Tag: salt lake city

RACE #143: Emigration Canyon Half Marathon

Welp, I finally got the Emigration Canyon run I’ve been wanting since at least last week. And, I can’t be any more happier with my effort AND results. It’s been a good two years since I last ran down Emigration Canyon — well okay — 18 months-ish? Whenever the Haunted Half was in 2015? Anyways — I’ve needed a good Emigration Canyon run for QUITE A WHILE.

And, I got it this past weekend.

Canyon races here in Utah have a tendency to be seen as pure downhill courses. While that may be true in some canyons and for some races — this is a different kind of race. Sure, you get some AWESOME downhill, but you’ve got to earn it first. The first 4-4.5 miles of the race are pretty much all uphill. It’s kind of a beast.

I ran this race back in 2014 so I knew what to expect. I knew it was going to suck. I knew it was going to be tough. But, I knew if I endured it well and ran it smart, the rest of the race should be a fun brisk run down the canyon.

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Even with the daunting first 4.5 miles of the race, I felt I had it in me to do really well and get the sub-three time goal, I’ve been pining for the past couple of races. I just had to be smart, be patient and keep my goal in my mind during those first few miles.

I was still trying to figure out exactly how I was tackle the climb at the starting line. I knew I was going to have to employ some sort of run/walk method. If I tried to run those first few miles I would burn out before I got to the summit. So, I had to reserve some energy, because once I hit that summit I was planning on cruising down the canyon.

So, that’s what I did. Once the gun sounded, I started doing a two minute run/one minute walk. I did that for about the first mile or so and then I did a one minute run/one minute walk. After a while it went to a 30 second run and minute and a half walk. And, when the climb was a bit too steep, it went to a nice fast mall walk.

Basically by mile 3-4 my pace was kind of all over the place.

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It was hard to gauge where I should be putting my effort and where I should be holding back so I don’t tank my later miles. So, I just kind of played if by ear and tried just listening to my body. I reached the summit (mile 4.5-ish) in about an hour and five minutes (14:27 min/mile). I didn’t know how I felt about it, but in retrospect, I was okay with the pace. Especially, considering the last 8.5 miles were much faster (.12:35 min/mile).

But, once I hit the aid station at the top of the summit, I just hit cruise control and immediately felt right at home. I was on familiar terrain. I immediately passed a couple of runners. I was a bit worried I was going out too fast — and while I thought about it, I didn’t really care. I figured my 4.5 mile warm up was enough and I’d just listen to my body the rest of the way.

Which is what I did.

I walked the aid stations and ran most of the way. There were a couple spots around miles 11 and 12 that I had to walk, but I tried to focus on my goal at hand — and that was to sub-three the race. So I pushed myself.

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The last mile was really tough on me. I was just gassed. And, part of that — meaning all — was because of fueling. I brought some Clif Bloks with me, but I figured I’d be fine with the water and Gatorade at the aid stations. The only problem was — the aid stations had only water. This threw me off, especially as we ran out of the canyon and into the warmer valley. My body needed those electrolytes.

I was worried about depletion so that is why I slowed down a bit those last couple of miles. And, because, I just didn’t have much else to give. As I turned toward the home stretch I kind of chuckled of the thought of someone carrying me across the finish line like those two runners did to the one runner in Philadelphia a couple weekends ago. But, I carried myself across the finish line and double pumped my fist when I saw the clock read 2:52:21.

I did it. I reached my goal.

And, not only did I reach my goal, but I also placed AGAIN! I was third in the Clydesdale Division! This was the second time in the past two races that I placed! This made the effort and result that much sweeter.

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As much as I am happy with the results, I know it’s just the beginning of what I want to do with my running and training. As much as I’d love to get back to my 2:08 hour PR days, now isn’t that season. I have a few ultras I am planning on running this year and ultrarunning doesn’t mix with half marathon speed training. At least for me.

