Tag: running utah

RACE #144: Riverton Half Marathon

Six years ago when I made the goal to run 180 races (half marathon or longer) before I turned 40, I had no idea that y age 36 I’d be nearly done with that goal. And, that really speaks volumes of how much running has changed and influenced my life these past half dozen years.

Up until about two years ago I had the IDEA of slowing down a bit and evening out the number of races so I could hit my goal in 2021. But, that never happened. Partly, because I used many races as training runs for ultras, but also, because, I didn’t want to slow down.

Okay, that could be the only reason.

Regardless, I changed my timeline for the goal to next year. I am now planning to run race 180 in July 2018. And, of course it will be where I started this crazy journey — the Bountiful Handcart Days Half Marathon.

Because, of this new timeline goal I’ve looked at my race schedule for the next 18 or so months and planned each race one out leading up to the race. I should have about 30 or so races this year, which is a lot for me. But, I have the goal in sight and many of these races are great ultra training for me.

It’s been tricky finding races, because I’m not able to put the many, many Runtastic Events races I love — Timp Half, Nebo Half, The Haunted Half, etc., etc., etc. — because I’m working for them now. So, I’ve had to find races to replace those on my schedule and I’ve had to find a few small races to put on my schedule that I normally wouldn’t. I’m not complaining, because a run is a run to me and I do like new challenges and new courses.

And, that’s what kind of lead me to run the Riverton Half Marathon. This isn’t a new race to me. I’ve run it twice before. Once in 2012 and again in 2014. It’s put on by the city — and it’s honestly not that bad. The registration fee is extremely reasonable — $30 for early bird and $40 if you procrastinate.

But, you also get what you pay for. It’s not a race done by thousands. There were a couple hundred or so. Not crowded at all. And, the shirts and medals have improved over the past years. But, it’s very much a small town race so if you’re looking for BIG event like Big Cottonwood, Ogden or St. George — you won’t find it in Riverton. But, they do a good job given it’s a city race and the budget they work from.

A post shared by (phat) josh (@fight4phat) on

Anyways, going into race week after last week’s Emigration Canyon Half Marathon, I kind of viewed this race as another race toward my goal. But, that all kind of changed midweek.

This past week Coach Blu from Addict II Athlete posted a video on the AIIA Facebook Group page talking about the opidemic plaguing the nation. On average, there are 144 people nationwide that lose their lives to opiate addiction — overdose, suicide, etc. This is a staggering number. That’s over 52,500 people every year.

These 144 people are our brothers, sisters, parents, relatives, friends and neighbors. Chances are we know someone who struggles with the addiction — and it’s sometimes difficult to see. Especially since so many of these drugs are prescriptions. Coach then challenged us, the team, to share this message through social media showing the world — and specifically these 144 — how wonderful a life of sobriety is, by hashtagging #144 in our posts.

After watching Coach’s video I soon realized that my race this weekend in Riverton was going to be my 144th race! I couldn’t believe the coincidence. But, then again, I did — because I’ve learned since knowing Blu coincidences DON’T happen between the two of us. I strongly feel this was meant to happen this way.

A post shared by (phat) josh (@fight4phat) on

I decided that I wanted to run this race in honor and memory of not just the 144, but for the AIIA team and my friends and family members that have lost their battle already. I didn’t anticipate going into this race with THIS much emotion, but in just a few short days — here I was.

I wanted to run in silence in their memory. Something that is — obviously — difficult for me to do. I’m a social runner, I love making conversation with anyone out on the course, at the aid stations or in the Honey Buckets. Well, okay, not in the Honey Buckets. But, you get the idea. This would be a sacrifice for me, but it would also be an opportunity for me to focus my attention on the message, on the 144, on my loved ones and the AIIA team. So that’s what I set out to do.

I knew race day was going to be rainy, but when I left my house that morning I didn’t expect it to be THAT rainy. It was cold and pretty much a downpour. I knew from social media posts that the Strider’s Winter Circuit Half Marathon in Eden was already cancelled because of the weather. I was just hoping my race wouldn’t be as well.

I thought about checking the race’s Facebook page, but I kind of made up my mind that even if it was cancelled I was still going to run the course. As bad as the rain was, I knew it couldn’t be as bad as the Ogden Marathon this past year. Nothing could. So, I was just going to drive to the race and hope there was going to be a supported race.

