Tag: race

40 races to my goal …

This past weekend I ran my 140th race. It’s kind of hard to imagine I’ve run so many — it really seems like yesterday I just ran my 1st, 50th and 100th. All pretty significant milestones in my journey to 180 races before my 40th birthday.

Now that I am just 40 races from my goal I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Not that I am not enjoying this journey, but I am ready for some new adventures. I am ready for some running adventures of my own liking — more ultra runs, faster race times and location races.

I’ve planned to crank out a bunch of my races this year so that I can run my 180th race at next year’s Handcart Days Half Marathon — where my 1st and 100th race occurred. It just seems fitting to end my goal where it started.

I still have a number of goals I want to reach after my 180 is done and that’s why I am eager to finish by next July. I want to run less races and more trails, I want to focus on speed work for the races I do run and I want to fall in love with running again and again. I want new challenges and triumphs.

Now all of that sounds like a postcard, but I am excited for the next chapter. But, I am still focusing on the task at hand. My next 40 races. I’ve mapped out most of them from here until my 180th. I am pretty set for this year — except for November (there is a chance I am traveling to Greece to run the Athens Marathon) — which will be figured out within the next couple of weeks.

My race schedule for 2018 is shaping up as well. Well, up to the Handcart Days Half. I am not sure what I will be running after that race. And, I am not too concerned about it at this point.

But, here is what my race schedule should look like (barring any race date changes for 2018) …

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.

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

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.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

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

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


RUNNING MILES

10.00 miles

RACE MILES

13.1 miles

WALKING MILES

17.03 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

40.13 miles



A photo posted by The Runcast (@theruncast) on

RACE #135: The Haunted Half — Provo

After a week off from running and pretty much anything strenuous after my 50 miler, I hopped back into the saddle with the Haunted Half. This is my sixth Haunted Half (three in Provo and three in SLC) and I love these races. They’re always a party and just tons of fun. They’re a great race to cap off the racing season.

And, for the fifth time — I have also swept the course. In fact the only time I didn’t sweep the course was in 2013 when I ran the Haunted Half for the first time. And, as much I love both downhill courses in which I can fly down — I much prefer to sweep, because that’s where the real party is at.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

If I wasn’t sweeping this year’s course again, I am not sure if I would have ran it — mainly because of last week’s 50 miler. Then again as I am typing this, I’m totally lying to myself — I probably would still run it. I’d either go my pace or just joint the sweeping party in the back.

Anyways — my friends Jim and Jill — wanted to join the party and kind of see what it was like sweeping. They’ve heard about the number of races I’ve swept and really wanted to see if it was THAT much fun as I make it out to be. Of course I told them they could tag along (this invitation is out to anyone whenever I sweep).

Game plans for sweeping really vary according to the course and race. Some racing companies have very strict cut off times, some don’t and others are somewhere in between. And, this can vary even from race to race within the same race company.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

For instance sweeping Timp is much different than sweeping this race. Since we’re on public roads down the canyon in American Fork Canyon I have to be out of the canyon at a certain time. So my goal is to keep that pace and encourage runners who are behind that pace to keep up with me. If they can’t they’re bussed to the mouth of the canyon where they can resume the race.

Whereas here there isn’t a strict cutoff while in the canyon, because the majority of the race runs along the Provo River Trail where it doesn’t impede traffic. So the pace is less of a hard cut-off and more of “as fast as the slowest runner” approach. Which I like, because it gives you time to get to perfect strangers.

My plan for this race was to hold back after the gun time and let the masses go and then kind of fartlek the first 5-6 miles, especially since that’s usually the steepest part of the race. So most of the walking breaks would come when we caught up with the last of the runners ahead of us.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

When I don’t have to worry about a certain pace I don’t like interfering much with the runners. This is their race and I want them to enjoy it. I don’t like really letting my presence known until about the last half of the race if I can avoid it, because let’s be honest — no body wants to be caught by the sweeper.

I get that — I’ve been in the same boat. And, if someone says something to me, especially in the first half of the race I make sure they know I’m friendly and won’t sweep them off the course — and more than anything just want to be friends with them.

