Category: Outdoors

RACE #139: Jackpot Running Festival

Running, running, running, walking, walking, walking, running, running, walking, walking, walking, think about running, start running, quickly go back to walking, walking, walking, running, walking, running, walking, think about running, running, walking, walking, walking.

Oh, the life of an ultra marathoner.

It’s seriously no joke.

It’s such a different beast.

With as much walking, jogging, running, skipping, drudging and sludging one does during an ultra — once you hit that magical number of 26.3 miles — your life, mentality and sanity just … changes. And, I just love it. It’s a community that I feel right at one within. They are my kind of people.

Going into this weekend I have done three ultras since my first 50K in November 2015 — all in which were point to point or out and back courses. Which I all loved. But, I had never done a timed race. Meaning — I sign up for a race that allows me run as much as I want within a specific amount of time.

These kind of races are fairly popular with the uber-ultra runners. Those are the crazy runners that sign up for 48-72 hours and crank out 200-300 miles within that time limit. Now, while I am not one of THOSE runners, I love the concept and idea of running for time with no real pressure of cut-offs and mileage. You just do what you want and can do.

I dig that.

I really dig it.

And, that was why running this race, the Jackpot Ultra Running Festival, was very appealing to me. After flirting with doing the 24 and even the 48 hour race (it took me 38 seconds to come to the conclusion that was stupid) I decided to sign up for the 12 hour race — for a couple reasons.

One, I didn’t want to train for anything longer (especially during the winter — which has turned out to be a good decision) and, two, my friend Jill was going to run the 12 hour race for her first ultra. So considering those two points — it was an easier decision than what I was making it. A true win, win.

So the 12 hour race it was.

Having not done a timed and looped course like this (besides the New Year’s Run Resolution — which I don’t know if I’d count since it’s an indoor track) before, I had to rely on friends that have done these kind of races and specifically THIS race. Being a Vegas race in the middle of February you’d think it’d be fairly mild — but from years past it’s gotten kinda sketch with hot, hot weather. So that’s what I kind of prepared myself for throughout my training.

But, instead of running through Satan’s kitchen oven, we ended up getting a visit from Lucifer himself. Yeah, no joke. Major Storm Lucifer was heading our way — the forecast leading up to the race just called for rain. 10 days out it started conservatively at 70% reaching 90% by Thursday evening. By the time it gets to 90% I don’t know why they just don’t up that to 100% — but, I’m pretty sure meteorologists don’t for the sake of job security.

Anywho, needless to say,  we were going to be wet.

Having run the Ogden Marathon a number of times and being quite accustomed to running long distances in the rain — I kinda knew what to expect. Sure, I’ve never run an ULTRA in the rain, but I knew it could potentially suck and that I would need to OVER prepare myself.

So that’s what I did.

Packing before I left home was an adventure and a half. I packed four different drop bags of changes of clothes. I figured I could change every 3-4 hours if needs be. I knew that if I had a change of clothes every few hours that would really help me mentally get through the rain. That really helped me through the last three rainy Ogdens — KNOWING you have a complete set of dry clothes waiting for you really helps you mentally.

Did I over pack? Yeah, you betcha. Besides extra clothes, I packed away extra shoes, surgical tape (for my nipples), baby cream (for chaffing) and an array of applesauce packets, gels and caffeine shots. I just didn’t know what to expect — so I basically packed the kitchen sink.

Once in Vegas Jill and I grabbed our race packets on Friday night. At this point the weekend had already started with the 48 and 24 hour runners. And, it was already raining. Lucifer wasn’t dumping that hard at this point, but we knew the worst was coming because it had flooded Santa Monica and a number of areas in southern California. It wasn’t a matter of if, but when it hit us.

And, luckily for me — but, unfortunately for the runners already on the course — got SLAMMED by Lucifer in the middle of the night. So much so that the course had to be redirected because the reservoir we were running around overflowed in a couple of areas and washed out part of the paths. It even swept one runner off their feet.

By the time Jill and I got to the race on Saturday morning the changes were made and instead of running 2.38 miles per lap, it was an even 2.5 miles. For someone who struggles with math I was grateful for this change, but that also meant that we had to ascend and descend up a pretty steep hill twice (unlike once in the 2.38 mile loop). As much as I wasn’t looking forward to that, there wasn’t much to you could do at that point — so you had to do that stupid steep hill twice.

Our race started at 8am along with the six hour, marathon and 100 mile races (I’m pretty sure there were other distances that started to, but I’ve got “ultra brain” so I can’t remember them all). There were quite a few of Utah runners in this group and it was nice to see a few familiar faces. But, when the gun sounded at 8am — we were all off running our races.

My game plan for the race was fairly simple. Start off conservatively and then gradually speed up so that I could reach my goal of 35-40 miles. I stuck with Jill to start off the race and we kept ourselves at a pace that kept us on pace to minimally hit 40 miles in 12 hours. It was a lot of fast walking, running down hills and minimal breaks at aid stations.

I even got a surprise visit from my dear friend Tricia and her husband who were in town for the weekend as well (they were staying like 5 minutes from the park). They both finished that lap with us — and I must say — I’m grateful they snapped lots of pictures while doing so, otherwise I don’t know how many I would have had?

