Tag: training

My Improvised Liberty Park Run

My Grandma had a saying whenever she had to do something she didn’t really want to do. She’d exasperate, “you gotta do what’cha gotta do, when gotta do it!” And, she’d usually follow that up with, “well Josher, you can’t win them all!”

You could pretty much sum up my Saturday long run with those words.

This weekend has been on my calendar for a loooooong run. Initially, I wanted to do a self-supported ultra run — 50 miles to be exact. I wanted to run from the State Capital in Salt Lake City to the Provo Towne Center. It’s a run that’s on my Honey Bucket List — and I WILL do it one day.

But, I decided against for a number of reasons — the main reason being my back, but also I liked the idea of doing it on a looped course, like my last ultra, so that I could have an aid station every 2-3 miles or so. I decided to do 50 miles at Liberty Park where I could have an aid station and/or 7 Eleven every mile and a half or so.

After that decision the plan went from 50 miles to 50K to 20 miles before deciding that a canyon run sound better, so I organized a group run down Emigration Canyon to Liberty Park. That run is about 13 miles from the Little Mountain summit and one I used to do quite a bit a few years ago. And, even though I am running the Emigration Canyon Half Marathon next week — I love the canyon enough that I knew I wouldn’t get sick of it come next week.

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I had a good 8-9 people committed to the run, but come Friday night that number started dwindling. Part of that reason was the forecast, but others opted to stay home or get a bit more sleep — which I don’t fault or am upset about it. I get it — I’ve done it too.

So, come Saturday morning, when my friend Laura and I were the only ones to show — I knew I wasn’t going to be running down Emigration Canyon. Which I was fine with, so I just decided to just run Liberty Park. Laura had done 16 miles the previous day so she decided to just go home.

After talking for a while with Laura, I decided to get going on my run. And, I won’t lie — I really wasn’t feeling it. Especially with having planned to run 13-16 miles for the day. But, as much as I don’t mind running Liberty Park, I had my mind set on doing at least 13 of those miles down a canyon.

So, I tried to talk myself into my run. At first, I tried to justify just doing 8 miles, but after a couple of strong laps, I knew I had a bit more than that in me — so I fixed my mind on 10 miles. And, for most of my run I just planned on 10 miles — which is about 6-7 laps around the park.

And, for as much as I wasn’t feeling my run, I did feel rather strong. I alternated my laps with a running lap and a fartleked lap (walk, run, walk, run about every third or fourth of a mile … ish) and just got into a good groove. I just focused on losing myself into my music and thought.

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Well, I guess I got lost pretty good because I lost track of my laps and ended up doing an extra one. I ran to my car THINKING I just finished running 10 miles, but when I looked at my watch I noticed it said 11.5 miles. I laughed at this realization and then just thought to myself — I got one more lap in me.

So, I beasted out one more lap.

At this point it was raining pretty strong. But, I was already wet, so it wasn’t going to matter anyways — so I just cranked up my music (R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly” which had been on repeat for about 3-4 miles) and went for an even 13 miles. But, of course I ended up doing laps around the parking lot to get 13.1 miles.

I did briefly entertain the thought of doing another lap, but I knew if I did that, then I’d have to do another to even it to 16 miles — and I was actually getting a little tired. But, mostly hungry — and no thanks to me craving burritos for most of my run. So, I just decided to stop.

After sitting in the car to warm up a bit my hunger grew strong — especially for tacos or a burrito. So, I decided to trek over to the Sears Burrito for lunch. It’s been a looooong time since I’ve eaten at the Tacos Don Rafas stand and I just wanted/needed it in my life at that moment.

I was wavering between getting corn tortilla tacos or a burrito, because of the gluten in the flour tortilla. But, I made the decision for the heftier burrito justifying that I SHOULD be okay this once — especially if I didn’t get sour cream or cheese on it.

Anyways, long story short — I was wrong. But, at least it didn’t stop me from enjoying it in the moment. But, I paid for the flour tortilla later. Not fun — and a lesson learned.

But, all in all — I feel good about the run. It was tough to mentally get into it, but I eventually got into it. I didn’t let the rain mentally destroy me and I forged through it for a rewarding 13 miles.

