Tag: ryr pacers

RACE #146: Provo City Half Marathon

This past week has been a struggle — to say the least. After getting sick during the Salt Flats 50K last Friday my whole weekend and most of this past week was simply derailed. I’m still not 100%, but I am past the flu and bronchitis and I feel much, much better.

Having DNF’d the Salt Flats 50K and DNS’d the Tulip Festival Half — I was ready for a race success this weekend. Not even a success, just a race. And, this was the perfect rebound race. Especially since I was pacing the 3:35 time (basically the sweeper).

I’ve always enjoyed running the Provo City Half. It’s a fun course that starts at South Fork up Provo Canyon and then drops down to University Blvd. by way of the Provo River Trail. It’s not a super fast canyon race, but it has a good combination of downhill and nice rolling hills.

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I was excited to not just run this course, but to be pacing it with my really good friend Tricia Wilkins. This shouldn’t have been our first foray into pacing. Back in 2014 we were suppose to pace the Thankful 13 together, but we got separated in the corral and lost each other. I tried to catch up as I was pushing Elsha, but we just never did.

So this race was pretty much making up for that failure.

And, it didn’t disappoint. Especially since we were also joined by Tricia’s husband Cory. It was a REAL party now!

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I carpooled down from Bountiful to Provo with Carla and Reese Thorne. It was nice because I got to bypass the bus shuttle up the canyon since Reese has his cart. As much as I enjoy bus shuttles up canyons, I also like avoiding losing an extra hour of sleep — it was nice not having to leave for Provo an hour earlier.

The race start at the South Fork Park up Provo Canyon near Vivian Park — and in year’s past it’s pretty dang cold. So I always come prepared with a fairly heavy and/or layers, but when we got up the canyon I was fairly surprised how warm it was — my jacket was hardly needed. Which is good and bad — bad, meaning, it meant the valley was going to be fairly hot.

But, since I was pacing 3:35 I wasn’t too worried about the heat. Plus, I brought my backpack which still packed from the previous week’s 50K misadventure. I had some water leftover along with bacon jerky, applesauce, Swedish Fish, some Honey Stingers and a first aid kit. So, I was pretty much set for anything between an empty stomach to the apocalypse.

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After the gun sounded and we corralled everyone toward the starting line we made the decent down the canyon. I love the Vivian Park portion of the canyon, especially during the spring — not only is the canyon beautiful, but you also get some great views of Timp as well. It’s gorgeous.

We fartleked down the canyon trying to keep a good pace while trying not to frighten the people ahead of us much. As much as I love sweeping and pacing the last pacing times — I also know how much the people in the back don’t want to see you, especially early in the race. I’ve had a few run ins with runners in the past that came close to cursing me out at miles 2-3 or so. And, I don’t blame them! No one wants to be passed by the sweeper.

After our fartlek down Vivian Park the course took us down the Provo River Trail — which is even prettier than South Fork and Vivian Park. After passing Bridal Veil Falls and switching under the highway we kept the party going with dance parties (Tricia brought Bluetooth speakers), squats and plenty of laughing. It really was a party in the back.

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It was a blast.

Around miles 7-8 the course dumped us onto University Blvd. toward the finish line. I was a bit worried about getting to this point, because I was expecting it to be pretty hot — since it warm up the canyon. But, I was relieved to see cloud cover as a storm was approaching Provo. It didn’t look particularly nasty — so the cloud coverage was welcomed.

As we got closer to the finish line we were joined by the Petrossi’s — Timothee and Jennifer — who planned on grabbing a Slurpee and running in with us. They are both a part of Team Addict II Athlete and it was really touching to have them run with us, because it reminded so much of last year’s Provo City Half when the team ran me in on that same home stretch — because nobody runs alone on Team AIIA.

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At mile 12.5 we hopped off course monetarily and grabbed our Slurpees. Though it wasn’t scorching hot — the Slurpees were manna to my lips — and cooled me down. It was perfect. So, with our Slurpees in hand we headed toward the finish line for our victorious finish picture! And, thanks to Jorge we got some sweet photos!

But, we were done! We did it! We may of been a tad past our pace, but that didn’t matter much. We lingered a bit at the finish line to cheer in some of the runners behind us as we finished the last of our Slurpees.