But, it was a total surprise and mood booster to get a visit and encouragement from them both.

Initially I wanted to stay with Jill and on this pace for at least a good 6-7 laps (15-18 miles–ish) before pushing it a bit faster. But, I ended up sticking with her for nine laps (22.5 miles) partly out of rhythm and partly out of the rain. We weren’t getting slammed by rain, but it was getting a little heavy and I wanted to wait a lap or so to have it ease up so I could start pushing my effort a bit more.

But, after I finished my ninth lap, I just had to go. I was starting to feel anxious and the last thing I wanted to do was get a panic attack in the middle of an ultra —- so, I said goodbye to Jill, grabbed some grub at the aid station and just booked it. The rain was coming down a bit harder, but I just didn’t care — I just wanted to run. So that’s what I did.

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I ran a lot of stretches that I had been fast walking and just lost myself in my thoughts and music. And, I almost immediately hit mentality and frame of mind that was slightly nirvanic. I was focused mentally, emotionally and spiritually and I just felt strong — so I just chased that balance.

And, it felt great.

I cranked out three straight really good laps with this focus, before I slowed down a couple of times to visit with a few other runners. That’s the one thing I absolutely love about the ultra community, you get to meet and talk with some amazing people — not just runners — but people. And, I love to just LISTEN to them. It’s such a different vibe from road races that I just dig.

But, after a couple laps making friends I had three laps (7.5 miles) left to hit 16 laps (40 miles). When I realized that I still had about 2.5 hours left to hit this I felt extremely excited because 40 miles was my stretch goal. And, I was reaching it. This gave me a third — or maybe fourth? — wind that this point.

So I kept going.

During my second to last lap I caught up again with Jill and we stuck together for the homestretch. I had two laps to get my 40 miles and she was on her last lap to get to 35 miles which was her race goal as well. It was dark by this point but we both kept just going. We were both exhausted, but we cranked out that lap — and though she reached her 35 mile goal, I still had one more lap to get my 40. And, somehow I talked her into running that last lap with me.

I really don’t know how I talked her into it?! I am almost sure she just kept following me on accident as I kept going — and, by the time she figured out what she was doing — it was too late — so she just finished the lap with me. Either way, I was proud of her effort and was grateful for the company.

As we approached the finish line — for the ABSOLUTE last time — I grabbed my camera for the homestretch (like I did when she ran her first marathon) and recorded Jill crossing the finish line with her hand in hand with her daughter. It was a tender moment and yet another moment I will cherish, because this journey has not been easy for Jill — but, she’s done it and it’s a journey that her kids will cherish.

After an exhilarated moment of celebration — we still had about 20 minutes until our 12 hours were up. While it was slightly tempting to try to get one more mile in, I was done. My body got to that 40th mile and just said — ENOUGH. So, that was enough.

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But, I can’t tell you how proud I was of myself to reach that 40. I kept telling myself that 35 miles would be GREAT to reach, but I knew I was lying to myself. I knew I could do more and I am glad that I pushed myself toward that. And, I have to credit a lot of that toward my diet change, I have so much more energy and stamina just in the past month. I felt like a true Hashimoto’s Warrior out there on the course.

I feel like a few more months of consistency and training that stamina is just going to get stronger — and I am excited for that. I am excited to see what I can do and test my limits a bit more and more. I really want to do the race again next year and either push for 50 in the 12 hours — or why not go for the 100 miler?

Why not?

I should temper some of that excitement, but it’s hard for me to that after struggling so much with my health the past couple of years. I was robbed of my stamina and energy on many, many workouts, runs and race — and now that it is coming back — I want to push myself. Because I KNOW I have the mental capability to run longer and stronger — I just need the rest of my body to meet up with the mind. Which I feel will come in time.

Anywho, I can’t be any more excited for this past weekend’s race and festivities. It was nice to get away even if I went straight into the eye of Lucifer, because I got to spend some quality time with great friends. It helped recalibrate priorities, purposes and focus for me — and I just needed this weekend.


MY NEXT FIVE RACES


RUNNING MILES

105.55 miles

RACE MILES

56.82 miles

WALKING MILES

122.77 miles

MILES TO DATE

285.14 miles


Mama warned me about Vegas. #jackpotrunningfestival #race139 #ultrarunning @joshruns180 @fit.phat

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When you’re in Vegas, you naturally visit your Vegas girlfriend. It’s just what you do. #vegasgirlfriend

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A trip to Vegas isn’t a trip to Vegas without a fountain show at the Bellagio! #vegasmust

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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

[SEE ABOVE]

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!

From Ponies to Buffalo …

So, let’s talk about recovery shall we? This past week has been one of the most interesting weeks for me. Saturday and Sunday after my race were pretty non-descript. I felt good actually. Legs were sore but nothing absolutely brutal and my appetitite was there, but nothing bad.

Then Monday came and while my legs felt much better — I was a ravenous beast. I wanted every carb known to man in my body … specifically bread, protein and anything with sodium in it. I kind of threw out my specific diet, because my body turned absolutely ravenous.

