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RACE #154: Bountiful Handcart Days Half Marathon

This race means a lot to me. Well, the whole Handcart Days festival means a lot to me. Growing up our family was heavily involved when my Dad served as the Chairman for the event. That included coordinating the parade, park festivities, entertainment and fireworks with a committee of local volunteers.

I spent a lot of time at the Bountiful Park lugging food to the concession stands, setting up VIP parade booths and whatever else was required. Sometimes I was even forced to watch the parade — which if anyone knows me, knows I absolutely HATE parades. But, that’s a post for another day.

In the seven years my Dad was involved with the festival, we never had a race — not even a 5K. But, in the 10 years after my Dad was released from the chairmanship one was added in conjunction with the South Davis Rec Center. So when I decided to run my first half marathon back in 2011 — it just seemed fitting.

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I run the race twice since that hot July 2011 day. It was my 100th race back in 2015 where friend Jim Gastelum arranged a 100 banana salute at the finish line and then I ran it again last year to celebrate my 5th year anniversary of my first half marathon. This race has become a race of milestones for me of sorts.

When I lined up this year for the race, I wasn’t really celebrating a certain milestone. Unless there’s significance for a 6th anniversary or 154th race that I am unaware of? I was running to run. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t thinking of those milestones and the plan to run this again next year for my 180th and final race in my 180 goal.

But, my mind was on other things. The day prior I got word that a good friend of mine — not just a running friend — was diagnosed with brain cancer. Robert Merriman has been a good friend for some four years or so now. He is truly one of the greatest men you’d ever met. Not a mean bone in his body, yet one of the best senses of humor.

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This news quickly spread throughout the running community and left many of us shocked. Robert had friends throughout the community, because of the nature of man he is. He’s always encouraging, always giving and always cheering others on.

Having this news really made this run one of reflection for me. Not just on Robert, but about other friends and family in my life who’ve battled cancer. It was this time two years ago we found out about Meridith’s breast cancer. My Mom’s own cancer journey was on my mind, even though that was over five years ago. All that emotion was very much on my mind.

But, my heart was also reflective on how through all of that — running was there. Running is a mental, spiritual and physical therapy for me in these moments. I remember when I got the news of my mother’s diagnosis I went out for a run that day to help clear my mind and find peace.

It’s almost become a natural reaction for me to run when life gets tough, confusing, frustrating or difficult. Not to run away from it all. But, to run with my thoughts, and often a prayer in my heart, to center myself and find strength to tackle whatever is in front of me.

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So, toeing up to that starting line on Saturday morning was to find that center balance.

Like the previous couple years I decided to take the early start at 5:30am. I have no reason to do it other than I want to get done faster and spend less time out in the heat of the day. I kind of wish all summer races had a 5:30am option. It’s light enough that I know where I am going … so why not?

A handful of us started early and I got about three or so miles into the race before the leading runners passed me. I thought that wasn’t bad, especially since I wasn’t planning on pushing myself at all during this race. That’s what happens when you have a race on Monday, a bum ankle and a flat course. I was Clydesdaling it.

Around mile three I started getting Tummy Gremlins and knew I needed a Honey Bucket soon. I found one just off the Legacy Parkway Trail, but when I approached it was deadlocked. DEADLOCKED?! Who does that?

I didn’t have much time to ponder about that so I just moved forward in hopes that the next aid station would have one. I won’t lie, it was the longest two miles of my life. I’ve run some painful miles in the past — but, when the Tummy Gremlins attack, they mean business.

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Finally, when I turned a corner to see the Mile 5 aid station I saw the most glorious Honey Bucket. When I limped toward it I was elated it wasn’t deadlocked or occupied. I made it right in the nick of time.

I am not sure why I included this story, but it was pretty much the highlight of the first half of the race. And, luckily — well, thankfully — the second half was much, much, much better.

Just shortly after my near disaster, I ran into Merri and Glen, a brother and sister that were running in memory of Glen’s son Benjamin who passed away recently. Merri reads this blog and introduced herself. After yo-yo’ing for a couple of miles we met up again at the Mile 7 aid station and ran together the rest of the way.

Talking with Merri and Glen about Glen’s son Benjamin was what I needed. Already with a reflective heart — I just listened to Glen talk about how Benjamin lived with one of the biggest hearts — toward humanity and animals. I listened to his stories of Benjamin’s musical talents and how he recently drove to Southern Utah to adopt a dog slated to be put down.

I was grateful for this moment.

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My heart kept wandering toward those I’ve lost in the past few years — both friends and family. I thought a lot about my Grandma and Aunt Diane — two of my biggest influences as both a kid and adult. I thought about their big hearts, I thought about the small unsaid acts of kindness they shared with others and how proud they were of the changes I was making in my life.

Loss is hard, especially when you lose someone so close to your heart. And, I couldn’t help but think throughout this run how running helped mend that my heart. It was a very unexpected spiritual experience for me. I felt honored to be able to share that moment with Merri and Glen.

It was a completely uplifting run for me.

After we crossed the finish line, we took a picture together and parted ways.

But, I couldn’t stop thinking about this run throughout the day. I couldn’t stop feeling a deep sense of gratitude for having running in my life. Not just for affording me to be a part of this powerful experience, but that it’s helped me through many difficult times in my life.

Life is a beautiful thing. And, running has helped enhance that for me — in times of sorrow, pain and joy. And, for that I’ll always thank God for the gift of running.


