Tag: af canyon race against cancer

Running in 2018 …

A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about my road to 180 races. My 180th race will be July 24th — pretty much SMACK in the middle of the year. So that means I’ve got January through July pretty much covered — but, what about the last half?

What’s after my 180th race?

That’s a good question.

While I am trying to figure out my 2018 race schedule, I’ve had a couple focuses — one, my 100 mile run and, two, not doing as many back-to-back race weekends of a half marathon or longer. I know that if I am going to faster, especially during my half marathons, I am going to have to scale back on the long races.

I don’t anticipate myself PRing next year. But, I am wanting to use 2018 to set the foundation to PR in 2019. Well, I shouldn’t just say PR, but to break my long time goal of sub-two’ing a half marathon. That’s the goal.

To work on that fountain, I plan on not just scaling back on the races — but, focusing on doing two races a month. Ideally, a half marathon and a trail race, a month. This would be on top of shorter training runs on the other weekends. Runs that I want to vary between a canyon downhill run, trail run and challenge run (a mentally challenging run — run uphill, midnight all night run, etc) — but, I’ll blog about that later.

I just want to challenge myself, get faster and mentally stronger in order to attempt and achieve my goal. A goal I’d love to meet at either the Nebo Half or Revel Big Cottonwood Half in 2019. Something that seems rather doable for me.

But, 2018 will have to set that kind of success up for me. So, while I am scanning UltraSignUp, UtahRunning.com, Running in the USA, RaceEntry.com and other registration websites I’ve come up with tentative schedule for 2018.

Remember these are only races 13.1 miles or longer. I am sure I’ll have a few 10Ks and 5Ks planned throughout the year. Also, races in bold are ones that I am registered for already. And, there are a few in the later months that are planned on a projected date.

So, yeah, here’s my schedule …

1 — Revolution Run, January 1, 2018
2 — Sun Marathon, February 3, 2018
3 — Jackpot Running Festival, February 16-18, 2018
4 — Strider’s Winter Circuit Half Marathon, April 7, 2018
5 — Salt Lake City Half Marathon, April 21, 2018
6 — Provo City Half Marathon, May 5, 2018
7 — Vigor Big Cottonwood Half Marathon, May 12, 2018
8 — Drop 13 Big Cottonwood Half Marathon, June 9, 2018
9 — AF Canyon Race Against Cancer, June 23, 2018
10 — Canyon to Canyon Half Marathon, July 14, 2018
11 — Bountiful Handcart Days Half Marathon, July 24, 2018
12 — Elephant Rock Trail Half Marathon, August 11, 2018
13 — Mt. Nebo Half, August 25, 2018
14 — Revel Big Cottonwood Half Marathon, September 8, 2018
15 — Park City Trail Half Marathon, September 15, 2018
16 — Corner Canyon 25K; October 13, 2018
17 — The Haunted Half – Provo, October 28, 2018
18 — Mt. View Trail Half Marathon; November 10, 2018
19 — Thankful 13, November 22, 2018
20 — The Bakers Dozen Half Marathon, December 8, 2018

If you are planning on running any of these races or would love to suggest other races for me to do, please comment below! I love discovering new races!

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I am soooooo close to my goal …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s my remaining planned schedule …

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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.


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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This should be my 2017 race schedule …

Okay, I think I’ve got my complete 2017 race schedule figured out.

I think.

Which is a definite maybe.

But, let me explain it a little bit. I have a race each month except December. I might add a race in December, but I am not planning on it. It’s a good rest month after a long year of running.

My busiest month is June. I have seven races planned for the month. Yes, seven. I have Ragnar during the first weekend, the Utah Valley Marathon on the 10th, the Bear Lake Trifecta (three half marathons in three days) the following week and then the Utah Midnight Run (Friday night) and AF Canyon Race Against Cancer (Saturday morning) the following weekend.

I have three total back-to-back races planned. My first being the Salt Flats 50K (April 28) and Tulip Festival (April 29), Utah Midnight Run (June 23) and AF Canyon Race Against Cancer (June 24) and then the Utah Midnight Run (July 7) and Hobbler Half (July 8).

