Category: 50 Miles

The Post Ultra Blues …

I love ultras.

But, I hate the ultra aftermath.

The recovery period. The aches. The pain. The questioning your sanity (well okay that’s an everyday occurrence). And, of course, the general blues.

I’ve accepted the ‘running blues’ — or whatever you want to call them — for pretty much anything over a marathon. The week after a long race I usually get into a funk for a couple days. Part of it is that I usually take 2-3 days extra to let my legs recover and that tends to make me somewhat cranky.

Anyways — that’s been me this week.

My hips and butt (I’m sure there’s a more couth way of saying that) have been hurting a bit longer than usual. I tried to shake it out on Tuesday and Wednesday and got a couple miles in — but, it was a bit too much, especially for the hips. Afterall, they don’t lie.

I even tried playing basketball last night, but ended up only playing for about five minutes in the first half. It was a close game and we had a deep bench, so I let the fresher legs have at it. It was fun just watching the game — which we ultimately won in the last minute.

As sore as I am — I already signed up for next year’s Jackpot Running Festival. That’s something funny about runners — even ultrarunners. We can be dying right after a 50, 100 or 200 mile run and ask when we can sign up for next year.

I swear we’re masochists at times.

But, I am looking forward to getting back into the swing of my runs and workouts next week. I do have a race this weekend — thankfully indoors — at the Olympic Oval. I am running the half marathon at the SL Track Club’s Indoor Tri. I am going to use the word ‘running’ loosely here. Especially if my hips are going to get sassy.

But, it’s all about moving forward. And, that’s what I am doing.

Step by step.


Not today Satan. Not today. #postultralegs

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Not today Satan. Not today. #postultralegs

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Not today Satan. Not today. #postultralegs

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Figuring this Hashimoto’s thing out …

It’s been an interesting couple of weeks for me. Besides figuring out this whole Hashimoto’s Disease out — I’ve been dealing with a beastly bout of bronchitis. I feel lucky it hasn’t been the flu, but that hasn’t stopped the fatigue of restless nights from coughing up a lung and a half.

I thought I was turning a corner after sleeping most all day on Sunday, but I ended up coughing all night Monday night and skipped work. It’s been frustrating, because I’ve wanted to get into a good rhythm with my workouts and runs. But, I don’t have the stamina or lungs for it — yet. And, I just need to be patient.

But, while I’m somewhat impatient to get back into my groove — I’ve really been focused on the adoption of my gluten and dairy free diet. It’s been tough. I won’t lie. I haven’t been as aware of labels and food content under any diet. But, this isn’t just a diet — this is my new lifestyle.

I wouldn’t say I have a specific diet down at this moment. To be honest with you I’m kind of trying things out to see what works best for me. I’ve been trying gluten-free breads and other foods to kind of see what I like. And, I won’t lie — not a huge fan of gluten-free bread — or at least what I’ve tried.

I’ve been sticking to a lot of what I ate while doing Whole 30 — and I think that’s where my focus will be mostly on my diet. Meaning, a lot of salad, steak and sweet potatoes — not to mention fresh fruit and veggies.

But, for now, I really want to see what I like and don’t like within the realm of gluten and dairy free foods.

One of the biggest omissions in this new lifestyle is that of cheese. I love cheese. I love it. And, I miss it. I’ve had some tips on vegan cheese that’s a good substitute. I haven’t tried those yet — but, I am sure I will get around to it. Especially when it comes to nachos.

Anyways — this is transition isn’t easy,

But, this week being sick and not able to get a whole blown workout regime in, I’ve had to focus on my diet. Which I think is a blessing in disguise, because focusing on just the food has helped me kind of further — process — what I am going through. Mainly, that this is a new lifestyle and my decision for food need to be precise.

Plus, I need to find that rhythm that works for me and I think I am getting that down a bit better. Not to mention changing my thought process so I’m not focusing on what I CAN’T eat and what I can or should so I can feel better.