I just felt great. Having finished the race helped erase a lot of discouragement of my previous week. And, being able to just get out and run was something I couldn’t imagine earlier in the week after overcoming the flu and bronchitis.

My only regret was that my ankle was pretty sore, but that was my own fault — as I realized afterward I forgot to wear my sports brace. But, after icing it throughout the weekend I should be okay. But, it is one of the reasons why I planned on backing out of the Ogden Marathon distance. That foot on pavement for 26.2 miles would just be too much.

Anyways — my next race isn’t until Memorial Day weekend at the Jordan River Half Marathon. I’m planning on getting some good running in, but at the same time I am taking it easy to let my body and ankle heal a bit. It needs it, because I feel it.

But, this race was a victory and such a fun memory I will remember among my 180 journey.


MY NEXT FIVE RACES


Everyone needs a Dave in their life. This past week has been pretty stressful. Between overcoming the flu and bronchitis while juggling two jobs, it’s been a tough and stressful week. Tonight after work my plan was to dive head first into some pending projects I need done by Monday, but that kind of got derailed when I got a call from Dave asking to hang out because his Mom wasn’t home. I had a million reasons to say no, but I just couldn’t decline his request. I knew he didn’t want to be alone. So I told him he could come over and watch some basketball while I worked on my computer. When he got to our house he told me how he felt sad for his Mom and how she wasn’t having a very good week. He then told me that he wanted to cheer her up and wanted to go get flowers for her. I knew this meant I wasn’t going to be spending much of the evening at home as planned, so I hopped in the car and headed to the store with Dave. My heart melted watching Dave pick out some flowers, chocolates and a card for his Mom. The love and admiration he has for her is truly special. And, as I stood next to him as he was making these choices, I just couldn’t help but recognize that I needed this pause. I needed this reminder of what life is about. Dave has provided many of these kind of moments during our friendship. I don’t know how I got so lucky to call him “friend,” but I truly cherish his friendship. And, I am truly grateful for these many little lessons and reminders he teaches me.

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RACE #146: Provo City Half Marathon (3:35) After the previous weekend’s debacle of DNFs and DNSs and subsequent illness, this was a nice rebound race. I paced 3:35 alongside Tricia and her husband … we were essentially “the sweepers.” But, we had a blast! We had dance parties, made new friends, grabbed Slurpees at Mile 12.5 and made sure there was a party in the back! I wasn’t 100% with my lingering cough and ankle, but the situation was perfect where those weren’t a factor. I’m taking a little more time off to rest my sprained ankle. But, come later this month I should be ready for the Jordan River Half on the 27th. But, I’m still enjoying this moment and race and being able to party on with my dear friends throughout the 13.1 miles! Such a fun time! #provocityhalf #race146 #running @joshruns180 @fight4phat @josherwalla @myracemedals @ryrpacers @run13utah

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Newborns always make the best drunk faces.

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I always love a good graduation ceremony, but I won’t lie … five minutes into it, I’m ready for it to be over.

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Somebody’s feeling pretty.

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Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 5.5 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 19.47 miles
TOTAL MILES — 38.07 miles
Race(s) this week — Provo City Half Marathon

May 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 5.5 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 19.47 miles
TOTAL MILES — 38.07 miles
Races in May — Provo City Half Marathon and Jordan River Half Marathon.

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 210.75 miles
Race Miles — 164.52 miles
Walking Miles — 439.88 miles
TOTAL MILES — 815.15 miles
Races done in 2017 — New Year’s Half Marathon, Sweethearts 5K, Jackpot Running Festival, SL Tri Club Indoor Half, March Madness Half, Lucky 13 Half Marathon, Emigration Canyon Half Marathon, Riverton Half, Saltair Half and Provo City Half Marathon.


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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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



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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

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RACE #130: Revel Big Cottonwood Marathon

Marathons are tough. They’re such a different beast compared to other distances. That’s why I’m in awe of those who can go out there and do one every weekend. I do one and it just takes everything — and I mean EVERYTHING — out of me. But, oh how I love them.

I remember when I sign up for my first marathon (July 2012) I thought it was going to be my first and only. Then I got into the St. George Marathon via the lottery. Then, I signed up for the inaugural Revel Big Cottonwood Marathon because I wanted to qualify as a Marathon Maniac. And, by the end of the 2012, I was a three-time marathoner. Trust me when I say — I didn’t expect that going into the year.

