Category: Wasatch Back

40 races to my goal …

This past weekend I ran my 140th race. It’s kind of hard to imagine I’ve run so many — it really seems like yesterday I just ran my 1st, 50th and 100th. All pretty significant milestones in my journey to 180 races before my 40th birthday.

Now that I am just 40 races from my goal I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Not that I am not enjoying this journey, but I am ready for some new adventures. I am ready for some running adventures of my own liking — more ultra runs, faster race times and location races.

I’ve planned to crank out a bunch of my races this year so that I can run my 180th race at next year’s Handcart Days Half Marathon — where my 1st and 100th race occurred. It just seems fitting to end my goal where it started.

I still have a number of goals I want to reach after my 180 is done and that’s why I am eager to finish by next July. I want to run less races and more trails, I want to focus on speed work for the races I do run and I want to fall in love with running again and again. I want new challenges and triumphs.

Now all of that sounds like a postcard, but I am excited for the next chapter. But, I am still focusing on the task at hand. My next 40 races. I’ve mapped out most of them from here until my 180th. I am pretty set for this year — except for November (there is a chance I am traveling to Greece to run the Athens Marathon) — which will be figured out within the next couple of weeks.

My race schedule for 2018 is shaping up as well. Well, up to the Handcart Days Half. I am not sure what I will be running after that race. And, I am not too concerned about it at this point.

But, here is what my race schedule should look like (barring any race date changes for 2018) …

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?

My 2017 Race Schedule (January – June)

I have been writing about my 2017 race schedule for the past six months. I’ve gone through numerous revisions — additions, subtractions, more additions and then — even more subtractions. I’ve come to the realization that it’s pretty tough for me to keep a concrete schedule outside of 5-6 months.

So, that’s why we’re here.

As much as I would love to commit to my whole 2017 race schedule — I just can’t. There are a lot of factors that I am unsure about — so I just can’t fully commit. Especially now that I am working for Runtastic Events. I have a number of weekends committed to races that I am not running.

Which is kind of a bummer — because after not running the Nebo Half last year, I was looking forward to running it. It is my favorite half marathon. I mean, who doesn’t love a fast downhill race?

Anyways — when we get closer and gain a clearer picture I’ll tackle my schedule between July – December. I have signed up for a number of races between that time — i.e. Handcart Days Half, Revel Big Cottonwood and Huntsville Marathon — so it’s shaping up. I am just waiting to see what my October looks like to see if I can run the Pony Express 50 again.

So many options. So many decisions. But, I’ll let the last part of 2017 take care of itself when we get to that bridge.

I have a number of goals for my 2017 race schedule. They are in no particular order …

  1. Knockout as many races as possible so I can hit my 180 race goal by July 24, 2018.
  2. Run three ultra distance races (Jackpot Running Festival, Salt Flats and either Antelope Island/Pony Express).
  3. Run three marathon distance races (Ogden, Utah Valley, Huntsville).
  4. Continue to get fit and faster — break that dang 2:30 half marathon mark.
  5. Have a ridiculous amount of fun.

Okay, there are a few things you should note on my goals. One, this isn’t a speed year for me. Sure, I have a goal to break the 2:30 mark, but I know I’ll do that as I continue to focus on my health and weight. My PR is 2:08 — so I know I’m capable of it. I am just not sure if this will come in the Spring, Summer or Fall? All depends on my training — but, you better know I’ll give it my best shot.

My focus really is to knockout as many races as possible this year so I can hit my goal of 180 races on July 24, 2018. Why that specific date? Well, that’s when the Bountiful Handcart Days Half Marathon is (or should be) in 2018 and I want that to be my 180th race, because it was my first. It just seems fitting.

Plus, I want to get the goal out of the way so I can focus on my other goals — like speed, more ultras and non-race running goals. I’d like to do more solo-runs like I am planning in March. I want to move the focus of my running more to a life long venture not solely focused on races as I have been for the past five years.

As you can see below, my race schedule is very top heavy during the first half of the year. I have 20 races — which is one shine of my total 2016 races. That’s a lot of running. But, most of those races are being used mostly as training runs for my 50Ks and 50 miler in March. So they are races with purpose.

