Tag: fight4phat

RACE #145: Saltair Half

Going into this race — I wasn’t having a very good week. Last weekend during the Riverton Half I started having a little pain in one of my molars. I didn’t think too much about it, because it was cold and I just have very sensitive teeth.

But, this was the same tooth that my dentist couldn’t work on because he couldn’t get me numb. It needed a crown, but he just couldn’t do anything with it. So, he filled what he needed to do and felt that we could wait a few months and try again. He didn’t feel like it was close enough to my nerve to worry about a root canal.

Well, it got to that point of needing a root canal.

By Sunday evening it was throbbing and I couldn’t chew on that side at all. I knew I was going to need a root canal. So on Monday I called my dentist and he ended up referring me to a endodontist to do the work. But, the endodontist couldn’t see me until Wednesday. So that left me with about three days of dealing with the pain.

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Luckily, my dentist gave me a prescription for some Lorotab. It helped. But, I won’t lie, I kinda hate that stuff. I hate the drowsy feeling and with most pain medications I always get itchy from it. But, come Wednesday I was BEYOND ready for the root canal.

I was beyond surprised how quickly and painless the whole procedure was. I was zonked out and didn’t feel a thing. Sure, my jaw hurt for the next couple of days, but by Friday I was feeling 100% — or close to it.

I’m telling you all this, because it’s framing the context of this run. The past week was brutal on me. It shot my planned workouts and runs I wanted to get in — I got only two miles of running in and FAR less walking miles than I like. The week just sucked.

So on Saturday morning I was just ready for this run. I knew it was going to suck. Not only did not I get the wanted training in the past week, but the course isn’t my favorite — especially when it comes to speed. It’s an out and back flat course along the frontage road running west to east along I-80 in Magna.

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I’ve done the Saltair Half a number of times before — so I knew what I was getting myself into. I knew I wasn’t going to be fast, I knew it was going to be tough on me mentally, but I knew I also needed the miles and it wasn’t race toward my 180 goal.

So there I was in Magna at the Great Saltair ready to run.

Despite having only 38 runners for the half marathon the race had pacers — many whom I know. The sweeper was Julianna who I’ve ran with countless times. With that few runners I knew we’d probably be hanging out a lot during the race — if not the whole race.

I had a feeling I was probably going to be the last runner, but I didn’t care. I’ve stopped caring about that where I finish years ago. As long as I do my best for that day and finish, I am happy.

Once the gun sounded Julianna and I started off together. We walked a good part of the first two miles — mistakingly keeping pace with one of the slower dualathletes. We picked up our pace once he turned around at the 5K turnaround, but I won’t lie — it was more like a run/walk for a bit. Something that would probably make Jeff Galloway proud.

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Early into the race I noticed that there weren’t any port-a-potties along the course. Like none. In the past there had been at least one at the aid stations. But, there weren’t any — which made me a little anxious. Even if I don’t use it, I know if there isn’t one — I’ll end up needing it.

I tried to not think much about it and just enjoyed the company of Julianna. Once we got to the turnaround point we met up with another runner who was walking at this point. She wasn’t feeling well and had just tanked out. I felt bad for her, because she really could have used a restroom.

After walking with her and Julianna for a bit, I decided to pick up my pace and go ahead. I wanted — well needed — to run. So, I sprinted off around Mile 8. Well, it wasn’t much of a sprint. I didn’t have much spring in my legs, but I decided to keep my walking to a minimum and just push myself past my comfort level.

I felt really good about my last five miles even though I knew I was well past my sub-three semi-goal. But, this race wasn’t about a time goal anyways — it was my therapy from a tough past week. It was my therapy away from the stress of the past week. And, it was my therapy helping me to mentally prepare myself for my 50K in a couple of weeks.

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The last couple of miles were brutal. I had no spring whatsoever — and on a flat course — it shows. My sprint was a mall walkers pace. But, I pushed myself through that pain, kept my walking to a minimum and just kept focus on the finish line.

And, I made it.

I made it in 3:26:11. Not my best time. By far. But, I wasn’t disappointed. I wasn’t necessarily happy with it. But, it was what it was — therapy.

After being handed my medal and a bunch of bananas (you gotta give it to them that they know me!) — I hopped in my car and just headed back home. On the drive home I reflected on the run and how tough it was on me. And, how difficult this past week was on me mentally and physically. I was proud of myself for pushing through it all and doing the run. Because it wasn’t easy.

And, now my mind is fully on my 50K in a couple of weeks. Luckily, I don’t need to rely too much on my speed. The speed I was at during this race is probably even a bit too fast for my 50K. So, as discouraging as my time might feel for my half marathon — I feel good about where I will be physically during the 50K.

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The next couple of weeks I am just focusing on my workouts and runs. I’ve been working out at home the past couple of months — well lots of physical therapy exercises for my back (which is a non-issue now) and my sprained ankle. But, I am going to get back into my boot camp workouts at my gym and add some more weight training.

Plus, the good thing about training for my 50K is that I am technically tapering. So with PrepperCon this weekend my runs don’t have to be long. I am going to do five miles on Friday or Saturday — on top of the mileage from walking around the convention. I’ll either run around the Sandy area or just hop on the hotel treadmill. Either way — it’s no 20 miler.

But, I am excited for the next couple of weeks. And, as difficult as this past week has been, it’s nice to be able to acknowledge it, process it and then — move on.  Which I am doing now.

SALT FLATS OR BUST, BABY!


