Frightmares 5K: Maya’s First Race

There’s a motto that I love living by. It’s simply, “Love what you do, do what you love and share what you love, with those you love.” I am sure someone probably said it before me. But, I believe that in that concept lays a key to happiness. Of course this doesn’t relate JUST to running, it’s true to any passion or love we have in our life.

Being the only runner in my family I’ve tried to share my passion with my family … a lot. I’ve gotten my sister out to run a couple of 5Ks before. Plus, I’m constantly inviting my siblings to run half marathons and marathons with me, but I get the look of “you’re crazy” a lot when I make that recommendation.

The invitation is always open and I’m always willing to train with them. Because the process of training and running a marathon is one of the most impactful goals one can make in their life. I saw that in my life and I’ve seen that with dozens of my running friends. And, I want my family — the people I love — to experience in that as well.

One of my brothers has a marathon on his bucket list, so I know one day he’ll do it. But, it’s not just a marathon I want to share with them, it’s running … period. Whether it’s a marathon or 5K, trail or road, race or pleasure — running is a lifestyle and enriches one’s life.

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Besides inviting my parents and siblings to run with me, now that my nieces and nephews are old enough to not just run with me, but appreciate running — I am starting to share my passion with them. They get excited with the prospect of getting a race medal and t-shirt and running with Uncle Josher.

In July for my niece’s 8th birthday I bought her a race entry into the Frightmares 5K along with some running shoes and running swag. She was in the track and field club at school and would go “jogging” with her Mom during the summer. So I felt like this race was a perfect “FIRST” 5K for her.

And, it was.

Leading up the race she’s been really excited to run. A bit nervous too, because she’s never done anything like this before. Which is normal, I guess? She didn’t want to dress up for the race, so we decided to just go as runners. A perfect costume if you ask me.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

We met at Lagoon before the race. I got there about a half an hour earlier to pick up our packets and bibs. I watched the half marathoners set off while I waited for them. I also got to hangout with some of my friends as well from the Run4fun and AIIA groups.

Once my niece and my brother’s family got to Lagoon I gave her her shirt and we did a few warm up stretches. Before long it was time for us to run. Standing at the starting line I got a little emotional soaking in the moment as my niece soaked in the scene. I was so grateful being able to share something like this with her.

As we set out I gave her some instructions to make sure we won’t run into other runners and then we had it. She was at first nervous that I would leave her, which wasn’t the case. In fact, a few minutes into the race I was more nervous she was going to leave ME!

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

She is a natural runner. And, has a form that you can’t teach. Needless to say, I was very proud and jealous all in one emotion. But, within the first mile I also overheard a couple runners comment on how well she was doing. Those same emotions came back.

She’s a true natural.

One of the reasons why I picked this race to run with her, is because 2 of 3 miles of the 5K are ran inside the Lagoon Amusement Park. It’s a like Utah’s version of the Disneyland Half Marathon. You get to run inside of the park before it opens. I thought this would be PERFECT for a first race for Maya.

As we got into the park they had a number of the fog machines and decorations going including the Terror Ride audio blaring. Which I thought was a nice touch. We ran along the park terraces toward the Pioneer Village and through the town square. It was a lot of fun and gorgeous with all of the fall colors.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

I was waiting for Maya to hit a wall or something, but she kept running strong throughout the whole race. I let her dictate the pace and didn’t try to push her. I wanted this to be a fun experience for her.

As we ran past the Rattlesnake Rapids I started talking to Maya about the run and to always remember this, because of how running is a gift. I also shared with her a little bit about my journey. I told her that I had to work hard to start running because I wasn’t healthy and because of that I never take a run or race for granted.

I don’t know if that sunk in or registered with her. But, that doesn’t matter — that’s a lesson that will be learned over time. But, I wanted her to understand to let her passion for running to carry itself and to NEVER, NEVER take it for granted. I just wanted to enjoy the moment.

A photo posted by Joshua Hansen (@fight4phat) on

My heart was touched as we made our may to the finish line as she sprinted to the finish line in excitement. It was excitement to be done, excitement to get her medal and excitement to get ice cream. At that moment I KNEW she was definitely related to me. I couldn’t have been prouder.

Seeing her sister’s medal my nephew got the bug and wanted to do a 5K as well so he could get a medal and shirt. He was doubly jealous of her ice cream. But, the bug was planted. And, I promised him we would run a race sooner than later.

My brother and his family were in a rush to get back home for a few Saturday things, so after they left I discovered that Maya had won her age group. There were about 5 kids in her age group that ran the 5K, but she came in first around 37:30 minutes — some 6-7 faster than the 2nd and 3rd place finishers.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

So I took her medal home with me and presented it to her at home later that day. I was so proud of her and she just BEAMED from ear to ear after she got it. Especially since it was a gold medal. She didn’t expect or know anything about age group, etc. I was proud and happy for her to experience that.

This is a race I will remember forever. Running has been a very personal journey for me, but it’s also a journey I feel the need to share. Whether it’s with complete strangers, friends and/or family. This journey means nothing if I can’t share it with others.

Now onward to Pony!

134 - pony express trail 50

Welp, this is the week. This week, I am running my first 50 miler. People have asked me if I am planning on doing more. And, my response is usually … I don’t know, let’s see if I can survive this one.

For the past couple of weeks I’ve just wanted to get this race FINALLY under my belt. Part of it was being in the rhythm from my marathons and partly because I’ve really been hating the tapering. I don’t handle tapering that well.

It’s been an odd couple of weeks since St. George — and Huntsville as well. I’ve battled not just sickness, but I’ve also been feeling burnt out a bit. Which is pretty typical from what I’ve read among not just ultra marathoners, but marathoners as well. Plus, I just feel funky during the autumn months — the serotonin drops and I want to turn into a hibernating bear.

I’ll be giving my body some time off from running and focus on strength and circuit training after this weekend’s race. I am sweeping the Haunted Half in Provo next week and then I have my trail half on Antelope Island after that. Nothing too taxing, more relaxing than anything — which will be perfect.

Anyways — I am feeling a lot of the emotions I kind of expected. I’m feeling some nerves, some fear, some joy, some anxiousness and everything in between. Like I said before, I just want to run. I feel ready.

I feel ready not just from the training I’ve gone through in the past few months, but training I’ve gone through throughout my life. Because I know when it gets TOUGH I am going to have to draw on a lot of experiences of my past. Whether that’s from my experiences in high school gym class, running my first 10K, doing the Pioneer Trek as a 14 year old fat kid or doing the Personal Fitness merit badge.  I have a lot to draw from when I need to break through walls.

There is a lot more that I could ramble about and I’ll do that later this week. I am just ready to do this and see what comes of it. That’s what excites me most about this race, even more than getting my medallion at the finishing line.

There are lessons in everything we do.

With all that fun he’s having taking a bath we should have given him some dishes to do. #chubbingtatum

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

One day he’ll get these selfies down. #chubbingtatum #babyselfie

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on



241.5 miles


305.88 miles


1199.09 miles


1746.47 miles


920.53 miles

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