I guess in a way, I’m approaching this like any other race or new distance. I’m starting it in slowly — learning, experimenting and doing — while mentally and physically preparing myself for the long haul. While there is no finish line to all of this, the mentality and approach is the same. This journey just happens to be longer than any race I’ve run before.

Anyways — I’ll keep updating you on all of this throughout the next few weeks and months. But, while my focus has been acclimating myself to the new diet, I’m also focusing on my training and fitness. I’ve got a few looooong runs and races coming up that I want/need to be ready to tackle.

This weekend I am running the Olympic Oval for 5-6 hours, hoping to get in a good 20-25 miles. I have the Jackpot Running Festival in about a month I want to get a couple more looooong runs in before I tackle the 12 hour race. And, since you won’t find me running outside right now with the air and weather — I’m taking it inside.

There is a group of runners meeting tomorrow morning at the Oval at 6am and — well — just running. We’re running circles around the ice sheet. It should be a lot of fun. There is quite a group gathering that should make it fun. It won’t be as big as the New Year’s Run Resolution, but it’ll be a party.

Besides Jackpot, I also have my self-supported 50 miler in March and the Salt Flats 50K in April. So, I’ve got some training to do. And, not that I am getting past this stupid cold and bronchitis — I’m feeling up for the challenge. Not to mention now that I am fueling myself even better.

LET’S DO THIS THING!

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This is Bananas …

Running has become a large part of who I am — a very large part. And, it’s something I want it be a part of me throughout my lifetime. When I made my goal to run 180 races by age 40 — I did so because I wanted running to be a challenge that took me a decade or so to acheive.

Well, I am 35 — going on 36 in August — and I am some 43 races away from that goal. I wouldn’t have anticipated five years ago that this is where I would be. There are many reasons why I love running and racing — but, that’s not what this post is about. Needless to say — I love to run and it has been life changing for me.

But, as I approach the completion of this goal, I am starting to look a beyond the goal. I am starting to ask myself — what’s next? Do I simply add more races to my goal? Do I make a goal to run 300 races by 40? Or 500 by 50? Or do I take another approach?

As much as I would love to add to my number goal, I’m feeling the pull to aspire to something else. For one, I want to eventually reach my goal of a running a sub-two half marathon. And, I can’t really do that when I am running 20-25 races a year.

I also want to run more. And, I am not talking about more races, but more longer races. I love the challenge of ultra races. Having three ultra marathons under my belt — I am beyond the point of guessing whether or not I can do such distances. Because, I know I can.

There is an appeal to me for these longer distances — not just during a race, but in a personal feat. I look at a number of local runners, specifically Cory Reese and his many self-sustained 100 milers — around a track, in the wilderness and in the Salt Lake and Utah Valleys. His craziness and approach to adventure speaks to me.

A couple years ago Cory ran from the Utah State Capital in Salt Lake City to Provo (50 miles) and back — for a crazy urban 100 miler. I was in awe and inspired. He was self-sustained through friends and convenience stores. The run included a number of Slurpee stops — which again speaks to me.

When Cory did this, I wanted to try something similarly “crazy.” Albeit, my kind of crazy. That’s why a few weeks ago I decided that I wanted to challenge myself to a similar goal of running from Salt Lake to Provo — just not back like Cory. It would essentially be a 50 mile run.

The concept and route will be somewhat similar to Cory’s route. I am planning on running down State Street in Salt Lake using convenience stores as my aid stations. Most likely 7 Elevens — because where else can I fuel up on Slurpees and bananas? I am planning on jotting over to Draper and Suncrest as I descend into Utah Valley and follow State Street and University Blvd. to the Provo Town Centre.

You can check out the map I made here. Of course that’s subject to change as I vet out that route a bit more.

But, I am inviting any and all of my friends to join me in the adventure whether it’s for all 50 miles — or a mile or two along the way. I want this to more so be a celebration of running and achievement than anything else. Plus, I think it will be a lot of fun with others involved.

