mark 90 days before my trip to Greece. I wanted to use those 90 days as motivation to follow my new diet regime. Plus, those two weeks kind of gave me some time to mentally and physically prepare for the new lifestyle change.

This past weekend I added some glutenous foods temporarily back into my diet — mainly because I knew I was going back on a strict gluten free diet soon and because I wanted it — I won’t lie. Pizza, pasta and of course cake — were some of the examples of what I enjoyed over the weekend.

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Luckily when I eat gluten I don’t get super sick like those with celiac and other gluten sensitive diseases. In the moment I am fine, but depending on the amount of gluten I eat, usually within a half hour or sooner I start feeling it. I feel it in my energy and mood levels and it’s honestly just not fun. But, get me in the moment of eating pizza or pasta and I am a happy clam!

But, isn’t that pretty much life with any food?

That’s a post for another day.

Anyways, I am ready to start this thing. I’m excited to see happens with my energy levels, thyroid and body. As with any diet I like to document it with ‘before and after pictures.’ So here are some lovely half naked pictures of myself to commemorate this dietary occasion …

CLICK TO ENLARGE — CLICK AT YOUR OWN RISK

I have so many half naked pictures of myself in these poses on the internet that I don’t cringe at them. Though I have wonder if I posted a picture of my naked chest on Instagram  if it’d get flagged for being against their terms and conditions? Either way, I am going to update those pictures every 30 days. I’m hoping to see some big differences.

I also weighed in at 279.8, which kinda surprised me — I only gained like 8-9lbs. in the past two weeks. But, I know a lot of that will drop off quickly, because yesterday I ate quite a bit of food being my birthday and all. So I probably gained more like 5-6lbs.?

Either way — 279.8 is the starting point.

My goal is to get to 250 or lower before November 15th when I leave for Greece. I feel fairly confident I’ll get there. That’s about 2.5lbs. a week, I know I’ll be able to hit at least for the first 4-6 weeks.

But, I’m not sure how much I want stress about the weight compared to focusing on the diet and making sure I get myself in my needed ketogenesis range to burn fat. I am so new to this ketogenic stuff, but I know I’ll get there. I might be bumbling and stumbling with it for the first couple of days, so I hope get into a good rhythm with it fast.

One thing to help aid myself in the new diet I bought myself Christopher McDougall’s book “Natural Born Heroes” He’s also the author of “Born to Run” — one of my favorite running books. This is a pretty recent book — came out last April — and I didn’t hear about it until yesterday from my brother-in-law.

But, after hearing him talk about the book and then reading the description the book, the book is PERFECT for my nightstand. The book basically tells the story of athletic prowess of three Cretan resistance fighters in WWII. McDougall delves into what made these Cretans these amazing endurance athletes — including their diet. Which was basically paleo/ketogenic in nature.

Why this appeals to me so much is not just because of the diet or that it’s based in Greece. But, it’s specifically based in Crete, which is where my Papou — my Great Grandpa — was born and raised. In fact I am probably more Cretan than Greek. But, that’s a long complicated story that I’ll leave for another day.

But, the fact that I’ve got Cretan DNA within me really draws me toward that book. If a ketogenic diet can help me achieve an nth degree of what’s talked about in McDougall’s book, I’m excited to see what happens to me. It really excites and fills me with hope that this is going to work.

Anyways, I’m excited to be forging forward with this new diet lifestyle. And, I especially can’t wait to read my new book either. Here’s to the next 90 days! Here’s to Greece! Here’s to my health!


RACE #156: Elephant Rock Trail Half Marathon

To say that I had no idea what I was getting myself into with this race would be an understatement. A serious understatement. And, that statement can’t be understated either.

But, basically, now as I write my race recap — everything hurts and I am dying.

What was planned as simply a fun and challenging trail half marathon turned out to be the TOUGHEST race I’ve ever done. And, considering I’ve done over 150 races — that’s saying a lot. It was that brutal. But, more on that later.

I signed up for this race because it’s literally in my backyard. Mueller Park is just a couple of miles from my front door. It’s a canyon I’ve visited numerous of times, but rarely hiked. Most trips were for campfires, campouts or mile hikes.

