Tag: life

A time to stop and a time to not start …

As I am writing this, I am laying what very much feels like my deathbed. No, I’m not dying — but, I might as well be. This past weekend was very difficult for me. What started as a promising running adventure out on the Salt Flats and at Thanksgiving Point — turned into something entirely different.

I started the weekend with a mini-road trip to Wendover for the Salt Flats 50K. After a poorly chosen motel — you can see the video here — I was going to run the on Friday, drive home that afternoon after my run, recoup a bit and then run the Tulip Festival Half at Thanksgiving Point on Saturday morning.

Sure, it was a lot of running, but something it was something I felt I was prepared to do with the recent ultras I’ve done in the past six months. I was figuring the 50K would take me about 10 hours and the half probably 3ish hours because of fatigue. All pretty manageable and a challenge I was looking forward to tackling.

On Friday morning when I woke up and got ready for my race I didn’t feel anything amiss. It was a pretty standard race morning. Granted, I didn’t get much sleep the night before, but nothing unusually bad compared to other races. I was ready to run — so I went about my ritual of packing my pack, reassuring I had enough fuel and fueling myself with my standard sweet potato, banana and oatmeal.

After making the trek to the starting line at the Bonneville Speedway I started getting excited for my run. I knew it was going to be difficult — ultras always are — but, I was wanting this challenge and I was just eager to get out and run. After double and triple checking my pack again — I was ready and the gun sounded at 7am.

We were off — not just the 50Kers, but the 50 and 100 milers as well.

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Since the usual course out on the salt flats was washed over from the rain gathered the previous week, an alternate trail route was marked. So, after a few miles on the causeway we landed on the dirt trails which was a pretty simple out and back course for the 50K.

There were two aid stations for us, one at Mile 11 and another at Mile 16 — which was the turnaround. For a half marathon or marathon the numbers of stations and distance between them would be an issue. But, I carried enough fuel with me that I didn’t worry about it. I hardly do during ultras — especially when you consider you’re going to always get a feast of some sort at every station.

Once I got onto the trails, the crowd had thinned out and a just a few of us 50Kers remained. The scenery was beautiful and I didn’t mind not running on the salt flats — I was just happy being where I was. I just enjoyed the moment.

Around mile 5-6 or so I ran into Coach Blu and a few of the AIIA team members who driving out to an aid station they were volunteering at for the 50 milers. It was really nice seeing them and it really gave me a boost in my spirits, because I think so much of Coach and the team.

But, it wasn’t much later when they left that my whole race kind of went downhill.

The wind throughout the race was pretty horrendous — as it always is out there. But, there were some patches where it was hard for me to get a good rhythm because it felt like I was getting bombarded by wind from every direction. It was a headwind, then a tailwind, then a headwind and then both.

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By about Mile 7-8 I started feeling pretty nausea — I was thinking it was just motion sickness from the wind. But, by Mile 10ish the nausea got bad enough that I ended up throwing.

Thinking it was just the nausea I just forged forward sipping on my water and nibbling on a banana trying to replenish my electrolytes that I just lost. But, that didn’t help. And, I ended up throwing that up not just later.

The idea of dropping the race was now being entertain, but I couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t. I had never DNF’d before and there is pride in that So, I started playing mind games with see if changing my attitude would help improve my race. So, I was extra enthusiastic when other runners passed me, I turned on some music to distract me and I even tried imagine the narrative of how this race was going to triumphantly play out for me.

By the time I got to the first aid station I felt better — and had a cup of Ginger Ale to help calm my stomach, which still had some lingering effects of the nausea. After munching on some popcorn and another banana, I felt good to go. And, set forward once again.

And, once again — the nausea came back.

And, once again — I threw up.

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At this point I was pretty discouraged, because I knew I was probably going to have to pull myself off the course. At Mile 14 the race director even pulled up beside me to ask how I was doing. I lied — I said I was fine. I couldn’t make that decision yet. I still had hope that everything was going to change and I would feel better. But, that feeling never came.

So I focused on just getting to the next aid station. It was a couple miles away and also served as the turnaround point for the 50K, I figured 16 miles was pretty good considering the circumstances. So that was my focus. And, I felt that if I was going to pull myself off the course it would be there that I could make the decision.

By the time I got to the aid station I was done. Completely done. I was feeling pretty weak from feeling depleted thanks to my queazy stomach, so I made a beeline to a camping chair as the volunteers offered me food and fuel my body was quite ready to accept. I just sat down and said I was done and to just give me a minute.

After a few minutes the amazing volunteers got some Ginger Ale and half an orange down me. I contemplated a banana, but I felt the half orange was a more than enough on a stomach that absolutely hated me. I just felt like garbage. So I kept on trying to keep liquids down me because I didn’t want to absolutely dehydrate myself or get my electrolytes too low.

After sitting at the aid station for about a half hour the call to the start line was made that I pulled myself from the race. It was kind of a bittersweet moment. But, at the same time the feeling of lost pride was lost in the feeling that I didn’t care, because I felt like I was going to die. I knew I made the right decision.

Instead of being simply taken back to the starting line I requested if I could go to the next aid station at Mile 22 where Coach Blu and the AIIA were located. They were going to be out there — at what I thought — until 3pm. It turned out to be closer to 1pm. But, in that moment I just kind of wanted to be among familiar faces. So one of the volunteers took me to the aid station.

