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RACE #169: Mt. View Trail Half

I had many emotions going into this race — gratitude, excitement, relievement and — yes — even a tinge of disappointment. So, let’s breakdown those emotions …

Gratitude — because Saturday not only marked my 169th race, but the 8th anniversary of the beginning of my journey. The day I decided to make up and LIVE.

Excitement — This was my 169th race, meaning I am just 11 races away from 180 goal (which I will hit on July 24th of the upcoming year).

Relievement — This was my 32nd and last race over 13.1 miles for the year. It’s been a year of many ups and downs with my ankle and health. I am looking forward to the next two weeks while I am in Europe. It will be some much needed rest before I go into the beast of my 100 mile training.

Disappointment — I’m grateful for any day, any distance that I can run. But, I’d be lying if I said I was not disappointed that I wasn’t running the 50K race instead. It was my first ultra, I’ve done it twice before and I just love it. A great beautiful challenging course.

So, yeah, those were the emotions I was dealing with before the race. But, nonetheless, I was excited to run, to see what I was capable of doing out there and just enjoying myself.

I didn’t have a concrete time goal for myself. It was mainly just time on my feet and a good effort. I was kind of expecting around four hours — which is about my average for a trail half marathon. But, I wanted to be faster if I was feeling it.

The race started at 9am which made for a casual race day morning. I still woke up by 4:30am for some reason, but didn’t get out the door until a quarter 7am. It was nice. I ate my breakfast, watched some news and blogged a bit. It felt like a weekday morning for me. I loved it.

After making the commute to the packet pickup which was near to the park gates, I saw a bunch of friend including Ruthie — who wasn’t helping me wish I was running the 50K. She is such a cheerleader and positive person that I knew I was missing out on the party.

But, I had my own party running the half marathon. After driving from the front gate of the park to Garr Ranch (about a 11 mile drive) I had a few minutes to mingle with a few of my friends — Bret, Doug, Ryan and his son Jordan — before we were off at 9am sharp.

Because we were dealing with a single track trail and there were a good 300 or so runners — I just held back a bit to let the mass of runners. I didn’t fight the runners and passing on that trail can be somewhat of a beast. So, I just took it easy for a few minutes.

I started off with Ryan and Jordan, but within the first mile or so, they were off ahead of me. Which was fine, I just used those first couple of miles to find a good pace. I felt good, so I tried to push myself just a bit harder than usual. Being my last race for the year and long run for the next couple of weeks — I decided to just put everything into it.

The game plan was easy — run the downhill, push the flat parts and fast walk the uphill. I stuck to that game plan for the most part. But, I won’t lie — there were times I lost myself in the scenery of the island and trail. I had to remind myself to refocus a number of times. It was a beautiful autumn day and I was in heaven.

I yo-you’d a bit with a girl throughout the entire race. It was her first trail run — not just race. She was a student at BYU-Idaho and decided to sign up for this race to train toward throughout the semester. She was a bit unsure about the buffalo — which we ran into a couple times along the course and she asked me to help her maneuver around them.

I’m not a buffalo expert at all. And, despite running this island a number of times — they still make me a tad nervous. But, with that said, they’ll leave you alone — for the most part. And, the best way to get past them is to run past them.

Easy enough, right?

In theory of course.

In our two encounters with the buffalo, I felt comfortable enough to stop and take a few pictures. And, for the most part they were pretty indifferent of our presence. They were pretty close to the fence opening where we needed to pass, but their indifference made it easily passable.

After the climb up the hill toward the finish line, I stepped up my pace. The trail turned into a paved trail and eventually pavement during the last couple of miles. It also helped that it was slightly downhill too. So, I just put myself in cruise control.

I separated myself from the other runners I had been running with — and I just focused on the finish line. I was about a half hour faster than I expected and I just felt great.

The last few hundred yards I was greeted by my friend Boojah, which made me grin. She’s been fighting Stage IV gallbladder cancer. She and her husband Tim came to the finish line to cheer me in. I always love having my own fan club at the finish line. But, having Boojah there was extra special. After gathering myself and refueling a bit, Tim and Boojah gave me a ride back to my car near the ranch before grabbing something to eat on my way home.