But, I want to consistently get back to my 2:25-2:35 race times and I feel like I can do that with my ultrarunning hand-in-hand. It’s just a matter of continuing to train smart, continue losing weight and temper my Hashimoto’s. I know no doubt I’ll get there — and I want to be there by the Revel Big Cottonwood Half Marathon in September.

I’ve got a lot of running coming up in the next 4-5 weeks — including my 50K at the end of the month. While my focus is on that — the Riverton Half is next week and I really want to build upon what I have right now.

Which I know I will.


MY NEXT FIVE RACES


Here’s to the Happiest of Birthdays to my dear mother. Words can’t fully express the love and admiration I have for her. She’s simply amazing. Besides ALWAYS going above and beyond what’s expected, she has the purest of hearts I know. She’s the greatest example of “The Golden Rule” in my life. I’m also grateful that she never told me what I could or couldn’t do in life. She never, and still hasn’t, put limitations on my abilities. Even when everyone else tried to. As tacky as it sounds, she gave me wings. She’s also taught me the value to fight. Seeing her fight breast cancer … AND WIN … showed me the necessity of faith and grit with a side of stubbornness to overcome and accomplish anything truly great. Happy Birthday Mama!

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Moana Singalong Chorus.

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Hoka. Hoka. Hoka. Hoka. Hoka. And, those might be filled with race medals too.

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GET THAT GLUTEN OUTTA MY FACE!!! 🚫🍞

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Weekly Review

It was a great week of running for me. Not only did I meet my race goal time, I got some really good training in. I am being coached by RYR (Run Your Race) and I got some awesome assessment runs in — along with a couple good recovery runs. I had a fast clipped 5K and all out mile run to do — and they were beasts. But, that will give my coaches a starting point to help with my race goals.

I am hoping to gain some speed, but also endurance for my ultra races coming up in the next month and year. I’m excited to start seeing my progress.

Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 7.0 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 24.17 miles
TOTAL MILES — 44.27 miles
Race(s) this week — None.

March 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 44.1 miles
Race Miles — 26.2 miles
Walking Miles — 110.52 miles
TOTAL MILES — 180.82 miles
Races in March — March Madness Half and Lucky 13 Half Marathon.

April 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 0.0 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 2.7 miles
TOTAL MILES — 15.8 miles
Races in April — Emigration Canyon Half Marathon, Riverton Half, Saltair Half, Salt Flats 50K and Tulip Festival Half

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 181.75 miles
Race Miles — 109.22 miles
Walking Miles — 328.16 miles
TOTAL MILES — 619.13 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 and Emigration Canyon Half Marathon.



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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.

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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.

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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

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Pinterest has got nothing on me! #thaliaturns1 #pinterestfail

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

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

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

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

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

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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?


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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.

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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.

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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

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RUNNING MILES

112.15 miles

RACE MILES

69.92 miles

WALKING MILES

142.03 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

325.1 miles



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This is Bananas …

Running has become a large part of who I am — a very large part. And, it’s something I want it be a part of me throughout my lifetime. When I made my goal to run 180 races by age 40 — I did so because I wanted running to be a challenge that took me a decade or so to acheive.

Well, I am 35 — going on 36 in August — and I am some 43 races away from that goal. I wouldn’t have anticipated five years ago that this is where I would be. There are many reasons why I love running and racing — but, that’s not what this post is about. Needless to say — I love to run and it has been life changing for me.

But, as I approach the completion of this goal, I am starting to look a beyond the goal. I am starting to ask myself — what’s next? Do I simply add more races to my goal? Do I make a goal to run 300 races by 40? Or 500 by 50? Or do I take another approach?

As much as I would love to add to my number goal, I’m feeling the pull to aspire to something else. For one, I want to eventually reach my goal of a running a sub-two half marathon. And, I can’t really do that when I am running 20-25 races a year.

