Tag: las vegas

RACE #139: Jackpot Running Festival

Running, running, running, walking, walking, walking, running, running, walking, walking, walking, think about running, start running, quickly go back to walking, walking, walking, running, walking, running, walking, think about running, running, walking, walking, walking.

Oh, the life of an ultra marathoner.

It’s seriously no joke.

It’s such a different beast.

With as much walking, jogging, running, skipping, drudging and sludging one does during an ultra — once you hit that magical number of 26.3 miles — your life, mentality and sanity just … changes. And, I just love it. It’s a community that I feel right at one within. They are my kind of people.

Going into this weekend I have done three ultras since my first 50K in November 2015 — all in which were point to point or out and back courses. Which I all loved. But, I had never done a timed race. Meaning — I sign up for a race that allows me run as much as I want within a specific amount of time.

These kind of races are fairly popular with the uber-ultra runners. Those are the crazy runners that sign up for 48-72 hours and crank out 200-300 miles within that time limit. Now, while I am not one of THOSE runners, I love the concept and idea of running for time with no real pressure of cut-offs and mileage. You just do what you want and can do.

I dig that.

I really dig it.

And, that was why running this race, the Jackpot Ultra Running Festival, was very appealing to me. After flirting with doing the 24 and even the 48 hour race (it took me 38 seconds to come to the conclusion that was stupid) I decided to sign up for the 12 hour race — for a couple reasons.

One, I didn’t want to train for anything longer (especially during the winter — which has turned out to be a good decision) and, two, my friend Jill was going to run the 12 hour race for her first ultra. So considering those two points — it was an easier decision than what I was making it. A true win, win.

So the 12 hour race it was.

Having not done a timed and looped course like this (besides the New Year’s Run Resolution — which I don’t know if I’d count since it’s an indoor track) before, I had to rely on friends that have done these kind of races and specifically THIS race. Being a Vegas race in the middle of February you’d think it’d be fairly mild — but from years past it’s gotten kinda sketch with hot, hot weather. So that’s what I kind of prepared myself for throughout my training.

But, instead of running through Satan’s kitchen oven, we ended up getting a visit from Lucifer himself. Yeah, no joke. Major Storm Lucifer was heading our way — the forecast leading up to the race just called for rain. 10 days out it started conservatively at 70% reaching 90% by Thursday evening. By the time it gets to 90% I don’t know why they just don’t up that to 100% — but, I’m pretty sure meteorologists don’t for the sake of job security.

Anywho, needless to say,  we were going to be wet.

Having run the Ogden Marathon a number of times and being quite accustomed to running long distances in the rain — I kinda knew what to expect. Sure, I’ve never run an ULTRA in the rain, but I knew it could potentially suck and that I would need to OVER prepare myself.

So that’s what I did.

Packing before I left home was an adventure and a half. I packed four different drop bags of changes of clothes. I figured I could change every 3-4 hours if needs be. I knew that if I had a change of clothes every few hours that would really help me mentally get through the rain. That really helped me through the last three rainy Ogdens — KNOWING you have a complete set of dry clothes waiting for you really helps you mentally.

Did I over pack? Yeah, you betcha. Besides extra clothes, I packed away extra shoes, surgical tape (for my nipples), baby cream (for chaffing) and an array of applesauce packets, gels and caffeine shots. I just didn’t know what to expect — so I basically packed the kitchen sink.

Once in Vegas Jill and I grabbed our race packets on Friday night. At this point the weekend had already started with the 48 and 24 hour runners. And, it was already raining. Lucifer wasn’t dumping that hard at this point, but we knew the worst was coming because it had flooded Santa Monica and a number of areas in southern California. It wasn’t a matter of if, but when it hit us.

And, luckily for me — but, unfortunately for the runners already on the course — got SLAMMED by Lucifer in the middle of the night. So much so that the course had to be redirected because the reservoir we were running around overflowed in a couple of areas and washed out part of the paths. It even swept one runner off their feet.

By the time Jill and I got to the race on Saturday morning the changes were made and instead of running 2.38 miles per lap, it was an even 2.5 miles. For someone who struggles with math I was grateful for this change, but that also meant that we had to ascend and descend up a pretty steep hill twice (unlike once in the 2.38 mile loop). As much as I wasn’t looking forward to that, there wasn’t much to you could do at that point — so you had to do that stupid steep hill twice.

Our race started at 8am along with the six hour, marathon and 100 mile races (I’m pretty sure there were other distances that started to, but I’ve got “ultra brain” so I can’t remember them all). There were quite a few of Utah runners in this group and it was nice to see a few familiar faces. But, when the gun sounded at 8am — we were all off running our races.

My game plan for the race was fairly simple. Start off conservatively and then gradually speed up so that I could reach my goal of 35-40 miles. I stuck with Jill to start off the race and we kept ourselves at a pace that kept us on pace to minimally hit 40 miles in 12 hours. It was a lot of fast walking, running down hills and minimal breaks at aid stations.

I even got a surprise visit from my dear friend Tricia and her husband who were in town for the weekend as well (they were staying like 5 minutes from the park). They both finished that lap with us — and I must say — I’m grateful they snapped lots of pictures while doing so, otherwise I don’t know how many I would have had?

But, it was a total surprise and mood booster to get a visit and encouragement from them both.

Initially I wanted to stay with Jill and on this pace for at least a good 6-7 laps (15-18 miles–ish) before pushing it a bit faster. But, I ended up sticking with her for nine laps (22.5 miles) partly out of rhythm and partly out of the rain. We weren’t getting slammed by rain, but it was getting a little heavy and I wanted to wait a lap or so to have it ease up so I could start pushing my effort a bit more.

But, after I finished my ninth lap, I just had to go. I was starting to feel anxious and the last thing I wanted to do was get a panic attack in the middle of an ultra —- so, I said goodbye to Jill, grabbed some grub at the aid station and just booked it. The rain was coming down a bit harder, but I just didn’t care — I just wanted to run. So that’s what I did.

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I ran a lot of stretches that I had been fast walking and just lost myself in my thoughts and music. And, I almost immediately hit mentality and frame of mind that was slightly nirvanic. I was focused mentally, emotionally and spiritually and I just felt strong — so I just chased that balance.