In all, I had a blast. This was the perfect race to end my race schedule for the year. Having done 32 half marathons or longer this year — I’m ready for a rest before I go into the beast of my 100 mile training. I’ll blog more about that later. But, I’ll be taking a break from the bloggy blog for a couple of weeks while I’m on vacation.

I’m just grateful to be able to do what I am able to do. This past year has had many ups and downs with health and injury, yet I’ve done the most races than any previous year. I can’t help but feel extremely blessed.

But, I’m also ready for this break.

Right now it’s — EUROPE OR BUST, BABY!!!


MY NEXT THREE RACES


Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 6.0 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 26.56 miles
TOTAL MILES — 45.66 miles
Races This Week — (1) Mt View Trail Half.

November 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 10.0 miles
Race Miles — 39.3 miles
Walking Miles — 43.37 miles
TOTAL MILES — 92.67 miles
Races in November — (3) Snow Canyon Half, Joshua Tree Half & Mt. View Trail Half.

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 429.24 miles
Race Miles — 466.87 miles
Walking Miles — 1166.87 miles
TOTAL MILES — 2062.98 miles
Races done in 2017 — (33) 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, Provo City Half Marathon, Jordan River Half Marathon, Drop13 Half Marathon, Bear Lake Trifecta – Idaho, Wyoming & Utah, AF Canyon Race Against Cancer, The Hobbler Half, Handcart Days Half, DesNews Half Marathon, Elephant Rock Trail Half Marathon, Run Elevated Half Marathon, Nebo Half, Revel Big Cottonwood Half Marathon, Huntsville Half Marathon, Timp Elk Run, Jordan River Half Marathon, The Haunted Half – SLC, SoJo Half,  Howloween Half, The Haunted Half — Provo, Snow Canyon Half Marathon, Joshua Tree Half Marathon and Mt. View Trail Half Marathon.


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RACE #164: SoJo Half

Sometimes I make good decisions. Sometimes I make bad decisions. But, often, I make really bad decisions — yet somehow turn out to be good all along. That pretty much sums this past Saturday for me.

I haven’t done a double race day or two within less than 6-12 hours of each other for quite a while — back in July of 2015. Or about 63 races ago. Oy, that seems so long ago.

Anyway, I chose to do it again (and I will do it again in a couple of weeks) for a few of reasons —

  1. It’s good ultra training
  2. It helps get me closer to my 180th race so I don’t have to do many back-to-back race weekends in 2018.
  3. I wanted to.

I haven’t done the SoJo Half Marathon since 2013 so I was kinda excited to do it again. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I don’t do that well on flat-ish courses. But, I wasn’t running it for a PR or year best time. I was running it to prepare myself for February.

My goal going into the race was to get as close to three hours as possible. With my recent injury, energy levels and training — this would be a stretch for me, especially considering this wasn’t a canyon race and didn’t have the luxury of letting gravity help me along the way.

The morning of the race was pretty uneventful. I made my way down to the finish line where the packet and bus pickup was around 5:30am. Once I got my packet I had about an hour before the last bus left for the starting line so I sat in the car to stay warm. I knew the starting line was going to be cold — and I didn’t want to wait for the gun time too long.

After hoping on the bus I met a Facebook friend Ashleigh — I always love meeting new friends, especially ones that have only been digital friends up to that point. Our conversation mainly centered around keto and what’s worked for me, her and her husband. Though I’ve been doing keto now for just over two months, I still feel very new to it. So talking with others about their experience with it is something I enjoy and need.

After getting to the start line I headed inside the University of Utah Medical Center where a group of runners huddle inside to stay warm and use some of the restrooms. Honey Bucket didn’t deliver the needed amount of port-a-potties so the lines to the bathrooms were fairly long. To make sure runners had the chance to use the restroom the race was delayed about five minutes as well.

Once we were off and running I decided to just keep a good efforted pace. I wasn’t too much concerned with my timed pace as I was with the effort. Just as long as my legs were tired and sore by the end of the run, I’d be happy. I wanted them to ache for the night’s race.

But, I knew if I focused on getting close to a three hour time that’d do the trick for me.