The commute was pretty wet, but luckily once I got to Riverton the rain wasn’t as heavy and the race was on. So after picking up my race packet I went back to my car to stay dry for a little longer. I knew I would end up drenched. Plus, I didn’t really feel like socializing much, just because of the nature of the run. I was already beginning to get emotional about it all.

At the sound of the gun, I stood back for a couple minutes to let the crowd go. I plugged in my headphones and set out to run. I started out running to some MoTab and some other classic music, but I ended up just turning it all off. Mainly, because I wanted to focus and center my thoughts on the purpose of my run — so it was easier to just turn off the music altogether.

I kept my vow of silence pretty much throughout the run, with a few exceptions. I ran into a Facebook friend out on the Jordan River Parkway, I did stop to say hello briefly. And, after staying silent for the first couple of aid stations I decided to at least say “thank you” instead of trying to say it with sign language. Besides, I don’t know if I was signing “thank you” right anyways.

But, I just focused running alone in my thoughts. And, it was a rather somber run. The rain was pretty persistent throughout the whole run. It didn’t let up until about mile 11 or so for me. I almost wished it kept raining because the sun came out and the last mile and a half were pretty warm. With my jacket and hat I felt like I was running in a sauna.

A post shared by (phat) josh (@fight4phat) on

The run as a whole was really emotional for me. I caught myself a lot in thought of friends and family members who lost battles with opiate addiction. I thought about the AIIA team and how so many of them fought to overcome their addictions.. I thought about the message of the team and how important it is to carry it’s message, because it can save lives.

The last mile was pretty uncomfortable for me physically. Between the increasing temperature and normal race fatigue, my sprained ankle was also flaring up a bit as well. But, that all felt secondary. I just focused on that finish line and the message of the team.

I got to the finish line in 3:05:11, not the best time. But, there wasn’t really a goal time for this race. After last week’s Emigration Canyon Half, where I pushed myself, I knew I’d have to pull pack just a tad. So I was happy with the finish time. I didn’t feel like I went backwards from the progress I made last week.

After refueling with some Gatorade and bananas I made the trek back to my car where I sat there for a while in silence. The culmination of everything just built up and I got rather emotional. It honestly kind of surprised me, because I don’t easily get emotional — I mean — I do, but it takes me a bit to get to that point. I was just grateful to be able to carry the banner of the team.

So what was assumed to be “just another race” became a race I’ll remember for many reasons. It was an emotional run for me. And, a moment I hope that someone out there that can draw inspiration from to make a change in their own lives. Whether that is moving toward living a life of sobriety — or simply resolving to live life more fully.

The focus now turns to the Saltair Half this upcoming weekend. I don’t have a game plan yet. But, I’d like to get a sub-three time, especially since I won’t be racing the following week due to PrepperCon. But, all of that is secondary, because my focus is on the Salt Flats 50K at the end of the month.

And, I can’t wait.


MY NEXT FIVE RACES


It’s hard to believe this was five years ago today. But, I share this picture every year on this date, because this is what LOVE looks like to me. This was right after my Mom’s double mastectomy and the moment my parents were reunited post surgery on what was their 38th wedding anniversary. What has struck me about this photo is the love in both their eyes. The concern and hope of my father and complete devotion of my mother. I can’t remember what was said, but words can’t convey the whole message being shared. There’s a lot to celebrate today. Not just for my Mom being five years cancer free, but 43 years of marriage for my parents. The decision they made over four decades ago set the tone for our family and the searches all us kids would make in finding a spouse. If I’ve learned anything from my parents’ relationship it’s that no matter what trial is in front of you, it’s tackled together in love, faith and devotion to each other. Which is symbolized so well in this picture.

