Tag: handcart days half marathon

I am soooooo close to my goal …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s my remaining planned schedule …


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RACE #154: Bountiful Handcart Days Half Marathon

This race means a lot to me. Well, the whole Handcart Days festival means a lot to me. Growing up our family was heavily involved when my Dad served as the Chairman for the event. That included coordinating the parade, park festivities, entertainment and fireworks with a committee of local volunteers.

I spent a lot of time at the Bountiful Park lugging food to the concession stands, setting up VIP parade booths and whatever else was required. Sometimes I was even forced to watch the parade — which if anyone knows me, knows I absolutely HATE parades. But, that’s a post for another day.

In the seven years my Dad was involved with the festival, we never had a race — not even a 5K. But, in the 10 years after my Dad was released from the chairmanship one was added in conjunction with the South Davis Rec Center. So when I decided to run my first half marathon back in 2011 — it just seemed fitting.

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I run the race twice since that hot July 2011 day. It was my 100th race back in 2015 where friend Jim Gastelum arranged a 100 banana salute at the finish line and then I ran it again last year to celebrate my 5th year anniversary of my first half marathon. This race has become a race of milestones for me of sorts.

When I lined up this year for the race, I wasn’t really celebrating a certain milestone. Unless there’s significance for a 6th anniversary or 154th race that I am unaware of? I was running to run. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t thinking of those milestones and the plan to run this again next year for my 180th and final race in my 180 goal.

But, my mind was on other things. The day prior I got word that a good friend of mine — not just a running friend — was diagnosed with brain cancer. Robert Merriman has been a good friend for some four years or so now. He is truly one of the greatest men you’d ever met. Not a mean bone in his body, yet one of the best senses of humor.

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This news quickly spread throughout the running community and left many of us shocked. Robert had friends throughout the community, because of the nature of man he is. He’s always encouraging, always giving and always cheering others on.

Having this news really made this run one of reflection for me. Not just on Robert, but about other friends and family in my life who’ve battled cancer. It was this time two years ago we found out about Meridith’s breast cancer. My Mom’s own cancer journey was on my mind, even though that was over five years ago. All that emotion was very much on my mind.

But, my heart was also reflective on how through all of that — running was there. Running is a mental, spiritual and physical therapy for me in these moments. I remember when I got the news of my mother’s diagnosis I went out for a run that day to help clear my mind and find peace.

It’s almost become a natural reaction for me to run when life gets tough, confusing, frustrating or difficult. Not to run away from it all. But, to run with my thoughts, and often a prayer in my heart, to center myself and find strength to tackle whatever is in front of me.

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So, toeing up to that starting line on Saturday morning was to find that center balance.

Like the previous couple years I decided to take the early start at 5:30am. I have no reason to do it other than I want to get done faster and spend less time out in the heat of the day. I kind of wish all summer races had a 5:30am option. It’s light enough that I know where I am going … so why not?

A handful of us started early and I got about three or so miles into the race before the leading runners passed me. I thought that wasn’t bad, especially since I wasn’t planning on pushing myself at all during this race. That’s what happens when you have a race on Monday, a bum ankle and a flat course. I was Clydesdaling it.

Around mile three I started getting Tummy Gremlins and knew I needed a Honey Bucket soon. I found one just off the Legacy Parkway Trail, but when I approached it was deadlocked. DEADLOCKED?! Who does that?

I didn’t have much time to ponder about that so I just moved forward in hopes that the next aid station would have one. I won’t lie, it was the longest two miles of my life. I’ve run some painful miles in the past — but, when the Tummy Gremlins attack, they mean business.

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Finally, when I turned a corner to see the Mile 5 aid station I saw the most glorious Honey Bucket. When I limped toward it I was elated it wasn’t deadlocked or occupied. I made it right in the nick of time.

I am not sure why I included this story, but it was pretty much the highlight of the first half of the race. And, luckily — well, thankfully — the second half was much, much, much better.

Just shortly after my near disaster, I ran into Merri and Glen, a brother and sister that were running in memory of Glen’s son Benjamin who passed away recently. Merri reads this blog and introduced herself. After yo-yo’ing for a couple of miles we met up again at the Mile 7 aid station and ran together the rest of the way.

Talking with Merri and Glen about Glen’s son Benjamin was what I needed. Already with a reflective heart — I just listened to Glen talk about how Benjamin lived with one of the biggest hearts — toward humanity and animals. I listened to his stories of Benjamin’s musical talents and how he recently drove to Southern Utah to adopt a dog slated to be put down.

I was grateful for this moment.

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My heart kept wandering toward those I’ve lost in the past few years — both friends and family. I thought a lot about my Grandma and Aunt Diane — two of my biggest influences as both a kid and adult. I thought about their big hearts, I thought about the small unsaid acts of kindness they shared with others and how proud they were of the changes I was making in my life.

Loss is hard, especially when you lose someone so close to your heart. And, I couldn’t help but think throughout this run how running helped mend that my heart. It was a very unexpected spiritual experience for me. I felt honored to be able to share that moment with Merri and Glen.

It was a completely uplifting run for me.

After we crossed the finish line, we took a picture together and parted ways.

But, I couldn’t stop thinking about this run throughout the day. I couldn’t stop feeling a deep sense of gratitude for having running in my life. Not just for affording me to be a part of this powerful experience, but that it’s helped me through many difficult times in my life.