MY NEXT FIVE RACES


When I think of Easter, I often think of my angel Grandma — or Yia Yia. She was (and still is) a rock in my life. Her sense of humor, her love of family and her belief in me will always be a hallmark of her legacy. But, it’s one of the Greek Orthodox Easter traditions that she passed onto us, that I will always remember, do and say. In Greece, a common Easter greeting between one another is Χριστός ἀνέστη! (Christos Anesti) Meaning … Christ is Risen! But, instead of the greeted responding with the same greeting they reaffirm that saying with Ἀληθῶς ἀνέστη! (Alithos Anesti) Meaning … Truly He Is Risen! Since her passing over two years ago, I ponder much on that saying. It is because of Him that I know I’ll see my Yia Yia again. It is that victory over death that we will ALL rise again. I am grateful for this Easter season and for what it means to me personally, for my family and us all. I stand in reaffirming to all that Christ has truly risen! Happy Easter!

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This is the Utah way of saying … “I’m ready for summer, but I’m not sure if it’s here yet.”

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With a mug like this, Adventure’s First Stop™ is usually the bathroom.

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Teaching young Tatum the ways of the Hansen Egg Challenge. He's a natural.

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Weekly Review

As mentioned above, this wasn’t a good week for me — physically, mentally or emotionally. The root canal and tooth pain really threw me off. But, this upcoming week I am looking to make up for all of that. I don’t need huge mileage — because of my upcoming 50K — but, I want to get at least three good runs in, on top of the time on my feet that I’ll spend at PrepperCon on Friday and Saturday.

It should be a much better week. It’ll be physically demaning and a bit hectic, but that’s what makes it interesting — right?

Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 2.0 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 21.61 miles
TOTAL MILES — 36.71 miles
Race(s) this week — Saltair Half.

April 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 6.0 miles
Race Miles — 39.3 miles
Walking Miles — 45.63 miles
TOTAL MILES — 90.93 miles
Races in April — Emigration Canyon Half Marathon, Riverton Half, Saltair Half, Salt Flats 50K and Tulip Festival Half

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 187.75 miles
Race Miles — 135.42 miles
Walking Miles — 371.09 miles
TOTAL MILES — 694.26 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 and Saltair Half.



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A whole lotta ughs …

The past couple weeks have been tough. Heck, this past month has been tough on me. I’m not using it as an excuse. But, I’d sure like a break or two once in a while.

I’ve been trying to get myself into a groove with my running and fitness and it just hasn’t materialized the way I envisioned it. Granted, I did meet my sub-three time goal a couple weekends ago during the Emigration Canyon Half Marathon. But, that’s about the only success I feel like I’ve truly met.

I’ve been dealing with bad backs, sprained ankles and this past week — a root canal. An expected root canal. My tooth started hurting during my race last weekend and then by Monday morning it was throbbing in pain.

I couldn’t go to my regular dentist, because this was the same tooth that they couldn’t get numb. So they referred me to an endodontist so they could knock me out to do it. And, that wasn’t cheap. But, that’s a whole other story for another day.

I finally got my root canal yesterday — and it really just killed my week.

But, despite all the road blocks, I’ve been trying to keep on track, even if my runs are short and my workouts shorter. And, for the most part — it’s working. I’ve lost about 10lbs. this past month. A lot of that has to do with my diet. So, that’s progress.

I thought of mixing up my diet and routine again, but I think I am going to stick with what I planned this past month. One, because I wasn’t able to get into a good groove or it and, two, I think I can see bigger improvements with a better focus. I’d really like to lose about 30lbs. and I feel like this is a good road. Especially for my thyroid.

I’m going to get a good run in tonight before my race this weekend out in Magna. I’m hoping for a sub-three. But, I’m not sure if I want to push it TOO hard since I’ve got my 50K coming up in the next couple of weeks. But, honestly, I think I’ll be fine. I think the variables that will determine my result really will be my ankle and back.

The focus right now is all on my 50K on the 28th of this month. I am a bit worried about it with my current mileage the past couple of weeks. But, honestly, I know I’ll be fine. The race director knows I’ll be a bit slower — 10 hours or so. It’ll be fun and that’s my only goal (besides finishing).

Plus, the 50K will be good training for my upcoming marathons in Ogden and Utah Valley. Along with my Bear Lake Trifecta races. I’m going to have a crazy spring and early summer schedule, so kick starting it with a 50K is an usual and — I think — good way to launch my schedule.

I won’t lie — I do worry about my back and ankle a bit. But, honestly, I think I’ve cared and rested both well enough that they shouldn’t be a factor. But, it’ll be on my mind for sure — I just don’t want to downgrade from the 26.2 to 13.1 if I can avoid it. But, that’s my last resort and something I don’t really want to entertain right now.

Anyways — I’m focusing on Saltair right now and focusing on getting my groove and consistency back. I just want to pull some big weight-loss numbers in the next month so I can go into marathon season lighter on my feet.

At least I know I’m on the right track.

RACE #143: Emigration Canyon Half Marathon

Welp, I finally got the Emigration Canyon run I’ve been wanting since at least last week. And, I can’t be any more happier with my effort AND results. It’s been a good two years since I last ran down Emigration Canyon — well okay — 18 months-ish? Whenever the Haunted Half was in 2015? Anyways — I’ve needed a good Emigration Canyon run for QUITE A WHILE.

And, I got it this past weekend.