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I wasn’t there long until they were packing up, but I was grateful for the time I had with the team. Coach gave me some Alka Seltzer for my stomach — and again some Ginger Ale. This seemed to help some and made the 22 mile ride back to the starting line manageable. It was nice being able to talk to him along with Jim about my DNF, because it put a lot of things into perspective for me. This just solidified that I made the right decision.

It was hard for me to dwell on the DNF as well, because I got word shortly after I got reception that my sister gave birth to her little girl, Eliza. This really helped me to further put this experience in perspective. I was so happy for Jessie and Scott, because Eliza was truly a blessing and miracle for them. They waited nearly 5 years for this addition.

After getting to my car and everything processing happening to me, I hopped in my car, gassed up and after making a short race recap video — headed home. I still felt optimistic about running in the morning. I felt that some rest, replenished liquids and adherence to the B.R.A.T. diet would allow that to happen.

Half way through my trip my Mom asked me to stop at the store to get some lettuce for her. Which wasn’t a big deal for me since the store is right down the street from me. I was feeling okay — sore and not too queazy. But, once I got to the store and went to get out of the car — I just couldn’t do it. I tried standing up, but felt like I was going to pass out.

I knew I needed to get some more liquids and calories in me — and not wanting to go back home empty handed I resolved to go get the lettuce along with some food for me. So after sitting in the car for more than a half hour I mustered the strength to walk into the store. I got a cart — not because I needed it for the food, but to just keep me upright.

I made a beeline to the lettuce and then got some bananas, a couple of Powerade, a bowl of cut melon and a bag of ice (to ice my sore legs and ankle). Once I got home I quickly got my stuff out of the car, gave my mom her lettuce and raced to the bathroom so I could take a shower and ice my legs before hitting my bed and refueling.

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But, it never happened quite that way. As soon as I got to the restroom I felt completely weak and it took everything in me to just shower. Any attempt to ice my legs and ankle were moot — because the focus now was to just shower, get in bed and eat something.

I never felt so ill in my life. I tried to shower and get dressed quickly, but without rushing too hard that I’d pass out. I really felt like I was going to die. Once I stumbled into bed, I drank half a Powerade, some melon and half a banana and before I knew it I was out. I didn’t wake up for about three hours. I was gone — I didn’t even move.

When I woke up I still felt extremely sick, but kept forcing liquids down. I was fevering over 101 as well. So I knew I needed to stay hydrated and fueled. I tried some melon and the other half of the banana, but that didn’t happen. So I just laid in bed for a couple more hours awake — but going nowhere.

I knew by now that I wasn’t going to be running in the morning. So I made the decision to DNS the Tulip Festival Half. Another decision that was difficult to make, but in the moment — the right one. I was bummed.

I tried getting up and watching some of the Jazz, but that didn’t work so well. After eating more of my melon bowl my stomach decided to reject that — and I threw up again. So, I stuck with liquids the rest of the night.

Even on Saturday my stomach wasn’t having anything to do with overly solid foods. I mustered down some broth, applesauce, bananas and lots of Powerade. But, my attempts at a fairly simple salad was meant with another upheaval of my stomach.

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At this point I was pretty sure that I was dealing with the flu and not just wind-induced nausea. And, that’s been the case this whole weekend. I just can’t hold anything down and I am just weaker than weak. My fever broke some, but it’s still slightly above average. Needless to say I feel like pooh.

I’m still processing this weekend, especially the DNF. And, I’ve been told by many runners that I’ll learn more from my DNF than from any other race — 5K to ultra. So I am taking that to heart and reassessing everything. I might cut back on some of my races this year — and as much as I want to hit the 180 race goal by next July — maybe I need to rethink that?

I feel that I am beyond seeing value in the quantity of races. 180 is just a number — and running is much more to me than that. That’s why my approach has been to quickly get it done with so I can move on. Maybe I need to prolong it and focus on the other goals sooner than later?

Anyways — I am sure I’ll be making some changes to my race schedule, especially within the next month. So, on races with a transfer policy I might just sell my bib to someone else? But, that’s all something I need to need decide on with a sound mind and careful reflection.

There is much more to life than just running — and racing. The addition of my niece is a great reminder of that belief. What’s a DNF and DNS compared to that? Nothing. Really, absolutely, nothing.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress. I’m still planning on running the Provo City Half this weekend. I am actually sweeping it with my friend Tricia and her daughter. I am really, really, really excited about that — and then I don’t have another race until Ogden. Lots of positives on the horizon, but a lot to reassess as well.


MY NEXT SIX RACES


I’m not going to be dateless for quite awhile. Quite awhile.

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Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 10.0 miles
Race Miles — 16.0 miles
Walking Miles — 20.12 miles
TOTAL MILES — 46.12 miles
Race(s) this week — Salt Flats (DNF) and Tulip Festival Half (DNS)

April 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 23.5 miles
Race Miles — 55.3 miles
Walking Miles — 94.95 miles
TOTAL MILES — 173.75 miles
Races in April — Emigration Canyon Half Marathon, Riverton Half, Saltair Half, Salt Flats 50K (DNF) and Tulip Festival (DNS). 

