Tag: 100 miler

43 Laps.

This past week I have been focusing on mentally preparing myself for the Jackpot Running Festival. Sure it’s in February. But, attempting to run 100 miles is something I’m trying to grasp. And, as much as I still need to put in the work physically — I have to do likewise mentally.

That is one reason why I did two half marathons this past Saturday and will do it again next weekend when I run the Snow Canyon and Joshua Tree Half Marathons. And, yet another reason why I have a number looooooooong timed training plans planned for December and January at the Olympic Oval — among other places.

I’m a very visual person. I have to see the end from the beginning, otherwise I’m lost. This is how I prepared myself for my first races in the 5K, half marathon, marathon and ultra distances. And, this 100 mile race is no different.

Over the past several months I’ve visualized my laps — not just the final laps, but the beginning and middle as well. I’ve visualized the pain I went through at mile 45 of my 50 miler and tripled that in the scope of how I might feel at miles 63, 82 or 96.

That final lap is what carries me. That’s what kept me optimistic this past race season as I’ve dealt with health and sprained ankle. And, let’s not pretend that I didn’t completely freak out in August that this wasn’t going to happen at all — so why even try?

But, that final lap made me believe it was going to happen.

In my attempt to further entrench the reality of what I am going to do, I decided to calculate the laps I will need to do for my 100 miles. Barring another washout of the course — the course should be 2.38 miles (last year it was 2.5 miles because the course had to be rerouted because of the flooding).

That’s 42.0168067 laps.

And, since I’m not quitting mid-lap, that’s 43 laps. Which makes my mileage for the race 102.34 miles.

I just have to do 43 laps. That’s it — 43 laps.

I can do that.

And, instead of viewing it as 43 2.38 mile laps, I’m cheating and viewing it as mile loops. Just 43 loooooong single mile loops.

I can do that.

It’s been a tough year for me. It’s sucked. Having a sprained ankle from April that has still given me problems has been beyond frustrating. I’ve been slower than I’ve wanted to be, my training has been tougher than I thought it would — and I have had my share of doubts.

But, as my running coach has reminded me — this race isn’t about being the fastest, it’s about doing what you’ve set out to do. And, that’s what I’ve been trying to remember and keep in mind.

This is about running 100 miles. This is about doing something that pushes me physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. This is about doing something that was unimaginable for me to do not just 10 years ago, but even a year ago.

This is about so, so much.

And, all I have to do is run 43 laps.

43.


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Moving forward — one step at a time

I love running. But, I won’t lie, this past year of running — has sucked. It started off promising with my ultra in February — and a couple good races. But, then in April when I sprained my ankle — it just all went downhill from there.

I had to back out of a number of races or downgrade to a lower mileage. It’s been mentally and physically challenging for me. Difficult difficult lemon difficult. And, I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was rubbing thin with me.

Since June I’ve been doing physical therapy for my foot and I’ve made big strides toward recovery. It’s been slooooooow, but I’ve corrected the over pronation in my right foot — which has helped a lot. The over pronation was prevented proper healing in the ankle and, according to my foot doctor, the reason why it probably got sprained.

Ugh.

This past summer I’ve made progress. I ran 20 miles in August — relatively pain free, I’ve found a diet that’s working and have dropped nearly 18lbs. and I’m feeling optimistic moving forward toward my 100 mile run in February. And, then this past week things kinda got derailed.

During the Nebo Half I aggravated my ankle — again. Not horribly, but enough to cause some discomfort. It was from a couple of factors — I think I tied my shoe too tight, I lifted my big toe (as usual) too much on the steep course and I think I just got lazy with my form in the later miles. All of that contributed to my ankle feeling very aggravated.

Not fun.

After talking to my foot doctor and physical therapist this past week they wanted me to rest the ankle a bit — especially from the long distances. Not only did they not want me to run this past weekend (not a problem — was only planning 6-8 miles) but that meant no marathoning for at least a month. So instead of sweeping the Revel Big Cottonwood Marathon — I was regulated to he half marathon.