And, it felt great.

I cranked out three straight really good laps with this focus, before I slowed down a couple of times to visit with a few other runners. That’s the one thing I absolutely love about the ultra community, you get to meet and talk with some amazing people — not just runners — but people. And, I love to just LISTEN to them. It’s such a different vibe from road races that I just dig.

But, after a couple laps making friends I had three laps (7.5 miles) left to hit 16 laps (40 miles). When I realized that I still had about 2.5 hours left to hit this I felt extremely excited because 40 miles was my stretch goal. And, I was reaching it. This gave me a third — or maybe fourth? — wind that this point.

So I kept going.

During my second to last lap I caught up again with Jill and we stuck together for the homestretch. I had two laps to get my 40 miles and she was on her last lap to get to 35 miles which was her race goal as well. It was dark by this point but we both kept just going. We were both exhausted, but we cranked out that lap — and though she reached her 35 mile goal, I still had one more lap to get my 40. And, somehow I talked her into running that last lap with me.

I really don’t know how I talked her into it?! I am almost sure she just kept following me on accident as I kept going — and, by the time she figured out what she was doing — it was too late — so she just finished the lap with me. Either way, I was proud of her effort and was grateful for the company.

As we approached the finish line — for the ABSOLUTE last time — I grabbed my camera for the homestretch (like I did when she ran her first marathon) and recorded Jill crossing the finish line with her hand in hand with her daughter. It was a tender moment and yet another moment I will cherish, because this journey has not been easy for Jill — but, she’s done it and it’s a journey that her kids will cherish.

After an exhilarated moment of celebration — we still had about 20 minutes until our 12 hours were up. While it was slightly tempting to try to get one more mile in, I was done. My body got to that 40th mile and just said — ENOUGH. So, that was enough.

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But, I can’t tell you how proud I was of myself to reach that 40. I kept telling myself that 35 miles would be GREAT to reach, but I knew I was lying to myself. I knew I could do more and I am glad that I pushed myself toward that. And, I have to credit a lot of that toward my diet change, I have so much more energy and stamina just in the past month. I felt like a true Hashimoto’s Warrior out there on the course.

I feel like a few more months of consistency and training that stamina is just going to get stronger — and I am excited for that. I am excited to see what I can do and test my limits a bit more and more. I really want to do the race again next year and either push for 50 in the 12 hours — or why not go for the 100 miler?

Why not?

I should temper some of that excitement, but it’s hard for me to that after struggling so much with my health the past couple of years. I was robbed of my stamina and energy on many, many workouts, runs and race — and now that it is coming back — I want to push myself. Because I KNOW I have the mental capability to run longer and stronger — I just need the rest of my body to meet up with the mind. Which I feel will come in time.

Anywho, I can’t be any more excited for this past weekend’s race and festivities. It was nice to get away even if I went straight into the eye of Lucifer, because I got to spend some quality time with great friends. It helped recalibrate priorities, purposes and focus for me — and I just needed this weekend.


MY NEXT FIVE RACES


RUNNING MILES

105.55 miles

RACE MILES

56.82 miles

WALKING MILES

122.77 miles

MILES TO DATE

285.14 miles


Mama warned me about Vegas. #jackpotrunningfestival #race139 #ultrarunning @joshruns180 @fit.phat

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When you’re in Vegas, you naturally visit your Vegas girlfriend. It’s just what you do. #vegasgirlfriend

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A trip to Vegas isn’t a trip to Vegas without a fountain show at the Bellagio! #vegasmust

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The Jackpot Game Plan …

For most people who read the headline above would think … oh, Josh is a gambler. He’s got a problem. His jackpot strategy probably involves sitting hours on end at a slot machine until he wins something — or better yet lurks the slot machines waiting for people to leave to only swoop in and play that machine until be wins.

Needless to say, this is NOT that post. And, I may or may not use that latter strategy while in Vegas. It’s worked for me and I’ve come away $5 richer because of it.

But, I am talking specifically about the Jackpot Ultra Running Festival happening next weekend in sunny (but, I think it is suppose to be rainy?! BOOOOOO) Las Vegas. I will running with my friend Jill along with some St. George friends that are making the hour and a half trip for the race. I am really, really, really looking forward to the adventure.

This will be my third ultra — and third in the past 15 months or so. I won’t lie — I’m kinda falling for the longer distances. My favorite distance will always be the half marathon, but I love the challenges of the longer distances. They’re a different beast. And, they challenge me in completely different ways than any half marathon I’ve run.

Both Jill and I are signed up for the 12 hour race for the weekend’s festival — meaning, we have 12 hours to run as many loops of the 2.38 mile loop around Railroad Lake in Cornerstone Park we want. Sounds fairly simple, no?

Our minimum goal is to get that ultra distance completed — which should be pretty “easy” to do in the 12 hours. But, we both have differing goals. I really want to crank out anywhere between 35-40 miles. Ideally, 40 miles would be AWESOME. But, I’m not sure how realistic that is? So, I am pushing myself to do at least 35 miles.

But, that 40 … that’s what I really want.

I feel like it’s possible for a couple reasons. It’s hard to judge that off of my last ultras, because none of them were looped courses. I feel like looped courses would be easier, because the terrain is fairly flat, I have an aid station every 2.38 miles and I’m not going to get eaten my bears or gored by buffalo.

Because of the looped course, I don’t have to lug my supplies around with me. Which is a BIG plus. This was what I loved about my 50 miler. I can not only bring my own food, but the race itself has some GREAT food available as well. Granted I’ll have to keep all things gluten and dairy free — so that could be a challenge. But, I am not TOO worried about it — I will probably bring my own gluten-free tortillas and bread (in case I need it) along with sweet potatoes and all that jazz.

And, there will be Mountain Dew.

As I did in my last 50K I broke my four year soda celibacy pledge. But, luckily, still kept it out of my daily life. So, the only time I’m drinking it is during my ultra races and distance runs. It really is great fuel — the sugar, caffeine and calories saved my life in November. My body may be going into full cravings as I type all of this.

