Tag: trail race

RACE #168: Joshua Tree Half Marathon

[CLICK HERE TO READ MY SNOW CANYON HALF REPORT]

After picking me up from the High School, Julianna, Michelle and her daughter booked it out of town so we could get to Joshua Tree in time for the Joshua Tree Half Marathon. Crystal was going to make the journey with us, but she ended up going to the ER to get some fluids after her race. Sadly, she didn’t make the trip at all.

The trip down was fairly uneventful. It took us about five hours as we passed through Vegas and Barstow. We knew we were going to cut it close to make sure we got to the race on time, so we only stopped once for gas.

We made it into Joshua Tree with about an hour or so to spare. But, we were met with a 1.5 mile long traffic jam as the other 2300+ runners were all parking for the race. The jam made us sweat a bit. But, we made it on time — and it helped that the race also moved the start time back a little because of the traffic.

Since I killed my legs in the earlier race my plan was to just stick with Julianna and Cheryl who were sweeping the race. The plan was for a 4 hour sweep time, which would be perfect ultra training — especially with the tired legs. So it was an easy game plan.

In the first mile we met up with a runner who was coming back because she started getting a headache and felt nausea. I felt bad. She was in tears. Being the professional pacer that Jules is — she immediately hugged the runner — and told her that she’d get her to the finish line. The hug and reassurance stopped the tears and our new friend Anita joined the party in the back.

About another half mile or so, I started feeling nausea again. I was trying to figure out why — because I hadn’t eaten much in the past couple of hours after lunch — and it didn’t bother me then, so why now?

Either way, I ended up throwing up just a mile and half into the race. I couldn’t believe it. I did have the brief thought that I should turn back. But, I couldn’t. This was a race I wanted to do — and I wanted to run my name. I wasn’t going to give up.

The course was gorgeous as the sun finally disappeared behind the mountains and the full moon made its’ appearance. I felt like I was running inside a U2 music video. Which I kinda did as I turned on U2’s Joshua Tree to get me into the mood of the run. But, after I threw up a second time — I stopped with the music altogether.

I couldn’t believe I was still throwing up. It didn’t make sense. Especially, when it felt that I didn’t have anything on my stomach. It started making me wonder if I had a second stomach I was unaware of?

Despite my caution, it seemed like a few minutes after every aid station, I would get nausea and then throw up. It was like clockwork at this point. It was beyond bizarre.

The course didn’t help my situation at all. It was tough. Very tough. It was very much a trail race. There was only about 1.5 or 2 miles of pavement.

We climbed a lot, which isn’t much of an issue for me, but it was on hills that were VERY sandy. It made for a tough hike. And, soon the party in the back collected quite a few people. We had a good 10 or more people well behind the 4 hour pace.

But, we all kept going.

And, I also kept throwing up as well.

Having thrown up five times during this race, I had enough. I was done puking. So, by the Mile 9 aid stations I came to the revelation — from Julie and my friend Jill (who I was texting) — it was my Powerade Zero making me sick.

I am not sure why it took me so long to figure that out? Probably out of denial? But, it made sense. This was the 5th race I’ve thrown up at after starting my keto diet. I contributed a lot of that to not being able to eat the proper fuel I needed that early in the morning.

But, it wasn’t necessarily that food.

It was what I was drinking. It made perfect sense. And, after saying a quick farewell, I resolved then and there to stop drinking it. So, at the Mile 9 aid station I dumped out my Powerade Zero and filled my pack with water.

And, that was the difference.

My stomach felt fine. And, in fact, I just drank as much as I could, because at this point — having thrown up 12 times that day — I was worried about hydration. So I was very mindful to keep drinking.

Having gained a second wind, I was ready to finish this race. I was beat up — not just by my Powerade Zero, but the course as well. Our little party in the back started resembling a zombie march. It seemed like the hills kept climbing and the sand never ceased.

But, honestly, from a roadrunner’s perspective it was miserable, but from a trail runner’s perspective it was that bad. And, that’s what I was trying to focus on. This was a trail race.

But, the course was extremely tough for everyone, even for the runners in the front and middle of the pack. I felt bad for some of the pacers who struggled to keep their pace because they had to work almost twice as hard. It was just a tough, tough race.

The course limit was four hours, but we were far from it. We hit the four hour mark at 10 miles. And, because of the permit and course limit we were all driven about a mile and a half ahead so we could finish sooner. They had to take a couple car loads and as much as we wanted to resist — we were grateful. We all just wanted to be done.