So the first 5-6 miles of the race was just spent fartleking along with Jill and Jim. And, we had a blast! Jim was dressed as Bat Bacon — and was definitely the life of the party. Cyclists, runners and walkers along the trail couldn’t help but smile seeing this giant piece of bacon dressed as Batman trudging along the trail.

A photo posted by Joshua Hansen (@fight4phat) on

We stopped for pictures along the way — many of Bat Bacon in superimposed snapshots — and countless others of the skeletons and signs along the course. Many in which we dressed up with some of our gear or anything laying around that might add to the picture op.

It was fun.

At Mile 6 I caught up with JessicaSue whom I paced at the Salt Lake Haunted Half last year. I suspected that at some point we would catch up. She was running with her husband and a friend. When Jim, Jill and I caught up with her she was starting to have some calf issues.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

We yo-yo’d between her and a couple of other runners, but around miles 8-9 we ran exclusively with her party. I was impressed with her resolve and attitude through those last miles — it was tough on her. But, after dealing with similar issues last year I could see how much stronger she was this year in dealing with the pain.

The conditions for the race couldn’t have been better either. The weather was perfect for an October race. Probably a bit warmer than usual and running in a one-piece jumpsuit probably wasn’t the best choice for me. But, it was what it was and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

Jill and Jim were invaluable in helping JessicaSue and the party alone the course. Jim provided the music and comic relief while Jill brought her insight and perspective to help JessicaSue process and deal with the pain. They might not have been “official” sweepers, but they were every bit invaluable.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

One we were out of the canyon we had about three miles left and we just gutted it out. I was so proud of JessicaSue. It wasn’t easy. Even I was having issues with my legs around this point just from my 50 the week before. It was a lot of time spent on my feet.

But, the focus was simple — get to the finish line. And, we did step by step, mile by mile. It wasn’t easy, but we made it.

Tricia and the Runtastic crew were fantastic to us. They left the famous pumpkin arch up until we got to the finish line. And, we were greeted by ice cold water and food. I couldn’t have asked for better hospitality. They really put the runner first and made sure we all got the same treatment.

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

It was great being able to pace JessicaSue again and do so with Jill and Jim. My legs were very fatigued, which I guess is kind of expected being out there on the course for over five hours. But, I tried keeping it into perspective — it was great ULTRA training for my race this weekend.

Plus, half way through the race I started fantasizing about ice baths and ibuprofen. So on my way home I took a pit stop to the gas station to get a couple of bags of ice and treated myself to painfully wonderful ice bath once I got home. Between that and the Ibuprofen it absolutely helped relieve the pain.

All in all, it’s another race underneath my belt, but it was also a great reminder to me on why I do this. I love pacing. It’s not always easy, but it is one of the most rewarding things about running to me. And, anything worth doing is never easy.

A photo posted by Joshua Hansen (@fight4phat) on

I knew it was going to be tough being my first run after my 50 miler, but it was great preparation for this weekend’s 50K. Not just physically, but mentally. I want to get one more run and another good workout this weekend before my race — and I feel like I’ll be okay for my race.

I mean, I know I can do it. I’m not worried about that. I’m just worried about having fresh legs.

But, the season is winding down. I have a couple more race before the end of the year and I plan on focusing on strength training in December and most of January before refocusing on running again. But, that’s all a post for another day.

YEAH RUNNING! YEAH PACING! YEAH HALLOWEEN!


136-buffalo-50k

I sometimes question my sanity. Okay, I often question my sanity. Well, okay, I always question my sanity. I mean who follows up a 50 miler with a 50K a couple of weeks after the 50 miler? Idiot runners that’s who.

And, as idiotic as it sounds — I can’t be any more excited. I love the longer distances. I love the trails. I love the challenges. I love the scenery. I love the community. I just love, love, love the goal and task at hand.

The goal is to simply finish like all of my races over 26.2 miles. But, I do want to do better than last. I ran the 50K in ten hours — I want to do better than that. I’m not in a position to say for certain if that’s going to be by a couple of hours or couple of minutes? I just want to do better than last year.

