Tag: big cottonwood

Ode to Big Cottonwood Canyon …

I love Big Cottonwood Canyon. I’m pretty sure I’ve said that a million times on this blog. The proximity, scenery and elevation drop is bar none. Well, I shouldn’t say bar none, because Little Cottonwood Canyon, American Fork Canyon and even Emigration Canyon can give it a run for its’ money. But, when it comes down to it all, Big Cottonwood Canyon is the one that’s getting the last rose.

I’ve been looking forward to this past weekend’s run for WEEKS! And, I mean WEEKS! So when I threw my back out last Monday I was nervous I’d have to skip this run. But, I did some slow miles, lots of stretching and core work to help strengthen that back. All that fun stuff.

But, I really didn’t want to miss this run — besides, I was the one who set it up in the first place. It’d be like not showing up to your own party. Luckily, I made it! And, there was a great turnout.

Most of us met at the Park n’ Ride at the mouth of the canyon at 6:30am before carpooling up. There were a couple other groups that either went at 5:30am (sooooooo early) and a few later than the main group. It was a lot of fun to get everyone together and social offline.

I wasn’t sure what mileage I wanted to do — with the factors of my back, recent race schedule, future race schedule and the like — I kinda decided somewhere between 8-10. That seemed like a good number. But, I didn’t really decide until I got to the Park n’ Ride when my friend Camille said she was doing nine miles. That seemed liked a good comparison (smack in the middle), plus I always like running Camille.

At 6:45am we jumped in the car and carpooled up the canyon. We dropped off a few at 8 miles, but the rest of us went up the extra mile. After a little more stretching of the back we headed down the canyon back to our cars.

For the first couple of miles I kept up with Camille pretty good, but I was slowing down. Part of it was my back, but it was more of a combination of my tired legs and this being my first downhill run of the year. I knew my speed wasn’t going to keep me up with Camille so I sent her ahead.

After Camille left I just plugged in my music and just zoned out. I focused not necessarily on my pace, but just not walking. I had to walk a couple stretches — not out of fatigue, but I just didn’t know if it was icy (there was actually only one sketch stretch that was icy). The last thing I needed was to fall with my back.

Even though I wasn’t as fast as I wanted — I didn’t really care. I’ve been ultra training all winter so of course I am going to still be rather slow. After the Salt Flats 50K I’ll have more time to do some speed work — speed work that will focus on doing really well at the Revel Big Cottonwood Half in September. If you’re wondering — that’s the goal. There’s a lot that will and is going into that training, but that’s a post for another day.

Anyways — the nine miles down were beautiful as ever. The beauty of this canyon is breathtaking and is one reason I love running it. Whether it’s the Vigor Big Cottonwood Half, Drop13 Half or the Revel Big Cottonwood Marathon — I hate missing those races, because they’re fast and gorgeous.

I am not able to run the Vigor Big Cottonwood Half again this year, but I am excited because they have a trail series of half marathons starting this year. They’ve had smaller distances, but not the half — until this year. There are three throughout the summer and I am signed up for the one in August.

I can’t wait!

Seriously, the excitement is ridiculously high.

I really enjoyed the run. It was great being around so many great friends. I absolutely love the running community, especially here in Utah. There are so many runners who inspire and motivate me to do my best. I feel extremely lucky and blessed.

Moving onto next week — I have my 25K next week on Antelope Island. I’m rather giddy about this one for a few reasons — one, IT’S TRAIL and, two, IT’S TRAIL! I get to break out my Trekking poles, douse myself in bison repellant and enjoy an aid station full of M&M’s, salted potatoes and Nutella tortilla wraps.

Trails speak my language.

Plus, I have a number of friends running the 100 and 50 miler so I might stay for a little after my race to encourage them along. The dangerous part about doing that is the more time I spend watching these amazing runners tackle 100 miles — the more it makes me to tackle that distance too.

I’m crazy, but am I that crazy?!

Please don’t answer that.

Anyways, ANTELOPE ISLAND OR BUST, BABY!


Weekly Review

It was a tough week for miles. After throwing my back out on Monday at the Dentist office — the week was used stretching out the back and doing lighter workouts. I got about five miles of sloooooow miles in during the week. Just enough to keep my back lose.

I was worried about being able to run the group run, but manage a good — but, slow — 9 miles down Big Cottonwood. I didn’t want to overdo it because of my race this weekend out on Antelope Island. I am running the Buffalo Run 25K. I’ll be on my feet for a while during that race — so, the focus is this week will be lower mileage and continuing to stretch my back out.

Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 14.0 miles
Race Miles — 0.0 miles
Walking Miles — 21.97 miles
TOTAL MILES — 35.97 miles
Races this week — None.

March 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 17.5 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 41.3 miles
TOTAL MILES — 71.9 miles
Races in March — March Madness Half and Antelope Island 25K.

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 133.65 miles
Race Miles — 83.02 miles
Walking Miles — 189.53 miles
TOTAL MILES — 406.2 miles
Races done in 2017 — New Year’s Half Marathon, Sweethearts 5K, Jackpot Running Festival, SL Tri Club Indoor Half and March Madness Half.


I tried to convince Dave to get this shirt. But, he declined. At least for meow. #walmartventures

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It’s National Dentist Day … naturally, I’d be celebrating it here. #nationaldentistday

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Sadly, none of these dispense cotton candy. #nationaldentistday

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RACE #130: Revel Big Cottonwood Marathon

Marathons are tough. They’re such a different beast compared to other distances. That’s why I’m in awe of those who can go out there and do one every weekend. I do one and it just takes everything — and I mean EVERYTHING — out of me. But, oh how I love them.

