Tag: joshua snow hansen

Living with Hashimoto’s: The Next Phase

It’s hard to believe that we’re in March already. I’m thankful for that. I hate January. And, I’m not too fond of February either. The whole thing February has going for it is that it lingers around for only 28 days or so.

I just hate the winter months. I hate the winter blues. I hate the snow. So much hate. You’d almost think I’m one extra winter month away from joining the Dark Side. Thankfully not. December manages to warm my soul with Christmas.

Anyways, I’m plugging a long with my Hashimoto’s Disease.

Just a short recap of this journey — I was diagnosed back in late November, lived in denial of the diagnosis in December, came to terms with it in January by going gluten and dairy free and then went somewhat militant in February with the diet.

I did an elimination diet and hyper focused my food to a list of 33 things. For the most part I did really well with it. I won’t lie — I didn’t stick to it 100% during February. When I was in Las Vegas I ate foods that weren’t on my list — but, I was 90% gluten-free and dairy-free during the trip (there were a couple times when I ordered food that I forgot to be UBER specific about no dairy or gluten … luckily, I didn’t get too sick, though I felt it).

Anyways — I feel good about the progress I made this past month. It was tough eliminating many of the foods I love and enjoy — namely eggs and bananas. But, I stocked up on plenty of steak and sweet potatoes which I will always love.

Oh, and avocados.

Basically, there was still plenty of food to love and enjoy.

Now that my 33 days are over I have been reassessing my diet. I plan on adding back bananas and eggs slowly and less frequently. But, also being deliberate of when I eat them. Basically, I plan on focusing on eating bananas and most fruits around my workouts and runs to help give me a natural boost so I am not as dependent on caffeine or energy boosters (ie-5 Hour Energy, Preworkout, etc).

As you can see below I have made another list of 33 foods. I like this idea of 33 foods and focusing on them for the next 33 days. Because I know if I stick to those foods I’ll feel good, have the needed energy and stamina for my workouts and runs.

That’s the beauty of this list. If I defer from it — I feel it. That’s both a motivation and fear. A good fear though. Because, I want to feel 100%. I want to lose weight. I want to feel “normal” again.

And, I have felt a difference the past month. I had more energy during a lot of my long runs and races, especially during my ultra. I feel faster. I feel slimmer. And, I feel the difference in my clothes too. I love the feeling.

But, with the progress I’ve made, I have made a few changes I felt during my last month. Stuff, I am either eliminating or adding — because I want to see how my body reacts or acts with it back or in my diet.

For instance, I am swapping out the rice for brown rice. If I am going to eat rice I might as well get some more nutritional benefit from it, right? I am also adding Daiya — or vegan cheese — well, dairy-free cheese on the list. I need that on the list. Sure, it’s processed and I want to keep the food as non-processed as possible, But, I need some semblance to cheese.

Anyways — check out the list below.

In addition to the food list, I am also being more specific on my eating schedule. I’ve been reading a lot lately on intermittent fasting and I am adding that into my diet. No, it’s not an everyday thing, but it’s something I am planning on doing three times a week — Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.

Basically, I won’t eat or drink calories until 2pm those days. Water, yes. But, no food. This was something I tried doing last fall, but after my diagnosis I just kinda stopped doing it. But, I really like the idea and science behind — especially with how it is suppose to help rev up the metabolism.

There are a number of differing intermittent dieting methods and the one I will be doing is based off the Bulletproof Diet. But, unlike the diet, I am not doing it everyday. I am doing this for a couple of reasons — I hate jumping straight into a strict diet (because I hate the ‘all or nothing’ mentality) and I am planning on exercising in the mornings that I do eat before 2pm. I fear not giving myself enough calories on those days.

In 33 days if I feel better on my fast days — then maybe — MAYBE — I will look into doing more fast days during the week? But, we’ll see after I assess everything next month.

Oh, you will notice I do have one ‘FREE CHOICE’ on the 33 list. That’s basically one dairy and gluten-free food of my choice that I can have — regardless of whether it is on my list or not.

BUT

And, it’s a big but. It’s not something I can freely choose each day. It’s a once a week choice. So, this could be dairy-free sherbet, a Slurpee, a slice of gluten-free banana or whatever tickles my fancy. But, it’s one serving and once a week, that I will consume around my weekend races and long runs.

You might be throwing some shade at that choice and I get that. But, I need some variance. And, I do much better on diet and food plans when there is some kind of variance. Plus, I made up this diet regime — so I am kinda making the rules as we go here.

So, if you are going to judge me, please judge me more on my inability to properly match my shirts and pants. Because that is probably the biggest problem I have with my life at this very moment.

