Category: Running Week

RACE #142: Lucky 13 Half Marathon

This race was an audible. I was originally planning on running the Antelope Island Buffalo Run 25K, but due to some time sensitive family obligations on Saturday I decided to scratch the 25K for the shorter race. As hard as it was to give up a trail race, I couldn’t be gone a good chunk of the day.

So, luckily, I found the Lucky 13 Half Marathon and changed course. The race starts at Gardner Village in West Jordan and is a fairly simple out and back course along the Jordan River Parkway Trail. Joe Coles and On Hill Events do a series of races at Gardner Village and this was the first one I’ve been able to run.

The race started at 9am and packet pickup was from 7:30-8:30am so I decided to volunteer and help Joe. Doing the volunteer coordinating for Runtastic Events I like to volunteer for other races to see how they do things — from communication, assigning to certain jobs and general use.

The race was rather small — there were 200 runners. Most were running the 5K, but a good chunk ran the 10K while only 50 ran the half marathon. I don’t mind small races at all — in fact, in some situations I kind of prefer it. Especially factoring on the course. And, since we were running on the Jordan River Parkway — it was a good size.

Starting off the race I didn’t really have a game plan since I registered a couple days before. I wanted to push for a sub-three, which I felt was possible. But, honestly, didn’t know for 100% because of the back issues have been having the past three weeks. My running hasn’t been ideal and my miles lower than I would like.

But, I was going to try for it anyway.

Fighting through the crowd of runners soon thinned out as the 5K and 10K runners got to their turnarounds. I wasn’t sure if anyone was behind once it was just us half marathoners left running south on the course. But, I didn’t care. I was just focused on putting one foot in front of the other and giving it a good effort.

I was feeling pretty good during the first half of the race. There was a bit of a headwind, but nothing like two weeks ago at the March Madness Half. I figured once I turned around I’d get a nice tailwind — which would help PUSH me a bit to my sub-three time goal.

Once I got to the turnaround Steven MacKay, a fellow runner from Run4fun, was directing us to make sure we made the turnaround. Once I started heading northward I noticed I was the last runner. But, I wasn’t completely isolated, there were a couple of runners just ahead of me.

I was a few hundred yards behind the runner just ahead of me and I could tell he was starting to struggle around mile eight or so with frequent walk breaks. I kept focusing on him in an attempt to catch up and possibly pass him. I knew I could do it, but I just had to be smart about it.

Around this time Steven caught up with me. After his volunteer post was complete he ran the last stretch of the race to get his miles in for the day. Since there weren’t any pacers for this race Steven decided to bring us runners in — and I’m thankfully he did. The company was much appreciated.

This was the first time meeting Steven in person, but we’ve been acquainted through Run4fun and Facebook. But, our running journeys hold many similarities with our weight loss and fitness back stories and it was nice talking about that — it helped me keep distracted from the fatigue and heat.

Yes, heat.

The temperature starting the race was quite nice. It was around 55-60 degrees at 9am, but by the time I reached the last couple of miles it reached at least 70 degrees. I was baking.

I tore off my monkey hat and was nearly tempted to throw my shirt off as well — but, then I remembered there were decency laws about that. So the shirt stayed on.

But, it was hot. And, it zapped me. Completely zapped.

By this time Steven and I caught up with the runner ahead of us. Steven stayed with him while I forged ahead. We didn’t separate much the last mile or so, but I was motivated to just stay ahead. I didn’t care much if I finished last — but, I wasn’t going to do it without a fight.

Plus, I knew I was going to be cutting my time goal REALLY short. I wasn’t sure if I was going to meet it or not. But, mile 12.5 mile of a half, that feels like you’re running through an Easy Bake Oven, isn’t a good time to math. Well, there’s never a good time to do math — but, especially in THIS moment.

So, I just kept one foot in front of the other and pushed myself as much as I could. That was pretty much all I could anyways. Anything more or less felt like it would kill me.