I felt like I couldn’t control it. And, if I tried, I’d probably die. I tried to stop it with drinking more water than usual and focusing on upping my fruit intake. Yeah, no. Didn’t work.

So I just focused on listening to my body and what it wanted. So basically the past 3-4 days I’ve been eating tuna sandwiches for lunch and red potatoes and eggs for dinner with snacks of hardboiled eggs, salted nuts and half a cup of salt.

I lamented all of this to my sister who just laughed at me because I basically described half of her pregnancies. But, seriously, it’s Thursday and I’m kind of hoping for these cravings to be gone. They haven’t been that intense, but I’m still LOVING my tuna sandwiches. That might never go away actually.

But, everything else — I feel good. My legs were pretty sore yesterday. I tried working out a bit, but the body wasn’t ready. And, I haven’t bothered running this week. I am sweeping The Haunted Half in Provo on Saturday so that’ll be a good reintroduction to cardio for my legs and body.

My race schedule is sloooowing down quite a bit now. After this weekend I’ve got Antelope Island, Thankful 13 and the New Years Run Resolution. I was planning on running the half marathon on Antelope Island next week, but after feeling “good” in my recovery this week — I decided to up my registration to the 50K.

Yup, another ultra.

I can’t really explain to you why — other than why not? I mean, I’m already ultra trained and with the right kind of workouts and runs between now and November 5th I can totally be rested and ready for the 50K. So, I pulled the trigger and upped my race distance.

This is the same race I ran last year for my first ultra, so I know what to expect. Plus, I’m more in shape than I was last year so I should be faster. I got pretty close to the cutoff, but this year I’ve got a lot more miles and experience underneath me that it shouldn’t be that big of an issue.

But, I think the thing that is really drawing me to doing the 50K is just being in the moment of doing the race. That was something I was looking forward to during the Pony 50. I didn’t care much to talk about what I was going to do — I just wanted to be in the moment running it. There’s a power in that.

So, I’m going into prep mode for the 50K — I am going to pack lighter. I know I don’t need my huge backpack. I can get away with my lighter pack filled with sufficient water, fuel and food in between aid stations.

Plus, I am going to make sure I have backup batteries for my headlamp and I did buy some hiking poles to finish out the whole ensemble. If I had time I would have made my own hiking sticks with hand carved characters, bald eagle feathers and boondoggles for good measure.

Missed opportunity.

But, yeah, I’m excited. I really don’t know how many ultras have I in me? It’s just a lot of training and I want to lean towards some other fitness/running goals eventually. But, I’d like to maintain the training I put in for as long as I can — and this is a good reason to do that.

So Ultra #3 is on it’s way!

ANTELOPE ISLAND OR BUST, BABY!


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RACE #133: Red Rock Relay Park City

Man, I am winding down towards my 50 — which is happening NEXT week. It’s hard to believe I am almost there, especially after running three marathons in the past month. I just want to run that 50 and get it done with.

This past weekend as part of my “tapering” miles, I ran the Red Rock Relay with Team Addict II Athlete. This was a race I’ve been looking forward to for most of the summer. Ever since I’ve joined the team back in May it’s helped change my mentality just in my running, but life. A lot of their principles are what I’ve held true in my journey — and without going into a lot of that here, I will be sharing my story on the AIIA Podcast in the next couple of months.

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This was the first time running the Red Rock Relay. Most of my relays have been Ragnar with one being the Rivalry Relay some 5 years ago or so. I love relays for many reasons — but, more than anything it’s a great way to just meet people. Something I absolutely love to do — I guess you could say after running my second favorite hobby is meeting people.

There’s something about being cramped in a car with 5-6 other runners and running anywhere from 50 to 100 miles — all day and sometimes all night. You really get to know people in this setting. It’s like scout camp for grownups.

But, I was really impressed with the Red Rock Relay. Very well organized, not too overcrowded, very well marked (I have a fear of getting lost in any race I run — even if I have over 130 under my belt … call me irrational) and gorgeous setting. The Heber Valley setting is just gorgeous. It’s such a shame that so many of us Salt Lake and Utah Valleyers take for granted what is literally in our backyard. It’s just beautiful.

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For those who have ran the Ragnar Wasatch Back would be familiar with a good portion of the race. The RRR course loops around the Valley from the Homestead in Heber City and back via Park City. This includes the infamous climbs and descents of Deer Valley and Guardsman Pass.

As you will see below, my legs were in Heber City and then that infamous Guardsman Pass descent. Normally running down Guardsman Pass I would worried because of how brutal it can be on your legs (especially quads), but I’ve ran parts that leg during Ragnar the past two years (and three years ago I ran UP it when the course went the other way). So, I am very familiar with the hill — and I actually really kind of love it.

But, I had a blast during the day. I got to know a few of the team members better. I share a little bit of that below in my leg reports. But, I am truly, truly grateful for what AIIA means to me and has changed my approach to my goals and running this past year.

Here are my leg reports …

Leg 3 of 12 (Heber City to Heber Valley Girls Camp)

leg-1-fw

I love hills, but I hate them. But, I swear I love them. Okay, hills give me a mix of emotions. But, really, in the long run — I do them, because I love the sense of conquering them. No matter what the elevation gain may be.