MY NEXT THREE RACES


He has my heart … and banana.

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Best duet I’ve heard since Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s “Drunk in Love”

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Got my biannual thyroid check this past week. I knew something was up with my energy levels and … yup … the thyroid was off. So my doctor switched me to a lower dose of Levothyroxine. No more Armour. I’m feeling a difference, which is good, but we’ll start seeing the bigger effects in the next couple of months (hopefully). I’m just hoping my energy levels are better and the new meds help make losing weight easier. It should. I’d really like to lose 30lbs before November, but we’ll see. If that doesn’t happen at least a good 30-35 before my 100 miler in February. Goals, goals, goals. It’s been hard making weight loss goals with Hashimoto’s, because the thyroid is so fickle. I just want consistency. And, I’m hopeful I’m on the right track. ———————————————————— #fight4phat #fitness #wellness #health #running #runnerslife #runner #run #weightloss #weightlossjourney #hashimotos #hashimotoswarrior #thyroid #hypothyroidism #workout #wod #instarunner #run4fun #runningcommunity #levothyroxine #thyroidmedication #hypothyroidism #hypothyroidismweightloss #goals #healthgoals #thyroidproblems ———————————————————— @fight4phat @josherwalla @joshruns180 ———————————————————— Follow my blog at www.phatjosh.com

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You better believe that if I’m going to be sitting in the dentist’s chair for most of the morning I’m going to get in a longer-ish run beforehand. Planned on a quick two mile run, but after realizing I had enough time for a longer run, I doubled it up and did four miles. Since I have two half marathons this weekend I didn’t want to do anything pushed, especially with my ankle so I just focused on my gait mechanics and enjoyed the warm morning run. Winning. ———————————————————— #fight4phat #fitness #wellness #health #running #runnerslife #runner #run #weightloss #weightlossjourney #hashimotos #hashimotoswarrior #thyroid #hypothyroidism #workout #wod #instarunner #run4fun #runningcommunity #utahrunningclub #morningrun #4milerun #fartlek #runutah ———————————————————— @fight4phat @josherwalla @joshruns180 ———————————————————— Follow my blog at www.phatjosh.com

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Are we sure this is a war over monkeys and not drugs?

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Lest we ever forget.

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Sunsets like tonight could turn the manliest of men into a poet.

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RACE #153: The Hobbler Half

Some race reports are easier to write than others. I won’t lie, this is one of those race reports that isn’t easy to write. I feel like if I wrote — I came, I ran, I finished — I’d be happy with that report. Especially since I swept the course. But, of course, there is much more to my race than just the basic facts.

This was the second time running the Hobbler Half — well — more accurately swept. Two years ago I swept the course solo on a day that I also ran a nighttime trail race. It was a loooooooooong day of running for me that day.

But, I enjoy this race. It’s a pretty canyon. It’s one that doesn’t get much attention here in Utah. It’s got a good golf course, but as far as running goes — it’s not your typical Utah canyon. Meaning — it’s not really down hill. Not like Big Cottonwood, Little Cottonwood, American Fork or Provo Canyons — to name a few. It’s a rather rolling hill canyon.

But, as I mentioned beautiful nonetheless.

After a couple hour “nap” — I’m horrible at getting to sleep when I need to — I carpooled down with Carla and Reese. We’ve carpooled a couple of times, which is convenient because we only live about a mile from each other. And, since Reese and I pretty much race all the races — it works out perfectly. Plus, if it’s a bussed canyon race, I get to miss the whole shuttle up the canyon — something I don’t mind.

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The canyon was actually a tad chilly, which I won’t lie — was nice. With the valley temperatures hovering around 100 degrees, I wasn’t going to complain. Especially, knowing it was going to get hotter than hell once we got out of that canyon.

Gun time was at 6:30am, which kind of surprised me being a mid-summer race, but since I was sweeping the course, Molly and I waited until the 600+ runners all started before crossing the starting line. I haven’t run with Molly before so I always enjoy these encapsulated moments being able to meet and talk over 13.1 or longer miles.

Playing yo-yo with the runners ahead of us, we carried on a fun and often deep conversation while walking the rolling hills and taking what downhill we could. All while giving the runners ahead of us some space. It was a great way to spend the run, especially considering when I swept it in 2015 I did it solo.

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Sweeping a course is much different than pacing a certain time. Sure, most times, the final pacers are on a certain pace. But, no one wants to see the sweeper early in a race, especially before miles 6-7. So, I’ve learned to keep my space unless they’re obviously struggling or around miles 10-13 when the race is wrapping up.

There’s kind of a science behind all of that. Because, you really don’t want to stress out the runners in the back. They’re rocking it and to see a sweeper sometimes gives them a sense of failure, which is the last thing I want to do.

Anyways, it wasn’t until mile 11 that Molly and I caught up to the nearest runner. You could tell he was struggling a bit, mainly because of the heat. But, he was plugging away like a champ.

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This was his second half marathon, after running Utah Valley last month, and he admitted that he accidentally signed up for this race — THINKING — it was the Hobble Creek Half Marathon (that happens in August). Even after signing up for the Hobble Creek Half, he still decided to do Hobbler.

We finished the last couple of miles with him as we mainly talked about hunting and fishing. Molly’s husband hunts so most of that conversation geared around them. But, I kind of fixated on his reasoning — to get in shape for hunting season. I just never heard of that reasoning before. But, I shouldn’t be too surprised living in Utah.