Once I got back to Gardner Village, the course wound back to the finish line. I always get the urge to sprint at any finish line, but there wasn’t anything else in the tank. I was on empty. I crossed the finish line, got some water and an orange and just collapsed.

I was done.

Shortly after Steven and the last runner crossed the finish line as I just sat there fatigued out of mind. I was not prepared for that heat. And, those last two miles were brutal for me. But, I was done and that’s what mattered.

I checked my time and noticed I didn’t get my wanted time. I came in at 3:01:24. Obviously, not my best time. But, it was still better than my last two half marathons — so I guess that’s a win?

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While chewing on that unmet goal I was always informed that I actually PLACED in my age group. Which immediately changed my mood. My reaction was a mixture of laughing and astonishment. I’ve never placed at any race before — 5K, 10K, half marathon, marathon and beyond.

Now, let’s not forget that there were 50 half marathon runners so my odds were more than above average to place. But, I run smaller races and didn’t even SNIFF the podium. Considering I am 35 — that’s a prime running age. I just always assumed that I’d place at races I’d run once I hit 70.

I don’t take the placement lately. In order to place — I still have to show up. I still have to run. And, I still have to finish the race. So, it’s not like it was just GIVEN to me. I earned it.

But, I am ready to put in some better half marathon training in the next few months. I don’t want to be stuck around this 3 hour mark much longer. I know I’ve got it in me to run faster. Much faster. And, with my health starting to get under control I know I’ll get there.

But, I have some big goals in front of me, so I am going to be pin point with my plan. And, I’ll blog more on all of that later. I am focusing on next week’s loooooooong ultra training run and then back to racing with the Emigration Canyon Half Marathon on April 1st. I won’t lie, I’m looking forward to some more downhill running.

ONWARD ‘HO!


NEXT FIVE RACES


I wish this bib meant I was eating lobster. #butnope #dentisttime

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RACE #142: Lucky 13 Half Marathon, March 18, 2017 (3:01:24) I did something for the first time EVER during this race! I placed! Yep! I made onto the podium! I came in third place for my age group! Now, before you oh and awe too much over this accomplishment … 50 people ran the half. BUT … I’ve run smaller races and didn’t even sniff the podium. It was a tough race. It got unusually hot for a March race here in Utah and my last two miles was a death shuffle … but, I made it 3:01:24 and I placed! I wish I sub-three’d, but I felt great about my effort. I’m eager to get faster and with one more 50K happening by next month it’ll slowly happen. On to the next one! Emigration Canyon or BUST! #lucky13half #race142 #running @joshruns180 @josherwalla @onhillevents

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Helping move my cousin has me in a mood for a game of Tetris™. #tetrismaster

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Weekly Review

Another tough week for me, but I got most of my mobility back with a massage and continued work on my back. I am trying to be patient so I don’t come back too fast and too strong — I am healing my back for the long term. Especially my long term goals. I am going to up my miles a bit this week capped off with a 20 or so mile run on Saturday.

Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 3.0 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 25.41 miles
TOTAL MILES — 41.51 miles
Race(s) this week — Lucky 13 Half Marathon.

March 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 20.5 miles
Race Miles — 26.2 miles
Walking Miles — 66.71 miles
TOTAL MILES — 113.41 miles
Races in March — March Madness Half and Lucky 13 Half Marathon.

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 136.65 miles
Race Miles — 96.12 miles
Walking Miles — 214.94 miles
TOTAL MILES — 447.71 miles
Races done in 2017 — New Year’s Half Marathon, Sweethearts 5K, Jackpot Running Festival, SL Tri Club Indoor Half, March Madness Half and Lucky 13 Half Marathon.



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Ode to Big Cottonwood Canyon …

I love Big Cottonwood Canyon. I’m pretty sure I’ve said that a million times on this blog. The proximity, scenery and elevation drop is bar none. Well, I shouldn’t say bar none, because Little Cottonwood Canyon, American Fork Canyon and even Emigration Canyon can give it a run for its’ money. But, when it comes down to it all, Big Cottonwood Canyon is the one that’s getting the last rose.