See why I’ve sworn off soda?

The running goal is simple — start off slow. I am planning on doing my first two laps or so at a nice walking clip. Not too leisurely, but at a mall walking speed that would make my Grandma proud. I know I’ll need to save my energy levels for the latter part of the race, especially when I am between miles 35-40.

I want to finish off strong and even if I am past 40 miles after the first 10-11 hours, I want to finish those last 1-2 hours off strong. I want to finish the race with Jell-O legs. Well, okay, not Jell-O legs — because I don’t want to get around Vegas in a jazzy, but I want to FEEL and BE spent. I want to KNOW that I gave it my full effort.

And, at a distance of 35-40 miles, I am sure I will go away with that feeling. At least I sure hope so?

But, like the last couple ultras I’ve done. I’m not nervous for this adventure. I am more so anxious to just do it. There really is something about being IN the moment during an ultra. The fatigue — both mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually really opens you up. It makes you vulnerable. And, it teaches you.

That is what I am looking forward to the most. And, that’s one of the many reasons why I love these longer distances. I’m not going to win the race — far from it. But, I’m going enjoy the ride and get the most out of it that I can.

VEGAS OR BUST, BABY!


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Tuesday’s Shorts


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2015 in Review …

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I was watching some self video on YouTube and it asked to summarize my past year in one word. And, I won’t lie — I am having a hard time picking just one.

I can think of many one words that have described my year — inspiring — frustrating — thyroid — testosterone — running — running — running — friends — family — running — burritos — opportunity — growth … and the list could go on and on.

But, what one word could describe my 2015?

I can’t even decide.

Luckily for me (and you the reader) I am a blogger and this is my blog — so I don’t have to be subject to just one word. Because, seriously, I can’t summarize it in one word, so I decided to highlight just a few of my favorite memories — and life moments — here on the blog

Enjoy …

January

I RUN MY FIRST RACE OF THE YEAR — WITH THE FLU

Probably not the best way to start out 2015 — but I ran my first race of 2015 with the flu. I didn’t think much of it during the run, it just felt like a normal cold. But, once I got home after the run I got the chills and started fevering — I had to cancel my planned race later that weekend.

Bummer.

But, at least I can say I’m a hardcore runner, right?

February

GRANDMA KAYE — MY HERO — PASSES AWAY

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My Grandma Kaye — my hero, inspiration and biggest fan — passed away on February 11th. She had a quick illness that she just couldn’t rebound from. For someone who was healthier than healthy it was a shock.

She was the strength and glue of the family. She was the first one to volunteer to help — whether it was with simply a card or dinner. Even at age 88 she was always on the go doing good for others.

Personally, she and I had a close relationship. We always found humor in everything and a way to fix today’s troubled world. She always looked forward to reading my birthday and Christmas cards because the messages always came from the heart. She always encouraged me to keep writing — even on her death bed. Her last words to me were — “you better keep writing — or I’ll beat you up!”

A promise I made her — and plan to keep.

I JOIN THE GABICAS ON A FAMILY TRIP TO VEGAS

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The week following my Grandma’s passing I joined the Gabicas on a family trip to Las Vegas. But, before hand Jill and I swept the Dogtown Half Marathon course in southern Utah. A memory I’ll always hold of us getting lost during the last mile.

While in Vegas we met up with our friends the Copelands and, my Vegas Girlfriend, Angie Smith. We did the Strip — ate at Hash House of Go Go — and of course visited the M&M World. It was a fun trip and getaway. Much needed!

March

I JOIN JILL ON AN ‘EPIC SH*T’ ADVENTURE ON ANTELOPE ISLAND
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This picture will ALWAYS crack me up. This was the final few yards of the race and we were lost and we definitely LOOK it! Hilarious.

In October 2014 Jill and I did a half marathon that was 6.5 miles UP hill and then 6.5 back down. It was an epic run. One that made up start planning for more epic runs in the future — including the Antelope Island Buffalo Run 25K in March. The race was Jill’s first trail run and my third — we didn’t have a goal other than just finish.

This run was the inspiration for me to finally tackle my first ultra marathon in November (scroll down for that).

April

THE LEGS & WHEELZ TEAM RUNS THE LAGOON HALF MARATHON

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My friend Josh Twelves — we’ve been friends for over a decade since going to SLC together — ran our first half marathon together. We ran the inaugural Lagoon Half Marathon and we had a blast. We were joined by our friends Tim and Chanda and pretty much had a party.

We’re planning on running a number of races in 2016 together including the DesNews Half Marathon and more.

FAMILY LAUNCHES PREPPERCON HERE IN SALT LAKE CITY

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My family gets involved in many interesting things — whether it’s ghost hunts, UFOs, card shops or what have you. This past year we started PrepperCon — an emergency preparedness convention — here in Salt Lake.

But, it shouldn’t really surprise anyone that our family started PrepperCon — emergency preparedness has been something we’ve always been involved in. Ever since I was a kid helping my Mom can our grapes, peaches and apricots it’s always been “who we are” — down to food storage and emergency plans.

Plus, PrepperCon isn’t like your typical preparedness fair — it’s a mixture of that, but with a dynamic infusion of a Comic Con. It’s a lot of fun — we had over 12,000 attendees in 2015 and look for even more in 2016.

PrepperCon will be returning again to the South Towne Expo Center on April 15-16, 2016.

May

BEN & KELLI (FINALLY) GET HITCHED

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After some 70 years — okay just 7 — Ben and Kelli finally got hitched. We were all kinda worried until the last minute that Ben would get cold feet. But, alas, he went through with it.

The marriage left just Luke and I unmarried — and come next June — just me. Hopefully that will change in 2016.

But, I couldn’t be happier for my brother and Kelli — she’s been a part of the family for many years, it’s just nice to finally make that officially official.

June

I RUN MY FASTEST HALF MARATHON OF THE YEAR DOWN BIG COTTONWOOD CANYON

It’s been a difficult year with health issues for me. My thyroid and testosterone have had a hard time regulating itself and my running and weight have been kinda all over the spectrum.