The biggest of those back-to-backs the April one with my 50K and half marathon. Not sure how that’s going to go, but I am betting I’ll walk a lot of the Tulip Festival Half. A lot.

In total I have 32 races planned — 23 half marathons, 5 marathons, 2 ultra marathons, a 25K and the Ragnar Relay. This includes one indoor race, 5 trail races and the rest road races.

Lots of running.

And, if you’re trying to estimate miles — that’s about 525-530 miles. Just in racing miles.

So, yeah — it’s going to be a big mileage year.

Anyways here is my schedule … what’s on your schedule?

RACE #123: AF Canyon Race Against Cancer

I’m still trying to collect my thoughts on this race. Going into the race — I had some pretty high expectations for myself. I’m not sure if I set those too high or what? I was shooting for a 2:30-2:39:59 finish time — something I felt was doable after Drop13 a couple weeks ago. And, that didn’t happen. I was off about 20 minutes to be exact.

But, this race really was a tale of two races. My first 8-9 miles were much different from my last 3-4 miles. Part of that reason was because I tripped on a stupid bump on one of the paved trails and tweaked my knee a bit (I’m fine now). It just killed my pace and mechanics. But, I have to wonder if that was partly my fault as well trying to push too hard throughout the race?

I don’t know? That’s what kind of confuses me.

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The lead up to the race was nothing unusual — except I was sick the first part of the week. But, come Friday I felt fine and was ready to run. I’ve been looking forward to this race all year. I signed up for it on day one of registration. I love the cause, mission and course. 100% of the registration fees go to local cancer research and aide. So how can you not support that?

Cancer has impacted my life on many fronts. My mother is a breast cancer survivor, my Grandpa passed away about 20 years ago from lung cancer and I have had a number of friends who have fought and succumbed to it as well. Especially of late — my friends Meridith (The Dith) and Amy. Both are battling breast cancer.

This race is one race each year that I love being able to focus on these people. It’s not only a time to recognize the survivors, but to remember those that have passed on. I won’t lie, my Grandpa Hansen was on my mind a lot this weekend. The same with my Aunt Mary and Uncle George — both my Grandma’s siblings who died from cancer 20 years ago as well.

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Cancer sucks. There is nothing beautiful about it. It’s no respecter of men. It’s just ugly, ugly, ugly. And, that’s one of the many reasons why I want to run this race every year. Even more so than the beautiful course and canyon you run.

One of the biggest frustrations the past couple of years has been my lost speed. And, I try not to beat myself up about that — especially when this was a course that I ran in 2:12 just three years ago. I really have to work at not beating myself up about that lost speed, because just being able to run … period … is a blessing in its’ own right. Plus, a lot of that lost speed was something that was out of my hands.

So going into the race with a time goal of 2:30-2:40 is tough, because I know what I was once able to do. But, with the recent success of my Whole30 diet and dropping significant weight for the first time in over a year and a half — I’ve been really optimistic about the direction of my thyroid and health in general.

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The goal was to average around a 12:00 minute mile throughout the race. Knowing the canyon was fairly steep and that I could faster than that pace I came up with a game plan to bank some time in the canyon so I could slow down to about a 13 minute mile for the last 4-5 miles of the race. In my mind this sounded awesome and totally doable.

The problem was — I went out way too fast. I felt great and just let my legs get ahead of me. I ran my first mile in 9:39. A great time — for an average. But, when you’re going for an average about three minutes slower than that — it was kinda dumb.

I slowed myself down for the next couple of miles and averaged 10:45 minute miles. I felt great so I just wanted to bank as much time as I could. After every mile I would just add the time under a 12 minute mile to my bank. Around mile 7-8 when we were approaching the end of the canyon I had about six miles saved up for the latter miles and I felt good about hitting my goal.

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I knew coming out of the canyon and running through the golf course would be tough — it always is. And, instead of slowing down a bit to use that time I decided to just run a little past my comfort level. I didn’t want to give up too much time at this point. And, I didn’t.

But, I knew that I would need to slow down soon to save my legs because they were starting to tell me they didn’t like what I was doing to them at the moment. Once we turned onto the Cedar Hills Trail I slowed down a bit, but about 100-200 yards onto the trail is when I tripped on the stupid bump in the paved trail.

