Category: Marathon

It’s time to bet big … on myself

“I don’t like to gamble, but if there’s one thing I’m willing to bet on, it’s myself.”

Beyoncé

When I started running, I had no idea where I was going. I started because I wanted to lose weight and I knew it would help me in that goal. But, beyond that, I had no idea where it was taking me?

Less than a year into my weight-loss journey my trainer, Kevin, challenged me to run a 5K in the midst of a plateau. He gave it to me as a challenge to work towards. So, I put in the work and ran my first 5K. It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t fast. But, I did it.

But, then something happened. I looked at my results and said — “I can do better.” So, I set out to train for another 5K. One that I could run that would be faster and much, much prettier. And, I did.

So, I just kept running trying to improve. This lead not just in the desire to run faster, but longer. Soon, I had my eye on a 10K which naturally lead to a half marathon.

Training for my first half marathon — I thought THIS would be it. This is the crowning achievement of my running career. The thought of running any further — especially a marathon — was unfathomable. I wasn’t a REAL runner, so I couldn’t possibly do that.

Well, after I ran my first half marathon in July 2011, I ran another and another and another. I got faster and actually enjoyed running 13.1 miles — then I started entertaining the thought of doubling that mileage.

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And, before I knew it I was registered for a marathon. A FREAKING MARATHON! That race distance that only REAL runners run.

Once again, I thought this would be my crowning achievement in running. When I crossed the finish line I could cross off the accomplishment on my bucket list and go back running half marathons, 10Ks and 5Ks. But, then something happened — I signed up for more marathons. And, before I knew it, I had run a total of three marathons by the end of the year.

By this time I had a goal to reach 180 races by age 40. So, I kept training and running. Along the way, not only did I enjoy the accomplishment of racing, but I made countless friends and created many enduring friendships. Running was changing my life in nearly every faucet of my life.

But, it hasn’t always been a smooth ride. It’s been quite tough at times, actually. Whether it was dealing with my Mom’s breast cancer, the death of close family members or battling my own health issues — the common denominator has always been — running.

Running wasn’t a way to escape reality, but a time I could deal with reality. Running gave me time to process the challenges. It gave me moments of reflection, motivation and inspiration. It was leading me where I wanted to go.

Nearly three years ago I started having problems with my thyroid once again. The health issues took me through a roller coaster of emotions. It was frustration being as active as I was — and feeling fatigued and slower. Not only that but I was slowly gaining weight after a years of maintenance.

But, I didn’t let (or want) those issues to stop me. They couldn’t stop me. I had a goal at hand. Plus, I knew if I stopped I would signaling the white flag of defeat — which I could never do.

So, I just kept running.

I was much slower. And, it took a harder toll on my body, especially in regards to my stamina. But, I was now one of the last runners to finish, but I kept going.

Around this time I looked for ways to keep me motivated. I knew just running wasn’t enough. I had to do something new — something that scare and motivate me all in one.

And, since I knew I wasn’t getting faster, I started looking at longer distances — ultra races. I knew a number of ultra runners who spent their weekends in Utah’s backyard and it always appealed to me. But, running anything longer than a marathon didn’t.

That lack of appeal eventually subsided and I found myself registered and committed to running a 50K. So, despite everything going on with my health — I trained for the 50K around a schedule of marathons and long runs. It wasn’t easy, but I did what I needed to do to prepare myself for the race.

When race day came I was lucky enough to run with some great friends that helped me get through those 30-something miles on Antelope Island. The last half of the race was spent trying to meet cut-off times, dodging stubborn bison and battling the dark after my headlamp died.

But, I made it. And, I earned the title of ultra runner.

The accomplishment felt like crowning accomplishment of my running journey. After spending over 10 hours running 30 miles of dirt trails — I couldn’t think of any reason why any sane person would do anything longer.

Then I remembered — I wasn’t sane.

Within a few months I got talked into running a 50 miler. I wish I could say it took a lot of convincing, but it didn’t. It was the first time I formally met Blu Robinson and Jed Jensen from Addict II Athlete and they casually talked about the 50 miler like a novice runner would about a 5K.

And, like any long distance race I’ve run, I found myself registered and committed to running the Pony Express Trail 50 Miler. The biggest selling point was that each runner was required to be assisted throughout the race. Meaning, I had a car stalking me — stocked full of fuel, water and food throughout the whole race. This basically translated to me that I wouldn’t die.