A good way to go into my race next weekend. I’m looking forward to a solid week of running and workouts now that I have my back in a place where I want/need it. And, I feel confident breaking through with a solid sub-three during the race.

And, at least I know I’ll be running Emigration Canyon next week. No plan B — and no burrito.


Weekly Review

It was another tough week for me. I got in some miles during the week, but I wouldn’t call them good or what I planned on — but I still got about 17 miles in and I am good with that right now. My SI joint flared up again and made walking just painful for a few days. I’ve been doing a lot of stretching to avoid the flare ups, but when it happens — it happens.

I really should get into a chiropractor, but I won’t lie — I’m a bit too cheap for that. It’s usually my last resort. So, I did the next best thing and found some tutorials on YouTube on how to align your SI joint by yourself. And, you know what — it works! I haven’t had any stiffness the past couple of days. Truly magical.

Anyways — I want to go into next week’s race feeling prepared with a few strong runs in me next week. I feel that’s possible and I am ready for them. I want to gain some speed back. I just need to be a patient young grasshopper.

Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 17.6 miles
Race Miles — 0.0 miles
Walking Miles — 22.34 miles
TOTAL MILES — 39.94 miles
Race(s) this week — None.

March 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 38.1 miles
Race Miles — 26.2 miles
Walking Miles — 89.05 miles
TOTAL MILES — 153.35 miles
Races in March — March Madness Half and Lucky 13 Half Marathon.

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 174.75 miles
Race Miles — 96.12 miles
Walking Miles — 303.99 miles
TOTAL MILES — 574.86 miles
Races done in 2017 — New Year’s Half Marathon, Sweethearts 5K, Jackpot Running Festival, SL Tri Club Indoor Half, March Madness Half and Lucky 13 Half Marathon.


Obligatory singing and lighting of the cake (with a side of 'keep Thalia from touching the flame'). #thaliaturns1

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Pinterest has got nothing on me! #thaliaturns1 #pinterestfail

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

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

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

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

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

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CAMELBACK FRIDAY

On Friday night my friend Emily celebrated her 30th birthday with (what will hopefully become a tradition) riding camels! Here is a little video she made of the adventure. I won’t lie … I want a camel now. Anyone want to buy one for me?


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For The Love Of Running …

I love running.

That shouldn’t be much of a surprise. And, if it is — I am not sure if you understand what kind of blog this is you’re reading? Anyway — let it be known … I love running.

When I started running some 6-7 years ago, I had no idea where it was leading. I basically started because it was a challenge my personal trainer gave me as a way to help with my weight-loss. It started with runs around the Rec Center before the challenge grew to training for a 5K. After that first 5K I officially had the bug.

Over the those same past 6-7 years my running journey has brought me to many starting lines, across many finish lines and countless training runs with others. My love of running grew through friendships made out on the trails and roads. Running became less of a workout and more of a community over those years. It has my heart.

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I love sharing that love for running with others. My hope is that by sharing that love someone, anyone, can have a similar journey like my own. Sure, a lot of my journey had to come from within, but if it was for the hundreds of friends that I’ve met along the way that also shared that love — I am not sure if I would have these same strong feelings?

And, as much as I love sharing this love of running with friends — I absolutely love sharing it with my family, because they are the ones closest to my heart. When I started running the closest runner I had was my sisters who a few years prior ran a half marathon. But, bad knees and numerous knee surgeries took both of them away from the longer distances. So, it’s just been basically me who’s delved into the running scene.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t expect my family to become runners. I get that life happens and that there are other hobbies. But, I am the one who always invites any of my siblings to run with me, train for a half marathon or even a full. Because, I do want to share with them this gift and passion for running with them.

I’ve been able to get a few of my siblings to run 5Ks with me. My sister has run a couple of 5Ks with me and same goes with my brother-in-law. My younger brother keeps telling me he wants to, but hasn’t yet. And, I really enjoy those moments that we can.

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But, last year the focus of my running invitations have turned to my nieces and nephews as well. Last July for my niece’s birthday I bought her an entry into the Frightmares 5K and we ran it together. She even won her age group! We had a blast together and it was a great way to go into my 50 miler the week after.