Canyon races here in Utah have a tendency to be seen as pure downhill courses. While that may be true in some canyons and for some races — this is a different kind of race. Sure, you get some AWESOME downhill, but you’ve got to earn it first. The first 4-4.5 miles of the race are pretty much all uphill. It’s kind of a beast.

I ran this race back in 2014 so I knew what to expect. I knew it was going to suck. I knew it was going to be tough. But, I knew if I endured it well and ran it smart, the rest of the race should be a fun brisk run down the canyon.

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Even with the daunting first 4.5 miles of the race, I felt I had it in me to do really well and get the sub-three time goal, I’ve been pining for the past couple of races. I just had to be smart, be patient and keep my goal in my mind during those first few miles.

I was still trying to figure out exactly how I was tackle the climb at the starting line. I knew I was going to have to employ some sort of run/walk method. If I tried to run those first few miles I would burn out before I got to the summit. So, I had to reserve some energy, because once I hit that summit I was planning on cruising down the canyon.

So, that’s what I did. Once the gun sounded, I started doing a two minute run/one minute walk. I did that for about the first mile or so and then I did a one minute run/one minute walk. After a while it went to a 30 second run and minute and a half walk. And, when the climb was a bit too steep, it went to a nice fast mall walk.

Basically by mile 3-4 my pace was kind of all over the place.

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It was hard to gauge where I should be putting my effort and where I should be holding back so I don’t tank my later miles. So, I just kind of played if by ear and tried just listening to my body. I reached the summit (mile 4.5-ish) in about an hour and five minutes (14:27 min/mile). I didn’t know how I felt about it, but in retrospect, I was okay with the pace. Especially, considering the last 8.5 miles were much faster (.12:35 min/mile).

But, once I hit the aid station at the top of the summit, I just hit cruise control and immediately felt right at home. I was on familiar terrain. I immediately passed a couple of runners. I was a bit worried I was going out too fast — and while I thought about it, I didn’t really care. I figured my 4.5 mile warm up was enough and I’d just listen to my body the rest of the way.

Which is what I did.

I walked the aid stations and ran most of the way. There were a couple spots around miles 11 and 12 that I had to walk, but I tried to focus on my goal at hand — and that was to sub-three the race. So I pushed myself.

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The last mile was really tough on me. I was just gassed. And, part of that — meaning all — was because of fueling. I brought some Clif Bloks with me, but I figured I’d be fine with the water and Gatorade at the aid stations. The only problem was — the aid stations had only water. This threw me off, especially as we ran out of the canyon and into the warmer valley. My body needed those electrolytes.

I was worried about depletion so that is why I slowed down a bit those last couple of miles. And, because, I just didn’t have much else to give. As I turned toward the home stretch I kind of chuckled of the thought of someone carrying me across the finish line like those two runners did to the one runner in Philadelphia a couple weekends ago. But, I carried myself across the finish line and double pumped my fist when I saw the clock read 2:52:21.

I did it. I reached my goal.

And, not only did I reach my goal, but I also placed AGAIN! I was third in the Clydesdale Division! This was the second time in the past two races that I placed! This made the effort and result that much sweeter.

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As much as I am happy with the results, I know it’s just the beginning of what I want to do with my running and training. As much as I’d love to get back to my 2:08 hour PR days, now isn’t that season. I have a few ultras I am planning on running this year and ultrarunning doesn’t mix with half marathon speed training. At least for me.

But, I want to consistently get back to my 2:25-2:35 race times and I feel like I can do that with my ultrarunning hand-in-hand. It’s just a matter of continuing to train smart, continue losing weight and temper my Hashimoto’s. I know no doubt I’ll get there — and I want to be there by the Revel Big Cottonwood Half Marathon in September.

I’ve got a lot of running coming up in the next 4-5 weeks — including my 50K at the end of the month. While my focus is on that — the Riverton Half is next week and I really want to build upon what I have right now.

Which I know I will.


MY NEXT FIVE RACES


Here’s to the Happiest of Birthdays to my dear mother. Words can’t fully express the love and admiration I have for her. She’s simply amazing. Besides ALWAYS going above and beyond what’s expected, she has the purest of hearts I know. She’s the greatest example of “The Golden Rule” in my life. I’m also grateful that she never told me what I could or couldn’t do in life. She never, and still hasn’t, put limitations on my abilities. Even when everyone else tried to. As tacky as it sounds, she gave me wings. She’s also taught me the value to fight. Seeing her fight breast cancer … AND WIN … showed me the necessity of faith and grit with a side of stubbornness to overcome and accomplish anything truly great. Happy Birthday Mama!

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Moana Singalong Chorus.

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Hoka. Hoka. Hoka. Hoka. Hoka. And, those might be filled with race medals too.

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GET THAT GLUTEN OUTTA MY FACE!!! 🚫🍞

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Weekly Review

It was a great week of running for me. Not only did I meet my race goal time, I got some really good training in. I am being coached by RYR (Run Your Race) and I got some awesome assessment runs in — along with a couple good recovery runs. I had a fast clipped 5K and all out mile run to do — and they were beasts. But, that will give my coaches a starting point to help with my race goals.

I am hoping to gain some speed, but also endurance for my ultra races coming up in the next month and year. I’m excited to start seeing my progress.

Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 7.0 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 24.17 miles
TOTAL MILES — 44.27 miles
Race(s) this week — None.

March 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 44.1 miles
Race Miles — 26.2 miles
Walking Miles — 110.52 miles
TOTAL MILES — 180.82 miles
Races in March — March Madness Half and Lucky 13 Half Marathon.