My training for the 50 miler was no joke. It was tough. I did a number of 20 milers, including one on a treadmill in the middle of the night. Not to mention a number of marathons specifically laid out to help prepare me for my 50 miler.

Once race day came I just focused on putting one foot in front of the other. I relied on my training and just focused on the goal at hand — getting to the finish line.

There were a lot of ups and downs — physically, emotionally and even spiritually. But, after nearly 17 and a half hours — I got to the finish line. I reached my goal — I ran a 50 mile race. I did something I felt at times nearly impossible, even just days before the race.

But, I made it.


“If you think you can — you can!”

Ronald Reagan

I really fell in love with the longer distances — for a number of reasons. Not only did I love the physical challenge, but I really learned a lot about myself. I learned a lot about pain. Because that happens a lot during an ultra race.

I never cried as freely and openly as I did at mile 45 of my 50 miler. But, I learned how to process the pain I was feeling — and control it. Being able to manage and control pain is a remarkable feat and I believe a true test of one’s character. Ultra races were becoming great teachers to me.

Since that 50 miler, I have run a couple more ultra races. A couple weeks after that 50 miler I ran the Antelope Island 50K once again (cutting off nearly an hour on my time — mind you!), in February I ran 40 miles in 12 hours at the Jackpot Ultra Running Festival in Las Vegas and then there was my ill-fated Salt Flats 50K that I DNF’d last weekend. But, if I didn’t fall ill with the flu I would have tackled that beast!

My favorite ultra race so far has been the Jackpot Running Festival, I like the idea of a timed race on a looped course with the goal to see how many laps you can do within that time. Not only do you get an aid station every two miles or so, but you’re literally competing with no one else — but, yourself.

Jackpot has a number of timed races — a 6, 12, 24 and 48 hour race. They also had a 100 miler, marathon, half marathon, 10K and 5K, but most of the runners did one of the four timed courses. The winner of the 48 hour race managed over 210 miles.

Yeah, you read that right.

In fact there were nearly 30 runners who ran over 100 miles, including six runners who ran over 150 miles. Mind boggling numbers if you ask me.

I read all of these results as my legs were still recovering from my 40 mile run — and I couldn’t shake the feeling that “I could do this” from my conscience. Every time I dismissed the thought — it just came back stronger. Even when I reminded myself of the pain I experienced at mile 45 of my 50 miler — the feeling remained.

So, I did the only logical thing that came to mind — I signed up for the 48 hour race in 2018.

Yup.

I signed up to run my first 100 mile race.

Typing this makes it feel very surreal to me, even a couple months after doing so. I am running a 100 miles. The thought makes me want to pee my pants out of sheer terror and excitement all in one emotion.

I’ve kept my registration relatively private since February. I’ve told a couple of close friends and family members. Heck, this is the first that my parents are hearing of this news. It’s just been a lot to process and this is a HUGE goal and milestone for me.

I still have my doubts about my ability. And, I am sure others do too. Heck, my parents definitely do, because their fear of my running is that one day my legs will fall off.

But, I have to at least try. I have too.

I have to try.

I have to try.

I have to try.

I’ve journied so far from my first 5K — heck, from the couch itself — that I can’t stop myself now without trying. To borrow a phrase from a favorite song of mine, “If you never try you’ll never know, just what you’re worth.” (Fix You, Coldplay).

When I stepped on the scale back in 2009 to start my weight-loss journey, I started the journey accepting failure — and success. I didn’t know where my decision that day would lead me. I accepted the consequences to my decision to LIVE my life. And, it’s lead me here.

I don’t see this decision any different. I am accepting the possibility of failure with the determination of success. I don’t know what lays ahead for me in the next nine months — but I’m going to find out. I’ve got a training plan in the works that I fill will give me the chance of success come February.

The motto for the Jackpot Ultra Running Festival is “BET BIG. RUN LONGER” — it’s something that’s on their shirts and medals. And, it’s something that I took to heart during my run this past February — especially since I signed up for the 48 hour race.

I feel like I am betting big with this goal. I am betting big on myself. Because, this is a gamble. There’s no guarantee of success, but there’s also no guarantee of failure either. So, I’ve got to place my bet.

But, unlike casino gambling, I can control more variables to my advantage. I can control my effort. I can control my training. I can control my preparations — both physically and mentally. And, I can control the odds come race day. But, with a goal like this, it’s going to take much more than this — in essence, I am not just betting big on myself — I’m going all in.

So, all in it is!