But, there’s nothing like a summer downhill race to kind of cure the mounting frustration. I ran the Drop 13 Big Cottonwood Half Marathon in just under 2:37 — not a personal record, but for the year … my best.

I am looking forward to 2016 to getting back to where I want I want to be and hopefully going for a PR in the fall.

July

JORGE AND I LAUNCH NEW RACE SERIES — THE BUGOUT RUN

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About eight months after coming up with the idea — my friend Jorge and I — start The Bugout Run. The concept of the Bugout Run is simple — it’s an event where participants can test their first aid kits, bugout bags and other emergency preparedness skills in a simulated scenario.

Our events are free and we do at least one event per month. Our goal is to get more people thinking and acting in their preparedness.

I RUN MY 100TH RACE ON FOURTH ANNIVERSARY OF MY FIRST HALF MARATHON

On the fourth anniversary of my first half marathon I ran my 100th race (over 13.1 miles) at the same race in my hometown of Bountiful. Instead of going solo like I did back in 2011. I was joined by my friends Tim and Elsha on my milestone race. There’s no other better friends I’d want to share in on this adventure.

At the end of the race I was greeted at the finish line by my family, countless friends and a 100 banana salute. Yes, a 100 banana salute. The gesture was beyond appreciated and very much a surprise.

The race was a celebration of my journey and quite the contrast compared to my first race — when I ran in alone. Running has definitely changed my life.

I LAUNCH A NEW RUNNING PODCAST — RUNCAST USA

In July along with friends Jorge and Jim we launched a new podcast — The Runcast USA — on the PodBash Network. You can listen to our past episodes on iTunes as well. We’ll be back up live with regular shows in starting in January.

August

ELSHA & I DONATE ‘BIRTHDAY MONEY’ TO BUY A RUNNING STROLLER FOR FRIENDS

Since I’ve met my friend Elsha last year — she’s inspired me in many, many ways. She might be small in stature, but she’s got the biggest heart I know. Each Christmas she sells cards she designs for donations that go to African charities and she will do anything for anyone — it’s just her nature.

This past August — we decided to team up during our birthday month and do a fundraiser to raise money for two new racing strollers. We then donated them to two friends that needed them the most.

I am looking forward to doing something similar again next August with her.

I TAKE A VOW TO NOT CUT MY HAIR FOR AT LEAST SIX MONTHS IN SUPPORT OF MY CANCER FIGHTING FRIENDS

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This past year I have had two friends fight breast cancer — while normally — like I did with my mother’s cancer diagnosis I’d shave my hair alongside them. But, I always shave my head. It’s not much of a sacrifice for me.

So I decided to go in reverse and grow out my hair instead. I decided to go at least six months — if not longer — in support of my friends ‘Dith and Amy. I’d like to have it long enough to donate to somewhere like Locks of Love, but we’ll see — that might take me longer.

I BUY MYSELF A PINK SPORTS BRA — TO SUPPORT MYSELF & TWO FRIENDS

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In addition to vowing not to cut my hair for six months — I also bought a pink bra that I sported at the Timp Half in honor of my friend ‘Dith. I surprised her at the starting line with my new purchase — it was a great moment.

And, the funny thing is — I haven’t ran a race since without it. Since I’ve starting wearing it — I’ve had no problems with bloody nipples.

September

I RUN MARATHON #7 DOWN BIG COTTONWOOD CANYON

My only marathon of the year — but one of my favorites. I swept the Big Cottonwood course alongside friend Ramie. And, we had a blast. I love the marathon distance, but it’s tough. Well, it’s meant to be tough.

But, what was worse than running 26.2 miles — was trying to go horseback riding afterwards. Yeah, that didn’t happen.

I RUN A HALF MARATHON WITH JILL — WHO WAS 26 WEEKS PREGNANT

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My friend Jill is my hero. She does some pretty epic sh*t — it’s pretty much her nature. That’s why I think we’re such great friends.

So at 26 weeks pregnant Jill and I ran the Sandy Fire Station Half Marathon together. We knew we were going to be slow so we started early — and even though we finished last, it was a memorable race.

This was also a triumph for Jill after having two previous difficult pregnancies. She gave birth to her son Henry in December and though he’s had some difficulties the example his mother set is nothing short of legendary and something to be proud of.

Nothing stops Jill. Nothing.

THE FAMILY GOES TO DISNEYLAND!

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At the end of September the family got away for a week to Disneyland — and by family, I mean the shebang. It was the first family vacation with everyone involved in a number of years. Nearly over five years.

Besides going to Disneyland we also spent time with extended family and attended a taping of The Price is Right. Nobody from our family got on, but Drew Carey talked to my Mom and we were seated exactly behind Contestant’s Row. Our episode runs on January 13th, 2016 — so set your DVRs!

It was a fun getaway — especially for my parents who got to spend time with the grandkids. A very memorable and fun trip for everyone.

October

DOCTOR TELLS ME TO JOIN ‘WEIGHT WATCHERS’

With mounting frustrations with my thyroid, testosterone and weight — I’ve been going to doctor after doctor, searching for an answer. I have gained between 35-50lbs — depends on the day — the past year. And, it’s not like I am staying at home eating cheeseburgers and Coke. I watch what I eat, exercise and run regularly.

But, no results.

The tipping point came in October when my doctor looked at me and without asking questions — assumed — I didn’t know how to eat or exercise. He simply told me to join Weight Watchers to help me learn how to eat and diet. Um, wrong answer — especially considering you never asked what I was doing.

I’ve gotten to the point where I am done searching for answers from doctors and finding the solutions myself. If he only dared asked me first — he might have had a returning patient.

I AM INSPIRED BY NEW FRIEND WHILE SWEEPING ‘THE HAUNTED HALF’ IN SLC

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God puts certain people in your path — some by design and some by accident. But, the more I grow older, the more I believe the latter. Nothing is by accident.

I swept The Haunted Half course in Salt Lake and met someone that truly inspired me. JessicaSue was running her first half marathon and had gone through a lot to get to that point — a lot. She had many reasons to keep running that as well — for her husband, children and more importantly … herself.