They also didn’t want me running both the Jordan River Marathon and St. George Marathon since they are on back to back weekends. They wanted me to choose one — ONLY — if my ankle was feeling better after my next appointment. I can live with that — sorta.

I’ve already decided that I’ll choose the Jordan River race over St. George. As crazy as that seems — I’d rather run closer to home and save the additional money of gas, hotel, etc. for Greece. Plus, I’m not 100% confident that I’d hit the cutoff times for the marathon? I’d hate to put in all that effort just to get a DNF. At least I know Jordan River is more lenient with cutoffs.

But, with that said — I just hate going through exactly what I did this spring with my races. I hate dropping races. But, on the other hand, I have to remember that there is wisdom in this for the long term. This is also allowing a more successful attempt at my 100 mile run in February. That’s why I need to keep doing what my therapist and doctors tell me to do, because I AM RUNNING A 100 MILES IN FEBRUARY.

I’d be lying though saying that I am not nervous about it. I am less than six months from race day — and many of these marathons were supposed to help in my preparation for the race. Luckily, my ultra training consists of more “time on feet” than average pace. But, still, not getting those marathons in are a mental strain on me.

The good thing is — I will have plenty of time to get time on my feet in the next few months. I am still sweeping the Haunted Half in Salt Lake City. I am also running the SoJo Half and Howloween Half the following weekend — the later might be me hanging out with the sweeper, but I don’t care. And, then I have a couple of trail races that will be good change of pace runs before my trip to Greece in mid-November.

Once I am back from Greece my plan is to ramp up the miles toward my 100 mile attempt. I have my training schedule planned which includes a lot of miles at both the Olympic Oval, Liberty Park and the treadmill. I only have two races planned between December and race day — the New Year’s Run Resolution (Jan. 1) and Sun Marathon (Feb. 3).

I’ll be doing a lot more Friday-Saturday runs, night runs and mental test runs — much like I did last year in preparation for my 50 miler. I’ll share all of that at a later time. But, I’ve got to get my ankle to the point where it can handle all of that. Which I believe will happen — but, it’s hard to not be skeptical.

So really the only thing I can do right now is focus on the continued rehab — no matter how frustrating that is — and just doing what I can do. I am focusing on strength training and weight loss right now, especially with my keto diet. I am down about 18lbs. which will help a lot with my running and ankle more than anything else right now.

I am just trying to stay optimistic about what’s in front of me and just do what I need to do to get there. More than that — I’m just trying to stay positive about it. And, some days — that’s hard.

But, I’ll get there.


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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.

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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It’s time to bet big … on myself

“I don’t like to gamble, but if there’s one thing I’m willing to bet on, it’s myself.”

Beyoncé

When I started running, I had no idea where I was going. I started because I wanted to lose weight and I knew it would help me in that goal. But, beyond that, I had no idea where it was taking me?

Less than a year into my weight-loss journey my trainer, Kevin, challenged me to run a 5K in the midst of a plateau. He gave it to me as a challenge to work towards. So, I put in the work and ran my first 5K. It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t fast. But, I did it.

But, then something happened. I looked at my results and said — “I can do better.” So, I set out to train for another 5K. One that I could run that would be faster and much, much prettier. And, I did.

So, I just kept running trying to improve. This lead not just in the desire to run faster, but longer. Soon, I had my eye on a 10K which naturally lead to a half marathon.

Training for my first half marathon — I thought THIS would be it. This is the crowning achievement of my running career. The thought of running any further — especially a marathon — was unfathomable. I wasn’t a REAL runner, so I couldn’t possibly do that.

Well, after I ran my first half marathon in July 2011, I ran another and another and another. I got faster and actually enjoyed running 13.1 miles — then I started entertaining the thought of doubling that mileage.

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And, before I knew it I was registered for a marathon. A FREAKING MARATHON! That race distance that only REAL runners run.

Once again, I thought this would be my crowning achievement in running. When I crossed the finish line I could cross off the accomplishment on my bucket list and go back running half marathons, 10Ks and 5Ks. But, then something happened — I signed up for more marathons. And, before I knew it, I had run a total of three marathons by the end of the year.