I will be running this by myself — well, without Tim or Jason. So I am not sure what that will do? It will be a good challenge for me and I am excited to just do my best and enjoy the ride. Is there anything else to it?

But, after this race, as I’ve mentioned before, I am planning on focusing more on the weight and strength training to give my legs some rest and focus on getting stronger so my training in the spring can be better. I feel like I’m in a good place and I can’t wait to balance things out a bit more even.

137 - thankful 13 138 - resolution run139-st-george



2667in2016

RUNNING MILES

251.55 miles

RACE MILES

368.98 miles

WALKING MILES

1254.83 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

1875.36 miles



A photo posted by The Runcast (@theruncast) on

InstaReplay: The Haunted Half — Provo

The race season is slowly coming to a hault — and it’s fitting that it ends with one of my favorite races. I love the Haunted Half — it’s a gorgeous race down a beautiful canyon and just a lot of fun. Once again I’ve swept the course — this was my fifth Haunted Half I’ve swept since 2014 — that includes both Provo and SLC.

And, once again, I had a blast. I was joined by Jim and Jill for the entirety of the race and for the last half of the race I helped pace my friend JessicaSue to the finish line. I paced her to the finish line of the Salt Lake last year.

I had a blast and I’ll have a full race report tomorrow or Tuesday, but first, here are all of my race pictures …

We laughed heartedly. #race135 #thehauntedhalf #running @joshruns180 @fight4phat

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

HURTS. SO. GOOD. #icebath #race135 #thehauntedhalf #running #ryrpacers @joshruns180 @fight4phat

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

RACE #135: The Haunted Half (Sweeper), October 29, 2016. Once again paced and swept one my favorite races! This is my fifth time sweeping a Haunted Half race. It's always an adventure and it's always a party. @jvgabica and @jimgastelum joined me for the party as they wanted to see what this sweeping gig was like. Their character and personalities were much needed as we helped motivate runners toward the finish line. The last half of the race I was able to run with @back_the_blue. I paced her last year at the Salt Lake Haunted Half and can't begin to tell you how proud I was of her this year. She was joined by her husband and friend and she fought through a lot of cramping and pain, but SHE DID IT! She got herself to the finish line and finished her second half marathon! Being a part of moments like these and helping her along the course is why I love pacing. It gives me a complete different perspective than when I solely run for myself. #thehauntedhalf #runtasticevents #race135 #running #ryrpacers @josherwalla @fight4phat

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

RACE #134: Pony Express 50 Mile Trail Run

Going into my race on Friday I had a hard time expressing my thoughts and feelings about what I was about to accomplishment. Mainly because I was just so eager to experience what was ahead of me. But, now I’m here. The 50 miler is behind me and I’ve been processing the experience the past few days.

I’m not sure if the word ‘experience’ is the right word — experiences — is more appropriate. There were so many ups and downs from mile to mile that it felt like a lifetime of lessons I learned out there on the trail. It’s hard to put all of that in words, especially when it felt like my circumstances and mentality could change every quarter of a mile.

But, I did it! I did it! I did it! I did it!

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

Going into the race I didn’t know exactly what to expect, but I wanted to set a few ground rules for me to follow throughout the race to make I gave myself the best chance of success. I wanted to make them as concrete as possible, but I also knew they needed to be fluid enough to change as needed — because this was something I’ve never done before.

My rules were simple —

1) Keep moving forward.
2) Don’t sit down at aid stations.
3) Don’t spend more than 2-5 minutes at aid stations.
4) Eat and hydrate every 2-3 miles.
5) Don’t be shy asking for help.
6) Don’t poop my pants.
7) Don’t give up.

Simple rules really — and as #6 might seem like a joke … it’s really not. I was one of my biggest worries, because unlike your typical marathon the only port-a-potties on the course were at the starting and finish line. Everything in between was pretty much up to you. And, that scared me.

