Category: Race Pacing

RACE #163: The Haunted Half — Salt Lake City

I absolutely love running in October — for many reasons. I love the cool October air, the changing leaves and the plethora of races during the month. You’d think July and August would be the most popular month to run, but it’s too hot during the summer months. October is PERFECT conditions for running.

Earlier in the year I wasn’t planning on running The Haunted Half, but those plans changed when I resigned my position with Runtastic Events. It wasn’t an easy decision to make, because I loved who I worked with. But, I had too much to juggle with a full-time job, a family run business and a podcast among other things. It didn’t leave much of an evening for me.

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But, as much I will miss it, I’m glad I am still able to at least run The Haunted Half and the other Runtastic Events races. Their races are always down the most gorgeous canyons with the most awesome shirts (biased here), best volunteers (biased here) and coolest Finisher’s medals (once again, biased here). So, being able to go back to “just” being a runner of their races is exciting — but, with a much deeper appreciation for what it takes to put on a wicked awesome event.

Since I wasn’t working the event, I decided to not just run the race — but, to pace it. So, I volunteered to sweep the course with the RYR Pacers. I don’t think it goes without saying how much I love sweeping courses. It’s the party in the back.

My sister Jenny also decided to run with me — especially since she’s always wanted to run down Emigration Canyon. She used to run quite a bit a number of years ago and just recently started picking it back up. Like me, she also struggles with Hashimoto’s Disease and has recently balanced it along with losing over 30lbs. So while there were nerves on running a half marathon again, she felt emboldened with her recent changes in health.

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I was more than excited to have her join me, because she was the first of my siblings to run with me — not just a half marathon, but a 5K a number of years back. So this race was a bit extra special for me.

Slowly, but surely, I’ll get my whole family to run a half or full marathon with me — BRUHAHAHA!

The night before the race my sister had a million and one nerves going on. I got texts throughout the evening on what she should bring and wear. I kinda chuckled, because I remember having those nerves for races like this. Heck, I still get nerves for races — especially ultras. But, that’s a whole different story.

After leaving Bountiful and making the trek to Sugarhouse, we rode the buses up to the start of the race. We knew there was suspected rain and/or snow. But, apparently,  it was just the snow part that we got. Lots of it too.

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Around 5:30am the canyon got a blizzard. This halted the buses from coming up the canyon for a while, which delayed everything. Once our bus got to the start line we just sat there without any runners getting out. This was the case pretty much for all the buses. I wasn’t complaining, because I knew it was going to be COLD outside.

Once I got to the point that I needed to use the Honey Buckets, we hopped off the bus. The race was delayed about 10 minutes or so. I wasn’t sure, because I just saw a mass of humanity making their way under the pumpkin arch. Almost immediately I was trying to figure out my adjusted pace.

But, almost as immediately as we started, we were slowed down by the icy road from the blizzard. The first two miles or so were fairly slippery and it was difficult to navigate. Jenny and I couldn’t get a good rhythm because as soon as we did — more ice. So we did what the road could give us. We weren’t the only ones having issues with the roads as well, many runners ahead of us were too.

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After a couple miles in the roads were dry and we picked up our pace. And, so did the runners around us. The chaotic mess subsided and we were all good. But, once again, I tried to figure out my new pace. But, at this point I knew I was going to be off on the times I needed to hit on Sunnyside and 2100 S. — not much, but off.

Around Mile 7 wanting to keep up with my pace, Jenny and I decided to split. She was going to focus on the group in the back, while I tried to run ahead to meet the cutoffs the race wanted me to hit. It worked out pretty well actually.

I was about 13-15 minutes off because of the delays, but I made up good time. Because of the delay the officers, thankfully, kept the intersections and roads open a bit longer. And, once we got out of the canyon we made our way toward the 900 East area where we meandered around some neighborhoods before making our way to Sugarhouse Park.