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 205.25 miles
Race Miles — 151.42 miles
Walking Miles — 420.41 miles
TOTAL MILES — 777.08 miles
Races done in 2017 — New Year’s Half Marathon, Sweethearts 5K, Jackpot Running Festival, SL Tri Club Indoor Half, March Madness Half, Lucky 13 Half Marathon, Emigration Canyon Half Marathon, Riverton Half and Saltair Half.


Lessons we can all learn from ‘My 600lbs. Life’

This past week has been kind of tough for me. On Monday I went to the dentist for some dental work — and after a couple of hours of poking and numbing they couldn’t get my tooth numb. So they did some other work on me that didn’t require much numbing. After about three hours of being in the dentist’s chair as I got up — my back went out.

If you ever want to feel 36 — it’s moments like those that will make you feel like 36. This whole week I have being dealing with a wretched back. A week I was planning on upping my workouts and mileage in preparation for my 50 miler in a couple of weeks. It kinda felt like leaving the car dealership with a new pair of tires and driving over a nail.

Not fun. And, very deflating.

Will this derail my 50 miler? No. Will this derail my weekend run down Big Cottonwood Canyon? No.

Sadly, I’ve been here before. It’s that whole part of being 36 and with some rest, stretches and activity I know I’ll rebound and be back where I need/want to be.

So, this week I’ve focused on what I can do. Running hasn’t been an issue, especially non-treadmill miles — so I’ve dedicated a couple of my lunches to a few “slow” runs. The movement oddly helps the stiffness. I say oddly, because I have no idea the science behind why (remember, I’m a communications major?) it is the way it is.

It’s moments and mild setbacks like these that give me pause and perspective on my journey. I always seem to go back 10-15 years and think of what Fat Josh would do compared to Phat Josh of today. Would I throw in the towel and just give up? Honestly? Probably, yeah. Well, okay, yes he would.

But, when I compare the two Joshs — I really see the Josh that acts and lives and then the Josh that exists and is just “there.” I often wonder if I didn’t make the changes when I did, where I would be right now? I know I wouldn’t be a runner. But, I often wonder would I be in the same boat as many of the people on ‘My 600lbs. Life?’

I was on that road. I was over 400lbs. with no direction or goal on the horizon. I was just there. Addiction had ahold of me and I dealt with my anxieties, fears, depression and uncertainties in a very unhealthy way. Because more often than not I found comfort in food.

I don’t try to ponder much about that road anymore, because that’s not me. And, I believe not the person I was destined to be. But, I bring that up, because I do look at the similarities of my journey with many of the people on ‘My 600lb. Life.’ Not just in how they learned to medicate through food, but in their recovery, self-discovery and weight-loss.

This past week as I have been laid out a bit with my back, I’ve watched a few more episodes of the show — and I’ve noticed more so than anything this is a show much deeper than weight-loss. This is a show about life. And, there are many things in the show that we can learn no matter our weight, fitness level, ability or age in life.

A few themes that popped out to me are …


Find Your ‘Why?’

Each episode usually finds the why fairly easily and early. Some of the whys are as simple as — to be less dependent on spouses, partners, parents or children. You can usually tell if they found a why because when they do — success isn’t far behind. The why is what keeps them on track with the diet Dr. Nowzaradan gives them and what gets them active and moving more and more each day. Invariably if that ‘why’ or purpose isn’t found — those are the ones that take an extra month or two following the doctor’s diet.

‘Whys’ are north stars. No matter the size, purpose or reason of our journey or goal, if we don’t have that ‘why’ clearly stated and focused upon — then what’s the purpose of putting our effort into it?

So find that ‘why’ and hold onto it. And, don’t be afraid that it changes or evolves as you do. You’ll notice that happens a lot to many of the patients on the show. That why will change from a simple desire for dependency to something deeper and richer.

But, find that why.

Believe In Yourself

One of the saddest parts of the show for me is seeing many of these patients struggle with believing in themselves. I’ve been there. Heck, we’ve all been there to different degrees. But, many of these patients seemed to have just completely shut that off completely in their lives.

For whatever reason some patients will have a hard time believing that they can follow Dr. Nowzaradan’s diet — and that will show in their actions. Those are the ones that either gain weight or lose far less than what the doctor expected to lose.

Now flip that same scenario with a mentality of self belief and it’s a different story. Holding a belief that you can do something leads your actions to — well — act accordingly. And, the task gets easier. It makes the temptations of derailment and diversion less appealing, because you hold the belief that you can follow the course ahead.

It’s amazing how far you can go physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, financially, etc., etc., etc. by simply believing in yourself and your ability to do what you need to do. Even if you have to fake it to make it at first (which is a completely different post for another day).

Set Good Simple Goals For Yourself

If you want a good example of goal setting — watch ‘My 600lbs. Life.’ Seriously, I love Dr. Nowzaradan’s simple approach to goals. Based off his experience and knowledge he knows what kind of goals to set for the patients. You would think for many of these patients being 600lbs or more would require wildly specific goals and expectations.

Nope.

His goals for his patients are rather simple. Stick to a 1200 calorie per day diet, get active and lose 30-50lbs (or whatever) within the next month. That’s about it. And, if the patients are true to those goals they’ll meet those goals in order to get their weight-loss surgery.