I am glad I didn’t biff it (mainly out of embarrassment), but when I awkwardly tripped on it I kinda hyperextended my knee a bit catching myself. It immediately slowed me down. Wanting to catch up back to my space, I stepped aside from the other runners and tried to stretch it a bit and give it a little love before heading back out.

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But, as I tried running back up, it just wasn’t giving me much. It wanted to spasm down to my foot — which was weird. Now, I’m not a doctor (thank goodness), but I felt like I must of just traumatized it some and it just wanted to lock up because of the unfamiliar movement and strenuous exercise.

I mean, that at least sounds right, right?

Either way, I tried jogging a bit, then some run/walk in between stretching some more. I didn’t want to look at my watch, because I knew I was probably killing my time. Which I was. My mile 9 was a brutal 16 minute mile. Any slower and I would have gotten swept off the course at a Disney race.

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At this moment I was facing a lot of thoughts. There was the logical thought — well, this isn’t your goal race, so why kill yourself over it. Then there was the thought of digressed progress from what I gained at Drop13. And, if that wasn’t bad, there’s the whole FatJosh mentality that makes unwarranted appearances at inopportune times. The voice that basically tries to remind me what I used to be and why I’ll never be a real runner.

I quickly dismissed FatJosh. And, I dwelled on my digressed progress probably too long. But, then I started looking at the positives of the situation. For one, I rocked in the canyon and I had good stamina throughout the canyon and the first couple miles out of the canyon. And, the more I continue to lose while on the Whole30 — the faster I’ll get. Plus, the stamina will be there.

My Grandma had a phrase she always said when things didn’t go the way she or anyone wanted them. It was simply, “well, you can’t win them all!” Those words really resonated with me during the race and gave me the perspective I needed. I knew I wasn’t going to hit my goal, but at this point I also knew I couldn’t go further without one either.

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So, I recalibrated my goal. And, it was simply to come in under three hours. This would give me reason to keep pushing, not at exhaustion, but still a push. And, keep me from just simply wanting to walk the rest of the way.

And, that’s what I did.

I also kept the people who I was running for in my mind. All the ones who fought or are fighting cancer. I knew I couldn’t give up and just walk the rest of the way. Especially during this race. They didn’t have an option to fight or not — and neither should I. It was a pretty emotional last 3-4 miles for me — not so much the pain of the knee, but thinking about those who’ve passed on.

I could almost imagine what my grandparents, many aunts and uncles would think about my running. I know they’d be proud of me. My Grandma and Aunt Diane before they passed away told me that nearly daily, especially after showing them my latest medal. I could almost imagine them sitting on the side of the road sitting in their lawn chairs cheering me on while my Grandpa took countless pictures. I know that sounds WAY cheesy, but it really kept that fire going to get me to the finish line.

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I finally reached the finish line at 2:53:56 — about six minutes from my revised goal. It wasn’t what I wanted when I started the race. But, considering the circumstances I was happy to meet that new goal and to just cross the finish line. It was a rough race.

After the race I wandered around a bit and watered up before finding my friends Robert and Marisa near the food. I just kinda collapsed there, stretched out my legs and just stayed there — for like an hour. I was afraid to get up and cramp half way to my car, especially considering if I had to sit down, because my car was in a dirt parking lot.

But, I was just relieved to be done and after downing a bunch of bananas and enjoying the time with a number of friends I eventually made it to my car — where I sat for about 45 minutes more before eventually leaving. I’m like sloth in that regard. I’m hardly ever in a rush, especially after a race.

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Looking back at the race, I am proud of myself for not giving up and continuing to push myself despite the situation. I think if I didn’t go out too strong I might have been fine — even with tripping. I think part of the reason why I tripped so awkwardly was because my legs were feeling heavy from fatigue?

If I hadn’t pushed myself too much I am sure I would have been fine or had a quicker recovery on the course. I really let the excitement of the canyon get to me. I should have ran smarter and more within my abilities. Not saying I shouldn’t have pushed myself, but I really should have had some restraint.