I also want to run more. And, I am not talking about more races, but more longer races. I love the challenge of ultra races. Having three ultra marathons under my belt — I am beyond the point of guessing whether or not I can do such distances. Because, I know I can.

There is an appeal to me for these longer distances — not just during a race, but in a personal feat. I look at a number of local runners, specifically Cory Reese and his many self-sustained 100 milers — around a track, in the wilderness and in the Salt Lake and Utah Valleys. His craziness and approach to adventure speaks to me.

A couple years ago Cory ran from the Utah State Capital in Salt Lake City to Provo (50 miles) and back — for a crazy urban 100 miler. I was in awe and inspired. He was self-sustained through friends and convenience stores. The run included a number of Slurpee stops — which again speaks to me.

When Cory did this, I wanted to try something similarly “crazy.” Albeit, my kind of crazy. That’s why a few weeks ago I decided that I wanted to challenge myself to a similar goal of running from Salt Lake to Provo — just not back like Cory. It would essentially be a 50 mile run.

The concept and route will be somewhat similar to Cory’s route. I am planning on running down State Street in Salt Lake using convenience stores as my aid stations. Most likely 7 Elevens — because where else can I fuel up on Slurpees and bananas? I am planning on jotting over to Draper and Suncrest as I descend into Utah Valley and follow State Street and University Blvd. to the Provo Town Centre.

You can check out the map I made here. Of course that’s subject to change as I vet out that route a bit more.

But, I am inviting any and all of my friends to join me in the adventure whether it’s for all 50 miles — or a mile or two along the way. I want this to more so be a celebration of running and achievement than anything else. Plus, I think it will be a lot of fun with others involved.

If you’re interested in joining me, I’ve made a Facebook event for this adventure. I am doing it Saturday, March 25th. Which is subject to change dependent on the weather and a couple other factors. But, I am pretty set on that date.

Oh, and the name of the run?

This is Bananas!

I think that pretty much speaks for itself. Because, this run is bananas.

But, it will be fun and I can’t wait.

SO JOIN ME!

RACE #129: Run Elevated Half Marathon

I’ve been looking forward to this race for quite a while. Well, okay, maybe for the last three months. I wasn’t planning on racing this weekend because I needed to get a 20 mile training run in for my marathon and ultra training. I was reserving my goal half marathon race for the year for the Nebo Half which is happening this upcoming weekend.

BUT — I do a little switcheroo, because I have a family reunion this upcoming weekend in Idaho. And, as much as I love Nebo, I kinda love my family more. Don’t ask me to gauge that, because there may or may not be that much of a difference when you’re talking about the Nebo Half.

I love that race.

So, since I wasn’t running Nebo, I decided to pick up the Run Elevated Half Marathon instead — another equally fast canyon race. I’ve been running Run Elevated for four years now — ever since it’s inaugural run in 2013. I love it. I PR’d on the course in 2013. I feel intimately close to the race — well, okay — that sounds like a bad choice of words. Basically, I know the course really well and love every bit of it.

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The infamous hill — can’t remember what they call it — doesn’t phase me. I’ve gotten use to just jogging that blasted hill. It’s a pace killer, but I’ve learned it’s better to keep a slower pace up the hill then to walk the hill. Even if that pace is slower than your usual walk. Trust me — that logic makes sense to a runner.

Then there’s the whole canyon that I love — Little Cottonwood Canyon lends itself as one of the prettiest canyons here in northern Utah. It’s less traversed than Big Cottonwood and Emigrations, mainly because it’s roads don’t lend itself well to runners. They’re smaller shoulders compared to the other canyons. I’ve only ran the canyon once outside of this race.

Additionally, this is the only road race that goes down the canyon. I think it’s mostly because the community tries to limit them as much as possible — which I would understand. It is a watershed after all. All of that makes this race kind of a special treat. It’s capped off at 2,000 runners — so it’s small and intimate enough that it really feels like a special event.