Life is a beautiful thing. And, running has helped enhance that for me — in times of sorrow, pain and joy. And, for that I’ll always thank God for the gift of running.


MY NEXT THREE RACES


He has my heart … and banana.

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Best duet I’ve heard since Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s “Drunk in Love”

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Got my biannual thyroid check this past week. I knew something was up with my energy levels and … yup … the thyroid was off. So my doctor switched me to a lower dose of Levothyroxine. No more Armour. I’m feeling a difference, which is good, but we’ll start seeing the bigger effects in the next couple of months (hopefully). I’m just hoping my energy levels are better and the new meds help make losing weight easier. It should. I’d really like to lose 30lbs before November, but we’ll see. If that doesn’t happen at least a good 30-35 before my 100 miler in February. Goals, goals, goals. It’s been hard making weight loss goals with Hashimoto’s, because the thyroid is so fickle. I just want consistency. And, I’m hopeful I’m on the right track. ———————————————————— #fight4phat #fitness #wellness #health #running #runnerslife #runner #run #weightloss #weightlossjourney #hashimotos #hashimotoswarrior #thyroid #hypothyroidism #workout #wod #instarunner #run4fun #runningcommunity #levothyroxine #thyroidmedication #hypothyroidism #hypothyroidismweightloss #goals #healthgoals #thyroidproblems ———————————————————— @fight4phat @josherwalla @joshruns180 ———————————————————— Follow my blog at www.phatjosh.com

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You better believe that if I’m going to be sitting in the dentist’s chair for most of the morning I’m going to get in a longer-ish run beforehand. Planned on a quick two mile run, but after realizing I had enough time for a longer run, I doubled it up and did four miles. Since I have two half marathons this weekend I didn’t want to do anything pushed, especially with my ankle so I just focused on my gait mechanics and enjoyed the warm morning run. Winning. ———————————————————— #fight4phat #fitness #wellness #health #running #runnerslife #runner #run #weightloss #weightlossjourney #hashimotos #hashimotoswarrior #thyroid #hypothyroidism #workout #wod #instarunner #run4fun #runningcommunity #utahrunningclub #morningrun #4milerun #fartlek #runutah ———————————————————— @fight4phat @josherwalla @joshruns180 ———————————————————— Follow my blog at www.phatjosh.com

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Are we sure this is a war over monkeys and not drugs?

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Lest we ever forget.

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Sunsets like tonight could turn the manliest of men into a poet.

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RACE #127: Deseret News Half Marathon

SALT LAKE CITY — It’s kinda hard to put into words about my experience running the Deseret News Half this past Monday. It was tough. It was draining. It was exhausting. But, all be damned — I pushed through all of that. All that this just 48 hours after running the Bountiful Handcart Days Half Marathon.

While I didn’t get my sub-2:30 time goal — I am proud of myself, my effort and resolve. I didn’t give up, even when I tried to give myself permission to do so. I had a couple of great pacers that kept me on track and going, especially when I thought I couldn’t give any more of myself.

I told myself going into the race that I would be disappointed if I didn’t get a sub-2:30 time (2:32:15). Am I still disappointed for not hitting the goal? Well, yes. I wanted to reach that goal. And, I didn’t get it. Of course I am going to be disappointed. But, that doesn’t mean I didn’t learn from the experience. Because, I most definitely did.

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Having not sub-2:30’d in nearly two years — it would probably be seen as kinda stupid to go into this race seeking such a goal. Especially after already racing 48 hours prior. And, that assessment may very well be right.

But, having lost nearly 30lbs. and gaining some of my speed back as of late — I knew I could push myself to that goal. Especially having ran the DesNews Half before and knowing where and when to push or hold back. It also helps having ran a sub-2:30 — or sub 2:10 for that matter (2:08:25 at Nebo in 2013) — so you know what it takes.

My game plan really wasn’t extraordinary. It was simply to stick with my friend Brook who was pacing the 2:30 group. I thought about running with my Garmin, but opted to bypass wearing it because there was no point if I was going to stick with Brook. PLUS — it’s kinda like running on the treadmill, you don’t want to constantly be looking at the time and distance. That’s torture.

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After being bussed up Emigration Canyon the 2:40 pacer, Sheri, joined us. Somehow her pacing stick was forgotten so she joined our party. It was great having her run alongside Brook and I. I love having two pacers, because one can focus staying on pace while the other can focus on the runners around them. That’s very much what Brook and Sheri did. It really helped me a lot.

The run down Emigration Canyon was beautiful (it always is) — and fast! The first six miles were down the canyon and past the zoo. And, even when we got out of the canyon the route was still pretty much downhill until around mile 10-11.

The hardest of that stretch was when we turned onto Foothill Blvd. and for probably — a half mile? — the course was flat. Recalibrating my legs between downhill and flat terrain has always been difficult for me. But, I just decided to dig in and keep pressing forward.

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When we turned onto 1300 E. towards 100 S. not only were my legs running out of juice, but I could feel the creation of a blister that I knew would be ugly once my shoes came off. It was painful. It was huge. And, it was very uncomfortable. But, I just kept trying to push through it.

I knew I was close I was close. I had about a 5K left. I was still with the pacers. So, I just tried to distract myself by anyways possible. Since I wasn’t running with music, I either sang whatever came to mind — or chanted mantras of “yes, I can” and “just keep running.”