The first 2-3 miles were fairly uneventful as we meandered around Oquirrh Lake and made our way toward the Oquirrh Mountain Temple. There we were encountered the largest and — really — only sizable hill of the race. I walked the hill. Well, fast walked it like a gold mentalist in the Senior Olympics.

After taking a quick picture at the top of the hill with the temple, I made the descent down the hill on the other side. It was glorious. Gravity was very much my friend at that moment. So I let it guide me for as long as it’d allow me.

Around this time I noticed a lady in front of me a hundred yards or so ahead of me. She was dressed in a pioneer costume of sorts and I told myself — I’ve got to pass her.

But, she wasn’t a very easy pass.

She kept a good pace with me and this somewhat frustrated me, because I just wanted to pass her. I told myself — I’ve got to beat the pioneer woman — so that my focus. I felt that if I consistently kept in front of her for a mile or two she’d eventually start walking and then I could lower my pace a bit.

But, nope.

She kept a good pace. It wasn’t that she had a long stride, in fact it was quite the opposite. She ran with small quick steps. Somehow they made up the difference in my long legged strides in the same amount of distance?

Either way, after another couple of miles I was determined to pass her. We yo-yo’d quite a bit and around Mile 5 she got ahead of me. I was sore in my attempt to keep up with her. I cursed her unknown name for the next couple of miles until I had to stop to use the restroom at the Mile 7 aid station.

It was a hard decision to make, but I really didn’t want to pee my pants in pursuit of her, so I made a quick stop of it. But, as soon as I got out of the Honey Bucket she was way ahead of me. I was bummed. I thought the pioneer woman got the best of me.

But, I didn’t want that to deter me. There was still a little less than a half of the race left, so I wanted to give myself the chance to catch up and pass her. I had to give the effort, otherwise I’d always remember this race as the one time I was out ran by a pioneer.

It wasn’t going to happen.

So for the next 3-4 miles I kept a good pace going. My legs were sore from the efforted push — exactly what I wanted — to catch up with the pioneer woman. I kept her within my sight for the most part.

I noticed her starting to take short walking breaks so when she did, I pushed myself a little bit faster to make up the distance. I did this 3-4 times between Miles 7-10. By Mile 10 I had caught up to her and we were almost neck to neck.  But, I didn’t to stay that way, I wanted to create distance between the two of us so I just focused on that push.

By the last couple of miles I was ahead and once we ran onto the Jordan River Parkway Trail I glanced back momentarily to see where she was located. She was walking down the hill toward the Parkway aid station — and I knew I had her. If she was going to walk a downhill, she was probably going to walk the Parkway.

I regrouped myself a bit at that point — stretched a bit and downed some of my Powerade Zero — before going back to a good running pace. I was spent, especially from my effort to catch, maintain and pass the pioneer woman. I desperately wanted to walk, but I tried not to.

I knew I was close to the finish line, so I tried to push myself as much as I could. I only took a couple glances back, but I didn’t see signs of the pioneer woman. This made me happy.

I kind of chuckled to myself just thinking that in this race of marathoners and half marathoners the most competitive race didn’t determine the overall winner or an age group. It was a race that no one knew about — not even the pioneer woman herself. Yet when I crossed the finish line I felt like I won the race.

Once I was done, stretched out and refueled I did find the pioneer woman and we talked briefly. She thanked me for pushing her as she tried to keep up and ahead of me. I chuckled and said, “Likewise! You did great out there!”

So in the nature of winners and losers — we both won. We both provided each other with a goal and we probably killed ourselves too much in the process. But, you know what? I’m glad we did.

With my legs sore and near death I was ready for a nap and meal before my second race of the day.

[CLICK HERE FOR MY HOWLOWEEN HALF RACE REPORT]


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Running my Name: Joshua + Snow

We’re down to three months left of the year. And, here I am still tweaking with my race schedule. Is anything truly finalized with me? Sometimes I wonder.

But, as I work toward my 180th race and my 100 mile run, I’m looking to make 2018 a great year of running. And, part of that means spreading out my races to work into my time goals. That is one reason I’ve raced a lot this year. I don’t want to have to run a bunch of races in 2018 to get to my 180 while jeopardizing my speed training.

So that’s why I decided to add another race to my 2017 race schedule — the Joshua Tree Half Marathon in Joshua Tree, California.