But, it’s a great illustration for the many reasons that bring us to the starting line of these races. We all run for different reasons. We run for the podium, we run for a PR, we run to do our best, we run for therapy, we run to get in shape, but ultimately — as well all should — we run for us. There’s real beauty in that.

Anyways, once we got done, I grabbed a couple of waters and down them pretty quick before heading over to Jorge’s to record an episode of The Runcast with the rest of the gang. Which was a lot of fun. I don’t want to spoil the episode, but it centers on guilty pleasure songs. One of my favorites so far.

But, looking forward, I have the Handcart Days Half Marathon coming up next weekend. It’s hard to believe that this time next year I will be done with my 180 (the goal is to finish my 180 at the Handcart Days Half in 2018). I am 27 races from that goal, so there will be a lot of running to do in the next year.

Still … lots of retrospection happens at this race and what it means to me. This was the starting of my journey and now that I am nearing the conclusion of my 180 — it will also be my last. I’m not a betting man, but I sure would place a bet on the fact that I might cry sometime during the race.

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But, anyways — lots of running to do. I am still healing nicely. I’ll get where I want to go, even if it takes me a bit longer than I usually take.

Which is fine. I’m just grateful to be doing what I love.

One step at a time.


MY NEXT FIVE RACES


Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 8.5 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 24.77 miles
TOTAL MILES — 46.37 miles
Race(s) this week — The Hobbler Half.

July 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 16.6 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 26.87 miles
TOTAL MILES — 56.57 miles
Races in July — The Hobbler Half, DesNews Half and Handcart Days Half.

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 289.05 miles
Race Miles — 256.22 miles
Walking Miles — 690.64 miles
TOTAL MILES — 1235.91 miles
Races done in 2017 — New Year’s Half Marathon, Sweethearts 5K, Jackpot Running Festival, SL Tri Club Indoor Half, March Madness Half, Lucky 13 Half Marathon, Emigration Canyon Half Marathon, Riverton Half, Saltair Half, Provo City Half Marathon, Jordan River Half Marathon, Drop13 Half Marathon, Bear Lake Trifecta — Idaho, Wyoming & Utah, AF Canyon Race Against Cancer and The Hobbler Half.


So, I tried making paleo banana pancakes, but neither my skill nor patience was enough to save the attempt … soooooo … I ended up with a banana omelet instead. NOT GOING TO LIE, it was pretty good. I might be making this again soon. Talk about a happy little mistake. —————————————————— #fight4phat #fitness #wellness #health #running #runnerslife #runner #run #weightloss #weightlossjourney #hashimotos #hashimotoswarrior #thyroid #hypothyroidism #workout #wod #instarunner #run4fun #runningcommunity #paleo #diet #banana #eggs #strawberries #food #breakfast #bananapancakes #happyaccident —————————————————— @fight4phat @josherwalla @joshruns180 —————————————————— Follow my blog at www.phatjosh.com

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The moment your niece realizes you gave her a sandwich for her birthday. I only give things I hold close to my heart.

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RACE RECAPS: The Bear Lake Trifecta

I thought about breaking these three races all into separate posts, but that just seemed overkill. So I am merging all three races into one looooooong post. So you’re getting what you get.

When I signed up for the Trifecta back in December I didn’t know what to expect? Well, I knew I could do it. But, this was well before getting injured. But, even with my injury hanging over my head — I still knew leading up to the weekend that I could do it.

What hung over my head was whether or not I should be doing it. That’s 39.3 miles on my ankle and I wasn’t 100% sure how it would hold up? Even with that trepidation, I knew I could do it. I knew if I could do 50 miles in 16 hours or 40 miles in 12 hours … I could do 39.3 miles over three days.

But, then again — should I be doing this?

Well, I did it. I’ll let the suspense of whether or not I did end here. As you’ll see in the three race reports, it wasn’t pretty. But, I did it. And, I had quite a fun time with it all.

So without any further adieu, here are the race reports …

The first of the three races wasn’t far from the cabin that I was staying at — in fact it was probably about less than a mile away in St. Charles. With a 7am gun time and no bus to catch it made for quite a nice morning, something of a rarity for a summer race for me.

I made my way to the start around 6:30am or so just to pick up my bib number and socialize. I was quite surprised to find that most of the runners weren’t local — well — Utah runners. I recognized very few of the runners. Most of the 400 runners were Half Fanatics, Marathon Maniacs and members of the 50 State Running Club who came specifically to either run three different states or run three races in three days.

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Going into the race I felt “okay”- ish. The ankle felt okay, but I knew once I was out running that would be a different story. Especially since this course was pretty much flat. And, by flat, I mean, very much flat. And, my ankle doesn’t do well running on a flat course.

This was pretty evident once I started running. I was ready to go, but the ankle had other thoughts. So, since I had two other races after this one I decided to start slow — a tactic I usually reserve for my ultras. But, fighting a bummed ankle it seemed like a good decision to avoid further damage.

A couple miles into the race I decided to ease into a nice easy pace. But, I had a hard time finding that right pace, mainly because of the flat course and my need to push off my ankle to get any sort of pace. So, I just ended up walking most of the course.