As I ran beside her and listened to her story — I was in awe of her determination and sense of what she was doing. She helped me put my feelings and trials into perspective — and made me more than determined to keep going despite my current circumstances.

November

I BECOME AN ULTRA MARATHONER

When I started my running journey over six years ago — I had NO aspirations to run a marathon, let alone an ultra marathon. None. Zelch. Nada.

Yet, this past November — I did what I once thought I could or would ever do — an ultra marathon. I ran the Antelope Island 50K (33+ miles) alongside a couple awesome friends. It definitely was the hardest thing I had done — yet one of the most rewarding.

It took me the full ten hours to complete, but I did it! And, in a year where my health and running frustrated me to no end. Further proof that if you put your mind to something — your body will follow.

December

I GOT INVOLVED WITH AN O.U.R. FUNDRAISER

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There are certain causes and things that come into one’s life that just kind of rearrange everything. And, usually it’s unexpectedly. Out of left field. Yet — you know it’s not. You know it’s where and what you were suppose to be doing all along.

Getting involved in Operation Underground Railroad — aka — O.U.R. has shifted and changed my perspective on a number things — including my running going into 2016.

But, my whole family got involved in the O.U.R. fundraiser held in Bountiful in December. We helped sell merchandise, gather donation, put together the program and I even helped put together a video of our month long fundraising efforts.

As of right now our efforts helped raise over $100,000 for O.U.R. — enough to fund four missions to save children from sex slavery.

LUKE & JULIE GET ENGAGED

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My little brother Free got engaged this past month to his girlfriend Julie. He popped the question at This Is The Place Heritage Park here in SLC during the Candlelight Christmas. They’re planning on getting hitched in June 2016 — we’re excited to be growing in size.

But, now that he’s engaged all eyes are on me. But, what can I say … “the last’s the best of all the gang!” Congratulations Luke & Julie!


2015 MONTHLY MILEAGE

This past year — like I have the past couple of years — I’ve kept track of my mileage. This includes my miles ran, walked and raced. I do this kinda of being of my underlining OCD tendencies, but also because it’s a good way to track the miles on my shoes and knees.

Total Mileage Breakdown for 2015

Race Miles — 485.9 miles
Training Miles — 259.5 miles
Walking Miles — 553.05 miles
TOTAL MILES — 1298.45 miles

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 — 101.65 miles
August — 110.2 miles
September — 115.69 miles
October — 164.7 miles
November — 148.95 miles
December — 91.45 miles


BLOG CHANGES

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As you might have noticed — my blog has changed some as of late. I am no longer using the Running180 URL. I am back to my old blog URL of PhatJosh.com. This was a decision I made a while ago, I was going to switch at the start of 2016, but it was just easier to switch when I did.

So please make sure to change your bookmarks from the old to new (or new old) URL. I’d love for you to join in on my 2016 adventures.

Please also make sure to keep in touch with me — I am on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I am probably more on Facebook and Instagram, but I like to pretend that I am an active tweeter (I still don’t get it).

Look forward to a few changes on my blog as well — I am going to blog a bit more during the week and include more of my weight-loss journey, health struggles and everyday life. Well, everything except for my work life — I just don’t go there.

Plus, I have enough to blog about with my running, health, workouts, family and shenanigans. But, 2016 is shaping up to be an amazing year — it’s going to be fun, difficult and rewarding and I can’t wait to tackle it all.

I hope you have all had a wonderful 2015 and that your 2016 looks brighter and more rewarding than any year past.

Let’s all make 2016 the best one yet!


HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

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The 61st Fartlek Friday™ – Goodbye February! So we’re done with you just like that? But, what if I am not ready to say goodbye?

fartlekfriday61-1Um, this past week has been kind of a fast, strange and unpredictable week. And, I am not sure if I am complaining or celebrating that fact … yet. I got home from Vegas on Monday and then back to work on Tuesday. But, then we didn’t have work on Wednesday because the transfuser busted and the power was out all day.

Sure, I had work yesterday and today, but it’s just been strange because I never really got a rhythm to the week. I couldn’t tell if I was coming or going?

Plus, it didn’t help by getting the surprise snowstorm yesterday. Something I was ill prepared for, considering the fact I went to work in shorts. I should have PROBABLY checked the weather report instead of looking at the current conditions and figure we were going to have another February Spring day here in northern Utah.

But, I guess we needed the snow?

So … meh.

But, because of the snow I ended up cancelling our scheduled run this Saturday up Butterfield Canyon in Herriman. So, instead I am just going to run the Bountiful Blvd. again. I am going to do at LEAST my usual 8.25 mile out and back, but I might stretch that out to a 10 miler depending if I am up to it?

But, really a 8-9 miler is sufficient in getting me back into half marathon shape. And, it will be nice to do another solo run again. I really enjoyed the one I took last week before heading to Vegas.

So, we shall see.

Oh, and can we really talk about how February is over now? Seriously. I felt like I barely was able to breathe without it passing by. But, it was a hectic busy mouth with my Grandma’s passing, road trips and running. But, still … where’d it go.

And, March will probably be just as fast, but luckily we’re dealing with 31 days instead of just 28.

Still, I hate getting older.


MY MOTHER’S HUMERUS SITUATION

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As I wrote about earlier this week, my mother broke her humerus bone. Not, humorous bone as I once thought. That in fact would be cruelty.

But, the basic story is she fell on our tile floor while carrying my Grandma’s wedding topper out of her room for my aunt. She saved the wedding topper, but not the arm. She landed right on her elbow which shattered the humerus bone right below the shoulder.

There isn’t much they can do as far as casting it or surgery so it’s in a sling with the hope that gravity will do the rest in getting it back into place and mending. I am not sure if that is just optimism or standard practice? Optimistic standard practice?

Either way, it’s been difficult for her and painful. So my sister has been staying overnight to help her get dressed and all the stuff she can’t do with one arm. It’s been fun, because when I am going out the door to work I get to see my niece.

So it’s at least a win-win for me?

But, still, it’s not humorous humerus.


A GRANDMA’S PARTING GIFT

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The one part of the death process that I am not a big fan of is the aftermath. Specifically, going through belongings and diving them up. I am not really a “thing” person when it comes to this process. I was this way with my Grandpa, Aunt and now my Grandma.