I remember when I sign up for my first marathon (July 2012) I thought it was going to be my first and only. Then I got into the St. George Marathon via the lottery. Then, I signed up for the inaugural Revel Big Cottonwood Marathon because I wanted to qualify as a Marathon Maniac. And, by the end of the 2012, I was a three-time marathoner. Trust me when I say — I didn’t expect that going into the year.

It took me another year to run my next marathon. But, I spent 2013 just running half marathons and working on my speed. Which isn’t a bad thing. I just needed a break and I wanted to focus my goals elsewhere.

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After running three marathons in 2014, I would have spent 2015 and probably this year just doing half marathons, but my goals have gone beyond the marathon. First with becoming an ultra marathoner last year after tackling a 50K and then this year training for my first 50 miler. I’ve used my marathons the past two years basically as training runs for my ultras. How many runners can say they get a fully supported training run with a medal and shirt to boot?

The past couple of years I have swept the Revel BC Marathon to aid my ultra training. Sweeping a marathon is excellent ultra training, mainly because you’re on your feet for hours! Last year I finished in 6:45 hours or so. And, I was expecting about the same again this year.

It’s a tough course to sweep because for more than half of the marathon you just want to fly down the canyon and then in the second half you just want to be at the finish line. But, for as long as you’re out there on the course you’re beyond supported by the race. Revel is truly a top notch organization. Whether it’s the support van or volunteers cheering on the last few of us runners — they do it right. That’s one of the reasons why I wanted to come back and sweep the course again.

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Well, there are many reasons beyond the organization and training miles. There’s the whole canyon, the downhill course and numerous friends running it as well. I’ve fallen in love with this marathon since it’s inaugural race and never plan on missing it because of all those factors. In fact, this is their fifth year and I got a special mug for being a “Legacy Runner!”

And, that’s something I am very proud of — not just in the title itself, but what it means to be able to run all five years. That’s a lot of training and effort. I’ve run four of the Revel BC marathons and one half and each race means a lot to me, because I’ve had some remarkable moments at this race. None other greater than running with Jill during her first marathon back in 2014. That moment still brings a tear to my eye.

So being a Legacy Runner means a lot more than a mug and special bib to me. It’s about the training, effort and memories I’ve had with this canyon and race since 2012. This race and canyon inspires — and that’s why it’ll ALWAYS be on my race schedule.

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But, anyways — to the race.

On Friday evening I met up with Jill and Mark to met up with some friends from New Hampshire for a pre-race dinner. They flew in for the race to not just run it, but to FINALLY meet us in person. We’ve been Facebook friends for quite a while, but just never met in person yet. I’m glad we changed that, because David, Stephen and Nicole were everything we expected … and more. It was a great evening.

I carpooled down to the marathon with Tim the morning of the race. It was an early wake up call — 2:30am is just so ungodly. But, I got some caffeine down me and was ready to go. I didn’t have a lot of nerves building up to gun time, because I knew what to expect. I knew it was going to be a long day. I knew I was going to hurt. I knew I was probably going to get some kind of awkward sunburn.

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But, I looked forward to everything else. The time spent with my sweeping partner Chanda, the time spent with once strangers and many other adventures. That’s the beauty of not just sweeping, but running. No matter how familiar the course may be — the journey is unknown until you trek it.

After waiting for most of the runners to cross the starting line so we could use the bathroom without a line, Chanda and I started off the race meandering down the canyon looking for some blankets to keep up warm. Guardsman Pass is pretty chilly and we were frozen so the discarded blankets were a nice gift for a couple of miles.

We didn’t really run into other runners until about mile four as we looped around Solitude before making the long descent down the canyon. That’s when I met Natasha — she was running her first (and she claims only — I still don’t believe her) marathon. We started talking and we ended up running most of the race together.

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A little further down the canyon — we ran into my friend Nick and he joined our party as well. We had quite the party going on. We had a few marathoners that came and went, while others stuck with us throughout most of the race. And, we had a blast.

About half way through the canyon I (FINALLY) got to meet Larry Macon — one of the many legendary Marathon Maniacs. He was running his 1757th marathon that day. Yes, you heard that right — 1 – 7 – 5 – 7. Amazing. And, such a humble guy about it too. Larry and I talked for a quite a while about our journeys and love for running. We talked about the places you’ll go when you just focus on putting one foot in front of the other.

I could probably write a book about the depth and conversation that Larry and I had during the race.

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During our run down the canyon, Chanda and I focused on not just bringing everyone along the course, but getting us to the mouth of the canyon. There was a four hour cut off before the support van would pick you up and drop you off at the mouth of the canyon or wherever us sweepers were.

I wanted to avoid that as much as possible and for the most part we kept everyone out on the course. We had to maintain a 13 minute mile to hit the cut off time at Mile 18 — where the mouth of the canyon was. Once we got out of the canyon it was basically home free. We still tried to maintain a 13 minute mile so all our aid stations were supported, but the goal was to just get everyone to the finish line at that point.

The hardest part of the marathon is definitely the four-mile out and back right after you exit the canyon. You’re on cloud nine at that point after 18 beautiful canyon miles — and then — it’s flat with hardly any shade. It’s tough, I won’t lie. And, not only that, you confront the “Mile 20 Wall” on that stretch as well. It seems like everyone ahead of you on that stretch of road is going in slow motion.

I’ve really learned to hate that out and back.

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But, once you head back towards the mouth of the canyon around Mile 22 hope is regained as you know you’re on the home stretch. And, like I’ve done in year’s past — I once again stopped for a Mile 23 Slurpee at the 7 Eleven on Ft. Union and Wasatch. It is seriously the best decision to make at that point not only in the race, but in life. The Slurpees gives you a jolt of energy and cools down the core to make the last three miles bearable — and give you a second wind.