It felt like the more tired and sore I got, the more determined I became to reach this goal. Especially when I was looking for excuses and reasons to slow down and let Brook and Sheri go ahead of me. I could have easily used Saturday’s race as an excuse, but I already told myself that wasn’t going to be an excuse.

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I also could have used my blister as an excuse. And, that one I fought through a lot — pretty much every half mile after mile 10. But, I just made up my mind that it was an all or nothing. If I didn’t give my ALL — I was sacrificing the gift (geez, where have I heard something like that before?).

Anyways — needless to say — I wasn’t going to quit. I was going to give it my everything. I was so appreciative of both Brook and Sheri for keeping me going. They both helped motivate me, kept me going and wouldn’t let me stop.

I got new life when we turned onto 200 E. and the parade route. Part of it was because of the energy of the crowd, but mostly because we got some downhill that made my legs happy. I wish I had brought candy to throw out to the crowd (maybe next year) because while some of them were cheering us runners on, most were bored out of their minds.

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Around this time I really felt like I had a chance to get this goal. We had less than a mile and a half left until the finish line and I knew I could just gut it out — especially once the course flattened out again. And, then we got stopped near the library because of a TRAX train. It killed a little bit of my mojo, but more than anything, just made me laugh. Plus, it only killed about 12 seconds.

But, still.

The last half mile was a beast though. I kept pushing and my legs just weren’t giving me ANYTHING. Sheri kept running with me while Brook ran ahead to keep on pace. I desperately wanted to keep up with Brook, but I had no spring left in my legs — at this point it was all guts. All guts.

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As I got closer to the finish line Brook came back to run me in. There was some confusion on time, because the course was a bit too long and there was a different time on the clocks, timer and Brook’s Garmin. The timer said I was still under 2:30 — I think like 2:28ish? But, Brook’s said I was 2:31 at like 13.4 miles (or so).

So I didn’t know which one to believe? Could I have come in under 2:30? Possibly.

But, when I went to check my time at the time kiosk it came in as 2:32:15. And, despite probably making a case that time was off, I just went with that time, because — well — it’s the official time. And, I’m not going to critique that despite the length of course.

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I got what I got and while I am disappointed that I didn’t reach my goal, I know I did my best. I beasted out some difficult miles. I created a monstrous blister. And, I gave everything I had to the end. If you can’t be satisfied with that, then you’re never going to truly appreciate anything in life. Destinations and goals are great, but the journey and pursuit is just as valuable. If not more.

So will I do something like this again? Meaning — a two race weekend? Of course. I think what made this different was going into my second race with an ambitious time goal. But, doing Whole30, losing weight and subsequently having more energy I felt like I could this.

Which I almost did.

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And, as I have said here and on social media — yes, I am disappointed that I didn’t reach my goal. But, all be damned, I almost did it — and — I am coming away from this race with more lessons learned than if I easily reached the goal. I will definitely remember this race highly amongst my 180 other races.

Besides my 50K — and a handful of other races — this was one of the toughest.

Yet, one of the most rewarding.

Now to just keep pressing forward. I’ve got a lot more to achieve and accomplish.


MY NEXT RACE

128-timp half.fw

After Monday’s race — I won’t lie — I kinda want to test myself again. I want that sub-2:30. Especially since I’ll have basically have a whole month until my next half (Run Elevated, Aug. 27).

Is it doable? Yes. Is it crazy? Possibly. But, I figure if I could do 2:32 at the DesNews Half just 48 hours after the Handcart Days Half — I can do a 2:30 at Timp with some rested legs on Saturday. Am I right on this assessment (just nod your heads in agreement)?

So the goal is once again to stick with the 2:30 pacers. Luckily for me I’ve got a couple of awesome friends pacing the group — Angie Pace and Karrie Middaugh! It’ll be a party. But, I know once again it won’t be easy. The first 7-8 miles (or so) are in AF Canyon — that leaves about 5-6 miles of rolling hills in the hot sun.

Again — it won’t be easy. But, I am going to do it. And, I am going to give it my all.

I’m going to do a shakeout run either tonight or Thursday morning. Nothing extreme, just to loosen up the legs. But, my focus this week has been weights and core anyways (I’ve got some Relief Society arms that need a little work). Plus, that core work is just as important as miles on my feet. I also have to remember I’ve done a lot of running, especially considering I will be doing three half marathons within a week.

So, I am not worried.

I just want to be ready for Saturday. Ready to stick with Karrie and Angie and give it everything. I want to build upon my time at Timp going into Run Elevated next month so I can push for 2:25 or faster. Especially considering that I had to drop Nebo in September. I want to fly at Run Elevated like I’ve never flown before.

Well, okay, not maybe fly faster than I have in a while. Though a PR would sure be nice. But, if that was the goal and case you might as well have an ambulance shadow me down Little Cottonwood Canyon.

Anyways.

Who else is running Timp this weekend? Anyone else want to join the 2:30 party? If you want to help motivate and keep me going I’ll get you some cattle prods! Ooooo … tempting I know!

YEAH TIMP!