I am not anticipating adding more than 8-10 races in the last half of the year so it’ll kinda even out. The most I’ve ran was in 2014 when I ran 30 races — so that’s not unprecedented for me. It’s just going to be a lot of running. A LOT.

June is going to be the busiest month for me. It’s going to be nearly 150 miles of race miles — that includes Ragnar Wasatch Back (June 2-3), Utah Valley Marathon (June 10), Bear Lake Trifecta (June 15-17), Utah Midnight Run (June 23) and AF Canyon Race Against Cancer (June 24).

June is going to be cray cray.

Anyways, here is how my whole schedule will look between January to June. As I mentioned above — it’s going to be a lot of running. But, there isn’t anywhere else I’d want to be.

Check out my schedule and let me know what your schedule is shaping up to look like. Maybe we’re running some of the same races? Odds are probably pretty good we are!

Here’s the schedule …

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.

A photo posted by Joshua Hansen (@fight4phat) on

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.

A photo posted by Joshua Hansen (@fight4phat) on

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.

A photo posted by Joshua Hansen (@fight4phat) on

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.

A photo posted by Joshua Hansen (@fight4phat) on

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.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

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.

A photo posted by Joshua Hansen (@fight4phat) on

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.

A photo posted by Joshua Hansen (@fight4phat) on

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.

A photo posted by Joshua Hansen (@fight4phat) on

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.

A photo posted by Joshua Hansen (@fight4phat) on

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.

InstaReplay: Pony Express 50 Trail Run

It’s hard to put all of what I went through on Friday into perspective. Mainly because there was a lot that I experienced. Both of the highest of highest and the lowest of lows. It really was one of the toughest things I’ve ever done.

I am working on a more complete race report that I will post either Tuesday or Wednesday. I am taking a little bit more time on it, because it’s turned a bit more into a book than a race report. So there just seems like so much I want to cover.

Anyways, here are a few pictures I took a long the way …

Last minute stop go essentials. #ponyexpress50 #race134 #ultrarunning @joshruns180 @fight4phat

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

Look who I found out on the course! #ponyexpress50 #race134 #ultrarunning @joshruns180 @fight4phat

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

Private dance session, mile 30(ish). #ponyexpress50 #race134 #ultrarunning @joshruns180 @fight4phat

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

I wish I could adequately describe to you this moment. This was Mile 45. I was spent — physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and everything in between. My feet were excruciating sore. Every step was like walking on pins and needles. Even when I sat down on the back bumper of the car to refuel and rest for a moment that pain stayed with me. But, here, was one of the lowest of lows I've experienced not just out on the trail, but life. I'll explain more on my blog, but I was done. I was done. I was DONE. This was taken as I decided to switch shoes to see if that would help. It didn't. But, I knew I just had to keep moving forward as painful as it might have been for me. I took two steps forward after standing up and I just started bawling. And, in that moment of despair I muttered one of the most basic and heartfelt prayers of my life. I told God I couldn't do this alone and I needed someone to be with me. I needed this pain to go away or for me to be distracted enough it wasn't my focus. I got an overwhelming rush of peace that assured me I was not running alone and that someone was on their way. It was no more than half a mile that my friend Jed hopped out of a car and asked if I needed a pacer. I almost wanted to breakdown there again because he was an answer to my prayer. He was my angel. Jed stayed with me until the end, and I couldn't have done it without him. He was my answered prayer. I'll always be grateful for this moment because it taught me so much about suffering, pain, prayer, faith and friends. #ponyexpress50 #race134 #ultrarunning @joshruns180 @fight4phat

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

I PONY'D UP! Officially done. Well, I was done before I was done. But, that's what made being done done that much more special because I pushed myself past being done. Follow me? After months of training, weeks of marathoning and doing things I never imagined I'd be doing 5-6 years ago … I officially ran my first 50 miler! Is this a one and done thing for me? I can't say no, but right now it's a no. But, ask me again in a few months. I learned a lot about myself out there on the trail. I always knew I could do hard things, but I feel like I expand that limitation tenfold during the race. I learned how to process and deal with suffering. I learned that attitude can affect all of that and it's all by choice not circumstance. I learned so many life lessons out there that I've written down to share later on my blog. But, I'm done! I'm done! I'M DONE! #ponyexpress50 #race134 #ultrarunning @joshruns180 @fight4phat