After getting my Slurpee and a few ice cold waters for some of the other runners — the race started pulling on course support. I knew it was coming and that’s one reason I bought the waters (along with bringing some with me in my backpack) so I wasn’t too worried. Plus, there were plenty of other gas stations along the way — if things got dire. We just had to stick to the sidewalk.

During the last couple of miles, Chanda and I were joined by three others. I took one group ahead while Chanda walked in with the last marathoner. They were starting to tear things down, but thankfully kept the finish line up until Chanda came in with the last runner. A great sign that Revel is ran by runners. They understand the importance of the finish line.

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Even though we were the last runners to cross the finish line, all of the volunteers stopped working on what they were doing and greeted us enthusiastically at the finish line. This sweet volunteer who handed out the medals made me laugh when she asked me if I did the marathon or half marathon. I wasn’t sure if she was joking, so I just jokingly replied — “I sure hope it was the marathon!”

It made her laugh.

I didn’t get much time for the accomplishment to sink in before I hurriedly went on the search for my drop bag. I stayed long enough to share sweaty hugs with the finishers and Chanda before beelining it to the car. It was nearly 2pm and we had a 3pm flight to catch to Jackson Hole for dinner with some friends. So it was mad dash to shower, eat and recoup.

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But, on the plane ride to Jackson everything started to sink in. Not just the soreness in the leg, but what I had accomplished and those I helped accomplish. Marathons are not easy regardless of your pace. And, one could argue that a 7 hour marathon is a different kind of tough — not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually.

Marathons require a lot from you — and repeatedly so. There are many walls to break through, many mind games to be played to keep you going and a lot of faith to just put one foot in front of the other. I am proud of everyone who sets out to tackle the distance, because you’re never the same person when you stand at that finish line.

Not only did I come away with these lessons last Saturday, but I came away from the race with a renewed excitement for my 50 miler. I know it’s going to be hard. I know it’s going to be exhausting — both physically and emotionally. But, I also know I have the capability to dig deep and keep moving forward.

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I wish I could jump on that trail now and tackle those 50 miles — but, I still have plenty of training miles ahead of me. I’ve got my marathon in Huntsville this weekend and then of course the St. George Marathon in a couple of weeks. And, let’s not forget the Red Rock Relay, Frightmares 5K and the AIIA Team Relay as well.

I am hoping to come away from each those races and experiences with similar lessons from Saturday’s marathon. I am sure I will. Especially if I keep my eye open for them, I’ll find them.

I just got to keep moving forward.


131 - huntsville marathon

In preparation for my 50 miler, I decided to sign up for the Huntsville Marathon a week after the Revel BC Marathon. I’ve never done two marathons within 7 days of each other. I’ve done two in 14 days (Revel Big Cottonwood and St. George in 2012) and that was stupid. So two in 7 days? I’m going to be hurting.

But, that’s the point. I’ve got to get used to the fatigue — and push through it. Going through fatigue training and just being on my feet is some of the best training I can do for my 50 miler. So that’s why I’m doing Huntsville this weekend.

I am kind of excited about this course. It’s a fast course and pretty much downhill the whole 26.2 miles. That will keep me going in the later miles. Yet, another reason why I chose to run Huntsville. You’ve got to love a course that allows gravity to help you along the way.

My original game plan was to go out on a half marathon pace for the first 13.1 miles to beat up my legs for the second half. But, I think I might change that? After my race weekend I felt the need to just bust out. But, since I was pacing and sweeping the course I had to restrain. I want to test myself and just let go and run.

But, I’m not sure if that’s a good decision or not? Either way, it’ll be tough and some great training in preparation for this 50. And, if all else fails I’ll just focus on getting one foot in front of the other. And, that should make St. George a lot of fun if that’s the case.

Isn’t running such a great adventure?!

PONY EXPRESS OR BUST, BABY!!!

132 - st george marathon 133 - park city red rock relay 134 - pony express trail 50


2667in2016

RUNNING MILES

223.0 miles

RACE MILES

235.3 miles

WALKING MILES

1069.83 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

1528.13 miles

MILES TO GOAL

1138.87 miles


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This is an awesome episode of Addict II Athlete’s podcast. We’ve heard Coach Blu interview a lot of the athletes, but he’s turned the mic around and is sharing story. Amazing, amazing, amazing.

One of the reasons why Coach Blu can reach and touch so many lives is because he can offer something very people can offer — empathy.

Don’t skip this episode of AIIA — trust me. Give it a listen …


Sweeping the @runrevel BC course. Not an easy task! Sure, it’s a party. But, we had to make sure we hit our pace in the 18 canyon miles, but then bringing everyone in between miles 18-26.2. It’s extra important to me that everyone finishes, especially when it’s a marathon. Many times I’m running with newbies and the last thing they should feel is discouraged because they’re one of the last to finish. Marathons are tough! They’re tough! And, I love watching then finish what they started. It inspires me. But, you never know who you’re going to meet, who you’re going to inspire and more importantly … who’s going to inspire you! It’s hard to say no to sweeping a marathon course, because it’s life changing. I know that sounds cliche, but it’s truth. You get to know a lot, about a lot of people, you get the opportunity to help many achieve unrealized dreams and you get share your love for running. See, that’s why sweeping a marathon is a misnomer. It’s not a walk in the park. It’s still 26.2 miles and it’s still work, but … SO REWARDING! #race130 #runrevel #bigcottonwood #running #pacing #sweeping #runyourpace #ryrpacers #fitness #runspiration #goals #health @josherwalla @joshruns180 @runrevel

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Josher, you just ran 26.2 miles, what are you doing next? I’M GOING TO JACKSON HOLE! #jacksonholebound

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That’s either a forest fire or the world’s largest smoke signal. Someone call Guinness. #jacksonholebound

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My two loves got married. Candy + Bacon. #alwaysandforever #candybacon

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After yesterday’s marathon this is basically “The Stairway to Hell” #ispeakonlytruth

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Monday, Monday — meh.