This leg was no different and as you can see from the elevation chart — it was pretty much a gradual up hill climb. I knew what to expect and after running three marathons in the past month — I knew I’d be fine. Especially since I survived Veyo Hill last weekend.

The one thing that was difficult for me though was the temperature. I didn’t want to take off my hoodie or beanie cap. It was cold. Not only were we up in the mountains, but it was the middle of October — summer is basically dead. So I decided to at least start the run off in my hoodie and beanie cap thinking I’d ditch them a couple miles into the run.

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Well, I ditched the hoodie about three miles into the run, but my beanie stayed with me — pretty much the whole day. Luckily I wasn’t overly sweaty, but by the end of the day that beanie smelt like death. But, it sure kept me warm.

Anyways — the leg wasn’t that bad as I weaved through Heber City and towards the exchange which is close to a girls camp. The home stretch is basically that — a looooooong stretch of road. And, where most of the climbing happened. It wasn’t THAT bad, because I just zoned out, pressed on and rocked out to my music. It was perfect.

I did almost lose my cookies about a mile and half from the exchange when I ran past a dead deer. It wasn’t the sight of the dead deer that did it, it was the smell of dead deer that made me want to upheave that morning’s banana.. Luckily, none of that happened. But, still … yuck.

About a half mile out I was joined by Jed who ran me into the exchange. I was grateful to be finished. I grabbed a water and a bag of grapes and just chowed down. It was a perfect snack/refuel.

Leg 12 of 12 (Guardsman Pass to Homestead Resort)

leg-2-fw

Originally, I was going to run Leg 9, but seeing that it had a lot of climbs and knowing we would be pressed for time I asked Coach Blu if we could trade. Mainly, because I know I’d do better with downhill. He gladly agree. Which I am grateful for considering I am afraid my request nearly killed him.

Well, I exaggerate … slightly.

Leg 9 was a brutal trail leg of cardiac ups and downs. It took Coach about an hour and 45 minutes to run the 7+ mile trail. No joke it would probably have taken me much, much longer than that and I would have gotten lost and/or eaten by a bear.

Again, I exaggerate … slightly.

And, needless to say I owe Coach BIG TIME! I told him I would make it up to him at the Pony 50 next week. How I am going to make that, I am not sure yet? I just know I owe him.

When I made the request to switch I just saw the downhill course, I didn’t know it was Guardsman Pass down to Homestead — which for those who have ran Ragnar, know it as Ragnar Hill. The beast of all beasts. I ran part of this leg the past two years and three years ago — ran UP it. I much prefer the down hill way of tackling it.

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But, you have to tackle the hill the right way or it will eat up your legs. The trick is to not simply run down the hill, you have to kinda waddle or zig zag like you’re being chased by a bear.

As much as it can easily eat your quads, I really love the run. The view is second to none — well, okay, I say this about a lot of the places I run, but it’s true. I love running through the thicket of aspen trees, catching awe inspiring views of Heber Valley and just putting my speed into cruise control. As much as people love running UP this hill, I like going DOWN the hill.

Since I was the last runner I started this portion around 6-6:30pm or so — I wasn’t looking at my watch. But, right around the setting sun. I really wish my camera could have caught the light shining on the orange, yellow and red leaves — but, every picture I tried to snap of them just didn’t give it justice. I just ran trying to remember the view with my heart (okay, that sounds really sappy, but it’s true).

About half way through my run I was joined by Jed and then a few miles later by Ryan. I was thankful for their company. This is one thing I’ve really grown to love about the AIIA team — nobody runs alone. I love this concept and belief. It’s really one of those binding qualities that keeps the team close.

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Jed was the one who ran me in during the Provo City Half in May and I can’t even tell you how many other team members he’s ran with and helped to the finish line. Jed has one of the biggest hearts I know. After running with him and hearing more of his story it’s easy to see. He’s been in a lot of dark places in his life — but, he’s replaced that with light (listen to his story on the AIIA Podcast). Especially with being a light to others.

I have mad respect for Jed.

Spending the last couple miles with both Jed and Ryan was sublime and easily one of my favorite running memories to date. It’s hard for me to put into words how grateful I am for this team. I don’t believe I stumbled upon this team by chance. And, I’ll write more about this later, because there’s a lot I want to write, but feel constrained to do it here — I’ll also be a guest on the AIIA Podcast in the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned for that.

Anyways, we finished around 8pm or so at the Homestead with the rest of the team. We may have been the last team, but that didn’t matter. What mattered is that we finished what we started … as a team. It may have taken us all day, but we did it.

And, for that we’re all champions.


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I haven’t posted the past couple of Addict II Athlete podcasts here and there’s a reason why … I wanted to post both parts of Coach Blu’s story. These two episodes are simply amazing. Coach Blu is amazing. And, whether or not you have struggled with addiction there is a lot you can take away from Coach Blu’s story.

I am not going to give any of it away — just listen …

Listen to “Coach Blu’s Story” on Spreaker.

Listen to “Coach Blu Story Part 2!” on Spreaker.


