Tag: Sweeping

RACE #146: Provo City Half Marathon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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It was a blast.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


MY NEXT FIVE RACES


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

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

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Newborns always make the best drunk faces.

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

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Somebody’s feeling pretty.

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Weekly Miles

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

May 2017 Miles

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

2017 Miles

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


RACE #135: The Haunted Half — Provo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was fun.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

YEAH RUNNING! YEAH PACING! YEAH HALLOWEEN!


136-buffalo-50k

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

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

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

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

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

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



2667in2016

RUNNING MILES

251.55 miles

RACE MILES

368.98 miles

WALKING MILES

1254.83 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

1875.36 miles



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RACE #130: Revel Big Cottonwood Marathon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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But, anyways — to the race.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It made her laugh.

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

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

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

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

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

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

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

I just got to keep moving forward.


131 - huntsville marathon

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

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

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

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

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

Isn’t running such a great adventure?!

PONY EXPRESS OR BUST, BABY!!!

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


2667in2016

RUNNING MILES

223.0 miles

RACE MILES

235.3 miles

WALKING MILES

1069.83 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

1528.13 miles

MILES TO GOAL

1138.87 miles


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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InstaReplay: Alpine Classic Half

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

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

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

Here are a few pictures from the race —


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

A photo posted by Fight4Phat® (@fight4phat) on

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

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

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

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

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

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

RACE #111: The Provo Haunted Half

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It’s hard to believe that this race is my second to last pacing gig of the year. I’m kinda bummed about that, because I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience I have had pacing and sweeping so many races this year. It’s really enriched my running experience. It’s taught me to (literally) slow down and enjoy the beauty that running has to offer.

Saturday’s race in Provo wasn’t any different. As I have mentioned before I love the Haunted Half races for a number of reasons — the first is probably how much of a party atmosphere they are. The fact that it’s a Halloween race naturally brings that kind of vibe along with it.

But, it’s also a celebration of the end of the racing season. All of the local marathons are pretty much done and these Halloween races just feel like a celebration of all the goals, achievements and accomplishments achieved during the race season. It’s really a great atmosphere, a fun atmosphere.

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Elsha and I always take a selfie together before each race we’re together at — a tradition of sorts. And, if you want to scar yourself for life check out Corey in the background.

This week was I was sweeping the course along with my friend Tim Gill. This was the third race we’ve swept this year — Jordan River Half, Legacy Midnight Run and this one. We’ve also ran a couple of races together — including my 100th race at the Handcart Days Half. And, that’s not including the number of races last year. Needless to say, we’ve ran together a lot — and we always have a blast.

Tim and I carpooled down to Provo the morning of the race and rode the bus to the starting line where we met up with a number of our friends while pouring over the few fire pits. It was cold, but luckily they had some hot chocolate to help temper that. Plus, I tried to move around as much as I could to keep from freezing. That helped some, but I kinda wished the race started earlier than 8:45am — especially considering we waited around nearly for two hours after the bus dropped us off.

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My RYR Pacing Family! Running and pacing with these peeps keeps me inspired!

Since Tim and were sweeping we hung back while the mass of madness moved past us across the starting line. It gave me a couple of extra minutes to pick up some discarded gloves (I love the race gloves they give you — SO WARM!) and watch everyone as they discarded their mylar blankets alongside the road. It really looked like the spoils after a Pop Tarts convention.

I brought along my bigger backpack for this race as well, because I wanted to pack it with the gloves and any discarded shirts or hoodies I found along the course. I actually did manage to find a nice blue hoodie, some head bands and a Domino’s Pizza shirt. I think of all the finds I was more excited about the Domino’s shirt. I have plans of walking into a Domino’s Pizza restaurant with car keys in hand to see if I can get a pizza delivery handed to me.

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Me and Timmy at Bridal Vail Falls down Provo Canyon. I think Tim thought this was an engagement picture, no?

The course pretty much follows that of the Provo City and Provo River Trail Half Marathons — it runs down Vivian Park, along the River Trail and then finishes outside of the canyon. Instead of finishing at The Riverwoods or Downtown Provo this course ends at the University Mall in Orem. It’s a beautiful course — I really like the Provo River Trail, it’s a great place for a race, especially running down Vivian Park.