If you’re interested in joining me, I’ve made a Facebook event for this adventure. I am doing it Saturday, March 25th. Which is subject to change dependent on the weather and a couple other factors. But, I am pretty set on that date.

Oh, and the name of the run?

This is Bananas!

I think that pretty much speaks for itself. Because, this run is bananas.

But, it will be fun and I can’t wait.

SO JOIN ME!

The Joshbys: Top 10 Race Medals of 2016

This past year I’ve run some 20+ races. Well, more like 25. I had a few 5K races in there as well. But, I’ve collected quite the cache of race medals in 2016. Lots of blingity bling.

As I have done the past couple of years I like to rank my favorites. There’s really no formula in my ranking. Other than what the medal means to me personally and whether or not I love the design.

I will admit that I am a sucker for big heavy medals. If I’m running 13.1 or more miles who doesn’t want a hunking piece of medal wrapped around their neck after the accomplishment? If I can’t feel the medal tugging on my neck than it’s not a very good medal.

Anyways, without any further adieu, here are my Top 10 race medals of 2016 …

1) Pony Express 50

Okay, this medal is tiny. The picture might make it appear bigger than it really is, but it’s pretty small. BUT — and that’s a big but — I love it. Not only do I like the simplistic design, but I love what it means to me.

I absolutely earned this medal. All 50 miles of the race. When I stare at this medal I think of all the training that went into this race and then all 50 miles of the race. I think of the miles spent running with Coach Blu, Jill and Jed. I think of the solo miles. And, the heaven and hell that was mile 45.

This medal has  is priceless to me and that’s what it earns the top spot of 2016.

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2) The Haunted Half

Okay, I’m a little biased about this race medal, because I had a hand in the design. But, seriously, I absolutely love the sugar skull medal. I love the size, the design and colors. They just pop. Their festive and everything you’d want in a fun Halloween medal.

But, I know I’m not alone on that assessment, I number of people who ran The Haunted Half loved the size and design. And, I think if I hadn’t ran my 50 this year this would have earned the top spot.

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3) Revel Big Cottonwood Marathon

I’ve always loved Revel’s race medals. I’ve ran the race since the inaugural race back in 2012 and each year the medals get better and better. This year’s medal is a true paperweight — classy and shiny.

I would race Revel races just for the medals, but they do a great job all around on their races — from the swag bags to race shirts to race logistics. A class organization that’s definitely portrayed through the race medal.

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4) Timp Half

Another paperweight medal. But, I love the Timp Half. I love the clean gold look and it really is a hefty medal. Plus, when I brought it home my niece thought I won an Olympic gold medal. I may or may not have corrected her.

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5) St. George Marathon

This was the third St. George Marathon that I’ve ran. And, quite honestly, I’ve grown to love the medals. They haven’t changed much since 2012. I remember getting handed it and thinking two things — “that’s small” and “did someone cut this out of a kitchen counter?”

But, you know what? After running the marathon a few extra times — I get it. It really embodies the marathon and surrounding area. The red rock feel is gorgeous AND each medal is different. They’re all unique, just like everyone’s race. No one race — or medal — is the same.

That’s why I’ll always love these medals.

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6) Ogden Half Marathon

Ogden has had some pretty awesome medals in the past. The past few years they’ve gotten heavier and bigger — which is good. My favorite is still the gold medal from 2013 and this one is good too. Not their best, but whenever I look at this medal I’ll always remember my experience swimming to the finish line.

Then again, I’ll have a similar experience pretty much everytime I look at any of my Ogden race medals.

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7) Bountiful Handcart Days Half Marathon

The Handcarts Days Half will always hold a special place in my heart (it was my first half). And, thankfully, over the years their medals have gotten better and better. I really liked last year’s race medal, but this one is awesome as well.

I love the pioneer spoke and colors. I’m not a HUGE fan of very colorful medals (unless designed well), because they can go overboard. But, I like the muted colors that go with the pioneer theme quite well.