I didn’t need SOMETHING to remind me of them. There’s nothing wrong with that, everyone grieves and everyone has a special attachment to certain things for certain reasons. I am just not that way. I’ve got my memories and I cherish those more than anything else.

But, there are a few things that I was given by my parting loved ones that mean a lot to me because there was reason behind the gift. My aunt left me her bust of Lorenzo Snow after she passed. Lorenzo Snow is my great-grandfather and namesake, so there was significance behind the gift.

And, even my grandma left me something that touched my heart. She wanted me to have her typewriter. Sure, I might never really use it, but she did. She would type on it once to twice a week writing letters, cards, etc. on it.

But, it was more than a gift. It was her way of encouraging me to continue to write. My Grandma was probably my biggest fan when it came to writing. She looked forward to my Christmas and birthday cards or the occasional note from me. She always loved reading articles I wrote for the school newspaper and would often clip them out and mail them to family members around the country.

Even when I started blogging and would share personal stories or tributes to loved ones, she would ask for a copy and again send them to family. She always encouraged me to write, because it always came from the heart. Even on her death bed one of the last things she said to me (besides threatening to beat me up) was to write.

So, this gift of a typewriter is my reminder to write. And, with that I make a promise to my Grandma that I will do so. Starting with my never-ending project of my first book. Now, I know who’s getting the dedication inside!

Thanks Grandma!


MY BOOK TOPICS

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So, for the record, and mainly because I want to be held accountable … and to also bring up the subject. I do have a number of books “planned” and some that I am working on as well. Here is a short list and probably a shorter synopsis of those books.

Remember these are all working titles …

  • No More Ice Cream for Breakfast (Personal Weight Loss Story)
  • Running Towards Home (My memoir of all 180 races I ran)
  • Lessons I Could Have Only Learned in Special Ed (Kinda self explanatory … though I thought the title, “The Short Bus Chronicles” would be awesome as well.)

It’s not really in any order except for the first book. Once I get through the first book who knows what’s next? I might have a couple brewing up in my head.

Stay tuned.


THE FINISH LINE SPRINT

Despite the dis-conjoining week of awesomeness there have been a number of things that have caught my attention outside of running, writing and my talking about my Mom’s broken humerus. Here are just a few of them …

  • As you can clearly see … I make bad decisions.
  • Oh man, I love me some Imagine Dragons. Such an awesome album! I am happy for their success!
  • I didn’t comment on this last week, but I am exciting to see what the subtraction of Kanter will do for the Jazz. I am really excited to see how Rudy Gobert responds and so far he’s gotten a couple double-doubles!
  • I think until the Jazz find the identity to their team we’re going to see painful moves like the Kanter trade. But, if a piece doesn’t fit, it doesn’t fit and I am glad the Jazz aren’t afraid to make a move knowing what Kanter can and can possibly mean to the right team.
  • This actually pretty cool. It just shows the beauty of life in all its’ unpredictable quirkiness.
  • Um, yeah, gross.
  • a
  • This looked exciting. Go llamas go!
  • I know this probably means NOTHING to you, but I am kinda excited for the prospects of the NFL in Los Angeles. The Rams and Inglewood cleared a pathway making a new stadium possible in the city. But, also the Chargers and Raiders announced a joint partnership for a stadium in Carson last week. The NFL is returning to L.A. next season for sure. But, who?
  • I think the Rams are a surefire bet, especially considering that Stan Kroeke is flipping the bill and has the resources to do so. But, I don’t see three teams happening in L.A., so I wouldn’t be surprised if the Chargers ended up in L.A. either in the purposed Carson stadium or sharing the Rams’ stadium. Not sure what would happen with the Raiders though? Stay in Oakland? Go to San Antonio? San Diego?
  • If you can’t tell I am somewhat of a fan of the California teams. In baseball my heart belongs to the Giants and in football the 49ers, but I do root for pretty much all of the California teams with the exception to the Lakers and Dodgers. I just can’t even. I’ve tried.
  • I really have no comment about this, mainly because I didn’t know people WANTED their belly buttons removed? Go figure?
  • HAHAHAHAHA! These made me laugh!
  • And, if that didn’t make you laugh … this will.
  • Wow. I am speechless. That’s a HUGE fish!
  • According to the BuzzFeed quiz I am going to meet my next S.O. … in-line. Hmmm.
  • My foster nieces are going back to their mother today! While it’s sad to see them go, I am excited for them and the rebound their mother has made. But, I am sure going to miss those two kids! Case in point.
  • I love kids, but there are some unfortunately ugly babies in this post.

THE FINISH LINE

I am just going to leave you with this … no words … no words … just enjoy?

RACE RECAP #86: Dogtown Half Marathon

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Who let the dogs out? Who? Who? Who? Who?

I am sorry, I had to get that out of my system. I just had to. But, no one really wants to reminisce much about the summer of 2000, especially when it involves the Baha Men. Please forgive me.

Anyways, back to the point of this whole post … the Dogtown Half Marathon. Which was race 86 in my run towards 180.

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Even though we ran with each other last weekend, it’s always a treat to see Elsha. Not to mention to get our obligatory selfie!

The race held each February is held in Washington City, which is near St. George. It’s my second time running this race. And, while I enjoyed running the course in 2012 the course has been tweaked a number of times since then.

I was sweeping the course with Jill so more than anything it was going to be a party in the back. Sweeping is one of my favorite slots to pace, because it isn’t drudgery, it’s a party and can be VERY inspiring and motivating. Those in the back are “MY PEOPLE” as well, so I always have fun with it.

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Jill made this pin for me to wear of my Grandma during the race. Awesome, huh?

Since Jill and I were pacing it together we decided to make a vacation of it and after the race we decided to hop in the car with her husband and kid and go to Vegas for a couple of days. It was a pretty solid and fun plan. So we’ve been making plans for a few months for this trip.

After my Grandma passed away I wasn’t sure how the timing of her funeral was going to affect the race or trip. I would have dropped the race in a heartbeat if I had to, but thankfully there wasn’t a need to with the funeral being on the Thursday before the race, so it worked out fairly well. I did miss out on time spent with my cousins which I did feel bad about because I don’t get to see them that much.