The numbers felt really low though this year, which honestly wasn’t surprising. There were a number of races held this weekend. And, by a number, I mean — too many. There was besides Run Elevated — Top of Utah Half, East Canyon Marathon, High Unitas Marathon, Rivalry Relay and Lake Relay. When people point to saturation problems here in Utah this weekend is a good example. The High Uintas Marathon ended up being cancelled this past week — probably because of low registration? I’m not sure.

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Either way — I really hope race directors correlate a bit better next year, because there’s still a market for these races, but you’re just going to kill yourself if you keep competing against each other like this. There are plenty of underutilized weekends for races. But, this post really is one for another day. Regardless, I noticed a difference at this race compared to year’s past.

But, to this race. So my goal — one that I’ve been trying to hit since June is that of a sub-2:30 half marathon. I try not to think too much of where I’ve been in the past. Because a few years ago — I was hitting 2:10-2:20s quite regularly. And, because of my health issues and that I’ve basically been at ground zero building myself back up. Which is fine — because I gotta get back somehow, right?

Anyways — I’ve come close to this goal. And, after not hitting it at Drop13 in June and the Deseret News Half in July — I really wanted to reach the goal at the end of summer, especially since September and October were my marathons and ultra. Speed wasn’t going to be priority — especially since that’s not my goal for my marathons.

So this was it.

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Going into August — I felt really optimistic about my progress towards the goal. I had some really great runs and I felt stronger, especially as I transitioned my diet from the Whole30 to a Paleo 80/20 diet. Things were just clicking.

But, then about two weeks ago — I got sick. And, it just sucked pretty much everything out of me. For a good week I just didn’t get in the kind of runs I wanted to and last Saturday I got in less miles I wanted to — but they were still miles. Needless to say — I just didn’t know where I would be physically going into this race? Especially considering I was still dealing with congestion and a mild cough.

So the week leading up the race — I wasn’t sure how to approach the race. Do I just go for it as planned or do I go by feel and just push myself? Going through with the race as planned meant I’d be running with my Garmin watching my pace carefully as I ran down the canyon.

But, if I didn’t have it in me to reach the goal, the last thing I need is a constant reminder wrapped around my wrist of how horrible of a runner I was because I didn’t hit my goal. Normally, I would just say — let me stick with the 2:30 pacers and I’ll be fine. But, considering the race doesn’t have pacers — that wasn’t an option either.

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I was grappling back and forth with this mentality all week long. And, it wasn’t until Friday night that I just told myself — “screw it! I’m running Garmin-less.” I just knew if I didn’t hit my goal it would have ruined my whole race. I had to run the race oblivious to the time and just go out there and with my best effort. That’s all I could ask for, right?

The morning of the race — I felt good. I did have a bit of congestion. But, otherwise I felt good. To make sure I didn’t have a coughing attack mid-race I made sure I had my inhaler. I felt good to go. I still didn’t know how my race would end out, but I was ready to take a stab at it.

After meeting up with Dith at the bus pick up I hopped on the bus with the Skinners and rode up the canyon where we hung out until the 6:30am gun time. Thankfully the weather was doable compared to a couple years ago when it was snowing at the starting line. I’ll never forget that — it was such a buzzkill. There’s nothing like getting excited for a summer race, only to be meet with snow.

Anyways — crossing the starting line I just let gravity do it’s thing. I focused on not going out too fast, because I knew how easy it was on this course. I ran the first mile somewhat fragmented. I ditched my hoodie a half mile in before retying my shoes. My legs were still a little sore from leg day on Wednesday, so I just needed to warm up a bit.

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A couple more miles into the race I started hitting my stride and feeling pretty good. I just focused on my breathing, tempo and effort. It was around this time also that my two month old headphones decided to die. Well, half of them died. I suspect my headphones were a Chinese knockoff. But, that’s a story for another day.

After I settled for one ear stereo I just ran. I felt good and I just focused on my effort. I didn’t know where my pace was and while I cared, I didn’t. I just wanted to — dare I say — my best foot forward.

