Category: Handcart Days Half Marathon

Running my Name: Joshua + Snow

We’re down to three months left of the year. And, here I am still tweaking with my race schedule. Is anything truly finalized with me? Sometimes I wonder.

But, as I work toward my 180th race and my 100 mile run, I’m looking to make 2018 a great year of running. And, part of that means spreading out my races to work into my time goals. That is one reason I’ve raced a lot this year. I don’t want to have to run a bunch of races in 2018 to get to my 180 while jeopardizing my speed training.

So that’s why I decided to add another race to my 2017 race schedule — the Joshua Tree Half Marathon in Joshua Tree, California.

Being named Joshua, I’ve always had a fascination with the Joshua Tree. Everything from the naming to the maturation of the tree — has a lot of symbolism that just speaks to me. I’d go into all of that — but, that’s really a post for another day. And, I’m pretty sure I’ve blogged about it before, but I’d have to find the post.

And, then there’s the whole correlation with U2’s album of the same name that I love.

The Joshua Tree Half Marathon is also the same day as the Snow Canyon Half Marathon — which I am also running. A group of my friends and I are planning on making a quick trip of it. We’re driving down to St. George on Friday after work, run that race the following morning then drive down to Joshua Tree from St. George, run that race and then drive back to St. George to stay the night before heading home on Sunday.

It should be a lot of fun.

After signing up for the race I realized that I will be running my name — Joshua Tree Half & Snow Canyon Half. What a fun coincidence.

Additionally, this will be my first Vacation Race. Of all my 162 races, I still haven’t done a Vacation Race. I’ve wanted to. Heck, I’ve signed up for the Zion Half Marathon twice but had to back out for a number of reasons.

So, I have to remedy that.

I am looking forward to the fun weekend. I am definitely jamming out to an exclusive U2 playlist during the run. Heck, I might have to record a special episode of The Runcast with just U2 music in preparation for this epic weekend?

Either way, the change made me make a slight change to my remaining races. I decided to drop the Riverton Half happening on March 24, 2018. I might still do the 5K or 10K during that weekend, but we’ll see? That means after my 100 mile run in February I won’t have a race until April 7th. And, that’s kinda by design.

I am planning on using that month/month and a half to recalibrate, heal and prepare myself to shift gears toward getting faster in my half marathon times. I feel good about the changes.

Anyways, here is the remaining schedule …


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I am soooooo close to my goal …

Wow. After this past weekend’s race — I realized that I am only 19 races away from my goal! NINETEEN! I’m in the TEENS! Time flies so fast. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been doing this now for over six years.

But, it’s also hard to believe that I am reaching this 10 year goal — three years early! Who would have thought? Who would have imagined the experiences I’ve had, races I’ve run and people I’ve met over the past years? I feel extremely blessed being able to do what I love and with people that I admire, look up to and gain inspiration from nearly daily.

Sometimes when I think and plan for the end of this 180 race goal — I have to remember that it’s not the end of running. Because it won’t be. I’ll keep doing it. I might be a bit more deliberate here and there as I shift focus, but I’ll still be running to my heart’s content.

But, as I look at the remaining races toward my goal, I’m getting excited. Many are races I’ve run numerous times, some a couple times a while ago and even a couple that I’ve never done. And, then of course there’s the Jackpot Running Festival where I am attempting 100 miles.

I am excitedly nervous about that race. I know I can do it. I know I will do it. And, despite the crappy year I’ve had with injuries and my health — I know it’s doable. I will be ready come February.

So there’s lots of running ahead before I reach the finish line at the Handcart Days Half Marathon next July — which I am looking forward to running! And, as you can see I am trying to be more deliberate with my running, especially after Jackpot. I am running any races 13.1 or longer on back to back weekends — well, except for Provo City and Vigor Big Cottonwood — but, I am planning on sweeping Provo City again, so I’m not really counting it.

But, I am planning on scaling back the races, not just to hit the 180th race in July, but to also get faster. I don’t expect to PR next year (though that’d be nice), but I do want to get back into the 2:20-2:30 range by the end of the year with the help of continued health and some specific coaching.

I am not sure exactly what my race season will look like after my 180th race, but I’d like to keep to two long races a month for as long as I can keep that up — and preferably a road and trail race.

I have some time to figure that all out. But, for now the focus is really Jackpot in February while also focusing on getting myself to number 180 next July.

Here’s my remaining planned schedule …


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The Road to 180 is within view …

It seems like the closer and closer I get to meeting my 180 goal the more rearranging and adding I am making to my race schedule. I am really excited to get my 180 goal over with. Don’t get me wrong — I love running and will continue to run after I meet my goal.

But, I’m ready to move onto my next phase and some other goals within the running sphere. I am still working on what that will be. And, I’ll blog more about that around the end of the year. I’m really excited about the next part. It’ll involve a few exciting things and new goals.

There are four months left in the year and I still have 14 races planned. That’s a lot of running. Especially when you consider my race schedule ends in early November. I have four marathons planned — but, I am trying to gauge what’s my reality on those four marathons. I am good to go with Revel and the Jordan River Marathons. But, I am debating if I should down my distance at Huntsville and completely scratch St. George?