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I won’t lie, if I am not pacing or sweeping a race, I have a hard time to walk non-trail races. But, with the combination of my ankle and three races in three days, I felt like this was very much a trail race. So, I didn’t feel THAT bad walking most of the race. But, it was still very much at the back of my mind.

By mile 10 my ankle was very much hating me. Between my ankle and the heat of the day, I was just dead. But, I worked on staying positive by trying to distract myself with conversation, my music and some podcasts. They helped, but I just wanted to be done.

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Once I got to the finish line I looked at my watch and noticed I finished in four hours — 4:00:05 to be exact. I was disappointed. But, at the same time I knew I gave what I could. I feared if I pushed myself any faster that I would have injured myself — so — I was fine with the result.

As soon as I finished running my ankle pain pretty much subsided. So, I knew I could run the next day. Plus, it was more rolling hills than this course so I knew I would be faster. I was very much in the mood for some redemption the following day.

With an hour’s drive to Cokeville for the race, the morning came quite early. But, I felt encouraged about the race, because my legs felt fresh and my ankle wasn’t cursing at me. I knew this would be a better race.

Just like the previous day’s race this was an out and back. We started near the Cokeville Town Park and made our way 6.5 miles out in cow country before heading back. I heard many people complain about these hills, but I loved it. I train on hills and prefer them over even pure canyon miles.

I could tell early on in my race that this was a better race. My ankle felt fine. My game plan was pretty simple — my trail rules — fast walk up the hills, run the down hills and run what I felt that I could do. This game plan worked great for me throughout the race. I was digging the rolling hills and I just felt strong.

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The complaints were somewhat comical at times, especially when one runner complained about the mountainous course. But, many of these runners — or at least the ones I met — were from the South or otherwise flat areas. Places where hills were anthills.

The overall feeling of this race — and all three for that matter — was lax. Very lax. And, I got that because running three half or full marathons in three consecutive days. But, there were quite a few runners that were drinking out on the course as well — beer, wine and whatnot. Including one lady, I swear I saw all three days with a beer in her hand.

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This was something I (obviously) haven’t seen at Utah races. But, then again I probably wasn’t looking for it since many of the out of state races I’ve done have been HUGE 20,000+ runners kind of races. But, the alcohol wasn’t as shocking as the smell of weed I smelt around the midway part of this race.

But, I just laughed it off.

Then again that was probably just the secondhand smoke?

Okay, all joking aside, this seemed to be a tougher race on the runners out there — well, except for me. I can’t tell you exactly why, outside of the rolling hills and better terrain. But, I also think I was a bit more loosened up than the previous day and that lent a lot to my performance.

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I ended up finishing nearly a half an hour faster than my previous day’s time, which really made me happy. I was trying not to worry about time during these races. But, I felt the need to push myself when I needed that push — and to have my ankle and body respond left me encouraged.

The ankle didn’t give me any problems, some slight discomfort here and there, but nothing like the previous day’s race. This was one reason why I pushed myself a bit more during this race.

Going into my last race I didn’t want to expect, but having such a result made me excited for Saturday’s Utah race.

Waking up on race day, I knew this was going to be a tough day. No my ankle was fine. But, I was just tired. Not just because I was up until after midnight recording a podcast with my friend Andy, but my body was just tired. And, I was feeling the effort I put in from the previous day.

Unlike the previous races, this race was a bussed race. Along with a few of the pacers, I helped get the runners on the busses to the starting line. It wasn’t that difficult, but it felt like herding cats at times. But, after coordinating the rides with the bus drivers and everything I hopped on one of the last buses to get ready for my race.

On the way out to the start, I was just feeling tired. When I heard that there was a change to the course and that there was going to be more trail miles than planned — I just knew it was going to be a long day. This was cemented when I started to run at the sound of the gun and my legs just hurt.

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Even though I was spent, I decided to give myself a couple miles to warm up. But, that didn’t seem to help much. By the time we got on the dirt trails, I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind. I didn’t want to be running, I was tired and I just wanted to be somewhere else. So, I turned off my music, turned around and just started talking to people.

And, that made the world of difference. I just had to turn around my attitude to salvage my race, and this is the quickest way I found to do that. Just talk..

I met a group of African American ladies ranging from DC to Georgia. Most of them were Half Fanatics and we just chatted about our experiences during the weekend. They all hated the course from Wyoming’s race — which I loved. And, they all were bemoaning the trails. But, at the same time — we all just talked and laughed together.

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I stuck with two ladies pretty much from there on out. After about 4-5 miles on the dirt trails we got back to the road before getting onto some paved dirt trails. It was somewhat back and forth during the first 6-8 miles of the race, which I was fine with. I was too busy chatting away with my new friends.

I was sore throughout the race. Luckily, not my ankle — just everything else. I wanted/needed a nap to refresh my body. I was just tired. The weather was pretty much overcast which helped, but the later miles were done in the sun, which made for hot temperatures. I was ready to be done, but any attempt at running was met with reminders from cramping muscles or painful shin splints.

So, I just kept walking and distracting myself with conversation.

Once we got to the finish line, we all hugged and took pictures together — and then i just collapsed with a bottle of water and my two new medals. I knew eventually I’d have to get myself back up and ready to journey home. But, I decided to stay for a bit and cheer on some of the finishers.

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It wasn’t a pretty race, but I did it. I made some great new friends and I still put on 39.3 miles on my legs. I was spent. I headed back to the cabin, took a shower and put on some fresh clothes before leaving town.