As a reminder of this goal and the needed commitment and dedication I’ve been running with a poker chip on me since I registered for the race. Every run — training and race — I run with it on me. I’ve tucked it in my pocket, but I really should make a necklace out of it to keep it on me better.

But, it’s just this little $100 souvenir poker chip that reminds me of not just the 100 mile goal at hand, but the bet I’ve placed upon myself. I might be a cheesy little emblem, but in the three months that I’ve been running with it — it’s been my reminder to keep going, keep pushing and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

I don’t dare say that this will be my one and only 100 miler. I’ve learned from my past that’s just a temporary lie I tell myself on occasion. But, I don’t know? And, I’m not worried about. My focus is simply on the journey in front of me.

This is a journey of a thousand miles. I know it will get daunting at times and there will be doubts. There will always be doubts. But, I know if I just focus on that footstep in front of me, it will take closer to my goal and a place I once dreamt possible.

It’s just up to me to take that next step.


“You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.”

Stephen King

This should be my 2017 race schedule …

Okay, I think I’ve got my complete 2017 race schedule figured out.

I think.

Which is a definite maybe.

But, let me explain it a little bit. I have a race each month except December. I might add a race in December, but I am not planning on it. It’s a good rest month after a long year of running.

My busiest month is June. I have seven races planned for the month. Yes, seven. I have Ragnar during the first weekend, the Utah Valley Marathon on the 10th, the Bear Lake Trifecta (three half marathons in three days) the following week and then the Utah Midnight Run (Friday night) and AF Canyon Race Against Cancer (Saturday morning) the following weekend.

I have three total back-to-back races planned. My first being the Salt Flats 50K (April 28) and Tulip Festival (April 29), Utah Midnight Run (June 23) and AF Canyon Race Against Cancer (June 24) and then the Utah Midnight Run (July 7) and Hobbler Half (July 8).

The biggest of those back-to-backs the April one with my 50K and half marathon. Not sure how that’s going to go, but I am betting I’ll walk a lot of the Tulip Festival Half. A lot.

In total I have 32 races planned — 23 half marathons, 5 marathons, 2 ultra marathons, a 25K and the Ragnar Relay. This includes one indoor race, 5 trail races and the rest road races.

Lots of running.

And, if you’re trying to estimate miles — that’s about 525-530 miles. Just in racing miles.

So, yeah — it’s going to be a big mileage year.

Anyways here is my schedule … what’s on your schedule?

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.

The accidental marathon …

Um, I’m an idiot. And, I mean that in the nicest way possible. But, really, I am.

Case in point.

A number of races opened their registration this week and in the process of registering for a couple of key ones — namely the Ogden Half Marathon. I did something really, really, really stupid. I accidentally signed up for the FULL marathon and not the HALF marathon.

I’ve done the Ogden Marathon before — way back in 2014 when I ran with my friend Becky during her first marathon. But, besides that year I have ran the Ogden Half Marathon every year since 2012. It’s one of my favorite races — great course, organization, volunteers, etc., etc., etc. But, I just had no intention of running the marathon in 2017.

Well, any marathon in 2017.

I discovered my gaff looking on my emailed receipt. Which automatically pitted my stomach, because there are no refunds, race switches or “take backs” for the Ogden races. I can transfer to someone else for $20-$25 — but, for the most part — I am stuck with this registration.

Luckily, I found out that I could switch my distance to the half marathon, but I don’t get a refund of the difference between the two races. Which is kinda lame, but not bad at this point of registration (I’d be out $10).

But, when I started the process of switching to the half marathon — I just couldn’t do it. At least not now. The thought of doing it seemed ridiculous, but a part of me nagged back and told me just to do it. Then logic started kicking in — and no logic wasn’t telling me to switch — but, logic rationalized with me that this would be a great way to stay motivated during the winter months.

Which is a valid point. That was one of my reasons for signing up in 2014. It’s very motivating to keep going to the gym and getting your miles in when you don’t feel like it, but knowing you’ve got 26.2 to run in a few weeks.

So, I just can’t. I can’t. I can’t switch to the intended 13.1 miles.

I am not sure if this is marathon brain thanks to the weekend’s St. George Marathon or just another bout of illogical runners logic? Either way, I’m going to sit on this for a bit. I figure if I do change my mind I can switch down to the half marathon or sell my bib to someone else. But, will that happen? Probably not. I’m kind of liking this idea of using the marathon as motivation to train during the winter months.