Being named Joshua, I’ve always had a fascination with the Joshua Tree. Everything from the naming to the maturation of the tree — has a lot of symbolism that just speaks to me. I’d go into all of that — but, that’s really a post for another day. And, I’m pretty sure I’ve blogged about it before, but I’d have to find the post.

And, then there’s the whole correlation with U2’s album of the same name that I love.

The Joshua Tree Half Marathon is also the same day as the Snow Canyon Half Marathon — which I am also running. A group of my friends and I are planning on making a quick trip of it. We’re driving down to St. George on Friday after work, run that race the following morning then drive down to Joshua Tree from St. George, run that race and then drive back to St. George to stay the night before heading home on Sunday.

It should be a lot of fun.

After signing up for the race I realized that I will be running my name — Joshua Tree Half & Snow Canyon Half. What a fun coincidence.

Additionally, this will be my first Vacation Race. Of all my 162 races, I still haven’t done a Vacation Race. I’ve wanted to. Heck, I’ve signed up for the Zion Half Marathon twice but had to back out for a number of reasons.

So, I have to remedy that.

I am looking forward to the fun weekend. I am definitely jamming out to an exclusive U2 playlist during the run. Heck, I might have to record a special episode of The Runcast with just U2 music in preparation for this epic weekend?

Either way, the change made me make a slight change to my remaining races. I decided to drop the Riverton Half happening on March 24, 2018. I might still do the 5K or 10K during that weekend, but we’ll see? That means after my 100 mile run in February I won’t have a race until April 7th. And, that’s kinda by design.

I am planning on using that month/month and a half to recalibrate, heal and prepare myself to shift gears toward getting faster in my half marathon times. I feel good about the changes.

Anyways, here is the remaining schedule …


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KETO UPDATE: One Month In

I’ve meant to post this earlier this week. But, thanks to not feeling too hot after my race this past weekend and working on that race recap, I’ve taken my time to get to get to it. But, that’s okay, it’s still relevant.

The past month has gone by pretty quickly — it’s hard to believe that I am a month into my 36th year. Almost as hard as it is to believe that I am 36. I mean, adults are 36. I have actually really loved my thirties, so I’m not complaining too much. It’s hard to believe sometimes how fast time goes.

I’ve been following a keto diet now for a month and I feel like I have finally gotten the hang of it. The first couple of weeks were kinda stumbling and bumbling while faking it until I got it. But, I think I got it?

I’m down -21.8 in the first month. Sometimes that I am, quite frankly, surprised and happy about. My body has really responded to the diet, which is something that hasn’t happened a lot in the past 2-3 years. It’s giving me hope that I’ll get where I want to be physically for my 100 mile run and future fitness goals.

It’s been hard dealing with my Hashimoto’s Disease, but this diet really seems to minimize many of the affects to my body. I have noticed a jump in my energy, attitude and hunger cravings. I’ve found a groove the past week, week and a half, that I haven’t felt in quite a while. I’m happy.

I know I have quite a bit of work still cut out for me. And, that’s fine — fine and fun. I am exercising 4-5 times a week, which includes a weight training class three times a week along with 2-3 runs during the week. This is all on top of my daily physical therapy for my foot — which really isn’t a workout — but, it is. I count it.

The changes that I have seen aren’t just with my energy levels, but I’ve seen changes physically as well. I am noticing the change in how my clothes are fitting and looking in the mirror. It’s a great feeling when you notice your pants slipping a bit off your waist.

I have also noticed the change in my appetite. I have included intermittent fasting into my diet, so I don’t eat usually until 11am to noon depending on the day and then eat my meals within about six hours of that first meal. I seriously don’t have any major cravings — which has surprised me. But, when you’re on spot with your fat — you shouldn’t be craving much or anything, especially sugary.

I am excited to see what this next month will hold for me. I don’t expect to lose another 22 lbs., but I’d love to lose another 10lbs. to put me over 30 lbs. lost since I started this diet. That’d be amazing, because I was hoping just to lose 30 lbs. in the 90 days I was planning on following the diet. I am well on my way to that goal.

