Category: Race Report

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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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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For The Love Of Running …

I love running.

That shouldn’t be much of a surprise. And, if it is — I am not sure if you understand what kind of blog this is you’re reading? Anyway — let it be known … I love running.

When I started running some 6-7 years ago, I had no idea where it was leading. I basically started because it was a challenge my personal trainer gave me as a way to help with my weight-loss. It started with runs around the Rec Center before the challenge grew to training for a 5K. After that first 5K I officially had the bug.

Over the those same past 6-7 years my running journey has brought me to many starting lines, across many finish lines and countless training runs with others. My love of running grew through friendships made out on the trails and roads. Running became less of a workout and more of a community over those years. It has my heart.

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I love sharing that love for running with others. My hope is that by sharing that love someone, anyone, can have a similar journey like my own. Sure, a lot of my journey had to come from within, but if it was for the hundreds of friends that I’ve met along the way that also shared that love — I am not sure if I would have these same strong feelings?

And, as much as I love sharing this love of running with friends — I absolutely love sharing it with my family, because they are the ones closest to my heart. When I started running the closest runner I had was my sisters who a few years prior ran a half marathon. But, bad knees and numerous knee surgeries took both of them away from the longer distances. So, it’s just been basically me who’s delved into the running scene.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t expect my family to become runners. I get that life happens and that there are other hobbies. But, I am the one who always invites any of my siblings to run with me, train for a half marathon or even a full. Because, I do want to share with them this gift and passion for running with them.

I’ve been able to get a few of my siblings to run 5Ks with me. My sister has run a couple of 5Ks with me and same goes with my brother-in-law. My younger brother keeps telling me he wants to, but hasn’t yet. And, I really enjoy those moments that we can.

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But, last year the focus of my running invitations have turned to my nieces and nephews as well. Last July for my niece’s birthday I bought her an entry into the Frightmares 5K and we ran it together. She even won her age group! We had a blast together and it was a great way to go into my 50 miler the week after.

Running with my niece made the younger cousins jealous. Because they wanted to run with me as well. Especially my niece Callie — she’s been to a few finish lines cheering me on and has been asking my sister when she will get to run with me. I would be lying to you if I didn’t secretly love this anxious excitement of hers.

So, I set to change that.

This past weekend was the Sweethearts 5K here in Bountiful. It’s my hometown race put on by the Rec Center. It’s a great little 5K that I’ve run a number of times — solo, pushing Elsha and a couple times with siblings or in-laws. Considering the price and location I wanted to give all of my nieces and nephews (that could run) the chance to run with me.

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So I signed up with Maya for the 5K and then signed up Elijah and Callie for the Kids K. When I broke the news to the latter two — they couldn’t have been any more excited. They got to run with Uncle Josher and get their own race medal! And, quite honestly, I couldn’t be any more excited to run with them as well.

The 5K started at 9am followed by the Kids K at 9:45am. I didn’t worry about not being able to do both, because Maya and I ran the Frightmares 5K in about 36-37 minutes. I was hoping and feeling like we would do similar or better time-wise.

And, I wasn’t far off. When we started off it was hard keeping up with Maya. She’s a speedster and really quite the runner. I am truly amazed. It really comes naturally to her. I warned her a couple of times to slow down a bit so she didn’t “burn out” going out too fast. But, let’s be honest — it was my feeble efforts to keep up with her.

I was really proud of her effort and natural ability. I would have sent her off on her own, but being the responsible adult (I laugh at that irony) I did want to keep her close for her own safety since this was only her second race. I didn’t want her to wander mindlessly into traffic or take a wrong turn (something that happens to the best of runners might I add). But, when we got to the home stretch I just let her loose. I told her who to follow and where to turn and then just told her — “GO GET IT!”

And, she went and got it! She finished just under 35 minutes! Quite impressive for an eight year old if you ask me.

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She didn’t place her in age group. She was slightly disappointed by that. But, I reminded her the rules to running — 1) Have Fun, 2) Have a Ridiculous Amount of Fun and 3) Repeat — and asked her if she had fun. Which of course she said yes. So I reassured her she’s still coming away a winner.