NEXT RACE

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I can’t believe that this is NEXT WEEK! I’ve got a lot of emotions going through my head, but honestly — most of it is just excitement. I don’t have a lot of fear or anxiety — yet. I’m sure that will come sometime this weekend or next week, or maybe somewhere around mile 1, 2, 25 or 40? I don’t know? I’m just ready to do it.

I’ll be posting a bit more about it this week and next. Mainly some of my thoughts and feelings about tackling this beast. So stay tuned for that. But, this week it’s just running a few three milers, doing a few circuits and then the Frightmares 5K on Saturday with my niece. Nothing too strenuous. My body is a little sore from all the running the past month so I need to let me mend enough to be ready for next Friday.

But, I am winding down for the year and I am glad. I’m feeling a bit burnt out lately — which thankfully — isn’t new for ultramarathoners. And, I think that’s why I am just so eager to run it. I just want to get it over with and under my belt. I have no doubt I’ll get there.

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Very humbled to have joined “Team Addict II Athlete” for this relay. I couldn’t have asked for a more encouraging, uplifting and motivating team to run with. Whether it shouting words of encouragement as I ran or getting out to run with me during my last leg — I was touched. I’ll be sharing my story on the AIIA Podcast in the next couple of weeks. Addiction and recovery come in many different forms and I’ve had my struggles and test of faith. Needless to say, no one goes about it alone on the team and NOBODY runs alone! I felt lucky to spend those 15 miles out there around Heber Valley with the team! #redrockrelay #race133 #running #messintoamessage #eraseandreplace @redrockrelay @addicttoathlete @joshruns180 @josherwalla

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This kid doesn’t have to do much to capture your heart. #chubbingtatum

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on


2667in2016

RUNNING MILES

235.5 miles

RACE MILES

302.78 miles

WALKING MILES

1180.97 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

1719.25 miles

MILES TO GOAL

947.75 miles



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

Trading in the pavement for the trail …

I’m not sure what it is with me lately — but, I’m yearning the trails. I kinda blame Cory Reese’s new book, but it’s been a gradual transition for me the past couple of years. Where it’s coming from — is beyond me?

As I pour over the 2017 race schedule — I keep looking for excuses to run trail instead of pavement. I’m not necessarily looking at adding more 50K and 50 milers to my belt loop — just races. Whether it’s a half or full trail marathon. I just feel like there’s more of Utah I need to go explore and that’s on the road less traveled (by motorists).

This already has affected my 2016 race schedule — I decided instead of running the Snow Canyon Half (which I absolutely love) on November 5th, I decided to register for the Mountain View Trail Half Marathon happening the same day on Antelope Island. It’s the same day as the 50K that I ran last year.

While there was a moment of temptation to sign up for the 50K, I ultimately decided against it mainly because it’s just two weeks after my 50 miler. And, I’m not sure if my body would be up to making it through the cutoffs on time. Plus, I don’t want a repeat of last year when I freaked out by the finishing line because I mistook a parking lot of dumpsters for bison.

It should go without saying I don’t see well at dusk — or the dark for that matter.

But, I figured the half marathon would allow me to get in a good race that counted towards my goal while indulging my cravings for trails at the same time. While also not pounding my legs too hard that close to my 50 miler.

Plus, I won’t have to travel far from home either — 25 minutes compared to 5.5 hours. As much as I love southern Utah and the Snow Canyon Half — I also like saving some mula as well. Plus, there’s a good chance some of my family and I might be traveling to Greece in December — so I will need to save up my pennies for the trip.

Really though — I just want to hit those trails. As I look to my 2017 schedule I keep looking for those trail races and canyon runs — some of my favorite places here in Utah. I’ve found a couple trail half and full marathons that I might just have to do in 2017 — too, too tempting.

Slowly, but surely I’ll get to my schedule figured out. But, I’m in no rush.

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#FitnessFriday: 20 Midnight Miles …

Egags! That was one of the toughest things I’ve ever done. This was the weekend I was planning my midnight 20 mile treadmill run. Originally, I was going to do it Saturday morning beginning at 12am, but our family is heading out of town for the weekend — so I decided to move it up a day to Friday morning.

So, here I am writing about my run — pretty much half asleep. I wouldn’t be surprised if I started to hallucinate before noon. I am pretty dang tired. I guess staying up all night while running 20 miles to do that to you, eh?

But, it’s done.

Now, you’re probably wondering what possessed me to do this? Well, first off — I blame Jill. She was the one who gave me the idea. She likes coming up with these “how can we punish ourselves?” training runs and routes. She is one the best worst influences in my life — literally in many arenas.

So, yeah, I totally blame Jill.

But, the thinking behind this run is to not just prepare me for my marathons next month, but my 50 miler as well. I wanted to do something that was physically, emotionally and mentally tough. And, running on the treadmill — for 20 miles — in the middle of the night was just insane enough to cover all three of those focused areas. Plus, it’s awesome fatigue training.

To keep myself from going completely insane — I decided to a couple of things. One, I was planning to break up the run into four 5 mile legs with about a 15 minute break in between the legs. I used that time to run to the restroom, eat some food (mainly bananas) and hydrate.

I also planned on changing my shirt and hat/bandana after each leg too — no point in staying in a soaked shirt and headband, right? Plus, wet shirts substantial raise the risk of me chaffing all over my body (not just the moobs),like manatee that got ran over by a motorboat.