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So, the race shirt they gave me was actually a woman’s shirt. I wish I could say this is the first time this has happened to me …

But, the trip was still on.

The Gabicas and I left Friday morning and stayed overnight in Cedar City after heading to St. George to get our packets. That seems like a lot of backtracking, but having lived in Cedar City all three of us were quite use to the ride. Plus our room was MUCH cheaper than anything we could find in Washington or St. George.

It was my first time spending overnight in Cedar City in over three years so it was a tinge strange. It still feels like home in some regards. But, there is just enough foreignness to it that it feels somewhat strange to me. Since we had a 45 minute drive to the race we had to leave Cedar by 6:30am. Long enough to get breakfast from the hotel lobby and run out the door.

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Cheering the runners off at the gun!

The pickup for the race this year was at the Staheli Farm in Washington City, this also served as the finish line as well. Quite honestly, I am trying to still understand why this was picked as the location for the race because … well … there were quite a bit of cows. And, well … cows … smell … like … CRAP. Especially, when it’s a lot of cows. It wasn’t a pleasant setting to say the least. In the morning it kind of smacked you in the face without warning and then after the race you just tried to avoid it the best you could.

Not a good location.

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The race was “cupless” so the race organizers gave each runner one of these small plastic poaches to fill up at aid stations. Not a bad idea!

The bus ride to the start wasn’t bad and the beginning of the race was actually pretty awesome. It was about … a mile … further than my first year running it? It was a tad hillier, but not bad at all. Since Jill and I were sweeping the course we cheered on the runners as they left the corral and then waited for a couple of the Double Dog Dare (run to the start from the finish and back) runners and then we started off ourselves.

The course for us was fairly lonely. There were 2:45, 3:00 and 3:15 hour pacers and with this being a winter-run they pretty much swept most of the people around them. So, Jill and I were able to encourage and cheer on runners doing the small out and back around mile three, but that was about it.

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Took some time out to fish … naturally.

We did stop at a couple of the aid stations and to thank the volunteers and let them know we were the last runners on the course. This is ALWAYS one of my favorite parts of sweeping, because depending on the race the volunteers varying from either race to race or booth to booth. Our first aid station was a bunch of kids who even made signs. Of course I stopped and got their pictures.

It really reminded me of something my Grandma would have done. And, since Jill and I were running together she made buttons of her for us to wear. It was a touching tribute and a couple of the volunteers even asked me about who I was running for. It was awesome being able to share a little bit about my Grandma with them. Thanks again Jill for the great gift and memorial to my Grandma’s legacy!

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These are the faces of two people that are lost … L-O-S-T.

The run itself wasn’t that bad as well. Sure we weren’t running it for a PR and we walked a lot of it, we still had a lot of fun and talked about anything and everything. Something that Jill and I don’t have a problem with at all. And, you think with all the races and runs we’ve ran together we’d run out of things to talk about … but … nope. Not a chance.

When we got into the final mile of the race the course wasn’t as clearly marked as we assumed or thought it would be. Sure, we knew we were the last out on the course, but the markings got confusing and we missed our last turn. We ended up running right in the middle of a Parade of Homes showing. We thought they were runners from the race heading back to their cars.

Nope.

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Brown cow, brown milk.

So after running around some odd side streets we ran back to where we knew we could get back to the farm and just went from there. We still got in our 13.1 miles … actually 13.7 after the confusion. But, we made it! And, apparently we weren’t the only runners who had problems finding the last couple of turns. I think we just got lost because we couldn’t see any of the other runners around us.

But, still … it was fun. After a quick change of shirt and shoes we hopped in the car to head to VEGAS!!!


VIVA LAS VEGAS 2K15!

Since we were an hour and a half from Las Vegas from the race, it was an requirement for the Gabicas to visit Vegas. And, they were nice enough to allow me to tag along with them. The Gabicas LOVE Vegas. And, I am afraid even that is an understatement. Jill can pretty much tell you the history of Las Vegas, past hotels, current hotels, attractions and food. She is quite literally a walking Las Vegas Encyclopedia.

The stay in Vegas was pretty much that. We didn’t have much of an agenda, other than we wanted to run the Strip in the morning and make our way to the outlet mall. The remaining time would be spent on the Strip walking around and visiting the Bellagio fountains.

On our way down the Gabicas and I found out that our friends the Copelands were going to be down there the same time we were. So we worked our last second magic and arranged a meet up at dinner at Bobby’s Burger Palace on the Strip. Our friend Angie met us there and it turned into a little Southern Utah University reunion of sorts. Something we aren’t able to do much with everyone everywhere else.

It was fun to spend a night laughing, reminiscing and catching up, especially with Angie. The Gabicas laughed how the Copelands had moved closer recently, but it took a trip to Vegas for all of us to meet up. Such is life, I guess?

Anyways, the next day was spent at the outlets and again on the Strip with the Gabicas. Since I really didn’t have need to really buy anything I just ended up walking or pacing around the stores, mall and casinos while I waited for them. It wasn’t out of boredom or frustration, I actually did it because I wanted to. I was in the midst of a step challenge on my FitBit with my friends and I HAD to win! So, I WON!

I ended up walking an additional 5 miles after my 13.1 miles on Saturday and then 7.5 miles on Sunday. Come Monday morning my feet were shot. But, I won! That’s all that mattered. Plus, it really wasn’t that difficult, I just had to keep going and I was okay. Plus, it was just fun to keep going. I wish we did get the chance to run on the Strip, but my feet and legs felt like too much mush to even try that.

Still … here are some of fun things done in Vegas on our trip …

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I will most likely post some more pictures on my Facebook page in the near future. I just need to find time to go through my pictures. But, it was a fun trip with many little adventures and a dinner on Sunday night I kind of want to forget. But, yeah! Vacation is always fun!


MY DEAR MOTHER

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While in Las Vegas over the weekend I got a call from my Dad telling me that my Mom broke her arm. Specifically, her humerus bone. She slipped in the hallway right on her elbow and it just shattered as you can see in the x-rays. Her arm will be in a sling for quite a while and she’s still in a quite bit of pain, but she’s optimisitic it will heal properly.