By this time I had a goal to reach 180 races by age 40. So, I kept training and running. Along the way, not only did I enjoy the accomplishment of racing, but I made countless friends and created many enduring friendships. Running was changing my life in nearly every faucet of my life.

But, it hasn’t always been a smooth ride. It’s been quite tough at times, actually. Whether it was dealing with my Mom’s breast cancer, the death of close family members or battling my own health issues — the common denominator has always been — running.

Running wasn’t a way to escape reality, but a time I could deal with reality. Running gave me time to process the challenges. It gave me moments of reflection, motivation and inspiration. It was leading me where I wanted to go.

Nearly three years ago I started having problems with my thyroid once again. The health issues took me through a roller coaster of emotions. It was frustration being as active as I was — and feeling fatigued and slower. Not only that but I was slowly gaining weight after a years of maintenance.

But, I didn’t let (or want) those issues to stop me. They couldn’t stop me. I had a goal at hand. Plus, I knew if I stopped I would signaling the white flag of defeat — which I could never do.

So, I just kept running.

I was much slower. And, it took a harder toll on my body, especially in regards to my stamina. But, I was now one of the last runners to finish, but I kept going.

Around this time I looked for ways to keep me motivated. I knew just running wasn’t enough. I had to do something new — something that scare and motivate me all in one.

And, since I knew I wasn’t getting faster, I started looking at longer distances — ultra races. I knew a number of ultra runners who spent their weekends in Utah’s backyard and it always appealed to me. But, running anything longer than a marathon didn’t.

That lack of appeal eventually subsided and I found myself registered and committed to running a 50K. So, despite everything going on with my health — I trained for the 50K around a schedule of marathons and long runs. It wasn’t easy, but I did what I needed to do to prepare myself for the race.

When race day came I was lucky enough to run with some great friends that helped me get through those 30-something miles on Antelope Island. The last half of the race was spent trying to meet cut-off times, dodging stubborn bison and battling the dark after my headlamp died.

But, I made it. And, I earned the title of ultra runner.

The accomplishment felt like crowning accomplishment of my running journey. After spending over 10 hours running 30 miles of dirt trails — I couldn’t think of any reason why any sane person would do anything longer.

Then I remembered — I wasn’t sane.

Within a few months I got talked into running a 50 miler. I wish I could say it took a lot of convincing, but it didn’t. It was the first time I formally met Blu Robinson and Jed Jensen from Addict II Athlete and they casually talked about the 50 miler like a novice runner would about a 5K.

And, like any long distance race I’ve run, I found myself registered and committed to running the Pony Express Trail 50 Miler. The biggest selling point was that each runner was required to be assisted throughout the race. Meaning, I had a car stalking me — stocked full of fuel, water and food throughout the whole race. This basically translated to me that I wouldn’t die.

My training for the 50 miler was no joke. It was tough. I did a number of 20 milers, including one on a treadmill in the middle of the night. Not to mention a number of marathons specifically laid out to help prepare me for my 50 miler.

Once race day came I just focused on putting one foot in front of the other. I relied on my training and just focused on the goal at hand — getting to the finish line.

There were a lot of ups and downs — physically, emotionally and even spiritually. But, after nearly 17 and a half hours — I got to the finish line. I reached my goal — I ran a 50 mile race. I did something I felt at times nearly impossible, even just days before the race.

But, I made it.


“If you think you can — you can!”

Ronald Reagan

I really fell in love with the longer distances — for a number of reasons. Not only did I love the physical challenge, but I really learned a lot about myself. I learned a lot about pain. Because that happens a lot during an ultra race.

I never cried as freely and openly as I did at mile 45 of my 50 miler. But, I learned how to process the pain I was feeling — and control it. Being able to manage and control pain is a remarkable feat and I believe a true test of one’s character. Ultra races were becoming great teachers to me.

Since that 50 miler, I have run a couple more ultra races. A couple weeks after that 50 miler I ran the Antelope Island 50K once again (cutting off nearly an hour on my time — mind you!), in February I ran 40 miles in 12 hours at the Jackpot Ultra Running Festival in Las Vegas and then there was my ill-fated Salt Flats 50K that I DNF’d last weekend. But, if I didn’t fall ill with the flu I would have tackled that beast!