My ankle recovery has been longer than I thought. I am better. But, my training just isn’t where I’d like it to be. I need to run a really good 20 miler, lose a good 15-20lbs and not die sweeping the Revel BC Marathon to feel confident for St. George and Huntsville. But, we’ll see? I’m going to give it a shot regardless.

Of course all of these marathons and longer distances are leading up to Jackpot in February where I am shooting to run 100 miles. That’s going to take a lot of my training miles in November, December and January. Well, October as well, but lots of back-to-back runs. Plus, I am focusing a lot in the next few months on strength training and cross training. It’s going to be a feat to get me ready for that race.

But, as you can see my goal after that 100 miler is nothing planned until March-ish/April — and nothing longer than a half marathon. After Jackpot I really want to stay away from the longer distances for a bit — at least the road marathons. After my 180th race I plan on focusing on trails and roads — ideally ultras on the trails and half marathons on the roads. But, that’s all a post for another day.

The end is near. And, I am excited! I can’t wait to move onto my other goals and projects that I have kinda of put on the way side while focusing on meeting this goal. There’s so much more of the running world that I want to experience, share and be a part of — but, for right now it’s 180 OR BUST!

REMAINING 2017 RACES

156. Elephant Rock Trail Half Marathon (August 12)
157. Run Elevated Half Marathon (August 19)
158. Nebo Half (August 26)
159. Revel Big Cottonwood (September 9)
160. Huntsville Marathon (September 16)
161. Timp Elk Run Half (September 23)
162. Jordan River Marathon (September 30)
163. St. George Marathon (October 7)
164. The Haunted Half — SLC (October 14)
165. SoJo Half (October 21)
166. Howloween Half (October 21)
167. The Haunted Half — Provo (October 28)
168. Mt. View Trail Half Marathon (November 11)

ANTICIPATED 2018 RACES

169. Run Revolution (January 1)
170. Jackpot Running Festival (February 16-18)
171. Riverton Half Marathon (March 24)
172. Emigration Half Marathon (April 7)
173. Salt Lake City Half Marathon (April 21)
174. Provo City Half Marathon (May 5)
175. Vigor Big Cottonwood Half Marathon (May 12)
176. Drop 13 Half Marathon (June 9)
177. AF Canyon Race Against Cancer (June 23)
178. Morgan Valley Half Marathon (June 30)
179. Hobbler Half (July 7)
180. Handcart Days Half Marathon (July 24)

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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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Another 2017 race audible …

So, after last week’s post about my remaining 2017 race schedule — I had a few changes. My 4th of July race — The 13 Miles of Freedom — was cancelled. Then I found out the dates of a few races were different than I originally thought. So that allowed me to pick up an extra race in November.

That extra race is the Antelope Island Classic 50K, but I’ll be honest — not sure if I want to do the 50K or the half marathon? It’s kinda hard to make that decision right now with a bum ankle. But, I won’t lie — I am almost tempted to do the Pony Express 50 again on October 20th. I just don’t know if I’ll have it in me? And, again, the ankle is screaming at me not to.

We’ll see on that. But, if I do the Pony Express — I might still do the Howloween Half the next day since it’s a night race. I would scratch the SoJo Half in the morning — for obvious reasons.

Anyways — there are a lot of variables that would need to be figured on out on that. But, here is what I am looking at for the rest of the year. I also added a tentative race schedule for 2018 that leads to my 180th race. I am still a little unsure what I’ll do, but I need to be very stragetic since I am doing my 100 mile run in February.

So here are the schedules …

Remaining 2017 Race Schedule

153. Utah Midnight Run; Farmington (July 7)
154. The Hobbler Half; Springville (July 8)
155. Handcart Days Half Marathon; Bountiful (July 22)
156. Deseret News Half Marathon; Salt Lake City (July 24)
157. Vigor Solitude Trail Half Marathon; Salt Lake City (August 12)
158. Run Elevated Half Marathon; Sandy (August 19)
159. Revel Big Cottonwood Marathon; Salt Lake City (September 9)
160. Huntsville Marathon; Huntsville (September 16)
161. Timp Elk Run; Provo (September 23)
162. Jordan River Marathon; South Jordan (September 30)
163. St. George Marathon; St. George (October 7)
164. SoJo Half Marathon; South Jordan (October 21)
165. Howloween Half Marathon; West Jordan (October 21)
166. Saltair Half; Magna (November 4)
167. Mt. View Trail Half Marathon; Antelope Island (November 11)

*-italicized races are ones I am NOT registered for yet.

Tentative 2018 Race Schedule to 180 races

168. New Year’s Run Resolution; Kearns (January 1)
169. St. George Half Marathon; St. George (January 13)
170. Jackpot Running Festival; Las Vegas (February 16-18)
171. March Madness Half Marathon; West Bountiful (March 3)
172. Canyonlands Half Marathon; Moab (March 17)
173. Emigration Canyon Half Marathon; Salt Lake City (April 7)
174. Salt Lake City Half Marathon; Salt Lake City (April 21)
175. Tulip Festival Half Marathon; Lehi (April 28)
176. Provo City Half Marathon; Provo (May 5)
177. Drop 13 Big Cottonwood Half; Salt Lake City (June 9)
178. AF Canyon Race Against Cancer; American Fork (June 23)
179. Utah Midnight Run; Farmington (July 6)
180. Handcart Days Half Marathon; Bountiful (July 24)

*-italicized races are ones I am registered for.

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 …

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) …