Even after I started running I never ventured over to Mueller Park. The biggest reason because I never wanted to venture out there alone. Not just because of the unfamiliarity with the area, but also because of my fear of mountain lions, bears and deer. At least two of those fears are legit. Anyways, I’ve just stuck to the local roads when I run close to home.

Wanting to expand my running routes I figured the Elephant Rock Trail Run would be a great way to familiarize myself with the trails and ease some of those worries I had. Sure there’s always the possibility of running into mountain lions, bears and deer — but those fears really become secondary when you know where you’re going and the distances in between.

In addition to familiarizing myself with the trails, I wanted to run to and from the race to give me a good 20 miles of running for the day. With my ankle injury I haven’t been able to get the kind of training I wanted and knowing I have a number of marathons coming up in the fall, I knew I needed a good 20 miler to prep myself for them.

But, honestly, if I knew what kind of race I was getting myself into, I would have driven myself to the race. I don’t regret it though, because Saturday’s 20 miles were some of the toughest miles I’ve ever run. Miles that left me more tired and sore than most of the ultras I’ve done.

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I set out from my house at 4:50am to make sure I had enough time to get my race packet and shirt before the 6am start time. After trekking from the packet pickup at the church I moseyed over to the park entrance where all 85 of us runners congregated. It was fun to see so familiar faces and meet the faces behind the names on Facebook. I always love start lines.

I don’t think of us realized what we were getting ourselves into, especially since this was the inaugural run. There weren’t other runners to gauge their experience with, so we were going in blind. Which sometimes isn’t the worst way to go into a race. But, I felt completely blindsided by it all.

The start times were staggered about every 15 miles. The marathoners went out at 6am, the half marathoners 6:15 and the 7 milers 6:30am. With 85 runners you’d think that wouldn’t be necessary, but I am glad they did it that way, because as soon as the marathoners and half marathons split with the 7 milers to run up the pipeline trail that trail would have been a bit too crowded.

Once I hit the pipeline I thought I was the last runner. The half marathoners ahead of me were mountain goats and gained quite a distance ahead of me. I wasn’t surprised by this, it’s almost expected that I will be last. But, it’s something that never bugs me. If it did then odds are I just wouldn’t sign up for the race.

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But, as I was dying and not quite half way up the beast I see a runner approaching me from behind. They were gaining quite a bit of ground on me. You could tell this wasn’t a struggle for them.

As they got closer I noticed it was my friend Lula. An experienced trail runner it shouldn’t have surprised me much that the climb was easy for her. But, what made me laugh and silently curse her — was she was doing this technical climb while TALKING ON THE PHONE! Here I am enduring to the end like a pioneer ready to die from dysentery and she moseys up the hill like she’s taking an escalator at the mall.

But, that hill was no joke! It was a quarter mile hike with a 800 foot elevation gain. It was brutal. As soon as I summited the blasted thing I just sat at top, said a little prayer of gratitude that I survived it and ate one of my Larabars as I enjoyed the view. I tried to capture it on my phone, but you just can’t capture those moments — they just have to be experienced.

The ascent was brutal, but the descent on the other side was a beast of its’ own. Luckily it wasn’t as steep, but the terrain was steep and extremely rocky. The technicality of the descent was exhausting not just physically, but mentally as well. I focused on my next step so I didn’t roll my ankle or biff it — it was extreme. There were some stretches where I just sat on my butt and scooted down the trail.

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Once I finally got past rocky trail and headed toward the first aid station I was spent. I parked myself on the dusty trail, ate some watermelon and Gatorade and composed myself for the next stretch of trails. I felt like I was about 7-8 miles into the beast, but I was just 3.5 miles into the race.

That was a depressing reality.

But, also an indication of how tough that stretch of trail was for not just me, but everyone.

I felt bad for the marathons because they had to tackle that same terrain twice since their course was an out and back. I couldn’t imagine climbing up those rocky trails and then down that stupid steep hill. I would have died.