Watching the show has really made me reevaluate my goals. When I started my weight-loss journey some seven and a half years ago — I basically followed those simple goals for the first couple of months. I ended up losing between 30-40lbs. with those small changes.  Now, granted when you are 400 or 600lbs. it’s easier to get those kind of numbers — that’s not my point.

My point is how often do over complicate our goals? I fall into that trap often. I’ll freely admit. If I am not careful I will put unrealistic expectations on myself to hit certain goals, etc. And, the more complicated I make them — the less likely I’ll hit them.

That is one reason why I’ve had to teach myself (over and over again) to just keep it simple. Focus on what I can control and reasonable do and build on that — keeping the goals challenging, yet simple. Whatever the goal is — inside or outside of the gym — we do a disservice to ourselves with overly specific, unrealistic and complicated goals.

Surround Yourself With The Right People

I love how blunt Dr. Nowzaradan is with his patients. Especially return patients who didn’t hit their goals — or happened to gain weight. Invariably, he asks — who their enabler is. Especially if he knows they don’t drive or walk much. And, yeah, it’s usually a spouse, partner or loved one who’s buying the food.

I’m grateful that I had a good support system around me when I started my weight-loss journey. Besides having parents and family members eager to see me make changes, I found outside of my immediate family many who wanted to support me. Something, I didn’t expect — but look back with gratitude. I couldn’t have had success without the likes of my aunt, grandma, a number of close friends and my trainer. They were my ‘A’ team.

That’s why I feel sad for those patients who don’t have a support system. Not just like mine, but period. I know if I couldn’t have found the needed support within my family or close friends — I could find it by constructing it.

Now, I am not talking about a support system full of cheerleaders. But, a team. I wish the show delved a bit more into this subject because it’s really important for long-term success in weight-loss or any goal. The team should have cheerleaders, but also those who hold you accountable, those who are your emotional support, those who are your partner in crime, etc., etc., etc.

Sure many of these roles can be held by one person, but if you want success — meet those needs through others. You don’t have to go your journey alone. Your team doesn’t have to necessarily be your immediate family. Just find your team and build it, so they can help build you!

Long Term Success Doesn’t Come Overnight

One thing that interests me in every episodes is how many ‘trail months’ the patient has to do with Dr. Nowazaradan before they approved for surgery. I am not sure if the patients know they have to do a trail month before the surgery, but some get it — and some struggle with it. I’ve seen a few take 3-4 months to “get it.” But, I love how Dr. Nowazaradan acts in these situations — he is easy to praise and has no problem ‘getting real’ with his patient.

Being a viewer, it’s easy for us to judge these patients for not getting it the first time. And, honestly, I think shows like The Biggest Loser have helped shape that mentality for us. We want to see immediate results, we want to see big numbers right off the bat. And, while most patients do see big weight-loss numbers because of the surgery — immediate results and changes in behaviors are not reality.

But, like many of these patients we can learn from them to simply never give up. Take the licks. Roll with the punches. Be open to criticism. And, always have your ‘why’ in view to help you keep going when the ups becomes downs and the doubt creeps in (because they do).

It’s a process.

Have Patience In The Process

Just as I noted above — have patience and trust the process. Change — “real life changing” change takes time. Doesn’t matter what aspect of your life you want to change — it takes time. It takes being honest with yourself and those around you. It takes the ability to build a sound support system around. And, most importantly — it takes you to believe in, trust and expect the best — from you.


Now, I’m sure there are a lot more I could add. And, there are. But, the point I am trying to make is — big changes in life are tough. They’re not easy. They’re difficult. But, they’re doable. They’re achievable. They’re within reach.

You don’t have to be 600lbs or severly overweight to get a lot from this show. Just have an open mind and open heart. The lessons are there. Even if it teaches you compassion and sympathy — that’s a lesson the whole world could learn right about now.

What are your thoughts? Have you watched the series? What do you get out of the episodes?

Running miles and miles and miles while going nowhere fast …

Aw, treadmill running. I hate it. But, you know what? I also kind of love it. But, I hate it. Well, to be honest, I hate that I love it. Because I hate the treadmill.

[I’ll let you wrap your mind around that last paragraph for a second].

I guess what I am trying to say is this — under any other circumstances, I wouldn’t choose to run on the treadmill. But, during the winter when it’s snowing, freezing and being all together miserable — I’m inside running. Whether that’s on a treadmill or on an indoor track. More often than not — it’s the treadmill.

Which, honestly, I am not totally against. How and why? Well, it’s great mental training. I mean, awesome mental training. Last summer when I was training for my 50 miler I ran one of my 20 milers on the treadmill — in the middle of the night. Yeah, you read that right.

The thought was that if I could run 20 miles on the treadmill at a time where all I wanted to do was sleep — then I could run a 50 miler under any other circumstance. And, I guess I proved that theory correct, because I ran that 50 miler despite my circumstances in the last five miles or so.

So, since I am training for the 12 hour run at the Jackpot Running Festival over President’s Day weekend — running treadmill miles help prepare me for 12 hours of 2.3 miles of a looped course. At, least that’s the thought.