When I finally made it to the finish line I was just grateful to be done. I was drained. I was sore. I was depleted. I was stinky. I was so many things. But, I did it. This was much tougher than my last double race day — mainly thanks to the puke and sand. But, I survived.

Once I was done, I knew I had to make up my distance in order for me to count the race toward my 180 — so I paced around the finish line, parking lot and went back out to the race course to meet up with Julie as she brought in the last runner.

That last 1.5 mile was tough. I could have easily not done it and been fine with it. But, I’d have that nagging on me if I didn’t. 13.1 miles is 13.1 miles.

We were going to drive back to St. George that night, but it was midnight and we were all bushwhacked from the course and day. We made the smart decision to crash at the local Marriott Courtyard where our friend Melissa was staying. It was the best decision, even though that gave us a 10 hour ride home the next day.

After not getting my hooker shower earlier that day and running two races in the same clothes — I was so ready for a hot shower. And, it was definitely one of the best showers I’ve ever taken — definitely in the Top 3.

It seriously was the best.

After a great sleep and good sized breakfast the following morning, we were off heading for home. I had no ill affects from the night before. I kinda wished I had a scale I could jump on, because I could have sworn I lost nearly 15lbs. from the day before.

But, going away from the race — I was just grateful for the ability to be able to do what I can do. It was a tough day. It was a demanding challenge. And, despite the obstacles — I finished what I started. There’s a lot of pride in that.

And, as I reminded myself often during the day — it was GREAT ultra training. Puke and all.


MY NEXT RACE: MT. VIEW TRAIL HALF

The year is winding down for me. And, I won’t lie — I am looking forward to some rest the next few weeks, before going headstrong into my ultra training for Jackpot. But, before that — I have one more half marathon for the year.

This Saturday I am running the Mt. View Trail Half Marathon on Antelope Island. I grappled with the idea of doing the 50K — which I have done the last couple of years. But, not only do I feel like not doing it, but I’m just not ready for it mentally and physically. I just don’t trust myself at meeting the needed cutoffs on the 50K.

So the half marathon it is for me!

The course isn’t that bad. It’s basically the last 13 miles of the 50K course along a gorgeous part of the island near Garr Ranch. It should be fun. It will be a different challenge. And, really, I am just going for time on my feet at this point in my training — so — I’m going out there to just enjoy myself.

And, after this race — I’m basically taking a three week break from running to recharge, recalibrate and refocus. I’ll be heading to Europe for a few weeks and I can’t wait. I’m heading to Paris, Rome, Athens and Crete. I’m going to FINALLY meet cousins and family in Greece I haven’t met yet. And, of course — I’m making my pilgrimage to Marathon.

There was no way I could go that far without stopping for a visit.

Once I am back in December I am jumping into my training for Jackpot and I’ll blog more about that next month. It’s not a lot of sexy training. It’ll mainly be time on my feet and lots and lots and lots of long hours roaming my streets, the Olympic Oval and the treadmill.

But, right now the focus is on Antelope Island this weekend!


Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 8.0 miles
Race Miles — 26.2 miles
Walking Miles — 23.08 miles
TOTAL MILES — 57.28 miles
Races This Week — (2) Snow Canyon Half & Joshua Tree Half

October 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 37.69 miles
Race Miles — 52.4 miles
Walking Miles — 95.89 miles
TOTAL MILES — 185.98 miles
Races in October — (4) The Haunted Half – SLC, SoJo Half, Howloween Half, The Haunted Half – Provo

November 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 4.0 miles
Race Miles — 26.2 miles
Walking Miles — 16.81 miles
TOTAL MILES — 47.01 miles
Races in November — (3) Snow Canyon Half, Joshua Tree Half & Mt. View Trail Half.

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 423.24 miles
Race Miles — 453.77 miles
Walking Miles — 1140.31 miles
TOTAL MILES — 2017.32 miles
Races done in 2017 — (32) 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 and Joshua Tree Half Marathon. 


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RACE #134: Pony Express 50 Mile Trail Run

Going into my race on Friday I had a hard time expressing my thoughts and feelings about what I was about to accomplishment. Mainly because I was just so eager to experience what was ahead of me. But, now I’m here. The 50 miler is behind me and I’ve been processing the experience the past few days.

I’m not sure if the word ‘experience’ is the right word — experiences — is more appropriate. There were so many ups and downs from mile to mile that it felt like a lifetime of lessons I learned out there on the trail. It’s hard to put all of that in words, especially when it felt like my circumstances and mentality could change every quarter of a mile.

But, I did it! I did it! I did it! I did it!