This past week has been kind of a wash. It started off great with my birthday — and then I just kind of died. Not literally, but pretty much became worthless by Wednesday night. I’ve been battling a cold and nasty cough and have been under the influence of NyQuil pretty much 24/7.

Not fun.

But, I did manage to still run 14 miles on Saturday.

Runners are a funny breed. We could be on our deathbed, but if we need to put 14 miles in to prepare for our marathon — we’re going to do it! So, yeah that was me on Saturday. I felt like crap, but I HAD to put 14 miles.

Plus, I had made plans to run down Big Cottonwood months ago — so I couldn’t ditch on BC. We’re like BFFs. Plus, Jill and I were planning on running the canyon together and we too are BFFs. If I didn’t run — I’d be letting down two BFFs. I just couldn’t do that.

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I wanted to run 14 miles down the canyon, but decided to break it up because Jill was planning on doing 10. So, the initial plan was to run 10 with her and then do four out and back miles along Wasatch Blvd. — depending on how I felt. I really didn’t know how I was going to feel after 10 so I wanted to play it safe.

Because of a funeral that Jill had to get to we decided to meet earlier than the 6:30am meet up time — we opted for 5:15am instead. WAY too early, but again, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to run down Big Cottonwood with Jill. But, I guess it’s not that early considering most summer races require you to catch a bus by 4am. Still — sleep matters.

Mark drove us up the canyon and dropped Jill, me and the kids off 10 miles from the mouth of the canyon, while he drove up to Solitude so he could put 13-14 miles in. I didn’t come prepared for the cool weather — having been 100 degrees for what seems like three months, I just assumed it would be rather warm — but, that was just a lie I told myself. It was cold. Autumn is coming.

It took both Jill and I a couple miles to warm up. Which is typical. But, oh, how I wished that I wore long sleeves. I can’t complain too much though, running in the fall is my favorite. Just as long as I am prepared.

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For the first half of the run Jill and I took turns pushing her kids. But, after getting an ache in her side I ended up taking them for the last half of the run. I laughed the few times runners and bikers encouraged “our little family” to keep running. Jill and I just busted up laughing. I do have to admit though, having the kids there probably kept most bikers from cussing us out like runs past. But, that’s a story for another day.

It was a great run. And, when we got to the end I was spent and decided to not do the four miles there. I would save them for later at home. Which I did on the treadmill — while watching the Olympics. After driving Mark back up the canyon to fetch his car we all went to the 7 Eleven for a post-run Slurpee.

A much deserved Slurpee.

And, my first in over three months.

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Overall, I don’t what to think about this upcoming week. I didn’t start my new diet in force because I was sucking down Gatorade and cough drops. Too much sugar and fake sweetener. I would start today, but I don’t start diets on Monday (personal rule), so I’ll start in earnest on Wednesday (because I plan on blogging about it on Wednesday) when my health should be closer to 100%.

Now, what does this all mean for Saturday’s race? I don’t know? I don’t know how confident I feel about getting that sub-2:30 because of the past couple of weeks of training? Plus, being sick with this stupid cold and congestion — I don’t know what it’s done to my body? I feel like I should be 100% by race day, but will be I completely ready to push that needed pace?

I don’t know?

I don’t know?

I don’t know?

I guess, I’ll just have to do it to find out, right? I don’t know if there are pacers for Run Elevated so I’ll be doing this solo with my watch. I’ve got to average a 11:22 minute mile. Granted this is down Little Cottonwood Canyon — so that’s doable for the first part of the race. I’ll just have to keep that up outside of the canyon for the remaining 4-5 miles.

We’ll see?

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I really feel like it’s still doable. But, there’s that nagging pessimist in the back of my head telling me I blew it the past couple of weeks. I really hate that guy. He’s kind of a jerk. So, maybe I just need to tell him to shut up?

That actually sounds like a good plan.

Because, this really will be my last chance at a sub-2:30 this year. Because, after Run Elevated I am moving into my marathons and ultra marathon miles. I guess I could try to do a sub-2:30 at Snow Canyon, but that’s two weeks after my 50 miler — doesn’t sound smart?

Either way, I’m just going to plan for it, will myself towards it and give it everything I have next Saturday. That’s all I can really give myself, right?


Runcast - Podbash Banner

Hydrate Wearable Photo 5 (1)

This is a pretty cool podcast. Jorge and I are joined by Jeff and Devin from Hydrate talking about — HYDRATION! If you remember last episode Jimbo passed out in church due to hydration issues. Jeff and Devin share their new product (pictured above) that will athletes and runners alike keep hydrated, but elevate their performance as well.

In addition to talk about the new Hydrate product, we’re also giving away an entry into the Layton Marathon (October 8). But, you have to listen to the podcast to get the code!

LISTEN NOW …


RRR-20-coupon


 

WEEKENDGRAMS

Dez kids. #misscalliekoko #chubbingtatum #unclejoshertime

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Everything about these are disgusting and patriotic. #hotdogsconfuseme #cheesedogsquarepants

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I’m not a fisherman, but we’re BFFs this weekend … #imdying #notsocommoncold

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Taking shots before bedtime. BLARGH! #ivegotsthecold #killmenow #actuallydont #sendmestuff #likemorenyquil

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2667in2016

RUNNING MILES

207.6 miles

RACE MILES

192.9 miles

WALKING MILES

981.52 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

1382.02 miles

MILES TO GOAL

1284.98 miles



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RACE #121: Drop 13 Half Marathon

I needed this race. I needed this moment. I needed this victory. It has been nearly two years — an eternity in running terms — since I’ve had race I walked (or hobbled) away from knowing that was truly MY best. I perfectly aligned mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually for this race — and it felt great. It was my best half marathon finish in time in nearly two years.