April 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 0.0 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 2.7 miles
TOTAL MILES — 15.8 miles
Races in April — Emigration Canyon Half Marathon, Riverton Half, Saltair Half, Salt Flats 50K and Tulip Festival Half

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 181.75 miles
Race Miles — 109.22 miles
Walking Miles — 328.16 miles
TOTAL MILES — 619.13 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 and Emigration Canyon Half Marathon.



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Figuring this Hashimoto’s thing out …

It’s been an interesting couple of weeks for me. Besides figuring out this whole Hashimoto’s Disease out — I’ve been dealing with a beastly bout of bronchitis. I feel lucky it hasn’t been the flu, but that hasn’t stopped the fatigue of restless nights from coughing up a lung and a half.

I thought I was turning a corner after sleeping most all day on Sunday, but I ended up coughing all night Monday night and skipped work. It’s been frustrating, because I’ve wanted to get into a good rhythm with my workouts and runs. But, I don’t have the stamina or lungs for it — yet. And, I just need to be patient.

But, while I’m somewhat impatient to get back into my groove — I’ve really been focused on the adoption of my gluten and dairy free diet. It’s been tough. I won’t lie. I haven’t been as aware of labels and food content under any diet. But, this isn’t just a diet — this is my new lifestyle.

I wouldn’t say I have a specific diet down at this moment. To be honest with you I’m kind of trying things out to see what works best for me. I’ve been trying gluten-free breads and other foods to kind of see what I like. And, I won’t lie — not a huge fan of gluten-free bread — or at least what I’ve tried.

I’ve been sticking to a lot of what I ate while doing Whole 30 — and I think that’s where my focus will be mostly on my diet. Meaning, a lot of salad, steak and sweet potatoes — not to mention fresh fruit and veggies.

But, for now, I really want to see what I like and don’t like within the realm of gluten and dairy free foods.

One of the biggest omissions in this new lifestyle is that of cheese. I love cheese. I love it. And, I miss it. I’ve had some tips on vegan cheese that’s a good substitute. I haven’t tried those yet — but, I am sure I will get around to it. Especially when it comes to nachos.

Anyways — this is transition isn’t easy,

But, this week being sick and not able to get a whole blown workout regime in, I’ve had to focus on my diet. Which I think is a blessing in disguise, because focusing on just the food has helped me kind of further — process — what I am going through. Mainly, that this is a new lifestyle and my decision for food need to be precise.

Plus, I need to find that rhythm that works for me and I think I am getting that down a bit better. Not to mention changing my thought process so I’m not focusing on what I CAN’T eat and what I can or should so I can feel better.

I guess in a way, I’m approaching this like any other race or new distance. I’m starting it in slowly — learning, experimenting and doing — while mentally and physically preparing myself for the long haul. While there is no finish line to all of this, the mentality and approach is the same. This journey just happens to be longer than any race I’ve run before.

Anyways — I’ll keep updating you on all of this throughout the next few weeks and months. But, while my focus has been acclimating myself to the new diet, I’m also focusing on my training and fitness. I’ve got a few looooong runs and races coming up that I want/need to be ready to tackle.

This weekend I am running the Olympic Oval for 5-6 hours, hoping to get in a good 20-25 miles. I have the Jackpot Running Festival in about a month I want to get a couple more looooong runs in before I tackle the 12 hour race. And, since you won’t find me running outside right now with the air and weather — I’m taking it inside.

There is a group of runners meeting tomorrow morning at the Oval at 6am and — well — just running. We’re running circles around the ice sheet. It should be a lot of fun. There is quite a group gathering that should make it fun. It won’t be as big as the New Year’s Run Resolution, but it’ll be a party.

Besides Jackpot, I also have my self-supported 50 miler in March and the Salt Flats 50K in April. So, I’ve got some training to do. And, not that I am getting past this stupid cold and bronchitis — I’m feeling up for the challenge. Not to mention now that I am fueling myself even better.

LET’S DO THIS THING!

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Of Rest and Sickness …

I should have seen it coming. This always happens after I run long, long distances for many, many weekends. My body gives up and decides to rebel. It gets sick.

And, if you’re wondering. Yes, I am now sick.

No more than 2-3 days after running the Antelope Island 50K last weekend my body went into automatic sickness mode. It started around Election Night — and just got progressively worse. It fed itself into an anxiety attack, to a cold and then into something of a mixture of cold and … maybe the flu?

I’m not a doctor and WebMD was no help. So, basically, I am just a hot mess.

But, then again this happens to me every year. This happened last year after I ran the same race. Maybe I’m just allergic to buffalo? That’d be an easy culprit. But, really, it’s just my body telling me enough is enough. And, I am fine with that.

This cold/flu/buffalo allergy is no fun though. I was out of work on Friday and pretty much slept all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I’ve pretty much screwed up my whole sleeping pattern and I think I am now nocturnal? But, alas, I’m turning a corner and heading to work on Monday. Not, only because I’ve got a lot of work to catch up, but I want to share this fun with my co-workers.

Well, okay I kid … sorta.

But, no, I am really feeling much better. The large amount of sleep I’ve gotten the past few days has helped a lot and thanks to a cocktail of Zicam, Benadryl and Flintstone vitamins I’m 93.8% cured.