It took me another year to run my next marathon. But, I spent 2013 just running half marathons and working on my speed. Which isn’t a bad thing. I just needed a break and I wanted to focus my goals elsewhere.

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After running three marathons in 2014, I would have spent 2015 and probably this year just doing half marathons, but my goals have gone beyond the marathon. First with becoming an ultra marathoner last year after tackling a 50K and then this year training for my first 50 miler. I’ve used my marathons the past two years basically as training runs for my ultras. How many runners can say they get a fully supported training run with a medal and shirt to boot?

The past couple of years I have swept the Revel BC Marathon to aid my ultra training. Sweeping a marathon is excellent ultra training, mainly because you’re on your feet for hours! Last year I finished in 6:45 hours or so. And, I was expecting about the same again this year.

It’s a tough course to sweep because for more than half of the marathon you just want to fly down the canyon and then in the second half you just want to be at the finish line. But, for as long as you’re out there on the course you’re beyond supported by the race. Revel is truly a top notch organization. Whether it’s the support van or volunteers cheering on the last few of us runners — they do it right. That’s one of the reasons why I wanted to come back and sweep the course again.

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Well, there are many reasons beyond the organization and training miles. There’s the whole canyon, the downhill course and numerous friends running it as well. I’ve fallen in love with this marathon since it’s inaugural race and never plan on missing it because of all those factors. In fact, this is their fifth year and I got a special mug for being a “Legacy Runner!”

And, that’s something I am very proud of — not just in the title itself, but what it means to be able to run all five years. That’s a lot of training and effort. I’ve run four of the Revel BC marathons and one half and each race means a lot to me, because I’ve had some remarkable moments at this race. None other greater than running with Jill during her first marathon back in 2014. That moment still brings a tear to my eye.

So being a Legacy Runner means a lot more than a mug and special bib to me. It’s about the training, effort and memories I’ve had with this canyon and race since 2012. This race and canyon inspires — and that’s why it’ll ALWAYS be on my race schedule.

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But, anyways — to the race.

On Friday evening I met up with Jill and Mark to met up with some friends from New Hampshire for a pre-race dinner. They flew in for the race to not just run it, but to FINALLY meet us in person. We’ve been Facebook friends for quite a while, but just never met in person yet. I’m glad we changed that, because David, Stephen and Nicole were everything we expected … and more. It was a great evening.

I carpooled down to the marathon with Tim the morning of the race. It was an early wake up call — 2:30am is just so ungodly. But, I got some caffeine down me and was ready to go. I didn’t have a lot of nerves building up to gun time, because I knew what to expect. I knew it was going to be a long day. I knew I was going to hurt. I knew I was probably going to get some kind of awkward sunburn.

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But, I looked forward to everything else. The time spent with my sweeping partner Chanda, the time spent with once strangers and many other adventures. That’s the beauty of not just sweeping, but running. No matter how familiar the course may be — the journey is unknown until you trek it.

After waiting for most of the runners to cross the starting line so we could use the bathroom without a line, Chanda and I started off the race meandering down the canyon looking for some blankets to keep up warm. Guardsman Pass is pretty chilly and we were frozen so the discarded blankets were a nice gift for a couple of miles.

We didn’t really run into other runners until about mile four as we looped around Solitude before making the long descent down the canyon. That’s when I met Natasha — she was running her first (and she claims only — I still don’t believe her) marathon. We started talking and we ended up running most of the race together.

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A little further down the canyon — we ran into my friend Nick and he joined our party as well. We had quite the party going on. We had a few marathoners that came and went, while others stuck with us throughout most of the race. And, we had a blast.

About half way through the canyon I (FINALLY) got to meet Larry Macon — one of the many legendary Marathon Maniacs. He was running his 1757th marathon that day. Yes, you heard that right — 1 – 7 – 5 – 7. Amazing. And, such a humble guy about it too. Larry and I talked for a quite a while about our journeys and love for running. We talked about the places you’ll go when you just focus on putting one foot in front of the other.

I could probably write a book about the depth and conversation that Larry and I had during the race.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

During our run down the canyon, Chanda and I focused on not just bringing everyone along the course, but getting us to the mouth of the canyon. There was a four hour cut off before the support van would pick you up and drop you off at the mouth of the canyon or wherever us sweepers were.