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

Going into the race I didn’t know exactly what to expect, but I wanted to set a few ground rules for me to follow throughout the race to make I gave myself the best chance of success. I wanted to make them as concrete as possible, but I also knew they needed to be fluid enough to change as needed — because this was something I’ve never done before.

My rules were simple —

1) Keep moving forward.
2) Don’t sit down at aid stations.
3) Don’t spend more than 2-5 minutes at aid stations.
4) Eat and hydrate every 2-3 miles.
5) Don’t be shy asking for help.
6) Don’t poop my pants.
7) Don’t give up.

Simple rules really — and as #6 might seem like a joke … it’s really not. I was one of my biggest worries, because unlike your typical marathon the only port-a-potties on the course were at the starting and finish line. Everything in between was pretty much up to you. And, that scared me.

But, really the focus was just moving forward and getting where I wanted/needed to go … the finish line. I really didn’t want to sit down at the aid stations, but that ended up changing in the later miles. But, luckily my crew car was my aid station and that helped ease a lot of angst for me. I wouldn’t have to lug a pack with me and I could just focus on running. It really helped a lot and one of the reasons why I chose this race as my first 50.

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Anyways — I had a great crew and support team. Tim from the Addict II Athlete team was my support vehicle. He volunteered his car as my ‘meals on wheels’ for the entire race. And, then somewhere around noon-1pm Jill was going to show up and help pace me to the finish. And, then Coach Blu said other AIIA team members were planning on coming later to pace team members into the finish.

We got into a good rhythm early into the race. After crashing at Coach’s place the night before we headed out from Orem to the West Desert for a 5am start time. Coach and I ran together about the first three miles together. Coach Blu is such a great guy and such an easy conversationalist — the miles really flew by.

We parted so he could catch up with some other team members and I had to use the restroom. Which was an adventure and a half for me. I had tried to use the restroom at the starting line KNOWING there wouldn’t be anywhere along the course to go. Nothing. Which is typical of me.

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And, as typical as it is for other runners — I had to go — after running 3-4 miles on a bumpy dirt road. Sooooo — in a desert with nary a tree or shrub I walked out as far away from the roadside as I could to dig a hole. I felt so awkward — I felt like such a cityslicker — but, luckily it was still dark enough that I don’t think anyone could see me since I turned my headlamp off.  Anyways, I did my thing, covered it like a cat and moved along hoping that if anyone did see me they be faster than me.

But, I kept a good slow steady pace in the first 12-15 miles — which was all by design. I didn’t want to burn out too quickly, because I knew I’d need gas in the tank for the last 10-15 miles. So after Coach moved ahead I played leap frog with a few other 50 milers and an increasing number of 100 milers — I even ran into Wan who was running the 100 miler. And, of course hugs were included at that reunion.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to be in the mood for music, but I brought some just in case. I wanted to make a custom playlist on Spotify, but I just ran out of time. So I downloaded a mood playlist I found called simply, “Have a Good Day!” — seemed like a good idea since that was kind of my goal, right?

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And, starting at mile nine, I plugged in the earphone and jammed out. It wasn’t a bad playlist. Lots of Beach Boys, Beatles, 80s music and really good UPBEAT songs — most of them were oldies, but there were a couple of John Mayer and Maroon 5 songs on there that just didn’t jive well with me and were quickly fast forwarded.

I kept the music going and just cranked out the miles. I mall walked the hills, ran the downhill and jogged the flat with intermediate mall walking in between. Then every three miles I’d hit Tim and my aid station. It was a good rhythm I had going. I had this going for about the first 27-30 miles.

But, around Mile 28 I found myself in a pain cave that was hard for me to get out of. I was still a couple miles from Tim’s car and Jill wasn’t there yet, so I knew I just had to find a way to get through those two miles. I tried speeding up and I tried slowing down, but none of that had really helped. So I just moved forward as best I could.

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Then I had remembered that I had grabbed a rock somewhere around mile 2-3 and slipped it in my pocket (mainly as a souvenir). I grabbed the rock and tightly held it in my hand and then just focused all my energy into the rock. I visually gave that rock my pain. And, you know what? It worked!

After wandering in the desert herself, Jill found me — literally with my pants down. I stepped aside from the trail to “water the plants” and of course she came up right behind that. It’s my impeccable timing. But, this wasn’t the first time that’s happened either. Anyways — like I learned early on in ultrarunning — there’s no modesty in ultrarunning. None.

But, Jill came at the perfect time to get me over Lookout Pass. That stretch was tough — not just the climbing part up to the pass, but all those flat unglamorous terrain before all of that. Having her to chat with saved my sanity. Plus, I was grateful it was Jill, because it was yet another trademark epic adventure of ours.