The nicest thing about this past week — besides the sleep — has been the fact I haven’t ran at all. And, quite honestly, I am fine with that. I kinda burnt myself out. And, how would not after running three marathons, two ultras and a few half marathons in the past two months? You’d think I’d be going everywhere in a jazzy.

And, I won’t lie — I looked into rentals.

But, I am welcoming this rest and I am in no rush to get back into a full running regime. I’m sure I’ll get a few more miles this month, but I am focusing on my strength training for a while. And, again, I’m fine with that.

Plus, I’m busy working as the volunteer coordinator for the Thankful 13 that Runtastic Events is organizing on Thanksgiving morning (the main reason why I’m not running it this year). It’s a big task. Fun and something I’ve done before. But, it’s taking most of my free time outside of my 8-5 job.

So, while we’re on that topic — if you’re available to volunteer on Wednesday or Thursday of next week we could sure use your help. We need help with set up, take down and race day support. You can sign up for shifts here.

I like this change of pace and it’ll be a fun challenge for me. And, one that doesn’t require me to run (just be on my feet on race day, but I can live with that). So, I’m excited to see what comes of it.

I’ll get my groove back eventually. But, rest is good. I’ve put my body through a lot the past couple of months and quite honestly, the past two weeks have been real tough on me. I probably shouldn’t have done the 50K last week with what my body was telling me after the 50 and Haunted Half, but I also knew I could push through it. Which I did quite awesomely.

But, for the time being I’m going to focus on runs so longer than 2-3 miles and then put more of my workout energy into my strength and weight training. I’m still taking my class after work at the U on Monday and Wednesday of each week and I am also planning on working out at my gym Ignite Fitness on Saturday mornings and at least once a week in the morning before work.

I feel like the gym is where I need to spend most of my time right now so that as I hit the trails more next year I’ll have a better stronger base and core to work off of. Plus, I want to cut some more weight off the body — about 20-30lbs. And, that’ll be a topic for another day. I stopped following my diet about three weeks ago going into my 50 — namely because I was a bit worried about fueling, etc.

Not that I haven’t completely gotten off the wagon, but I need to be better at eating on the wagon. If you get my drift. I gave myself a couple days off after my 50 and 50K — but, in my defense after my 50 miler that was something I was NOT expecting. I wasn’t craving anything for the first couple of days, but come Monday and Tuesday I wanted to eat everything — from tuna fish sandwiches to pretzels.

Anyways, I’m not planning on anything to dramatic right now. I’m back on my Isagenix shakes with a chicken salad for lunch and hardboiled eggs and a banana for snacks in between meals regime. But, I’ll blog all about that later. I just don’t want to go completely off the rail and completely undo what I did in the summer. And, Isagenix shakes are a good way to stop that, because I love the shakes a lot.

But, like I said … more on that later.

For now the focus is just the weight-room, letting my body relax and heal. I’ve got a few goals in mind that I want to hit coming up in the first part of the year and I’ll eventually figure out how to tackle those in the next couple of weeks.

But, that’s not my concern for now. Getting ready for the Thankful 13 is the bigger concern. And, getting past this cold/flu/bison allergy.


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A couple weeks ago Coach Blu, from Addict II Athlete, and I sat down to do a double recording of our podcasts. We sat down and recorded our experience running the Pony Express 50 on my podcast The Runcast … and then we recorded an episode of the AIIA Podcast with me sharing my story with Coach Blu.

It made for a long evening because both podcasts ran looooooong (Runcast — 90 minutes and AIIA — 70 minutes), but both episodes turned out awesome. I consider Coach Blu a dear friend and it’s been really quite a miracle how our paths have crossed in the past year.

But, sharing my story has been something I promised to myself — and God — when I made the decision to seek a new direction. That’s why I blog, that’s why I tend to OVER share my thoughts and feelings on struggles and successes in my life and that’s why I was more than willing to share my story with Coach Blu.

There is a lot to me that I don’t share about me here on the blog — and that’s not by design, but merely because of the audience. And, this episode of AIIA delves into my past and gives a background of where I’ve come from and had to work myself out of.

Nothing has come easy to me in life — and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve had to overcome a world that tried to label me, I had to overcome my own doubts and at times just get stubborn and do what I knew to be right.

I won’t give away a lot of my story, but I invite you to give it a listen. It hopefully gives you a window into the type of person that I am and why I do what I do. And, hopefully you’ll get a thing or two out of it that will help you along your own journey — wherever that may lead you.

Give it a listen here …

Listen to “Blu & Josher!” on Spreaker.


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I won’t lie — it’s been kinda nice getting rest from lotso running. This week was mainly walking miles, but being sick I didn’t get much on the ‘ol pedometer Friday-Sunday. And, I’m fine with that.

The goal this upcoming week is get more walking miles and then a couple 2-3 mile runs on top of my weight training. No races this weekend or for the rest of the month — which is nice. I’ll get back into the swing of things sooner than later.

RUNNING MILES

253.55 miles

RACE MILES

400.05 miles

WALKING MILES

1299.73 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

1953.33 miles


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RACE #136: Antelope Island Classic 50K

Tough things are tough. But, man, can tough things be more than rewarding. That’s kind of how I feel right now. That’s kind of how I felt going into this race. I knew this was going to be tough, I knew it was going to suck at points, but I knew that in the end I would come away with that rewarding feeling that I did something awesome.

I wasn’t planning on running the 50K. In fact, when I signed up I did so for the half marathon THINKING this would be a great way to wind down my racing season, especially two weeks after running the Pony Express 50.