I wanted to avoid that as much as possible and for the most part we kept everyone out on the course. We had to maintain a 13 minute mile to hit the cut off time at Mile 18 — where the mouth of the canyon was. Once we got out of the canyon it was basically home free. We still tried to maintain a 13 minute mile so all our aid stations were supported, but the goal was to just get everyone to the finish line at that point.

The hardest part of the marathon is definitely the four-mile out and back right after you exit the canyon. You’re on cloud nine at that point after 18 beautiful canyon miles — and then — it’s flat with hardly any shade. It’s tough, I won’t lie. And, not only that, you confront the “Mile 20 Wall” on that stretch as well. It seems like everyone ahead of you on that stretch of road is going in slow motion.

I’ve really learned to hate that out and back.

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But, once you head back towards the mouth of the canyon around Mile 22 hope is regained as you know you’re on the home stretch. And, like I’ve done in year’s past — I once again stopped for a Mile 23 Slurpee at the 7 Eleven on Ft. Union and Wasatch. It is seriously the best decision to make at that point not only in the race, but in life. The Slurpees gives you a jolt of energy and cools down the core to make the last three miles bearable — and give you a second wind.

After getting my Slurpee and a few ice cold waters for some of the other runners — the race started pulling on course support. I knew it was coming and that’s one reason I bought the waters (along with bringing some with me in my backpack) so I wasn’t too worried. Plus, there were plenty of other gas stations along the way — if things got dire. We just had to stick to the sidewalk.

During the last couple of miles, Chanda and I were joined by three others. I took one group ahead while Chanda walked in with the last marathoner. They were starting to tear things down, but thankfully kept the finish line up until Chanda came in with the last runner. A great sign that Revel is ran by runners. They understand the importance of the finish line.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

Even though we were the last runners to cross the finish line, all of the volunteers stopped working on what they were doing and greeted us enthusiastically at the finish line. This sweet volunteer who handed out the medals made me laugh when she asked me if I did the marathon or half marathon. I wasn’t sure if she was joking, so I just jokingly replied — “I sure hope it was the marathon!”

It made her laugh.

I didn’t get much time for the accomplishment to sink in before I hurriedly went on the search for my drop bag. I stayed long enough to share sweaty hugs with the finishers and Chanda before beelining it to the car. It was nearly 2pm and we had a 3pm flight to catch to Jackson Hole for dinner with some friends. So it was mad dash to shower, eat and recoup.

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But, on the plane ride to Jackson everything started to sink in. Not just the soreness in the leg, but what I had accomplished and those I helped accomplish. Marathons are not easy regardless of your pace. And, one could argue that a 7 hour marathon is a different kind of tough — not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually.

Marathons require a lot from you — and repeatedly so. There are many walls to break through, many mind games to be played to keep you going and a lot of faith to just put one foot in front of the other. I am proud of everyone who sets out to tackle the distance, because you’re never the same person when you stand at that finish line.

Not only did I come away with these lessons last Saturday, but I came away from the race with a renewed excitement for my 50 miler. I know it’s going to be hard. I know it’s going to be exhausting — both physically and emotionally. But, I also know I have the capability to dig deep and keep moving forward.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

I wish I could jump on that trail now and tackle those 50 miles — but, I still have plenty of training miles ahead of me. I’ve got my marathon in Huntsville this weekend and then of course the St. George Marathon in a couple of weeks. And, let’s not forget the Red Rock Relay, Frightmares 5K and the AIIA Team Relay as well.

I am hoping to come away from each those races and experiences with similar lessons from Saturday’s marathon. I am sure I will. Especially if I keep my eye open for them, I’ll find them.

I just got to keep moving forward.


131 - huntsville marathon

In preparation for my 50 miler, I decided to sign up for the Huntsville Marathon a week after the Revel BC Marathon. I’ve never done two marathons within 7 days of each other. I’ve done two in 14 days (Revel Big Cottonwood and St. George in 2012) and that was stupid. So two in 7 days? I’m going to be hurting.

But, that’s the point. I’ve got to get used to the fatigue — and push through it. Going through fatigue training and just being on my feet is some of the best training I can do for my 50 miler. So that’s why I’m doing Huntsville this weekend.

I am kind of excited about this course. It’s a fast course and pretty much downhill the whole 26.2 miles. That will keep me going in the later miles. Yet, another reason why I chose to run Huntsville. You’ve got to love a course that allows gravity to help you along the way.