Simply, put — it’s not fun.

And, lastly, my plan was to keep myself entertained through Netflix, the Olympics and whatever looked good on TV. I thought about putting my headphones in and jamming out to my music, but — yeah — I would have probably gone mad or the very least fallen asleep around mile 10.

I pretty much ended up watching more Olympics than anything. Netflix wasn’t really working and NBC was replaying the swimming and gymnastic events — and since I didn’t see them earlier I just ended up watching that for a couple hours.

And, oh my gosh, it was the best/worst decision I could have made. When Phelps won his 22nd gold medal I almost threw my hand into the ceiling fan in jubilation and then I pretty much lost it when Simone Manuel won her gold medal. Her reaction was just priceless — I could only imagine those emotions.

The other Simone — Simone Biles — was AMAZING in the gymnastic meet. Holy cow! I don’t understand gymnastics most of the time, but every four years I’m GLUED to it. I have never seen anyone more dominant than Simone. She deserved her gold medal. She was simply amazing.

I’m the runner your mother warned you about. I did my first of two 20 milers last night — on the treadmill starting at midnight. I’m pretty sure this certifies me as crazy? But, I not only did this for my marathon training, but for my 50 mile ultra as well. This was primo fatigue training! I broke up my miles into four 5 mile legs with 15 minute breaks in between each leg. I was shooting for between 4-4:30 hours of total running — ended in 4:20, I’m happy about that. So it took me just over 5 hours total. Bit bad. As much as I hate the treadmill it was nice having everything I needed right there. A flushable toilet and change of shirt was great to have at each break. I ended up watching a little Netflix, lots of the Olympics and even some Rachel Ray to pass the time. Emphasis on some. I ended up turning Netflix back on because Rachel was a bit too much to handle at mile 17 of my run. She really shouldn’t ever be given coffee. My other 20 miler is in two weeks and then I get into running my marathons in preparation for my 50 in mid-October. I can’t wait! #running #20miles #trainingrun #marathontraining #ultratraining #fitness #motivation #wellness #workout #treadmill #treadmillworkout #dreadmill #ultramarathon #marathon @fight4phat @josherwalla @joshruns180

A photo posted by @fight4phat on

So after all of this Olympic jubilation — NBC followed it all up with Rachel Ray. Talk about a steep drop off. I tried to get into her show, but at 3:30am — I couldn’t take her personality. I swear she gets hooked up to IVs full of coffee before each show.

So, yeah, I tried to find something else to watch. But, do you know how hard it is to find something decent to watch at 3:30-4am?I swear if I wasn’t on the treadmill running I would have bought a kitchen load of copper pans that keep cheese from sticking to the pan. I also saw a Squatty Potty commercial — those are always magical.

Anyways — the run itself wasn’t bad. Well — THAT — bad. My goal was to finish within 4-4:30 hours so with my breaks in between the legs it’d take me a good 5-5:15(ish) hours. It took me 4:20 to do the 20 so I was within my range — I did end up fartleking a lot of my last leg, because of fatigue. But, overall, I feel good about the run.

I mean — I ran 20 miles on the treadmill in the middle of the night. Who does that?

Crazy runner people who are training for a 50 mile ultra, I guess?

Luckily, this is my only long treadmill planned. My next 20 miler (in two weeks) will be running the Run Elevated Half down Little Cottonwood plus 7 miles afterwards. That’s another tough mental and physical run, because usually when I am done racing — I am done moving for the day. This will be a hard run. But, a neccessary one.

And, I am oddly looking forward to it.

Anyways — as I mentioned above, I doing a mini staycation this weekend to relax. And, then on Monday I’m (finally) turning 35. I say finally, because I’ve been telling people I am 35 for pretty much the past six months or so. It’s kind of the curse of working with finances, because I go off the fiscal year a lot. It’s already my 2017.

So make sure to come back next Tuesday for pictures of my weekend and birthday festivities. Since I share a birthday with my sister we usually go do something fun. And, by fun I mean — wherever the nieces and nephews want to go. A few years it was the zoo, last year it was Snowbird and this year it’s Cherry Hill! It’s like 1996 all over again. I’m looking forward to it.

I will have a number of posts out next week as well dealing with my Whole30 completion (Monday is my weigh-in), my new diet plan and a 40 Before 40 Bucket List I made in honor of my birthday.

YEAH RUNNING! BOO TREADMILLS! YEAH OTHER THINGS!


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It’s been awhile since we’ve posted a podcast of either AIIA or the Runcast. Life has been pretty hectic. But, AIIA is back this week — and — the Runcast will be next week. Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten about you.

This is a great podcast this week from AIIA — it’s a Q&A panel and dives into some good stuff. No matter what your relationship is with addiction — the AIIA Podcast is a great source of inspiration for everyone! So please give it a listen …


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I’m mowing the lawn right meow. #punnypuns

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on


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Today is Day 28 of my third round of Whole30! Which means my weigh-in is on Monday — which is also on my birthday! I have no idea how much I’ve lost. I kinda doubt I lost the 13.3lbs. I wanted to lose to get into the 230s, but I am fine with that. I feel like I’ve plateaued a bit — which is typical.

