Tag: addict II athlete

RACE #166: The Haunted Half — Provo City

I am winding down on so much right now — not only am I winding down on my 2017 race schedule, but my 180 goal as well. This was my 29th race over 13.1 miles this year and fourth to last. That’s a lot of running. Then on top of that this is the 15th to the last race of my 180 race goal.

That last one is a harder one to process than this year’s race schedule. But, here I am running my 29th race of the year and 166th race of my 180 goal. It’s hard not to get somewhat sentimental at these races — especially the ones I’ve done basically every year.

The Haunted Half is one that I have rarely missed the past few years. That includes both the Provo and Salt Lake City races. These are some of my favorite races — from the courses, medals, t-shirts and overall experience. That was one reason I loved working for Runtastic Events during the time I did, because we focused on providing top notch quality for the runners and their race experience.

As difficult as it was stepping away from the race company, I was excited that I was able to run the races — especially the Nebo Half (my favorite) and The Haunted Half races. That also meant I was going to be able to EARN the Trilogy medal. I am sure if I was still working for the company I would have been given one, but that’s not the same as EARNING the medal.

It’s a really, really, really cool medal. The design it top notch, it’s HUGE and it’s heavier than most newborn babies (slightly exaggerating). Since I won’t be in town for the Thankful 13 I had to earn it earlier and this race was the final race I had to do for the medal.

So here I am.

Since this is a Halloween race, I was planning on dressing up. But, the banana costume I bought wasn’t really running friendly. So I had to improvise. And, by improvise I mean — take the laziest approach to my costume. I threw on my Greg Gregerson shirt and just went as Greg Gregerson. That was it.

Kinda lame I know. But, it worked. And, I didn’t have to worry about the logistics of costume. A costume I’m not sure wouldn’t kill me with excess chaffing? And, that’s something you don’t want to find out.

So, Greg Gregerson it was.

I know, you kinda wish you could pull that off, huh?

I didn’t have a time goal for this race. I’ve made the switched to an effort goal about a month ago as I work toward my 100 mile run in February. I really wanted a good effort with minimal walking. So if there was any goal — that was it.

A lot of the athletes from my Addict II Athlete team were running this race in honor of Carlee whom we lost earlier this month. It’s been a very emotional month for the team and this was a very emotional race as well.

A number of wore Carlee’s name on our shoes, some ran in pink tutus for Carlee and Don ran the whole 13.1 miles dragging Carlee’s “I Can Do Hard Things” tire behind him. It was a great tribute to her. It was a very emotional run for many of us.

I started off the run with Don, Russell and a number of the teammates. We all kept close to each other for the first half of the race. At the mid way point we kind of part and I ran the rest of the race with Zack and some of the Minor League team members.

Zack was slowing down a bit around Mile 9-10 and I ended up sticking with him for the rest of the race. As fast and downhill this race is, I forget that those last few miles are TOUGH! Around mile 10 the canyon is gone and the hills come out.

The worst of all the hills is the hill at Mile 12. People complain about the hill at Mile 10.5 of Run Elevated down Little Cottonwood Canyon, but this hill is much worse. It’s longer and — just brutal.

But, the good thing is that once you get over it the finish line isn’t too far away. But, oy! It was brutal (have I said that enough?).

The effort was there and once I got to the finish line I was done. I gave a great effort. I quickly grabbed my race medal and some water before grabbing my bag and Trilogy medal before leaving. I wanted to linger, but I was exhausted and really needed food in me.

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Luckily for me there was an In-N-Out less than a mile from the finish line. I was in heaven. Ever since I started my keto diet my favorite thing after a long run or race was an In-N-Out protein style, animal style burger.

Needless to say, it was delicious. Possibly life changing.

The focus now is this weekend’s races in St. George and Joshua Tree, California. As you might recall I am running both the Snow Canyon Half Marathon and Joshua Tree Half Marathon on Saturday. It will be a great challenge and training for my 100. Plus, there’s the whole part where I’m running my name.

I’ll have more on that later this week.