MY NEXT THREE RACES

129 - Run Elevated Half Marathon 130 - Revel Big Cottonwood Marathon 131 - huntsville marathon


PHATGRAMS

They asked for honest feedback … so I gave it to them. #chilisnotapplebees

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RRR-20-coupon


2667in2016

RUNNING MILES

157.6 miles

RACE MILES

176.7 miles

WALKING MILES

891.86 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

1226.16 miles

MILES TO GOAL

1440.84 miles



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RACE #126: Bountiful Handcart Days Half Marathon

BOUNTIFUL — The first of two races this holiday weekend are complete. On Saturday I ran the Handcart Days Half Marathon here in my hometown. I am then running the Deseret News Half Marathon on Monday — er — tomorrow morning. Am I crazy doing this? Sure. Is it unprecedented for me? No.

Like I tell everyone who asks how I am able to race so much, the simple answer is — I don’t know how to say no to a race. It’s especially harder to say no when I have my credit card on autofill. All I have to do is show up at a race website and I’m pretty much registered for that race the next 2-3 years.

All kidding aside, I’ve done a number of back-to-back half marathons — usually consisting of a night race on Friday followed by a Saturday morning race. Those are usually all-nighters. I have also done a couple of double race days as well. Last year and in 2014 I ran two half marathons the same day — a morning and night race. Lots of fun, lots of running.

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So a Saturday and Monday race isn’t that hard for me to mentally and physically prepare for. Basically, my Sunday usually consists of a lot of napping while wearing compression socks all day. Oh, and drinking a lot of water. After races I don’t like to drink a lot the next couple of following days — so I have to force it a bit to make sure I am not dehydrated for my upcoming race.

Anyways — it’s still not “easy” to do. But, it’s fun. It’s always fun giving your body a challenge whether it’s small, moderate or huge. It’s what makes running fun for me. That’s kind of why I got into running in the first place. It’s especially the reason why I ran my first half marathon. I wanted to prove it to myself I could do hard things.

And, coincidentally, I was celebrating that first half marathon five years to the day at the same race on Saturday. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been a “runner” (I didn’t really consider myself a “real” runner until I did my first half — that’s why runner is in quotation marks) for that long. Time has flown — way too fast to be honest with you. Gosh, I was still 29 back then. Now I am pushing my mid-thirties (okay, I am pretty much already there).

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But, it’s been an adventure. I never thought I would be HERE five years later. No, not the same race. But, HERE meaning what I have done with running the past five years. Where we have gone together, what we have accomplished and who we have met. Five years ago, I just wanted to run a half marathon. I didn’t know how many I wanted to do in my lifetime. I just wanted to do one and that was my focus.

And, after 124 other races — among them 7 marathons, 106 half marathons, five relays, three 25Ks and one beast of a 50K — here I was full circle at the same race on the exact day doing what I love. My heart fills up with memories and emotions trying to gap my experiences between the two races. But, I’ve experienced so much in those five years — it’s nearly impossible to be attentive to everything I’ve learned and done.

I’ve lived so much life in those past five years.

Okay, this is starting to get a little sappy. You’d think I was starting to write the script to the next big movie for the Hallmark Channel. It’s just hard not to get sedimental around Pioneer Day, because I ran my first marathon on Pioneer Day the following year at the Deseret News Marathon. So this time next year I might get emotional once again at my marathon’s five year runniversary date.

I think this also means I probably should sign up for the DesNews Marathon next year too, huh?

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Anyways, to this year’s race … besides being sentimental about the date and race, going into the race — I knew what I was expecting. I ran the same course last year (for my 100th race mind you) and it didn’t change much (if at all) from year to year. So it was going to be a lot of flatness for the first half or so and then rolling hills the second half. Not my favorite course demographics — but — it is what it is.

The goal for me was to just keep going, not push TOO hard and don’t poop my pants (this is always my goal in every race — it’s a legit fear). I wanted to keep my legs fresh for the DesNews Half on Monday, because I knew if I kicked it up TOO hard during this race I would probably trash my legs a bit too much. My secondary goal was to also come in under three hours. A doable goal.

One thing I love about the Handcart Days Half is that they give you an option for an early start. They’ve actually been doing this for a few years and I think it’s brilliant. For slower runners or those who don’t want to be running alooooooong time in the heat the race gives the option to start a half hour early (5:30am).

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The only thing is that you aren’t eligible for awards if you do that. Which I really don’t care, because I’ve never walked away from a race with anything more than my race medal and a free banana. Okay, well, I lied — I usually get lots of free stuff when I sweep races. By the time I cross the finish line the race organizers don’t know what to do with leftover food so most of the time they’ll just give it to me (or whoever is there) to take home. I’ve taken home a box of oranges, bananas and even a HUGE pan of French Toast.

Anyways — that was kind of a tangent, huh? But, I’m sure you’d love some french toast. Me on the other hand — a banana. So, I decided to do the early start. It wouldn’t hurt, I’d get done earlier and I’d avoid the sun trying to kill me midway through. Besides I would just be hanging out for a half hour if I didn’t — better be doing something productive, right?

The conditions were perfect starting that early. It was light enough to know where I was going, but the sun hadn’t come up over the mountain yet so it was still shadowy cool. Sure it would have been ten times better if it was 20 degrees cooler. But, for a July race — not bad.

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The course wound it’s way from the Rec Center towards the Legacy Parkway Trail where it ran up to the 925 S. bridge, crossed over Legacy Highway and I-15 and onto Main Street back on it’s way to the Rec Center. A fairly simple course. The first seven miles on the trail were flat, but once we crossed the bridge and towards Main Street that’s where it started to get hilly.