I stopped at each aid station to refuel. Not only did I refuel with water and a swig of Gatorade, but I brought some an applesauce packet to eat midway through. I tried to not stop too long at the aid station. I did have to stop once. And, I took a few pictures at the stops, because the scenery was just BEAUTIFUL.

In retrospect I probably wouldn’t have taken a few of those pictures. I couldn’t have held through my pit stop, but I did take a pit stop for a posed race picture. That one I probably should have ran through, because I was much closer to my goal than I thought. A lot closer.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

The first 7-8 miles are all canyon miles and I knew once I was out of the canyon — it would be MUCH tougher. That happened to me at Timp, Deseret News and Drop13. But, when I was hitting the mouth of the canyon I just went into a beast mode. Mainly, because I knew it was going to get tough, especially as we approached the hill.

I ran into my friend Shaylee at the mile nine aid station as she was pulled off the course due to injury. I felt bad because I know how much she loves this fast race as well.  Injuries just suck. And, this course can lend itself to some fun ones if you’re not careful.

Once we got onto Wasatch Blvd. the downhill around mile 10 was welcomed, but I knew the blasted hill was around the corner. So, I just kept at it. My approach to the hill was simple — just run it. And, if I couldn’t run it, just pretending your running — even if it’s at your normal walking pace.

So, yeah, that was basically what I did up the hill. It’s not that long of a hill, but it will kill your pace if you’re not careful. Especially if you walk. So, when it comes to hills like this one, I just keep myself in the running motion so I keep the mechanics going. I find it’s easier to get back into my pace if I do this.

Now, if there’s a science to all of that — I don’t know? But, it’s saved my races in this race, St. George and a couple others.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

Once I was past the hill, there was about 2-2.5 miles until I hit the finish line. I took a quick glance at my phone’s clock and realized I was making great time. I tried to do some math to see if I was on target — I figured I was, but I wasn’t sure. So, I just ran like I was going to hit my goal.

The last two miles felt strong. Both mentally and physically. I just kept moving forward. My legs were burning, but I didn’t care. I tried to numb everything below my neck and just focus on running. It honestly felt like the last two miles flew by fast. And, I am sure if I ran with my Garmin those last two miles would rival my canyon miles. Or at least it felt like it.

During the last mile as I was making my way towards the finish line, I started getting a little emotional. It wasn’t because I felt like I was on pace or that I was going to reach the goal. But, it was from the feeling that I put everything into this run. I was feeling spent. I was feeling sore. I was feeling strong. I was feeling focused.

It was around this time that OneRepublic’s “I Lived” came across my playlist. And, that didn’t help either. It’s one of my favorite songs. The lyrics, music and message — were just what I needed as I ran towards the finish line. It’s one of few songs on my life playlists.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

But, as I hit the homestretch I just hit another gear and sprinted towards the finish line. The clock said something like 2:32, so I knew I was going to be close — after considering when I crossed the finish line and all. I didn’t think I got it, but I knew not only that I was close, but that I gave it everything in me.

Once I refueled and got my drop bag I headed over to the results table and got my card. The card read … 2:31:00:03. A mere 1:01 minute from my goal. Oh, so close.

I won’t lie — I reanalyzed every pit stop, picture and aid station — because a few tweaks here and there and I probably could have gotten my goal. But, I wasn’t feeling a sense of disappointment. Far from it. I gave everything during those 13.1 miles, despite not knowing how my body was going to react after being sick the week before. Despite feeling under the weather still — I pushed forward.

Plus, it was still a year best time for me in the half marathon.  How can I feel about that?

A photo posted by @fight4phat on

Sure there are a lot of shoulda, coulda and wouldas. But, that gets you nowhere dwelling on for a race already ran. Will I learn from it? You betcha. Not just in race plan management, but maintaining race pace and pushing through pain. There’s a lot there that I could talk about — but, really, that’s a post for another day.