My original game plan was to go out on a half marathon pace for the first 13.1 miles to beat up my legs for the second half. But, I think I might change that? After my race weekend I felt the need to just bust out. But, since I was pacing and sweeping the course I had to restrain. I want to test myself and just let go and run.

But, I’m not sure if that’s a good decision or not? Either way, it’ll be tough and some great training in preparation for this 50. And, if all else fails I’ll just focus on getting one foot in front of the other. And, that should make St. George a lot of fun if that’s the case.

Isn’t running such a great adventure?!

PONY EXPRESS OR BUST, BABY!!!

132 - st george marathon 133 - park city red rock relay 134 - pony express trail 50


2667in2016

RUNNING MILES

223.0 miles

RACE MILES

235.3 miles

WALKING MILES

1069.83 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

1528.13 miles

MILES TO GOAL

1138.87 miles


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This is an awesome episode of Addict II Athlete’s podcast. We’ve heard Coach Blu interview a lot of the athletes, but he’s turned the mic around and is sharing story. Amazing, amazing, amazing.

One of the reasons why Coach Blu can reach and touch so many lives is because he can offer something very people can offer — empathy.

Don’t skip this episode of AIIA — trust me. Give it a listen …


Sweeping the @runrevel BC course. Not an easy task! Sure, it’s a party. But, we had to make sure we hit our pace in the 18 canyon miles, but then bringing everyone in between miles 18-26.2. It’s extra important to me that everyone finishes, especially when it’s a marathon. Many times I’m running with newbies and the last thing they should feel is discouraged because they’re one of the last to finish. Marathons are tough! They’re tough! And, I love watching then finish what they started. It inspires me. But, you never know who you’re going to meet, who you’re going to inspire and more importantly … who’s going to inspire you! It’s hard to say no to sweeping a marathon course, because it’s life changing. I know that sounds cliche, but it’s truth. You get to know a lot, about a lot of people, you get the opportunity to help many achieve unrealized dreams and you get share your love for running. See, that’s why sweeping a marathon is a misnomer. It’s not a walk in the park. It’s still 26.2 miles and it’s still work, but … SO REWARDING! #race130 #runrevel #bigcottonwood #running #pacing #sweeping #runyourpace #ryrpacers #fitness #runspiration #goals #health @josherwalla @joshruns180 @runrevel

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Josher, you just ran 26.2 miles, what are you doing next? I’M GOING TO JACKSON HOLE! #jacksonholebound

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That’s either a forest fire or the world’s largest smoke signal. Someone call Guinness. #jacksonholebound

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

My two loves got married. Candy + Bacon. #alwaysandforever #candybacon

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After yesterday’s marathon this is basically “The Stairway to Hell” #ispeakonlytruth

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on



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#FitnessFriday: GOING BIG!

I was kinda debating if I was going to blog today. I won’t lie — after Labor Day I just kinda stopped. Sure, I had two posts. But, one was my vacation pictures and the other was an update 2017 race schedule. Nothing that really constitutes a true blog entry.

Anyways — I’ll just say that the lack of posts is because I was on blogcation. Yes, that sounds good. But, really, it was. I had the chance to spend some quality time with family, doing a little running and prepare myself more mentally for this upcoming month of marathons.

I did a little running this week, but pretty much kept it low because I am a bit nervous overdoing it before the marathon, especially considering I have the Huntsville Marathon (aka The Full Monte) next week. I’ll probably do a shake out run next Tuesday or Wednesday, but focus just walking throughout the week in preparation for The Full Monte.

We’ll see. Really depends on how I feel come tomorrow, Sunday and probably most all of Monday as well. But, the fact I am sweeping the course helps. I do have to maintain a 15 minute mile coming down the canyon — which is doable — but, other than that, it’s just being as fast as the slowest runner.

But, with this 50 mile training most of it is just accustoming myself to being on my feet for a loooong time. And, sweeping will do that for you. It’s great preparation. I swept the Big Cottonwood Marathon last year to help prep me for the Antelope Island 50K for that very reason. I am expect being anywhere between 6:30-7 hours on my feet tomorrow. It’s not easy. But, it’s sure fun.