But, then Pony happened aaaaaaand I got the bug. Not to mention my recovery from the Pony 50 was better than expected. My legs recovered faster than I expected and looking at the trail half marathon happening this weekend — I KNEW I could do the 50K. I just didn’t know if I wanted to do the 50K, I mean two weeks after a 50 miler is kinda crazy to do a 50K?!

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Then again — what’s an adventure without those moments of crazy? I tried to temper that itch, but after a couple of days I contacted the race director, Jim Skaggs, and asked him if I could up my registration from the half to the 50K. He more than obliged and before I knew it — I was signed up for the 50K.

The reason why I decided to do the 50K was kind of two fold — one, I knew I could do it, because I ran this last year and, two, I wanted some redemption out on this course. Last year I ran this 30-35lbs. heavier and it took a toll on me. The hills between miles 11-14 were brutal on my body and I flirted with cutoff time after cutoff time. So this year I just simply wanted to do better than laster — I wanted to feel and do better than 2015.

And, for the most part — I did.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

The night before the race I laid everything out on the couch that I THOUGHT that I needed. And, compared to last year I really cut down on what I took with me. I didn’t take my hiking pack with me, just my small back pack. This year I packed with some salt and vinegar potatoes, candy, back up water and applesauce to name a few compared to the change of clothes, shoes and 2-3 bottled water I had last year.

Yeah, I was a TOTAL rookie last year. Bad decisions.

I eagerly hopped into bed and was planning on getting up around 4-4:30am so I could be in my car and at the Island by around 6:30-7am for the 8am start time. But, I woke up at 3am and just stayed up. I wasn’t nervous, just more excited than anything, because besides being another ultra this would be my last true race of the year. More on that below.

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So I just kind of laid in bed for a while reading, checking my Facebook and mentally preparing for the day. I have to say it was kind of nice not feeling stressed or rushed. I just took my time and moseyed on over to Antelope Island to pick up my bib and make my way to the starting line.

Honestly, I could have probably showed up at 7am and been fine. Because I ended up sitting in my car for about an hour waiting for the start. But, it was kind of nice being there earlier than most everyone else because I got first pick of the port-a-potties at the starting line. These were the only port-a-potties along the course — so I made sure to take advantage of them before I starting running.

Before starting I did manage to get out of the car for the prerace instructions and stand at the fire pit with a number of friends who were out there to either race or volunteer. This has always been my favorite part of running. I don’t usually get to see many friends out there (because they’re usually faster than me) so the pre and post-race festivities are usually my favorite. But, it was great to see a few faces I haven’t seen in awhile.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

My strategy for the race was rather simple and it helped having ran the course before. I knew there’d be quite a bit of climbing for the first 14-15 miles of the race so I wanted converse my energy as best as I could the those first couple of miles. I wanted to have enough energy around miles 5-6 and 11-14 where the biggest climbs on the course are located. So I started off slow and focused on a brisk walk while using with my walking rods.

It really was a good strategy because I knew if I didn’t pace myself I would die on those climbs. And, the rods helped because they kept me just above a dead man’s march. This was my first time using the rods and they made a HUGE difference. As long as I was focusing on a rhythm it was like I had a pacer out there keeping me on track. I don’t think I can ever do trails again without them.

At about mile 3-4 the last runner on the course caught up with me. And, of course, we became friends. I was happy for the company, especially know the hills in front of us. So we became instant friends for the next 10-12 miles.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

His name was Jeff and he was from California. This was his 200-something-th ultra and at nearly 70 years young he was still going (his friend out there and ahead of us was older). For the past several years he’s been working on running ultras in every state. He’s run ultras in all 50 states, but now he wants to run five ultras in every state — he’s probably 3/4 of the way done?

Either way — a VERY impressive resume. And, so for the most part I just listened to his stories. Stories about running ultras in Rhode Island, Tennessee, Hawaii and New Jersey. Stories of friends and how aging has impacted their running. And, of course the granddaddy of them all the Western States 100.

We even touched on art and books and just life. It was a great way to pass the time and not focus on the stupid hills ahead of us. I was very appreciative of the company. Distraction is the great pain reliever in running.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

At mile 13-ish I knew we were going to be hitting the hill that nearly killed me last year. The only way to explain this hill is that it’s pure hell. It sucks. It’s miserable. But, there’s only one way to conquer it and that’s by doing.

Last year I would about 5-10 steps before stopping. Not to mention that, but every 30-40 steps I’d sit down and figure out a new way to die so I didn’t have to climb further. It was miserable. Miserable, miserable, miserable. Even Tim Gill who was running with me had the same struggles up that blasted hill.

But, this year I just wanted to do better than last year. I didn’t know exactly what that meant, but I wasn’t planning on stopping every 5-10 steps. I just wanted to push myself further and take less breaks. So that was the gameplan — as simple and unpremeditated as it was.

A photo posted by Joshua Hansen (@fight4phat) on

I was still running with Jeff at this point, but at the base of the hill as we started the climb I told him I would see him at the top if he didn’t keep pace with me. I just had to go my pace if I was going to conquer the hill I’ve dubbed, “Stupid Steep Hill.” So I tapped into my inner mountain goat and inched up the hill with my walking rods in hand.

I was feeling pretty good when I got half way up the hill. Having probably overexerted myself a bit too much (I only stopped once at that point) I felt a little faint — so I sat down on the hill to eat some applesauce, a little water and a couple Swedish Fish. I needed some quick energy for the rest of the climb and I wasn’t about to pass out in my attempt.