And, I think that’s where knowing where you’ve been to now gets me. Because I know I can run faster. And, you can’t run faster without running faster, right? I need to work on pacing myself not just during a race, but from race goal to race goal. That’s why I am not going to push myself too hard next week or during the Midnight Run in a couple weeks. But, I’m circling the DesNews Half for my next goal race to make a push towards my time goal of 2:20 in September.

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Anyways, a lot of lessons learned from this race. But, more so a lot of emotions remembering loved ones who’ve been affected by cancer, especially the ones that passed on. And, the survivors in my life — my Mom, Dith, Amy and the countless others.

Cancer Sucks. Running is Awesome. That’s all you need to know!


124 - 13 miles of freedom.fw
It might be the Fourth of July weekend coming up — but, I’m still finding some time to run! Normally aren’t many races over the holiday weekend — well, I should say anything longer than a 5K or 10K. But, Extra Mile Racing puts on a half marathon down in South Jordan called the 13 Miles of Freedom.

It was cancelled last year — so this year is technically its’ inaugural run. I wanted to run this last year and I am glad I’ll be able to run it this year. I have no doubt it will be a fun race.

I don’t really have a goal time for this race. I’m just planning on running it for the miles. I may hangout in the back or just leisurely run it. So, since I am doing that I am planning on a couple good strong runs during the week of between 3-5 miles. Do a little speed work since I am in marathon/ultra training now.

But, my next goal race is DesNews — that I want to do well at and have my sights on for a new year best time. Hopefully even sub-2:30. But, I won’t go into that much more, we’ve got about a month until the race and I am sure I’ll blog about that much, much more as we get closer to it.


125 - utah midnight run.fw 126 - bountiful handcart days.fw 127 - desnews half.fw


If you haven’t caught the new AIIA episode yet — it’s a must! A great, great episode with Coach Blu and Athlete Jeff Smith. I’ve really been impressed with the AIIA episodes, the stories and narratives being shared are EXTREMELY powerful. Beautifully powerful.

There will be a Runcast episode coming out this Friday. It’s been about a month since our last episode. It’ll be a good one. Also, next Sunday, I’ll be a guest on The Park Hoppers talking about Disneyland and some of my experiences running the Disney races around the park. It’ll be a fun episode I’m sure! I mean — we’re talking about DISNEYLAND!

Anyways, catch the latest AIIA episode here …


There are many reasons why I run — the joy, thrill and personal competition is something I love. I love the friendships I’ve made over the years and the people I’ve met. But, running for someone close to your heart, deepens those reasons. It’s hard to put into words. But, it gives those miles extra purpose and meaning. You’re not just running by yourself, but with them as well. Even if they aren’t physically there. When my mom was diagnosed with cancer in early 2012 — I ran for her. My year of running was focused on her. I wore pink shoes and accessories throughout the year. It was therapeutic for both me and even my mother. She showed me what it meant to be a fighter. Her chemotherapy was in the middle of training for my first marathon. When I wanted quit or stop I simply thought of her and how she couldn’t stop. She couldn’t quit. Well, she could. But, she chose to fight. That example gave me courage to keep going. Tomorrow as I run the AF Canyon Race Against Cancer I’m running for my Mom. But, I’m also running for those who are fighting, have fought and will fight this ugly disease. My grandpa, my Aunt Mary, my Uncle George, my dear friend Dith (who will be RUNNING the race with us!), my other friends Marie, Nathan and Emily. Cancer sucks. But, they’ll always have my heart. Now … GO FIGHT! RUN! #afcanyonhalf #race123 #running @afcanyonrun @joshruns180 @josherwalla

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138.45 miles


121.2 miles


774.3 miles


1033.95 miles


1633.05 miles

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InstaReplay: AF Canyon Race Against Cancer

WOWWEE! That was a tough run. I ran the AF Canyon Race Against Cancer this morning. It was tough. I’m a little sore (well, whole lotta sore). I went into the race shooting for a 2:30-2:40 race time and I was on pace for that finish time coming down the canyon. But, around mile 9-10 I tripped on a stupid bump on the Cedar Hills Trail caused by a tree root. I’m fine — it just slowed me down quite a bit,

It didn’t help that the last 3-4 miles were pretty flat and hot. But, hey, I finished — still under three hours. So, I’m fine with my finish time. Especially considering my first 8-9 miles. I’m feeling stronger and it’s a matter of time I get more consistent.