With the toughest stretch of course out of the way the climbing wasn’t over. We still had about 3-4 miles of climbing to the Rudy’s Flats aid station where we’d finally make a reasonable descent toward the finish line. I power hiked most of those miles and it was tough. I had to stop and stretch because my quads were just screaming.

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I started being passed by marathoners and it just amazed me at how these runners were almost seamlessly crushing the terrain. Granted most probably train exclusively on trails, but still — these were mountain goats and I was jealous. Being the last runner in the bunch made me feel like nothing but bear bait. But, I don’t focus on that, I know if I dedicate more miles on the trails I’ll be there too. I think more than anything I was just amazed at the strength of those runners.

Simply amazing.

Anyways, once I hit the Rudy’s Flats aid station I reloaded my water, chilled for a bit and left with a bag of bananas and PB&J sandwich squares. I was severely under prepared food wise. I had my bugout pack with my Larabars, applesauce and Gatorade, but that simply wasn’t enough. I was packed for a 3-4 hour race … not 5-6.

Once I left the Rudy’s Flats aid station I was literally all down hill from there. I was 4:30 hours into the race and I just wanted to be done. So the downhill was a reprieve and I was able to pickup the pace. It was a whole different race.

Not far from the aid station I ran into Angie who was on her return trip to the finish line. She was struggling and had fallen, but like the badass that she is — was still going. We stopped for a picture and acknowledged how this course was kicking our trash before moving on.

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I really loved the last part of the race. I just focused on the run and it was infinitely faster. The last couple of miles were tough, but it was more because of the heat.

The trails are covered fairly well, but there were spots where I was just dead. But, I just wanted to be done. I was thirsty and running low on water. I had some Gatorade in my pack — which I SHOULD have gotten out — but, the effort just didn’t seem worth it. I was striving for that finish line.

When I finally reached the finish line I was greeted by Wanderely with a big hug and I just collapse in a camping chair. I didn’t want to move. I just sat and drank water and Powerade while munching on watermelon. The desire to move much was stifled by cramps and fatigue.

I’ve never felt this wrecked after a race. My 50 miler was probably on par, but after a half? Never.

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There was a breakfast provided at a nearby campground, but I waited at the finish line to see in Angie — who was the last runner on the course. I sat at the finish line and just visited with friends, it was the best way to recover because I knew I still had about a 3.5 mile run home. That’s a fancy way of saying I was procrastinating my run home.

After waiting for a couple hours of Angie we got to the breakfast that had been sitting there since about 7am — it was 4pm. But, at that point I don’t think of any of us questioned whether eating 9 hour old sausage and scrambled eggs were a bad idea or not — we were just hungry. And, it was freaking delicious.

I made it on my home around 4:45pm and in the heat of a day. It was about 90 degrees and I was dead. I was half tempted to grab a ride when Wanderely drove past, I grinded out those 3.5 miles and made it home in one piece.

I was completely finished.

Those 20 miles were seriously some of the toughest miles I’ve done. But, I’m so proud of myself. I did it.

Will I be back next year? Yes. I’ve already made that decision. Will I go for the marathon? No. There’s no way I’m that crazy.

Will I go for the half marathon? Probably? Yesterday it was a hard no. But, after sitting on it for a couple of days I want to tackle that hill again. I need to enact some redemption on that beast. But, then on the other hand the 7 mile run sounds like a better option. But, we’ll see … give me a couple of months. I loved this challenging course and the fact that it’s in my backyard.

Here’s to the trails!


MY NEXT FIVE RACES


Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 13.0 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 21.24 miles
TOTAL MILES — 47.34 miles
Races This Week — Elephant Rock Trail Half.

August 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 26.5 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 36.9 miles
TOTAL MILES — 63.0 miles
Races in August — (3) Elephant Rock Trail Half, Run Elevated Half and Nebo Half 

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 337.55 miles
Race Miles — 295.52 miles
Walking Miles — 817.05 miles
TOTAL MILES — 1450.12 miles
Races done in 2017 — (20) 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 and Elephant Rock Trail Half,.