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i am usually not a fan of running around neighborhoods, but the last four miles were pretty gorgeous. The older homes lined with trees transformed to almost a completely different city. The homes were gorgeous and well kept — I believe many of the U of U professors live around in this neighborhood? Either way, it was a fun few miles.

Once we got to the park, we made a loop around the pond before approaching the finish line on the east side of the park. The race was over. And, I finished in about 3:30. I haven’t confirmed the time yet as my results haven’t posted yet. But, it was about the time I was expecting. A couple minutes later Jenny came in with Christy — all smiles. A perfect way to end a race, right?

I hung out at the end for a while. My friend Lizz hung out with her Mom after their 5K to see me and my sister come in. Both ended up PRing their race. They both got to ring the PR bell! Hopefully come next year I will be ringing that bell too! But, that’s a post for another day.

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After both Jenny and I limped back to the car we made our way home. After a quick shower and lunch I then headed up to Lagoon for Pod Bash Lagoon Day. I had tons of fun — but — that made for a looooooong day on my feet. My FitBit registered over 20 miles so by the end of the day my feet were aching.

But, the way I looked at it — it was GREAT ultra training.

Oh, the mentality of a runner, right?

Anyways, it was a great day overall. So many highlights with friends — both my running and Pod Bash friends. But, I’ll always remember this as my first race with my sister. We had a blast and she did too. And, she even mentioned that she wanted to do more in the future.

And, that left a smile on my face.

I got her.


MY REMAINING 2017 RACES

My 180 race journey is RAPIDLY coming to an end. It’s hard to believe that I am just 17 races away from reaching the goal I set some six years ago. It’s also hard to believe that within the next month I am going to be cranking out six more races toward that goal. It’s going to be A LOT of running.

But, I am excited for the adventure.

This Saturday I am running both the SoJo Half and Howloween Half. Then The Haunted Half in Provo the following before doing another two race day when I run both the Snow Canyon Half and Joshua Tree Half. My sixth race will be the Mt. View Trail Half out on Antelope Island the following week.

The Mt. View Trail Half will be my last half marathon of the year. It will also be my last race before heading to Europe for a couple weeks. Two weeks that will be a nice break before going all in on my training for Jackpot.

But, right now the focus is these next four weeks and six races. Let the adventure begin.


Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 9.0 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 25.2 miles
TOTAL MILES — 47.3 miles
Races This Week — The Haunted Half – SLC

October 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 21.69 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 50.07 miles
TOTAL MILES — 85.04 miles
Races in September — (4) The Haunted Half – SLC, SoJo Half, Howloween Half, The Haunted Half – Provo

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 403.24 miles
Race Miles — 388.27 miles
Walking Miles — 1077.68 miles
TOTAL MILES — 1869.19 miles
Races done in 2017 — (23) New Year’s Half Marathon, Sweethearts 5K, Jackpot Running Festival, SL Tri Club Indoor Half, March Madness Half, Lucky 13 Half Marathon, Emigration Canyon Half Marathon, Riverton Half, Saltair Half, Provo City Half Marathon, Jordan River Half Marathon, Drop13 Half Marathon, Bear Lake Trifecta – Idaho, Wyoming & Utah, AF Canyon Race Against Cancer, The Hobbler Half, Handcart Days Half, DesNews Half Marathon, Elephant Rock Trail Half Marathon, Run Elevated Half Marathon, Nebo Half, Revel Big Cottonwood Half Marathon, Huntsville Half Marathon, Timp Elk Run, Jordan River Half Marathon and The Haunted Half – SLC


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RACE #162: Jordan River Half Marathon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yes.

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

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

So why potentially ruin both goals?

The answer to that question confirmed my decision.

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

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

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

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

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

This made sense.

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

Patience. Patience. Patience.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The end is ‘nigh!