But, I’m not going to give you a full race recap — yet. Come back Monday morning for the full recap. But, in the meantime — enjoy my Instagram snaps from the race …

There are many reasons why I run — the joy, thrill and personal competition is something I love. I love the friendships I’ve made over the years and the people I’ve met. But, running for someone close to your heart, deepens those reasons. It’s hard to put into words. But, it gives those miles extra purpose and meaning. You’re not just running by yourself, but with them as well. Even if they aren’t physically there. When my mom was diagnosed with cancer in early 2012 — I ran for her. My year of running was focused on her. I wore pink shoes and accessories throughout the year. It was therapeutic for both me and even my mother. She showed me what it meant to be a fighter. Her chemotherapy was in the middle of training for my first marathon. When I wanted quit or stop I simply thought of her and how she couldn’t stop. She couldn’t quit. Well, she could. But, she chose to fight. That example gave me courage to keep going. Tomorrow as I run the AF Canyon Race Against Cancer I’m running for my Mom. But, I’m also running for those who are fighting, have fought and will fight this ugly disease. My grandpa, my Aunt Mary, my Uncle George, my dear friend Dith (who will be RUNNING the race with us!), my other friends Marie, Nathan and Emily. Cancer sucks. But, they’ll always have my heart. Now … GO FIGHT! RUN! #afcanyonhalf #race123 #running @afcanyonrun @joshruns180 @josherwalla

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

I wish it was as easy as 1-2-3, but RACE #123 is on the books! The race started beautifully. Tried to bank some time for the later miles so I could come in around 2:30-2:40. But, around mile 9-10 I kinda biffed it and tweaked the ‘ol knee. I’m fine, but it bothered me enough that my run went from a consistent run to a Galloway run/walk and then to a walk with occasional runs. It was tough, especially mentally to accept. But, I’ve got to look at the positives — I felt strong during those first 9-10 miles, I get a massage and I looked dead sexy in pink running for my mom, Dith and the many people in my life who’ve fought cancer. There are other races and I’ll get where I want, this wasn’t a derailment, just a speed bump (but, one built annoyingly tall so it shakes the whole car). Next up The 13 Miles of Freedom on Saturday! No goal for that — yet. #afcanyonhalf #race123 #running @afcanyonrun @joshruns180 @fight4phat

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

I have a banana problem. #bananaaa #afcanyonhalf #race123 #running @joshruns180 @fight4phat

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

My 50 Mile Training Plan …

50 Mile Training Plan

I am getting really excited for the Pony Express 50 in October — sure it’s still 7 months away — but, I am getting really, really excited to just tackle the crap out of it.

I would do it tomorrow if I knew I could — well, I am sure I could — but, I’d be one hot mess if I tried. I am simply not prepared to tackle it physically, mentally and emotionally. I have this vision of myself laying in face down in ditch with tears of mascara pouring down my face because of my extremely poor decision.

So, yeah, that won’t be me.

This is one reason I have been going back to a half marathon training plan. I want to rebuild my base — I want to be able to not struggle through a half marathon. I want to do it with ease — or relative ease — like I used to a couple years ago. And, then I want to build onto that base with running marathons and eventually the 50 miler.

I am sure I could have thrown myself into training now and done an earlier race — but, I want to do this right. Mainly, because I don’t trust my training right now. Last year took a lot out of me — from my legs to core. And, I’ve got to get that back.

Anyways — below you’ll find how I put together my training plan — and my actual training plan. If you’re running your first ultra marathon — maybe this will help? But, just remember, I put this together for me. If you’re looking for a good plan I have some good links below.




I used a couple of training plans — since I am training for the St. George Marathon and the Pony Express 50 I tried to intermingle a marathon and 50 mile training plan into one. Since I am not a very fast runner — the training plan is more about mileage than pacing, splits and all that jazz.