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Once we got to the pass and back to her car, she decided to drive to the finish line and then carpool back with Mark. I hated being alone again for about 3-4 more miles, but I knew I could do it. Plus, the other AIIA support vehicle was right ahead of me so I wasn’t THAT alone.

So I just trudged along.

Luckily, after the climb came a lot of good downhill, so I just kind of let gravity take me as fast as it wanted. I got myself into a nice rhythm and I felt really good, especially considering that I was around mile 40 and less than 10 miles from finishing. Looking back to that moment I laugh, because within five miles that all changed — quite dramatically.

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Around mile 43 the sun started setting and darkness came quite quickly. The moon wouldn’t raise until well past midnight and I didn’t grab my headlamp at the last break so I had to rely on my Rhino-sharp eyesight. My body was starting to just breakdown — physically, emotionally, spiritually and everything inbetween. And, I could tell I was not going in a good place.

I just wanted to be done. Since my goal was to finish I didn’t wear a Garmin or watch on me. I just relied on mile updates from Tim, Jill or strangers. I never asked other runners, but I’d ask their support vehicles. I’m not sure how good of an idea this was for me to do? Mentally it felt like I’d ask for updates every two hours, but then when I’d get a reply I would have just moved a mere half mile.

Mile 42.5
Mile 43.0
Mile 43.5
Mile 44.0
Mile 44.5

It was brutal.

I just wanted to be done. I was hurting everywhere. My feet were plotting to kill me. The thought of peanut butter made me nauseous. Heck, the thought of anything on my stomach made nauseous. I was just going downhill fast.

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I tried walking with a couple ladies who I had yo-yo’d a bit, but that didn’t have the same effect that Jill’s presence had for me earlier. I wanted to be alone. But, I didn’t want to be alone. I wanted to die. I just wasn’t in a good place at all.

At Mile 45.0 when I got to the car, I sat on the trunk and I tried to drink some water, eat some applesauce while I avoided a whiff of peanut butter or potatoes. I just sat there in silence. Jill was in the car, but she sat in silence as she was battling a migraine (that’s another story) herself. So I just on the bumper in pain, nauseous and discouragement, because I just wanted to be done.

I. Just. Wanted. To. Be. Done.

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The pain in my feet felt like needles and I thought if I changed my shoes that’d help not just the feet, but somehow my mental state of mind. It didn’t really. I knew my five minutes were up at the car, so I slowly got up on my feet and just tried to stagger forward. Each step hurt. And, as I told Jill to go forward another mile and a half — tears just kind of flowed down my cheeks.

As she pulled away the tears came streaming and my pouting turned into an ugly cry. I was once alone out there on the trail with no one in sight ahead or behind me. The tears came with every throbbing step. I couldn’t do this anymore. I didn’t want to be alone. I wanted this pain gone. I wanted to be at the finish line.

With tears in my eyes I gave the simplest and frankest prayers in my life. I said, “Heavenly Father, I can’t do this anymore. Please send someone to be with me. I can’t do this alone. I can’t do this alone.”

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After uttering my feeble prayer I kept weeping as a rush of comfort rushed through me. And, the thought immediately came to me — “you’re not out here alone, someone is on their way!” I took comfort and faith in that feeling and just focused on each step forward.

Those tears of pain started turning into tears of appreciation as I reminded myself that I CHOSE THIS! I chose to go through this moment. I didn’t HAVE to do this, but I CHOSE it. I thought all of my Dad and his battle with gout and knee replacements who battles pains much worse than this temporary pain of mine.

I thought of my dear mother and friends Meridith and Amy who have battled cancer over the past few years. They didn’t chose to go through that. And, battled through much more than this moment of mine. Surely, if they didn’t give up, I sure as hell couldn’t now.

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Those tears of appreciation taught me a lesson of my Savior’s love. His infinite sacrifice was by choice. He had the power to stop … but, he didn’t. He pushed through much more pain than I was experiencing at that moment. How could I give up now, especially knowing that I had an empathetic partner who’s felt all that I have felt and more?

I know what I just shared is very personal to me, but I can’t tell the whole story of this race without including it. Even writing my recountment of this moment brings me to tears. The Savior’s atonement is real. I’ve felt it. I know it. And, in a world where there are bigger problems out there — He was aware of me and comforted me when I needed Him the most.

But, wait … that wasn’t even the total fulfillment of my prayer. No longer than a half mile later my friend Jed rolls up and asks, “you need a pacer!” And, of course this just brought more tears to my eyes and I exclaimed, “Dude, you’re the answer to my prayer — you’re my angel!”