In fact right after you crossed the bridge you had to climb a monstrous hill (okay, maybe not very monstrous, but after 7 miles of flat running it was mentally and physically tough) towards Main Street. I went into my hill mode knowing that if I stopped it would probably kill the rest of my race. So, I picked a tree on the side of the road and then as soon as passed that, picked another tree and so on.

And, I conquered it! Thankfully there was an aid station at the top of the hill. I could probably celebrate my feat with a cup of water and a banana! It really was a tough hill, but after conquering it I knew the other hills coming up would be easy. And, for the most part — they were. Especially when I told myself nothing beat the 925 S. hill.

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Anyways — I just kept pushing. I felt great. Around mile 9-10 the sun was coming up above the mountain, but because the course was now beside the mountain I was still running in shade. Hallelujah! The extra half hour was a life changer.

It really wasn’t until the last mile that I started to feel the heat — the Bern, if I may — until about mile 11.5. Though it was kinda miserable I knew I could push through 10-15 minutes of hell to the finish line. And, just for the mere fact that I am writing this review of my race — I survived.

I love making the last turn towards the Rec Center. It’s the same for all of their races — Handcart Days Half, Thanksgiving 5K, Sweethearts 5K, etc. So I’ve ran that same turn a number of times. It reminded me of my first half marathon and last year’s race when my friend Jim orchestrated a 100 banana salute (I think it was 96, because four people ended up eating their’s before I got there) in honor of my 100th race.

Needless to say — a turn of many emotions.

And, again — I’m getting a tad sappy here.

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Anyways — I crossed the finish line in 2:55:56. I hit my goal. I was under three hours, I was alive, I could feel my legs and I hadn’t pooped my pants. Success all over the place for me.

I hung out afterwards for a while cheering on other runners coming in while refueling on bananas and water. It was somewhat torture when Corner Bakery showed up with free pastries. But, I held true to my Whole30 and stuck with the fruit. As tempting at it was — a banana (well, two of them) hit the spot.

Sitting with friends — new and old — at the finish line was the perfect way to celebrate this runniversary. That to me is what this journey has been all about. I will always press forward with new goals and challenges — but, it’s nothing without sharing those experiences with people I care about.

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I am 34 more races to my 180 goal. I’ll reach that goal probably within a couple of years. But, I wonder where I will be in the next five years? Where will running take me at age 40? What role will it play? Who will I meet? Where will it take me? That’s the exciting part — I don’t know?

I just focus on the road ahead of me and move forward step by step.


MY NEXT RACE

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As I have mentioned numerous times — this is a two race weekend for me. Tomorrow I am running the Deseret News Half Marathon. This is one of my favorite races. Not so much the marathon (though it was my first marathon), but the half marathon. It’s a fun course. It’s a fast course. I PR’d on the course back in 2013 (eclipsed two months later).

That’s why I have big goals this year with this course. No, I am not planning on PRing on the course (that’d be nice if I knew I wouldn’t also die in the process and/or have my feet fall off trying), but I am planning on running a sub-2:30 half marathon. Something I haven’t done since — um, probably 2014 … ish? Needless to say — it’s been a while.

My game plan is simple. My friend Brook is pacing the 2:30 group — soooooooo — I am sticking with her. Good game plan, huh? This way I don’t have to worry about following my Garmin, etc. If I lose her, than I’m screwed.

Another reason I am following her is that it should prevent me from going out too fast. That’s my biggest sin as a runner. It’s hard not to, especially during a canyon run. Being a big guy sometimes you just let gravity take control and you just want to flllllllly down the canyon. It’s such a blessing and a curse.

Fortunately, I know the course well. The mile out of the canyon and the last mile will be the toughest. There’s a slight hill that can kill your momentum. Nothing horrible. But, I’m just mentally preparing for those two portions of the race.

I am excited about the race. And, I’ll be lying if I say that I will be disappointed if I miss my goal. This has been a goal I’ve been working on for a while. Losing the weight has helped along with the extra running and workouts.

Anyways — DESNEWS OR BUST!


THE NEXT THREE RACES

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Runcast - Podbash Banner

If you haven’t caught the latest episode of the Runcast — you should. It’s a good one. Jim and I broadcast live from the Utah Midnight Run from last weekend. Jim talks about passing out during church because of dehydration and I share my unfortunate naked homeless guy story.

It’s always fun to hear people’s opinion on the show. It’s also better hearing that people love the shows and that they take us running with them. Whether it’s me, Jorge and Jim or one of the music podcasts — I hope you do get something out of it. Inspiration, motivation or simple entertainment.

Give us a listen and share with your friends too!



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#FitnessFriday: Pioneer Runners sang as they ran and ran and ran …

What a week! It’s been kind of a rollercoaster week for me. Many ups and downs of emotions, etc., etc., etc. My anxiety was a little bit earlier this week — not fun. Not sure if it had anything to do with ending my second round of Whole30 and starting up a third — or with what’s been going on with the RNC in Cleveland? Maybe I’m already missing the ‘Runsmobile’ that officially got retired this week? Probably all of the above? But, more often than not — anxiety is just anxiety for no other reason than just being anxiety.

I don’t talk much about my anxiety. But, it’s something I’ve dealt with for years. It comes and goes as it pleases — and it differs from season to season. One of the worst days/weeks for my anxiety is when Daylight Savings ends in November. No joke. Usually that Sunday or Monday when it gets dark at like — 5pm, I get anxious. And, it lasts for about a week. Not fun.

