RACE #122: Ragnar Relay Wasatch Back

RAGNAAAAAAR!!! What a fun and wild weekend. What a fun and wild week! Not only did I have RAGNAR this weekend, but this week was full of family weddings, parties and festivities. My little brother got married on Thursday so most of the week was spent prepping for that.

Since I had to be ready by 4am to ride up to Logan on Friday night — as soon as I got home from the wedding reception I had to switch gears and get ready for RAGNAR! It was 11pm once I ran to the store and picked up my food — then I quickly packed everything up as quickly as I could, because I knew I needed SOME sleep that night. Especially considering that I wasn’t expecting much the following evening.

Well, the goal of SOME sleep turned into like an hour and a half. I got packed alright — though I was afraid I was forgetting something. It helps this being my fourth RAGNAR. So I knew what to pack for my legs, etc. But, I was just wired from the wedding and most my time in bed was spent wide awake. Not cool.

With whatever sleep I got I got up at 3am, showered, fed and out the door around 4-4:30am. I wasn’t riding in van two so I didn’t HAVE to be in Logan at that time, but my ride was in van one so I hitched a ride and hung out for a few hours in Logan with Chris and Lisa before we needed to trek down to Eden for the exchange.

The one thing I love about RAGNAR is meeting new people. Except for one year, I’ve never really known the people in my van before the race. And, I like it that way. I love meeting new people. It’s fun. The strangest of strangers can become some of the best of friends.

And, while I knew some of the teammates they were mostly all from Logan — so interactions were sparse and usually whenever they came down to races around SLC or Provo. So it was really fun to bond with them and of course we had a blast. Lots of inside jokes, lots of laughing — just a lot of fun.

There’s a lot I could write about from our team’s adventure, but for the sake of trying to explain numerous inside jokes and back stories, I thought I would focus more on my own legs and their back stories. Because, really, I think you could write a whole book of experiences about RAGNAR.

Anyways — here are my leg reports. But, first let me indulge myself in one more — RAGNAAAAAAAR!!!


Leg 11

I knew what I was getting myself into on this run — it was going to be hot and it was going to be hilly, especially in the last 1-1.5 mile of the leg. So when I got handed off the baton I saved my legs for that last stretch because I wanted to power up the hills.

Though I started my leg at about a quarter to 7pm — it was still pretty hot. And, after being in the car for most of the day it took me a while to get my legs behind me. So I just focused on running at a comfortable pace and just went. I started listening to my music on the leg, but about 2.5 miles into it — I ditched it. I just wanted to focus on the running.

I was getting passed fairly consistently along the whole route. When I first started running RAGNAR it always bugged me whenever I got passed. But, when I’m running my own race and doing my own thing — it doesn’t bug me any more.

Especially considering that RAGNAR started our team later than we should have started (that’s a whole different story) most of the runners passing me were from faster teams. So, of course they’re going to pass me.

But, the point of pride came when we hit those two up hill stretches. The runners that blew past me earlier were suddenly walking the hills. But, not me. I kept trugging along and beasted up the hill — passing three runners along the way. That validated my training and really gave me a sense of pride.

I was proud of this leg. I powered through it and gave it my all — pretty much all you can ask for, right? After my leg, I decided to livestream my leg review. You can catch it here …


Leg 23

Of all the legs going into RAGNAR — I wasn’t looking forward to this one. Not just because it was my longest run, but it’s a tough leg. I ran this leg a couple years ago when it was 11 miles long and it kicked my trash. I knew it what I was getting myself into — so at least I knew what to prepare myself for.

Still doesn’t make it easier.

Unlike the first time I ran this leg — I didn’t start at 2am. This time I started around 5:30am when it was relatively light outside. Running trails is much, much easier with some light so I was thankful for that. It eased a lot of the anxiety I had going into the leg.

The game plan for this leg was to just keep going. Great game plan I know. I just knew I was going to be tired and probably sore from the lack of sleep and being cramped in a van for hours on end. And, the hours leading to my leg — it was still the same game plan, because I was EXTREMELY tired.

I tried sleeping some between 10pm and midnight, but it just didn’t happen. And, having not gotten much sleep the night before or that week for that matter — I was zapped. I wasn’t looking forward to my leg at all.

When I got passed the baton at the exchange I just ran a nice slow and steady pace. I knew I couldn’t — and shouldn’t — press out too fast. Mainly because I wanted to save whatever energy I had for the miles later in the leg. I got passed quite regularly throughout the leg — actually I counted 43 runners. I passed one runner, but that was because they were tying their shoe. They eventually passed me too.

But, again — I don’t run RAGNAR for the kills.

Anyways — about 3-4 miles into the leg I just lost all energy. This affected me not just physically, but mentally as well. I just wanted to be done. I was tired, lethargic and starting to get a bit cranky. I got supported a couple times by the van — which helped a lot. I got a banana and plenty of water in me. Including a few Swedish Fish for the unsupported part of my leg. The spikes of sugar helped.