Running with my niece made the younger cousins jealous. Because they wanted to run with me as well. Especially my niece Callie — she’s been to a few finish lines cheering me on and has been asking my sister when she will get to run with me. I would be lying to you if I didn’t secretly love this anxious excitement of hers.

So, I set to change that.

This past weekend was the Sweethearts 5K here in Bountiful. It’s my hometown race put on by the Rec Center. It’s a great little 5K that I’ve run a number of times — solo, pushing Elsha and a couple times with siblings or in-laws. Considering the price and location I wanted to give all of my nieces and nephews (that could run) the chance to run with me.

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So I signed up with Maya for the 5K and then signed up Elijah and Callie for the Kids K. When I broke the news to the latter two — they couldn’t have been any more excited. They got to run with Uncle Josher and get their own race medal! And, quite honestly, I couldn’t be any more excited to run with them as well.

The 5K started at 9am followed by the Kids K at 9:45am. I didn’t worry about not being able to do both, because Maya and I ran the Frightmares 5K in about 36-37 minutes. I was hoping and feeling like we would do similar or better time-wise.

And, I wasn’t far off. When we started off it was hard keeping up with Maya. She’s a speedster and really quite the runner. I am truly amazed. It really comes naturally to her. I warned her a couple of times to slow down a bit so she didn’t “burn out” going out too fast. But, let’s be honest — it was my feeble efforts to keep up with her.

I was really proud of her effort and natural ability. I would have sent her off on her own, but being the responsible adult (I laugh at that irony) I did want to keep her close for her own safety since this was only her second race. I didn’t want her to wander mindlessly into traffic or take a wrong turn (something that happens to the best of runners might I add). But, when we got to the home stretch I just let her loose. I told her who to follow and where to turn and then just told her — “GO GET IT!”

And, she went and got it! She finished just under 35 minutes! Quite impressive for an eight year old if you ask me.

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She didn’t place her in age group. She was slightly disappointed by that. But, I reminded her the rules to running — 1) Have Fun, 2) Have a Ridiculous Amount of Fun and 3) Repeat — and asked her if she had fun. Which of course she said yes. So I reassured her she’s still coming away a winner.

We didn’t have much time — like any — to bask in our race, because the Kids K was starting in a couple minutes. The 5K started about 10 minutes late, so instead of pushing the kid’s race back too they started it on time. Which I guess is good? But, I was literally catching my breath when Callie, Elijah, Maya and I started off in a mad dash.

They’re sprinters.

Well, at least I swear they’re sprinters. Or maybe its’ their youthful endless amount of energy? Either way — they really left me in their dust. I tried to vain to get my exhausted legs going, but it was in vain — they were gone. Sure it was a 1K race, but they were yards ahead of me while I ran alone — in a kids race — without a single kid of mine in sight. Talk about feeling awkward.

But, as soon as I caught up with them at the finish line any amount of awkwardness was erased as they all showed me their medals. Their excitement only grew — a feeling I knew very well. It was a moment I will cherish.

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I can’t wait to share more of these moments with them again. Especially my other nieces and nephews — and especially kids. I know it won’t be soon that all of them will graduate from Kids Ks to 5Ks and maybe even longer.

But, that doesn’t matter — what matters is that they had fun. They got to share in a hobby that I love dearly and they got a taste of the life of a runner. But, we were all able to share time doing it and that’s what I will always cherish. So without making this a cheesy Mormon commercial about spending time with family, I’ll leave it there.

Needless to say, Saturday was a great day.

And, a great way to go into this upcoming week as I look to tackle my next ultra — the Jackpot Running Festival.

VEGAS OR BUST, BABY!


T-Rex vs. Panda. The T-Rex wins. #chubbingtatum #firstbirthday

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Two years ago today marks the passing of my Grandma. Time comes and goes, but it’s the people who love and care for you the most that make an impact that time can’t fade. My Grandma will always be my biggest fan. She always believed in and encouraged me to keep running, keep writing and keep living life — always being kind to others. Time will never erase that impact. Today might be a day of remembrance of her, but she’s truly remembered daily. Borrowing a phrase to describe our bond she would always tell me, “remember you are loved! Always have, always will!” Right back at you Grandma! #grandmasarethebest #grandmasarespecial #grandmasareforever

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No, I didn’t go to Primary. I made Valentines cards in Elders Quorum today. #thismormonlife

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RUNNING MILES

95.15 miles

RACE MILES

16.82 miles

WALKING MILES

89.47 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

226.07 miles



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More miles going around in circles …

I’m kinda ready for this winter thing to pass. Seriously. Being regulated to treadmill and indoor track running is starting to make me slightly nutty.