Jeff was about 100 yards behind me as I took my break and informed me he was going to bow out at the aid station. I was bummed to hear that, but he was preparing for a 50 miler in a couple of weeks and he was feeling a cold coming on and didn’t want to risk it. I completely understood and for someone who’s ran over 200 ultras I’m sure this isn’t his first DNF. So I just kept moving forward — well, upward — on the hill.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

As much as that hill sucks — I kept reminding myself that I was much stronger than last year. And, that this wasn’t as hard as Mile 45 was during my 50 miler. I wouldn’t say this made the hill any easier physically, but being in tougher situations mentally does help make it easier to endure.

Before I knew it I had made it up that bleeping hill. I only stopped about three times — and by stop I mean hunched over to catch my breath — but, I felt great, especially knowing the rest of the course was much, much easier from this point on. No more up hill climbs!

Despite that sense of accomplishment I got to the aid station depleted. I was feeling pretty week and knew I needed to refuel. I wanted more liquid than food, but still helped myself to some salted potatoes and a banana. But, there at the aid station I saw staring at me — was a can of Mountain Dew.

A photo posted by Joshua Hansen (@fight4phat) on

Now, for those who know me — I haven’t had soda in nearly four years. I decided to cut it out to help with my running and weight-loss. And, it’s been a big difference. I don’t crave it like I used to, but there at mile 14 after that hill — I needed it. My body craved it.

And, I caved.

Do I feel bad about my moment of weakness? Um, kinda? But, not really. Because it was a total game changer for me — the sugar, sodium, caffeine and carbonation gave me new life. Sure it broke my streak, but it also saved my life — well, okay, run.

And, in the miles after I left the aid station I made the pact with myself that I would continue to not drink soda recreationally. But, during an ultra — totally acceptable. Not half marathons or marathons — just ultras. Because if I made the exception for those distances — I might as well just make Mountain Dew my official beverage of choice. But, ultras are different beasts and the soda made a big difference for me.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

After leaving the aid station I started the descendant down towards the ranch house. I love this part because it’s down hill, but after killing my quads climbing up the other side of the mountain the quads don’t want to give you free reign to cruise down the hill. Plus, the descendant it just slightly past comfortable. Which caused for a semi-fast slow run down the trail.

To my surprise Jeff was right behind me and caught up to me. Even though he had said he was bowing out, he decided to stay out there after talking to the sweepers and aid station. He told me he decided to keep going because he was sick of listening to his whining. I chuckled at his reasoning, because I can totally relate.

As much as I wanted to stay with Jeff and have some company I still felt the need to just keep going at my pace. Part of this desire was from the need to proof to myself that I could do better than last year, but also from the stronger desire that I just wanted to just simply be done. So I kept my pace.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

Once I got to the ranch house the course flattened out so I put away my walking rods and just ran. Well, shuffled. The legs were pretty shot.

But, I knew this was where the half marathon started so mentally I tried to create a new race in my mind. Meaning I tried to forget the previous 17-18 miles and just focus on the 13.1 mile ahead of me. It kinda worked. I still got reminders when I tried to push my legs further than they wanted to, but I just wanted to keep pushing myself as much as I could — because I wanted to do better than last year.

I got to the last two aid stations with about a half hour to give from last year’s time — which made me feel really encouraged. I fueled up with some sips of Mt. Dew, bananas and at Mile 19 some pretzels and M&M’s. I rarely touched much of the food I brought with me — which surprised me. I was bummed too, because I had some Gummy Peaches I wish I had had the stomach for — but, just didn’t.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

At the last aid station I came in right before Jeff — and at this point the sweepers caught up with me as well. We were the last two runners out there. But, at this point Jeff was really done and he ended up bowing out — leaving me out there as the last runner. Which I had no problem with — I just didn’t want to spend that much time with the sweepers.

The last seven miles were actually pretty relaxing. I was slowing down a bit so I took out my walking rods again to help pace me and just focused on the mile ahead of me. It was actually pretty peaceful and in those last few miles I found a good rhythm.

It wasn’t until about a mile and a half (or less) that the sweepers caught up with me. And, quite honestly, I probably would have kept going without them if it wasn’t for a buffalo standing along the trail ahead of me. These were the same sweepers that helped move buffalo standing on the trail so I just waited for them to do it again for me.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

Even with the buffalo moved I still sheepishly crept around it trying not to make sudden movements or looking threatening to it. I know I wasn’t looking threatening to it — but, buffalo can be jerks at times and I just wanted to be safer than sorry.

Once the buffalo wasn’t an issue I spent the last mile or so with the pacers. They had remembered me from the previous year and were astounded by my progress — I was much stronger and faster than last year. And, it was nice to have someone out there see that too.

When I got to the finish line I was first greeted by Robert Merriman who snapped a couple pictures of me. But, then as I crossed the finish line I got the treatment by not just strangers, but friends like the Veaters and Heather McFarland, as I finished. I couldn’t ask for better friends and a better running community to be a part of.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

After the race I grabbed my finisher’s mug and grabbed some buffalo stew along with some water and food to chow down before making the drive home. It was actually a pretty peaceful moment — the race crew left rather quickly including my friends leaving just me there as I ate my chili watching the sun set over the western end of the Great Salt Lake.

In that moment I just thanked God for allowing me that day — for the new friendships — for the obstacles — for the found strength — and of course the ability to do something I absolutely love to do.