A post shared by 🔼That’s me. (@josherwalla) on

RACE #144: Riverton Half Marathon; April 8, 2017 (3:05:11) Did you know that on average 144 people lose their lives DAILY to opiate addiction? These are our brothers, sisters, parents, family, friends and neighbors. Utah is no exception to this opidemic. This week, Coach Blu challenged us Addict II Athlete athletes to show these 144 people the lives they’re missing not living a life of sobriety. He wants us flood social media with the hashtag #144 with the moments they’re missing out on in life. It was no coincidence that Coach would ask us this week, the week of my 144th race in my 180 goal. I’ve stopped believing in coincidences with Blu. So I made the decision to dedicate this run to the 144. I wanted to dedicate it to the family and friends I’ve lost to addiction. I wanted to dedicate it to my AIIA family. So I set out to run it in silence. Which I almost did. I muttered a few “thank yous” at aid stations and a couple hellos, but I just kept to myself with my heart and mind on the meaning of this run. The rain was persistent nearly throughout the whole race. I had soggy feet and cold hands. But, I didn’t care. My heart and mind took my attention elsewhere. It was a very emotional run for me. Especially as neared the finish line. I kept repeating in my head, “You are a Warrior! You have erased and replaced your addictions. Your mess is message.” All mottos of the AIIA team. After crossing the finish line and grabbing a few bananas, I just sat in my car for a while and kind of wept. It was a lot of emotion to process for me. I want this run — and my journey — to hopefully be a beacon for someone, anyone, to have the courage to take that first step toward a better life. That’s one reason why I share so much of my journey on my blog and social media. I know if I can do hard and difficult things like 50 milers and Marathons — others do hard and difficult things too. And, sometimes it takes someone else sharing their light to ignite that spark. If you struggle with addiction and you need help … REACH OUT! Life is too beautiful to let it pass by. #race144 #rivertonhalf #running @fight4phat @joshruns180 @josherwalla @addicttoathlete

A post shared by Josh Runs 180 (@joshruns180) on

Kids are exhausting. Cute. But, exhausting.

A post shared by 🔼That’s me. (@josherwalla) on

If you’re a model, would you put this in your portfolio?

A post shared by 🔼That’s me. (@josherwalla) on

People sometimes worry about me being single and all. But, they needn’t worry about me … I get plenty of dates.

A post shared by 🔼That’s me. (@josherwalla) on


Weekly Review

Last weekend at the tail end of my race down Emigration Canyon I rolled my ankle and sprained fairly good. Not fun at all. I did a couple slow runs mid-week to help straighten things out, but it was pretty sore the whole week. Not what I wanted or expected for my training.

And, I won’t lie, it’s been a frustrating month of ups and downs for my runs. If it’s not my ankle, it’s my back or this week — oral surgery. I’m having a root canal on Wednesday, so I am not sure what to expect from my running this week? I have a race on Saturday, but I’d like to get a run or two in before then.

Ugh. I just need to have patience that it’ll all work out. But, I’m getting a little anxious with my 50K coming up at the end of the month.

Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 4.0 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 21.32 miles
TOTAL MILES — 38.42 miles
Race(s) this week — Riverton Half.

April 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 4.0 miles
Race Miles — 26.2 miles
Walking Miles — 24.02 miles
TOTAL MILES — 54.22 miles
Races in April — Emigration Canyon Half Marathon, Riverton Half, Saltair Half, Salt Flats 50K and Tulip Festival Half

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 185.75 miles
Race Miles — 122.32 miles
Walking Miles — 349.48 miles
TOTAL MILES — 657.55 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 and Riverton Half.



A post shared by The Runcast (@theruncast) on

My Improvised Liberty Park Run

My Grandma had a saying whenever she had to do something she didn’t really want to do. She’d exasperate, “you gotta do what’cha gotta do, when gotta do it!” And, she’d usually follow that up with, “well Josher, you can’t win them all!”

You could pretty much sum up my Saturday long run with those words.

This weekend has been on my calendar for a loooooong run. Initially, I wanted to do a self-supported ultra run — 50 miles to be exact. I wanted to run from the State Capital in Salt Lake City to the Provo Towne Center. It’s a run that’s on my Honey Bucket List — and I WILL do it one day.

But, I decided against for a number of reasons — the main reason being my back, but also I liked the idea of doing it on a looped course, like my last ultra, so that I could have an aid station every 2-3 miles or so. I decided to do 50 miles at Liberty Park where I could have an aid station and/or 7 Eleven every mile and a half or so.

After that decision the plan went from 50 miles to 50K to 20 miles before deciding that a canyon run sound better, so I organized a group run down Emigration Canyon to Liberty Park. That run is about 13 miles from the Little Mountain summit and one I used to do quite a bit a few years ago. And, even though I am running the Emigration Canyon Half Marathon next week — I love the canyon enough that I knew I wouldn’t get sick of it come next week.