I haven’t ran many looped races other than the Revolution Run and Cory Reese’s Bakers Dozen Half Marathon. And, to be honest with you — it’s almost an exclusive trail running thing. Which isn’t bad. But, you see it with a few races in southern Utah within the state — but hardly (if any) up here in the SLC area.

And, there’s probably reasons for that — mainly because we have AWESOME wilderness and trails around the state with plenty of distance to get a 30-50 mile race in. So, these 6, 12 and 24 hour races are fairly non-existent here in Utah — which is kind of a bummer, because I actually like the idea of seeing how many miles I can get within a certain time limit.

But, anyways — enough about that.

I am running Jackpot with Jill for her first ultra and I really couldn’t be more excited. I am excited to he a part of this moment. It was fun being there in 2014 for her first marathon and it will be equally, if not more, fun to be a part of her first ultra.

Having a goal race of this magnitude during the winter months is something I am glad I have. Because, it helps keep me focused. Winter months are hard on me — between the lack of outside running, Seasonal Affective Disorder, short days and — well — the stupid snow — it’s hard to stay motivated.

This past week was tough on me, not being able to get to my 5:30am gym class because of the snow (it took me 30-45 minutes to dig out on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday). And, while I got my miles in and a few home workouts (including the time shoveling) — it just isn’t the same as working out at the gym.

But, after running 15 miles on the treadmill on Saturday any thought of feeling unproductive were swept away. That was tough. Thankfully, I had some good shows DVR’d otherwise I probably would have been a mess by mile 5.

Throughout my run I kept reminding myself that these are “mental miles” and that I need to focus on that rather than speed. As much as I try to focus on “time on my feet” and “mental miles” … I always go back to speed (and the lack thereof). But, speed isn’t my goal right now. It’s about stamina and endurance. It’s about finishing what I started — and just doing it.

That’s the focus.

Plus, I’ve got quite a few races between now and June. I have 19 races before July 1st — including two marathons and a 50K. The goal is to improve my times, but finish them. Especially my longer distance races. Then from July to September the focus is increasing those times with more speed training so I can perform well at the Revel Big Cottonwood Half.

At least that’s goal at the moment.

There’s a part of me that still wants to run the marathon, but I haven’t run the new half marathon course yet — and I want to fly down the canyon because of how fast it looks. Especially since I won’t be running the Nebo Half again this year.

Welp, I am one week closer to Jackpot. And, 15 miles closer as well.

Next week I am planning on another 15-18 miles before tapering some before the February 18th race.

I can’t be anymore excited!

VEGAS OR BUST, BABY!


This kid needed no coaching in taking a picture. He's a natural. #chubbingtatum

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He's doing SnapChat. He's six, he's too young for that, right? #snapchatbabies

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For not having kids, I sure have quite a distorted sense of Dad Humor. #ineedalife

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My niece asked me to draw an eagle, so I gave her a lesson in American history. #muricaaaaa

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RUNNING MILES

63.5 miles

RACE MILES

13.1 miles

WALKING MILES

71.71 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

148.31 miles


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RACE #138: New Year’s Half Marathon

The past week or so I have been battling a bug of some sorts. It started right before New Year’s Eve and it’s just kind of “been there” the past week or so. I haven’t been too worried about, because it’s just been a cough.

But. I’ve been monitoring it because I really, really, really didn’t want to miss this race. Especially since I decided not to run the St. George Half Marathon. I didn’t want to have to make up two races.

But, luckily, I felt okay enough to run. It’s probably a form of bronchitis — so being out in the cold actually helps suppress the cough. Knowing this, I just decided to go for it. I wasn’t expecting a PR or necessarily strong performance. I knew I could grind it out and call it good.

This was my third time running the New Year’s Half. I ran it first in 2013 when the temps were 2 degrees at gun time. So when I saw temps at 8 degrees the morning of the race — I knew it was going to be uncomfortable, but it definitely could be worse.

Plus, I felt prepared. I had layered myself with about 2-3 pairs of both shirts, pants and socks — not to forget my jacket, sock monkey hat and gloves. Was this enough? Probably not. But, being a slower runner I knew I had to give myself more layers than most faster runners.

Knowing I was one of the slower runners I decided to start at the 7:15am gun time instead of the usual 8am. Not just to get done sooner, but in hopes to get back to the reception center before all of the chili was gone (priorities here folks). So I started off with a handful of other runners and friends — namely Cevan Skinner and the Henrys.

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As soon as the crowd dispersed Tammy Henry and I were pretty much left together with a couple other runners yo-yo’ing ahead and behind us. We stuck around together for the first seven miles and avoided going the wrong way a couple times (thanks to the vigilant eyes of the other runners).

I’ve only gotten lost once during a race — and that was this past July when I took a wrong turn and ended up running past a naked homeless guy — twice — to get back on the course. So with that seared in my brain, I wanted to avoid it as much as possible. Not that I was expecting to run into a naked homeless man on the Murdock Trail in the middle of winter — but this was Utah County and I’ve seen crazier.

After Tammy and I parted ways after seven miles I knew within the next two miles the course was going to leave the Murdock Trail. So I kept my eyes out for the signs. I wasn’t too worried about the signs as I was about the snow and ice on the trail. I really didn’t want to biff it. I couldn’t afford an injury, especially with a few ultra runs coming up in the next couple of months.