MY NEXT FIVE RACES


Weekly Miles

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

September 2017 Miles

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

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 381.55 miles
Race Miles — 375.17 miles
Walking Miles — 1027.43 miles
TOTAL MILES — 1784.15 miles
Races done in 2017 — (23) New Year’s Half Marathon, Sweethearts 5K, Jackpot Running Festival, SL Tri Club Indoor Half, March Madness Half, Lucky 13 Half Marathon, Emigration Canyon Half Marathon, Riverton Half, Saltair Half, Provo City Half Marathon, Jordan River Half Marathon, Drop13 Half Marathon, Bear Lake Trifecta — Idaho, Wyoming & Utah, AF Canyon Race Against Cancer, The Hobbler Half, Handcart Days Half, DesNews Half Marathon, Elephant Rock Trail Half Marathon, Run Elevated Half Marathon, Nebo Half, Revel Big Cottonwood Half Marathon, Huntsville Half Marathon, Timp Elk Run and Jordan River Half Marathon


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I am soooooo close to my goal …

Wow. After this past weekend’s race — I realized that I am only 19 races away from my goal! NINETEEN! I’m in the TEENS! Time flies so fast. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been doing this now for over six years.

But, it’s also hard to believe that I am reaching this 10 year goal — three years early! Who would have thought? Who would have imagined the experiences I’ve had, races I’ve run and people I’ve met over the past years? I feel extremely blessed being able to do what I love and with people that I admire, look up to and gain inspiration from nearly daily.

Sometimes when I think and plan for the end of this 180 race goal — I have to remember that it’s not the end of running. Because it won’t be. I’ll keep doing it. I might be a bit more deliberate here and there as I shift focus, but I’ll still be running to my heart’s content.

But, as I look at the remaining races toward my goal, I’m getting excited. Many are races I’ve run numerous times, some a couple times a while ago and even a couple that I’ve never done. And, then of course there’s the Jackpot Running Festival where I am attempting 100 miles.

I am excitedly nervous about that race. I know I can do it. I know I will do it. And, despite the crappy year I’ve had with injuries and my health — I know it’s doable. I will be ready come February.

So there’s lots of running ahead before I reach the finish line at the Handcart Days Half Marathon next July — which I am looking forward to running! And, as you can see I am trying to be more deliberate with my running, especially after Jackpot. I am running any races 13.1 or longer on back to back weekends — well, except for Provo City and Vigor Big Cottonwood — but, I am planning on sweeping Provo City again, so I’m not really counting it.

But, I am planning on scaling back the races, not just to hit the 180th race in July, but to also get faster. I don’t expect to PR next year (though that’d be nice), but I do want to get back into the 2:20-2:30 range by the end of the year with the help of continued health and some specific coaching.

I am not sure exactly what my race season will look like after my 180th race, but I’d like to keep to two long races a month for as long as I can keep that up — and preferably a road and trail race.

I have some time to figure that all out. But, for now the focus is really Jackpot in February while also focusing on getting myself to number 180 next July.

Here’s my remaining planned schedule …


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RACE #159: Revel Big Cottonwood Half Marathon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But, we’ll see.

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

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


MY RACES THROUGH OCTOBER


Weekly Miles

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

August 2017 Miles

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

September 2017 Miles

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

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 365.55 miles
Race Miles — 335.52 miles
Walking Miles — 921.24 miles
TOTAL MILES — 1622.31 miles
Races done in 2017 — (23) New Year’s Half Marathon, Sweethearts 5K, Jackpot Running Festival, SL Tri Club Indoor Half, March Madness Half, Lucky 13 Half Marathon, Emigration Canyon Half Marathon, Riverton Half, Saltair Half, Provo City Half Marathon, Jordan River Half Marathon, Drop13 Half Marathon, Bear Lake Trifecta — Idaho, Wyoming & Utah, AF Canyon Race Against Cancer, The Hobbler Half, Handcart Days Half, DesNews Half, Elephant Rock Trail Half, Run Elevated Half, Nebo Half and Revel Big Cottonwood Half.


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RACE #153: The Hobbler Half

Some race reports are easier to write than others. I won’t lie, this is one of those race reports that isn’t easy to write. I feel like if I wrote — I came, I ran, I finished — I’d be happy with that report. Especially since I swept the course. But, of course, there is much more to my race than just the basic facts.