I haven’t started looking at a training plan. I am sure there will have to be some amended weekends in April since that’s my busiest non-running month with PrepperCon, etc. But, I am sure I’ll have no problem figuring that all out. As long as I get in one or two 20 milers I should be good.

Should.

But, I have to laugh, because I am pretty sure I signed up for the marathon as a Clydesdale with an expected finish time of 2:30 hours. I’m not sure if I want to change that? Maybe I’ll get some kind of elite benefits? Or maybe I’ll just feel like a Clydesdale masquerading as a show pony? Either way — it made me laugh quite heartily.

Maybe this is a blessing in disguise? Maybe this is what I need for my winter training to better prepare me for a summer of half marathons? Not sure? But, whatever the case I am preparing myself to prepare myself for another marathon — marathon #11.

148-ogden148-ogden

InstaReplay: St. George Marathon

I’ll get a whole St. George Marathon recap up here on the bloggy blog within the next couple of days. I’m going to first let it process for a bit. I had a blast and I hit the goals I wanted to hit during the race. Well, most of them.

Anyways — here are a few snaps from the weekend … and by a few, I mean a lot …

ST. GEEZY OR BUST, BABY! #race132 #stgeorgemarathon #running

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

RACE #131: Huntsville Marathon

You know, I never thought I would say this — but, I kinda love running marathons. The half marathon is still my favorite, but I really love the challenge of the marathon. Everything from the training to actually running of the race — it’s so different from any less distanced race.

Marathons have been pretty hard for me to run. I am not a fast runner — I am always one of the last runners out there on the course. I used to care about that, but really when it comes to marathons — who cares? It’s an accomplishment just FINISHING the race. I think that’s why I love sweeping races so much. It’s like a mini-mission for me — it’s important to me that those in the back understand that whatever that clock says doesn’t diminish their accomplishment.

All runners matter.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

Anyways, going into the Huntsville Marathon I didn’t have much of a goal other than finish. Considering I ran Revel Big Cottonwood the week before I didn’t know what to expect, because I’ve never ran two marathons within a week of each other. I guess my only goal was to do my best and push myself throughout the race, especially since I was using these marathons as training runs for my 50 miler.

I have never ran the Huntsville Marathon, but I did run the half marathon back in 2014 when most of the last half of the race was spent in a down pour. A down pour that I’d probably put on par with what was experienced at this year’s Ogden Marathon. It was the kind of down pour you could have taken your post race shower mid-race.

When I ran the half marathon I wasn’t impressed much with the course — everything else I loved about the race. The community support, volunteers and organization is right there with the Ogden, St. George and Big Cottonwood Marathons. And, I have no doubt it will get there — this was the fifth year of the marathon and it’s definitely a hidden gem to the local running community.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

My friend Robert Merriman — aka “The Naked Canadian” — has ran the marathon each of the past five years and has told me the full marathon route is much better than the half marathon route. Not only is it faster, but the scenery is unmatched. This was one of the reasons why I chose Huntsville over Top of Utah and a few other marathons.

And, I wasn’t disappointed.

The Huntsville Marathon has a bit of a later start than most local races — the marathon started at 8am compared to last week’s 6:45am start at Big Cottonwood. In the past the start was around 9am or so. I am not sure why the late start? I think part of it could be the travel required for most of the runners?

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I was a bit worried about the later start because being a slower runner I didn’t want to be caught in the heat of the afternoon. But, that concern wasn’t much of an issue for me. There was a constant cool mountain breeze except for a two mile stretch right after existing the canyon. I was pleasantly surprised, but shouldn’t have been considering it’s Wasatch Back country.

After catching my bus at 6:30am up the canyon I caught up with the Roberts (Merriman and Merkley) at the starting line. As mentioned before this was Robert Merriman’s fifth running of the marathon, but Robert Merkley decided to sign up for the race just a couple of days beforehand. It should also be noted that both of the Roberts ended up PRing on the course.

As I stood at the starting line I still didn’t know what to expect from this race. I did a good enough job shaking out my legs and working out smart during the week — so my legs felt somewhat fresh. But, I knew that could change at any moment of the race. Still, I just wanted to do and give my best, whatever that was.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

When the gun sounded the first mile was horrible. It might have been my overeager desire to go out fast or killer playlist? Either way, my body wanted to remind me what we did the previous week by giving my a couple of sore shinsplints.