MY REMAINING 2017 RACES


Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 4.0 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 17.46 miles
TOTAL MILES — 34.56miles
Races This Week — The Haunted Half — Provo

October 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 33.69 miles
Race Miles — 52.4 miles
Walking Miles — 89.62 miles
TOTAL MILES — 175.71 miles
Races in September — (4) The Haunted Half – SLC, SoJo Half, Howloween Half, The Haunted Half – Provo

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 415.24 miles
Race Miles — 427.57 miles
Walking Miles — 1117.23 miles
TOTAL MILES — 1960.04 miles
Races done in 2017 — (30) 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, Jordan River Half Marathon, Drop13 Half Marathon, Bear Lake Trifecta – Idaho, Wyoming & Utah, AF Canyon Race Against Cancer, The Hobbler Half, Handcart Days Half, DesNews Half Marathon, Elephant Rock Trail Half Marathon, Run Elevated Half Marathon, Nebo Half, Revel Big Cottonwood Half Marathon, Huntsville Half Marathon, Timp Elk Run, Jordan River Half Marathon, The Haunted Half – SLC, SoJo Half,  Howloween Half and The Haunted Half — Provo.


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For the 144 …

This past week has been a VERY emotional week for not just me, but lots of people — nationwide and within my circle of friends. It’s been a week full of sadness, somberness, reflection, anger and frustration. Sometimes separately, sometimes concurrently.

It didn’t help that the week started with the news of the Vegas Shooting. I woke up at 2:45am to use the restroom and couldn’t back to sleep as I was following the updates. Not only was I checking Facebook for friends who live in Vegas, but the whole ordeal just made me sick to my stomach. Not to mention tears to my eyes.

And, then on Wednesday, our Addict II Athlete team got news that our teammate, Carlee, took a knee and lost her battle with addiction. This was a shock to the whole team. And, this has been hard to process, because of the range of emotions felt throughout the week.

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I had a couple of good runs to help with those emotions — including a 1.44 mile run I busted out on Wednesday in honor of my friend. I also had a couple good couple mile runs that were rather invigorating to be honest. Like I already mentioned — it was just a very emotional week.

During rough weeks, days, news, and whatnot my first inclination is go run. Not to necessarily escape, but to help me process what’s going on. This really started when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer back in 2012 and I haven’t stopped when life seems to dampen my spirits, breaks my heart or forecast a seemingly unknown future.

Those midweek runs helped — but, I don’t think the sorrow or frustration will go away for awhile. I’ve never dealt with a substance abuse addiction before, but I have lost family and friends to it — and it just has to stop. It has to. I hate seeing family and communities devastated by it. It’s heartbreaking — and preventable.

Over 144 people die a day in this nation from opiate addiction overdose. That’s one too many. My AIIA team has been running for the 144 this past year. So, when our teammate Carlee became one of the 144 last week — it hit home … HARD. It put a real face to this epidemic. And, I think for me, that’s been the hardest thing to process about the whole week.

My friend Lizz and I — who’s also a member of the AIIA team — decided to dedicate our hike on Saturday to Carlee. Carlee was one of the first people that introduced herself to Lizz and actually ran the AIIA 5K alongside her. So this news of her passing was just as harrowing for Lizz.

One thing that Coach Blu challenged us to do back in April was to go out and do things that the 144 would miss out on if they weren’t around to enjoy it. The response was awesome — we had posts of athletes out on runs, hikes, bike rides and races in some of the most beautiful scenery and locations. We wanted to show the 144 that there’s so much more to life than a life of addiction.

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Lizz and I chose to hike Mueller Park in Bountiful for a couple of reasons. One, I love it. Two, it’s a bucket list place Lizz wanted to hike. And, three, it’s gorgeous — especially during the fall weather. A perfect location to honor Carlee and the 144.

For a Saturday morning the trails weren’t necessarily busy. There were a few trail runners and bikers, but it felt like we had the trail almost to ourselves. And, the leaves were absolutely beautiful — something that we tried to capture with our camera, but, was impossible — it had to be experienced. So many intense colors of red, orange and yellow with green sprinkled amongst the leaves.