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The Road to 180 is within view …

It seems like the closer and closer I get to meeting my 180 goal the more rearranging and adding I am making to my race schedule. I am really excited to get my 180 goal over with. Don’t get me wrong — I love running and will continue to run after I meet my goal.

But, I’m ready to move onto my next phase and some other goals within the running sphere. I am still working on what that will be. And, I’ll blog more about that around the end of the year. I’m really excited about the next part. It’ll involve a few exciting things and new goals.

There are four months left in the year and I still have 14 races planned. That’s a lot of running. Especially when you consider my race schedule ends in early November. I have four marathons planned — but, I am trying to gauge what’s my reality on those four marathons. I am good to go with Revel and the Jordan River Marathons. But, I am debating if I should down my distance at Huntsville and completely scratch St. George?

My ankle recovery has been longer than I thought. I am better. But, my training just isn’t where I’d like it to be. I need to run a really good 20 miler, lose a good 15-20lbs and not die sweeping the Revel BC Marathon to feel confident for St. George and Huntsville. But, we’ll see? I’m going to give it a shot regardless.

Of course all of these marathons and longer distances are leading up to Jackpot in February where I am shooting to run 100 miles. That’s going to take a lot of my training miles in November, December and January. Well, October as well, but lots of back-to-back runs. Plus, I am focusing a lot in the next few months on strength training and cross training. It’s going to be a feat to get me ready for that race.

But, as you can see my goal after that 100 miler is nothing planned until March-ish/April — and nothing longer than a half marathon. After Jackpot I really want to stay away from the longer distances for a bit — at least the road marathons. After my 180th race I plan on focusing on trails and roads — ideally ultras on the trails and half marathons on the roads. But, that’s all a post for another day.

The end is near. And, I am excited! I can’t wait to move onto my other goals and projects that I have kinda of put on the way side while focusing on meeting this goal. There’s so much more of the running world that I want to experience, share and be a part of — but, for right now it’s 180 OR BUST!

REMAINING 2017 RACES

156. Elephant Rock Trail Half Marathon (August 12)
157. Run Elevated Half Marathon (August 19)
158. Nebo Half (August 26)
159. Revel Big Cottonwood (September 9)
160. Huntsville Marathon (September 16)
161. Timp Elk Run Half (September 23)
162. Jordan River Marathon (September 30)
163. St. George Marathon (October 7)
164. The Haunted Half — SLC (October 14)
165. SoJo Half (October 21)
166. Howloween Half (October 21)
167. The Haunted Half — Provo (October 28)
168. Mt. View Trail Half Marathon (November 11)

ANTICIPATED 2018 RACES

169. Run Revolution (January 1)
170. Jackpot Running Festival (February 16-18)
171. Riverton Half Marathon (March 24)
172. Emigration Half Marathon (April 7)
173. Salt Lake City Half Marathon (April 21)
174. Provo City Half Marathon (May 5)
175. Vigor Big Cottonwood Half Marathon (May 12)
176. Drop 13 Half Marathon (June 9)
177. AF Canyon Race Against Cancer (June 23)
178. Morgan Valley Half Marathon (June 30)
179. Hobbler Half (July 7)
180. Handcart Days Half Marathon (July 24)

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Running BIG for Robert

This past week has been a tough one for me. I didn’t get in nearly enough miles, mainly because of illness among a few other things. But, I knew no matter how I felt I was going to do some miles on Saturday in honor of my friend Robert Merriman who’s battling brain cancer.

It’s been an emotional couple of weeks for the running community here in Utah that know and love Robert. He’s such a staple here on the road or trail. He’s a friend to all.

I met Robert first back in 2012 while running the Farmington Days Half Marathon. Our conversation was brief, but I remember him introducing himself and mentioned that he read my blog. We saw each other at a number of other races over the rest of the year and eventually connected over Facebook.

You could say that after that — the rest was history. Over the next couple of years we were a part of a very close-knit group of runners. We all ran together, no matter the pace. Many times Robert would run ahead to take pictures of the group — or at times — if he wasn’t able to run with us, he’d still show up at some point of the run to take pictures of us.