This was the second time running the Hobbler Half — well — more accurately swept. Two years ago I swept the course solo on a day that I also ran a nighttime trail race. It was a loooooooooong day of running for me that day.

But, I enjoy this race. It’s a pretty canyon. It’s one that doesn’t get much attention here in Utah. It’s got a good golf course, but as far as running goes — it’s not your typical Utah canyon. Meaning — it’s not really down hill. Not like Big Cottonwood, Little Cottonwood, American Fork or Provo Canyons — to name a few. It’s a rather rolling hill canyon.

But, as I mentioned beautiful nonetheless.

After a couple hour “nap” — I’m horrible at getting to sleep when I need to — I carpooled down with Carla and Reese. We’ve carpooled a couple of times, which is convenient because we only live about a mile from each other. And, since Reese and I pretty much race all the races — it works out perfectly. Plus, if it’s a bussed canyon race, I get to miss the whole shuttle up the canyon — something I don’t mind.

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The canyon was actually a tad chilly, which I won’t lie — was nice. With the valley temperatures hovering around 100 degrees, I wasn’t going to complain. Especially, knowing it was going to get hotter than hell once we got out of that canyon.

Gun time was at 6:30am, which kind of surprised me being a mid-summer race, but since I was sweeping the course, Molly and I waited until the 600+ runners all started before crossing the starting line. I haven’t run with Molly before so I always enjoy these encapsulated moments being able to meet and talk over 13.1 or longer miles.

Playing yo-yo with the runners ahead of us, we carried on a fun and often deep conversation while walking the rolling hills and taking what downhill we could. All while giving the runners ahead of us some space. It was a great way to spend the run, especially considering when I swept it in 2015 I did it solo.

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Sweeping a course is much different than pacing a certain time. Sure, most times, the final pacers are on a certain pace. But, no one wants to see the sweeper early in a race, especially before miles 6-7. So, I’ve learned to keep my space unless they’re obviously struggling or around miles 10-13 when the race is wrapping up.

There’s kind of a science behind all of that. Because, you really don’t want to stress out the runners in the back. They’re rocking it and to see a sweeper sometimes gives them a sense of failure, which is the last thing I want to do.

Anyways, it wasn’t until mile 11 that Molly and I caught up to the nearest runner. You could tell he was struggling a bit, mainly because of the heat. But, he was plugging away like a champ.

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This was his second half marathon, after running Utah Valley last month, and he admitted that he accidentally signed up for this race — THINKING — it was the Hobble Creek Half Marathon (that happens in August). Even after signing up for the Hobble Creek Half, he still decided to do Hobbler.

We finished the last couple of miles with him as we mainly talked about hunting and fishing. Molly’s husband hunts so most of that conversation geared around them. But, I kind of fixated on his reasoning — to get in shape for hunting season. I just never heard of that reasoning before. But, I shouldn’t be too surprised living in Utah.

But, it’s a great illustration for the many reasons that bring us to the starting line of these races. We all run for different reasons. We run for the podium, we run for a PR, we run to do our best, we run for therapy, we run to get in shape, but ultimately — as well all should — we run for us. There’s real beauty in that.

Anyways, once we got done, I grabbed a couple of waters and down them pretty quick before heading over to Jorge’s to record an episode of The Runcast with the rest of the gang. Which was a lot of fun. I don’t want to spoil the episode, but it centers on guilty pleasure songs. One of my favorites so far.

But, looking forward, I have the Handcart Days Half Marathon coming up next weekend. It’s hard to believe that this time next year I will be done with my 180 (the goal is to finish my 180 at the Handcart Days Half in 2018). I am 27 races from that goal, so there will be a lot of running to do in the next year.

Still … lots of retrospection happens at this race and what it means to me. This was the starting of my journey and now that I am nearing the conclusion of my 180 — it will also be my last. I’m not a betting man, but I sure would place a bet on the fact that I might cry sometime during the race.