We hiked about 2.5 miles out before taking a couple minutes to take in the scenery and reflect on the week’s happening. It was a perfect peaceful moment in our tribute to our friend Carlee and the 144. After taking a few pictures we headed back for a good invigorating five mile hike.

For a non-race weekend — this was what I needed. It was the perfect opportunity to renew my spirit, straighten the ship and refocus my priorities, heart and intentions. Me missing the St. George Marathon was the farthest from my mind.

I have a lot of running head of me before I head to Greece in mid-November — seven races to be exact. That’s a lot of running. But, I am ready for them. I’m excited for them. I’m going to be running in some of the most beautiful canyons, state parks and a National Park I’ve been dying to run. Places that I can’t wait to share with the 144!

In addition to processing the loss of one of my AIIA teammates, I also want to let you know — that if you struggle with a substance abuse addiction … THERE IS HOPE! Please reach out to others to get the help you need. Even if it’s Coach Blu or one of the AIIA team members, we’re here to help!

Life is amazing — LIVE IT!


MY REMAINING 2017 RACES


Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 12.69 miles
Race Miles — 0.0 miles
Walking Miles — 25.05 miles
TOTAL MILES — 37.74 miles
Races This Week — None

October 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 12.69 miles
Race Miles — 0.0 miles
Walking Miles — 25.05 miles
TOTAL MILES — 37.74 miles
Races in September — (4) The Haunted Half — SLC, SoJo Half, Howloween Half, The Haunted Half — Provo

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 394.24 miles
Race Miles — 375.17 miles
Walking Miles — 1052.48 miles
TOTAL MILES — 1821.89 miles
Races done in 2017 — (23) 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, Jordan River Half Marathon, Drop13 Half Marathon, Bear Lake Trifecta — Idaho, Wyoming & Utah, AF Canyon Race Against Cancer, The Hobbler Half, Handcart Days Half, DesNews Half Marathon, Elephant Rock Trail Half Marathon, Run Elevated Half Marathon, Nebo Half, Revel Big Cottonwood Half Marathon, Huntsville Half Marathon, Timp Elk Run and Jordan River Half Marathon


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RACE #161: Timp Elk Run

Well, let’s answer the question you’re obviously wondering — no, I didn’t see any elk.

Like none.

I hope that doesn’t keep you from reading further into my race report? In fact, I didn’t even really see any wildlife. Well, there was a dead mouse I saw at mile six. It wasn’t due to the plague — probably got ran over by a mountain bike? What a sad way to go.

Anyways — onto the other stuff.

This race was tough. It was over 3800 feet of climbing over about 13.5 miles. So, yes, it was a fourth of a mile over a traditional 13.1 half marathon. But, as tough as it was — I absolutely loved it.

I was running this race with Zack Winters from the Addict II Athlete team. This was his first trail run, so I planned on running with him and just enjoying the experience. In fact there were quite a few AIIA runners among the 25 or so runners doing the race.

Traveling to the race, I was a bit worried if I was going to be able to do it. Around the point of the mountain — I got absolutely nausea and just felt sick to the stomach like I haven’t felt for a while. I was pretty close to just turning around in Lehi — but, I kept going hoping that the moment would pass.

Well, it didn’t.

When I got to the race, I stepped out of the car and knew I was going to lose my breakfast. Which I did. My stomach felt better, but I wasn’t 100% at the same time.

I’m not sure why I felt that way — other than I just don’t eat that early or as of late until around 11am or noon with my keto diet. My stomach was just not happy with my keto food that early. This happened to me the previous two weeks — to a less extent. But, either way, I need to figure that all out, especially before this Saturday’s race.

Anyways — Zack wasn’t feeling too hot either with his stomach. But, we both decided to give it a shot. There was always the choice that we could do just the 10K if we still felt ill at the Mile 5 turn off. Which was very much on our minds.

But, luckily, at Mile 5 we felt much better so we decided to keep going. We had to keep going. Especially now that we knew we weren’t going to die.