But, really the focus was just moving forward and getting where I wanted/needed to go … the finish line. I really didn’t want to sit down at the aid stations, but that ended up changing in the later miles. But, luckily my crew car was my aid station and that helped ease a lot of angst for me. I wouldn’t have to lug a pack with me and I could just focus on running. It really helped a lot and one of the reasons why I chose this race as my first 50.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

Anyways — I had a great crew and support team. Tim from the Addict II Athlete team was my support vehicle. He volunteered his car as my ‘meals on wheels’ for the entire race. And, then somewhere around noon-1pm Jill was going to show up and help pace me to the finish. And, then Coach Blu said other AIIA team members were planning on coming later to pace team members into the finish.

We got into a good rhythm early into the race. After crashing at Coach’s place the night before we headed out from Orem to the West Desert for a 5am start time. Coach and I ran together about the first three miles together. Coach Blu is such a great guy and such an easy conversationalist — the miles really flew by.

We parted so he could catch up with some other team members and I had to use the restroom. Which was an adventure and a half for me. I had tried to use the restroom at the starting line KNOWING there wouldn’t be anywhere along the course to go. Nothing. Which is typical of me.

A photo posted by Joshua Hansen (@fight4phat) on

And, as typical as it is for other runners — I had to go — after running 3-4 miles on a bumpy dirt road. Sooooo — in a desert with nary a tree or shrub I walked out as far away from the roadside as I could to dig a hole. I felt so awkward — I felt like such a cityslicker — but, luckily it was still dark enough that I don’t think anyone could see me since I turned my headlamp off.  Anyways, I did my thing, covered it like a cat and moved along hoping that if anyone did see me they be faster than me.

But, I kept a good slow steady pace in the first 12-15 miles — which was all by design. I didn’t want to burn out too quickly, because I knew I’d need gas in the tank for the last 10-15 miles. So after Coach moved ahead I played leap frog with a few other 50 milers and an increasing number of 100 milers — I even ran into Wan who was running the 100 miler. And, of course hugs were included at that reunion.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to be in the mood for music, but I brought some just in case. I wanted to make a custom playlist on Spotify, but I just ran out of time. So I downloaded a mood playlist I found called simply, “Have a Good Day!” — seemed like a good idea since that was kind of my goal, right?

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

And, starting at mile nine, I plugged in the earphone and jammed out. It wasn’t a bad playlist. Lots of Beach Boys, Beatles, 80s music and really good UPBEAT songs — most of them were oldies, but there were a couple of John Mayer and Maroon 5 songs on there that just didn’t jive well with me and were quickly fast forwarded.

I kept the music going and just cranked out the miles. I mall walked the hills, ran the downhill and jogged the flat with intermediate mall walking in between. Then every three miles I’d hit Tim and my aid station. It was a good rhythm I had going. I had this going for about the first 27-30 miles.

But, around Mile 28 I found myself in a pain cave that was hard for me to get out of. I was still a couple miles from Tim’s car and Jill wasn’t there yet, so I knew I just had to find a way to get through those two miles. I tried speeding up and I tried slowing down, but none of that had really helped. So I just moved forward as best I could.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

Then I had remembered that I had grabbed a rock somewhere around mile 2-3 and slipped it in my pocket (mainly as a souvenir). I grabbed the rock and tightly held it in my hand and then just focused all my energy into the rock. I visually gave that rock my pain. And, you know what? It worked!

After wandering in the desert herself, Jill found me — literally with my pants down. I stepped aside from the trail to “water the plants” and of course she came up right behind that. It’s my impeccable timing. But, this wasn’t the first time that’s happened either. Anyways — like I learned early on in ultrarunning — there’s no modesty in ultrarunning. None.

But, Jill came at the perfect time to get me over Lookout Pass. That stretch was tough — not just the climbing part up to the pass, but all those flat unglamorous terrain before all of that. Having her to chat with saved my sanity. Plus, I was grateful it was Jill, because it was yet another trademark epic adventure of ours.

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

Once we got to the pass and back to her car, she decided to drive to the finish line and then carpool back with Mark. I hated being alone again for about 3-4 more miles, but I knew I could do it. Plus, the other AIIA support vehicle was right ahead of me so I wasn’t THAT alone.

So I just trudged along.