We didn’t have much time — like any — to bask in our race, because the Kids K was starting in a couple minutes. The 5K started about 10 minutes late, so instead of pushing the kid’s race back too they started it on time. Which I guess is good? But, I was literally catching my breath when Callie, Elijah, Maya and I started off in a mad dash.

They’re sprinters.

Well, at least I swear they’re sprinters. Or maybe its’ their youthful endless amount of energy? Either way — they really left me in their dust. I tried to vain to get my exhausted legs going, but it was in vain — they were gone. Sure it was a 1K race, but they were yards ahead of me while I ran alone — in a kids race — without a single kid of mine in sight. Talk about feeling awkward.

But, as soon as I caught up with them at the finish line any amount of awkwardness was erased as they all showed me their medals. Their excitement only grew — a feeling I knew very well. It was a moment I will cherish.

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I can’t wait to share more of these moments with them again. Especially my other nieces and nephews — and especially kids. I know it won’t be soon that all of them will graduate from Kids Ks to 5Ks and maybe even longer.

But, that doesn’t matter — what matters is that they had fun. They got to share in a hobby that I love dearly and they got a taste of the life of a runner. But, we were all able to share time doing it and that’s what I will always cherish. So without making this a cheesy Mormon commercial about spending time with family, I’ll leave it there.

Needless to say, Saturday was a great day.

And, a great way to go into this upcoming week as I look to tackle my next ultra — the Jackpot Running Festival.

VEGAS OR BUST, BABY!


T-Rex vs. Panda. The T-Rex wins. #chubbingtatum #firstbirthday

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Two years ago today marks the passing of my Grandma. Time comes and goes, but it’s the people who love and care for you the most that make an impact that time can’t fade. My Grandma will always be my biggest fan. She always believed in and encouraged me to keep running, keep writing and keep living life — always being kind to others. Time will never erase that impact. Today might be a day of remembrance of her, but she’s truly remembered daily. Borrowing a phrase to describe our bond she would always tell me, “remember you are loved! Always have, always will!” Right back at you Grandma! #grandmasarethebest #grandmasarespecial #grandmasareforever

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No, I didn’t go to Primary. I made Valentines cards in Elders Quorum today. #thismormonlife

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RUNNING MILES

95.15 miles

RACE MILES

16.82 miles

WALKING MILES

89.47 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

226.07 miles



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Thoughts on ‘My 600lbs. Life’

I am not a huge TV watcher. I used to be. If I am going to watch TV it better be something I am really interested in or find value in — because there’s a lot more to life outside of TV. A lot more.

But, that’s a rant for another day.

Recently, I was introduced to ‘My 600lbs. Life’ by my sister. Well, it was actually in passing that I was introduced to it. She was talking about it to another family member and it piqued my interest. Because some seven plus years ago — I was on a road that could have lead to a similar fate.

I was a 400lbs. guy carrying around a lot of emotional baggage — that looked to food for comfort. It didn’t matter the food — I liked it. But, I was especially akin to fast food, junk food and soda. I was a secret eater that wouldn’t bat an eye getting the Arby’s Five for $5 deal — and eating all five sandwiches alone in the car before going home.

My unattended emotional baggage was creating a blueprint to a ‘600lbs life’ for me. And, I feel very fortunate to have woken myself up when I did. But, not only that, but if it wasn’t for the people in my life and those I chose to surround myself with after I made that decision — I don’t know where I would be right now in life?

I don’t want to say that I would be a 600-700lbs. guy, but I know I wouldn’t be who I am physically and emotionally. Running would be just some pipe dream. Luckily, I’ll never have to realize this alternate reality.

But, after catching my first episode of ‘My 600lbs. Life’ a couple weeks ago — I’ve been mesmerized, inspired and emotional watching these journeys.