The last couple miles of the race Tim and I helped pace in a couple of runners who were running their first half marathon. From what we gathered from them was that they thought they had signed up for the 5K and later found out it was actually the half marathon. But, instead of changing the race or backing out of it completely they decided to prepare for it about five or so week ago. You’re probably think that’s crazy — which is it, but really it’s crazy AWESOME! Mad props to the two for sticking with it.

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I (finally) got my Runtastic Trilogy medal for the year. I officially earned it last week, but picked it up this week. To earn the medal you need to run three of Runtastic’s half marathons. Blingy medal, eh?

In all this was another great experience. I will always love pacing and sweeping courses. Runners inspire me — always will. Each journey is individualized and personal — and epic in nature. And, I always come away from a race enriched and inspired from seeing runners accomplish goals, milestones and unrealized dreams.

Now the next couple of weeks is focused on the final preparations for my 50K on the 14th. I am all kinds of excited and nervous, but I know I’ve got what it takes to accomplish the task at hand and I know exactly where to draw the needed inspiration when I will need it.

But, first let’s get past next week’s Snow Canyon Half Marathon.


RACEGRAMS

General rule of thumb — don’t challenge a pirate to a drinking contest. But, today … I won. #prettymuchwaterboardedmyself

A video posted by joshua o. snow hansen™ (@kindaqwerty) on

Oh man, someone must have gotten into the Pop Tarts and eaten them all? #teampoptart

A photo posted by joshua o. snow hansen™ (@kindaqwerty) on

Swept @thehauntedhalf in Provo on Saturday. It was a great experience alongside @timmgill68 — we even got into a water fight along the way. I’m always in awe of the runners I pace at the back of the pack. It doesn’t matter how long they take, it just matters that they get there. There’s a life lesson in there. I’m running the Snow Canyon Half in southern Utah next before my first ultra the following week on Antelope Island! Excited and nervous. But, I need to remember what I’ve learned about sweeping by focusing on just getting there. #thehauntedhalf #race111 #running #provo #utah #ryrpacers #workout #fitness #health #wellness #hypothyroid #hypothyroidism #lowtestosterone #thyroid #weightloss #weightlossjourney @running180 @fight4phat @kindaqwerty @thehauntedhalf @runtasticevents @ryrpacers A photo posted by Fight4Phat™ 🏃🏻💨 (@fight4phat) on


NEXT RACE: SNOW CANYON HALF

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As I sit here shivering I am thinking two things — one, I should probably put socks on and, two, I can’t wait to run in St. George this upcoming weekend. It will be a short reprieve from the turning fall weather and I can’t be any more excited. Sure, the weather this fall hasn’t been THAT bad, but when you hate the cold you take advantage of these opportunities.

I am doing this race as part of my requirements for the St. George Runner Series. I have to run two Washington County-based races between now and April to guarantee my spot into the 2016 St. George Marathon (Oct. 1). So the plan is to run the Snow Canyon Half this weekend and then I’ll be running the Bakers Dozen Half Marathon on December 12th in Hurricane. So I’ll be done with my requirement for the Runner Series before the end of this year. SCORE!

I am going to be carpooling down to southern Utah with my friends Jason and Tammy Henry. I am excited, I love road trips with friends. Especially, when you haven’t gotten their life stories yet. And, there’s plenty of time for life stories on the way down — especially between Nephi and Cedar City.

Jason and I will also strategize for our 50K the following week — we’re both virgin ultra marathoners so we’ll definitely need a good strategy. So far our only strategy is to not get gored by a buffalo, don’t poop our pants and to not die. Admirable goals for an ultra on Antelope Island, right?

Anyways, I’m looking forward to the road trip, the race, the warmth and the red rock! Oh, how I love the red rock of southern Utah — but that’s a post for another day.

SNOW CANYON OR BUST BABY!


MONTHLY MILEAGE UPDATE 2015

Total Mileage Breakdown for 2015
2015 Training Miles – 239.25 miles
2015 Walking Miles – 418.3 miles
2015 Race Miles – 400.5 miles
2015 Total Miles – 1058.05 miles
 
Monthly Total Miles for 2015
January – 78.8 miles
February – 72.85 miles
March – 115.3 miles
April – 76.3 miles
May  97.4 miles
June  131.15 miles
July  101.65 miles
August  110.2 miles
September – 115.69 miles
October – 164.7 miles
November – 0.0 miles
December – 0.0 miles

THE UTAH RUNCAST: EPISODE IV

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If you haven’t caught the latest episode of The Utah Runcast — it’s just me and Jim. Jorge was suppose to come along, but he got stuck in traffic — so now he owes us Costa Vida.