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We were well into last place — which as usual — never matters to me. We picked up the pace a bit after we started feeling a bit better, but we were well behind the runners ahead of us. Probably by close to an hour?

Once we got to the half way aid station going into Dry Canyon we were met up by Christy (Zack’s mother) and Jed from the AIIA team. I stripped off my monkey hat and windbreaker and Jed joined us to help pace us to the finish line. I am so grateful Jed joined us, because it made a HUGE difference.

We were also joined by the sweepers — so it was a true party in the back as we hiked up Dry Canyon. This was the toughest stretch of the race as we climbed about 1,000 feet in about two miles. It was gorgeous, but it was a beast.

Once we reached Mile 9 it was a decent to the finish. Zack and I picked up the pace and took what we could take during the decent. There were a few areas that we just had to navigate carefully. Luckily, I had my hiking poles which helped a lot in the climbing and decent.

The last mile and a half was probably the hardest decent of the whole run. The pressure on my toes made it hard to navigate a points. With my big huge clown feet my toes were crammed in my shoes. It wasn’t that much fun.

But, luckily, that was just a mile and a half of the course.

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We finished in 5:45 hours — which was about 15 minutes longer than what we expected. Not bad. But, not hot either. It was a good 45 minutes faster than the Elephant Rock Trail Half from last month — so that makes me feel hopeful of my recent progress.

I’m sore, but my ankle isn’t bad. So that’s a win. Most of my soreness is in the toes and quads. Which I guess it kind of expected with the amount of climbing and descending we did during the run.

My next trail race isn’t until the Mt. View Trail Half Marathon in November — once again running with Zack. Luckily that one doesn’t include a lot of elevation change. It’s the same day as the Antelope Island 50K which I’ve done the past couple of years. It’ll be a fun race.

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But, before that I’ve still got a number of races to do — Jordan River, both Haunted Halfs, SoJo, Howloween Half and Snow Canyon. I can’t wait to tackle them — even though it’s still a lot of running.

Bring it.

I can’t wait.


MY NEXT FIVE RACES


Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 2.0 miles
Race Miles — 13.45 miles
Walking Miles — 17.78 miles
TOTAL MILES — 33.23 miles
Races This Week — Timp Elk Run.

September 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 16.0 miles
Race Miles — 39.65 miles
Walking Miles — 83.47 miles
TOTAL MILES — 140.12 miles
Races in September — (4) Revel Big Cottonwood Half, Huntsville Half, Timp Elk Run & Jordan River Marathon.

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 375.55 miles
Race Miles — 362.07 miles
Walking Miles — 1004.71 miles
TOTAL MILES — 1742.33 miles
Races done in 2017 — (23) 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, Jordan River Half Marathon, Drop13 Half Marathon, Bear Lake Trifecta — Idaho, Wyoming & Utah, AF Canyon Race Against Cancer, The Hobbler Half, Handcart Days Half, DesNews Half, Elephant Rock Trail Half, Run Elevated Half, Nebo Half, Revel Big Cottonwood Half, Huntsville Half and Timp Elk Run.


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The Runcast, Epi. 004: Classic Rock

There’s a new episode of The Runcast out today. In this episode I sit down with Joe Coles from On Hill Events and jam out to some classic rock, while talking about some his upcoming races. We talk about his new race — the Sun Marathon, the rebranded Antelope Island Marathon and his holiday races during Halloween and Christmas.

You can listen to the episode below or log onto theruncast.net to listen to this and past episodes, including playlists from Spotify from each episode!

Listen to “The Runcast Episode 004 – Classic Rock” on Spreaker.


There’s a new Addict II Athlete Podcast episode out today as well. Listen in as Coach Blu interviews Amber Baum tell how addiction came into and affected her life. She shares how a tragedy of losing a daughter to heroin can be turned into a message of advocacy and love.

Catch the episode here or on PodBash.com.

Listen to “Love and Loss.” on Spreaker.


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RACE #158: Nebo Half

NEBOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! I love this race. Absolutely love. I would marry it if I could. But, alas, I can’t marry races — which is pretty sad. But, that won’t displace the Nebo Half within my hearts of hearts.