I’ve missed that feeling.

Sure there’s room for growth in all those areas — but, I run much better when all of that is aligned. I just want to continue to build upon this momentum. After a couple tough races in Provo and Ogden — this gives me hope that I am turning a corner. Especially physically.

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The Whole 30 diet that I’ve been following the past three weeks should get a lot of credit for those changes. I feel myself slimming down., I have a lot ore energy and my metabolism and thyroid seem to be working MUCH better. I might make some slight adaptations, but I’m sticking to the basic meal plan (that’s all a post for another day — maybe in a week or two?).

Another change has just been consistency in general. I’m day 13 now into a running streak and I am trying to be more deliberate with my runs. Which again, I know I can (and will) improve upon. Anyways, I’m in a good place heading for somewhere better — and that excites me. It’s been a while.

Anyways — going into the race I set a goal for myself of 2:35-2:45 — that seemed like a reasonable and attainable goal. Especially, since I ran a 2:55 at Provo and I’ve been focusing on my training and diet the past month. Especially after my horrifically wet race in Ogden.

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PLUS — I knew this would be a fast race. My best race time last year was 2:37:11 on the same course. So I knew I had it in me to run within that 10 minute range. It also helped running a good portion of the race last week as a refresher on how to run the canyon.

So that’s been my focus the past week — I wanted to hit that time goal. So in my training and free-time I’ve been trying to visually prepare myself for that. I know that sounds kinda crazy — but, I’m a very visual person and I like to see what I am doing before I do that. But, that’s yet another post for another day.

On Saturday morning I carpooled down to the race with Tim and Boojah Gill at the lovely hour of 3am. We grabbed our shirts and packets and loaded the bus to the starting line. Luckily, it wasn’t freezing up in the canyon — something I always fear. It was just right.

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The two hours before gun time was spent mainly napping and then socializing with my friends. I always have a blast at the starting line. I guess that’s the result of being a people person?

Whether it’s getting pictures with my groupies (yes, I have groupies — I just found this out on Saturday), Run4Fun, the pacing team or others — I love that time of anticipation and energy before a race. It’s always lots of fun.

When the gun sounded and the mass of runners crossed the starting line I stayed back for about 3-4 minutes until the craziness passed. Well, that and to just compose myself. I wasn’t nervous or scared — I just wanted to align my thoughts, actions and intentions before going out.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

One thing I was nervous about though — was going out too fast. This is hard for me to gauge, because I love going by feeling. Especially since I stopped running with my Garmin about a year ago. So the first couple of miles I just kinda cruised at a good comfortable pace.

I was kinda surprised at how good I felt. I zipped past a number of runners and within the first couple of miles passed the 2:40 and 2:30 pacers to meet up with the 2:20 pacers — Jane and Tiffany. I started running with them and felt pretty good at their pace. It was around here that I knew I not only could, but would hit my goal. And, it was a good sign that I could actually carry a conversation with them — lately at that pace I’d be huffing and puffing like an asthmatic smoker.

Around miles 3-5(ish) I kinda forced myself to back off just a little bit of their pace. I knew in the longterm I couldn’t maintain that pace because I still was building up that stamina, but also I wanted to slow down for the terrain at hand. It was a little flat and I wanted to preserve my energy for miles 7-8 when we hit the “S-curve” in the canyon. I wanted to fly down it.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

Since I didn’t know what my time was — I kept running. I won’t lie — I didn’t just let the urge to figure out my time simply pass. I wanted to know. And, for the first time in over a year — I actually wished I was running with my Garmin (that’s a good sign, I am in a good place). So, I was just determined to do my best, push through the fatigue and keep positive — because I’d get the time at the end of the race.

Tim, Boojah and I ran a lot of the race together, but we also yo-yo’d each other throughout the race. Tim had some stomach issues, so he would fartlek (quite literally) between aid stations and catching up with us. It’s always great running friends and it helped keep me on track mentally and physically having him around.

As we approached the mouth of the canyon we had about 1.5-2 miles to the end finish line. I was worried about this stretch for a couple reasons. One, it’s out of the canyon and I couldn’t rely on a little help from my friend Mr. Gravity. Two, the change in terrain would mess up my tired and weary legs. And, three, knowing I was going to be hit a wall at this point.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

Yes, all of that happened. But, at the same time — I knew it was also a short couple of miles to the finish line. To escape the weight of the situation I used one of my many techniques in my later miles to keep myself going. I went back six years ago and visualized my first 5K — I remembered how miserable it was, how much I hurt and how awesome I felt once it was done.

For some reason visualizing that first 5K helps me push aside whatever physical or mental issue I have in the moment — and just push through it. Really, I think it’s a great reminder to me of how far I’ve come the past 6-7 years. If Fat Josh can do it — Phat Josh can CERTAINLY do it too (and better).

Anyways, I pushed through the last stretch and crossed the finish fatigued, tired and sore. Not only that, but my butt was extremely sore — I literally and physically kicked my trash.

And, it felt so good!

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

As soon as I finished I grabbed my medal, popped a squat on the pavement composed myself and just said a little prayer of gratitude. I talked with my friends Christy and Monte for a while before making my way to the bananas (naturally) and water. And, I just soaked in my thoughts and feelings of the moment.

I did my best. I left everything out there. And, I felt — for the first time in a long time — that I was running in the right direction.