A post shared by (phat) josh (@fit.phat) on

I had a good 8-9 people committed to the run, but come Friday night that number started dwindling. Part of that reason was the forecast, but others opted to stay home or get a bit more sleep — which I don’t fault or am upset about it. I get it — I’ve done it too.

So, come Saturday morning, when my friend Laura and I were the only ones to show — I knew I wasn’t going to be running down Emigration Canyon. Which I was fine with, so I just decided to just run Liberty Park. Laura had done 16 miles the previous day so she decided to just go home.

After talking for a while with Laura, I decided to get going on my run. And, I won’t lie — I really wasn’t feeling it. Especially with having planned to run 13-16 miles for the day. But, as much as I don’t mind running Liberty Park, I had my mind set on doing at least 13 of those miles down a canyon.

So, I tried to talk myself into my run. At first, I tried to justify just doing 8 miles, but after a couple of strong laps, I knew I had a bit more than that in me — so I fixed my mind on 10 miles. And, for most of my run I just planned on 10 miles — which is about 6-7 laps around the park.

And, for as much as I wasn’t feeling my run, I did feel rather strong. I alternated my laps with a running lap and a fartleked lap (walk, run, walk, run about every third or fourth of a mile … ish) and just got into a good groove. I just focused on losing myself into my music and thought.

A post shared by (phat) josh (@fit.phat) on

Well, I guess I got lost pretty good because I lost track of my laps and ended up doing an extra one. I ran to my car THINKING I just finished running 10 miles, but when I looked at my watch I noticed it said 11.5 miles. I laughed at this realization and then just thought to myself — I got one more lap in me.

So, I beasted out one more lap.

At this point it was raining pretty strong. But, I was already wet, so it wasn’t going to matter anyways — so I just cranked up my music (R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly” which had been on repeat for about 3-4 miles) and went for an even 13 miles. But, of course I ended up doing laps around the parking lot to get 13.1 miles.

I did briefly entertain the thought of doing another lap, but I knew if I did that, then I’d have to do another to even it to 16 miles — and I was actually getting a little tired. But, mostly hungry — and no thanks to me craving burritos for most of my run. So, I just decided to stop.

After sitting in the car to warm up a bit my hunger grew strong — especially for tacos or a burrito. So, I decided to trek over to the Sears Burrito for lunch. It’s been a looooong time since I’ve eaten at the Tacos Don Rafas stand and I just wanted/needed it in my life at that moment.

I was wavering between getting corn tortilla tacos or a burrito, because of the gluten in the flour tortilla. But, I made the decision for the heftier burrito justifying that I SHOULD be okay this once — especially if I didn’t get sour cream or cheese on it.

Anyways, long story short — I was wrong. But, at least it didn’t stop me from enjoying it in the moment. But, I paid for the flour tortilla later. Not fun — and a lesson learned.

But, all in all — I feel good about the run. It was tough to mentally get into it, but I eventually got into it. I didn’t let the rain mentally destroy me and I forged through it for a rewarding 13 miles.

A good way to go into my race next weekend. I’m looking forward to a solid week of running and workouts now that I have my back in a place where I want/need it. And, I feel confident breaking through with a solid sub-three during the race.

And, at least I know I’ll be running Emigration Canyon next week. No plan B — and no burrito.


Weekly Review

It was another tough week for me. I got in some miles during the week, but I wouldn’t call them good or what I planned on — but I still got about 17 miles in and I am good with that right now. My SI joint flared up again and made walking just painful for a few days. I’ve been doing a lot of stretching to avoid the flare ups, but when it happens — it happens.

I really should get into a chiropractor, but I won’t lie — I’m a bit too cheap for that. It’s usually my last resort. So, I did the next best thing and found some tutorials on YouTube on how to align your SI joint by yourself. And, you know what — it works! I haven’t had any stiffness the past couple of days. Truly magical.

Anyways — I want to go into next week’s race feeling prepared with a few strong runs in me next week. I feel that’s possible and I am ready for them. I want to gain some speed back. I just need to be a patient young grasshopper.

Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 17.6 miles
Race Miles — 0.0 miles
Walking Miles — 22.34 miles
TOTAL MILES — 39.94 miles
Race(s) this week — None.

March 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 38.1 miles
Race Miles — 26.2 miles
Walking Miles — 89.05 miles
TOTAL MILES — 153.35 miles
Races in March — March Madness Half and Lucky 13 Half Marathon.