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I wasn’t expecting Jed to be there, mainly because Coach said he was planning on going elk hunting instead. But, apparently, he bagged an elk the day before and managed to get out the West Desert around 9pm — just when he was needed the most. I’ve been around too long to not believe in coincidences. And, as much as Jed probably wouldn’t want to hear, he was definitely my angel.

With a renewed focus the last 4-5 miles went so much more smoother than the prospected view a mere half hour and half mile prior. Jed kept me amply distracted and focused and because of that I was in a much, much better place.

There was a 3/4 mile out and back stretch once you passed the finish area before you were REALLY finished. And, once I passed the finishing area my determination to just be done was stronger. Tim joined Jed and I for the out and back — and once I got my sticker and headed back to the finish line, I sprinted to that finish line.

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Okay, I lied, I mall walked like my Grandma at Hobby Lobby on Black Friday — but, it sure felt like a sprint. I was just determined to get where I wanted to be the most at that moment — the finish line. As I approached closer and closer my mind ran through dozens of emotions again — mainly where this journey has taken me and all those who have been a part of that.

I may have cried a bit. But, thankfully, for the benefit of Facebook pictures it wasn’t my Mile 45 ugly cry. I am pretty sure I used up my year’s quota of tears. But, my mind couldn’t help but think of all those triumphs, defeats, friendships and accomplishments that lead me to that moment. And, to be IN that moment at the time made it even more powerful for me.

I crossed that finish line in 17 hours and 48 minutes. It definitely wasn’t a landspeed record, but I didn’t care. That was never the point of this goal. The goal was to cross that finish line. Which I did.

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As I crossed Jill was immediately taking care of me. She got me food galore and made sure I hydrated properly. She did such a great job the volunteers remarked how wonderful it was to see a wife take such good care of her husband. We didn’t bother to correct her.

But, I downed some of the best portobello mushrooms I’ve ever had. And, I’m pretty sure the chicken sandwich I ate could have given Chick-Fil-A a run for its’ money. I was just grateful my appetite was back. Well, I say that conditionally, because I don’t think I’ll be eating peanut butter for a solid 2-3 years. Seriously, that’s no joke.

The ride home took us a solid four hours — and somehow I managed to stay awake the whole time?!?!! I remember having conversations with Jill, but I am pretty sure I didn’t make any sense. She gave me the same reaction she gives when her daughter says something that doesn’t make sense, but she doesn’t want to point out that it really sounded idiotic. I probably should have just passed out?

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I stayed at Jill’s place and after a painful post race shower at 4am, I managed to get about three hours of sleep before leaving for Salt Lake to help at The Haunted Half. I was so worried about falling asleep and not waking up until 4pm later that day, but that never happened. And, quite honestly this past weekend I never truly “crashed” … I’ve just taken a lot of cat naps.

I think my ultra turned me into a cat?

Volunteering at The Haunted Half and keeping my legs moving really helped keep them fresh and from seizing on Saturday. They’re still a little sore, but stairs haven’t been as “BAD” as I imagined they’d be. I know that will all change when I take my first post-race run/jog/walk/jaunt. I am sweeping the Provo Haunted Half on Saturday so I should get at least a two miler in sometime this week to just get things going.

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Anyways — enough of that. Now is the time to just enjoy the moment, relish in the accomplishment and take pause to ponder on the journey. I accomplished everything I set out to accomplish. Everything from finishing to not pooping my pants during the race.

But, more than that I experienced this race. I experienced some very highs and some very lows and everything in between. That’s what I was looking forward to more than anything in this journey. I wanted to just EXPERIENCE it.

And, I did.

Now, I’ve been asked if I’d do it again. And, up to the race — I said that I’d never say never. Post-race — I want to say “HELL NO!,” but again I can never say never. But, if you really want to know if I’ll ever do this distance again — ask me about 2-3 months. It’s such a big accomplishment with lots, lots and lots of work to be done before even daring to toe up on the starting line.

But, it can be done.

Anyone can do this. I firmly believe that. Why?

Because I did it.

I did it.

I did it.

I did it!


135 - haunted half provo

As mentioned above, I am sweeping the Haunted Half course. All by design of course. There was NO way I was going to pace a 2:45 a week after running 50 miles. I have swept four Haunted Half races to date and I love it because it’s ALWAYS a party in the back. Plus, I’ve met some amazing people running this race so it has a special place in my heart.