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

I DID IT! I DID IT! I DID IT! I'm still processing all of what I just did and most of that will come in a more detailed race report on my blog later on. But, that was one of the toughest, inspiring and most rewarding things I've ever done. The course was full of ups and downs both physically, emotionally and spiritually. If it wasn't for Tim Sedgley crewing me every 2-3 miles I would have been a deadman. And, the miles spent with dear friends Coach Blu, Jed and Jill were nothing short of divine. Gratitude for their part in this cannot be sufficiently communicated in words. They were my angels. I will cherish every moment of this race. I had some beautiful highs and some lowest of lows. And, I relished in that, because I constantly reminded myself that I CHOSE THIS! I could have done anything else with my day, but I chose to experience EVERYTHING I had ahead of me. And, I have a deeper appreciation for many things in my life because I CHOSE TO DO THIS! I am exhausted physically, mentally and spiritually, but I'm smiling. I'm proud of myself … I'm proud of my effort, I'm proud my resolve and I'm proud of every single footstep taken by everyone out there that chose to do this. I have so much more to say in much more detail. Watch for my race report. But, I did it! I DID IT! I DID IT! I DID IT! #race134 #ponyexpress50 #ultrarunning @josherwalla @joshruns180

A photo posted by Joshua Hansen (@fight4phat) on

Another Look at 2017 …

I am really trying to plan out my 2017 race schedule. If you’ve been following my blog even for the past three months you’ll know I’ve been working on my 2017 schedule pretty obsessively. Which is fine. I mean, it’s always subject to change — especially being three months away from the turning of the calendar.

There have been a few races I’ve been going waffling over — namely the DesNews Marathon and a few races in the summer. I don’t want to do marathons next year … but, I do. Especially since 2017 will be my five year anniversary of my first marathon — at DesNews.

I’m feeling a pull to just stick to half marathons and some trail 25-30Ks. I really want to do some more trail races and it’s kinda hard to pick and choose what I want to run. It’s real hard. Especially when I am still a rookie out on the trails.

So, I am sticking to half marathons and 25-30Ks in 2017. I am trying to mimic my 2013 race schedule where I ran nothing but half marathons. This will help me work on my speed so I can hit my running milestones and hopefully a new half PR.

Plus, I want to hit up some races in locations I can check off on my 40 Before 40 bucket list. So there’s that as well.

Anyways, here’s my schedule as I am looking at it thus far. The bolded races are ones I’ve already registered for. Oh, and the numbers to the left is the race number towards my 180 race goal.

139. New Year’s Half Marathon — January 7, 2017
140. St. George Half Marathon — January 14, 2017
141. Salt Lake Tri Club Half Marathon — February 25, 2017
142. March Madness Half Marathon — March 4, 2017
143. Lucky 13 Half Marathon — March 18, 2017
144. Tulip Festival Half Marathon — April 29, 2017
145. Provo City Half Marathon — May 6, 2017
146. Vigor Big Cottonwood Half Marathon — May 13, 2017
147. Ogden Half Marathon — May 20, 2017
148. Ragnar Wasatch Back — June 2-3, 2017
149. Drop 13 Big Cottonwood Half Marathon — June 11, 2017
150. AF Canyon Race Against Cancer — June 24, 2017
151. Hobbler Half — July 8, 2017
152. Utah Midnight Run — July 14, 2017
153. Deseret News Half Marathon — July 24, 2017
154. Timp Half — July 29, 2017
155. Parowan City Half Marathon — August 5, 2017
156. Skyline Half Marathon — August 19, 2017
157. Run Elevated Half Marathon — August 26, 2017
158. Nebo Half — September 2, 2017
159. Revel Big Cottonwood Half Marathon — September 9, 2017
160. Park City City Trail Half Marathon — September 16, 2017
161. Huntsville Half Marathon — September 23, 2017
162. Frightmares Half Marathon — October 14, 2017
163. Haunted Half SLC — October 21, 2017
164. Haunted Half Provo — October 28, 2017
165. Snow Canyon Half Marathon — November 4, 2017
166. Thankful 13 — November 23, 2017

Anyways — there it is. Of course this is all subject to change. But, please, let me know if you’re planning on any of these races. I’m always up to run with others! Just comment below!