And, if I am feeling extra adventurous I might try to mow the lawn which is another hour. But, that just seems like too much cruelty to put my body through. Which means — I probably should do it. Besides the lawn is looking a bit shaggy.

Luckily, I am not sweeping the course alone. This year I am running with my friend Chanda along with the support vehicle the race provides — which is mainly for injured runners, etc. It should be a party. But, like I said, we just have to make sure to get everyone down the canyon on time or that support vehicle will sweep them off the course. Something every runner wants to avoid.

But, anyways — I can’t wait! I am pumped! Besides seeing all of my usual running friends, I get to FINALLY meet one of my friends from the far away land known as New Hampshire. He flew in to run the half marathon with Jill and Tim. If I wasn’t using this race as a training run, I totally would have joined them. I am pretty jealous, because that might be the party of the year, right there.

Anyways — 26.2 TOMORROW! 26.2 NEXT WEEK! 26.2 IN FOUR WEEKS! 50 IN LESS THAN SIX WEEKS!

YEAH RUNNING!


130 - Revel Big Cottonwood Marathon

I LOVE THE BIG COTTONWOOD MARATHON! Tomorrow will be the fifth time I’ve ran the race — well, okay, fourth time, because I ran the half marathon back in 2013. And, here’s a funny tidbit — I’ve never actually signed up for the marathon when I registered for the race. Every year I’ve signed up for the half marathon and then upgraded to the marathon (except in 2013 of course). I should probably use that as a personal trivia question or something, huh?

As mentioned above the game plan tomorrow is to sweep the course with my friend Chanda. We have to average a 15 minute mile down the canyon and then bring in the last runner after that. I am also planning on a mid-race Slurpee somewhere around Mile 23. Heck maybe even Mile 19 if I am dying. Or why not both? Possibilities are endless.

I’ve had a number of special memories from this race — from nearly setting a PR in the half marathon, setting a PR in the marathon and then running with Jill for her first marathon. This race has been the backdrop to a lot of special moments for me. That’s one reason why I’ll always come back. I’ve got to. It’s MY race down MY canyon.

And, if you’re wondering — yes — I am planning on just running the half marathon in 2017. Sooooo — the odds are pretty good that it’ll end up being the marathon at this rate! HAHAHA!

BIG COTTONWOOD OR BUST, BABY!


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PHATGRAMS

Shhhhh … I snuck my apple sauce snack on the bus after the gym. #ieatlikeatoddler

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I’m 99% sure I’m sitting behind Captain Kangaroo on the bus right now. #icantbewrong

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

Whenever I am at Michael’s, I end up here. #always

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2017 race schedule

Yesterday I blogged a bit about my 2017 race schedule … you can read all about that in depth here. But, I thought I’d share the schedule here in detail as well. Anyone else running any of these races?

139. New Year’s Half Marathon — January 7, 2017
140. St. George Half Marathon — January 14, 2017
141. Salt Lake Tri Club Half Marathon — February 25, 2017
142. March Madness Half Marathon — March 4, 2017
143. Lucky 13 Half Marathon — March 18, 2017
144. Tulip Festival Half Marathon — April 29, 2017
145. Provo City Half Marathon — May 6, 2017
146. Vigor Big Cottonwood Half Marathon — May 13, 2017
147. Ogden Half Marathon — May 20, 2017
148. Ragnar Wasatch Back — June 2-3, 2017
149. Drop 13 Big Cottonwood Half Marathon — June 11, 2017
150. AF Canyon Race Against Cancer — June 24, 2017
151. Hobbler Half — July 8, 2017
152. Utah Midnight Run — July 14, 2017
153. Deseret News Half Marathon — July 24, 2017
154. Timp Half — July 29, 2017
155. Parowan City Half Marathon — August 5, 2017
156. Skyline Half Marathon — August 19, 2017
157. Run Elevated Half Marathon — August 26, 2017
158. Nebo Half — September 2, 2017
159. Revel Big Cottonwood Half Marathon — September 9, 2017
160. Park City City Trail Half Marathon — September 16, 2017
161. Huntsville Half Marathon — September 23, 2017
162. Frightmares Half Marathon — October 14, 2017
163. Haunted Half SLC — October 21, 2017
164. Haunted Half Provo — October 28, 2017
165. Snow Canyon Half Marathon — November 4, 2017
166. Thankful 13 — November 23, 2017

I should be about 14 races away from my 180 goal in 2018! I’m aiming for that to be the Handcart Days Half Marathon. Should be a fun 18 months of running!