I’ve been looking forward to this past weekend’s run for WEEKS! And, I mean WEEKS! So when I threw my back out last Monday I was nervous I’d have to skip this run. But, I did some slow miles, lots of stretching and core work to help strengthen that back. All that fun stuff.

But, I really didn’t want to miss this run — besides, I was the one who set it up in the first place. It’d be like not showing up to your own party. Luckily, I made it! And, there was a great turnout.

Most of us met at the Park n’ Ride at the mouth of the canyon at 6:30am before carpooling up. There were a couple other groups that either went at 5:30am (sooooooo early) and a few later than the main group. It was a lot of fun to get everyone together and social offline.

I wasn’t sure what mileage I wanted to do — with the factors of my back, recent race schedule, future race schedule and the like — I kinda decided somewhere between 8-10. That seemed like a good number. But, I didn’t really decide until I got to the Park n’ Ride when my friend Camille said she was doing nine miles. That seemed liked a good comparison (smack in the middle), plus I always like running Camille.

At 6:45am we jumped in the car and carpooled up the canyon. We dropped off a few at 8 miles, but the rest of us went up the extra mile. After a little more stretching of the back we headed down the canyon back to our cars.

For the first couple of miles I kept up with Camille pretty good, but I was slowing down. Part of it was my back, but it was more of a combination of my tired legs and this being my first downhill run of the year. I knew my speed wasn’t going to keep me up with Camille so I sent her ahead.

After Camille left I just plugged in my music and just zoned out. I focused not necessarily on my pace, but just not walking. I had to walk a couple stretches — not out of fatigue, but I just didn’t know if it was icy (there was actually only one sketch stretch that was icy). The last thing I needed was to fall with my back.

Even though I wasn’t as fast as I wanted — I didn’t really care. I’ve been ultra training all winter so of course I am going to still be rather slow. After the Salt Flats 50K I’ll have more time to do some speed work — speed work that will focus on doing really well at the Revel Big Cottonwood Half in September. If you’re wondering — that’s the goal. There’s a lot that will and is going into that training, but that’s a post for another day.

Anyways — the nine miles down were beautiful as ever. The beauty of this canyon is breathtaking and is one reason I love running it. Whether it’s the Vigor Big Cottonwood Half, Drop13 Half or the Revel Big Cottonwood Marathon — I hate missing those races, because they’re fast and gorgeous.

I am not able to run the Vigor Big Cottonwood Half again this year, but I am excited because they have a trail series of half marathons starting this year. They’ve had smaller distances, but not the half — until this year. There are three throughout the summer and I am signed up for the one in August.

I can’t wait!

Seriously, the excitement is ridiculously high.

I really enjoyed the run. It was great being around so many great friends. I absolutely love the running community, especially here in Utah. There are so many runners who inspire and motivate me to do my best. I feel extremely lucky and blessed.

Moving onto next week — I have my 25K next week on Antelope Island. I’m rather giddy about this one for a few reasons — one, IT’S TRAIL and, two, IT’S TRAIL! I get to break out my Trekking poles, douse myself in bison repellant and enjoy an aid station full of M&M’s, salted potatoes and Nutella tortilla wraps.

Trails speak my language.

Plus, I have a number of friends running the 100 and 50 miler so I might stay for a little after my race to encourage them along. The dangerous part about doing that is the more time I spend watching these amazing runners tackle 100 miles — the more it makes me to tackle that distance too.

I’m crazy, but am I that crazy?!

Please don’t answer that.

Anyways, ANTELOPE ISLAND OR BUST, BABY!


Weekly Review

It was a tough week for miles. After throwing my back out on Monday at the Dentist office — the week was used stretching out the back and doing lighter workouts. I got about five miles of sloooooow miles in during the week. Just enough to keep my back lose.

I was worried about being able to run the group run, but manage a good — but, slow — 9 miles down Big Cottonwood. I didn’t want to overdo it because of my race this weekend out on Antelope Island. I am running the Buffalo Run 25K. I’ll be on my feet for a while during that race — so, the focus is this week will be lower mileage and continuing to stretch my back out.

Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 14.0 miles
Race Miles — 0.0 miles
Walking Miles — 21.97 miles
TOTAL MILES — 35.97 miles
Races this week — None.

March 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 17.5 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 41.3 miles
TOTAL MILES — 71.9 miles
Races in March — March Madness Half and Antelope Island 25K.

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 133.65 miles
Race Miles — 83.02 miles
Walking Miles — 189.53 miles
TOTAL MILES — 406.2 miles
Races done in 2017 — New Year’s Half Marathon, Sweethearts 5K, Jackpot Running Festival, SL Tri Club Indoor Half and March Madness Half.


I tried to convince Dave to get this shirt. But, he declined. At least for meow. #walmartventures

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It’s National Dentist Day … naturally, I’d be celebrating it here. #nationaldentistday

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Sadly, none of these dispense cotton candy. #nationaldentistday

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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 #140: Salt Lake Tri Club Indoor Half Marathon

Going into this race, I really didn’t know what to expect coming off my ultra the week prior. Well, okay that’s not entirely true. I knew it was going to suck and that there was a 95% chance that it’d hurt.

And — well — I was right.

It was tough. It was doable. But, it was tough.

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I also came in dead last, which really didn’t surprise me. This was a small, small race and done in junction with a triathlon as well. I am not sure how many runners did just the half marathon, but I’d estimate MAYBE 50?

Either way, I wasn’t coming into this race looking to hit a certain mileage, I just wanted to finish — and then of course my usual goals of not dying, pooping my pants and uncontrollably crying (also known as “losing my shiz”) half way through the race. I really just wanted to finish and hopefully not have my legs kill too much afterwards.

When I got to the Oval my friend Jim was there already putting miles in for his marathon training. He’s training for the LA Marathon so he’s got plenty of looooooong runs needing to be done. It was nice having him around because he’s always a great conversationalist and when I’m hurting I need a conversation to keep me distracted form the pain.

The race started at 8am — along with a number of pacers. Something I had a hard time wrapping my head around because they were all just running around in circles. I kept up with the 2:45 pacers for a few laps, but I’m not really sure I was on their lap? And, then I followed the 3:00 pacers before doing another lap with the 2:45 pacers — all while having brief conversations with the 2:30 and faster pacers. I lost track of where I was and just counted laps.

But, it was nice because a number of my friends were pacing it. And, apparently after talking to a couple of them, they all came in on time. Which seemed somewhat impossible to me as an observer. LOL!

The last 15-20 laps I was joined periodically by Jim, but also my friend Chad. I was grateful to have both there, because at this time I was really hurting. I needed 47 laps for the race, but when I hit the half way mark I needed to recalibrate. And, having Chad and Jim there really helped A LOT.

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I focused on my walk:run lap ratio — walked one, ran three — and just distracting myself with conversation. It’s really a tactic I’ve learned in my ultra running, especially in my training at the Oval and at the race last week. I really dumb down the running and just focus on the basics. Forget about the pace or speed — essentially, I just run … stupid.

So, I ran stupid.

And, I did it.

Like I said, it was tough. Even right now as I am typing this my feet and legs hurt. They’re pretty sore. But, I did it. And, that’s all that matters.

(NOTE: I was informed that I wasn’t the LAST runner in the half marathon. Whoever it was — ROCK ON!)


MY NEXT FIVE RACES


So does your office stapler look like Robocop? Didn’t think so. #robocopstapler

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RUNNING MILES

112.15 miles

RACE MILES

69.92 miles

WALKING MILES

142.03 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

325.1 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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More miles going around in circles …

I’m kinda ready for this winter thing to pass. Seriously. Being regulated to treadmill and indoor track running is starting to make me slightly nutty.

Well, okay, that wasn’t what made me nutty. And, that’s a whole post for another day. There’s simply no time to explain that all today.

Anywho … I’m just ready for spring. I don’t run outside in the snow or in below freezing temperatures — there’s too much risk for me to biff it (which I am known to do). My body really doesn’t do well in the cold anyways — so staying inside is best for me. For now. But, I am really itching for some spring weather.