To give you a little bit about the series. Each episode is a one or two hour documentary following one person’s year long journey through the process of gastric bypass surgery and the subsequent weight-loss. That’s the series in a nutshell. But, of course there are many ups and downs through each episode — both physical and emotional — which you would expect with such a journey.

I love the realness of each episode. There are many raw and real moments that I can relate to from my own journey. But, then there are moments that put me in tears, because I could only imagine the pain (whether it’s physical or emotional) they’re going through.

I’ve gotten a bit emotional at times when many of these patients realize their self-worth, ability and/or determination. Because — THAT — I can relate to. Very much so.

I will always remember those moments — and I had many — throughout my journey. Whether it was losing 30lbs. my first month or realizing I could do a REAL pushup — those moments are crucial for a journey like these. And, seeing these people realize their worth — brings back a lot of emotions to me.

A lot.

Anyways — if you have TLC, I highly recommend you DVR the show. There have been a lot of reruns lately and I have been catching up on most of them while on running. Even if you haven’t trekked a similar path, doesn’t mean you won’t learn something from each episode.

Each episode creates a great blueprint for achieving dreams for anyone. Being extremely overweight isn’t easy. But, so isn’t living a life of unrealized dreams.

I can’t say enough good things about ‘My 600lbs. Life.’ If anything watching these episodes are inspiring me more and more to act more on my dreams than ever before.

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RACE #138: New Year’s Half Marathon

The past week or so I have been battling a bug of some sorts. It started right before New Year’s Eve and it’s just kind of “been there” the past week or so. I haven’t been too worried about, because it’s just been a cough.

But. I’ve been monitoring it because I really, really, really didn’t want to miss this race. Especially since I decided not to run the St. George Half Marathon. I didn’t want to have to make up two races.

But, luckily, I felt okay enough to run. It’s probably a form of bronchitis — so being out in the cold actually helps suppress the cough. Knowing this, I just decided to go for it. I wasn’t expecting a PR or necessarily strong performance. I knew I could grind it out and call it good.

This was my third time running the New Year’s Half. I ran it first in 2013 when the temps were 2 degrees at gun time. So when I saw temps at 8 degrees the morning of the race — I knew it was going to be uncomfortable, but it definitely could be worse.

Plus, I felt prepared. I had layered myself with about 2-3 pairs of both shirts, pants and socks — not to forget my jacket, sock monkey hat and gloves. Was this enough? Probably not. But, being a slower runner I knew I had to give myself more layers than most faster runners.

Knowing I was one of the slower runners I decided to start at the 7:15am gun time instead of the usual 8am. Not just to get done sooner, but in hopes to get back to the reception center before all of the chili was gone (priorities here folks). So I started off with a handful of other runners and friends — namely Cevan Skinner and the Henrys.

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

As soon as the crowd dispersed Tammy Henry and I were pretty much left together with a couple other runners yo-yo’ing ahead and behind us. We stuck around together for the first seven miles and avoided going the wrong way a couple times (thanks to the vigilant eyes of the other runners).

I’ve only gotten lost once during a race — and that was this past July when I took a wrong turn and ended up running past a naked homeless guy — twice — to get back on the course. So with that seared in my brain, I wanted to avoid it as much as possible. Not that I was expecting to run into a naked homeless man on the Murdock Trail in the middle of winter — but this was Utah County and I’ve seen crazier.

After Tammy and I parted ways after seven miles I knew within the next two miles the course was going to leave the Murdock Trail. So I kept my eyes out for the signs. I wasn’t too worried about the signs as I was about the snow and ice on the trail. I really didn’t want to biff it. I couldn’t afford an injury, especially with a few ultra runs coming up in the next couple of months.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

Focusing on the snow and ice patches as I ran — I did what I didn’t want to do — I ran past the race signs signaling me to turn. And, of course I was oblivious and kept running happily along.

About a mile from the turn off I kind of stopped and wondering where I was going. As I looked around I saw the Timp Temple in the distance and knew I needed to get back around there, but this felt out of the way, especially being at 11 miles.