The course race holds my PR (2:08) that I set back in 2013. I am nowhere near that pace right now — and that’s okay. That can of worms is a post and a half for another day. But, this course is FAST, it’s beautiful and just downright fun — regardless of my pace.

Nebo will always be my favorite half marathon.

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As I have mentioned numerous times — this year has been a TOUGH year for running for me. Whether it’s been DNFs, DNSs, my thyroid levels, sprained ankles or the recovery aftermath of said sprained ankles — I just haven’t been able to get a rhythm to my training. It’s sucked. Sucked hard.

So going into Nebo — I didn’t really have a set goal. I wanted to sub-two. I also wanted to sub-2:50. That would have been my best half time of the year. But, after last week’s “Keto Krash” — I just didn’t want to set a time goal. My goal was just not to crash. It was more important to figure that all out now than to get a year’s best time.

So that was plan. I would still plan on doing my best. But, that wasn’t my first priority. I just never want to feel the way I did last week after my race again.

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I decided from last week’s experience to do things a bit differently. First thing, no eggs. They upset my stomach — especially so early in the morning. So my protein intake was cheese, turkey and some almond butter instead.

Second thing, I decided to eat a half banana before the race. That’s 10 grams of carbs for the half banana and I was hoping that’d give me a good enough jump during my first half of the race. Which it did.

And, then lastly, I decided to run with a hydration pack full of Powerade Zero. I usually don’t run with a hydration pack for anything shorter than a marathon, but on this diet I really should because the shortage of electrolytes probably did me in more than anything last week.

I also decided to run with an applesauce packet JUST in case I felt like I was crashing. There’s 13 grams of carbs in one pouch so it wouldn’t be killing my diet. But, I wanted to avoid using it unless I absolutely needed it.

Race morning went fairly well. I drove from Bountiful to Payson which is about an hour drive — so my wake up call was at 2am. Too too early. But, the nature of being a runner, right?

After loading the bus with my friend Zack we wandered up the canyon. Our driver missed a turn which we didn’t realize until we were at Mile 8 … of the marathon. There were some upset runners, but honestly — I didn’t mind, because that meant it was less time spent in the chilly canyon weather.

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After waiting about an hour or so for gun time we were off at 7am. It was hard not wanting to go “balls to wall” down the canyon. But, I knew I had to temper that excitement to avoid a crash later in the race.

I found myself a comfortable pace a couple miles in the race and decided to just focus myself at that speed. It wasn’t too fast, but it wasn’t too slow either. It felt comfortable. And, if I felt like I could push it a bit more later in the race — I would.

It was just a good nice pace.

Besides focusing on my speed, I focused on my breathing, gait and energy levels. It really helped having my hydration pack with me, because every time I felt thirsty or a need for a jump of energy — I just took a sip of my Powerade.

At aid stations I still took water, but made sure to drink my Powerade Zero instead of what was offered me. Of course because of the added sugar. But, I really got into a good groove around Miles 4-5 and felt like pushing myself a bit — so I did.

Things were going pretty good until a couple miles later when my foot and ankle started hurting. I haven’t had a lot of pain in the ankle since I’ve started physical therapy, but it really started during around Mile 7-8 — and this killed any mojo I was building up for the rest of the run.

Not only was my ankle hurting, but the top of my foot was hurting as well. During the race I was rather concerned about it, because I didn’t want to unravel everything I worked hard to strengthen. But, after my race I Googled my symptoms to see if that might show what reveal what was going on with the foot.

Fortunately — and unfortunately — I found out it was a two fold problem. Easily fixable. But, I figured the combination of me tying my shoe too tight and focusing my gait to land on my big toe first caused the muscle to strain, which also caused my ankle to hurt as well. It was sore most of the day, but luckily by Sunday — I was fine.

I really need to be more careful with my shoes. That was a total rookie mistake. But, I can see why I did it — I wanted to give that ankle a lot of support. Which I did. It was — unfortunately — just too much support.