Well, okay, that wasn’t what made me nutty. And, that’s a whole post for another day. There’s simply no time to explain that all today.

Anywho … I’m just ready for spring. I don’t run outside in the snow or in below freezing temperatures — there’s too much risk for me to biff it (which I am known to do). My body really doesn’t do well in the cold anyways — so staying inside is best for me. For now. But, I am really itching for some spring weather.

Since last weekend’s long treadmill run was an emotional disaster for me. I decided the treadmill was out for my long run. I’ve survived a few two miles run. But, I just don’t feel like I have 15, 10 or 5 miles on the treadmill in me.

I just don’t.

I didn’t have a specific distance or time goal for me this weekend. Should I have? Good question. But, since race day is about three weeks away, I knew I needed somewhere around 10-20 miles. But, after already have a number of 20 and 15 mile long runs — I felt like I could afford a long distance run based on feel.

Since I was anticipating the first weekend in February to be rather cold and snowy — I decided to run at the Olympic Oval again. Running the Oval can be rather monotonous, but I actually really like it during the winter. You can lose yourself in the laps and just run. Much, much easier than running on the treadmill.

I really feel like I have to work to distract myself on a treadmill. On a track you’re actually going somewhere — granted in circles — but you are going somewhere. Plus, if you’re running with other people you’ve got actual conversation — which is the key to surviving track running.

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Anywho … a number of running friends and I showed up at the Olympic Oval at 6am to run the track. The track was open from 6-10am in the morning because there was a track meet from 10am-1pm. Knowing this kind of ruled out a 20 mile run for me. But, I knew in the four hours or so I could knock out where between 13-15 miles.

So that was kind of the goal.

I wasn’t worried much about time or distance. Like all of my ultrarunning — I just wanted to do my best and focus on effectively using the time on my feet to it’s best use. So I loaded up my Spotify playlist with my music and just decided to go for it.

The track was rather busy, besides being joined in the morning with Robert Merriman, Jimbo, Karen, Tine and others — there was a big ROTC training or testing going on as well. A good hundred or so cadets were on the track doing a mile and high testing. I wasn’t envious. It really reminded me of my mile and a half training in Junior High.

Not fun.

But, I had good conversation throughout the four hours. I spent a few laps with everyone and it was just fun to catch with them. It really made the time go by faster than usual.

I ended up cranking out 13 miles in three and a half hours. I felt good throughout the run. I felt stronger than my last run there. And, I think part of that is my diet. I have felt quite the difference the past couple of weeks. Especially this past week as I eliminated a few extra foods. But, I will post more about that later this week.

Anyways — I have the Sweetheart Days 5K next Saturday. I am running that with my niece. I am pretty excited to run it with her. This will be our second 5K since October. I might run 3-5 miles more at an easy pace to amp the miles up. But, we’ll see — I am hoping the weather is good so I can just do those miles outside. And, if that’s the case — SCORE!

But, with the Jackpot Running Festival in a couple of weeks I am just focusing on tapering a bit and just focusing on my workouts and diet. Since it is a timed race I am not worried about finishing, but I would like to run at least 35-40 miles in the allotted 12 hours. And, like my diet, more on all of that later this week — maybe even next week?

I am just getting excited to run and get into the swing of my spring races. It should (and by should, I mean it will) be a lot of fun.


So, um, my 5 year old niece adults better than me. #calliekoko #adultchild

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RUNNING MILES

81.0 miles

RACE MILES

13.1 miles

WALKING MILES

89.47 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

183.57 miles


Jackpot Running Festival

As I mentioned above my current training is pointing toward the Jackpot Running Festival in Las Vegas over President’s Day weekend. I am being joined by Jill for an epic ultra adventure. I seriously, I can’t wait.