Throughout the leg I just kept each foot in front of the other TRYING to focus on everything besides running. I tried listening to some music, but that didn’t help — just made me more anxious. So, I just ran — and chatted with passing runners. Distraction helps me in these kind of moments.

As I was watching my FitBit for my mileage I noticed at the tail end of my run that I was running further than the advertised 9.7 miles. The leg was more like 10.5 miles — which was confirmed with two other runners who ran the same leg. I’m glad I didn’t know this until later into my leg, because if I knew it before hand I would have wanted to traded legs with someone who had a two mile leg.

I’m half joking about that one.

But, by the time I got to the exchange — I was worn out and just grateful to be done. I quickly switched out my clothes and looked forward to a quick shower and hopefully a nap. Which turned out to be a long enough nap (30 minutes) to delay a total collapse, but I cat napped throughout the rest of the day.

Here’s my livestream review of my leg …


Leg 35

This was an easy leg — obviously. Being 2.2 miles I was just eager to get to it, run it and just finish so I could get home and sleep for hours on end. My goal for this leg was to just run the whole thing. I knew it wouldn’t be the greatest pace, because of the fatigue– but, I didn”t care. I just wanted to make sure I didn’t stop and walk.

And, being only 2.2 miles — with a loss of 239 feet, I knew that was 100% doable.

And, well, I did it.

I started running at about 6pm which made it for somewhat hot of a run, but it didn’t bug me much — again, because it was only a 2.2 miles long leg. I just focused on getting the thing done.

I did pass a couple of runners — none of which were tying their shoes. And, none of which who passed me later on in the leg. This gave me a boost of confidence. As worn out as I was throughout the race, I still felt strong. I credit a lot of that to Whole30 and my new mentality (but, that’s a post for another day).

But, it wasn’t that bad of a leg and you can listen to my livestream review here …


As difficult and challenging as this year’s RAGNAR was for me — I still absolutely loved it. I had a great team and van — we had a blast. And, I was definitely spoiled. If you ever run with Chris and Lisa — they will ruin RAGNAR for you. They have the best set up — personal cubbies in the back, bag storage carrier on top of the car, power outlets galore throughout the van. It was perfect.

But, more than that — it was just fun to party with them, Lacey, Heather and Marvin. We had a lot of fun. As sleep deprived and exhausted as we were — RAGNAR was a lot of fun. It was bittersweet leaving the team when I got dropped off at home.

Anyways — I am already looking forward to Wasatch Back 2017! I totally want to run with Chris and Lisa’s team again (like I told you, they ruined me RAGNAR for me for life). I would love to run Vegas RAGNAR, but that’s the same weekend as Antelope Island 50K and Snow Canyon Half Marathon — not that I’m planning on running both (obviously), it’s just those have top priority over Vegas RAGNAR.

I am however running Red Rock Relay in Park City on October 8th and that one I am PUMPED about. This will be my first Red Rock Relay and I am running with the Addict II Athlete team. That’ll be a lot of fun. And, I’ll post more about that later this week.

But, I love relays because to me they’re what running is all about — RUNNING. FRIENDS. FUN.



I posted most of my Instagram pictures from RAGNAR on Sunday, but here are a few of my favorites from the weekend …

Gorgeous. #nofilter #ragnarwb #race122 #running @ragnarrelay @joshruns180 @fight4phat

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on



135.95 miles


108.1 miles


742.54 miles


986.59 miles


1680.41 miles

123 - af canyon half.fw

I’m getting pretty excited about my race this Saturday — I love the AF Race Against Cancer. Not only is it an awesome race down American Fork Canyon (one of the most gorgeous canyons in Utah), but it’s also a great cause I strongly believe in. 100% of all race fees go to charity — that’s pretty awesome, eh?

My goal for the race is simple — I want to come in somewhere between the 2:30:00-2:39:59 range. I am not looking to necessarily beat my Drop 13 Half time (2:31:14) — just stick in that 2:30 range to continue to build up that stamina so I can work towards a sub-2:30 at the DesNews Half (July 25) next month.

Knowing the course — the canyon won’t be a problem, the last 3-4 miles can be difficult after coming out of the canyon. So I am going to have to pace myself on this race — especially in the canyon. If I have it in me around mile 10-11, I’ll go for it. But, I really want to pace myself and build up that stamina.

So with that said — I’m planning on running with my Garmin. This will be the first time in — ages. Well, over a year. I want (well, need) to be deliberate since I really want to sub-2:20 at Nebo in September.

But, with all of that — I am just excited to be running this race, especially on the #Run4Dith team. We have over 25-30 other runners on the team and we’re planning on wearing pink for our friend Meridith aka “The Dith” — who will also be running with us! That’s more exciting than just being on the team. It’s great having her out there running again!


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