The last five miles were tough. I yo-yo’d my friend Amanda a bit which made the miles go a bit faster since we bantered a bit back and forth. The course got fairly hot around 9-10 which zapped a good amount of energy, but I just kept on going.

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Despite my foot and heat I didn’t want to leave any doubt that I gave everything, so in those late miles I forged through the rolling hills and streets of Payson passing a number of other runners. They were small victories, insignificant to the masses, but big to me in the moment. Especially since I just wanted to finish strong.

As I made the turn toward Payson Park and the finish a large gathering of my AIIA team was cheering me on. I was joined by Zack and Russell for the home stretch — I couldn’t have asked for a better group of fine young me to run me in. Both of them of ran the half — and Russell who’s barely 10 even got a sub-two time! So proud of both of them!

After I finished I grabbed some water and felt a crash coming on. I gave my all. Which is a great feeling, but at the same time I just found a patch of grass and sat sipping on water and my Powerade while chatting with friends.

I know I have a lot of work to do to get myself back to where I was a couple of years ago, even in 2013 when I PR’d on this course. I know I have it in me. And, I feel very hopeful with the changes that I’ve made with my diet and workout regime — that I’ll get there. But, at the same time — if I never get back there — I am happy running the rest of my life at any pace or speed. Just as long as I can still do it.

But, I’m never NOT going to try to get back there — no matter what curve ball life seems to throw at me. I can’t wait to see what I can do on this course within the next year.

And, that’s what drives me to come back for more.


MY NEXT FIVE RACES

My next race is the Revel Big Cottonwood Marathon. I am sweeping the course, which is always a party and a half. This will be my fourth year sweeping the course. I did downgrade my Huntsville Marathon entry from the full to the half — I need to focus on strengthening the ankle, not running it into the ground. That is also why I decided to drop the St. George Marathon. There’s a remote chance I’ll still do it. But, with my training right now — I don’t feel confident enough that I’ll hit the cut off times.

Anyways, still lots of running and training to do this fall, I can’t wait …


RACE #158: Nebo Half, August 26, 2017 (3:02:55) NEBOOOOOOO!!! Always my favorite half, because it's fast, beautiful and fun! Took it easier than usual as to avoid a crash like last week — also still trying to get used to my keto diet. But, still loved every minute of it! The race benefitted the @addicttoathlete team, so there were AIIA athletes at pretty much all the aid stations. It was so great seeing their smiling faces every few miles. I felt strong and I can tell my body is acclimating much better to my new diet. No crash. Running with my own Powerade Zero helped. I'm hoping for some better times here in the fall to finish off 2017 strong! It's been a tough year for me. #race158 #nebohalf #running @runtasticevents @addicttoathlete @josherwalla @ketoshua @joshruns180

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One of the best parts of keto — once a guilty pleasure no longer associated with guilt. On my way home from Payson to Bountiful, I stopped in American Fork for a Double Double Protein Style Burger from In n' Out! It definitely hit the spot! ———————————————————— #innout #proteinstyle #doubledouble #ketolunch #lunch #ketoshua #fitness #wellness #health #running #runnerslife #runner #run #weightloss #weightlossjourney #hashimotos #hashimotoswarrior #thyroid #hypothyroidism #workout #wod #instarunner #run4fun #runningcommunity #keto #ketodiet #ketonics #ketorunner ———————————————————— @ketoshua @josherwalla @joshruns180 ———————————————————— Follow my blog at www.phatjosh.com

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She's so angelic, she even has a halo.

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Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 9.0 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 31.02 miles
TOTAL MILES — 53.12 miles
Races This Week — Nebo Half.

August 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 42.0 miles
Race Miles — 40.0 miles
Walking Miles — 92.39 miles
TOTAL MILES — 174.39 miles
Races in August — (3) Elephant Rock Trail Half, Run Elevated Half and Nebo Half 

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 353.05 miles
Race Miles — 322.42 miles
Walking Miles — 872.54 miles
TOTAL MILES — 1548.01 miles
Races done in 2017 — (22) 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, Jordan River Half Marathon, Drop13 Half Marathon, Bear Lake Trifecta — Idaho, Wyoming & Utah, AF Canyon Race Against Cancer, The Hobbler Half, Handcart Days Half, DesNews Half, Elephant Rock Trail Half, Run Elevated Half and Nebo Half.