Since last weekend’s long treadmill run was an emotional disaster for me. I decided the treadmill was out for my long run. I’ve survived a few two miles run. But, I just don’t feel like I have 15, 10 or 5 miles on the treadmill in me.

I just don’t.

I didn’t have a specific distance or time goal for me this weekend. Should I have? Good question. But, since race day is about three weeks away, I knew I needed somewhere around 10-20 miles. But, after already have a number of 20 and 15 mile long runs — I felt like I could afford a long distance run based on feel.

Since I was anticipating the first weekend in February to be rather cold and snowy — I decided to run at the Olympic Oval again. Running the Oval can be rather monotonous, but I actually really like it during the winter. You can lose yourself in the laps and just run. Much, much easier than running on the treadmill.

I really feel like I have to work to distract myself on a treadmill. On a track you’re actually going somewhere — granted in circles — but you are going somewhere. Plus, if you’re running with other people you’ve got actual conversation — which is the key to surviving track running.

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Anywho … a number of running friends and I showed up at the Olympic Oval at 6am to run the track. The track was open from 6-10am in the morning because there was a track meet from 10am-1pm. Knowing this kind of ruled out a 20 mile run for me. But, I knew in the four hours or so I could knock out where between 13-15 miles.

So that was kind of the goal.

I wasn’t worried much about time or distance. Like all of my ultrarunning — I just wanted to do my best and focus on effectively using the time on my feet to it’s best use. So I loaded up my Spotify playlist with my music and just decided to go for it.

The track was rather busy, besides being joined in the morning with Robert Merriman, Jimbo, Karen, Tine and others — there was a big ROTC training or testing going on as well. A good hundred or so cadets were on the track doing a mile and high testing. I wasn’t envious. It really reminded me of my mile and a half training in Junior High.

Not fun.

But, I had good conversation throughout the four hours. I spent a few laps with everyone and it was just fun to catch with them. It really made the time go by faster than usual.

I ended up cranking out 13 miles in three and a half hours. I felt good throughout the run. I felt stronger than my last run there. And, I think part of that is my diet. I have felt quite the difference the past couple of weeks. Especially this past week as I eliminated a few extra foods. But, I will post more about that later this week.

Anyways — I have the Sweetheart Days 5K next Saturday. I am running that with my niece. I am pretty excited to run it with her. This will be our second 5K since October. I might run 3-5 miles more at an easy pace to amp the miles up. But, we’ll see — I am hoping the weather is good so I can just do those miles outside. And, if that’s the case — SCORE!

But, with the Jackpot Running Festival in a couple of weeks I am just focusing on tapering a bit and just focusing on my workouts and diet. Since it is a timed race I am not worried about finishing, but I would like to run at least 35-40 miles in the allotted 12 hours. And, like my diet, more on all of that later this week — maybe even next week?

I am just getting excited to run and get into the swing of my spring races. It should (and by should, I mean it will) be a lot of fun.


So, um, my 5 year old niece adults better than me. #calliekoko #adultchild

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RUNNING MILES

81.0 miles

RACE MILES

13.1 miles

WALKING MILES

89.47 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

183.57 miles


Jackpot Running Festival

As I mentioned above my current training is pointing toward the Jackpot Running Festival in Las Vegas over President’s Day weekend. I am being joined by Jill for an epic ultra adventure. I seriously, I can’t wait.

This is a looped course. It’s a 2.38 mile loop around Railroad Lake — just outside of Henderson. Both Jill and I are signed up for the 12 hour race — meaning we have 12 hours to run as many miles as we want/can. Our goal is to not just run an ultra, but we want to get at least 35 miles in. I’d like to see if I could push 40 miles. But, we’ll see about that.

Anyways — we got an email this past week from the race with a video of the 2.38 looped course. It’s not the sexiest video out there on YouTube, but it got me really excited for the run. I have no doubt I will get to know the course quite intimately.

VEGAS OR BUST, BABY!


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