I’ve stuck with the diet and kept myself on track there. So we will see. I love the intrigue of my weigh-in days — it’s like a page out of the book of The Biggest Loser. All I really need now is a blinky scale and flavored gum sponsor to make it legit.

I have a diet plan I am going to share a bit more in depth next week. But, basically, I’ve adapted the Whole30 diet plan into a 80/20 format. There’s a lot to it that’ll share later next. But, I am excited and ready to keep a lot of this momentum going.

So make sure to come back on Monday for my weigh-in stats!



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RACE #125: Utah Midnight Run

I’ve said this a lot the past week — but, I’ll say it again. It’s kinda hard to believe that I’ve ran 125 races in my 180 race goal so far. I’ll be celebrating the fifth anniversary of the beginning of this little journey this weekend when I run the Handcart Days Half. Not only was that my first half marathon, but it was my 100th as well. So, naturally, it has a special place in my heart.

But, really, it’s hard to believe five years has now passed. It’s been quite the journey and one that still has many, many more races left to run. During my race on Friday night I actually looked back at each race — like, each and every race from 1-124. It was kind of fun (and a good way to pass the time in the dark of the night) and a good reminder of the ups and downs I’ve experienced along the way.

I’m just so grateful for the gift that running has been in my life. Whenever I hit milestones — big and small — like race 125 or date of certain races, I would be remiss if I didn’t look back. I’ve been extremely blessed by the people that have come — or ran — into my life. And, it’s those relationships that keep me going.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

But, enough of that — one or two more paragraphs of that and I’d expect us all to start holding hands and singing kumbaya. Let’s get onto the race and my experience this past weekend.

I have ran the Utah Midnight Run five years in a row now. I like this race. It’s a fun race and a different change of pace, mainly because it’s a night race. And, it frees up a rare Saturday morning. Plus, On Hill Events does a good job at it. There are a few other night half marathons around here in Utah, but by far the best are the ones put on by On Hill Events.

Despite running this race often, it’s still a hard race for me to prepare for. Especially fueling up correctly. You’d think I’d have it down to a science by now — but, nope. In the past I’ve tried eating normally, not eating for 6-8 hours before fueling (to simulate sleeping and then eating light before the race) to just eating light throughout the day. I haven’t found anything that works 100% for me, because I either over do it or under do it.

This year was probably somewhere in the middle?

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

I wasn’t so worried about my Whole30 diet, but the timing of eating and amount of food I should be eating. So on Friday I ate mainly fruit and veggies throughout the day. I also ate some steak for lunch for some protein. But, nothing heavy or overly complicated. I just tried to make sure to eat every 2-3 hours and focus on eating my fruits and veggies.

And, like I said, it kinda worked. I probably could have eaten more to be honest.

But, going into the race my goal wasn’t a PR or benchmark race. I was using it as a training run — with effort. Which for me meant anywhere between 2:45-3:00 for that distance. But, I wasn’t holding myself to that time goal as a maximum or minimum. I just wanted to be out and run with friends and have fun.

The race is a point-to-point course the packet pickup and finish line are in Farmington and the half marathon runners get bussed to North Salt Lake to start there. So, I went extra early to pick up my bib and to also record an episode of the Runcast USA with Jim who was also volunteering at the race. It was a good episode and of course lots of fun (it will air this upcoming Friday by the way).

A photo posted by Josh Runs 180 (@joshruns180) on

I nearly missed the buses because our episode ran right to the minute the buses were starting to roll out. Luckily, I didn’t miss the bus or race. That would have been a total buzzkill for the night.

The race started at 10pm so we spent about an hour at the starting line. Instead of the usual sunrise like most races, we got treated to a killer sunset. Not only that, but killer mosquitos as well. Thankfully, we were provided with bug spray by the race. Otherwise I’m sure I would have been sucked dry.

When the gun sounded and we set off I started running with my friend Tish. We ran for the first couple of miles together at a pretty good clip. It’s always nice to have someone to run with. It sometimes is the make or break of a run.

About 2-3 miles into the race we came upon my friend Jason who was somewhat hobbling. He was pacing the 2:20 group, but bowed out after his back started spasming. No beuno. He biffed it at a race a few weeks ago because it spasmed so I stayed with him for a couple miles until we could get him to an aid station — and eventually his wife, Tammy, who was volunteering.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

By the time Jason was taken care of — I was pretty much in the back of the pack. Or — the caboose. There was 1-2 other runners behind me, so I kinda became the defacto sweeper. Oddly, there wasn’t a sweeper for the race — a role Tim and I had last year.

I didn’t walk the whole thing — in fact, I got some great stretches of running between runners. It was nice. I’d check up on them and then just run my race. I didn’t care that my time was going to suck. But, it definitely didn’t reflect my effort and performance. The race was more of a fartlek than a run to be honest.

I did start to cramp up a bit around mile 10 — not sure why? I think part of it was fueling. I was drinking water at every aid station, but I definitely should have ran with a banana for the mid-way point. And, I started to get a headache. Not a normal headache, but the ones that eventually turn into a migraine.

