Category: Race Report

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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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.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

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.

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

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.

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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

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RUNNING MILES

10.00 miles

RACE MILES

13.1 miles

WALKING MILES

17.03 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

40.13 miles



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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