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Focusing on the snow and ice patches as I ran — I did what I didn’t want to do — I ran past the race signs signaling me to turn. And, of course I was oblivious and kept running happily along.

About a mile from the turn off I kind of stopped and wondering where I was going. As I looked around I saw the Timp Temple in the distance and knew I needed to get back around there, but this felt out of the way, especially being at 11 miles.

So, I stopped and whipped out my phone to compare the race map with my phone map — and I was off. I knew it. I just kind of laughed at myself and headed back to where I needed to be.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

By the time I got back to the turn off I saw a couple of runners and sheepishly got behind them exclaiming my blunder. By the time I got on the road again I was already at 12 miles on my watch — I hadn’t even reach mile 10 of the race yet. And, I just kind of dreaded the next three miles, because I wasn’t feeling well. I was colder than I should have been and just needed some fuel.

There was a gas station ahead of me and decided I’d go in there to fuel up and get warm. But, before I got to the station a runner who finished already offered me a ride back to the reception center. I was going to decline, but the more I thought about it and how I was feeling — I knew I wasn’t going to last 15 miles in this weather. It was just too much for me.

So I hopped in the car.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

Once I got the reception center I hurried and got myself warm, got some chili and visited with friends for a while. I even downed a couple of bananas (that’s 23 for the year so far — if you’re wondering). I still had a mile to run — which I finished — so I could justly call this a half marathon.

My time wasn’t anytime to call home about — but 3:22 in that weather (including my last mile) and getting myself lost and all — I am okay with the time. If anything it’s good ultra training for time on my feet. But, I just never want to run in this kind of weather again. It was tough — mentally and physically.

But, I am glad that I did it.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

I am excited for the races ahead of me. Especially my next race the Jackpot Running Festival happening in Las Vegas in February. I am doing the 12 hour run and hoping for 35 miles plus. I’ll blog more all about that.

But, for now, I am just going to focus on warming up and recovering from this cough. It never bothered me during the run, but once I got home and warm it’s been a beast. But, ’tis the season, I guess?



DAY 005/365 (Thursday, January 5, 2017): I FOUND IT! I’ve been on a #StarWars kick of late. I’ve rewatched all of the movies in the past couple weeks (that’s what happens when you have 11 days off work). Return of the #Jedi is still my favorite. Probably because I kinda remember it as a kid. Namely the characters like #Jabba and the Ewoks (there’s a band name). But, when I was a kid one of my EARLIEST memories was going to the #IceCapades at the old Salt Palace with my aunt and siblings to watch the #Ewoks on Ice. I remember being fascinated by the Ewoks and whole show. And, naturally had to have a souvenir of the occasion. This pennant has been on my mind for a while namely because of the memory and the association it also has with my late Aunt. I’m impressed at its’ condition. Though I probably will never sell it, I am kinda curious what it would fetch? Hmmm #day5 #january #2017 #365project #365days #photochallenge

A photo posted by Joshua Hansen (@josherwalla365) on

RACE #138: New Year’s Half Marathon (3:22:00), January 7, 2017. The race didn’t turn out exactly how I had hoped, I got my miles in and had an adventure and a half doing it. To save you the whole story, here is an abridged version. Ran in about 8 degree weather, got two miles off course, got a ride back to the start realizing I’d be doing 15.5 miles total if I kept course and then ran the remaining mile later. Sigh. It sounds more chaotic than it really was. I had a lot of fun running with Tammy for the first 7 miles. I ran solo the rest of the way, but probably shouldn’t have — considering I got lost. But, it was a good challenge. I’m looking forward to some warm miles on the treadmill and Olympic Oval next week. Now all I want to do is curl up my a space heater with an electric blanket while drinking got chocolate and dreaming of the Sahara Desert. ⛄️❄️⛄️❄️⛄️ #race138 #newyearshalf #running @joshruns180 @josherwalla @fit.phat

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RUNNING MILES

10.00 miles

RACE MILES

13.1 miles

WALKING MILES

17.03 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

40.13 miles



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Coming to terms with Hashimoto’s

Hello moto.

Okay, that’s a pretty lame way to open a blog post, but I’ve had that stuck in my head for WEEKS. Not only because of the stupid commercials, because I’m constantly reminded every time I say, type, mention or research Hashimoto’s Disease.

Anyways — if I haven’t told you now then you should know now — I have Hashimoto’s Disease. After a couple years — well, probably more like 2.5 – 3 years — of trying to figure out what was going on with my thyroid. We finally figured it out. It’s Hashimoto’s (okay at this point I think I just like to type it?).

It explains a lot. The unresponsive medication. The weight-gain. The fatigue. The lack of endurance. The lameness of it all. But, when I did three months of Whole30 and followed a paleo diet — a lot of those issues were minimized. Because of the elimination of gluten, dairy and a lot of added sugar.

Hashimoto’s and gluten intolerance go hand in hand — among a couple other issues. And, it just all makes sense right now — looking back at it all.

So, here I am.

And, you know what? It kind of sucks. A lot.

When I was first diagnosed with hypothyroidism all I had to do was pop a pill, do some moderate exercise and watch what I ate to see results. You really can’t do that with Hashimoto’s — it’s a complete lifestyle change. A fairly strict diet on top of the pills and exercise so you can see results.