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RACE #120: Alpine Classic Half

After last week’s Ogden Half — I was immediately looking forward to this weekend. Why? Because the 10-day forecast didn’t call for rain. That was the main reason.

But, I was also excited because I love pacing and sweeping races — you never know what you’re going to experience, because you’re not on your timetable. Especially when you’re sweeping. You’re basically as fast as the slowest runner — so it’s hard to gauge a finishing time compared to pacers who are locked into a time.

This race — I wasn’t sure what my finishing time was going to be. Especially since this is a smaller course — about 200-225 racers. Usually these races are anywhere around 3-4 hours. But, that variable differs widely compared to the bigger races — about 1000-3000 racers — where I am typical out there between 4-4:30 hours.

Going into this run, I was hoping for about 3:30 hours or less. About the same time I finished Ogden last week. Ugh. I swear my running shoes still squeak.

Anyways — I was prepared for the long haul. I brought a long my backpack — stashed with raisins, almonds and water (all Whole30 compliant foods). I also stashed a First Aid Kit and some Ibuprofen in case I come across an injured runner. I swear I’m not a packing mule, but I take my job seriously — and I come from a family of preppers … soooooo … it’s in my blood.

After picking up my packet and pacing stick we mingled for a little bit before gun time at 7am. The half and 5K started at the same time — which normally isn’t an issue. But, being the sweeper I wanted to make sure I wasn’t ahead of any of the half marathoners. The last thing I wanted to do was get ahead of any half marathoner — especially if they needed assistance or help.

So, I decided to run the first mile with Ramie and Cevan who were pacing the 2:40 group. And, as we passed runners I would glance at their bibs to make sure I wasn’t leaving behind any 5Kers. Luckily, I wasn’t. But, at the same time — I wasn’t quite sure.

Once the 5K and half marathon split around mile two I stuck around the intersection to just make sure. I didn’t see any other green half bibs — so I just went back to running the half marathon route.

About a mile or so later I caught up with the last half marathoner. He was run walking most of the race, so I just kept my distance for most of the race. When I sweep I usually don’t interfere with the last runner until around mile 8-10, unless I see that they’re struggling or hurt.

This runner wasn’t hurt, but confessed to me that he was undertrained and had some shin splints in the first mile — so we was just going to jog the rest of the race. I wanted to correct him that you don’t “jog” a race — but, alas, I just let him go ahead.

With keeping an eye on him — I played a game of catch and mouse with him. I’d let him get ahead quite a bit before booking it back to within a few hundred feet behind him. I did this mainly to get some a good workout in during the race, because it was a lot of walking. It was perfect.

Though I was playing cat and mouse the runner ahead of me — I still was worried that I was ahead of another runner. So I would occasionally stop and wait for a minute or two and then get back to running. Around mile 11 — one of the other pacers was running back up the course to get extra mileage in, so I asked him to check for other runners.

Luckily when he got back to me there wasn’t anyone else behind me. I could run a little bit easier knowing that. And, so I just focused on finishing the race.

Once I got back to the middle school and to the finish line I glanced at the clock and noticed that I came in around 3:08 hours. Which kinda surprised me. Well, okay, really surprised me — probably the fastest sweeping assignment I’ve ever had — and I chuckled because it was also nearly a half hour faster than my time the previous week at Ogden.

I guess that kind of shows the misery and obstacles we faced in Ogden weren’t a fluke?

Anyways — it was a great race. Beautiful course. The hills make it difficult, but that’s also what I love about it. It’s a very technical race. You can’t just put yourself on cruise control and expect to roll right into the finish line. You’ve got to work and think your way through it. Utah Run does a good job putting these kind of courses together.

I think next year, I might just run this race instead of pace. I want to challenge myself through the run. But, that’s a year out from now. My focus now is Drop 13 in a couple of weeks — and my 50 miler in October.

Baby steps towards that 50.


121 - drop 13.fw

I am looking forward to this race. I’ve been looking forward to it actually almost since — um — like last year. I love any and every race that runs down Big Cottonwood Canyon. It’s my favorite canyon here in Utah — both for it’s beauty and terrain. It’s perfect for running. Perfect.