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But, anyways — lots of running to do. I am still healing nicely. I’ll get where I want to go, even if it takes me a bit longer than I usually take.

Which is fine. I’m just grateful to be doing what I love.

One step at a time.


MY NEXT FIVE RACES


Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 8.5 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 24.77 miles
TOTAL MILES — 46.37 miles
Race(s) this week — The Hobbler Half.

July 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 16.6 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 26.87 miles
TOTAL MILES — 56.57 miles
Races in July — The Hobbler Half, DesNews Half and Handcart Days Half.

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 289.05 miles
Race Miles — 256.22 miles
Walking Miles — 690.64 miles
TOTAL MILES — 1235.91 miles
Races done in 2017 — 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 and The Hobbler Half.


So, I tried making paleo banana pancakes, but neither my skill nor patience was enough to save the attempt … soooooo … I ended up with a banana omelet instead. NOT GOING TO LIE, it was pretty good. I might be making this again soon. Talk about a happy little mistake. —————————————————— #fight4phat #fitness #wellness #health #running #runnerslife #runner #run #weightloss #weightlossjourney #hashimotos #hashimotoswarrior #thyroid #hypothyroidism #workout #wod #instarunner #run4fun #runningcommunity #paleo #diet #banana #eggs #strawberries #food #breakfast #bananapancakes #happyaccident —————————————————— @fight4phat @josherwalla @joshruns180 —————————————————— Follow my blog at www.phatjosh.com

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The moment your niece realizes you gave her a sandwich for her birthday. I only give things I hold close to my heart.

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RACE #146: Provo City Half Marathon

This past week has been a struggle — to say the least. After getting sick during the Salt Flats 50K last Friday my whole weekend and most of this past week was simply derailed. I’m still not 100%, but I am past the flu and bronchitis and I feel much, much better.

Having DNF’d the Salt Flats 50K and DNS’d the Tulip Festival Half — I was ready for a race success this weekend. Not even a success, just a race. And, this was the perfect rebound race. Especially since I was pacing the 3:35 time (basically the sweeper).

I’ve always enjoyed running the Provo City Half. It’s a fun course that starts at South Fork up Provo Canyon and then drops down to University Blvd. by way of the Provo River Trail. It’s not a super fast canyon race, but it has a good combination of downhill and nice rolling hills.

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I was excited to not just run this course, but to be pacing it with my really good friend Tricia Wilkins. This shouldn’t have been our first foray into pacing. Back in 2014 we were suppose to pace the Thankful 13 together, but we got separated in the corral and lost each other. I tried to catch up as I was pushing Elsha, but we just never did.

So this race was pretty much making up for that failure.

And, it didn’t disappoint. Especially since we were also joined by Tricia’s husband Cory. It was a REAL party now!

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I carpooled down from Bountiful to Provo with Carla and Reese Thorne. It was nice because I got to bypass the bus shuttle up the canyon since Reese has his cart. As much as I enjoy bus shuttles up canyons, I also like avoiding losing an extra hour of sleep — it was nice not having to leave for Provo an hour earlier.

The race start at the South Fork Park up Provo Canyon near Vivian Park — and in year’s past it’s pretty dang cold. So I always come prepared with a fairly heavy and/or layers, but when we got up the canyon I was fairly surprised how warm it was — my jacket was hardly needed. Which is good and bad — bad, meaning, it meant the valley was going to be fairly hot.

But, since I was pacing 3:35 I wasn’t too worried about the heat. Plus, I brought my backpack which still packed from the previous week’s 50K misadventure. I had some water leftover along with bacon jerky, applesauce, Swedish Fish, some Honey Stingers and a first aid kit. So, I was pretty much set for anything between an empty stomach to the apocalypse.

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After the gun sounded and we corralled everyone toward the starting line we made the decent down the canyon. I love the Vivian Park portion of the canyon, especially during the spring — not only is the canyon beautiful, but you also get some great views of Timp as well. It’s gorgeous.