And, this runs in the family too. My Mom and sister have Hashimoto’s — and I am sure my other sister probably has it or will have it eventually. That’s what you get when you have generations of relatives with thyroid problems — I mean, my great grandma died from thyroid cancer, so it’s something that shouldn’t be taken lightly in our family.

I won’t lie — I am bummed about the news, because I wish it could be as easy as popping a pill with little maintenance needed. But, it isn’t. And, while I know I can live and maintain a paleo diet — it just feel restrictive KNOWING my body can’t or shouldn’t deviate from that.

And, it’s not like I eat crappy 24/7. I’m not eating Big Macs and Ding Dongs every day or every week. And, in fact, I can’t even remember when the last time I had a Big Mac was? So — there’s that. I live by a 80/20 diet — and I am not sure now how that’s going to fit into everything?

If it sounds like I am kind of whining about this all — I guess I am?

It just sucks.

But, I’ve had a couple of weeks to let myself throw a pity party. I’ve been enjoying things I know I’m cutting out of the diet. Namely bread — and dairy. I mean — I love bread — and that’s going to be REALLY hard to let go of. Sure there’s gluten-free bread, but I’ve tried it already and — um — no. There’s no point in me eating a slice of toasted sadness for breakfast every morning. If I’m eating bread — it’s going to have gluten in it.

I’ve been researching and reading up on a lot of studies and diets for people with Hashimoto’s. It’s pretty much a paleo based diet that’s recommended by most. I don’t mind paleo — so it shouldn’t be that tough of adjustment.

But, besides following paleo — there are also certain foods that are recommended for me to eat to aid in the Hashimoto’s. Everything from grapefruit to iodine salt to Vitamin D enriched foods to copious amounts of veggies. You get the picture.

I am going to blog a bit more about all those particulars later. But, the point and focus this week to get everything in line and a regime in order. I’ve already started following a diet — as I slowly eliminate gluten — because I know that’s the hardest thing for me to give up. But, I am giving myself until Saturday to do that.

Slowly, but surely.

Anyways, I’m coming to terms with what this all entails. And, while I might be slightly depressed about it — now I know how to TRULY fuel my body. And, I have no doubt that over time — I’ll get to where I want to be with my fitness and health.

That’s what’s exciting.

That’s what I have to remember.

So no more moping around and feeling bad bout myself. It is what is. So, here it goes …

#Hypothyroidism runs in my family. So that’s why it’s surprising it took me until 2008 to finally get diagnosed. I think part of the problem was my physician didn’t believe me, because … 1) I was just #fat, 2) I was a guy and 3) I was just a fat guy. I mean, she was right there. I was pushing 400lbs when I finally got diagnosed. Hypothyroidism isn’t just a “woman’s problem.” I’m a good case in point. It’s been an issue even since I’ve been on medication. And, that’s what has lead to the discovery I suffer from #HashimotosDisease. A condition that my mom and sister were recently diagnosed with as well. I’m hoping to reverse the affects through my diet. I’ve lost a lot of my running speed the past couple of years — and I’d like that back. I want my energy levels back. I want my mojo back. And, as frustrating as it’s been to see it gone — I know it’s also coming back. I just gotta take it — step by step.

A photo posted by (phat) josh (@fit.phat) on

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!

The 2016 Joshby Awards Family & Friends Winners!

The goal was to have these awards out — LIKE — two days ago? HA! Didn’t happen. I’ve been pretty dang busy. And, I am fine with that. Plus, I wanted to write a little blurb about each of the winners — but, time did not permit me to do so. So, I blurbed on a couple of the key winners.

But, seriously, I am thankful for all of the nominees and winners. The impact you’ve all had in my life this past year is truly appreciated. I count myself a very lucky man to have so many great people in my life. So — thank you, thank you!

But, without any further adieu — here are the winners of the Family and Friends categories … CONGRATS!

Friend Category 2016

Friend of the Year: David Stuart

Dave has been Friend of the Year the past couple of years and there’s a reason for that. Because, he is one of the most loyal, caring and attentive friends you’ll ever have. No matter the time between phone calls or hangouts — nothing changes his friendship. It starts up where it left off.

I’ve known Dave for years, but it wasn’t until about 5 years ago playing church basketball that we became fast friends. If we aren’t going to a movie together, we’re going to Walmart or a basketball game. And, above all that we’re also going out to eat. As much as Dave asks me where I want to go — we usually end up at a Chinese Buffet at his insistence. Which I don’t mind, because I just love spending time with Dave.

You really can’t ask for a better loyal friend than Dave and I’m lucky that he considers me his #1 best boyfriend — even though I think he might tell this to everyone else.

New Friend of the Year: Blu Robinson

Blu — or Coach Blu to many — and I have become fast friends over the past year. We somewhat met last year during the Thankful 13 when he took a picture of me dressed as a turkey. But, not much came from that until the Frigid 5K this January when we formally met. He was a guest on The Runcast talking about Addict II Athlete.

Going into that episode I really had no idea how that episode would affect me. I really didn’t know Blu THAT well and had just heard about AIIA in passing. But, over the past year it’s changed my life — not just AIIA — but his friendship as well.