It took me until yesterday to get my time — but, I clocked in at 2:31:14! My best time in over two years! And, MUCH closer to a sub-2:30 then I could have imagined going into the race.

A photo posted by Fight4Phat® (@fight4phat) on

It’s really hard to put into words how much hope and encouragement this gives me. It’s been a tough couple of years of running — especially when you see your abilities and times go down. I know I am not where I ultimately want to be, but I’m on the right path now. I’ve figured a few of the questions out with my thyroid and metabolism — and I now just want to carry this wave to those goals.

I know it’s not going to be easy. I’m also not going to have races like this all the time. I’ve ran enough to understand that. But, it’s race like this one that reassure me that I’ve got it within me to reach my goals and get to where I want to be.

I am going to revel in this for a little bit, but the work isn’t done. I’ve got Ragnar (this week) and AF Canyon (June 25) ahead of me. I’d like to push myself once again at AF Canyon, but in July I’m circling DesNews (July 25) and Timp (July 30) to further test and push my progress.

YEAH RUNNING!
YEAH VICTORIES!
YEAH GOALS!


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RAGNAAAAAAAR!!! It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The time a runner crams into a packed car for two days with five other runners and makes the trek from Logan to Midway via the Wasatch Back. There is something so fun and addictive about RAGNAR that I will always love. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly, but a lot of it has to do with just being around others and doing something you all love.

This year I am runner 11 in van two. I’ve got a couple of easier legs compared to my second leg — which is a 9.7 miler in the middle of the night. I have mixed feelings about midnight legs — especially since I had a near encounter with skunk a couple years ago.

But, I’m not overly worried about it — I just want to have fun (which I will). I’ve got my shopping list of goodies planned out — which basically means lots of bananas, grapes, apples, sweet potatoes and other veggies since I’m planning on still doing the Whole 30 after my first 30 days.

So here we go for yet another … RAGNAAAAAAAR!!!


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Last weekend Coach Blu and I had the opportunity to interview the Mayor Running — himself — the legendary Bart Yasso. Well, okay, I didn’t really interview Bart, it was all Coach. But, I did get to share a little bit about my own journey — which was pretty cool.

It’s not every day you get the opportunity to have Bart Yasso in town or on your podcast and I am glad that AIIA was able to get him on their show, because his journey is very much the same journey as many of the athletes in the program.

I am not going to give the story away — because I want you to listen to the episode. And, even if you have heard his story or read his book before, it’s still a great episode. One of the best AIIA episodes to date.

Give it a listen …


WEEKENDGRAMS

Fun times at the kid’s table. #unclejoshertime

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on


2016miles

RUNNING MILES

131.45 miles

RACE MILES

91.0 miles

WALKING MILES

711.02 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

933.47 miles

MILES TO GOAL

1733.53 miles



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

InstaReplay: Drop 13 Half Marathon

I don’t run with a watch — well, I have one — but, I choose not to run with it. I have a Garmin that I bought about three years ago — it works fine, does its’ job and all that jazz. But, about a year or so ago I stopped running with it mainly because I felt like a slave to it. I hinged my happiness on what I did or did not run and mentally I had to take a break and focus on the WHYS of running.

I just haven’t bothered strapping it on for races or training runs.

So, after my run this morning — it’s KILLING ME that I didn’t wear it, because I want to know what my time was. It was one of my best races — if not best races — in two years. After a myriad of thyroid, testosterone and other health issues my time took a backseat to just finishing and enjoying the race at hand.

But, today changed that and gave me some hope that the tide is turning. My meds are balanced or feel like they are — and now that I am about Day #24 into my Whole 30 program that is helping even more. The boosted energy and dropped weight for the past three weeks is making a difference.

Anyways — I am not going to give you my whole race recap — that’s for Monday. But, I’m anxiously waiting for On Hill Events to post the race times, because I really, really want to know where I finished. I know it was somewhere around my goal range of 2:35-2:45 well below a sub-2:40 — and possibly even sub-2:35?

I just want to know!

Anyways here are some of my pictures from the race this morning while I wait with baited breath!


Me and Boojah. I look up to her. #drop13half #race121 #running @onhillevents @joshruns180 @fight4phat

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

I needed this race today. It wasn't a PR, but that doesn't matter. It was still my best time in nearly two years. I'm waiting on official results, but it's somewhere around 2:35ish. It was a physical, mental, spiritual and emotional effort … but, I gave it my all! I credit a lot of my success on my preparation, streaking and Whole30 diet. My energy and stamina are increasing and my thyroid seems to working on all cylinders. I couldn't be happier. Like I said, I needed today. My sore quads, calves and butt muscles are a sweet painful reminder (for probably the next week) that I gave it my all today. Now to continue to build upon this and shoot for the moon! #drop13half #race121 #running @onhillevents @joshruns180 @fight4phat

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

YES!!! I needed this victory today. A physical, mental, emotional and spiritual victory. I attribute today’s successful race on many factors — attitude, adequate prep, but more then that — my @whole30 diet. Seriously. If it wasn’t for the increased energy and dropped weight I’ve experienced in the past three weeks — the outcome would have been much slooooower. I’m waiting for my official time, but I feel like it’s easily my best time in the past two years. Somewhere around 2:35 … ish. I feel and see the difference, which excites and encourages me to keep going well beyond my 30 days. But, one step at a time. #day24 #whole30 #running #workout #fitness #halfmarathon #goals #weightloss #drop13half #race121 @onhillevents @whole30 @fight4phat @joshruns180 @josherwalla

A photo posted by Fight4Phat® (@fight4phat) on

Ready for some RAGNAT!

It’s been a busy June already and we’re still in single digits. And, it’s not going to let up anytime soon either. Next week my little brother is getting married and then I’m running RAGNAR (it always must be spelt with capitals — like you are yelling it) on Friday and Saturday.