Having dealt with shinsplints before I knew that I just needed to keep going and just push through the pain. Within time — be a couple of minutes or miles — they’d be gone. If running has taught me anything over the years it’s how to manage and deal with pain. Before I started running, if I hurt — I’d stop. No matter the degree of pain.

But, over the past 5-6 years I’ve learned in order to get over pain — you have to go through it. Most pain is relatively easy to get through and over time the body adjusts to it so that you don’t feel it at that stage anymore. Other pain just has to be endured with the hope it will subside in time — which is strangely the case for most long distances.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

Now of course — that means nothing unless you also learn to listen to your body. I’ve also had to learn when to stop and which pain needs more attention or rest than others. Back in 2012 I ran two half marathons after getting some stress fractures at the St. George Marathon — that was dumb. It took me out of running for about a month. But, hey, it also introduced me to Hoka One Ones so it wasn’t that bad.

Anyways — I pushed through the shinsplints and by the first aid station at Mile 2 I was fine. It helped being absolutely mesmerized with the scenery. I tried stopping to take pictures of it, but hardly any of the pictures did it justice. It was hard to believe that “THIS” was literally in my backyard, I felt like I was in a completely different state. The rolling mountains on each direction and eye popping fall colors put me in complete awe.

The crowd of runners thinned out fairly quickly within the first 4-5 miles — I yo-yo’d with a couple of runners until I pulled away around miles 9-10. I took pride in this, because not only was I feeling good, but I was feeling strong — so whenever I saw a runner ahead of me I just focused on catching and passing them.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

Once I got to about the half way point I was completely alone. I blazed down the canyon in about 2:43 hours, not a bad time. I couldn’t see any runners ahead of me or behind me. The odd feeling was knowing not only did I still have half of the race left to run, but that I wasn’t even the last runner. I’m not going to lie, I kinda enjoyed the feeling.

As mile 14, 15, 16, 17 passed I still great. I even attempted a couple of jumping pictures around mile 17. I didn’t crumple into a heaping mess so that gave me some hope. It was around this time that I was feeling a sub-6 marathon was doable. Even though I don’t care much about my marathon times, this was a goal I felt I could push myself to — so I pushed an extra bit harder.

Being the only runner in sight I took the liberty to belt out singing to my heart’s content. I usually don’t do sing running unless I’m on the dreadmill at home or absolutely alone. And, there’s a reason for that — I can’t carry a tune to save my life. And, I completely mean that. I sound something like a dying seagull being gummed to death by a toothless shark.

It’s bad.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

But, being alone on the course I just got into my music and started dancing and singing to whatever the ‘shuffle’ brought me next. At one point I was into the greatest rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody of all-time And, I mean — ALL. TIME. I was singing to the top of my lungs while also playing the drums, keyboard and air guitar while managing to lead the orchestra.

It was a masterpiece.

Unbeknownst to me a police officer patrol the course must have seen this masterpiece of mine and stopped me to ask if I was okay. Of course I wasn’t — it was around Mile 18-19, I hadn’t seen any other runners for miles and I was left alone to my own devices. But, I assured him I was okay and hoped he thought my display of artistic excellence was me just running into a swarm of gnats.

But, I just kept going. I did start feeling “THE WALL” around mile 21-22 when we exited the main road down the canyon into Huntsville. I knew this was probably going to happen because the course flattens out quite drastically.

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I tried keeping my stride going, but soon it was apparent that stride turned itself into the marathon death shuffle. The heat was starting to be felt and I was praying for that cool canyon breeze to start blowing again. I felt like death and I knew it something didn’t change the last few miles would be pure hell.

Luckily, my prayer was answered and a breeze started blowing again. This gave me a boost of energy and a bit of a kick in my step. So, I just kept pushing myself forward. I kept my walking at mile markers and the 0.1 between the marathon and half marathon signs. Outside of that it was either the marathon death march or my attempt at mall walking.

I knew I was getting closer to the finish line because of my experience running the half marathon before and I just couldn’t run fast enough. At the last aid station they started pulling the orange cones off the course which made me a bit worried, because the last thing I wanted to happen was to make this marathon into an unintentional ultra marathon.

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The last part of the course was somewhat familiar not just from half marathon, but my first leg at Ragnar this year as well. I didn’t realize that until I crossed the highway and notice the familiar gas station I ran past. It’s funny has running has shrunk the world around me.