I was done.

It might not have been what I expected back in December, but I was done. And, I was proud of the accomplishment. In fact, I really would like to come back again in 2018 and run with a little redemption in mind. I want to run faster. I want to redeem my slower times and prove that I can do three races in three days much faster.

But, we’ll see later on. Right now I just want my legs and body to recover. I’ve got some long anticipated running to do down American Fork Canyon this weekend.


Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 4.5 miles
Race Miles — 39.3 miles
Walking Miles — 24.23 miles
TOTAL MILES — 68.03 miles
Race(s) this week — Bear Lake Trifecta — Idaho, Wyoming & Utah

June 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 26.2 miles
Race Miles — 52.4 miles
Walking Miles — 57.04 miles
TOTAL MILES — 135.64 miles
Races in May — Drop 13 Half Marathon, Bear Lake Trifecta, Bear Lake Trifecta, Bear Lake Trifecta, AF Canyon Race Against Cancer

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 253.45 miles
Race Miles — 230.02 miles
Walking Miles — 581.49 miles
TOTAL MILES — 1064.96 miles
Races done in 2017 — New Year’s Half Marathon, Sweethearts 5K, Jackpot Running Festival, SL Tri Club Indoor Half, March Madness Half, Lucky 13 Half Marathon, Emigration Canyon Half Marathon, Riverton Half, Saltair Half, Provo City Half Marathon, Jordan River Half Marathon and Drop13 Half Marathon.


MY NEXT FIVE RACES


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RACE #148: Drop13 Big Cottonwood Half Marathon

It’s no secret that I have an eternal crush on Big Cottonwood Canyon. I love this canyon. Ever since I was a child and my grandparents would take us up the canyon for a picnic to now as a runner — the beauty and majesty of the canyon leaves me awestruck. As a runner I jump on any opportunity to run this canyon I get — whether it’s a race or training run.

After I backed out of the Utah Valley Marathon a month or so ago, I decided to register for the Drop13 Half instead of simply downgrading to the half. This is a fun, fast course. And, unlike the Revel Big Cottonwood Half Marathon, 12 miles of the race are in the canyon compared to about 10 or so.

Not, that I don’t love Revel Big Cottonwood, it’s just — I love canyon miles. Being a bigger runner I love having gravity on my side. It makes it much, much more enjoyable.

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Going into the race I didn’t really have a set goal. Still dealing with my sprained ankle I didn’t know what to expect? I wanted to at least come in under three hours — which I felt was doable. I still have pain in the ankle, but it’s pretty much only regelated to when I move laterally than anything.

If I wasn’t dealing with the ankle rehab I was really hoping to push 2:30 — which is what I ran last year. It’s been humbling dealing with this ankle, because I do feel like I could push that time, but the ankle hinders that. I just have to remember to be patient with my recovery no matter now anxious I am to move forward.

Race day started early — as is usual with summer races. With a 6am gun time I up at 2am and out the door by 3am so I could get on a bus for the start line at 4:30am. So, so, so, so, so early. But, that’s the beast of summer running.

After meeting up with Tim and his wife — Boojah — we rode up the canyon together. After a quick pit stop to the Honey Buckets we still had just over an hour left until gun time. The trick now was staying warm until then. Which isn’t very easy up Big Cottonwood — anytime time of the year.

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While wandering around the starting line for a bit, I found a group of my friends huddled together in the Uhaul with the engine running and heat blasted to high. There wasn’t enough room for me in the cabin, but I was able to stick my face into the open window — which did the trick.

After take a quick group picture and after waiting for the majority of the crowd to cross the start line — we were off! Tim and I decided to stick together for most of run depending on how we both felt. With my ankle and his lack of miles of late — we didn’t really know what to expect? So we just we just ran together.

I felt good in the first few miles of the race. My ankle felt really good and I tried to focus on pushing myself as best as I could. It wasn’t until about mile 4-5 that I started to feel the ankle rather aggressively.

Most of this discomfort was brought on by the twists and turns in the course. Many of those turns acted much like a lateral move which aggravated the ankle. Luckily, it doesn’t cause extreme pain in my ankle, but it makes it uncomfortable enough that if I am not careful I can misalign everything about my gait and pace. Which can cause more pain and issues in the long run.

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At this point I had split with Tim at the last aid station so he could use a Honey Bucket. So I just centered on my ankle, gait and pace. I cranked up my music and just watched the terrain so I could avoid uneven grades to pain my ankle.

Basically, as the course wound down the canyon my pace became more of a fartlek than anything. Which I was fine with, but it was a bit frustrating because I very much just wanted a consistent pace. But, I just focused on doing my best and pushing myself where I could.

Around Mile 8-9 Tim caught back up with me, we kept a good paced fartlek. We ended up walking most of the switchback. Even walking the switchback was tough on my ankle. The elevation drop lends itself to runners than walkers, so my quads lurched forward while my ankle got a brunt of the impact.

It wasn’t fun.

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The last few miles were pretty non-descript and was easier for me to run. But, at this point of the race my ankle was hurting pretty bad — so any push I made to run faster was rather painful. So, I just tried to find a good pace that was at least faster than a walk.

Tim was hurting pretty good and started walking more, so with about a mile, mile and half out I ditched him. I couldn’t walk without my ankle hurting worse, so I had to keep going at my set pace. Plus, I just wanted to be done — aaaaaand — I felt like a sub-three time was still a reachable goal.