I do have a few things to figure out about this diet, mainly about what I am going to do with it after the 90 days. I will be in Greece for a couple weeks in November and I am not planning on doing a strict keto diet while there — it’d really be impossible, especially since I am going back to the “homeland” and spending time with family there.

But, I want to continue to follow the keto lifestyle after my return. I am sure I’ll put on a little weight. But, I want to stick to it throughout the holidays. I am sure I will make a few adjustments here and there, but I have a couple of months to do my homework on that. But, I need to have it on my mind now as not to blind slide myself when I get back from Greece.

Anyways, here are my numbers along with my workout routine that I’ve been following for the past month …

START: 282.2 lbs. (8/16/17)
CURRENT: 258.4 lbs. (9/15/17)
OVERALL LOST: -23.8 lbs.

MONTH #1 START: 282.2 lbs.
MONTH #1 LOST: -23.8 lbs.

MONTH #2 START: 258.4 lbs.
MONTH #2 LOST: 0.0 lbs.

MONTH #3 START: 0.0 lbs.
MONTH #3 LOST: 0.0 lbs.

CLICK TO ENLARGE

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RACE #145: Saltair Half

Going into this race — I wasn’t having a very good week. Last weekend during the Riverton Half I started having a little pain in one of my molars. I didn’t think too much about it, because it was cold and I just have very sensitive teeth.

But, this was the same tooth that my dentist couldn’t work on because he couldn’t get me numb. It needed a crown, but he just couldn’t do anything with it. So, he filled what he needed to do and felt that we could wait a few months and try again. He didn’t feel like it was close enough to my nerve to worry about a root canal.

Well, it got to that point of needing a root canal.

By Sunday evening it was throbbing and I couldn’t chew on that side at all. I knew I was going to need a root canal. So on Monday I called my dentist and he ended up referring me to a endodontist to do the work. But, the endodontist couldn’t see me until Wednesday. So that left me with about three days of dealing with the pain.

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Luckily, my dentist gave me a prescription for some Lorotab. It helped. But, I won’t lie, I kinda hate that stuff. I hate the drowsy feeling and with most pain medications I always get itchy from it. But, come Wednesday I was BEYOND ready for the root canal.

I was beyond surprised how quickly and painless the whole procedure was. I was zonked out and didn’t feel a thing. Sure, my jaw hurt for the next couple of days, but by Friday I was feeling 100% — or close to it.

I’m telling you all this, because it’s framing the context of this run. The past week was brutal on me. It shot my planned workouts and runs I wanted to get in — I got only two miles of running in and FAR less walking miles than I like. The week just sucked.

So on Saturday morning I was just ready for this run. I knew it was going to suck. Not only did not I get the wanted training in the past week, but the course isn’t my favorite — especially when it comes to speed. It’s an out and back flat course along the frontage road running west to east along I-80 in Magna.

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I’ve done the Saltair Half a number of times before — so I knew what I was getting myself into. I knew I wasn’t going to be fast, I knew it was going to be tough on me mentally, but I knew I also needed the miles and it wasn’t race toward my 180 goal.

So there I was in Magna at the Great Saltair ready to run.

Despite having only 38 runners for the half marathon the race had pacers — many whom I know. The sweeper was Julianna who I’ve ran with countless times. With that few runners I knew we’d probably be hanging out a lot during the race — if not the whole race.

I had a feeling I was probably going to be the last runner, but I didn’t care. I’ve stopped caring about that where I finish years ago. As long as I do my best for that day and finish, I am happy.

Once the gun sounded Julianna and I started off together. We walked a good part of the first two miles — mistakingly keeping pace with one of the slower dualathletes. We picked up our pace once he turned around at the 5K turnaround, but I won’t lie — it was more like a run/walk for a bit. Something that would probably make Jeff Galloway proud.

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Early into the race I noticed that there weren’t any port-a-potties along the course. Like none. In the past there had been at least one at the aid stations. But, there weren’t any — which made me a little anxious. Even if I don’t use it, I know if there isn’t one — I’ll end up needing it.

I tried to not think much about it and just enjoyed the company of Julianna. Once we got to the turnaround point we met up with another runner who was walking at this point. She wasn’t feeling well and had just tanked out. I felt bad for her, because she really could have used a restroom.