Though the cones were gone the race did a great job in marking the course. Since the marathon/half marathon, 10K and 5K courses differed they marked the road in different paint color. I just followed them until I saw the finish line arch. I felt like a graceful galloping race horse running down the homestretch of the race — though in reality I looked more like an exhausted clydesdale that was about to be made into glue.

But, I made it! The remaining volunteers were so encouraging as I crossed the finish line. They congratulated me on my accomplishment, handing me some water and escorted me to the finisher’s corral where they handed me some of the best chocolate milk, grapes — and course bananas — I’ve ever had.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

If there is anything I will remember about this race it will be the volunteers. I have NEVER ran a race with so many engaging, warm, sincere and encouraging volunteers than this race. I am sure many of them are locals and you could tell that they took pride in showing off their hometown. I even got shouts of encouragement from volunteers and locals as I walked (slowly) back to my car after the race.

As a runner and visitor to the community you couldn’t have asked for better support. I am sure this was the same feeling many runners got when the St. George Marathon started 40 years ago. The town loves this race and it will be fun to see how it grows as more and more runners discover this beautiful and well organized race.

After reveling in the accomplishment for a while, I just sat in my car mustering up the courage to start driving. It was about a 45 minute drive and I just prayed I didn’t get a cramp mid-drive — that’s happened to be before and it’s not fun. But, I luckily I made it home with a minor detour to 7 Eleven for a much needed and deserved 7 Eleven.

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The plan this week is to lay off the running for a bit. I am going to focus on cross training — do a little cycling (stationary of course) and then of course my typical weight training. My body needs a little rest from running and I can feel that after this weekend’s marathon. I’ll still do my planned 8-9 miler next weekend during the AIIA Relay before getting back into the swing heading into St. George the following week.

I am a month away from my 50 miler — and I couldn’t be more excited, nervous and ready to just tackle this thing. I am ready to push my limits and do something once thought impossible. It’s going to be tough, it’s going to be pure hell at moments, but I can’t wait for the experience. It might take me the whole 19.5 hours to do the whole 50, but who cares? As long as I finish that’s my whole goal and dream.

And, finish I will!


132 - st george marathon

I have no time goal for the St. George Marathon other than making sure I get to the cut off at 1pm. Which in my previous runnings of the marathon — shouldn’t be a problem. I am just excited to be running the marathon — it’s definitely one of my favorite marathons. I am home among the red rocks of southern Utah.

This marathon is very technical — and if you’re not ready (or even prepared) Veyo Hill, and the following 4-5 miles before the descent down Snow Canyon, can be rather tough. The last time I ran the marathon Veyo Hill wasn’t the issue, because I knew what I was getting myself into, but the miles after the put me through agony. It was cramp after cramp.

I would like to finish around 6 hours, but that’s mainly because I don’t want to die in the heat of St. George. But, really, the game plan will be a lot like Huntsville — do my best and keep pushing. That’s mainly because that’s going to be my 50 miler game plan.

I’m just ready to get through this 50 miler! But, first I’ve got to get through St. George and Park City.

133 - park city red rock relay 134 - pony express trail 50 135 - haunted half provo


2667in2016

RUNNING MILES

225.0 miles

RACE MILES

261.5 miles

WALKING MILES

1095.34 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

1581.84 miles

MILES TO GOAL

1085.16 miles


WEEKENDGRAMS

Phone shopping. #selfiepicturesmatter

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on



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Monday, Monday — meh.

This past week has been kind of a wash. It started off great with my birthday — and then I just kind of died. Not literally, but pretty much became worthless by Wednesday night. I’ve been battling a cold and nasty cough and have been under the influence of NyQuil pretty much 24/7.

Not fun.

But, I did manage to still run 14 miles on Saturday.

Runners are a funny breed. We could be on our deathbed, but if we need to put 14 miles in to prepare for our marathon — we’re going to do it! So, yeah that was me on Saturday. I felt like crap, but I HAD to put 14 miles.

Plus, I had made plans to run down Big Cottonwood months ago — so I couldn’t ditch on BC. We’re like BFFs. Plus, Jill and I were planning on running the canyon together and we too are BFFs. If I didn’t run — I’d be letting down two BFFs. I just couldn’t do that.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

I wanted to run 14 miles down the canyon, but decided to break it up because Jill was planning on doing 10. So, the initial plan was to run 10 with her and then do four out and back miles along Wasatch Blvd. — depending on how I felt. I really didn’t know how I was going to feel after 10 so I wanted to play it safe.