This is a looped course. It’s a 2.38 mile loop around Railroad Lake — just outside of Henderson. Both Jill and I are signed up for the 12 hour race — meaning we have 12 hours to run as many miles as we want/can. Our goal is to not just run an ultra, but we want to get at least 35 miles in. I’d like to see if I could push 40 miles. But, we’ll see about that.

Anyways — we got an email this past week from the race with a video of the 2.38 looped course. It’s not the sexiest video out there on YouTube, but it got me really excited for the run. I have no doubt I will get to know the course quite intimately.

VEGAS OR BUST, BABY!


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Running miles and miles and miles while going nowhere fast …

Aw, treadmill running. I hate it. But, you know what? I also kind of love it. But, I hate it. Well, to be honest, I hate that I love it. Because I hate the treadmill.

[I’ll let you wrap your mind around that last paragraph for a second].

I guess what I am trying to say is this — under any other circumstances, I wouldn’t choose to run on the treadmill. But, during the winter when it’s snowing, freezing and being all together miserable — I’m inside running. Whether that’s on a treadmill or on an indoor track. More often than not — it’s the treadmill.

Which, honestly, I am not totally against. How and why? Well, it’s great mental training. I mean, awesome mental training. Last summer when I was training for my 50 miler I ran one of my 20 milers on the treadmill — in the middle of the night. Yeah, you read that right.

The thought was that if I could run 20 miles on the treadmill at a time where all I wanted to do was sleep — then I could run a 50 miler under any other circumstance. And, I guess I proved that theory correct, because I ran that 50 miler despite my circumstances in the last five miles or so.

So, since I am training for the 12 hour run at the Jackpot Running Festival over President’s Day weekend — running treadmill miles help prepare me for 12 hours of 2.3 miles of a looped course. At, least that’s the thought.

I haven’t ran many looped races other than the Revolution Run and Cory Reese’s Bakers Dozen Half Marathon. And, to be honest with you — it’s almost an exclusive trail running thing. Which isn’t bad. But, you see it with a few races in southern Utah within the state — but hardly (if any) up here in the SLC area.

And, there’s probably reasons for that — mainly because we have AWESOME wilderness and trails around the state with plenty of distance to get a 30-50 mile race in. So, these 6, 12 and 24 hour races are fairly non-existent here in Utah — which is kind of a bummer, because I actually like the idea of seeing how many miles I can get within a certain time limit.

But, anyways — enough about that.

I am running Jackpot with Jill for her first ultra and I really couldn’t be more excited. I am excited to he a part of this moment. It was fun being there in 2014 for her first marathon and it will be equally, if not more, fun to be a part of her first ultra.

Having a goal race of this magnitude during the winter months is something I am glad I have. Because, it helps keep me focused. Winter months are hard on me — between the lack of outside running, Seasonal Affective Disorder, short days and — well — the stupid snow — it’s hard to stay motivated.

This past week was tough on me, not being able to get to my 5:30am gym class because of the snow (it took me 30-45 minutes to dig out on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday). And, while I got my miles in and a few home workouts (including the time shoveling) — it just isn’t the same as working out at the gym.

But, after running 15 miles on the treadmill on Saturday any thought of feeling unproductive were swept away. That was tough. Thankfully, I had some good shows DVR’d otherwise I probably would have been a mess by mile 5.

Throughout my run I kept reminding myself that these are “mental miles” and that I need to focus on that rather than speed. As much as I try to focus on “time on my feet” and “mental miles” … I always go back to speed (and the lack thereof). But, speed isn’t my goal right now. It’s about stamina and endurance. It’s about finishing what I started — and just doing it.

That’s the focus.

Plus, I’ve got quite a few races between now and June. I have 19 races before July 1st — including two marathons and a 50K. The goal is to improve my times, but finish them. Especially my longer distance races. Then from July to September the focus is increasing those times with more speed training so I can perform well at the Revel Big Cottonwood Half.

At least that’s goal at the moment.

There’s a part of me that still wants to run the marathon, but I haven’t run the new half marathon course yet — and I want to fly down the canyon because of how fast it looks. Especially since I won’t be running the Nebo Half again this year.

Welp, I am one week closer to Jackpot. And, 15 miles closer as well.