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 174.75 miles
Race Miles — 96.12 miles
Walking Miles — 303.99 miles
TOTAL MILES — 574.86 miles
Races done in 2017 — New Year’s Half Marathon, Sweethearts 5K, Jackpot Running Festival, SL Tri Club Indoor Half, March Madness Half and Lucky 13 Half Marathon.


Obligatory singing and lighting of the cake (with a side of 'keep Thalia from touching the flame'). #thaliaturns1

A post shared by ⬆️That's me. (@josherwalla) on

Pinterest has got nothing on me! #thaliaturns1 #pinterestfail

A post shared by ⬆️That's me. (@josherwalla) on

Made a new friend today. His name is Cosmo, but I changed it to Humpy. #emsizzlesinto30 #realcamelsdontsmoke

A post shared by ⬆️That's me. (@josherwalla) on

Running 13 miles in the rain earns you a burrito from Tacos Don Rafa. It's like a rule or something … #irun4burritos

A post shared by ⬆️That's me. (@josherwalla) on

This kid melts my heart! I can't help it that he picked me as his favorite uncle. #chubbingtatum #prouduncle

A post shared by ⬆️That's me. (@josherwalla) on

So, putting socks on my nephew's hands isn't a good idea. Kinda like taping a cat's paws. #nobueno #chubbingtatum

A post shared by ⬆️That's me. (@josherwalla) on

Brace yourself, the poop trees are back. 💩🌳🤢 #gagme

A post shared by ⬆️That's me. (@josherwalla) on


CAMELBACK FRIDAY

On Friday night my friend Emily celebrated her 30th birthday with (what will hopefully become a tradition) riding camels! Here is a little video she made of the adventure. I won’t lie … I want a camel now. Anyone want to buy one for me?


A post shared by The Runcast (@theruncast) on

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 #140: Salt Lake Tri Club Indoor Half Marathon

Going into this race, I really didn’t know what to expect coming off my ultra the week prior. Well, okay that’s not entirely true. I knew it was going to suck and that there was a 95% chance that it’d hurt.

And — well — I was right.

It was tough. It was doable. But, it was tough.

A post shared by (phat) josh (@fit.phat) on

I also came in dead last, which really didn’t surprise me. This was a small, small race and done in junction with a triathlon as well. I am not sure how many runners did just the half marathon, but I’d estimate MAYBE 50?

Either way, I wasn’t coming into this race looking to hit a certain mileage, I just wanted to finish — and then of course my usual goals of not dying, pooping my pants and uncontrollably crying (also known as “losing my shiz”) half way through the race. I really just wanted to finish and hopefully not have my legs kill too much afterwards.

When I got to the Oval my friend Jim was there already putting miles in for his marathon training. He’s training for the LA Marathon so he’s got plenty of looooooong runs needing to be done. It was nice having him around because he’s always a great conversationalist and when I’m hurting I need a conversation to keep me distracted form the pain.

The race started at 8am — along with a number of pacers. Something I had a hard time wrapping my head around because they were all just running around in circles. I kept up with the 2:45 pacers for a few laps, but I’m not really sure I was on their lap? And, then I followed the 3:00 pacers before doing another lap with the 2:45 pacers — all while having brief conversations with the 2:30 and faster pacers. I lost track of where I was and just counted laps.

But, it was nice because a number of my friends were pacing it. And, apparently after talking to a couple of them, they all came in on time. Which seemed somewhat impossible to me as an observer. LOL!

The last 15-20 laps I was joined periodically by Jim, but also my friend Chad. I was grateful to have both there, because at this time I was really hurting. I needed 47 laps for the race, but when I hit the half way mark I needed to recalibrate. And, having Chad and Jim there really helped A LOT.

A post shared by (phat) josh (@fit.phat) on

I focused on my walk:run lap ratio — walked one, ran three — and just distracting myself with conversation. It’s really a tactic I’ve learned in my ultra running, especially in my training at the Oval and at the race last week. I really dumb down the running and just focus on the basics. Forget about the pace or speed — essentially, I just run … stupid.

So, I ran stupid.

And, I did it.

Like I said, it was tough. Even right now as I am typing this my feet and legs hurt. They’re pretty sore. But, I did it. And, that’s all that matters.

(NOTE: I was informed that I wasn’t the LAST runner in the half marathon. Whoever it was — ROCK ON!)