But, I used the Hal Higdon Marathon Novice 2 Training Plan and a mixture of two 50 mile training plans — Hal Koerner’s Field Guide to Ultrarunning, UltraLadies Running Club and Runner’s World Ultimate Ultramarathon Training Plan.

I didn’t really find an authoritative training plan for a 50 miler — which is okay, mainly because I will have to bastardize my marathon training plan some to also prepare for the 50 miler. The key more than anything is to get my miles in — and be prepared mentally, emotionally and physically for the run.

To prepare for all of that I am focusing on a few of my looooong 20 milers to be doozies. I want them to be tough. I actually got this idea from Jill — and I love the idea of mentally and physically making those runs HELL for me.

In August I have two 20 mile training runs planned. The first on the weekend of the 13th and the second on the 27th. The one of the 13th I am planning on doing on a treadmill — and that’s not all. I am planning on starting at midnight after staying up since 4am the day before. I want to experience the fatigue and mental strain that those latter miles are going to bring me.

Plus, I just love crazy.

The run on the 27th I haven’t decided on yet — it’s one of two runs. I was thinking of either running the indoor track at my Rec Center in Bountiful. It’s a small, small, small track that adds up to like 4-5 trips around per mile. I like the idea of the mental strain.

Or — I am going to an ALL up hill 20 miler. That sounds fun and crazy. There was a 20 miler up Emigration Canyon that Becky and I did a couple years while preparing for the Ogden Marathon that was a killer uphill.

Either way — stay on hold to see what the 27th will entail. But, the goal is to kick my trash in all areas where I want to get stronger. And, of course — if you want to join in the adventure you’re more than welcome to join me! Especially on my treadmill training run!

But, also of note — I have three marathons on my race docket as well — the Big Cottonwood, Huntsville and St. George Marathons. That’s a marathon every other week — which will be tough mentally and physically.

But, I am sweeping the Big Cottonwood Marathon and am planning on truly racing the St. George Marathon. I am treating Huntsville as a training run. So it will be somewhere in between racing pace and sweeping pace. Whatever that means.

Anyways — I am getting excited … and nervous, but that’s normal and I am pretty stoked about it. If you have any tips or suggestions for what else I can — please by all means let me know! I’d love your advice.



Like I’ve mentioned before — I am not a training or a running coach — but, if this works for you, go ahead and use it. It’s tailored towards me, but if it helps you … GREAT!

Just know it’s a lot of running. It’s 300+ miles just in looooong training runs! That excites and scares me all in one emotion! I LOVE IT!

I can’t wait until October 21st!

Here are the long runs —

NOTE: This does not include my fitness/running plan for the following 22 weeks. The meat of that will change the closer I am to the race and will depend on my fitness levels according to my goals. But, most of my running during the week will be outside around Bountiful either on the roads or trails.

June 4: Bountiful Temple Run (8 miles)
June 11: Drop 13 Big Cottonwood Half Marathon (13.1 miles)
June 18-19: Ragnar Relay: Wasatch Back (~13.1-15 miles)
June 25: AF Canyon Race Against Cancer (13.1 miles)
July 2: 13 Miles of Freedom Half Marathon (13.1 miles)
July 9: Bountiful Temple Run (8 miles)
July 16: Emigration Canyon to Liberty Park (12 miles)
July 23: Handcart Days Half Marathon (13.1 miles)
July 25: Deseret News Half Marathon (13.1 miles)
July 30: Timp Half (13.1 miles)
August 6: Legacy Parkway Trail (15 miles)
August 13: Treadmill Madness (20 miles)
August 20: Big Cottonwood Canyon (12 miles)
August 27: TBA (20 miles)
September 3: Nebo Half (13.1 miles)
September 10: Big Cottonwood Marathon (26.2 miles)
September 17: Huntsville Marathon (26.2 miles)
September 24: Goldilocks Half Marathon (13.1 miles)
October 1: St. George Marathon (26.2 miles)
October 8: Emigration Canyon to Hogle Zoo (10 miles)
October 15: Bountiful Temple Run (8 miles)
October 21-22: Pony Express 50 Mile Run (50 miles)

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