It’ll be a party once again. My friend JessicaSue (who I paced last year at the Salt Lake Haunted Half) and her husband will be there, along with Jill and possibly my sister. I am trying to talk her into it. But, we’ll see if she comes. She’s always wanted to run down Provo Canyon. Either way — it will be a party and a half.

The Haunted Half is one of my favorite races. They always do a good job with their races — plus I love this year’s medals! I am thinking of signing up for the virtual race so I can also get the sugar skull medal. I love that thing!

Anyways — just a few races left for the year. I am still debating on running the Bakers Dozen Half Marathon in December, but we’ll see — should be 3-4 more races on the docket before the turn of the calendar.


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I love this week’s Addict II Athlete Podcast — not just because it is one of my favorite podcasts, but because of who Coach Blu interviewed. I’ve gotten to know Tim over the past several months and really well this past Friday when he crewed my 50. He is one of the kindness and most sincere people you will ever meet.

I mean — this guy gave up HALF of his Arby’s sandwich to me on Friday! He didn’t have to and tried explaining that to him, but he was having none of that. He insisted on it, and he knew I needed it — which I did. But, I know he would do the same thing to anyone. That’s just the type of guy he is.

That’s why I love his story so much. This is one of my favorite episodes of AIIA to date and I know it will be yours’ too. Give it a listen …


I always love running into @u2elshanator! She’s a champion of champions! #thehauntedhalf

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“So I told her … LADY, THREE HOURS HERE SHOULD EQUATE TO MORE THAN ONE FRUIT SNACK!” #theLDSlife

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Wowzers! I’m loving this red hot #sunset! #utahsunset

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2667in2016

RUNNING MILES

250.55 miles

RACE MILES

355.88 miles

WALKING MILES

1224.97 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

1831.4 miles


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RACES #98 & #99: Hobbler Half and The Dam 15 Miler

IMG_8110Sometimes I feel like I should question by sanity. Seriously. What is it inside me that THINKS running a 15 mile trail run hours after completing a half marathon is a good idea?

I really am of the believe that runners have a built-in amnesia that makes them forget past “horrible” experiences. Because, if I’ve done a feat similar to what I did on Saturday and hurt for days afterwards … why would I want to do it again?

Well … for the bling and t-shirt, right?

Well, okay it’s deeper than that.

One of the reasons why I raced 28.1 miles in one day was because I kinda had to, so I could make the Handcart Days Half Marathon my 100th race over 13.1 miles. I made the decision to make that race my milestone race about a month and a half ago and had to add a couple races to my docket to make it work.

It just happened that I had to do a couple double-double races. A couple of weeks ago I did a night-morning race which honestly felt a bit harder than Saturday’s feat. Fatigue was very much a factor during those races. At least on Saturday I got a nap in between races after a good night’s race.

But, still, that’s 28.1 miles I had to forge through one step at a time. And, it wasn’t easy. Even now as I am writing my review my feet hurt and my calves have been threatening to cramp since I grabbed my medal at the Dam 15 Miler last night. But, I also have a huge feeling of accomplishment that makes those physical pains secondary.

I did a lot of reflecting while out on the road and trail. My mind kept going back to my first few races and thinking of the biggest differences between now and then. The biggest thing is my involvement and friendships I have gained within the running community. To me that has been the biggest blessing in my running. The people I have met, befriended and ran with have all become a part of me and this little journey I have undertaken.

Luckily, I spent a lot of time running solo on Saturday, because there were a number of times I got a tad emotional about it too. I thanked God a lot for those friendships and my experiences. My mind also went a lot to my Grandma. Sunday was her birthday and she passed away just five months ago, if I had a number one fan of my running … it was her. I knew and felt she was proud of my accomplishments not just from Saturday, but in my whole effort of getting to my goal.

Anyways … this post isn’t about that. I’ll be writing more about that later this week actually. So stay tuned.

Let’s get to my race recaps.


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I don’t know if I would have been able to do both races if I wasn’t sweeping Hobbler. But, sweeping isn’t easy. And, depending on the course it can be rather challenging. Since my job is to be as fast as the slowest runner that can vary from race to race.

But, sweeping is an easier recover than pacing or just running mainly because you aren’t going to complete exhaustion. There is a fatigue to worry about and for me I need to worry about my feet, because being on my feet for nearly four hours hurts my feet.

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#sweeperselfie

Since the race was in the Springville/Mapleton area I crashed at Jorge and Holly’s place. The original plan was to camp out in their front yard with other pacers. But, since a number of pacers found other places or just drove down the morning of the race, it was just me. So, Jorge and Holly let me crash inside on the couch.