No beuno.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

To counter that I just sat at an aid station a bit longer and drank a couple more cups of water. Some Advil would have been nicer, but I wasn’t sure if I was a bit dehydrated or not fueled properly? Probably both? But, my headlamp was also kinda tight so I readjusted that. After that I was fine. So odds are I was just cutting off oxygen to my brain? Wouldn’t be the first time.

It was a few minutes after 1am that I ended up crossing the finish line. After getting my medal I headed right to the water and bananas — naturally. I ate a couple slices of banana, but really couldn’t stomach it at the moment (sad, I know), so I took some with me for the ride home.

My time didn’t record and I didn’t really look at my time, but I think I ran somewhere between 3:10-3:20. Not bad for the stops throughout the race. I got a good workout in and good stretches of running — really the only thing I needed.

But, also, I got some GREAT fatigue training. When I was running with my headache I kept thinking — “okay, just push through this, this probably will be nothing compared to what you’ll encounter at your 50 miler.” I really tried to revel in the moment of misery and discomfort, because I know I’ll encounter that a lot more in the next few months leading up the 50 — in my training runs and marathons.

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Anyways — race 125 is done! I am happy with my experience. It definitely wasn’t what I was expected to experience. But, at the same time — I wasn’t really expecting anything going into it. So, I got what I prepared for, right?

The focus this week is get some good balance of training runs and circuit training. I am planning a good workout focusing on my core tonight. That’s something I KNOW I need to do better at. Plus, I’m prepping for my double race weekend — Handcart Days Half (Saturday) and DesNews Half (Monday).

Anyways — HAPPY RUNNING!


MY NEXT RACE(S)

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I’ve got a double race holiday weekend coming up this weekend. Not to be confused with a back-to-back race. I am basically running a half marathon on Saturday and Monday. I am running the Handcart Days Half Marathon (Bountiful) on Saturday morning and then the Deseret News Half Marathon (Salt Lake City) on Monday.

Both races hold personal significance to me. The Handcart Days Half was my first and 100th race — and this Saturday actually marks the 5th anniversary of my first half marathon. Kind of a special milestone. And, then the Deseret News Marathon was my first marathon four years ago. Though I am not running the marathon, the race still holds a special place in my heart.

So lots of personal milestones for me this upcoming weekend.

But, I also have to wonder why in the heck I picked July races for my first half marathon and marathon? Seriously. I remember how hot both of them were and how much I wanted to die after them.

Regardless, I am really looking forward to the DesNews Half — this is a fun, fast course. I am not expecting to PR. But, I want to do well. So, I might slow it down a bit at Handcart Days to save some energy for Monday morning’s race. I really kinda, sorta, maybe want to break 2:30. That’s the goal. Just putting it out there.

I know I can do it.

Anyways — that’s the focus this week. But, I’m just excited for a great weekend of holiday running. I love Pioneer Day. And, I love these two races.


NEXT THREE RACES

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ADDICT II ATHLETE PODCAST

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Okay, we were going to post this last week before the servers over on PodBash crashed thanks to an awesome day of listening (really this is a good problem to have).

This has pushed back the Runcast to July 29th. Why two weeks? Because, “Are We Prepared, Yet?” will be returning next Friday (July 22nd) to the Friday circuit. Schwendy and I recorded this past week — and it’s a good episode. I’m excited to launch it next Friday.

But, give listen to the newest episode of Addict II Athlete. This is a great story. And, please if it strikes a chord with you — share it. You know never know who you are going to inspire to make the change they need to make in their life.


PHATGRAMS

My second round of @whole30 is DONE! This go around I lost 10.8lbs! Not bad. That’s a total of 28.6lbs the past two months that I’ve lost. Or an average of 14.3lbs. per month. That’s good! I won’t lie, I was trying to not let the number on the scale affect my feeling of progress. A part of me REALLY wanted to be out of the 250s. But, it is what it is. This is a result of work and dedication and I’m fine with that. Every loss isn’t going to be a Biggest Loser record. But, 10.8 is really great when on average about 8 is on average (2lbs per week). So I am still above average, which is good! I am going to do one more round of @whole30 that will take me to my birthday on August 15th. I’m going to work hard in the next 30 days, because I’d love to see at least another 10lbs if not more. The goal is 10lbs., but I’m pushing for 12.7lbs so that scale will read at least 239.9 on my birthday. My mileage will be going up the next month in my ultra training and I’ll be adding in some more circuit and strength training. I’m going to give this a go! But, I am happy with these results, maybe not initially but the numbers don’t lie when they show the whole picture. And 28+lbs in two months is HUGE for me. I haven’t had a loss like that in years. That feels good. And, the pictures don’t lie. I’m looking good! #whole30 #round2 #day30 #complete #weighin #scale #weightloss #fitness #health #wellness #progress #weightlossjourney @whole30 @josherwalla @fight4phat

A photo posted by @fight4phat on

My young apprentice. #proudunclejosher #calliekoko

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on


2667in2016

RUNNING MILES

152.6 miles

RACE MILES

150.5 miles

WALKING MILES

860.7 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

1163.8 miles

MILES TO GOAL

1503.2 miles



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