I am sure I’ll post a bit more about this later. Please just keep her in your prayers.


MY 2015 MILEAGE

Total Mileage Breakdown for 2015

2015 Training Miles – 68.6 miles
2015 Walking Miles – 39.5 miles
2015 Race Miles – 35.55 miles
2015 Total Miles – 143.65 miles
 
Monthly Total Miles for 2015
January – 78.8 miles
February – 64.85 miles

TUESDAY MOTIVATION

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The 60th Fartlek Friday™ – What happens in Vegas generally doesn’t stay in Vegas, but it’s kinda fun to pretend that it does …

fartlekfriday60Vegas. Vegas. Vegas. Vegas. Vegas.

I am excited to be heading to Vegas, though of the timing. I have a number of cousins in town that I would love to spend time with now, but I promised that I would go visit them out in Omaha in the near future. I owe it to them anyways since the last three times I’ve seen them has been here in Utah.

Plus, they try to persuade me with their new elephant exhibit opening at the Omaha Zoo. They know the way to my heart.

I am going to keep this short again, mainly because yesterday was my Grandma’s funeral and the focus was understandably that. It was a busy day going pretty much non-stop until about 3pm and then I had to get into Salt Lake for my testosterone doctor appointment. But, I couldn’t leave for Vegas without leaving something on Fartlek Friday. Plus I wanted to share some thoughts and feelings on my Grandma’s funeral. Something I might write a bit more about next week.

But with as crazy as the past month has been … it’s going to be nice to get away for a weekend. Run and play! Make sure to come back on Tuesday for the trip and race recap!


GRANDMA KAYE’S FUNERAL

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Yesterday was my Grandma’s funeral. Well … I hate calling it a funeral and my Grandma would probably beat me up if I called such as well. It was a memorial or better yet … a celebration! My family, cousins and countless other friends and family gathered at the Bountiful Community Church. The memorial was awesome. There really isn’t another word to use there. It was very much my Grandma.

My Dad and aunts spoke including my Mother and then my uncle who is a Reverend conducted the services. One part of the program I loved was that the floor was opened to anyone who wanted to share some words about my Grandma. Many family and friends shared little stories and each were beautiful. I even shared a few thoughts and TRIED to share an appropriate story about my Grandma. Luckily, I succeeded.

Everything was just beautiful and I was so glad to share the day with family and close friends. It’s a testament to the life my Grandma lived, she invited everyone and anyone into it and tried to leave you better than she found you.


DOGTOWN OR BUST!

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Not only am I leaving for Vegas today, but I am doing so via Washington City … or … St. George. I am going to run the Dogtown Half Marathon. Well, actually, I am pacing it. And, by pacing it, I actually mean … I am sweeping it. So I am going to be the LAST person on the course. I am not doing it alone though. I am sweeping the course with Jill while Mark patiently waits nearly 4 hours for us while watching Addison. That’s like two trips to Costco or one of the Lord of the Rings movies.

He’s a patient man that’s for sure.

But, I am REALLY excited to do this, especially with Jill. As Jill would attest to, these are OUR people. These are the people that run for fun, that are running their first half marathon or simply are going to finish. This is what makes my love for running run (all puns intended) deeper. Triumphs come from the first to the last runner and everywhere in between.

I am sure we’re going to have some awesome stories to share come next week.YEAH RUNNING!!!


TESTOSTERONE UPDATE

otot+besar+4Welp, I had my testosterone appointment yesterday as well. There isn’t much to say. The doctor basically did a basic exam of me. He checked out my chest and leg for my hair and asked me embarassing questions about sex. I should have just told him out flat that I was a virgin, but somehow the appointment almost like an interview with my bishop and I felt that I had to answer each question with a yes or no.

It was strange, sometimes I didn’t know what to do with myself.

He pointed out that my testosterone was low just by his physical observation. Which, I should have then asked if he read my lab reports because those already pointed out that fact. But, he quipped jokingly, “puberty wasn’t very kind to you it looks …” And, I really couldn’t refute that because I was wearing shorts and showing off my hairless legs that people think I shave.

But, we did come to a few conclusions and we’re still working on a solution. Which I won’t lie, I wish I didn’t have to wait. But, he wants to do a few more tests to see whether what kind of testosterone problem we’re dealing with. So I’lll get more blood work done within the next week. He also switched my thyroid medication BACK to Levothyroxine because he felt that might have something to do with the energy and weight-gain as well, because the Armour deals with other aspects of the thyroid.

SO …. I guess everything will have to be TBA? Ugh and yeah?

Anyways, at least we’re going to a right direction. And, I feel good about this doctor, especially considering that he is a specialist and not just a family doctor. Something I wish I went to in the first place. Oh well that life, I guess?


Here are a few more pictures from my Grandma’s funeral. I took TONS with my sister’s camera. I will share some of those later here and of course on Facebook.

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My Grandma’s program. I actually made the cover and arrange the collage on the background. Many of those pictures are of her as a child or with family members. Very fitting.
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My brothers and I found some of my Grandpa’s bolo times in a pocket and KNEW we had to wear them to the funeral. It was a very fitting tribute. They are all handmade by my Grandpa.
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Callie made a paperclip bracelet for her “Nene” and put it in her pocket so she could wear it when she wakes up.
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My dear friend … aka Brother … Jordan was able to come and attend the funeral. I don’t spend as much time with this kid as I need to! Such an inspiration!
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My cousin and aunt saying their goodbyes.
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My pops makes some remarks at the funeral. It was a very awesome service.
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The family at the graveside services. Such a beautiful February day.
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My aunt recited a poem at the graveside.
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People know them by MANY different names … Potato Au Gratin, Utah Potatoes, Funeral Potatoes or my favorite … DEAD FOLK POTATOES!
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Utah Mormon Jell-O. It didn’t taste bad, but I’ll be honest I never would have thought cheese and Jell-O would have worked?
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COUSIN SELFIE!

HAPPY FRIDAY! HAPPY RUNNING!