Since the race started at 6:30am (unlike 6am for most summer races) the bus pickup wasn’t until 4:45am. This made for a leisurely morning with a 4am wake up call. Which was nice. Especially considering if I drove down from Bountiful that wakeup call would have been closer to 2am. I am really appreciative of Jorge and Holly’s generosity.

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Doing a little shopping. How does the saying go? One runners’ throw away jacket is another runners’ treasure? Something like that?!

The bus ride up the canyon wasn’t a fun one for me. I didn’t realize how bumpy the canyon was and because of that I started getting some motion sickness. Not fun at all. Luckily, the drive was shorter than other races.

After hanging out at the starting line for about an hour the race was ready to begin. I brought along my back pack as my drop back, but because I was too busy talking with others I missed the announcement to get my drop back to the bus. So, I was forced to run with my pack.

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Yeeeeeeeah … there’s no crowd.

It wouldn’t have been bad if it was my usual running bag, but it’s just a simple back pack with no extra straps or anything fancy like that. Luckily I wasn’t going too fast so running with it wasn’t too burdensome, it was just annoying. But, it came in handy have my full gambit of running supplies because I was able to share some Aleve and salt tablets with others.

Since I was the last runner I hung back at the starting line for the last runners to cross the starting line. This was nice because I didn’t have to wait in line to use the Honey Buckets. This is one real perk to sweeping. Of course that perk also has a downside … aaaaand … it’s safe to say that goes unsaid.

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I have a feeling I’m being stalked.

Once out on the course I kept my distance from the last few runners. I do this on purpose for a couple of reasons. One, I’ll play catch up so I get some good running in during the race (basically fartleking) and, two, usually the back of the pack runners aren’t struggling and more so enjoying the run. I’ll support where and when needed. But, the last thing I want to do is interrupt ones’ race.

For being a canyon race, the course was nothing like a typical canyon race. This meaning, there’s not much downhill. And, in the case of Hobble Creek Canyon, it’s more of a rolling hill course. Which isn’t BAD, just not a typical Utah canyon course.

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When people give you a pan of french toast you document it … with a selfie.

The first six miles of the race were fairly well covered in shade, but once the sun came out it got hot pretty quickly. That’s where my salt tablets and Aleve came in handy. Not just for me, but for a couple others as well. I also focused on water and Powerade at each aid station. The last thing I wanted was heat exhaustion before my second race began.

The last three miles were the toughest. The sagging wagon joined up with us by mile 10 and closely followed me as I ran behind the last runner. The best part of this was the driver was listening to The Newsies soundtrack. I won’t lie, I was entertained and thankful. It was a good diversion.

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YEAH! RACE #98!

During the last couple of miles I ran with the last runner just ahead of me. I could tell she was struggling some as she slowed down quite a bit. It turned out she was suffering from shin splits. Not fun. She was apologetic for being so slow, but I told her this was her race, not mine. My job was to help get her to the finish line.

Which we did.

Since we were the last runners across the finish line I grabbed my medal and beelined it over to get some french toast. The biggest perk being they gave me a WHOLE pan of it which I ended up taking home for my family. Talk about a perk, right?

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SLURPEE! SLURPEE! SLURPEE!

After stretching out some and coming to, Jorge and I went and got our Slurpee for National Slurpee Day and I started to physically (meaning I took a nap) and mentally prepare for my next race.


99-dam15

I will admit, coming into the race I was a tad unprepared. Part of it was my fault and some of it was circumstantial. But, it turned out well.

After taking a nap at Jorge and Holly’s place and getting some food in me, I was ready to tackle the second leg of my adventure at Deer Creek Reservoir near Heber City. Even though I was rested and refreshed I was still worried about this second race because it was a 15 miler … on trails.

Not a good combination for speed in my book.

But, I knew I could do it and would do it.

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Jamie and I right before we headed out early for our trail race.

The race began at 6pm and I had checked in at 4:45pm. But, since this was a low key race I didn’t really want to wait around for an hour. So I asked if I could start early. Which I was given the go ahead to do so. This made a lot of the anxiety I felt about being the last one on the course go away.

Jamie and I started out together and got the jump start. It might have been a little bit hotter starting at 5pm. And, it took me a little bit to get acclimated to that with salt tablets, water and some gels. That wasn’t as bad as when I almost stepped right on top of a snake. Luckily, it was just a gopher snake and not a rattler, but … still … it was a snake. And, if it wasn’t for Jamie’s keen eye I would have stepped on it for sure as it looked like a twig or divot in the middle of the course.

Ugh, I hate snakes.