I feel great about my race and look forward to breaking through that goal time — this year or 2017. Looking back at my running patterns too, I ran 2:30-2:40 pretty consistently for my first year of running until I broke into the 2:10-2:20 the following year. So, in a way, I feel like I am following that pattern. Hopefully that means 2017 will be a fast year for me. I feel confident enough that it will be if I continue working hard and pushing myself.

After the race I still had to get seven more miles in for my 20 miles needed that day. I was originally planning on running seven miles in Sandy near the  finish line, but I had to get home and decided to do them at home on the treadmill.

My goal for these miles were really to simulate fatigue — and my legs were fatigued. I waited a couple hours after getting home before doing my miles — and they definitely hurt. It was hard getting into a rhythm, but I pushed through the pain and eventually found one. I really tried to visualize myself out on the course of my 50 miler going through that kind of fatigue.

A photo posted by @fight4phat on

I’ll tell you what — it’s been fun training for my 50, because it’s so different from a marathon. There’s so much mental preparedness I need to prepare myself for, that I look for way to do it. Whether it’s running 20 miles on a treadmill or running 7 miles hours after a fast paced half marathon — I always look for ways to prepare me for October 21.

This upcoming month is going to be the real test. I’ve got three marathons coming up — Big Cottonwood (Sept. 10), Huntsville (Sept. 17) and St. George (October 1) along with my miles this weekend and a special relay with AIIA on Sept. 24. So, I’ll be doing big, big miles — and really getting myself ready for October 21. I’m nervous — but, more excited than anything.

And, really it’s just focusing on one foot in front of the other — much like I’ve been doing since I ran my first 5K.


MY NEXT RACE

130 - Revel Big Cottonwood Marathon

My next race isn’t until September 10th. And, I’ll be sweeping the Big Cottonwood Marathon once again. I did it last with my friend Ramie and had a blast and a half (not to mention a Slurpee). This year I’ll be sweeping with my friend Chanda — I am anticipating another blast and a half (and not to mention another Slurpee).

This will be the fifth time that I’ve ran the Big Cottonwood Marathon. Well, okay — fourth for the 26.2. I did the 13.1 once back in 2013. The funny thing is that when I’ve signed up for the race — I’ve never registered for the marathon. I always sign up for the half marathon, but I either upgrade to the marathon (like I did in 2012 and 2014) or get asked to sweep the course (like I did in 2015 and last year).

Now, I’m planning on signing up for JUST the half marathon in 2017, but we’ll see how that pans out come next year.

Anyways — there’s no real game plan for this marathon other than sweeping the course. Well, okay, I lied. The first 14-15 miles in the canyon I just have to maintain a 13 minute pace until we get onto Wasatch Blvd. for the out and back. After that — it’s just being as fast as the slowest runner. So, really there is a technicalness to the course even if I’m sweeping.

And, if you’re wondering — yes — I stop for Slurpees at Mile 20. There is a 7 Eleven at the mouth of the canyon and it’s just a crime to bypass the opportunity to grab a mid-marathon Slurpee.

I love this race — and even if I’m not running it for myself, there is nothing quite like running Big Cottonwood in the fall. Totally gorgeous and worth the registration fee. Plus, this will be great ultra training being on my feet for 6:30-7 hours. It’ll be a fun loooooong day.


THE NEXT RACES ON DECK

131 - huntsville marathon 132 - st george marathon133 - park city red rock relay134 - pony express trail 50135 - haunted half provo


WEEKENDGRAMS

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

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on


2667in2016

RUNNING MILES

216.5 miles

RACE MILES

206.0 miles

WALKING MILES

1006,65 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

1429.15 miles

MILES TO GOAL

1237,85 miles


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This is one of my favorite episodes of the AIIA Podcast. Jed was one of the first athletes I met in AIIA and seriously, he’s one of the greatest guys I know. He helped run me in at the Provo City Half back in May and, really, he just embodies everything that AIIA stands for.