Luckily, after the climb came a lot of good downhill, so I just kind of let gravity take me as fast as it wanted. I got myself into a nice rhythm and I felt really good, especially considering that I was around mile 40 and less than 10 miles from finishing. Looking back to that moment I laugh, because within five miles that all changed — quite dramatically.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

Around mile 43 the sun started setting and darkness came quite quickly. The moon wouldn’t raise until well past midnight and I didn’t grab my headlamp at the last break so I had to rely on my Rhino-sharp eyesight. My body was starting to just breakdown — physically, emotionally, spiritually and everything inbetween. And, I could tell I was not going in a good place.

I just wanted to be done. Since my goal was to finish I didn’t wear a Garmin or watch on me. I just relied on mile updates from Tim, Jill or strangers. I never asked other runners, but I’d ask their support vehicles. I’m not sure how good of an idea this was for me to do? Mentally it felt like I’d ask for updates every two hours, but then when I’d get a reply I would have just moved a mere half mile.

Mile 42.5
Mile 43.0
Mile 43.5
Mile 44.0
Mile 44.5

It was brutal.

I just wanted to be done. I was hurting everywhere. My feet were plotting to kill me. The thought of peanut butter made me nauseous. Heck, the thought of anything on my stomach made nauseous. I was just going downhill fast.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

I tried walking with a couple ladies who I had yo-yo’d a bit, but that didn’t have the same effect that Jill’s presence had for me earlier. I wanted to be alone. But, I didn’t want to be alone. I wanted to die. I just wasn’t in a good place at all.

At Mile 45.0 when I got to the car, I sat on the trunk and I tried to drink some water, eat some applesauce while I avoided a whiff of peanut butter or potatoes. I just sat there in silence. Jill was in the car, but she sat in silence as she was battling a migraine (that’s another story) herself. So I just on the bumper in pain, nauseous and discouragement, because I just wanted to be done.

I. Just. Wanted. To. Be. Done.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

The pain in my feet felt like needles and I thought if I changed my shoes that’d help not just the feet, but somehow my mental state of mind. It didn’t really. I knew my five minutes were up at the car, so I slowly got up on my feet and just tried to stagger forward. Each step hurt. And, as I told Jill to go forward another mile and a half — tears just kind of flowed down my cheeks.

As she pulled away the tears came streaming and my pouting turned into an ugly cry. I was once alone out there on the trail with no one in sight ahead or behind me. The tears came with every throbbing step. I couldn’t do this anymore. I didn’t want to be alone. I wanted this pain gone. I wanted to be at the finish line.

With tears in my eyes I gave the simplest and frankest prayers in my life. I said, “Heavenly Father, I can’t do this anymore. Please send someone to be with me. I can’t do this alone. I can’t do this alone.”

A photo posted by Joshua Hansen (@fight4phat) on

After uttering my feeble prayer I kept weeping as a rush of comfort rushed through me. And, the thought immediately came to me — “you’re not out here alone, someone is on their way!” I took comfort and faith in that feeling and just focused on each step forward.

Those tears of pain started turning into tears of appreciation as I reminded myself that I CHOSE THIS! I chose to go through this moment. I didn’t HAVE to do this, but I CHOSE it. I thought all of my Dad and his battle with gout and knee replacements who battles pains much worse than this temporary pain of mine.

I thought of my dear mother and friends Meridith and Amy who have battled cancer over the past few years. They didn’t chose to go through that. And, battled through much more than this moment of mine. Surely, if they didn’t give up, I sure as hell couldn’t now.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

Those tears of appreciation taught me a lesson of my Savior’s love. His infinite sacrifice was by choice. He had the power to stop … but, he didn’t. He pushed through much more pain than I was experiencing at that moment. How could I give up now, especially knowing that I had an empathetic partner who’s felt all that I have felt and more?

I know what I just shared is very personal to me, but I can’t tell the whole story of this race without including it. Even writing my recountment of this moment brings me to tears. The Savior’s atonement is real. I’ve felt it. I know it. And, in a world where there are bigger problems out there — He was aware of me and comforted me when I needed Him the most.