But, we talk about our lengthy absence, the Layton Marathon Guinness World Record, a little bit about races coming up and how to find Jim a good first marathon.

Check out the episode here — found only the Podgoblin.com.


THE UTAH RUNCAST BECOMING RUNCAST USA

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Kind of a large announcement concerning the podcast. Episode IV was our last podcast known as The Utah Runcast — starting immediately we are becoming Runcast USA. We still have basically the same crew, same familiar banter, but in addition to talking about running in Utah, we’ll be expanding our audience and outreach. As much as we LOVE Utah, we don’t feel confined to just Utah.

This slight direction change will also enable us to better reach out to other runners and podcast guests nationwide. This also includes addressing and talking about national running news, happenings and races. We are in the works about doing a special Boston Marathon episode, running for charity episode, marathon training episode, food and running episode and MANY, MANY others!

It’s going to be awesome. And, a lot of fun.

We’ve been migrating our social media accounts over to the new name — so make sure you’re following us, so you won’t miss an episode. We’re on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We hope you are just as excited for the changes and slightly new direction of the show.

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WEEKENDGRAMS

With it being Halloween weekend there was A LOT of family time, especially with my nieces and nephew. They always crack me up, especially Miss Koko who is madly in love with Jimmy Chunga and basically wants to marry him.

These kids just make me even more excited for the two additions coming early next year. Here are just a few ‘grams from the weekend that was —

@jimmychunga how could you say no? LOL! #suchaflirt

A video posted by joshua o. snow hansen™ (@kindaqwerty) on

Despite what evidence may imply — she does play well with others. #shejustdoesntknowherownstrength A photo posted by joshua o. snow hansen™ (@kindaqwerty) on

Just got visited by a horse, wizard and candy corn. #thisishalloween #halloween2015

A photo posted by joshua o. snow hansen™ (@kindaqwerty) on

Um … I’ll take the trick. #hummusisnotforhalloween A photo posted by joshua o. snow hansen™ (@kindaqwerty) on

That’s funny the horse thinks it’s people. #haythatsacornyhorsejoke

A photo posted by joshua o. snow hansen™ (@kindaqwerty) on


MONDAY’S MOTIVATION

RACE #110: The SLC Haunted Half

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I’ve been looking forward to this race for quite a while and for a number of reasons. For one, I love this race. Runtastic puts on a great Halloween race. Well, I should say races. They also have one in Provo and in Phoenix, AZ (both next week).

But, I also was excited to run the new course. After running the course the previous two times this would showed to be faster. Instead of running up through the U towards Memory Grove, the course runs down towards Sugar House Park from Emigration Canyon. I must say, I do like the new changes.

A lot.

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One of the most gorgeous sunrises I’ve ever seen. This was at the summit of the canyon. SO BEAUTIFUL!

Additionally, I was sweeping the course for the RYR Pacers. It’s fairly well known how much I love pacing, especially sweeping. I find it tremendously rewarding, fun and inspiring. Whether I am pacing it alone or with someone else — it’s always a great experience. For this race I swept the course with my friend Connie Lyons — who also happened to be six and half months pregnant (more on that later).

The night before the race I spent the night ghost hunting with my family, Jimmy Chunga and the rest of the Goblins at the Zions Building in Downtown SLC. I didn’t get home until just after 3am. Since I had to be in Sugar House by 6am, I didn’t even chance going to sleep so I ended up just staying up all-night. Probably not the best idea, but I wasn’t really worried since I was sweeping the course and didn’t need to meet a certain pace.

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Me and Elsha! It’s not a race without first getting our customary selfie. I love this young lady. Talk about an inspiration!

So, I just pumped myself up with some caffeine and merged my Friday and Saturday into one loooooong day.

The one thing about pacing — especially sweeping — is that you don’t know what to expect. Every race is different and anything can happen. You can be running with a first-time runner, an injured runner, walker or no one. It really depends on the race and it’s impossible to prepare for — so you just do it. That’s one of the things I love about sweeping.

Connie and I pretty much kept our distance from most runners for the first 5-6 miles of the race. We spent most of the time tailing a couple dressed as hippies while we picked up a number of gloves runners threw alongside the course. These gloves were perfect for winter running and were great quality. So why not pick some up for yourself when others could care less about them?