This is definitely worth the listen. I love uploading these podcasts to my phone to listen during my races or runs. Sometimes I’ll listen during my morning commute, but when it comes to the AIIA podcasts, I’d much rather be inspired out there when I’m running. Really help me connect to the message.

Give the episode a listen …


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RACE #127: Deseret News Half Marathon

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

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

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

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

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

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

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

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

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

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

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

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

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

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

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

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

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

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

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

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

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

But, still.

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

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which I almost did.

A photo posted by @fight4phat on

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

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

Yet, one of the most rewarding.

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


MY NEXT RACE

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

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

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

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

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

So, I am not worried.

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

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

Anyways.

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

YEAH TIMP!


MY NEXT THREE RACES

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


PHATGRAMS

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

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on


RRR-20-coupon


2667in2016

RUNNING MILES

157.6 miles

RACE MILES

176.7 miles

WALKING MILES

891.86 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

1226.16 miles

MILES TO GOAL

1440.84 miles



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#FitnessFriday: Pioneer Runners sang as they ran and ran and ran …

What a week! It’s been kind of a rollercoaster week for me. Many ups and downs of emotions, etc., etc., etc. My anxiety was a little bit earlier this week — not fun. Not sure if it had anything to do with ending my second round of Whole30 and starting up a third — or with what’s been going on with the RNC in Cleveland? Maybe I’m already missing the ‘Runsmobile’ that officially got retired this week? Probably all of the above? But, more often than not — anxiety is just anxiety for no other reason than just being anxiety.

I don’t talk much about my anxiety. But, it’s something I’ve dealt with for years. It comes and goes as it pleases — and it differs from season to season. One of the worst days/weeks for my anxiety is when Daylight Savings ends in November. No joke. Usually that Sunday or Monday when it gets dark at like — 5pm, I get anxious. And, it lasts for about a week. Not fun.

I’ve found over the years that running has really helped sooth my anxiety. I’ve learned how to subdue it through running and even timing my runs to preempt a panic attack. That’s an art folks. No joke. Running works almost as good as any medication I’ve used.

I could really write a book about running and anxiety. But, the thought makes me anxious — so I’ll probably pass.

Anyways — the first part of the week — not fun. But, I got a really good run in yesterday morning that centered me — physically. mentally, emotionally, spiritually. I won’t lie — I could have used a day earlier, but I’ll take it. I feel good. I feel balanced. And, I am ready for the weekend.

I am running the Handcart Days Half Marathon here in Bountiful tomorrow followed by the Deseret News Half Marathon in Salt Lake on Monday. So lots and lots and lots of running this weekend. It’s Pioneer Day weekend here in Utah (where we celebrate pioneers or ‘pie and beer’ if you are not of the Mormon persuasion) so we have a number of community celebrations, parades (ugh, hate them), fireworks and of course races!

I wrote a bit more about my weekend races below.

But, since Pioneer Day is on Sunday this year the state holiday is being observed on Monday. Which means NO WORK on Monday. Besides racing and probably mowing the lawn — I am not sure what I am going to do with this glorious holiday? I might go see a movie (as long as it’s not the new Ghostbusters)? Or maybe swimming. I kinda want to do that. Or the possibilities are limitless.

Gosh, I love summer holidays. Can you tell?

Anyways, looking forward to a fun weekend of running, family, friends and holiday festivities (except for those dang parades).

What do you have planned for the weekend? Anything fun? Are you running either the Handcart Days or DesNews Half Marathons? Wanna party?

HAPPY PIONEER DAY! HAPPY WEEKEND! HAPPY RUNNING!


126 - bountiful handcart days.fw 127 - desnews half.fw

I love Pioneer Day weekend. Not only is it an extra July holiday for us Utahns, but there are LOTS of fun races associated with the weekend as well. And, the DesNews Marathon and Handcart Days Half Marathon, hold a special place in my heart. Mainly, because they were my first marathon and half marathon respectfully.