So I pressed forward like a hot mess.

At Mile 12 I got a second mind as we exited the canyon. And, I pushed myself, especially as I saw that I would be cutting the goal time close. I kept the walking to a minimum and only in areas where I felt I needed to slow down for the sake of my ankle. But, I felt like I had enough energy to make it.

Which, I did.

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I crossed the finish line in 2:56:08. Not my fastest time, but also not my slowest. And, given the circumstances with my ankle — I felt proud of myself. I could have easily taken it easy, especially those last couple miles. But, I didn’t. I kept pushing and it paid off. And, I met my goal.

Luckily, my ankle is feeling okay 24 hours after the race. Really the only pain I have is in my quads which is expected for a race like this one. That gives me hope for a faster recovery. I start physical therapy on the ankle next week so that will only help.

But, I have Race #148 done — and now I am focused on the Bear Lake Trifecta this week. Luckily, I am just doing the half marathon trifecta, but it will be a challenge for sure. Is it the smartest? Probably not. But, I won’t have any reservations backing out of any of the races if I feel like my ankle can’t take it.

And, if all goes according to plan I will also be hitting a milestone on Friday when I run my 150th race. It’s hard to believe this journey is just 30 races away from being completed. But, at the same time — I am excited to move forward onto some other goals in my running and life. More that I will share not much later.

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Anyways — I’ll be back for the Drop13 again next year. I’ve got some goals and unfinished business to deal with on this course. I want to redeem my time and hopefully meet a new PR! But, in the meantime I’ll keep my focus on strengthening my ankle, getting stronger, faster and slimmer.

But, right now the focus is on Bear Lake!

IT’S BEAR LAKE OR BUST, BABY!!!


MY NEXT FIVE RACES


Loitering at the Sev after the race.

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If there’s any question she’s my niece, this picture should settle it. 😻

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Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 12.2 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 24.14 miles
TOTAL MILES — 49.44 miles
Race(s) this week — Drop13 Half Marathon

June 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 21.7 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 32.81 miles
TOTAL MILES — 67.61 miles
Races in May — Drop 13 Half Marathon, Bear Lake Trifecta, Bear Lake Trifecta, Bear Lake Trifecta, AF Canyon Race Against Cancer

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 248.95 miles
Race Miles — 190.72 miles
Walking Miles — 557.26 miles
TOTAL MILES — 996.93 miles
Races done in 2017 — New Year’s Half Marathon, Sweethearts 5K, Jackpot Running Festival, SL Tri Club Indoor Half, March Madness Half, Lucky 13 Half Marathon, Emigration Canyon Half Marathon, Riverton Half, Saltair Half, Provo City Half Marathon, Jordan River Half Marathon and Drop13 Half Marathon.


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The Second Half Outlook for 2017

With the recent changes in my race schedule the past couple of months — DNFs, DNSs and deferrals — I’ve been thinking a lot of the rest of my race schedule in 2017. I’ve still got a lot of running to do. That’s why I’ve been (somewhat) okay with dropping and deferring some races as of late.

But, I’ve got four marathons and 15 half marathons left for the year. That’s 19 races — or 301.3 miles. But, that’s also all by design to help build me up for my 100 miler in February. Come November and December I’ll be running a lot of solo non-race miles in preparation for that.

So there’s a lot ahead of me still.

But, that hasn’t stopped me from looking and planning ahead. I feel good about my schedule so far — October is a tough month for me to run because of the Haunted Halfs. I am signed up for the Howloween Half, but depending where I am that weekend — I might not run it? And, if I am — I am also debating on running SoJo in the morning and/or the Pony Express 50 again.

But, we’ll see?

I just have a lot of variables going on with October.

My race schedule pretty much ends in November with the Mt. View Trail Half Marathon. I haven’t signed up for it — yet — because there’s a good chance I might sign up for the 50K again. We’ll see?

There are a number other races later in November, but I’ll be in Greece for half the month so that scratches a lot of races. And, I am not sure what kind of running I’ll be able to do while there? I’m hoping for hotels with a treadmill … at the very least.

But, there’s a chance I will add 1-2 more races in December. I really want to do Cory Reese’s Bakers Dozen Half in December. That might just be a tricky one to do this year, because of family’s birthdays — but, all in all, with what I have planned for the rest of the year — I feel good about.

It still puts me in a position to get my 180 in July of next year at the Handcart Days Half (where I started my journey in 2011) … so I feel good about that.

But, anyways, here’s the rest of my planned 2017 race schedule starting with this weekend’s race down Big Cottonwood …

Looking ahead toward the summer …

Summer feels like it’s finally here. Sure, we live in Utah, so the odds of a June snowstorm isn’t completely out of the question — but it’s June. It’s summer. And, I couldn’t be any more excited.

The past couple of months haven’t been the easiest. The road to recovery has been difficult at best. But, my ankle is getting stronger and I feel optimistic that I’ll get where I want/need to be sooner than later. I’ve never sprained my ankle this badly before — so it’s kind of uncharted territory for me.

I’m finding it’s easier for me for me run roads at this point. The unevenness of trails probably isn’t the best surface for my ankle at this point in my recovery. But, I found a downhill road terrain works best for the ankle right now.