Anyways, here is the food list and my workout routine for the next 33 days …

(CLICK TO ENLARGE)

Anyways — if you have questions or suggestions — I am always open to them. This journey is still very much brand new to me and while there is a guideline on what works for people in my same shoes — everyone doesn’t fit in my shoes.

So a lot of this is trail and error, success and failure and everything in between.

Fun stuff.

This is Bananas …

Running has become a large part of who I am — a very large part. And, it’s something I want it be a part of me throughout my lifetime. When I made my goal to run 180 races by age 40 — I did so because I wanted running to be a challenge that took me a decade or so to acheive.

Well, I am 35 — going on 36 in August — and I am some 43 races away from that goal. I wouldn’t have anticipated five years ago that this is where I would be. There are many reasons why I love running and racing — but, that’s not what this post is about. Needless to say — I love to run and it has been life changing for me.

But, as I approach the completion of this goal, I am starting to look a beyond the goal. I am starting to ask myself — what’s next? Do I simply add more races to my goal? Do I make a goal to run 300 races by 40? Or 500 by 50? Or do I take another approach?

As much as I would love to add to my number goal, I’m feeling the pull to aspire to something else. For one, I want to eventually reach my goal of a running a sub-two half marathon. And, I can’t really do that when I am running 20-25 races a year.

I also want to run more. And, I am not talking about more races, but more longer races. I love the challenge of ultra races. Having three ultra marathons under my belt — I am beyond the point of guessing whether or not I can do such distances. Because, I know I can.

There is an appeal to me for these longer distances — not just during a race, but in a personal feat. I look at a number of local runners, specifically Cory Reese and his many self-sustained 100 milers — around a track, in the wilderness and in the Salt Lake and Utah Valleys. His craziness and approach to adventure speaks to me.

A couple years ago Cory ran from the Utah State Capital in Salt Lake City to Provo (50 miles) and back — for a crazy urban 100 miler. I was in awe and inspired. He was self-sustained through friends and convenience stores. The run included a number of Slurpee stops — which again speaks to me.

When Cory did this, I wanted to try something similarly “crazy.” Albeit, my kind of crazy. That’s why a few weeks ago I decided that I wanted to challenge myself to a similar goal of running from Salt Lake to Provo — just not back like Cory. It would essentially be a 50 mile run.

The concept and route will be somewhat similar to Cory’s route. I am planning on running down State Street in Salt Lake using convenience stores as my aid stations. Most likely 7 Elevens — because where else can I fuel up on Slurpees and bananas? I am planning on jotting over to Draper and Suncrest as I descend into Utah Valley and follow State Street and University Blvd. to the Provo Town Centre.

You can check out the map I made here. Of course that’s subject to change as I vet out that route a bit more.

But, I am inviting any and all of my friends to join me in the adventure whether it’s for all 50 miles — or a mile or two along the way. I want this to more so be a celebration of running and achievement than anything else. Plus, I think it will be a lot of fun with others involved.

If you’re interested in joining me, I’ve made a Facebook event for this adventure. I am doing it Saturday, March 25th. Which is subject to change dependent on the weather and a couple other factors. But, I am pretty set on that date.

Oh, and the name of the run?

This is Bananas!

I think that pretty much speaks for itself. Because, this run is bananas.

But, it will be fun and I can’t wait.

SO JOIN ME!

How Joshua is getting his groove back …

First off, I’m no Stella. Thank goodness. I’d make a horrible woman. But, that’s a post for another day. But, after a month from my last race — it’s time to get my groove back.

As I have posted before — I took a couple of weeks off from running. Justifiably so. I ran a lot of miles between mid-August to early November. A couple of 20 milers, a handful of half marathons, three marathons, a 50 miler and then my 50K — my last race.

I was burnt out. I was tired. I was sick of running (GASP! — hey, I’ll admit it when it happens). So I took some time off. Focused on weight and strength training and didn’t worry about my mileage. At all. I was a nice running sabbatical.

But, after Thanksgiving and a stupid cold — I’m ready to get my groove back. I’m ready to get into a stricter routine than what I’ve been holding myself to last month (or not holding myself to). I’m really getting excited about my upcoming running year and as much as I could justify waiting to get the groove back after the first of the year — I’m refusing to play that game.

So the groove comes back now.

The groove is coming back now for a number of reasons. One, because now is the best time to start any new adventure/goal/plan. And, two, I’ve got nothing better to do with my life.

Okay, I lied about that last one. I’ve got plenty to do this month — and that’s why I’ve got to keep myself in line and disciplined. It’s so easy to let yourself go — with exercise, diet and motivation. We’ve all been there.