We fartleked down the canyon trying to keep a good pace while trying not to frighten the people ahead of us much. As much as I love sweeping and pacing the last pacing times — I also know how much the people in the back don’t want to see you, especially early in the race. I’ve had a few run ins with runners in the past that came close to cursing me out at miles 2-3 or so. And, I don’t blame them! No one wants to be passed by the sweeper.

After our fartlek down Vivian Park the course took us down the Provo River Trail — which is even prettier than South Fork and Vivian Park. After passing Bridal Veil Falls and switching under the highway we kept the party going with dance parties (Tricia brought Bluetooth speakers), squats and plenty of laughing. It really was a party in the back.

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It was a blast.

Around miles 7-8 the course dumped us onto University Blvd. toward the finish line. I was a bit worried about getting to this point, because I was expecting it to be pretty hot — since it warm up the canyon. But, I was relieved to see cloud cover as a storm was approaching Provo. It didn’t look particularly nasty — so the cloud coverage was welcomed.

As we got closer to the finish line we were joined by the Petrossi’s — Timothee and Jennifer — who planned on grabbing a Slurpee and running in with us. They are both a part of Team Addict II Athlete and it was really touching to have them run with us, because it reminded so much of last year’s Provo City Half when the team ran me in on that same home stretch — because nobody runs alone on Team AIIA.

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At mile 12.5 we hopped off course monetarily and grabbed our Slurpees. Though it wasn’t scorching hot — the Slurpees were manna to my lips — and cooled me down. It was perfect. So, with our Slurpees in hand we headed toward the finish line for our victorious finish picture! And, thanks to Jorge we got some sweet photos!

But, we were done! We did it! We may of been a tad past our pace, but that didn’t matter much. We lingered a bit at the finish line to cheer in some of the runners behind us as we finished the last of our Slurpees.

I just felt great. Having finished the race helped erase a lot of discouragement of my previous week. And, being able to just get out and run was something I couldn’t imagine earlier in the week after overcoming the flu and bronchitis.

My only regret was that my ankle was pretty sore, but that was my own fault — as I realized afterward I forgot to wear my sports brace. But, after icing it throughout the weekend I should be okay. But, it is one of the reasons why I planned on backing out of the Ogden Marathon distance. That foot on pavement for 26.2 miles would just be too much.

Anyways — my next race isn’t until Memorial Day weekend at the Jordan River Half Marathon. I’m planning on getting some good running in, but at the same time I am taking it easy to let my body and ankle heal a bit. It needs it, because I feel it.

But, this race was a victory and such a fun memory I will remember among my 180 journey.


MY NEXT FIVE RACES


Everyone needs a Dave in their life. This past week has been pretty stressful. Between overcoming the flu and bronchitis while juggling two jobs, it’s been a tough and stressful week. Tonight after work my plan was to dive head first into some pending projects I need done by Monday, but that kind of got derailed when I got a call from Dave asking to hang out because his Mom wasn’t home. I had a million reasons to say no, but I just couldn’t decline his request. I knew he didn’t want to be alone. So I told him he could come over and watch some basketball while I worked on my computer. When he got to our house he told me how he felt sad for his Mom and how she wasn’t having a very good week. He then told me that he wanted to cheer her up and wanted to go get flowers for her. I knew this meant I wasn’t going to be spending much of the evening at home as planned, so I hopped in the car and headed to the store with Dave. My heart melted watching Dave pick out some flowers, chocolates and a card for his Mom. The love and admiration he has for her is truly special. And, as I stood next to him as he was making these choices, I just couldn’t help but recognize that I needed this pause. I needed this reminder of what life is about. Dave has provided many of these kind of moments during our friendship. I don’t know how I got so lucky to call him “friend,” but I truly cherish his friendship. And, I am truly grateful for these many little lessons and reminders he teaches me.