If it wasn’t for Blu’s encouragement I don’t know if I would have ran my 50 miler? I know if I did attempt it, I couldn’t have done it without the help of Blu and AIIA. Beside that Blu has really encouraged me to also share my message and to be more vocal of why I am on the road I am on now. It’s the whole message of AIIA.

Inspiring Friend of the Year: Jorge Garcia

Jorge has always inspired me. He really has a ‘never say never’ attitude. Plus, he’s one of the most real, most authentic and kind people I know. He’s really like an older brother in many regards, especially when we get talking and go off tangent after tangent.

But, Jorge has gone through a lot this year and through it all — he’s hardly ever complained. He just focused on the task at hand. Because, in his experience he’s learned that’s all you can do. And, I have the utmost respect for that attitude — something I try to emulate.

But, Jorge hasn’t let a heart attack and other injuries set him back. Sure, he might be pulled back physically — but, he’s still out there looking forward, aspiring, inspiring and reaching for his dreams. He’s a great example of perseverance and the ABSOLUTE need for a positive attitude to get through anything in life.

I want to be Jorge when I grow up.

I also want some chips and queso, but that’s unrelated to this award.

Running Friend of the Year: Jill Gabica

This is different from the Runners’ Choice Awards that I give out. This is a running friend that’s impacted MY running experience and life the past year. And, it once again — the award goes to Jill.

We’ve done some epic runs this past year — or aspired to do some epic runs. I can’t think of anyone more encouraging of my running. She was there for me during my 50 miler and the months before hand giving me ideas on training. She was the one who encouraged me to run a 20 miler on the treadmill at midnight.

But, seriously, we’ve got some crazy epic goals in store for 2017 and I can’t wait to tackle them! It’s always a party in the back with Jill!

New Running Friend of the Year: Jed Jensen

Cyber Friend of the Year: Brian Rayburn

Out of State Friend: Angie Smith

Friend Mom of the Year: Jill Gabica

Dad of the Year: Jorge Garcia

Friend Kid of the Year: Grace Warnock

Friend Couple of the Year: Stephen Hendrickson & David McCord

And, here is the family category …

Family Category 2016

Family Member of the Year: Tatum Rex Snow Minson & Thalia Grace Hansen

This past year was a BIG baby year for our family. Not only did we welcome two babies into the fold, but Jessie announced she was pregnant just a couple months ago. We’re finally becoming the baby making machine our parents always wanted. Then again — most of us are all in our 30s so it might not last that much longer.

Still — I can’t think of any other family members more deserving of this award than these two kids. They’ve got the whole family on a string. Tatum is Mr. Personality and just loves people. He has no perception of “stranger danger” and can endear himself to someone within minutes. Thalia’s personality is 100% chill. She has an easy smile which really strokes my ego quite well when I try to make her smile. I mean, her sister and brother were a tough crowd.

I am sure Jess and Scott’s baby will have the same affect on the family. And, will probably sweep the same three awards Tatum and Thalia won this year. YEAH BABIES!

New Member of the Year: Tatum Rex Snow Minson & Thalia Grace Hansen

[SEE ABOVE]

Baby of the Year: Tatum Rex Snow Minson & Thalia Grace Hansen

[SEE ABOVE]

Family Kid of the Year: Maya Faith Hansen

This has been a BIG year for Maya. She turned 8 and was baptized — but more than that, she’s really blossomed into quite the awesome young lady. She’s a reader at heart and such a tender soul. She truly has a heart of gold that I adore.

But, the other thing about Maya that has stolen my heart — is she’s become a RUNNER! She ran her first 5K with me in October and we are planning on once again running another 5K here in February. She doesn’t just love running — she’s pretty good at it too. She took first place in her age group in October and I am sure she’ll do it again in February. I’ll have to train to keep up!

Cousin of the Year: Chris Pope

I don’t see my cousin Chris that much — but, that doesn’t mean I don’t keep up with him. I’m very proud of the man he’s become. He is a Deputy for the County’s Sheriff Office and while he’s in the news for a number of “police” things. However, this past year there were two incidents that — quite honestly — put me in tears, because it’s something I know our Grandpa would do in the same situation.

In September Chris was able to assist a cyclist who had a heart attack — besides being a Deputy he is also a trained paramedic. In fact the Sheriff’s Office he works for is the only one in the state that requires deputies to be trained and certified. Talk about luck — no — a blessing.

But, later that month, Chris was a part of a chain of events that helped a struggling couple. I can’t rehash the story well enough to give justice — so read this. But, watching it on the news and reading the story has put me in tears — because I saw so much of our Grandpa in his actions and words. I also shed tears knowing how proud he, our Grandma and his Dad are of him.

I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this year’s award. I hope he knows how proud I am of him,

Family Mother of the Year: Nannette Hansen

Family Father of the Year: Matthew David Hansen

Sibling of the Year: Jenny Minson

Sibling In-Law of the Year: Scott Stallings

Welp, that’s it for 2016! It’s been a great year. Well, it’s had its’ moments. But, I feel like any setback felt has been setting up 2017 to be a year to remember.

But, thank you for being a part of my life. You all have made an impact and I am truly grateful for that — truly, truly grateful. I hope you have a magical holiday season and start off 2017 with hopes and dreams that will carry you places once unimaginative in your life.

God bless!