MY NEXT FIVE RACES


So does your office stapler look like Robocop? Didn’t think so. #robocopstapler

A post shared by ⬆️That’s me. (@josherwalla) on


RUNNING MILES

112.15 miles

RACE MILES

69.92 miles

WALKING MILES

142.03 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

325.1 miles



A post shared by The Runcast (@theruncast) on

Figuring this Hashimoto’s thing out …

It’s been an interesting couple of weeks for me. Besides figuring out this whole Hashimoto’s Disease out — I’ve been dealing with a beastly bout of bronchitis. I feel lucky it hasn’t been the flu, but that hasn’t stopped the fatigue of restless nights from coughing up a lung and a half.

I thought I was turning a corner after sleeping most all day on Sunday, but I ended up coughing all night Monday night and skipped work. It’s been frustrating, because I’ve wanted to get into a good rhythm with my workouts and runs. But, I don’t have the stamina or lungs for it — yet. And, I just need to be patient.

But, while I’m somewhat impatient to get back into my groove — I’ve really been focused on the adoption of my gluten and dairy free diet. It’s been tough. I won’t lie. I haven’t been as aware of labels and food content under any diet. But, this isn’t just a diet — this is my new lifestyle.

I wouldn’t say I have a specific diet down at this moment. To be honest with you I’m kind of trying things out to see what works best for me. I’ve been trying gluten-free breads and other foods to kind of see what I like. And, I won’t lie — not a huge fan of gluten-free bread — or at least what I’ve tried.

I’ve been sticking to a lot of what I ate while doing Whole 30 — and I think that’s where my focus will be mostly on my diet. Meaning, a lot of salad, steak and sweet potatoes — not to mention fresh fruit and veggies.

But, for now, I really want to see what I like and don’t like within the realm of gluten and dairy free foods.

One of the biggest omissions in this new lifestyle is that of cheese. I love cheese. I love it. And, I miss it. I’ve had some tips on vegan cheese that’s a good substitute. I haven’t tried those yet — but, I am sure I will get around to it. Especially when it comes to nachos.

Anyways — this is transition isn’t easy,

But, this week being sick and not able to get a whole blown workout regime in, I’ve had to focus on my diet. Which I think is a blessing in disguise, because focusing on just the food has helped me kind of further — process — what I am going through. Mainly, that this is a new lifestyle and my decision for food need to be precise.

Plus, I need to find that rhythm that works for me and I think I am getting that down a bit better. Not to mention changing my thought process so I’m not focusing on what I CAN’T eat and what I can or should so I can feel better.

I guess in a way, I’m approaching this like any other race or new distance. I’m starting it in slowly — learning, experimenting and doing — while mentally and physically preparing myself for the long haul. While there is no finish line to all of this, the mentality and approach is the same. This journey just happens to be longer than any race I’ve run before.

Anyways — I’ll keep updating you on all of this throughout the next few weeks and months. But, while my focus has been acclimating myself to the new diet, I’m also focusing on my training and fitness. I’ve got a few looooong runs and races coming up that I want/need to be ready to tackle.

This weekend I am running the Olympic Oval for 5-6 hours, hoping to get in a good 20-25 miles. I have the Jackpot Running Festival in about a month I want to get a couple more looooong runs in before I tackle the 12 hour race. And, since you won’t find me running outside right now with the air and weather — I’m taking it inside.

There is a group of runners meeting tomorrow morning at the Oval at 6am and — well — just running. We’re running circles around the ice sheet. It should be a lot of fun. There is quite a group gathering that should make it fun. It won’t be as big as the New Year’s Run Resolution, but it’ll be a party.

Besides Jackpot, I also have my self-supported 50 miler in March and the Salt Flats 50K in April. So, I’ve got some training to do. And, not that I am getting past this stupid cold and bronchitis — I’m feeling up for the challenge. Not to mention now that I am fueling myself even better.

LET’S DO THIS THING!

A photo posted by The Runcast (@theruncast) on

Goals for tomorrow’s 50K …

So as some of you may know — I’m running the Antelope Island Classic 50K tomorrow morning — well, okay, all day. Let’s be honest here, it’ll probably take me the full 10 hours like last year. But, that’s beside the point.