I’ve grown to really respect Robert and look up to him in many aspect. His kindness toward others is second to none. He is one of the biggest reasons why I am training for my first 100 miler next February. Seeing Robert train and work toward gave me the hope and desire to try it too.

So when he was diagnosed with the cancer it was devastating — not just to me, but to our little group and the running community by and large. It’s been amazing seeing the community rally around him and support him and his family. Something we know he would do for any of us.

The weekend of his diagnosis and surgery it was awesome seeing so many runners wearing grey with red Canadian maple leafs at the Handcart Days and Deseret News Half Marathons. It continued with the Timp Half and the many other races that weekend as well. There were so many maple leafs worn during the Timp Half that many runners were asking why there were so many Canadians at the race.

That should tell you how much this community really rallied around Robert.

So, this weekend’s group run brought out the grey and maple leafs once again as we flooded Big Cottonwood. There was another group running the canyon as well, so there was a lot of crossover, but lots of grey either way. It was pretty cool.

I wanted to run anywhere between 15-20 miles, but with my health still questionable — I deciding between more like 10-15 miles. I am not where I want to be with my fitness right now, but I’m getting there. Especially with my ankle doing much, much better. I am at the point right now I need to start looking at alternatives to a couple of my marathons if I feel like I can’t do them.

But, that’s a post for another day.

Anyways, I decided 10 miles was a good run for me — which I decided basically right as the car passed 10.0 on the pedometer. So, I hopped out of the car that was taking everyone else up further in the canyon and made my descent.

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When I run, I usually don’t go for pace — I go by feel. I’m very much a zen runner. Honestly, it’s been the only way I’ve been able to get through my injury and slowing pace. If I am going to run, I’m going for a fun time. If I am too worried about my pace — I tend to not have fun and feel like crap post run.

So, I just focus on feel. I focus on pushing myself just beyond comfort. And, as long I focus on that I’ll get faster and where I want to be. Does this mean I’ll never focus on pace again? No. It’s just my goals right now don’t need it and mentally it screws with me. I’ll get there again. But, for now — it’s all about effort.

Anyways, the run went well. I kept my effort just beyond that comfort. I focused on my form, especially on my right foot. My new shoes really help keep my over pronation honest, but I still need to mentally focus on it so I don’t lazily undo it.

My ankle was a little sore by mile 7-8, but nothing like it has in the past. Most of the soreness was actually from lateral movement down the canyon, which I expected. And, compared to my last run down Big Cottonwood I felt much better. Thank goodness.

The run was gorgeous and I just focused on what I needed to while jamming out to my music. It was perfect. There were so many runners in the canyon that it really felt like a race. It was neat. There were at least three fairly large groups there. And, apparently some runners got stopped by others asking if there was a race.

It was the perfect morning for a run.

The last mile or so of my run I was able to run with my friend Lizz, who started three miles up the canyon and then walked down and then back up and down a couple times before running into me again. She did over 7-8 miles on a not very easy course. But, we haven’t had an opportunity to run much together so it I was happy to finish my run with her.

After being joined by Ruthie for the last bit of the run we all finished back at the Park n’ Ride and after a few pictures we left and parted for the rest of the day. As I mentioned above, it was the perfect morning for a run. And, a perfect day to run and honor our friend Robert.

The good news of this all is that he was sent home and is recovering really well. He should be a few weeks from being able to drive and do some light running (non-runners like to call it jogging). The fact that he’s been in amazing health has helped him a lot. And, I couldn’t be any happier for him and his family … he’s a fighter.

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Next week on August 17th — Robert’s Birthday — Costa Vida is holding a benefit night for Robert. As of right now, the Draper, American Fork and Payson stores will donate 20% of each order from 5pm to close to Robert’s family. There’s been a big interest from runners in other parts of Utah that they’re working on getting other stores involved in the benefit night.

But, if you would like to help Robert and his family while also enjoying an awesome meal from Costa Vida you can get more details about the night here. As I mentioned more stores will hopefully be added soon — and those will be posted there.

Anyways, we love you Robert! We’re praying for you! We’re running for you!