Next week I am planning on another 15-18 miles before tapering some before the February 18th race.

I can’t be anymore excited!

VEGAS OR BUST, BABY!


This kid needed no coaching in taking a picture. He's a natural. #chubbingtatum

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He's doing SnapChat. He's six, he's too young for that, right? #snapchatbabies

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For not having kids, I sure have quite a distorted sense of Dad Humor. #ineedalife

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My niece asked me to draw an eagle, so I gave her a lesson in American history. #muricaaaaa

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RUNNING MILES

63.5 miles

RACE MILES

13.1 miles

WALKING MILES

71.71 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

148.31 miles


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Running around in circles — with a bunch of my friends

After a week of being sick and feeling like crap — I was looking forward to this past Saturday. I needed this run. I needed these miles. I felt like a bum the whole week, so I needed a little redemption — and I feel like I got it.

A couple weeks ago after running the Resolution Run, Jill and I decided that we needed another indoor run. Mainly for two reasons — one, it was inside away from the snow — and, two, it was primo training for the Jackpot Running Festival — which is a looped course. While miles are important to the training, what kind of miles are of even more importance. And track training miles are just perfect for this kind of race.

I won’t lie — track miles, just like treadmill miles, don’t thrill me much. I would much rather be running down a canyon or along some trail. But, during the winter you won’t often (if ever) find me outside in the cold doing looooong miles. Last week’s half marathon nearly killed me and I just don’t find running in the cold “FUN” — I just don’t.

Plus, I’ve fallen on the ice and snow too many times to know that me, my running shoes and the outside aren’t a recipe for success, fun or productivity. So the treadmill and/or indoor track are my ‘go to’s’ for running in the winter. Plus, I can watch Netflix while running on the treadmill — so there’s that.

Anyways — enough about my hatred of winter running.

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Knowing I had some long miles to do this week, Jill and I decided to run the Utah Olympic Oval. So, we decided to invite a bunch of our running friends (to make it more bearable) and just crank out the miles.

I wanted to crank out 20-25 miles for the day, but I wasn’t sure what my body was capable of after a week of being sick. But, my ultra training isn’t about the miles — it’s more about time on my feet. I’m never going to win an ultra race or even place — so why worry so much about pace and miles? Especially, when my goal is to simply just finish?

So my focus in training has been time on my feet.

There could be arguments of the contrary, but I figured it’s gotten me where I want to go — it’s working just fine. Especially considering that I cut like a half hour off my 50K time at the Antelope Island 50K from 2015 to 2016.

I didn’t know how long I was going to be on my feet on Saturday, but I knew I wanted to be on my feet for at least six hours and run at least 20 miles. So, I decided to get to the Oval when it opened the track at 6am, so I could be done around noon. The idea was to get six hours of running in or until I got to 20 miles.

I didn’t get running until 6:15am after prepping myself up. I started off a bit apprehensively, because I forgot two of the most important things to my running — my surgical tape for my “moobs” and my BodyGlide for my thighs. I knew I was going to be in trouble, because chaffing is not kind to me. And, it wasn’t once again on Saturday — especially when I hopped in the shower.

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As I started running around the track some of my friends started joining me and the others on the track — Robert, Mary, Susette, Brain, the Gabicas and so forth. It started to turn into one big party. My favorite kind of running.

I ran a few laps with Robert — and talked about his ultra training. He’s running his first 100 miler in March on Antelope Island. A distance that amazes and frightens me. As daunting as my 50 miler was for me, I can’t imagine doubling that distance, because it’s not simply like you’re doubling your efforts in training, running and prep.

I also took a number of laps with Jill and then Susette as she was pushing Jill’s kids in a running stroller. It was fun to catch up with Susette. We’ve been friends for almost five years now, but our running kind of split after she started running more and more ultras — including 100 milers.

Then around 9-9:30, Jim joined in on the fun and did most of the last of the laps with me. I was glad to have Jim there, because my legs were starting to feel pretty heavy. The first three hours of running I was doing 2:1 (running: walking) sets. I felt good for the most of it, but honestly, I should have do 2:1, 1:1, 2:1, 1:1, etc., etc., etc. sets like I had at the Resolution Run a few weeks before. I came out too fast and strong and it started wearing me out earlier than I wanted.