But, wait … that wasn’t even the total fulfillment of my prayer. No longer than a half mile later my friend Jed rolls up and asks, “you need a pacer!” And, of course this just brought more tears to my eyes and I exclaimed, “Dude, you’re the answer to my prayer — you’re my angel!”

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I wasn’t expecting Jed to be there, mainly because Coach said he was planning on going elk hunting instead. But, apparently, he bagged an elk the day before and managed to get out the West Desert around 9pm — just when he was needed the most. I’ve been around too long to not believe in coincidences. And, as much as Jed probably wouldn’t want to hear, he was definitely my angel.

With a renewed focus the last 4-5 miles went so much more smoother than the prospected view a mere half hour and half mile prior. Jed kept me amply distracted and focused and because of that I was in a much, much better place.

There was a 3/4 mile out and back stretch once you passed the finish area before you were REALLY finished. And, once I passed the finishing area my determination to just be done was stronger. Tim joined Jed and I for the out and back — and once I got my sticker and headed back to the finish line, I sprinted to that finish line.

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Okay, I lied, I mall walked like my Grandma at Hobby Lobby on Black Friday — but, it sure felt like a sprint. I was just determined to get where I wanted to be the most at that moment — the finish line. As I approached closer and closer my mind ran through dozens of emotions again — mainly where this journey has taken me and all those who have been a part of that.

I may have cried a bit. But, thankfully, for the benefit of Facebook pictures it wasn’t my Mile 45 ugly cry. I am pretty sure I used up my year’s quota of tears. But, my mind couldn’t help but think of all those triumphs, defeats, friendships and accomplishments that lead me to that moment. And, to be IN that moment at the time made it even more powerful for me.

I crossed that finish line in 17 hours and 48 minutes. It definitely wasn’t a landspeed record, but I didn’t care. That was never the point of this goal. The goal was to cross that finish line. Which I did.

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As I crossed Jill was immediately taking care of me. She got me food galore and made sure I hydrated properly. She did such a great job the volunteers remarked how wonderful it was to see a wife take such good care of her husband. We didn’t bother to correct her.

But, I downed some of the best portobello mushrooms I’ve ever had. And, I’m pretty sure the chicken sandwich I ate could have given Chick-Fil-A a run for its’ money. I was just grateful my appetite was back. Well, I say that conditionally, because I don’t think I’ll be eating peanut butter for a solid 2-3 years. Seriously, that’s no joke.

The ride home took us a solid four hours — and somehow I managed to stay awake the whole time?!?!! I remember having conversations with Jill, but I am pretty sure I didn’t make any sense. She gave me the same reaction she gives when her daughter says something that doesn’t make sense, but she doesn’t want to point out that it really sounded idiotic. I probably should have just passed out?

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I stayed at Jill’s place and after a painful post race shower at 4am, I managed to get about three hours of sleep before leaving for Salt Lake to help at The Haunted Half. I was so worried about falling asleep and not waking up until 4pm later that day, but that never happened. And, quite honestly this past weekend I never truly “crashed” … I’ve just taken a lot of cat naps.

I think my ultra turned me into a cat?

Volunteering at The Haunted Half and keeping my legs moving really helped keep them fresh and from seizing on Saturday. They’re still a little sore, but stairs haven’t been as “BAD” as I imagined they’d be. I know that will all change when I take my first post-race run/jog/walk/jaunt. I am sweeping the Provo Haunted Half on Saturday so I should get at least a two miler in sometime this week to just get things going.

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Anyways — enough of that. Now is the time to just enjoy the moment, relish in the accomplishment and take pause to ponder on the journey. I accomplished everything I set out to accomplish. Everything from finishing to not pooping my pants during the race.

But, more than that I experienced this race. I experienced some very highs and some very lows and everything in between. That’s what I was looking forward to more than anything in this journey. I wanted to just EXPERIENCE it.

And, I did.

Now, I’ve been asked if I’d do it again. And, up to the race — I said that I’d never say never. Post-race — I want to say “HELL NO!,” but again I can never say never. But, if you really want to know if I’ll ever do this distance again — ask me about 2-3 months. It’s such a big accomplishment with lots, lots and lots of work to be done before even daring to toe up on the starting line.