So, I stopped and whipped out my phone to compare the race map with my phone map — and I was off. I knew it. I just kind of laughed at myself and headed back to where I needed to be.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

By the time I got back to the turn off I saw a couple of runners and sheepishly got behind them exclaiming my blunder. By the time I got on the road again I was already at 12 miles on my watch — I hadn’t even reach mile 10 of the race yet. And, I just kind of dreaded the next three miles, because I wasn’t feeling well. I was colder than I should have been and just needed some fuel.

There was a gas station ahead of me and decided I’d go in there to fuel up and get warm. But, before I got to the station a runner who finished already offered me a ride back to the reception center. I was going to decline, but the more I thought about it and how I was feeling — I knew I wasn’t going to last 15 miles in this weather. It was just too much for me.

So I hopped in the car.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

Once I got the reception center I hurried and got myself warm, got some chili and visited with friends for a while. I even downed a couple of bananas (that’s 23 for the year so far — if you’re wondering). I still had a mile to run — which I finished — so I could justly call this a half marathon.

My time wasn’t anytime to call home about — but 3:22 in that weather (including my last mile) and getting myself lost and all — I am okay with the time. If anything it’s good ultra training for time on my feet. But, I just never want to run in this kind of weather again. It was tough — mentally and physically.

But, I am glad that I did it.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

I am excited for the races ahead of me. Especially my next race the Jackpot Running Festival happening in Las Vegas in February. I am doing the 12 hour run and hoping for 35 miles plus. I’ll blog more all about that.

But, for now, I am just going to focus on warming up and recovering from this cough. It never bothered me during the run, but once I got home and warm it’s been a beast. But, ’tis the season, I guess?



DAY 005/365 (Thursday, January 5, 2017): I FOUND IT! I’ve been on a #StarWars kick of late. I’ve rewatched all of the movies in the past couple weeks (that’s what happens when you have 11 days off work). Return of the #Jedi is still my favorite. Probably because I kinda remember it as a kid. Namely the characters like #Jabba and the Ewoks (there’s a band name). But, when I was a kid one of my EARLIEST memories was going to the #IceCapades at the old Salt Palace with my aunt and siblings to watch the #Ewoks on Ice. I remember being fascinated by the Ewoks and whole show. And, naturally had to have a souvenir of the occasion. This pennant has been on my mind for a while namely because of the memory and the association it also has with my late Aunt. I’m impressed at its’ condition. Though I probably will never sell it, I am kinda curious what it would fetch? Hmmm #day5 #january #2017 #365project #365days #photochallenge

A photo posted by Joshua Hansen (@josherwalla365) on

RACE #138: New Year’s Half Marathon (3:22:00), January 7, 2017. The race didn’t turn out exactly how I had hoped, I got my miles in and had an adventure and a half doing it. To save you the whole story, here is an abridged version. Ran in about 8 degree weather, got two miles off course, got a ride back to the start realizing I’d be doing 15.5 miles total if I kept course and then ran the remaining mile later. Sigh. It sounds more chaotic than it really was. I had a lot of fun running with Tammy for the first 7 miles. I ran solo the rest of the way, but probably shouldn’t have — considering I got lost. But, it was a good challenge. I’m looking forward to some warm miles on the treadmill and Olympic Oval next week. Now all I want to do is curl up my a space heater with an electric blanket while drinking got chocolate and dreaming of the Sahara Desert. ⛄️❄️⛄️❄️⛄️ #race138 #newyearshalf #running @joshruns180 @josherwalla @fit.phat

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


RUNNING MILES

10.00 miles

RACE MILES

13.1 miles

WALKING MILES

17.03 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

40.13 miles



A photo posted by The Runcast (@theruncast) on

RACE #135: The Haunted Half — Provo

After a week off from running and pretty much anything strenuous after my 50 miler, I hopped back into the saddle with the Haunted Half. This is my sixth Haunted Half (three in Provo and three in SLC) and I love these races. They’re always a party and just tons of fun. They’re a great race to cap off the racing season.