While I have grown madly in love with the trails and ultra distances my body is also ready for a change of pace. Mainly, it’s ready for some rest. Especially when you consider that I’ve ran three marathons, a 50 miler and a 50K in the past two months.

So the next couple of months the focus is going to more on strength training and some cross training. I want to hit the weightroom and lower my mileage for a bit before getting back into racing at the start of the year.

But, you better believe me that I’ll be back on those trails next year. I’m already signed up for the Antelope Island Buffalo Run in March.

I wouldn’t miss it.


137-new-years-resolution

So, as I mentioned above I am no longer running the Thankful 13 on Thanksgiving. Why? Well, I am actually going to be working it! I am the volunteer coordinator — for at least the Thankful 13 if not other Runtastic races. Sure I am bummed that I am not running the race, but it’ll be fun still being there and a part of the race.

Basically my job will be getting volunteers for the packet stuffing, packet pick up and race day jobs. It’s a big task, but one I am excited about. I’ve done volunteer coordinating before and know it’s no easy task.

Like I’ve told friends if you can volunteer a few hours on or around race day we’d love your help! You can sign up for specific jobs here. So please sign up if you can. Remember for every hour you volunteer you get 20% off a future race. Meaning five hours equals a FREE race!

So anyways, I flirted with the idea of signing up for the Bakers Dozen Half to replace Thankful on my schedule, but you know what? I’m not. I want the rest. Well, rest from running. My focus for the next couple of months is going to be strength and cross training. I’ll still run, but I’m back off the racing until the turn of the calendar. A decision I feel good about.

This makes my next race the New Year’s Run Resolution on New Year’s Eve at the Olympic Oval. I’m not sure if you count this as a race, because it’s more like a party, but it’ll be a fun way to kick off 2017 — with running and friends. And, not to mention a good way to kick off my marathon and ultra training.

But, yeah, a change of pace I’m excited about. So make sure to sign up to volunteer for the Thankful 13! We’d love your help!

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runcast-logo

WE’RE BACK! After a couple months of life and “stuff” (mainly VERY busy schedules, etc., etc., etc.) — The Runcast is back! In this episode I sit down with Coach Blu from Team Addict to Athlete and talk about our Pony Express 50 miler. We talk about the ups and downs and how we got through it.

Hopefully we paint a picture of what it’s like to tackle a beast like this for newcomers to the ultra scene. It’s not easy, it’s tougher than tough — but, so rewarding at the same time.

Give this episode a listen and then make sure to come back next week as Coach interviews me on the AIIA Podcast …


2667in2016

RUNNING MILES

253.55 miles

RACE MILES

400.05 miles

WALKING MILES

1275.09 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

1928.69 miles

A photo posted by The Runcast (@theruncast) on

Thoughts before my first 50 …

Deep breath.

After months and months of training — here I am. I’ve got many thoughts running through my head and emotions wanting to be felt. But, here I am, on the cusp of doing something once thought impossible.

I want to feel fear. I want to feel peace. I want to feel nervous. I want to feel confidence. I want to feel anxious. I want to feel strong. But, this feeling I feel is all of those emotions wrapped into one — and I just stand here ready to run. Ready to experience what is ahead of me and tackle the task at hand.

I stand here looking back at the road behind me and acknowledge the path that got me here. It didn’t start months ago, this has been a path made years ago. This path was begun when I made the decision to seek joy in my life. I lived my life too long in darkness, devoid of joy and without vision. But, I never would have imagined that my decision to seek joy would lead me here.

But, here I am.

As I stand here in contemplation I am filled with not just joy, but joyous gratitude. I am grateful to God for a body that works. I am grateful for a spirit that dreams. I am grateful for each and every footprint that has lead me here.

A majority of those footprints have been taken solo, but a good deal have been taken with others. Some have fleetingly passed through this journey, while others have staked claim to many moments I’ll always cherish. Many have cheered me forward when I needed that encouragement and I have tried to return that favor by paying it forward. And, because of them, here I am.

My heart pounds in anticipation. Nerves are being felt — and cherished. I love this angst feeling of the unknown. These same feelings rushed through my body as I stood at the starting line of my first races.

I have long missed these feelings. They are feelings that I have grown accustom to over the years racing a lot. This may be one of the reasons why I pushed myself to do something daunting like a 50 miler — I simply miss those intense feelings of anticipation.

But, here I am.

I know this is going to hurt. I know this is going to suck. I know this will be difficult both mentally, emotionally and spiritually. But, none of that is going to keep me back moving forward and completing the task at hand.

I used to live a life avoiding pain, difficulty and adversity. But, when I made a decision some 6-7 years ago to live a life of joy — I didn’t fully grasp the concept or idea that I would also have to accept pain, difficulty and adversity. But, quite honestly, that’s been all the difference.

Running has taught me to embrace the pain, accept the difficulty and invite adversity, because it is those moments we learn. It’s in those moments of suffering we learn the most about ourselves, our resolve and what matters most in life.

And, what matters the most in life will never be found on a trail or a mountain. It will never be found in the counted miles of the day or accomplishments and honors of life. What matters most in life will always be what you hold close to your heart. That’s why I run.

I run to live. I run to love. I run to learn. I run for joy. I run for peace — and everything in between.

My heart pounds, anticipation runs high, and, I am simply ready to run. Ready to experience what I am to experience, to feel what I am to feel and gain victory over the task at hand.

Here I am.

Let’s do this thing.


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