I love RAGNAR.

Despite getting heat exhaustion last year and nearly dying. Okay, I wasn’t anywhere near death — but, after eating Little Caesars Pizza at the finish line I thought I was a gonner. The combination of heat exhaustion and pizza on the stomach was seriously one of my worse decisions.

This year — I’m staying away from the pizza. Besides — I heard rumors they have Costa Vida at the finish line. It might not be free — but after running two days straight — I’ll throw my money at that.

I am running this year with some friends from up north — which basically means Logan around here in Utah. Joanna, Michael, Monica and a few others that aren’t friends yet, but will be by the time we spend WAY too much time in a car together.

It’s going to be a lot of fun.

Leg 11

We got assigned our legs yesterday and I am runner 11. I’ve been runner 11 before, but the course map has changed a lot the past few years that it’s not the same legs. Especially since we don’t run up RAGNAR Hill anymore. But, that’s a post for another day.

I am running a total of 16.3 miles among the three legs — so I’ll be able to count the race towards my 180 races (races must be 13.1 miles or longer to count). My first leg is a moderate 4.4 miles, while my night run is a doozy 9.7 mile run. Then my last run is an easy breezy 2.2 mile run before I exchange it off to the final runner.

Leg 23

My midnight run is the 9.7 mile leg — which I am not necessarily looking forward to. I won’t lie. I’ve loathed all of my midnight runs during RAGNAR — mainly because I’d rather be sleeping. But, as soon as I am done running I am always instantly cold and feel gross. I want an immediate shower and change of clothes.

But, the leg I am running is also pretty much the same one I ran a few years ago in the middle of the night. The same leg I almost ran right into a skunk at mile two of an 11 mile leg. Not to mention it was unsupported so I had to bring my backpack and rely on a couple aid stations for aid. Not really fun.

Plus, when I got to the exchange — I just felt gross and wanted an immediate shower. I’m such a diva when it comes to that — I won’t deny that. The same thing goes with camping. As long as I have a shower or semi-flushable toilet I’m happy.

Leg 35

Despite my lack of enthusiasm for my midnight run — I really am excited overall for the experience. RAGNAR is just fun — it’s fun to bond with others — new and old friends — out on the road and in the car. I’ve never come away from a RAGNAR where I haven’t met or bonded with a new friend or had some epic experience.

This will be my fourth RAGNAR and fifth relay — so I guess you could say I am somewhat of a pro — or RAGNARIAN. I don’t think I could ever go a year without running a RAGNAR especially Wasatch Back. It’s basically in my backyard — how can I NOT race it, right?

One of these days though — I do want to run a few other RAGNARS. Like — Vegas, Southern Cal, Northwest Passage and some of the trail series. Maybe not this year, but I think 2017 would be a good year for multiple RAGNARS?! Anyone else want to join me?


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Before we get TOO excited for RAGNAR — I first have the Drop 13 Half this weekend down Big Cottonwood Canyon. This is one of my favorite races and canyons to run. It’s beautiful, fast and fun. Everything I look for in a great race.

This past week I’ve been feeling pretty good about my runs. I got a 4.4 miler in the other day — it wasn’t downhill, but I felt good for most of the run. The legs were a bit heavy in the last mile, but I think I was just pushing it a bit too hard on the rolling hill terrain.

But, if last weekend’s run down the canyon is any indication — I should be fast enough to come in anywhere around 2:35-2:45. That’s my goal. Last year I came in around 2:35. I feel like I can approach that. But, I’ll be happy anywhere within that 10 minute range. I just want to run my best.

I’m getting stronger especially as I am dropping weight and I feel the strength and energy come back. So I have no doubt that I’ll get back to where I want/need. My goal race is really the Nebo Half — I want to run a 2:20 real bad.

But, before I get there I need to take care of the tasks at hand and continue doing what I need to now. And, I need to remember that my main goal this year racing wise is to be prepared for my 50 miler in October.

Either way — I’m hoping to fly down Big Cottonwood on Saturday! WOOOOOHOOOOO!




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

Big Cottonwood, Friends & Bart Yasso!

What a fun weekend! It’s finally June and summer has made its’ presence felt. I’m digging the heat. I actually really love dry heat. Well, I should say within reason. It has been 90 degree the past few days — anything hotter is not my favorite and one of the many reasons why I could never live in Vegas or Arizona.

But, we’re getting in the swing of the running season and that excites me more than anything. My ultra/marathon training has begun and the next 3-4 months are focusing on getting ready for them — Big Cottonwood Marathon, Huntsville Marathon, St. George Marathon and the Pony Express 50!

I didn’t have any concrete plans for running this weekend on Friday. It was probably going to be 6-8 miles around my neighborhood. Nothing too fancy — just get my miles in. But, when I got word that a group of friends was running down Big Cottonwood Canyon on Saturday morning I quickly changed those plans. I can’t miss a good Big Cottonwood run. I just can’t. I love that canyon. I live for that canyon.

So on Saturday morning I met up with Meridith, Shelley, Monte, Robert and others at the Park n’ Ride and drove 10 miles up the canyon. I really didn’t need 10 miles. My training only called for about 6-8 (depending on which training plan you’re looking at). But, I knew I could do 10 miles — especially 10 downhill miles. Plus, it’d be a great training run for the Drop13 Half happening this weekend.

As much training as I have done — it’s mainly been on rolling hills or flat surfaces — not downhill. Which is unusual for me because in the past that’s been my default choice. Besides the Ogden and Provo Half Marathons — I just haven’t ran much downhill. So this really was good training for me — I have to train my quads how to prepare properly.