July 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 38.6 miles
Race Miles — 39.3 miles
Walking Miles — 116.38 miles
TOTAL MILES — 194.28 miles
Races in July — (3) The Hobbler Half, Handcart Days & DesNews Half.

August 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 13.5 miles
Race Miles — 0.0 miles
Walking Miles — 15.66 miles
TOTAL MILES — 29.16 miles
Races in August — (3) Elephant Rock Trail Half, Run Elevated Half and Nebo Half 

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 324.55 miles
Race Miles — 282.42 miles
Walking Miles — 795.81 miles
TOTAL MILES — 1402.78 miles
Races done in 2017 — (19) 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 and DesNews Half.


I kinda want to know what constitutes EXCESSIVE speed?

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Shopping for the morning after the apocalypse.

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He looks as beautiful as Stevie Wonder plays, and plays as well as Stevie Wonder sees.

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I must be in Utah County.

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Putting one (good) foot forward

The past three and a half months have been a challenge. Big challenge for me. On April 1st while running down Emigration Canyon I sprained my ankle — and — it’s been a slower than wanted process to heal.

I haven’t written much about it, because I haven’t really known what was going on with it for a while. I self-treated it for about a month, because I was still able to run on it. It was uncomfortable, but having sprained my ankle before I just figured to rest and ice it between runs and workouts.

And, that worked for the most part.

I wasn’t showing any progress and I would end up ice my ankle after any run longer than 6-7 miles. I feared the worst and admittedly avoided setting up an appointment with a orthopedist … because I didn’t want to be told I broke my foot or would need some weird amputation done because of my neglect.

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But, I conceded to the inevitable and set up an appointment. I got x-rays done along with a thorough exam — and luckily — no break, just a severe sprained ankle. But, the best part was that my doctor said I could still keep running within my comfort level. So that was the plan.

I decided to back out of my spring marathons, including Ragnar. Decisions that were tougher than I imagined, especially since I am building up to run my 48 hour ultra in February 2018. Physically, I knew I’d have enough time to be ready, but telling yourself that mentally is a much harder task.

And, any run longer than 6-7 miles is just tough. Especially any that are uber flat or too steep. The ankle just hates it and I feel it throughout and after my run.

But, the doctor prescribed physical therapy for me, including a gait analysis. And, quite honestly, they’ve given me the most hope. Sure, I am still feeling pain, but I feel hopeful. I feel myself getting stronger. And, I’m actually feeling optimistic about my running again.

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It’s been frustrating, because I’m not where I wanted to be physically at this point in the year. It’s been mentally taxing feeling and being slow. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind going slow, but knowing I could be MUCH faster and there not being much I could do about it — has been tough.

But, I feel hope again.

Not only is the physical therapy making a difference, but my gait analysis really answered a lot of my frustrations. I naturally overpronate my right food — which I rolled — and because of that, not only did it promote the ankle sprain, but it’s also hindering my recovery.

So my physical therapist gave me a few exercises to help remedy that. Of course it’s not going to be overnight, but I’m trying hard to not just do those exercises, but to also make a conscious effort to walk with less of a pronation. That’s going to be an on going process to reprogram myself.

But, I am also looking for running shoes that will help with the over pronation, I’ve narrowed it down to a couple, but making the decision to give up my Hoka One One love affair is being a bit harder than I’d imagine. I should hopefully be making a decision soon. I just want to run pain free and run in a way that will keep me running for years to come. That’s a weighty decision with those in mind.

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I am sure I’ll let you know once I make my final decision.

But, looking forward right now, I just feel hopeful. I see a doable plan. I see an opportunity to not just get better, but get stronger. And, that’s my focus and goal.

I am excited about my races this weekend. These two races are sentimental to me on many levels — the Handcart Days Half being my first (and 100th) race and Deseret News was my first marathon. But, I’m just running the half this year and not the whole 26.2. I thought about it, since it’s my 5th year anniversary of my first marathon. But, 13.1 miles for me right now is fine by me.

I am moving forward with this new mindset and I am excited about what the weekend, month and next three months have in store for me. I am making progress and I have a vision of hope that’s right before me.

I am going where I want to go — and that’s invigorating to me.