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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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RACE #152: AF Canyon Race Against Cancer

The past couple of months have been difficult. Dealing with my sprained ankle and the subsequent recovery has taken a toll on me, both physically and emotionally. It’s been frustrating feeling and being slower than where I wanted to be, especially at this point in the summer. I’m trying to stay positive about it, which is easier said than done.

This past week I started physical therapy on the ankle, which gave me a lot of hope. My physical therapist was really encouraged at the strength of my ankle and that I was able to run what I’ve done since April. There were a few areas of concern which she gave me to work on along with scheduling a few other exercises — including a running assessment in a couple weeks.

So going into this race, I felt — cautiously — encouraged. My therapist didn’t think it was a BAD idea, in fact she was amazed I was able to run last week’s Trifecta. As far as pace and time went — I had no idea where I was going to be? The fact that last week’s races were around four hours each and the week before’s race down Big Cottonwood was 2:56 — I just didn’t know what to expect?

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I really wanted to push for a sub-three hour half, but didn’t know if that was a reasonable or attainable goal? But, I knew I didn’t want to be around 3:30 or slower — so how’s that for a definitive goal?

But, with this ankle recovery I’ve found it’s hard to make definitive goals I like to see concrete results. I like to see when x plus y equals z. But, this race included too many imaginary numbers for me. So I didn’t really have a definitive goal. But, I wanted to push a sub-three and I didn’t want to be out on he course forever.

How’s that for a goal?

Anyways, I was excited to run, because American Fork Canyon is such a gorgeous canyon. It’s in my trifecta of favorite Utah canyons. It’s hard to keep your head down while running down the canyon because you get such beautiful views of Timp and the surrounding mountains. It’s so green and beautiful.

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That affect happens whether I am running this race, the Timp Half or a training run. And, it got me once again on Saturday once the gun sounded. Not wanting to go out too strong I kept to the right of the road and just focused on going with the flow of the crowd. I did this to not just warm up, but to test the foot.

I kind of decided to just take what my foot was going to give me. But, I knew I couldn’t — or shouldn’t — take too much, too early. Because, if I was going to sub-three, I needed gas left in the tank in the later miles, especially the non-canyon miles. So, I ran the first three miles rather conservatively.

After those first three miles, I felt pretty good so I just worked on picking up my pace slightly and putting myself on cruise control down the canyon. It wasn’t quite like putting the petal to the metal, but it felt good being able to be consistent with minimal pain.

I was amazed at how much stronger I felt compared to not just the previous week’s races, but Drop13. Being a canyon run, I felt that American Fork Canyon was “kinder” to my ankle than Big Cottonwood. Not only was the elevation drop more gradual, but the road was less windy — which really helped with my ankle since there wasn’t much lateral movement on my part.

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It just felt so good to be able to be on cruise control. The miles seemed to just pass and before I knew it I was already out of the canyon. Which was about 7.5 or so miles into the race. I felt like Meb.

Coming out of the canyon, I knew it was going to be tougher. The rolling hills and neighborhood miles are always tough for me, regardless of the state of my ankle. After passing the Mile 8 mile marker we made our climb on the rolling hills near the gold course. I decided to fast walk the hills to conserve my energy.

While climbing the hill, I noticed my friend Shonda ahead a hundred yards or so ahead of me. Throwing caution to the wind, I sprinted up the hill to catch up with her. After taking a picture with her, I ran ahead. I could tell she was struggling a bit, but I was amazed I was able to catch up to her, because she is a strong runner.

It was around this time I felt I had a shot at that sub-three time. Knowing the course that was ahead of me, I knew it was going to be tough, but I felt that if I kept running and didn’t stop to walk much, I could do it. So, I shuffled when I needed to shuffle and sprinted when I needed to sprint those last five miles.