After walking with her and Julianna for a bit, I decided to pick up my pace and go ahead. I wanted — well needed — to run. So, I sprinted off around Mile 8. Well, it wasn’t much of a sprint. I didn’t have much spring in my legs, but I decided to keep my walking to a minimum and just push myself past my comfort level.

I felt really good about my last five miles even though I knew I was well past my sub-three semi-goal. But, this race wasn’t about a time goal anyways — it was my therapy from a tough past week. It was my therapy away from the stress of the past week. And, it was my therapy helping me to mentally prepare myself for my 50K in a couple of weeks.

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The last couple of miles were brutal. I had no spring whatsoever — and on a flat course — it shows. My sprint was a mall walkers pace. But, I pushed myself through that pain, kept my walking to a minimum and just kept focus on the finish line.

And, I made it.

I made it in 3:26:11. Not my best time. By far. But, I wasn’t disappointed. I wasn’t necessarily happy with it. But, it was what it was — therapy.

After being handed my medal and a bunch of bananas (you gotta give it to them that they know me!) — I hopped in my car and just headed back home. On the drive home I reflected on the run and how tough it was on me. And, how difficult this past week was on me mentally and physically. I was proud of myself for pushing through it all and doing the run. Because it wasn’t easy.

And, now my mind is fully on my 50K in a couple of weeks. Luckily, I don’t need to rely too much on my speed. The speed I was at during this race is probably even a bit too fast for my 50K. So, as discouraging as my time might feel for my half marathon — I feel good about where I will be physically during the 50K.

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The next couple of weeks I am just focusing on my workouts and runs. I’ve been working out at home the past couple of months — well lots of physical therapy exercises for my back (which is a non-issue now) and my sprained ankle. But, I am going to get back into my boot camp workouts at my gym and add some more weight training.

Plus, the good thing about training for my 50K is that I am technically tapering. So with PrepperCon this weekend my runs don’t have to be long. I am going to do five miles on Friday or Saturday — on top of the mileage from walking around the convention. I’ll either run around the Sandy area or just hop on the hotel treadmill. Either way — it’s no 20 miler.

But, I am excited for the next couple of weeks. And, as difficult as this past week has been, it’s nice to be able to acknowledge it, process it and then — move on.  Which I am doing now.

SALT FLATS OR BUST, BABY!


MY NEXT FIVE RACES


When I think of Easter, I often think of my angel Grandma — or Yia Yia. She was (and still is) a rock in my life. Her sense of humor, her love of family and her belief in me will always be a hallmark of her legacy. But, it’s one of the Greek Orthodox Easter traditions that she passed onto us, that I will always remember, do and say. In Greece, a common Easter greeting between one another is Χριστός ἀνέστη! (Christos Anesti) Meaning … Christ is Risen! But, instead of the greeted responding with the same greeting they reaffirm that saying with Ἀληθῶς ἀνέστη! (Alithos Anesti) Meaning … Truly He Is Risen! Since her passing over two years ago, I ponder much on that saying. It is because of Him that I know I’ll see my Yia Yia again. It is that victory over death that we will ALL rise again. I am grateful for this Easter season and for what it means to me personally, for my family and us all. I stand in reaffirming to all that Christ has truly risen! Happy Easter!

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This is the Utah way of saying … “I’m ready for summer, but I’m not sure if it’s here yet.”

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With a mug like this, Adventure’s First Stop™ is usually the bathroom.

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Teaching young Tatum the ways of the Hansen Egg Challenge. He's a natural.

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Weekly Review

As mentioned above, this wasn’t a good week for me — physically, mentally or emotionally. The root canal and tooth pain really threw me off. But, this upcoming week I am looking to make up for all of that. I don’t need huge mileage — because of my upcoming 50K — but, I want to get at least three good runs in, on top of the time on my feet that I’ll spend at PrepperCon on Friday and Saturday.

It should be a much better week. It’ll be physically demaning and a bit hectic, but that’s what makes it interesting — right?

Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 2.0 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 21.61 miles
TOTAL MILES — 36.71 miles
Race(s) this week — Saltair Half.