This is my third ultra in the past year. In fact this race was my first ultra marathon — unless you count the Utah Valley Marathon in 2014 where I got lost. But, again — I digress. And, after running my first 50 miler a couple weekends okay, I feel fairly versed in the ultrarunning universe (which should read — total rookie).

But, I know what to expect and what not to expect. Especially with this race. For one, it’ll be no walk in the park — though I’ll be mostly walking … in … a state park. And, these beasts are nothing like marathons. I mean what marathon gives you salted potatoes, potato chips, M&M’s and everything not found a whole food diet at every aid station? (this is why I love ultras … taps into my inner fat kid).

I was initially going to run the half marathon, but after my 50 miler and getting the itch for distance I decided to up my registration to the 50K. Having ran this course last year gave me the confidence to know that I could do it again. Being 25-30lbs. lighter also helps. But, just knowing the course and knowing where I can push or hold back helps a lot.

So here I am on the brink of running ultra #3 — and I can’t be any more excited about it.

Like my marathons, I don’t have a time goal for my ultras. Well, I guess I do — my time goal is to finish and not be swept off the course. I came close last year on this course. But, that didn’t defer me from doing this again — because as I mentioned before, knowing the course and being lighter than last year helps.

But, I do goals for my race tomorrow and when I cross the finish line tomorrow afternoon I want to be able to look back and not only be satisfied with another ultra finish, but knowing that I met these goals as well …

Don’t Poop My Pants

c_fitfl_progressiveq_80w_636

You’re probably laughing at this being on my list, but really, honestly, no joking — this is my goal for any run. Not just race, but run. The worst thing I can think happening to myself out on a run is pooping my pants. Especially, if I couldn’t tell I had, but everyone else around me could. And, I’d like to think that I am not the only runner who has this worry and goal.

When I ran my 50 miler a couple weeks ago this was a BIG worry for me. Forget about the miles of death I experienced late in my race, I was more worried about my bathroom situation, because the only port-a-potties were 50 miles apart. Yep — at the starting and finish line.

And, of course I had to use it about four miles into my race. Luckily for me it was still dark so I walked far out into the desert pretending to admire the scenery before doing my morning squats before burying it like a cat in a litterbox. Luckily, all went well and that was the only time I had to “take care of business” because it was a big deal for me.

Yet, that’s really the only time I’ve gone outside of port-a-potty during the middle of a run. And, with me running more trails I know it won’t be the last. But, it still worries the heck out of me. The whole idea of using it roadside with the full moon out worries me. But, there’s no modesty in ultrarunning and I have to remember that.

So, yeah, don’t poop my pants.

Don’t Flirt with Cut-off Times

clocks-1098080_960_720

Last year when I ran this race with Tim we came UBER close to 2 of the 3 cutoff times. We were slowed down a bit by an injury which made us a bit slower. To make sure we got the last cutoff we had to book it the 2-3 miles between the two aid-stations. It wasn’t fun at mile 23-25 after having ran all day.

So, my goal is to not even flirt with them this year. I am not TOO worried about getting as close as last year, but I want to stay mindful of them — especially as I am “running” the hills between miles 11-14. That will be my slowest miles for sure.

But, the plan is once I get to the mile 14 aid station I’ll pick up the pace as I descend down the mountain and towards the ranch. That stretch we walked and killed our time. That should put me in a good position to cut off a hour or so from last year’s time.

But, just being used to the course and being lighter than last year will help. I just don’t want the time to have such a daunting presence as it was last year. I want to enjoy the scenery and time out on the trails.

Don’t Get Friendly with Earl

bison14

The picture above is from a few years back at this race. And, if you’re wondering what that buffalo (nicknamed affectionately Earl) is doing — he is pinning a man (who got too close to Earl) against the fence. And, surprisingly, the man came away unscathed (except from probably his underwear).

Anyways — I’m kinda surprised I still picked to make this my first ultra after seeing this. Especially considering I have problems when I see lawn furniture that might look like deer. I have a slight fear of hooved animals — especially when it comes to deer, moose, elk and anything that pretends to be cuddly and lovable when it’s obvious it has alternative motives.

I haven’t had many encounters with buffalo — outside of Yellowstone from the safety of my car, but I’ve kinda clumped them into that same category. .I just don’t want to run into one unexpectedly — anywhere — whether it’s on this run or in life.