Because of a funeral that Jill had to get to we decided to meet earlier than the 6:30am meet up time — we opted for 5:15am instead. WAY too early, but again, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to run down Big Cottonwood with Jill. But, I guess it’s not that early considering most summer races require you to catch a bus by 4am. Still — sleep matters.

Mark drove us up the canyon and dropped Jill, me and the kids off 10 miles from the mouth of the canyon, while he drove up to Solitude so he could put 13-14 miles in. I didn’t come prepared for the cool weather — having been 100 degrees for what seems like three months, I just assumed it would be rather warm — but, that was just a lie I told myself. It was cold. Autumn is coming.

It took both Jill and I a couple miles to warm up. Which is typical. But, oh, how I wished that I wore long sleeves. I can’t complain too much though, running in the fall is my favorite. Just as long as I am prepared.

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For the first half of the run Jill and I took turns pushing her kids. But, after getting an ache in her side I ended up taking them for the last half of the run. I laughed the few times runners and bikers encouraged “our little family” to keep running. Jill and I just busted up laughing. I do have to admit though, having the kids there probably kept most bikers from cussing us out like runs past. But, that’s a story for another day.

It was a great run. And, when we got to the end I was spent and decided to not do the four miles there. I would save them for later at home. Which I did on the treadmill — while watching the Olympics. After driving Mark back up the canyon to fetch his car we all went to the 7 Eleven for a post-run Slurpee.

A much deserved Slurpee.

And, my first in over three months.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

Overall, I don’t what to think about this upcoming week. I didn’t start my new diet in force because I was sucking down Gatorade and cough drops. Too much sugar and fake sweetener. I would start today, but I don’t start diets on Monday (personal rule), so I’ll start in earnest on Wednesday (because I plan on blogging about it on Wednesday) when my health should be closer to 100%.

Now, what does this all mean for Saturday’s race? I don’t know? I don’t know how confident I feel about getting that sub-2:30 because of the past couple of weeks of training? Plus, being sick with this stupid cold and congestion — I don’t know what it’s done to my body? I feel like I should be 100% by race day, but will be I completely ready to push that needed pace?

I don’t know?

I don’t know?

I don’t know?

I guess, I’ll just have to do it to find out, right? I don’t know if there are pacers for Run Elevated so I’ll be doing this solo with my watch. I’ve got to average a 11:22 minute mile. Granted this is down Little Cottonwood Canyon — so that’s doable for the first part of the race. I’ll just have to keep that up outside of the canyon for the remaining 4-5 miles.

We’ll see?

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I really feel like it’s still doable. But, there’s that nagging pessimist in the back of my head telling me I blew it the past couple of weeks. I really hate that guy. He’s kind of a jerk. So, maybe I just need to tell him to shut up?

That actually sounds like a good plan.

Because, this really will be my last chance at a sub-2:30 this year. Because, after Run Elevated I am moving into my marathons and ultra marathon miles. I guess I could try to do a sub-2:30 at Snow Canyon, but that’s two weeks after my 50 miler — doesn’t sound smart?

Either way, I’m just going to plan for it, will myself towards it and give it everything I have next Saturday. That’s all I can really give myself, right?


Runcast - Podbash Banner

Hydrate Wearable Photo 5 (1)

This is a pretty cool podcast. Jorge and I are joined by Jeff and Devin from Hydrate talking about — HYDRATION! If you remember last episode Jimbo passed out in church due to hydration issues. Jeff and Devin share their new product (pictured above) that will athletes and runners alike keep hydrated, but elevate their performance as well.

In addition to talk about the new Hydrate product, we’re also giving away an entry into the Layton Marathon (October 8). But, you have to listen to the podcast to get the code!

LISTEN NOW …


RRR-20-coupon


 

WEEKENDGRAMS

Dez kids. #misscalliekoko #chubbingtatum #unclejoshertime

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

Everything about these are disgusting and patriotic. #hotdogsconfuseme #cheesedogsquarepants

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

I’m not a fisherman, but we’re BFFs this weekend … #imdying #notsocommoncold

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

Taking shots before bedtime. BLARGH! #ivegotsthecold #killmenow #actuallydont #sendmestuff #likemorenyquil

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on


2667in2016

RUNNING MILES

207.6 miles

RACE MILES

192.9 miles

WALKING MILES

981.52 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

1382.02 miles

MILES TO GOAL

1284.98 miles



A photo posted by Runcast USA™ (@runcastusa) on