April 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 6.0 miles
Race Miles — 39.3 miles
Walking Miles — 45.63 miles
TOTAL MILES — 90.93 miles
Races in April — Emigration Canyon Half Marathon, Riverton Half, Saltair Half, Salt Flats 50K and Tulip Festival Half

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 187.75 miles
Race Miles — 135.42 miles
Walking Miles — 371.09 miles
TOTAL MILES — 694.26 miles
Races done in 2017 — New Year’s Half Marathon, Sweethearts 5K, Jackpot Running Festival, SL Tri Club Indoor Half, March Madness Half, Lucky 13 Half Marathon, Emigration Canyon Half Marathon, Riverton Half and Saltair Half.



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RACE #142: Lucky 13 Half Marathon

This race was an audible. I was originally planning on running the Antelope Island Buffalo Run 25K, but due to some time sensitive family obligations on Saturday I decided to scratch the 25K for the shorter race. As hard as it was to give up a trail race, I couldn’t be gone a good chunk of the day.

So, luckily, I found the Lucky 13 Half Marathon and changed course. The race starts at Gardner Village in West Jordan and is a fairly simple out and back course along the Jordan River Parkway Trail. Joe Coles and On Hill Events do a series of races at Gardner Village and this was the first one I’ve been able to run.

The race started at 9am and packet pickup was from 7:30-8:30am so I decided to volunteer and help Joe. Doing the volunteer coordinating for Runtastic Events I like to volunteer for other races to see how they do things — from communication, assigning to certain jobs and general use.

The race was rather small — there were 200 runners. Most were running the 5K, but a good chunk ran the 10K while only 50 ran the half marathon. I don’t mind small races at all — in fact, in some situations I kind of prefer it. Especially factoring on the course. And, since we were running on the Jordan River Parkway — it was a good size.

Starting off the race I didn’t really have a game plan since I registered a couple days before. I wanted to push for a sub-three, which I felt was possible. But, honestly, didn’t know for 100% because of the back issues have been having the past three weeks. My running hasn’t been ideal and my miles lower than I would like.

But, I was going to try for it anyway.

Fighting through the crowd of runners soon thinned out as the 5K and 10K runners got to their turnarounds. I wasn’t sure if anyone was behind once it was just us half marathoners left running south on the course. But, I didn’t care. I was just focused on putting one foot in front of the other and giving it a good effort.

I was feeling pretty good during the first half of the race. There was a bit of a headwind, but nothing like two weeks ago at the March Madness Half. I figured once I turned around I’d get a nice tailwind — which would help PUSH me a bit to my sub-three time goal.

Once I got to the turnaround Steven MacKay, a fellow runner from Run4fun, was directing us to make sure we made the turnaround. Once I started heading northward I noticed I was the last runner. But, I wasn’t completely isolated, there were a couple of runners just ahead of me.

I was a few hundred yards behind the runner just ahead of me and I could tell he was starting to struggle around mile eight or so with frequent walk breaks. I kept focusing on him in an attempt to catch up and possibly pass him. I knew I could do it, but I just had to be smart about it.

Around this time Steven caught up with me. After his volunteer post was complete he ran the last stretch of the race to get his miles in for the day. Since there weren’t any pacers for this race Steven decided to bring us runners in — and I’m thankfully he did. The company was much appreciated.

This was the first time meeting Steven in person, but we’ve been acquainted through Run4fun and Facebook. But, our running journeys hold many similarities with our weight loss and fitness back stories and it was nice talking about that — it helped me keep distracted from the fatigue and heat.

Yes, heat.

The temperature starting the race was quite nice. It was around 55-60 degrees at 9am, but by the time I reached the last couple of miles it reached at least 70 degrees. I was baking.

I tore off my monkey hat and was nearly tempted to throw my shirt off as well — but, then I remembered there were decency laws about that. So the shirt stayed on.

But, it was hot. And, it zapped me. Completely zapped.

By this time Steven and I caught up with the runner ahead of us. Steven stayed with him while I forged ahead. We didn’t separate much the last mile or so, but I was motivated to just stay ahead. I didn’t care much if I finished last — but, I wasn’t going to do it without a fight.