And, for the fifth time — I have also swept the course. In fact the only time I didn’t sweep the course was in 2013 when I ran the Haunted Half for the first time. And, as much I love both downhill courses in which I can fly down — I much prefer to sweep, because that’s where the real party is at.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

If I wasn’t sweeping this year’s course again, I am not sure if I would have ran it — mainly because of last week’s 50 miler. Then again as I am typing this, I’m totally lying to myself — I probably would still run it. I’d either go my pace or just joint the sweeping party in the back.

Anyways — my friends Jim and Jill — wanted to join the party and kind of see what it was like sweeping. They’ve heard about the number of races I’ve swept and really wanted to see if it was THAT much fun as I make it out to be. Of course I told them they could tag along (this invitation is out to anyone whenever I sweep).

Game plans for sweeping really vary according to the course and race. Some racing companies have very strict cut off times, some don’t and others are somewhere in between. And, this can vary even from race to race within the same race company.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

For instance sweeping Timp is much different than sweeping this race. Since we’re on public roads down the canyon in American Fork Canyon I have to be out of the canyon at a certain time. So my goal is to keep that pace and encourage runners who are behind that pace to keep up with me. If they can’t they’re bussed to the mouth of the canyon where they can resume the race.

Whereas here there isn’t a strict cutoff while in the canyon, because the majority of the race runs along the Provo River Trail where it doesn’t impede traffic. So the pace is less of a hard cut-off and more of “as fast as the slowest runner” approach. Which I like, because it gives you time to get to perfect strangers.

My plan for this race was to hold back after the gun time and let the masses go and then kind of fartlek the first 5-6 miles, especially since that’s usually the steepest part of the race. So most of the walking breaks would come when we caught up with the last of the runners ahead of us.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

When I don’t have to worry about a certain pace I don’t like interfering much with the runners. This is their race and I want them to enjoy it. I don’t like really letting my presence known until about the last half of the race if I can avoid it, because let’s be honest — no body wants to be caught by the sweeper.

I get that — I’ve been in the same boat. And, if someone says something to me, especially in the first half of the race I make sure they know I’m friendly and won’t sweep them off the course — and more than anything just want to be friends with them.

So the first 5-6 miles of the race was just spent fartleking along with Jill and Jim. And, we had a blast! Jim was dressed as Bat Bacon — and was definitely the life of the party. Cyclists, runners and walkers along the trail couldn’t help but smile seeing this giant piece of bacon dressed as Batman trudging along the trail.

A photo posted by Joshua Hansen (@fight4phat) on

We stopped for pictures along the way — many of Bat Bacon in superimposed snapshots — and countless others of the skeletons and signs along the course. Many in which we dressed up with some of our gear or anything laying around that might add to the picture op.

It was fun.

At Mile 6 I caught up with JessicaSue whom I paced at the Salt Lake Haunted Half last year. I suspected that at some point we would catch up. She was running with her husband and a friend. When Jim, Jill and I caught up with her she was starting to have some calf issues.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

We yo-yo’d between her and a couple of other runners, but around miles 8-9 we ran exclusively with her party. I was impressed with her resolve and attitude through those last miles — it was tough on her. But, after dealing with similar issues last year I could see how much stronger she was this year in dealing with the pain.

The conditions for the race couldn’t have been better either. The weather was perfect for an October race. Probably a bit warmer than usual and running in a one-piece jumpsuit probably wasn’t the best choice for me. But, it was what it was and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

Jill and Jim were invaluable in helping JessicaSue and the party alone the course. Jim provided the music and comic relief while Jill brought her insight and perspective to help JessicaSue process and deal with the pain. They might not have been “official” sweepers, but they were every bit invaluable.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

One we were out of the canyon we had about three miles left and we just gutted it out. I was so proud of JessicaSue. It wasn’t easy. Even I was having issues with my legs around this point just from my 50 the week before. It was a lot of time spent on my feet.

But, the focus was simple — get to the finish line. And, we did step by step, mile by mile. It wasn’t easy, but we made it.