I’m not sure if the downhill has any benefit other than makes me feel faster? But, compared to a flat or hilly course there isn’t much push off on my bum ankle — which makes for a happy ankle — in the long run (pun intended).

I’ve been trying to avoid running more than 13.1 miles for my races the past month — so — I sadly, had to back out of Ragnar that happened this weekend. I just know that my ankle wouldn’t have held up. Even with that — I looked at other races, but most were all trail races. A no, no for my ankle right now.

Resigned to running on my own, I was going to run Big Cottonwood with a group of friends or possibly go help at an aid station during the Squaw Peak 50. But, when it came down to it — I opted to stay closer to home. I had a few things I needed to do at home and if I volunteered at Squaw Peak, I would have been gone all day.

So I decided to get done what I needed to do and just go for an evening run.; I was going to run my usual route along Davis Blvd., but I won’t lie — it’s run it’s course. It’s a little boring for me. So, I decided to climb up to Bountiful Blvd. and run to the temple.

The climb up Chelsea Drive in Bountiful is pretty steep. It’s a half mile climb which feels like Everest at times. But, I decided it would be a great warm up — so I did my Grandma proud and mall walked up Chelsea. It got me sweating before I was half way up the road.

Turning northward I made the trek toward the temple. I didn’t have a mileage in mind, I was more in for the zen than anything else. So, I just ran. Well, it was more like a fartlek. But, I was feeling good and that’s all that mattered.

After winding around I made it 2.5 miles out before taking a moment to enjoy (and take a picture) of the sunset and temple. I debated going a bit further, but the 5 miles seemed like a good enough distance. Besides, I was just enjoying the evening, scenery and moment. So I headed back.

The run back was just as nice — I granted I ran into a deer around mile four and then a raccoon about a half mile after that. I’ve been running into a lot of wildlife lately — in a Snow White kind of way. Last week it was skunks, this week the deer and raccoons, I can only imagine what next week will bring?

Let’s just pray it ain’t snakes.

I hate snakes.

Anyways, I’m excited for this weekend. I am running the Drop13 Half Marathon down Big Cottonwood Canyon. Probably my favorite canyon here along the Wasatch Front? This course is fast. And, despite the ankle my goal is simply a sub-3 … which I am sure will happen. Heck, a 2:45 would be great, but right now I am wary of pushing that high of an expectation.

But, we’ll see. I’m just going to base my effort and push on what the ankle will give me.

I am running the Bear Lake Trifecta next weekend. Granted, it’s the half marathon, not the marathon. I am worried about how my ankle will hold up, so I am going to reassess it after each race. I should be fine. I am not going for speed and if I need to take my time on one or two of them — so be it.

But, I am not afraid of backing out of one or more of the Trifecta races if I feel like the ankle won’t hold up. I have to be. My long term goal isn’t worth ruining for short term glory. I am working toward my 100 miler and that needs to be my focus. But, that doesn’t mean I am not going to push myself.

Anyways, here is my race schedule up until the end of August. I can’t wait …

I’ve got a lot of running to do and I can’t be more excited and ready for the challenge. But, I am also willing to be patient as my body continues to heal. Two opposites that are teaching me a lesson at the moment.

Anyways — I’m just ready to run.


We make patriotism look good. 🇺🇸 #runofremembrance

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I taught Eliza how to take her first selfie today. Now we just got to work on the face. Baby steps.

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We be grillin’ … summer is HERE!

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Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 11.5 miles
Race Miles — 0.0 miles
Walking Miles — 18.52 miles
TOTAL MILES — 30.02 miles
Race(s) this week — N/A

May 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 22.0 miles
Race Miles — 26.2 miles
Walking Miles — 104.04 miles
TOTAL MILES — 152.24 miles
Races in May — Provo City Half Marathon and Jordan River Half Marathon.

June 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 9.5 miles
Race Miles — 0.0 miles
Walking Miles — 8.67 miles
TOTAL MILES — 18.17 miles
Races in May — Drop 13 Half Marathon, Bear Lake Trifecta, Bear Lake Trifecta, Bear Lake Trifecta, AF Canyon Race Against Cancer

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 236.75 miles
Race Miles — 177.62 miles
Walking Miles — 533.12 miles
TOTAL MILES — 947.49 miles
Races done in 2017 — New Year’s Half Marathon, Sweethearts 5K, Jackpot Running Festival, SL Tri Club Indoor Half, March Madness Half, Lucky 13 Half Marathon, Emigration Canyon Half Marathon, Riverton Half, Saltair Half, Provo City Half Marathon and Jordan River Half Marathon.


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RACE #147: Jordan River Half Marathon

YEAH, I’M RACING!!! After a couple weeks of low mileage and uncertainty with my ankle it sure felt great being back on the course. Albeit, nowhere close to the pace or time I expected a couple months ago. But, I was running and that’s what mattered.

The past month or so has been tough. Well, the past couple of months have. Okay, maybe the past three months? Setbacks big and small have kind of plagued me after running the Jackpot Ultra Running Festival — colds, the flu, bad back, sprained ankles and all that jazz.

Not fun.

But, after Thursday’s doctor appointment with the orthopedist — I feel hopeful. I may not be where I pictured my fitness or running to be from a few months ago, but I see that light. And, that has me feeling really excited, hopeful and recommitted.