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RACE #146: Provo City Half Marathon (3:35) After the previous weekend’s debacle of DNFs and DNSs and subsequent illness, this was a nice rebound race. I paced 3:35 alongside Tricia and her husband … we were essentially “the sweepers.” But, we had a blast! We had dance parties, made new friends, grabbed Slurpees at Mile 12.5 and made sure there was a party in the back! I wasn’t 100% with my lingering cough and ankle, but the situation was perfect where those weren’t a factor. I’m taking a little more time off to rest my sprained ankle. But, come later this month I should be ready for the Jordan River Half on the 27th. But, I’m still enjoying this moment and race and being able to party on with my dear friends throughout the 13.1 miles! Such a fun time! #provocityhalf #race146 #running @joshruns180 @fight4phat @josherwalla @myracemedals @ryrpacers @run13utah

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Newborns always make the best drunk faces.

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I always love a good graduation ceremony, but I won’t lie … five minutes into it, I’m ready for it to be over.

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Somebody’s feeling pretty.

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Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 5.5 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 19.47 miles
TOTAL MILES — 38.07 miles
Race(s) this week — Provo City Half Marathon

May 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 5.5 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 19.47 miles
TOTAL MILES — 38.07 miles
Races in May — Provo City Half Marathon and Jordan River Half Marathon.

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 210.75 miles
Race Miles — 164.52 miles
Walking Miles — 439.88 miles
TOTAL MILES — 815.15 miles
Races done in 2017 — 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 and Provo City Half Marathon.


RACE #141: March Madness Half Marathon

One thing I love about endurance sports — specifically running — is unlike other sports, like most team sports, the venue changes from event to event. And, the outcome is up to you, not necessarily how you and your teammates work together on an uniform and familiar playing field.

In running — especially distance running — distances may be the same, but courses (or playing fields) all differ. And, I love that. A race down Big Cottonwood Canyon is going to be completely different from around the neighborhoods of South Jordan, the trails of the Bonneville Lakeshore Trail or around the Utah Olympic Oval in Kearns.

Then on top of that you’re going to face many different variables — dealing with anything from weather, your training preparation, your fueling, your mental state, etc., etc., etc., etc. That’s why racing is so personal. It’s YOUR race — and nobody else’s. And, this race was very much a reminder of the importance of that mentality.

Going into the race — I didn’t know what to expect. Compared to last week when I ran the SL Track Club Indoor Half in Kearns — I wasn’t recovered from my previous week’s ultra. I felt it pretty early into my run. The legs were kicking and screaming trying to remind me of the hell I put them through the previous week.

This week — I felt more rested. My runs during the week weren’t fast, calculated or overly efforted. They were more shakeout runs. I just wanted to feel and do better than last week’s race. And, I think I got my legs there come Saturday morning.

I didn’t want to put a time goal on this race, because I haven’t been half marathon training — or maintaining. My training miles from December until February were pretty much all focused on my ultra. Meaning — they were long and slow miles.

In fact I am pretty sure the first 13 miles of my ultra took me over four hours? So speed work hasn’t been on the training docket for me for quite a while. Which I’m not worried about, because after my 50K in April I’ll be gearing my focus toward that anyway.

Anyways — despite all of the reasons why I shouldn’t or didn’t need to make a time goal. I did.

I simply wanted to run a sub-three hour half marathon. That seemed like a reasonable and doable goal. I’ve been losing weight, gaining more energy with my Hashimoto’s friendly diet and feeling strongly lately — so why not?

I knew it was going to be a challenge because of my lack of half training, still temperamental post-ultra legs and the flatness of the course. The race was along the Legacy Parkway Trail — which is flatter than flat. I guess there are some hills, but only people in Kansas would consider them hills — so they don’t count.

Anyways — I knew a flat course with my iron legs could be difficult to gauge an estimated time — but, I didn’t care. I just wanted that sub-three time. I felt like I could do it. So, that’s what I shot for.