But, it can be done.

Anyone can do this. I firmly believe that. Why?

Because I did it.

I did it.

I did it.

I did it!


135 - haunted half provo

As mentioned above, I am sweeping the Haunted Half course. All by design of course. There was NO way I was going to pace a 2:45 a week after running 50 miles. I have swept four Haunted Half races to date and I love it because it’s ALWAYS a party in the back. Plus, I’ve met some amazing people running this race so it has a special place in my heart.

It’ll be a party once again. My friend JessicaSue (who I paced last year at the Salt Lake Haunted Half) and her husband will be there, along with Jill and possibly my sister. I am trying to talk her into it. But, we’ll see if she comes. She’s always wanted to run down Provo Canyon. Either way — it will be a party and a half.

The Haunted Half is one of my favorite races. They always do a good job with their races — plus I love this year’s medals! I am thinking of signing up for the virtual race so I can also get the sugar skull medal. I love that thing!

Anyways — just a few races left for the year. I am still debating on running the Bakers Dozen Half Marathon in December, but we’ll see — should be 3-4 more races on the docket before the turn of the calendar.


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I love this week’s Addict II Athlete Podcast — not just because it is one of my favorite podcasts, but because of who Coach Blu interviewed. I’ve gotten to know Tim over the past several months and really well this past Friday when he crewed my 50. He is one of the kindness and most sincere people you will ever meet.

I mean — this guy gave up HALF of his Arby’s sandwich to me on Friday! He didn’t have to and tried explaining that to him, but he was having none of that. He insisted on it, and he knew I needed it — which I did. But, I know he would do the same thing to anyone. That’s just the type of guy he is.

That’s why I love his story so much. This is one of my favorite episodes of AIIA to date and I know it will be yours’ too. Give it a listen …


I always love running into @u2elshanator! She’s a champion of champions! #thehauntedhalf

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“So I told her … LADY, THREE HOURS HERE SHOULD EQUATE TO MORE THAN ONE FRUIT SNACK!” #theLDSlife

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Wowzers! I’m loving this red hot #sunset! #utahsunset

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2667in2016

RUNNING MILES

250.55 miles

RACE MILES

355.88 miles

WALKING MILES

1224.97 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

1831.4 miles


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InstaReplay: Run Elevated Half Marathon

I won’t go into a full recap of my race considering I am working on a recap for tomorrow. But, I am happy with this race. Extremely happy. I was a minute off of my goal, but considering I was battling a cold the previous two weeks with minimal running — I feel confident that I am going in the right direction.

This is one of my favorite races, mainly because this is one of my favorite canyons. I know I say that a lot. But, when you live near so many beautiful canyons here in northern Utah — it’s hard to pick just one. Especially when each offers a beautiful scenery unique to itself. Utah — northern and southern — is full of beautiful canyons, period. One should feel lucky to be called a Utah runner.

Anyways — my race was one part of my 20 miles. Originally, I wanted to run my last 7 miles near the race in Sandy, but I had to scamper home. This worked out fine, because the whole point of breaking up the 20 miles with my race was because I wanted simulate fatigue. And, what better way to do that then to run 7 miles a few hours after a killer half marathon?

My legs hated me. But, that was the point.

I feel great about my race, I feel good about the 20 miles put in for the day and I feeling a lot stronger with this cold passing. Make sure to come back tomorrow for my race recap. There’s a lot more to my race. See you tomorrow …


I just want someone that looks at me, the way I look at Slurpees. #thatsalliask

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RACE #127: Deseret News Half Marathon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But, still.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which I almost did.

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

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

Yet, one of the most rewarding.

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


MY NEXT RACE

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

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

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

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

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

So, I am not worried.

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

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

Anyways.

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

YEAH TIMP!


MY NEXT THREE RACES

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


PHATGRAMS

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

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RRR-20-coupon


2667in2016

RUNNING MILES

157.6 miles

RACE MILES

176.7 miles

WALKING MILES

891.86 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

1226.16 miles

MILES TO GOAL

1440.84 miles



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