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After winding around neighborhoods and along the Murdock Trail, I made it to the last mile of the race. I avoided looking at my watch, because I didn’t want to play mind games with myself. I just wanted to keep running strong. Soon we met up with the 5K runners who looped onto the 3/4 of a mile of the race with us.

Around this time, as I was focusing on that last mile, I heard my name and noticed it was Zack — one of my teammates from Addict II Athlete. I could tell right away he was hurting, He told me that his leg was hurting. But, for hurting at that point of the race, he was looking strong.

We ran together that last mile and I gave him the best advice I had on dealing with pain. I gave him some of my ultrarunning tricks and reminded him that when the legs and mind give out — you let the heart carry you the rest of the way. It was a very special moment for me to be able to share with Zack.

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We soon ran into Don, our teammate, who came back looking for us and he ran us to the finisher’s corral. I let Zack ahead of me as I barked words of encouragement toward that finish line. It wasn’t until that last moment when I caught a glance of the time that I noticed I got a sub-three time! But, at that moment I didn’t really care. I was happy to be done, to be with teammates and have the opportunity to run with Zack.

After grabbing some water and mingling a bit, I checked my time and came in at 2:55:06 — I was happy. I was very happy. I didn’t care that I once ran this race 45 minutes faster, I cared about now. I cared about the effort I put in that day. And, I cared that my foot didn’t feel like it fell off.

I was happy.

I still have a long way to go with my recovery, but this was a victory. And, having a plan with my physical therapist I feel like I have an attainable goal that will help me get where I want and need to be. Not just with my speed, but my stamina that will help get me to my 48 hour run in February. That 100 miles is going to happen. I am sure of it.

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But, the focus is on the therapy, the weight loss and the exercises I CAN do. And, I am feeling a difference. I’ve shed over 10lbs. and lost some inches that needed to be shed so I am happy with that. Sure, like I’ve said previously, it might not be in the timetable or pace I’d like it to be — but, it’s happening.

My next race is in a couple of weeks, so the focus is on the continued weight-loss and therapy. I have a group run planned for Little Cottonwood on Saturday that I am excited about. Lots of good things happening.

But, Saturday’s race was perfection.


MY NEXT FIVE RACES

I had a race that was cancelled — The 13 Miles of Freedom — so I had to do a little shuffling. That makes my next race the Utah Midnight Run in Farmington! That will be the first of two back to back races on the weekend of July 7th!


Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 6.5 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 35.23 miles
TOTAL MILES — 54.83 miles
Race(s) this week — AF Canyon Race Against Cancer

June 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 32.7 miles
Race Miles — 65.5 miles
Walking Miles — 92.27 miles
TOTAL MILES — 190.47 miles
Races in May — Drop 13 Half Marathon, Bear Lake Trifecta — Idaho, Wyoming & Utah and AF Canyon Race Against Cancer

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 259.95 miles
Race Miles — 243.12 miles
Walking Miles — 616.72 miles
TOTAL MILES — 1119.79 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, Jordan River Half Marathon, Drop13 Half Marathon, Bear Lake Trifecta — Idaho, Wyoming & Utah and AF Canyon Race Against Cancer.


AF Canyon Run Against Cancer; June 24, 2017 (2:55:04) AF Canyon will always be one of my favorite canyons to run. Great views of Timp, gorgeous greenery around every corner and a canyon drop that lets you soak it all in putting yourself on cruise control. Came into this race not knowing what to expect with my ankle, but the terrain and elevation drop made for a fairly pain free run. I pushed it a bit and was pleasantly surprised and happy coming in under three hours. Not bad for my fourth half in two weeks, eh? Had a great moment running in my @addicttoathlete teammate Zack during the last mile. We were both hurting, but we kept each other motivated and going. I sure love being a part of this team, we inspire and motivate each other to our goals. I’m feeling stronger, especially with my physical therapy. I can’t wait to get where I want to be/need. But, for now, I need to be patient. #race152 #afcanyonrun #running @joshruns180 @josherwalla @fight4phat @addicttoathlete @afcanyonrun

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My niece was blessed today. As you can see, it was a grand occasion.

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Not my idea of a fun weekend.

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