I wasn’t sure exactly where I was pace wise and kinda came prepared to run solo. But, when we started running the gazelles went off blazing and a little group of four emerged — me, Dith, Shelley and Alicia. We ran about the first mile or two together and then the group became a party of two — me and Shelley.

Supporting “The Dith” while getting a little support myself! #run4dith #sportsbro #notclevage #myonlypatchofchesthair

A photo posted by Joshua Sn❆w Hansen (@josherwalla) on

I love running with Shelley. Especially down Big Cottonwood Canyon. We ran the Vigor Big Cottonwood Half together last year — and had a BLAST! Then again — anytime you run with Shelley you have a blast — race or not.

We ran pretty strong and average around a 12 minute mile — some stretches were faster than that, especially around the “S-curve” in the canyon. But, I felt strong and had good energy. Two of my biggest worries about doing Whole30 while running.

I did slow down some around mile 8-10, but I kinda of expected that, because I am trying to transition my running from run/walk method to pacing. So, I resorted to a run/walk method for those miles — while pushing the minutes in between the walking. That transition has been easier than I thought — it’s just building the stamina back to where I need it to be.

So this mishap happened today, but Josh says I get my hard core runner badge now!

A photo posted by Shelley Halverson (@sunriseshelley) on

Anyways — did a total of 10.1 miles in about 2:05-10 hours — not bad. I feel good about that. I wasn’t wearing my Garmin to track it so I don’t know the specific mileage and pace. I haven’t worn my Garmin now for over a year — not sure when I will start doing that again? But, I am starting to feel the tug to do it. Maybe after Ragnar? But, we shall see.

But, I had a blast running the canyon and especially with Shelley. She even biffed it at one point — I am proud of myself for not laughing, because I have a problem with that — but, luckily she was okay. Especially since she did it while walking. She did scrape her knee and pants up. I told her she earned her “badass runner” badge — and a Slurpee.

I don’t know if she got her badge yet, but I know she did get her Slurpee.

It was also a lot of fun running (literally) to a number of runners from Run4Fun and some of my other Facebook running groups. I ran into four runners from the groups down the canyon. It was fun. And, proof that Big Cottonwood is THE PLACE to run for a great training run here in the SLC area.

And, lucky me — I’m going back this weekend!

DROP 13 OR BUST, BABY!


AIIA PODCAST WITH BART YASSO!

Had an amazing opportunity yesterday afternoon to join Coach Blu from Addict II Athlete interviewing the Mayor of Running — and Chief Running Officer — Bart Yasso. I got the opportunity a couple weeks ago to join Bart for lunch after the Ogden Marathon which was a really neat experience. But, getting a second chance to meet him and to record a podcast — wow.

My friend Angie Pace text me on Friday morning after I had posted the AIIA episode online and told me that Bart was going to be in town and if we could make it work — we should try to set up an interview, because of Bart’s background and reasons he started running. I won’t tell the whole story here — you’ll have to listen to the podcast yourself. 

But, it’s an amazing story. Amazing. Both Coach Blu and I were in awe of how he rebounded from struggles in his youth to become an elite runner and eventually now — the Mayor of Running.

The episode will go live in a couple of weeks. Make sure to stay tuned in here and on social media for the release date. You really won’t want to miss this episode.

But, a BIG thank you to Bart for spending the time with us yesterday. And, of course Angie for making the connection. I sure love the running community. Everyone has a story and a reason — and we’re all better when we share it with others.


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AMAZING! There’s a new podcast from Addict II Athlete out today. The Runcast swapped weeks with AIIA due to some technical difficulties. But, we’ll be back this week with special guest and Pod Bash resident psychiatrist — Dr. Matt!

But, don’t overlook this episode it’s powerful. Coach Blu interviews his brother-in-law and fellow AIIAer, Jarom Thurston. They talk about his involvement with AIIA and the inspiring stories behind the athletes. Great, great episode!

Give it a listen …


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This week begins a string of consecutive race weekends for me. I’ve got a race every weekend for the next month. And, if you extend that until August — it’s 6 out of the next 7 weekends. The only weekend I am missing is July 9th, because my niece is getting baptized and I want to make sure I am not late for it. So I’m just staying closer to home that weekend.

But, I am excited for Drop13 this Saturday. This is one of my favorite races down one of my favorite canyons. I ran it in 2:37 last year — I am not exactly sure if I’ll match that this year. But, as I am losing weight and running more consistently I know I’ll surpass that at least once or twice this year.

The goal on Saturday is a sub-2:50. I think and feel like I could sneak into the 2:30s, but I need to race smart to ease myself back into there. But, after Saturday’s run down the canyon — I think I could? I don’t know? I just want to run — and do my best.

And, really, that’s all you can expect and be proud of, right?

Either way — I’m excited for Saturday!


STREAKIN’ THROUGH JUNE!

As I’ve noted last week I am run streaking this month. So far, so good. I’ve done 16.5 miles since June 1st — and planning for good mileage this week. Especially with my race on Saturday.

One thing I am planning on incorporated this week is at least one or two runs during my lunch hour. I am not sure of the route yet, but I’ve got plenty of places to run on campus — not to mention the avenues around campus. That would be good hill training. I’m hoping to do 2-3 miles during the hour. Luckily, I have access to a shower close to my office.

But, the key this week is consistency and preparation for the Drop13 Half on Saturday. I’m excited for this week — especially with how energetic I’ve been feeling doing Whole30 the past couple of weeks. It’s helped me a lot.

THE STREAK GOES ON!


2016miles

RUNNING MILES

122.55 miles

RACE MILES

77.9 miles

WALKING MILES

684.01 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

884.46 miles

MILES TO GOAL

1782.54 miles



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