Drop 13 last year was my year best time of about 2:35. I am not sure if that’s attainable, but I am going to push it. I’m feeling stronger and more energetic since I’ve started Whole30 and I feel like I have a great run in me. So, the focus on the next couple of weeks is to continue to shed the pounds, run consistently and work on the core.

If anything, Drop 13 will be a good starting point to launching myself back into getting faster. I know I have it within me and I’d love to proof that to myself throughout the summer and especially at the Nebo Half.

DROP 13 OR BUST, BABY!


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If you haven’t listened to the new Addict II Athlete podcast — you’ve got to give it a listen. By far one of my favorites to date. Coach Blu is talking about the AIIA Minor Leagues and the importance of impacting our youth.

Listen to it now on Pod Bash


@joshruns180 INSTAGRAM

So for the past few months I’ve been intending on starting an Instagram feed of my races — well, my races that I am counting towards my 180 goal. So basically any and all races over 13.1 miles. I’ve procrastinated it for a while — but, this past weekend, I had some time and decided to just for it.

I’m slowly added each race with a brief, brief synopsis of the race. But, the goal is that each race gets one post and I’ll add them up to my 180 races. I’m sure after I reach that goal I’ll probably continue to add them to the feed. But, as far as I am concerned right now I want to get caught up as soon as possible.

Check out the account here. But, it’s been fun reliving a few fun memories and races while putting this together …


2016miles

RUNNING MILES

106.05 miles

RACE MILES

77.9 miles

WALKING MILES

657.38 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

841.33 miles

MILES TO GOAL

1825.67 miles



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InstaReplay: Alpine Classic Half

So, I ran the Alpine Classic Half this morning — aptly named after Alpine, Utah … since that’s where the race was. I was sweeping the race — so I didn’t have any expectations on time or anything like that. Well, I lied — I was kinda hoping I wouldn’t be out there longer than 3:30 hours. But, you never know when you’re sweeping.

Anyways — I am not going to give away the whole race — I want you to come back on Monday to read my race report. Needless to say, I actually did come in under 3:30 hours — much, much better than last week’s Ogden Half — and — the weather was absolutely gorgeous.

But, seriously, come back on Monday to read the whole race report.

Here are a few pictures from the race —


I ran the Alpine Classic Half this morning. My first run and race since last week's Ogden Half. It was a tough week running wise, because I had some pretty bad chaffing. But, enough about that. This is a fun course. No it's not a canyon or downhill course. It's a technical course. Lots of hills, some different terrain and challenging in many, many good ways. It was the perfect follow up race to Ogden. No rain, hardly any clouds in the sky actually — it was perfect running weather. I fueled my run mainly with water and food — no gels (since they're not @whole30 complaint). So I mainly munched on some raisins and almonds mid-race. Energy levels were okay, I wasn't pushing the pace (since I was sweeping the course), but I tried to listen to my body as much as I could. I did finish almost a half hour less than Ogden — which I laughed about when I saw the clock. But, I felt strong and I'm feeling ready for my races coming up this next month. I'm hoping to see some steady improvement as I continue to lose weight and follow the @whole30 principles. #day11 #whole30 #running #workout #race #fitness #alpinehalf #ryrpacers @ryrpacers @utahrun @joshruns180 @josherwalla

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I love my pacing family! #race120 #alpinehalf #ryrpacers #running

A photo posted by Joshua Sn❆w Hansen (@josherwalla) on

Sweeping is both a science and art. During the first 6-8 miles I usually don't interact much with the runners ahead of me. I also give them their distance. Knowing you're the LAST runner can be psychologically hard on a runner. So I just let them run their race. The last five miles or so I'll interact more and encourage them along. Those moments are often spent running or walking along side them — and more than likely they're either a first time racer or injured. So conversation is spent usually on non-running things. Especially if they're struggling. Some races have a hard time limit and some don't — I love the ones that don't, because it gives everyone on the course the chance to run their own race. Something I love being a part of as a @ryrpacers pacer. #race120 #alpinehalf #running #ryrpacers @joshruns180

A photo posted by Joshua Sn❆w Hansen (@josherwalla) on

Won't lie — tempted to use this as an impromptu aid station. #race120 #alpinehalf #ryrpacers #running @ryrpacers @joshruns180

A photo posted by Joshua Sn❆w Hansen (@josherwalla) on