When the race started my legs felt pretty good. Not amazingly good — but good. So this encouraged me. And, considering there was a pretty strong tailwind behind — I felt like a racehorse. So I kept trying to mentally push myself a little bit more per mile — just focusing on that effort here and there.

And, really, I felt great.

About 3-4 miles into the race I am starting to think that this goal was more than doable, but expected. I was really on cloud nine, because I felt great. A lot which I attributed to my diet changes and newfound energy.

But, around this time as I was beginning to see the runners return from the out and back return trip — I realized in dread. THIS AWESOME TAILWIND IS GOING TO TURN INTO A NASTY HEADWIND!

And, yeah, as I saw friends pass some of them made comments about the headwind. At this point I started dreading the turnaround point. Because, I’ve dealt with some nasty headwinds. None as horrific as the Ogden Marathon headwind — there’s no joy in a 30 MPH headwind in the rain. That was pure hell. But, I digress.

So while I knew it wasn’t going to be fun — I also knew it wasn’t going to be the worse either. And, thankfully it was not raining, otherwise I’d be singing a different tune.

Once I turned around the change was pretty immediate. There were some nasty gusts — the kind that make you kinda loose your breath for a second. But, the headwind was pretty constant.

After about a mile of just pushing through the wind — I gave myself two options for the last five or so miles. I could, one, keep running for that goal or, two, start walking a bunch and make the excuse that the wind was simply too hard and I got tired.

Luckily, I chose the first option. And, I just kept going.

I felt like if I pushed myself that I could still get my sub-three time. I had to try. I figured at the turn around I was on pace for about 2:40-2:45 — so I still had a shot.

I am glad I went with that decision, because I ran hard into that wind, but it was very, very difficult. It was a fight to keep running and it took A LOT out of me. My mile 10 — I felt like I was beyond empty.

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At this point I stopped looking at the watch, because I knew I was going to be cutting it close. The difference between directions was really that much. My legs started getting really tight because of the effort and threatened to cramp on a couple occasions. But, I kept going.

Around mile 11 — I found it easier and faster for me to mall walk some stretches. I hate resorting to it, because I always fear it will turn into a mosey. But, I focused on my stride and arm swinging (if I had two pound dumbbells I am positive I would have been MUCH faster) and it really helped relieve a lot of the strain on the quads. I focused on alternating between my mall walking and running in a 1:1 minute ratio.

And, for the most part that helped.

But, I was still on empty.

Once I got off the trail and back onto the streets toward the park I happened to glance at my watch to notice I had a minute to run the last 3/4 of a mile or so. I just kind of stared at that reality — and didn’t feel disappointment — at all. Besides feeling sore, dead and depleted — I felt proud. I felt strong. I felt — good.

That last stretch I had a conversation with myself — first, thanking me for deciding making excuses to walk and, second, realizing that my effort was beyond a sub-three effort. On pretty much any other course my effort that day WAS well below a sub-three time. And, I knew a windless — or even less windy day — that effort would give me a sub-three time.

And, to say and realize that — knowing I could have just started walking as a sign of defeat — made me really proud of myself.

I came in just over 3:06 hours. But, those six minutes were invisible to me.

Because, I got that goal.


NEXT FIVE RACES


So during my race today I saw a seemingly perfect banana laying on the side of the road. I was going to pick it up, but I figured … someone might have left it there for later. After I turned around and came back I noticed it was still there. I also noticed it was half eaten. Being a hungered, I looked at it (checked it for needles … I was taught that from Trick or Treating in the 80’s), ripped off the tip where it was a bit bruised … and I ate it. So whoever left that half eaten banana out on Legacy Parkway Trail this morning … THANK YOU! It saved me from cramping, it was delicious and was also the burst of energy I needed to do the last two miles. #race141 #marchmadnesshalf #running @joshruns180 @fit.phat

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Played LIFE™ with my 5 year old niece tonight … guess who got married before me? #yepshedid #likereallife

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RUNNING MILES

119.65 miles

RACE MILES

83.02 miles

WALKING MILES

167.56 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

370.23 miles



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