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8) AF Canyon Race Against Cancer

I love the size of the AF medal, but compared to last year’s medal — it’s a tad too busy. I do love the colors — blue and green — they pop well together. Still a very solid medal, but I love the simple AF logo medal from last year. Which ranked higher than this year’s medal.

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9) Ragnar Relay Wasatch Back

RAGNAAAAAAR!!! I love all of my Ragnar medals. I love the amount of detail put into each one. My biggest gripe (if you would want to call it that) is that shape of the medal. It’s not balanced very well and sits on your neck kinda crooked. Still one of my favorites compared to year’s past.

The other thing I love about these is how each medal has a saying that is revealed when your team puts their medals together. That is really cool. And, really hits on the team aspect of Ragnar.

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10) Red Rock Relay Park City

This is a solid medal. I love the simple clean look. I love monochrome medals and this is definitely monochrome. I do wish the the imprint of the medal was a bit more definitive. It becomes a bit too difficult to make out the design in certain light.

But, other than that — I love this medal and the memories associated with it. It is a cherished.

A photo posted by Joshua Hansen (@fight4phat) on

Changes once again to my 2017 race schedule …

I think it’s becoming a near reoccurring theme that my 2017 race schedule keeps changing. And, well, it is. Because, that’s what it’s been like for me the past couple of years. But, it’s really shaping up to where I want/like it. I want to train hard during the winter months and then lightening out with half marathons come June/July-ish.

Plus, I want to maintain my ultra training as much as I can. And, to help with that I have signed up for a couple of trail races and ultras. I have two marathons planned for next year, but I am debating on the DesNews Marathon or Half Marathon in July still. It was my first marathon and that was five years ago. I kinda feel the desire to run it. But, I’m really leaning towards no — July marathons suck. Too hot.

But, I feel good about my race schedule from January to June at least.

Anyways — here is what I’ve got right now …

139. St. George Half Marathon; January 14, 2017
140. Salt Lake Tri Club Indoor Half Marathon; February 25, 2017
141. March Madness Half Marathon; March 4, 2017
142. Antelope Island Buffalo Run 25K; March 18, 2017
143. Emigration Canyon Half Marathon; April 1, 2017
144. Salt Flats 50K; April 28, 2017
145. Tulip Festival Half Marathon; April 29, 2017
146. Vigor Big Cottonwood Half Marathon; May 13, 2017
147. Ogden Marathon; May 20, 2017
148. Ragnar Relay: Wasatch Back; June 2-3, 2017
149. Utah Valley Marathon; June 10, 2017
150. AF Canyon Race Against Cancer; June 24, 2017
151. Canyon to Canyon Half Marathon; July 8, 2017
152. Deseret News Half Marathon; July 24, 2017
153. Utah Midnight Run; August 11, 2017
154. Nebo Half; August 26, 2017
155. Revel Big Cottonwood Half Marathon; September 9, 2017
156. Park City Trail Half Marathon; September 16, 2017
157. Haunted Half SLC; October 21, 2017
158. Haunted Half Provo; October 28, 2017
159. Mt. View Trail Half Marathon; November 4, 2017
160. Thankful 13; November 23, 2017

So, yeah, let’s see if that holds.

From Ponies to Buffalo …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yup, another ultra.

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

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

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

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

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

Missed opportunity.

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

So Ultra #3 is on it’s way!

ANTELOPE ISLAND OR BUST, BABY!


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RACE #134: Pony Express 50 Mile Trail Run

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

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

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

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

My rules were simple —

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

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

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

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

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

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

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

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

So I just trudged along.

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

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

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

Mile 42.5
Mile 43.0
Mile 43.5
Mile 44.0
Mile 44.5

It was brutal.

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

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I think my ultra turned me into a cat?

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

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

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

And, I did.

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

But, it can be done.

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

Because I did it.

I did it.

I did it.

I did it!


135 - haunted half provo

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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2667in2016

RUNNING MILES

250.55 miles

RACE MILES

355.88 miles

WALKING MILES

1224.97 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

1831.4 miles


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