I’ve found over the years that running has really helped sooth my anxiety. I’ve learned how to subdue it through running and even timing my runs to preempt a panic attack. That’s an art folks. No joke. Running works almost as good as any medication I’ve used.

I could really write a book about running and anxiety. But, the thought makes me anxious — so I’ll probably pass.

Anyways — the first part of the week — not fun. But, I got a really good run in yesterday morning that centered me — physically. mentally, emotionally, spiritually. I won’t lie — I could have used a day earlier, but I’ll take it. I feel good. I feel balanced. And, I am ready for the weekend.

I am running the Handcart Days Half Marathon here in Bountiful tomorrow followed by the Deseret News Half Marathon in Salt Lake on Monday. So lots and lots and lots of running this weekend. It’s Pioneer Day weekend here in Utah (where we celebrate pioneers or ‘pie and beer’ if you are not of the Mormon persuasion) so we have a number of community celebrations, parades (ugh, hate them), fireworks and of course races!

I wrote a bit more about my weekend races below.

But, since Pioneer Day is on Sunday this year the state holiday is being observed on Monday. Which means NO WORK on Monday. Besides racing and probably mowing the lawn — I am not sure what I am going to do with this glorious holiday? I might go see a movie (as long as it’s not the new Ghostbusters)? Or maybe swimming. I kinda want to do that. Or the possibilities are limitless.

Gosh, I love summer holidays. Can you tell?

Anyways, looking forward to a fun weekend of running, family, friends and holiday festivities (except for those dang parades).

What do you have planned for the weekend? Anything fun? Are you running either the Handcart Days or DesNews Half Marathons? Wanna party?

HAPPY PIONEER DAY! HAPPY WEEKEND! HAPPY RUNNING!


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I love Pioneer Day weekend. Not only is it an extra July holiday for us Utahns, but there are LOTS of fun races associated with the weekend as well. And, the DesNews Marathon and Handcart Days Half Marathon, hold a special place in my heart. Mainly, because they were my first marathon and half marathon respectfully.

Normally both are held on Pioneer Day, so it’s usually a decision for me of “either/or.” But, when Pioneer Day falls on a Sunday (like this year), the Handcart Days Half be held on Saturday, while DesNews will be held on Monday (the state observed holiday). So — in years like this year — I get to run both! Because why give yourself the option of “either/or” when the Race Directors pretty much already made the decision for you?

So tomorrow I am running the Handcart Days Half Marathon — which was my first and 100th race. I am still debating whether I want to start at 6am or do the early 5:30am start. I may opt for the earlier start — but, I probably won’t make that decision until tomorrow morning (meaning, depends how much sleep I get tonight). But, after I am done with the race — I need to hop in the car and pick up my packet in Downtown SLC for the DesNews Half on Monday.

My goal for the races are simple. I am shooting for sub-3:00 for the Handcart Days Half. I don’t want to OVERDO it, because I want to save some energy and legs for the DesNews Half. The Handcart Days Half course is rather flat and hilly so I am not expecting much. But, the DesNews Half goal is to run a sub-2:30 — basically anything under 2:29:59 is my goal. Heck, even 2:29:59:9 would be acceptable.

My friend Brook is pacing the 2:30 group and my goal is to keep up with her and their group. Which I feel is doable, especially considering I am nearly 30lbs. lighter since the Provo City Half in May — and the course is an awesome gradual downhill. One of my favorite courses and canyons.

So, I am putting that out there. And, if I don’t hit that mark on Monday — I will be disappointed. Sure, I’ll be happy to have ran, but this is a goal that I CAN do and achieve. Anything less will be a disappointment for me.

Anyways — it’ll be a fun weekend!



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Runcast - Podbash Banner

Last weekend Jim and I recorded LIVE from the Utah Midnight Run. Well, okay, it wasn’t broadcasted live, but we recorded in front of other people. Needless to say it was an adventure. Not only did we get to chat with a few runners, we also got confused for the registration booth — while on the air. It was pretty funny.

Jimbo and I touch on a number of topics — including our one year anniversary! It’s crazy to think we’ve been doing this now for over a year! Oh how time flies.

Anyways — you’ll hear plenty from Jim about making sure you stay hydrated and why you shouldn’t get lost on race from me. Give the episode a listen here …


PHATGRAMS

I might have been late to the sunset, but I still got a great show. #utahsunset #lovethem

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on


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I am just wrapping up my first week of my third round of Whole30 (geez, that kinda reads like a biblical genealogy) and things are — going. I won’t lie — it’s been a bit of a tough week for me to get in the right frame of mind. Not with my diet — but working out and running. And, I am not exactly sure why?

I just feel semi-stuck in a funk?

I think part of that is the culmination of my second round of Whole30. It’s kinda like finishing a marathon you’ve been training for, for weeks. You get to the finish line, given the medal and you’re left feeling like — “sooooo, what’s next?” It’s that kind of “funk” feeling. Nothing major. I just need some of my mojo back.

But, like I said — the diet is fine. I did a good run in this past week and a couple of weight training sessions — two workout sessions less than I’d like. It’s probably best I didn’t do another long run because of my two half marathons this weekend. But, I know I can do better and luckily Monday is a new week. So, I am not too worried.

Anyways — I still feel great. I really seeing how my body is getting slimmer, I was able to put on some XL shirts this past week that I wasn’t able to wear earlier this year. If that’s not motivating I don’t know what is?