To help with that a friend of mine and I are working on keeping each other on track. We’re committing to at least two miles on the treadmill and then a new exercise to do each day.

For me personally, besides holding myself to that standard with my friend, I am planning on making the goal of walking on the treadmill any time I’m watching TV. I’m doing this to stay active, but it’s also great ultra training. Great, great, great ultra training — it’s time on my feet.

And, I’ll be doing a few 50Ks earlier in the year so I’ll need that time and training. Nothing prepares you for hours upon hours of endless ultrarunning like hours upon hours of endless treadmill running. I’ll be going to more detail about my training plan later this month — but, I’m not an outside runner during the week (mainly because I’m home only when it’s dark) so I have to rely on the treadmill for my miles.

But, I feel motivated. I feel excited. I am ready to get my groove back. To work on my mojo and get fitter than I was last year so my body can build the stamina it needs to make 2017 a great year.

Go, fight, win!

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.


A photo posted by Joshua Hansen (@fight4phat) on

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.


2667in2016

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


A photo posted by The Runcast (@theruncast) on

From Ponies to Buffalo …

So, let’s talk about recovery shall we? This past week has been one of the most interesting weeks for me. Saturday and Sunday after my race were pretty non-descript. I felt good actually. Legs were sore but nothing absolutely brutal and my appetitite was there, but nothing bad.

Then Monday came and while my legs felt much better — I was a ravenous beast. I wanted every carb known to man in my body … specifically bread, protein and anything with sodium in it. I kind of threw out my specific diet, because my body turned absolutely ravenous.

I felt like I couldn’t control it. And, if I tried, I’d probably die. I tried to stop it with drinking more water than usual and focusing on upping my fruit intake. Yeah, no. Didn’t work.

So I just focused on listening to my body and what it wanted. So basically the past 3-4 days I’ve been eating tuna sandwiches for lunch and red potatoes and eggs for dinner with snacks of hardboiled eggs, salted nuts and half a cup of salt.

I lamented all of this to my sister who just laughed at me because I basically described half of her pregnancies. But, seriously, it’s Thursday and I’m kind of hoping for these cravings to be gone. They haven’t been that intense, but I’m still LOVING my tuna sandwiches. That might never go away actually.

But, everything else — I feel good. My legs were pretty sore yesterday. I tried working out a bit, but the body wasn’t ready. And, I haven’t bothered running this week. I am sweeping The Haunted Half in Provo on Saturday so that’ll be a good reintroduction to cardio for my legs and body.

My race schedule is sloooowing down quite a bit now. After this weekend I’ve got Antelope Island, Thankful 13 and the New Years Run Resolution. I was planning on running the half marathon on Antelope Island next week, but after feeling “good” in my recovery this week — I decided to up my registration to the 50K.

Yup, another ultra.

I can’t really explain to you why — other than why not? I mean, I’m already ultra trained and with the right kind of workouts and runs between now and November 5th I can totally be rested and ready for the 50K. So, I pulled the trigger and upped my race distance.

This is the same race I ran last year for my first ultra, so I know what to expect. Plus, I’m more in shape than I was last year so I should be faster. I got pretty close to the cutoff, but this year I’ve got a lot more miles and experience underneath me that it shouldn’t be that big of an issue.

But, I think the thing that is really drawing me to doing the 50K is just being in the moment of doing the race. That was something I was looking forward to during the Pony 50. I didn’t care much to talk about what I was going to do — I just wanted to be in the moment running it. There’s a power in that.

So, I’m going into prep mode for the 50K — I am going to pack lighter. I know I don’t need my huge backpack. I can get away with my lighter pack filled with sufficient water, fuel and food in between aid stations.

Plus, I am going to make sure I have backup batteries for my headlamp and I did buy some hiking poles to finish out the whole ensemble. If I had time I would have made my own hiking sticks with hand carved characters, bald eagle feathers and boondoggles for good measure.

Missed opportunity.

But, yeah, I’m excited. I really don’t know how many ultras have I in me? It’s just a lot of training and I want to lean towards some other fitness/running goals eventually. But, I’d like to maintain the training I put in for as long as I can — and this is a good reason to do that.

So Ultra #3 is on it’s way!

ANTELOPE ISLAND OR BUST, BABY!


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.


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

RACE #133: Red Rock Relay Park City

Man, I am winding down towards my 50 — which is happening NEXT week. It’s hard to believe I am almost there, especially after running three marathons in the past month. I just want to run that 50 and get it done with.