Plus, I knew I was going to be cutting my time goal REALLY short. I wasn’t sure if I was going to meet it or not. But, mile 12.5 mile of a half, that feels like you’re running through an Easy Bake Oven, isn’t a good time to math. Well, there’s never a good time to do math — but, especially in THIS moment.

So, I just kept one foot in front of the other and pushed myself as much as I could. That was pretty much all I could anyways. Anything more or less felt like it would kill me.

Once I got back to Gardner Village, the course wound back to the finish line. I always get the urge to sprint at any finish line, but there wasn’t anything else in the tank. I was on empty. I crossed the finish line, got some water and an orange and just collapsed.

I was done.

Shortly after Steven and the last runner crossed the finish line as I just sat there fatigued out of mind. I was not prepared for that heat. And, those last two miles were brutal for me. But, I was done and that’s what mattered.

I checked my time and noticed I didn’t get my wanted time. I came in at 3:01:24. Obviously, not my best time. But, it was still better than my last two half marathons — so I guess that’s a win?

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While chewing on that unmet goal I was always informed that I actually PLACED in my age group. Which immediately changed my mood. My reaction was a mixture of laughing and astonishment. I’ve never placed at any race before — 5K, 10K, half marathon, marathon and beyond.

Now, let’s not forget that there were 50 half marathon runners so my odds were more than above average to place. But, I run smaller races and didn’t even SNIFF the podium. Considering I am 35 — that’s a prime running age. I just always assumed that I’d place at races I’d run once I hit 70.

I don’t take the placement lately. In order to place — I still have to show up. I still have to run. And, I still have to finish the race. So, it’s not like it was just GIVEN to me. I earned it.

But, I am ready to put in some better half marathon training in the next few months. I don’t want to be stuck around this 3 hour mark much longer. I know I’ve got it in me to run faster. Much faster. And, with my health starting to get under control I know I’ll get there.

But, I have some big goals in front of me, so I am going to be pin point with my plan. And, I’ll blog more on all of that later. I am focusing on next week’s loooooooong ultra training run and then back to racing with the Emigration Canyon Half Marathon on April 1st. I won’t lie, I’m looking forward to some more downhill running.

ONWARD ‘HO!


NEXT FIVE RACES


I wish this bib meant I was eating lobster. #butnope #dentisttime

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RACE #142: Lucky 13 Half Marathon, March 18, 2017 (3:01:24) I did something for the first time EVER during this race! I placed! Yep! I made onto the podium! I came in third place for my age group! Now, before you oh and awe too much over this accomplishment … 50 people ran the half. BUT … I’ve run smaller races and didn’t even sniff the podium. It was a tough race. It got unusually hot for a March race here in Utah and my last two miles was a death shuffle … but, I made it 3:01:24 and I placed! I wish I sub-three’d, but I felt great about my effort. I’m eager to get faster and with one more 50K happening by next month it’ll slowly happen. On to the next one! Emigration Canyon or BUST! #lucky13half #race142 #running @joshruns180 @josherwalla @onhillevents

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Helping move my cousin has me in a mood for a game of Tetris™. #tetrismaster

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Weekly Review

Another tough week for me, but I got most of my mobility back with a massage and continued work on my back. I am trying to be patient so I don’t come back too fast and too strong — I am healing my back for the long term. Especially my long term goals. I am going to up my miles a bit this week capped off with a 20 or so mile run on Saturday.

Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 3.0 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 25.41 miles
TOTAL MILES — 41.51 miles
Race(s) this week — Lucky 13 Half Marathon.

March 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 20.5 miles
Race Miles — 26.2 miles
Walking Miles — 66.71 miles
TOTAL MILES — 113.41 miles
Races in March — March Madness Half and Lucky 13 Half Marathon.

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 136.65 miles
Race Miles — 96.12 miles
Walking Miles — 214.94 miles
TOTAL MILES — 447.71 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.



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

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

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

Not fun. And, very deflating.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A few themes that popped out to me are …


Find Your ‘Why?’

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

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

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

But, find that why.

Believe In Yourself

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

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

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

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

Set Good Simple Goals For Yourself

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

Nope.

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

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

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

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

Surround Yourself With The Right People

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

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

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

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

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

Long Term Success Doesn’t Come Overnight

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

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

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

It’s a process.

Have Patience In The Process

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


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

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

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