Earlier this week I blogged about my Whole30 experience and my Round 2 numbers from this past round. Make sure to check them out. But, everything’s going good. I just need to get back mentally a bit and finish the last 23 or so days off strong. I want to hit the 230s by my birthday.

I think I found that motivation.



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The 82nd Fartlek Friday™ – Happy Pie and (Root) Beer Day!

HAPPY PIONEER DAY! If there’s an outside chance that you don’t live in Utah or along the Mormon Corridor, odds are you have NOOOOOO idea what Pioneer Day is all about. So, here’s a little history lesson for you …

  • The Mormons got ran out of Nauvoo, Illinois after Prophet Joseph Smith was martyred.
  • The Mormons settled around Iowa for a couple years before heading west to the Rocky Mountains.
  • On, July 23, 1847, Mormons first camped in the Salt Lake Valley. But, the next day (obviously the 24th), the Mormon Prophet Brigham Young declared that “This is the Place” (or a variation of that).
  • So, yeah, basically today celebrates the arrival of the Mormon Pioneers to the Salt Lake Valley.
  • And, most us Utahns get the day off from work … sans Federal employees and other people who have jerks for bosses.
  • We celebrate it pretty much like the 4th of July … we have a parade in downtown SLC, along with fireworks, a rodeo and all that jazz.

So, if you didn’t know a lick about Pioneer Day … now you do. Consider this today’s history lesson. [CUE THE MORE YOU KNOW RAINBOW]

Today is also a special day for me. I am running the Handcart Days (our 24th celebration) Half Marathon here in Bountiful. This is going to be race #100 for me! I know that I have written A LOT about this milestone on here and I’ll probably be beating a dead horse by saying all again.

But, it should be said.

I am beyond excited. I am going to be running with two of my great friends, Tim and Elsha. I am really excited about this, because to me this shows what I’ve gained in the past four years it took me to get to this milestone.

When I ran my first half marathon, which was the Handcart Days Half, I did it alone. I didn’t really know anyone in the running community. My cousin was a runner, but we did a number of races together, but my training and involvement in the community was pretty much zilch to none.

Over the years it’s been amazing how many friendships I have made. Not just bypassing friendships, but meaningful and personal ones. That change really happened in May 2012 when Susette Fisher and I ran a 15 mile trail race together. We bonded and have had MANY other running experiences that I hold close to my heart.

Being able to be a part of other people’s running journey has been something I’ve cherished. Admittedly, the butterflies and nerves I once got before a race … are kinda gone. Mainly, because I know what to expect now.

But, being around others during their first races and other milestones is something I love. Because, I can relate. Coming from being over 400lbs. to here wasn’t a cakewalk. I had to work through a lot of … crap. I still work on it. But, I get what it takes and I’ve cherished the time I’ve been able to just be there for others to offer them that support.

Being able to train and run marathons with Becky and Jill has really been two highlights of my running journey so far. Being able to be with Jill every step of the way during the Big Cottonwood Marathon was a very special experience for me KNOWING what it took her to get to that point.

Whenever I need a pick me up, I love going back to the video I recorded of her finishing the marathon.

Jill finishing her first marathon …

This is one of my most favorite moments. Ever. This woman has FOUGHT to get to this moment. And, I am not just talking about the previous 26.2 miles of the race. She earned the title of “MARATHONER”

Posted by Joshua O. Snow Hansen on Saturday, September 13, 2014

This was probably my favorite running moment thus far in my 180 journey. The video really says it all.

Being a pacer has given me other opportunities to share my experience with others. Whether I am pacing or sweeping I love being able help other runners along their own journey.

I could share story upon story, but I’d need to write a book to share all the ones I’d want to share. Needless to say, pacing has enriched my running more than I realized going into it. No matter your speed I highly recommend that other runners look into becoming one, because it’s beyond rewarding.

But, enough of that emotional humble jumble. . Odds are I might be done once you get around to ready this, but I’m very excited to be able running race #100 and doing it with two close friends in Elsha and Tim. It’s going to be a great moment once I cross that finish line.

This upcoming week look for a YouTube video I’m in the process of making of a bunch of my race pictures and videos. It’s a much bigger task than I thought, but I hope to have it done by at least midweek.

[DEEP BREATH]

YEAH RUNNING!
YEAH FRIENDS!
YEAH RACE 100!


THE UTAH RUNCAST

The first episode of The Utah Runcast was released this past week. If you missed it, you can listen to it here …


THE FRIDAY FARTLEK

Here are a few things that caught my attention this past week …


THE FRIDAY FUNNIES

Buggin’ Out in Bountiful

bountiful-bugoutWhat a fun and crazy weekend. After months of working on getting The Bugout Run off the ground we had our first event on Saturday. We had 6 of the 28 people who signed up show up, but we still felt it was a success. Especially for being a free event with a premise somewhat new and unheard of in the running and even the prepping world.

Our goal for The Bugout Run has always been to grow organically and step by step, so this was very much in line with that direction. But, even more than that we had a few runners that came away from the run better equipped and more knowledgable about emergency preparedness and first aid response. To both Jorge and I, that’s worth more than sheer numbers of participants. We want all to go away from the run feeling better prepared.

So, yeah, success!

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On Friday night Jorge and I spent most of the night working on small odds and ends for the race. We ended up getting to sleep around 1am with a 3:30am alarm. Both of us kind of woke up in that stupor of thought, wondering why we were awake. But, after getting some breakfast and caffeine in ourselves we were awake and ready to run.