This past weekend as part of my “tapering” miles, I ran the Red Rock Relay with Team Addict II Athlete. This was a race I’ve been looking forward to for most of the summer. Ever since I’ve joined the team back in May it’s helped change my mentality just in my running, but life. A lot of their principles are what I’ve held true in my journey — and without going into a lot of that here, I will be sharing my story on the AIIA Podcast in the next couple of months.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

This was the first time running the Red Rock Relay. Most of my relays have been Ragnar with one being the Rivalry Relay some 5 years ago or so. I love relays for many reasons — but, more than anything it’s a great way to just meet people. Something I absolutely love to do — I guess you could say after running my second favorite hobby is meeting people.

There’s something about being cramped in a car with 5-6 other runners and running anywhere from 50 to 100 miles — all day and sometimes all night. You really get to know people in this setting. It’s like scout camp for grownups.

But, I was really impressed with the Red Rock Relay. Very well organized, not too overcrowded, very well marked (I have a fear of getting lost in any race I run — even if I have over 130 under my belt … call me irrational) and gorgeous setting. The Heber Valley setting is just gorgeous. It’s such a shame that so many of us Salt Lake and Utah Valleyers take for granted what is literally in our backyard. It’s just beautiful.

A photo posted by Josh Runs 180 (@joshruns180) on

For those who have ran the Ragnar Wasatch Back would be familiar with a good portion of the race. The RRR course loops around the Valley from the Homestead in Heber City and back via Park City. This includes the infamous climbs and descents of Deer Valley and Guardsman Pass.

As you will see below, my legs were in Heber City and then that infamous Guardsman Pass descent. Normally running down Guardsman Pass I would worried because of how brutal it can be on your legs (especially quads), but I’ve ran parts that leg during Ragnar the past two years (and three years ago I ran UP it when the course went the other way). So, I am very familiar with the hill — and I actually really kind of love it.

But, I had a blast during the day. I got to know a few of the team members better. I share a little bit of that below in my leg reports. But, I am truly, truly grateful for what AIIA means to me and has changed my approach to my goals and running this past year.

Here are my leg reports …

Leg 3 of 12 (Heber City to Heber Valley Girls Camp)

leg-1-fw

I love hills, but I hate them. But, I swear I love them. Okay, hills give me a mix of emotions. But, really, in the long run — I do them, because I love the sense of conquering them. No matter what the elevation gain may be.

This leg was no different and as you can see from the elevation chart — it was pretty much a gradual up hill climb. I knew what to expect and after running three marathons in the past month — I knew I’d be fine. Especially since I survived Veyo Hill last weekend.

The one thing that was difficult for me though was the temperature. I didn’t want to take off my hoodie or beanie cap. It was cold. Not only were we up in the mountains, but it was the middle of October — summer is basically dead. So I decided to at least start the run off in my hoodie and beanie cap thinking I’d ditch them a couple miles into the run.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

Well, I ditched the hoodie about three miles into the run, but my beanie stayed with me — pretty much the whole day. Luckily I wasn’t overly sweaty, but by the end of the day that beanie smelt like death. But, it sure kept me warm.

Anyways — the leg wasn’t that bad as I weaved through Heber City and towards the exchange which is close to a girls camp. The home stretch is basically that — a looooooong stretch of road. And, where most of the climbing happened. It wasn’t THAT bad, because I just zoned out, pressed on and rocked out to my music. It was perfect.

I did almost lose my cookies about a mile and half from the exchange when I ran past a dead deer. It wasn’t the sight of the dead deer that did it, it was the smell of dead deer that made me want to upheave that morning’s banana.. Luckily, none of that happened. But, still … yuck.

About a half mile out I was joined by Jed who ran me into the exchange. I was grateful to be finished. I grabbed a water and a bag of grapes and just chowed down. It was a perfect snack/refuel.

Leg 12 of 12 (Guardsman Pass to Homestead Resort)

leg-2-fw

Originally, I was going to run Leg 9, but seeing that it had a lot of climbs and knowing we would be pressed for time I asked Coach Blu if we could trade. Mainly, because I know I’d do better with downhill. He gladly agree. Which I am grateful for considering I am afraid my request nearly killed him.

Well, I exaggerate … slightly.

Leg 9 was a brutal trail leg of cardiac ups and downs. It took Coach about an hour and 45 minutes to run the 7+ mile trail. No joke it would probably have taken me much, much longer than that and I would have gotten lost and/or eaten by a bear.

Again, I exaggerate … slightly.

And, needless to say I owe Coach BIG TIME! I told him I would make it up to him at the Pony 50 next week. How I am going to make that, I am not sure yet? I just know I owe him.