Normally both are held on Pioneer Day, so it’s usually a decision for me of “either/or.” But, when Pioneer Day falls on a Sunday (like this year), the Handcart Days Half be held on Saturday, while DesNews will be held on Monday (the state observed holiday). So — in years like this year — I get to run both! Because why give yourself the option of “either/or” when the Race Directors pretty much already made the decision for you?

So tomorrow I am running the Handcart Days Half Marathon — which was my first and 100th race. I am still debating whether I want to start at 6am or do the early 5:30am start. I may opt for the earlier start — but, I probably won’t make that decision until tomorrow morning (meaning, depends how much sleep I get tonight). But, after I am done with the race — I need to hop in the car and pick up my packet in Downtown SLC for the DesNews Half on Monday.

My goal for the races are simple. I am shooting for sub-3:00 for the Handcart Days Half. I don’t want to OVERDO it, because I want to save some energy and legs for the DesNews Half. The Handcart Days Half course is rather flat and hilly so I am not expecting much. But, the DesNews Half goal is to run a sub-2:30 — basically anything under 2:29:59 is my goal. Heck, even 2:29:59:9 would be acceptable.

My friend Brook is pacing the 2:30 group and my goal is to keep up with her and their group. Which I feel is doable, especially considering I am nearly 30lbs. lighter since the Provo City Half in May — and the course is an awesome gradual downhill. One of my favorite courses and canyons.

So, I am putting that out there. And, if I don’t hit that mark on Monday — I will be disappointed. Sure, I’ll be happy to have ran, but this is a goal that I CAN do and achieve. Anything less will be a disappointment for me.

Anyways — it’ll be a fun weekend!



RRR-20-coupon


Runcast - Podbash Banner

Last weekend Jim and I recorded LIVE from the Utah Midnight Run. Well, okay, it wasn’t broadcasted live, but we recorded in front of other people. Needless to say it was an adventure. Not only did we get to chat with a few runners, we also got confused for the registration booth — while on the air. It was pretty funny.

Jimbo and I touch on a number of topics — including our one year anniversary! It’s crazy to think we’ve been doing this now for over a year! Oh how time flies.

Anyways — you’ll hear plenty from Jim about making sure you stay hydrated and why you shouldn’t get lost on race from me. Give the episode a listen here …


PHATGRAMS

I might have been late to the sunset, but I still got a great show. #utahsunset #lovethem

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on


fight4phat-4

I am just wrapping up my first week of my third round of Whole30 (geez, that kinda reads like a biblical genealogy) and things are — going. I won’t lie — it’s been a bit of a tough week for me to get in the right frame of mind. Not with my diet — but working out and running. And, I am not exactly sure why?

I just feel semi-stuck in a funk?

I think part of that is the culmination of my second round of Whole30. It’s kinda like finishing a marathon you’ve been training for, for weeks. You get to the finish line, given the medal and you’re left feeling like — “sooooo, what’s next?” It’s that kind of “funk” feeling. Nothing major. I just need some of my mojo back.

But, like I said — the diet is fine. I did a good run in this past week and a couple of weight training sessions — two workout sessions less than I’d like. It’s probably best I didn’t do another long run because of my two half marathons this weekend. But, I know I can do better and luckily Monday is a new week. So, I am not too worried.

Anyways — I still feel great. I really seeing how my body is getting slimmer, I was able to put on some XL shirts this past week that I wasn’t able to wear earlier this year. If that’s not motivating I don’t know what is?

Earlier this week I blogged about my Whole30 experience and my Round 2 numbers from this past round. Make sure to check them out. But, everything’s going good. I just need to get back mentally a bit and finish the last 23 or so days off strong. I want to hit the 230s by my birthday.

I think I found that motivation.



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