Tricia and the Runtastic crew were fantastic to us. They left the famous pumpkin arch up until we got to the finish line. And, we were greeted by ice cold water and food. I couldn’t have asked for better hospitality. They really put the runner first and made sure we all got the same treatment.

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

It was great being able to pace JessicaSue again and do so with Jill and Jim. My legs were very fatigued, which I guess is kind of expected being out there on the course for over five hours. But, I tried keeping it into perspective — it was great ULTRA training for my race this weekend.

Plus, half way through the race I started fantasizing about ice baths and ibuprofen. So on my way home I took a pit stop to the gas station to get a couple of bags of ice and treated myself to painfully wonderful ice bath once I got home. Between that and the Ibuprofen it absolutely helped relieve the pain.

All in all, it’s another race underneath my belt, but it was also a great reminder to me on why I do this. I love pacing. It’s not always easy, but it is one of the most rewarding things about running to me. And, anything worth doing is never easy.

A photo posted by Joshua Hansen (@fight4phat) on

I knew it was going to be tough being my first run after my 50 miler, but it was great preparation for this weekend’s 50K. Not just physically, but mentally. I want to get one more run and another good workout this weekend before my race — and I feel like I’ll be okay for my race.

I mean, I know I can do it. I’m not worried about that. I’m just worried about having fresh legs.

But, the season is winding down. I have a couple more race before the end of the year and I plan on focusing on strength training in December and most of January before refocusing on running again. But, that’s all a post for another day.

YEAH RUNNING! YEAH PACING! YEAH HALLOWEEN!


136-buffalo-50k

I sometimes question my sanity. Okay, I often question my sanity. Well, okay, I always question my sanity. I mean who follows up a 50 miler with a 50K a couple of weeks after the 50 miler? Idiot runners that’s who.

And, as idiotic as it sounds — I can’t be any more excited. I love the longer distances. I love the trails. I love the challenges. I love the scenery. I love the community. I just love, love, love the goal and task at hand.

The goal is to simply finish like all of my races over 26.2 miles. But, I do want to do better than last. I ran the 50K in ten hours — I want to do better than that. I’m not in a position to say for certain if that’s going to be by a couple of hours or couple of minutes? I just want to do better than last year.

I will be running this by myself — well, without Tim or Jason. So I am not sure what that will do? It will be a good challenge for me and I am excited to just do my best and enjoy the ride. Is there anything else to it?

But, after this race, as I’ve mentioned before, I am planning on focusing more on the weight and strength training to give my legs some rest and focus on getting stronger so my training in the spring can be better. I feel like I’m in a good place and I can’t wait to balance things out a bit more even.

137 - thankful 13 138 - resolution run139-st-george



2667in2016

RUNNING MILES

251.55 miles

RACE MILES

368.98 miles

WALKING MILES

1254.83 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

1875.36 miles



A photo posted by The Runcast (@theruncast) on

RACE #134: Pony Express 50 Mile Trail Run

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

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

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

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

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

My rules were simple —

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

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

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

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

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

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

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

A photo posted by Joshua Hansen (@fight4phat) on

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

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

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

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

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

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

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

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

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

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

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

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

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

So I just trudged along.

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

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

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

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

Mile 42.5
Mile 43.0
Mile 43.5
Mile 44.0
Mile 44.5

It was brutal.

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

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

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

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

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

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

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

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

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

A photo posted by Joshua Hansen (@fight4phat) on

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

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

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

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

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

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

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

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

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

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

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

A photo posted by Joshua Hansen (@fight4phat) on

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

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

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

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

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

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

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

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

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

I think my ultra turned me into a cat?

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

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

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

And, I did.

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

But, it can be done.

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

Because I did it.

I did it.

I did it.

I did it!


135 - haunted half provo

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on


2667in2016

RUNNING MILES

250.55 miles

RACE MILES

355.88 miles

WALKING MILES

1224.97 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

1831.4 miles


A photo posted by The Runcast (@theruncast) on