The last three hours were pretty tough, but I knew I could fight through it. My legs were feeling heavy and then I started feeling my chaffed thighs cheering — and killing — me on. But, I knew I could and would do this. It really was just a matter of mind over matter. That’s all ultrarunning is, is just training your mind to be tougher than your legs.

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Having Jim there was great, because we can talk — and do talk — about anything. That’s one of the reasons why he is a co-host on The Runcast. We talked about everything from his new Hoka OneOne shoes, the Los Angeles Chargers, how much I hate the LA Dodgers, Jim’s sexy radio voice and how much we want to learn how to ride a Zamboni.

His divergent presence was a godsend.

As I approached the six hour mark I wasn’t at my 20 miles yet. I was about two miles or less from the mark. I was tempted to almost call it good, but I couldn’t do it. Most of the other runners were gone — including Jill and Susette. Robert was still there but stayed to take pictures and get a few last laps around the track. So, it was just me and Jim.

But, I kept going. I had to get that 20.

So I cranked them out.

It wasn’t pretty, but it took me about another 20-25 minutes, but I cranked them out. And, before I knew it. I was done.

20 miles. Done.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

After such a crappy week of feeling like crap, I felt extremely happy to be done with the miles. The feet were sore, my thighs and nipples were in agony and my legs were achy, but I did it. And, that pride makes up for all of that pain. Especially knowing that I was one week closer to Jackpot. And, that’s what counts.

I have one more six hour run to do on February 4th and once again — I’ll be back at the Oval with Jill. And, of course, friends are invited as well. I even started a Facebook event for the occasion. And, if you’re wondering — yes, you’re invited. Just RSVP or plan on coming! I’d love the company.

One more month until Jackpot! WOOHOO!



RUNNING MILES

32.00 miles

RACE MILES

13.1 miles

WALKING MILES

34.62 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

79.22 miles



A photo posted by The Runcast (@theruncast) on

Figuring this Hashimoto’s thing out …

It’s been an interesting couple of weeks for me. Besides figuring out this whole Hashimoto’s Disease out — I’ve been dealing with a beastly bout of bronchitis. I feel lucky it hasn’t been the flu, but that hasn’t stopped the fatigue of restless nights from coughing up a lung and a half.

I thought I was turning a corner after sleeping most all day on Sunday, but I ended up coughing all night Monday night and skipped work. It’s been frustrating, because I’ve wanted to get into a good rhythm with my workouts and runs. But, I don’t have the stamina or lungs for it — yet. And, I just need to be patient.

But, while I’m somewhat impatient to get back into my groove — I’ve really been focused on the adoption of my gluten and dairy free diet. It’s been tough. I won’t lie. I haven’t been as aware of labels and food content under any diet. But, this isn’t just a diet — this is my new lifestyle.

I wouldn’t say I have a specific diet down at this moment. To be honest with you I’m kind of trying things out to see what works best for me. I’ve been trying gluten-free breads and other foods to kind of see what I like. And, I won’t lie — not a huge fan of gluten-free bread — or at least what I’ve tried.

I’ve been sticking to a lot of what I ate while doing Whole 30 — and I think that’s where my focus will be mostly on my diet. Meaning, a lot of salad, steak and sweet potatoes — not to mention fresh fruit and veggies.

But, for now, I really want to see what I like and don’t like within the realm of gluten and dairy free foods.

One of the biggest omissions in this new lifestyle is that of cheese. I love cheese. I love it. And, I miss it. I’ve had some tips on vegan cheese that’s a good substitute. I haven’t tried those yet — but, I am sure I will get around to it. Especially when it comes to nachos.

Anyways — this is transition isn’t easy,

But, this week being sick and not able to get a whole blown workout regime in, I’ve had to focus on my diet. Which I think is a blessing in disguise, because focusing on just the food has helped me kind of further — process — what I am going through. Mainly, that this is a new lifestyle and my decision for food need to be precise.

Plus, I need to find that rhythm that works for me and I think I am getting that down a bit better. Not to mention changing my thought process so I’m not focusing on what I CAN’T eat and what I can or should so I can feel better.