My favorite ultra race so far has been the Jackpot Running Festival, I like the idea of a timed race on a looped course with the goal to see how many laps you can do within that time. Not only do you get an aid station every two miles or so, but you’re literally competing with no one else — but, yourself.

Jackpot has a number of timed races — a 6, 12, 24 and 48 hour race. They also had a 100 miler, marathon, half marathon, 10K and 5K, but most of the runners did one of the four timed courses. The winner of the 48 hour race managed over 210 miles.

Yeah, you read that right.

In fact there were nearly 30 runners who ran over 100 miles, including six runners who ran over 150 miles. Mind boggling numbers if you ask me.

I read all of these results as my legs were still recovering from my 40 mile run — and I couldn’t shake the feeling that “I could do this” from my conscience. Every time I dismissed the thought — it just came back stronger. Even when I reminded myself of the pain I experienced at mile 45 of my 50 miler — the feeling remained.

So, I did the only logical thing that came to mind — I signed up for the 48 hour race in 2018.

Yup.

I signed up to run my first 100 mile race.

Typing this makes it feel very surreal to me, even a couple months after doing so. I am running a 100 miles. The thought makes me want to pee my pants out of sheer terror and excitement all in one emotion.

I’ve kept my registration relatively private since February. I’ve told a couple of close friends and family members. Heck, this is the first that my parents are hearing of this news. It’s just been a lot to process and this is a HUGE goal and milestone for me.

I still have my doubts about my ability. And, I am sure others do too. Heck, my parents definitely do, because their fear of my running is that one day my legs will fall off.

But, I have to at least try. I have too.

I have to try.

I have to try.

I have to try.

I’ve journied so far from my first 5K — heck, from the couch itself — that I can’t stop myself now without trying. To borrow a phrase from a favorite song of mine, “If you never try you’ll never know, just what you’re worth.” (Fix You, Coldplay).

When I stepped on the scale back in 2009 to start my weight-loss journey, I started the journey accepting failure — and success. I didn’t know where my decision that day would lead me. I accepted the consequences to my decision to LIVE my life. And, it’s lead me here.

I don’t see this decision any different. I am accepting the possibility of failure with the determination of success. I don’t know what lays ahead for me in the next nine months — but I’m going to find out. I’ve got a training plan in the works that I fill will give me the chance of success come February.

The motto for the Jackpot Ultra Running Festival is “BET BIG. RUN LONGER” — it’s something that’s on their shirts and medals. And, it’s something that I took to heart during my run this past February — especially since I signed up for the 48 hour race.

I feel like I am betting big with this goal. I am betting big on myself. Because, this is a gamble. There’s no guarantee of success, but there’s also no guarantee of failure either. So, I’ve got to place my bet.

But, unlike casino gambling, I can control more variables to my advantage. I can control my effort. I can control my training. I can control my preparations — both physically and mentally. And, I can control the odds come race day. But, with a goal like this, it’s going to take much more than this — in essence, I am not just betting big on myself — I’m going all in.

So, all in it is!

As a reminder of this goal and the needed commitment and dedication I’ve been running with a poker chip on me since I registered for the race. Every run — training and race — I run with it on me. I’ve tucked it in my pocket, but I really should make a necklace out of it to keep it on me better.

But, it’s just this little $100 souvenir poker chip that reminds me of not just the 100 mile goal at hand, but the bet I’ve placed upon myself. I might be a cheesy little emblem, but in the three months that I’ve been running with it — it’s been my reminder to keep going, keep pushing and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

I don’t dare say that this will be my one and only 100 miler. I’ve learned from my past that’s just a temporary lie I tell myself on occasion. But, I don’t know? And, I’m not worried about. My focus is simply on the journey in front of me.

This is a journey of a thousand miles. I know it will get daunting at times and there will be doubts. There will always be doubts. But, I know if I just focus on that footstep in front of me, it will take closer to my goal and a place I once dreamt possible.

It’s just up to me to take that next step.


“You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.”

Stephen King