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I was trying to come up with a witty caption for this picture. But, the only thing that comes to my mind is … I hate snakes.

It took Jamie and I just under two hours to get to the turn around point with about 3-4 runners who started at 6pm ahead of us. Jamie went ahead of me while I stayed at the aid station stretching and refueling. By this point the majority of the runners were catching up at the turn around station.

It was fun to run into a number of my friends along the course. Both as they were heading to the turn around point and back. I ran with a few of them for as long as my legs would allow it. But, after 20+ miles of running during the day the only thing I was going to be able to catch up with was a lethargic snail with a cold. And, I was fine with that.

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HOT STUFF!

My preparedness for this race was ruined with two things. One, I forgot my hiking pack. I could have sworn I had packed it, but alas it was right on my bed when I got home later that night. So I was forced to use my back pack again. Not comfortable.

And, two, my head lamp was dead. I tested it the night before, but when I went to use it at dusk I noticed it was completely dead. I think it may have accidentally turned on and ran out of battery? Luckily, I finished around 10pm when there was still a sliver of light left. Enough to see if I was going to step on a bunny or horse poop.

This just made me more grateful that I started an hour early.

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Me and Ruthie! I am pretty sure it’s physically impossible for this woman to frown. Impossible.

The last couple of miles of the race were EXTRA tough. By this point I was above 26.2 miles, the most I have ran and I was just sore. I was tired. My race plan for this course was to walk up the hills and then run the down hill to give me some kind of consistency. But, mile 13-14, I was so tired physically and mentally that I forgot that game plan and I swear I was starting to run up hill and walk the down hill.

But, it was also during this time that my heart and mind seriously began to reflect upon the breadth of what I was doing. I started getting super emotional about it too. I am glad I was running alone because I have no doubt I would have looked like a hot mess.

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I literally swept Janet off her feet. But, what’s most impressive … I didn’t drop her after had run about 24 miles.

I guess you could have called this HITTING the wall, but I am pretty sure I hit that miles earlier. This was almost like I went back to the wall to get hit again? It was a crazy experience to say the least.

But, once I got to the home stretch and saw the lights of the finish line … I was done. Just like that.

I lingered around the finish line for a while kind of bemoaning my hour or so long ride home. I won’t lie, I wish I could have called a cab to drive me home. But, after getting some water and bananas down me I mustered the strength to get myself back to my car.

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I’ve got 99 race medals and this is one of them!

After the hour long drive home I stopped by my Subway for a foot-long sandwich because those bananas and couple of cookies after the race didn’t cut it. I needed serious food. Luckily, my local Subway is a 24/7 location (how did my hometown get so lucky?) and I enjoyed myself a midnight footlong (that sounds questionable) before crawling into bed for a nice long sleep.

And, yeah, so that’s the story of the time I decided to run 28.1 miles in one day over two races.

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My FitBit numbers for the day. I calculated that 481 minutes is just over 8 hours of active minutes. EIGHT HOURS!

And, the worst part about it all? I think I talked myself into running a 50K in November. Yes, a 50K. I’ve been wanting to become an ultra marathoner and of course I decided this around mile 18 or so of my miles.

I really have a problem.

But, I love it.


NEXT RACE: HANDCART DAYS HALF

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THE GOAL! Well, not THE goal, but a HUGE milestone towards that goal. And, this was been a goal I’ve been leading myself up to this summer. It’s only fitting to hit my 100th race over 13.1 miles at the race that started little adventure, right?

The race is turning itself into a little party. I am pushing Elsha during the race and this past week Tim Gill signed up and is planning on running alongside us. There are also a few other friends who are planning on signing up as well. I am not sure if they’re planning on running with me. But, it’s going to be a party pre-race, mid-race and post-race regardless.

I am just really excited about this milestone for many reasons, but more so that I get to share it with my friends. The last time I ran this race I did so all by myself and by doing this with many of my friends is just a testament of how the running community has affected myself.

YEAH RUNNING!


THE BUGOUT RUN! THIS WEEKEND!

Bugout Challenge Logo

There is still time to register for The Bugout Run this weekend. The event will be held in somewhere in Davis County on Saturday morning. Here are some more details about the run.

Register now so you don’t miss out on updates.

Oh, and did I mention that the race is FREE?!


2015 MONTHLY MILEAGE

Total Mileage Breakdown for 2015
2015 Training Miles – 188.0 miles
2015 Walking Miles – 209.0 miles
2015 Race Miles – 213.65 miles
2015 Total Miles – 610.65 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  36.6 miles

MONDAY MOTIVATION