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Me and Connie before the race. Um, I’m pretty sure I have food in my mouth?! Hot.

It was funny though, at one aid station while I was picking up gloves this teenage volunteer kind of freaked out at me when I started stuffing gloves in my bag. She was a bit taken back at the audacity of me “STEALING” the gloves so blatantly. She tried to guilt me in taking them. But, I told her these are just thrown away by the runners and they are not expecting them back. I don’t know if that sufficed as an answer, but I got a good laugh at it.

At about mile six or so we ran into JessicaSue — a first-time runner. This was her second organized race. She did a 5K earlier in the summer, but this was her first half. She is 25-30lbs. into a weight-loss journey and to help that journey along signed up for this race — not knowing what to expect. She was running alongside her health coach and by this point of the race she was starting to slowdown from an achy back, sore blistery feet and cramping quads.

But, she was still going.

So all four of us stuck together. We got out of Emigration Canyon as the police officers were opening up traffic along Sunnyside Ave. Since the runners had the right hand side before the cones were torn down we decided to move across the street to run along the run/bike lane.

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Busting out the last few miles of the race.

Since we were the last runners on the course our biggest worry at this point was having the last two aid stations open. Luckily, the mile 9 station still had volunteers — they were breaking down — but still there. It was perfect because the heat was starting to rise just a bit. It wasn’t horrible, but enough to be slightly uncomfortable.

Throughout the last part of the race I tried to keep JessicaSue’s attention off of the pain and on the reasons why she was running. She is quite the warrior. Not only was she fighting through this race, but she’s also fought cancer and — like me — thyroid issues. It was just rewarding helping her along the course, but also making a new friend. I can’t say it enough, she inspired me. A lot.

The last half mile was the toughest along the way. Mainly because you could see the finish line as you are climbing a hill inside Sugar House Park. I am glad Connie was there because she related to JessicaSue how this final push was like childbirth. Something I couldn’t relate with, but I’ve had food babies before — sadly not the same.

As we came across the finish line the three of us backed off and let her cross by herself. It was a beautiful sight. One I tried to capture on my camera. It’s a beautiful picture, but it doesn’t give the moment justice. At last, she was a half-marathoner!

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JessicaSue crossing the finish line at The Haunted Half in Sugar House Park. I love this picture.

Experiences like these that I had with JessicaSue are reasons why I love sweeping. I feel somewhat selfish in only asking for these assignments. It’s not because it’s easier than pacing a 2:30-2:40 time slot, it’s not because it’s “easy” (because it’s not) — it’s because I feel like I can relate to a lot of these runners. Whether it’s because they’re on a weight-loss journey, have a health setback or simply just love the sense of accomplishment of finishing — these are MY people.

I’ve been there, I am there and sweeping is my way of giving back to a sport that has given WAY much more. I’ve realized the more that I pace, the more sacred a gift I am able to give many of these runners in the back of the pack — empathy. Sympathy is great to give, but empathy is divine. And, on my drive back home from the race that day I shed a few tears realizing that.

But, with that said — I can’t wait to see what next week has in store for me. I can only guess.


NEXT RACE: THE PROVO HAUNTED HALF

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After this weekend’s experience at The Haunted Half in Salt Lake City, I am REALLY excited about the Provo edition. I am sweeping the course and doing so alongside Tim Gill. His wife BJ is going to be joining us as well. This is the third time that I have swept with Tim — so we’re pros. And, quite honestly, I’ve learned a lot of “tricks” from him. He has a gift with people and diverted their attention from the pain to the task at hand. Especially with since sense of humor.

I am not sure exactly what I am going to dress up as. I could do the sweeping outfit again — but I think I need something different. I would say my friend Robert Merriman, but running shirtless during an early morning October race doesn’t sound like my idea of fun. Plus, I’m sure I could get arrest for that as well?

Either, way I will come up with something great. It should be a great time.


THE RACE AFTER NEXT: SNOW CANYON HALF

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Leading up to my 50K (in three weeks … gulp!) I am going to be running the Snow Canyon Half Marathon down in St. George, Utah. I am BEYOND excited about this race. This has been on my race radar for a while now. But, since I signed up for the St. George Runner Series I decided to make it one of my two races so I can guarantee a spot into the St. George Marathon.