This first event was held in Davis County, Utah, specifically in the foothills of Bountiful. We didn’t tell the participants until 48 hours before the event, because this was a bugout and we wanted them to do some research of the area on their own. Then 24 hours before the race started we gave them the scenario of the event. This would allow them to pack their 72 hour bugout bag for that specific scenario.

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The scenario for this event was around a three day plus power outage that made some residents restless. Things turned violent and because of the shortage of food and water mobs of people roamed neighborhoods looking for food. You and some neighbors decided that it was safer to leave than fight the gangs. In the process of leaving someone from the party gets shot and you have to attend to them.

So with that scenario our participants met up by the Bountiful “B” for the event. The runners checked in and if they brought a bugout bag, we had them do a self-assessment first and then my brother-in-law (CEO of PrepperCon) went through their bag and gave them feedback on the pros and cons of their bags.

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After that, Dave from Minuteman Rx instructed the participants about gun shot wounds and how to administer first aid. It is crucial to attend gun shot wombs as quickly as possibly, because if you hit a main artery it will take the average human to bleed out in 2-3 minutes.

Once we got that instruction everyone headed out. Jorge headed out in front with a few of the runners and I ran up from behind. About a mile and a half up the skyline trail we had our first challenge. This was a physical challenge where participants had to do 30 hops, 30 v-hops and 30 mt. climbers against a tire before doing 10 burpees with that same tire.

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Once the runners finished with their physical challenge they sprinted over to the tactical challenge proctored by Dave. Here they put to practice what they learned down at the start line. They had to apply a tourniquet based off the location of a gunshot wound on their arms. And, they had to do it within 2-3 minutes … or they were … well … dead.

The challenge of being physically worn out from the run up and the physical challenge was designed so that you had to think fatigued during the tactical challenge. Because in an emergency you won’t get that luxury to be well rested, clear of mind or 100% stress free. You have to learn to think and act on your feet … in the moment.

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Once that the tactical and physical challenges were complete we went up to the turn around point where we all paused for a moment to catch in the view before heading back down. The run back down was just as gorgeous as the run up. And, once we got back down to the trail we were greeted by Carla and Holly. And, if that wasn’t reason enough to be happy Holly made cookies for all of us.

And, her cookies are what legends are made of.

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Once we took a breath after the event Jorge and I were all smiles because we set out and did everything we planned. But, the feedback from the participants were what really made us KNOW our effort was worth it. Many of them even marked their calendar for the next run on August 8th. This one will happen somewhere in Utah County.

Registration for that run is now up. And, free like this one.

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The plan is to have one each month leading up to our BIG Survival Challenge next May. This one will be a team survivalist challenge that we’re planning to be the next best endurance event here in Utah. It’s going to be fun and we have a few things in store for it that I’m keeping mum about.

But, sign up for the August 8th event and come bugout out with in Utah County. It will be totes exciting and fun!

YEAH BUGGING OUT!

[SEE MORE PICTURES FROM THE BUGOUT RUN HERE]


THE UTAH RUNCAST

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After our run on Saturday, Jorge, Jim and I recorded our first episode of The Utah Runcast. I sent it over to Podgoblin to edit it some and then post it. It should be up and running online sometime Monday night or Tuesday. Hopefully. I’ll make sure to let you know when it does. Make sure to watch my Facebook page along with the Utah Runcast page as well for the link.

During our next episode we’re going to be talking about nutrition and proper fueling techniques. If you’re interested in being a part of that episode let me know. We would like a few other nutritionists and runners who are familiar with that topic to be on the show.

I am going to also call out for people to share their expertise on the Facebook page along with some of the local running Facebook groups. In the near future we’re going to not only be talking about nutrition, but couch to running plans, running plans, shoe buying, picking your first race, picking your PR race, etc.

It’s going to be fun. The show is designed to be informative, but also loose, fun and engaging. Especially through Facebook and social media.

But, in the mean time stay close for the release of episode number one!


THE 100 RACE MILESTONE

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This is the week! Race #100 will be happening on Friday of this week! If you couldn’t tell by the exclamation points on this post I am kinda excited about the milestone. I am going to be running with Tim and Elsha, which I am really excited about. It’s turned more into a little party than just another race, which feels fitting for this milestone.

My family is going to be at the finish line as well, which I am more excited about, because my Dad hasn’t been to one of my races yet. I’m already getting a little emotional about it, just typing about it. Not just because of my Dad being there, but also of my Grandma and Aunt Diane who passed away the past couple of years. Starting out they were (and still are) my biggest fans and supporters. It’s going to be a tender moment at the finish line for me.

I still have 80 races left towards my ultimate goal, but this one will be remembered and cherished, because this is also where the whole journey started four years ago. So, so, so, so excited.

YEAH RUNNING!


2015 MONTHLY MILEAGE

Total Mileage Breakdown for 2015
2015 Training Miles – 188.0 miles
2015 Walking Miles – 222.0 miles
2015 Race Miles – 219.85 miles
2015 Total Miles – 629.85 miles
 
Monthly Total Miles for 2015
January – 78.8 miles
February – 72.85 miles
March – 115.3 miles
April – 76.3 miles
May  97.4 miles
June  131.15 miles
July  55.8 miles

MONDAY MORNING MOTIVATION