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And, as much as I want to get faster and stronger, my ultimate goal is my 100 miler in February. That’s where my path needs to lead more than just knocking off a few half marathon time goals. The focus needs to be getting stronger, building stamina and just getting miles under my feet. And, in many ways, I feel that speed will be a byproduct of that focus.

So going into this race, I knew I wasn’t going to be fast. I just wanted to be outside, I wanted to be running and I wanted to test my ankle. The only directive the doctor gave me to running is that I knew my limitations. So, I just kind used that as a gauge to how much I should push or hold back.

I didn’t have a time goal. I honestly didn’t care. I expected to probably walk a lot and come in dead last (which I wasn’t). I know those are some very high aspirations. But, I really didn’t know how it was going to all go without me being in the moment to test it.

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When the race started, I kind of casually jaunted across the starting line. I expected to run with my friend Julianna — who was sweeping — but, I decided to go ahead, because I expected to eventually meet up with her later in the race (again, which didn’t happen). So my friend Chad and I went out together.

We stuck together along the parkway for the first half of the race before parting ways at the turnaround aid station. He was picking up the race signs and decided to wait for Julianna — so I just went ahead solo. I wanted to test my ankle.

The first half of the race was tough getting a good pace for myself. The ankle wasn’t enjoying what I was giving it and acted it up some. But, when I went out solo I really tried to focus on finding a good pace to keep the pain minimal. And, it seemed to work well — for the most part.

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I eventually found a good pace, so I just stuck in my earphones, jammed out and just focused on my way to the finish line. I felt good. Sure there was some discomfort with my ankle, but I wasn’t sure if it was just the normal fatigue of the race, the flat terrain of the course or just the normal healing process of my sprain? It very well could have been a combination of all three.

Either way, I just worked on my consistency and tried not to worry much about the pressure of my finish time or pace. I could worry about that later on other runs. But, this was really just about discovering a starting point in my recovery.

While jamming out to my music — between mile 9-10, I came across what I thought was a litter of kittens in the middle of the parkway trail. As I approached the kittens, I realized they weren’t kittens — but, that of a family of skunks. Stinky cats.

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By the time I had approached the mama skunk had hurriedly corralled her babies to the side of the trail and started to turn her tail around to undoubtedly sprain me. After doing a scuttled dodge — that resembled more of a Larry, Curly or Moe movement than that of a secret agent — around the skunks I went on my merry way. But, with the thought — what if I got sprayed?

What if I got sprayed?

I could only imagine what the last 3-4 miles would have been like … the ride home … the post-race shower. Thank goodness I didn’t get sprayed. It would have been horrible. Horrible. Luckily, that is a reality that I didn’t have to experience.

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After the skunk encounter, I just kept forward as I was nearing the finish line. It was starting to get warmer and I could feel the fatigued settling in my legs. I had to stop a couple times to stretch — but, nothing too taxing with my ankle.

I crossed the finish line in 3:35 hours — one of my slowest half marathon times — and plopped myself on a curb to gather myself and drink some water. I was happy to be done. My ankle felt okay-ish and about what I expected.

I may not be where I wanted to be at this point from a few months ago, but this is the hand that I’ve been dealt. The focus is and will be for the next 8-9 months preparing for my 100 miler. I can’t let any short term setbacks distract myself from the long term goal. That’s the goal, that’s the destination.

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I’ll have better races and faster times. That will come. But, I just need to keep myself focused, keep my diet clean and on the right track with strengthening my ankle the right way. I’ll be blogging all about that later.

But, for now, I am just focused on the recover and the next couple of weekends running down Big Cottonwood. I am planning on eight miles next weekend with friends and then the Drop13 Big Cottonwood Half the following weekend. I’m bummed that I had to drop Ragnar, but there’s some solace in a run down Big Cottonwood.

Plus, it’s summer and that always makes for some great running!

BIG COTTONWOOD CANYON OR BUST!


MY NEXT FIVE RACES


RACE #147: Jordan River Half Marathon, May 27, 2017 (3:35:48) There was nothing pretty about this run. I was just happy to be out on the course after a couple weeks off from running. After spraining my ankle in April, I wasn’t sure of the extent of the injury or needed recovery time. But, after a doctor appointment a couple days before the race, the doctor gave me a go with the caveat to not push it past my comfort level. The run was all over the place and I played with rhythm, pace and push. It was one of my slowest race times, but I don’t care. I do, but time wasn’t the goal here. The goal is to get me where I need to come February for my 100 miler. Like I said before, I was just happy to be out on the course! #race147 #jordanriverhalf #running @joshruns180 @josherwalla @fight4phat @myracemedals @extramileracing

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The Essence of Dave.

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Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 3.0 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 20.5 miles
TOTAL MILES — 36.6 miles
Race(s) this week — Jordan River Half Marathon

May 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 20.0 miles
Race Miles — 26.2 miles
Walking Miles — 94.19 miles
TOTAL MILES — 140.39 miles
Races in May — Provo City Half Marathon and Jordan River Half Marathon.

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 225.25 miles
Race Miles — 177.62 miles
Walking Miles — 514.6 miles
TOTAL MILES — 917.47 miles
Races done in 2017 — New Year’s Half Marathon, Sweethearts 5K, Jackpot Running Festival, SL Tri Club Indoor Half, March Madness Half, Lucky 13 Half Marathon, Emigration Canyon Half Marathon, Riverton Half, Saltair Half, Provo City Half Marathon and Jordan River Half Marathon.


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