When I made the request to switch I just saw the downhill course, I didn’t know it was Guardsman Pass down to Homestead — which for those who have ran Ragnar, know it as Ragnar Hill. The beast of all beasts. I ran part of this leg the past two years and three years ago — ran UP it. I much prefer the down hill way of tackling it.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

But, you have to tackle the hill the right way or it will eat up your legs. The trick is to not simply run down the hill, you have to kinda waddle or zig zag like you’re being chased by a bear.

As much as it can easily eat your quads, I really love the run. The view is second to none — well, okay, I say this about a lot of the places I run, but it’s true. I love running through the thicket of aspen trees, catching awe inspiring views of Heber Valley and just putting my speed into cruise control. As much as people love running UP this hill, I like going DOWN the hill.

Since I was the last runner I started this portion around 6-6:30pm or so — I wasn’t looking at my watch. But, right around the setting sun. I really wish my camera could have caught the light shining on the orange, yellow and red leaves — but, every picture I tried to snap of them just didn’t give it justice. I just ran trying to remember the view with my heart (okay, that sounds really sappy, but it’s true).

About half way through my run I was joined by Jed and then a few miles later by Ryan. I was thankful for their company. This is one thing I’ve really grown to love about the AIIA team — nobody runs alone. I love this concept and belief. It’s really one of those binding qualities that keeps the team close.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

Jed was the one who ran me in during the Provo City Half in May and I can’t even tell you how many other team members he’s ran with and helped to the finish line. Jed has one of the biggest hearts I know. After running with him and hearing more of his story it’s easy to see. He’s been in a lot of dark places in his life — but, he’s replaced that with light (listen to his story on the AIIA Podcast). Especially with being a light to others.

I have mad respect for Jed.

Spending the last couple miles with both Jed and Ryan was sublime and easily one of my favorite running memories to date. It’s hard for me to put into words how grateful I am for this team. I don’t believe I stumbled upon this team by chance. And, I’ll write more about this later, because there’s a lot I want to write, but feel constrained to do it here — I’ll also be a guest on the AIIA Podcast in the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned for that.

Anyways, we finished around 8pm or so at the Homestead with the rest of the team. We may have been the last team, but that didn’t matter. What mattered is that we finished what we started … as a team. It may have taken us all day, but we did it.

And, for that we’re all champions.


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I haven’t posted the past couple of Addict II Athlete podcasts here and there’s a reason why … I wanted to post both parts of Coach Blu’s story. These two episodes are simply amazing. Coach Blu is amazing. And, whether or not you have struggled with addiction there is a lot you can take away from Coach Blu’s story.

I am not going to give any of it away — just listen …

Listen to “Coach Blu’s Story” on Spreaker.

Listen to “Coach Blu Story Part 2!” on Spreaker.


NEXT RACE

134 - pony express trail 50

I can’t believe that this is NEXT WEEK! I’ve got a lot of emotions going through my head, but honestly — most of it is just excitement. I don’t have a lot of fear or anxiety — yet. I’m sure that will come sometime this weekend or next week, or maybe somewhere around mile 1, 2, 25 or 40? I don’t know? I’m just ready to do it.

I’ll be posting a bit more about it this week and next. Mainly some of my thoughts and feelings about tackling this beast. So stay tuned for that. But, this week it’s just running a few three milers, doing a few circuits and then the Frightmares 5K on Saturday with my niece. Nothing too strenuous. My body is a little sore from all the running the past month so I need to let me mend enough to be ready for next Friday.

But, I am winding down for the year and I am glad. I’m feeling a bit burnt out lately — which thankfully — isn’t new for ultramarathoners. And, I think that’s why I am just so eager to run it. I just want to get it over with and under my belt. I have no doubt I’ll get there.

135 - haunted half provo 136-mt-view-trail-half 137 - thankful 13


Very humbled to have joined “Team Addict II Athlete” for this relay. I couldn’t have asked for a more encouraging, uplifting and motivating team to run with. Whether it shouting words of encouragement as I ran or getting out to run with me during my last leg — I was touched. I’ll be sharing my story on the AIIA Podcast in the next couple of weeks. Addiction and recovery come in many different forms and I’ve had my struggles and test of faith. Needless to say, no one goes about it alone on the team and NOBODY runs alone! I felt lucky to spend those 15 miles out there around Heber Valley with the team! #redrockrelay #race133 #running #messintoamessage #eraseandreplace @redrockrelay @addicttoathlete @joshruns180 @josherwalla

A photo posted by @fight4phat on

This kid doesn’t have to do much to capture your heart. #chubbingtatum

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on


2667in2016

RUNNING MILES

235.5 miles

RACE MILES

302.78 miles

WALKING MILES

1180.97 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

1719.25 miles

MILES TO GOAL

947.75 miles



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