Last year I only had one run in with a buffalo that made me feel uncomfortable. It was in the last two miles of the race and this dang buffalo defiantly stood on the trail I had to pass. I stood there not knowing what to do and the buffalo stood there like a jerk knowing I didn’t know what to do.

Then a runner behind us starting flailing their hands and making a lot of noise — at first to my horror — but, then I saw the buffalo simply move on. He didn’t want any part of this runners mojo and he moved on. The runner explained to Tim and I that they’re like cattle and as long as you aren’t threatening them and make noise they’ll move on.

Duly noted.

Now, does that make me a buffalo whisperer all of the sudden? Hell no. Am I still worried about buffalo? Hell yes. If I encounter a cranky buffalo during my race I’ll try that runner’s approach, but I am not sure how much confidence I have in it?

If it doesn’t budge I am not sure exactly what to do next? Do I ask it nicely to move? Do I put on some Celine Dion to get it to move on (I know that would work for me)?

The simple answer is probably finding a roundabout route. But, I’m also praying it never comes to that. I want to enjoy the buffalo — from a distance. And, that’s about it.

Make a new friend out on the trails — but, preferably not with Earl

reesebirthdayrundsc_3216

I hate to put this goal in the same boat as my goal of not pooping my pants, but this is another one of my ‘every run’ goals. I’m just a people person (if you couldn’t tell). I love meeting new people while out on my running adventures. This is one reason why I love pacing and sweeping — you never know who’re going to meet.

I know a few people running the 50K, but they’re pretty much faster than me — which is fine. I don’t hate them for that (I just hate them for getting to the buffalo chili before me). And, since I am doing this race solo — unlike last year, I’m sure what adventure is ahead of me?

I’m coming prepared to jam out by myself with my killer trail running soundtrack, but I’d much prefer not to use that for most of the race. I want to make some new friends, especially with back of the packers (my people). And, hopefully, when I make new friends tomorrow they’re also buffalo whisperers so I don’t have to do that myself.

Whatever the case is, I’d really love to make a new friend or two out thur on the trails. Trails are so much more fun when you’re out there with people you like.

Especially when they’re not afraid of hooved animals.

Have ULTRA amounts of FUN!

10982261_1559637350988586_2361164197534892652_n

No matter the race, distance or pace — my goal is to ALWAYS have the most amount of fun possible. I wouldn’t be running otherwise. Running has been a huge blessing in my life that has brought a lot of joy into — so whether I am out on the roads or trails — I’m going to have fun.

And, tomorrow is no different. I’m going to have a blast out there! I’m going to make new friends, see old friends, conquer hills and put my legs on cruise control enjoying the scenery. Is there anything else I can ask for to make it even more perfect? Not much.

I’m ready for this adventure and challenge ahead of me. I know it won’t be easy, but that’s why I love it. I love the challenge ahead of me and I can’t wait to see what lessons lay ahead. But, you better believe me — I’ll be striving for all of that while aiming to have the most amount of fun possible.

That’s the only way I know how to run.

So there it is, my goals for tomorrow’s race. As I stated above, I am excited for this race. I feel prepared. I feel ready. I feel eager. I just want to get out there and run.

People think I am crazy for doing this … and I won’t correct them, because there is degree of madness involved in ultrarunning. But, there is absolutely nothing better than just BEING in the moment and running something that is beyond comprehension to an older self.

5-6-7 years ago this would be unimaginable.

But, here I am.

And, I’m ready to run!

Come back on Sunday for my race pictures and then next Tuesday or Wednesday I’ll have a detailed race report.

A photo posted by The Runcast (@theruncast) on

RACE #133: Red Rock Relay Park City

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

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

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are my leg reports …

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

leg-1-fw

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

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

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

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

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

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

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

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

Leg 12 of 12 (Guardsman Pass to Homestead Resort)

leg-2-fw

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

Well, I exaggerate … slightly.

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

Again, I exaggerate … slightly.

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

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

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

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

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

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

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

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

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

I have mad respect for Jed.

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

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

And, for that we’re all champions.


12788035_1688827578069562_373889742_n

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

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

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

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


NEXT RACE

134 - pony express trail 50

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

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

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

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


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

A photo posted by @fight4phat on

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

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on


2667in2016

RUNNING MILES

235.5 miles

RACE MILES

302.78 miles

WALKING MILES

1180.97 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

1719.25 miles

MILES TO GOAL

947.75 miles



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