I am going to be carpooling down with the Henrys on the 6th after work. We’ll crash somewhere overnight, run the race and then come back home on Saturday afternoon. There are a few races up here in northern Utah, but since this will be November 7th and likely COLD … why not St. George? It just seems like the right thing to do.

Plus, since Jason is also running the 50K with me we’ll consider this our opportunity to warm up our race the following week.


WEEKENDGRAMS

Getting ready to ghost hunt with @benhansen00 and @jimmychunga at the old Zions Building. #iaintafraidofnoghost

A photo posted by joshua o. snow hansen™ (@kindaqwerty) on

Great friends give their friends cat socks. #checkmeowt A photo posted by joshua o. snow hansen™ (@kindaqwerty) on

This is what we do for fun as a family. We race the kids through tunnels to see who’s got the fastest kid. #kidlympics

A photo posted by joshua o. snow hansen™ (@kindaqwerty) on


MONTHLY MILEAGE UPDATE 2015

Total Mileage Breakdown for 2015
2015 Training Miles – 230.5 miles
2015 Walking Miles – 399.8 miles
2015 Race Miles – 387.4 miles
2015 Total Miles – 1017.70 miles
 
Monthly Total Miles for 2015
January – 78.8 miles
February – 72.85 miles
March – 115.3 miles
April – 76.3 miles
May  97.4 miles
June  131.15 miles
July  101.65 miles
August  110.2 miles
September – 115.69 miles
October – 124.35 miles

MONDAY MORNING MOTIVATION

The 83rd Fartlek Friday™ – When Pink will just be another color …

fartlekFriday, Friday, Friday! How I love myself a Friday! Especially a race weekend Friday!

It’s been somewhat of an emotional and humbling week for me. This past week I found that three friends of mine were just recently diagnosed with breast cancer. The same kind of cancer that my Mother fought back in 2012. It breaks my heart, especially when thinking of their kids and small families.

Cancer sucks. It sucks bad. Cancer isn’t fair. Cancer doesn’t care who you are. Cancer doesn’t care how old you are. Cancer doesn’t care how rich or poor you may be. Cancer doesn’t care how much faith or unbelief you might have.

And, for me that was the hardest thing to accept when my Mom was diagnosed with her cancer. Especially when we sat in the waiting room of the Huntsman Cancer Institute as my Mom was under the knife. While we sat there praying and waiting for reports from the doctor, there were a number of other families and friends getting reports that were less favorable. One that I overheard where the doctor told the family that it was “too late” and the cancer had spread elsewhere.

Dith

As much as I hate cancer, I was extremely touched by the support my Mother got from friends, family members and complete strangers. The amount of love and support that she and our family got was OVERWHELMING! And, I don’t say that with one iota of exaggeration. That’s why it’s been amazing watching the love and support come out within the running community when we learned that our friend Meridith aka Dith was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Tomorrow we’re all wearing pink for her at the Timp Half. We’ve also started a team for the Huntsman Cancer Institute’s Hometown Heroes non-profit to run for donation. And, we’re all just spreading and share our love and support in our own way. Which I learned is the best way to show support. There is no cookie cutter way to show love and support through these difficult times, you use your God given talents, because that’s the best gift you can give anyone.

Anyways, I will update more about the weekend events and fundraisers in my race report on Monday.

If you would like to join the Huntsman Hometown Heroes team we started you can do so here. Also, if you’d like to donate money instead you can do it at that link as well. Our goal is to raise $5000 before the end October. A lofty goal, but attainable.

CANCER SUCKS!
RUNNING ROCKS!


TOMORROW’S RACE: TIMP HALF

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Tomorrow is race #101. I won’t lie … kinda weird being in the hundreds. But, I love it. I am really excited about the Timp Half for a number of reasons. First and forthmost, I love American Fork Canyon. Probably the most gorgeous canyon I’ve ran up here in northern Utah. I would say Utah, but that belongs to Snow Canyon. Nothing beats Snow Canyon in my opinion. I love that canyon.

The other reason is what I had mentioned above about my friend ‘Dith. We’re all wearing pink and running in her honor as this will be her last race before she starts her cancer treatments. It will be somewhat of an emotional race. At least that is what I am planning for, because there is nothing I hate more than cancer. Especially after seeing my mother fight it over three years ago.

It will be a race of many emotions and feelings I am sure of that.


THE FRIDAY FARTLEK

Here are a few things that caught my attention this past week …


FRIDAY FUNNY PHOTOS

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