I guess in a way, I’m approaching this like any other race or new distance. I’m starting it in slowly — learning, experimenting and doing — while mentally and physically preparing myself for the long haul. While there is no finish line to all of this, the mentality and approach is the same. This journey just happens to be longer than any race I’ve run before.

Anyways — I’ll keep updating you on all of this throughout the next few weeks and months. But, while my focus has been acclimating myself to the new diet, I’m also focusing on my training and fitness. I’ve got a few looooong runs and races coming up that I want/need to be ready to tackle.

This weekend I am running the Olympic Oval for 5-6 hours, hoping to get in a good 20-25 miles. I have the Jackpot Running Festival in about a month I want to get a couple more looooong runs in before I tackle the 12 hour race. And, since you won’t find me running outside right now with the air and weather — I’m taking it inside.

There is a group of runners meeting tomorrow morning at the Oval at 6am and — well — just running. We’re running circles around the ice sheet. It should be a lot of fun. There is quite a group gathering that should make it fun. It won’t be as big as the New Year’s Run Resolution, but it’ll be a party.

Besides Jackpot, I also have my self-supported 50 miler in March and the Salt Flats 50K in April. So, I’ve got some training to do. And, not that I am getting past this stupid cold and bronchitis — I’m feeling up for the challenge. Not to mention now that I am fueling myself even better.

LET’S DO THIS THING!

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RACE #131: Huntsville Marathon

You know, I never thought I would say this — but, I kinda love running marathons. The half marathon is still my favorite, but I really love the challenge of the marathon. Everything from the training to actually running of the race — it’s so different from any less distanced race.

Marathons have been pretty hard for me to run. I am not a fast runner — I am always one of the last runners out there on the course. I used to care about that, but really when it comes to marathons — who cares? It’s an accomplishment just FINISHING the race. I think that’s why I love sweeping races so much. It’s like a mini-mission for me — it’s important to me that those in the back understand that whatever that clock says doesn’t diminish their accomplishment.

All runners matter.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

Anyways, going into the Huntsville Marathon I didn’t have much of a goal other than finish. Considering I ran Revel Big Cottonwood the week before I didn’t know what to expect, because I’ve never ran two marathons within a week of each other. I guess my only goal was to do my best and push myself throughout the race, especially since I was using these marathons as training runs for my 50 miler.

I have never ran the Huntsville Marathon, but I did run the half marathon back in 2014 when most of the last half of the race was spent in a down pour. A down pour that I’d probably put on par with what was experienced at this year’s Ogden Marathon. It was the kind of down pour you could have taken your post race shower mid-race.

When I ran the half marathon I wasn’t impressed much with the course — everything else I loved about the race. The community support, volunteers and organization is right there with the Ogden, St. George and Big Cottonwood Marathons. And, I have no doubt it will get there — this was the fifth year of the marathon and it’s definitely a hidden gem to the local running community.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

My friend Robert Merriman — aka “The Naked Canadian” — has ran the marathon each of the past five years and has told me the full marathon route is much better than the half marathon route. Not only is it faster, but the scenery is unmatched. This was one of the reasons why I chose Huntsville over Top of Utah and a few other marathons.

And, I wasn’t disappointed.

The Huntsville Marathon has a bit of a later start than most local races — the marathon started at 8am compared to last week’s 6:45am start at Big Cottonwood. In the past the start was around 9am or so. I am not sure why the late start? I think part of it could be the travel required for most of the runners?

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

I was a bit worried about the later start because being a slower runner I didn’t want to be caught in the heat of the afternoon. But, that concern wasn’t much of an issue for me. There was a constant cool mountain breeze except for a two mile stretch right after existing the canyon. I was pleasantly surprised, but shouldn’t have been considering it’s Wasatch Back country.

After catching my bus at 6:30am up the canyon I caught up with the Roberts (Merriman and Merkley) at the starting line. As mentioned before this was Robert Merriman’s fifth running of the marathon, but Robert Merkley decided to sign up for the race just a couple of days beforehand. It should also be noted that both of the Roberts ended up PRing on the course.

As I stood at the starting line I still didn’t know what to expect from this race. I did a good enough job shaking out my legs and working out smart during the week — so my legs felt somewhat fresh. But, I knew that could change at any moment of the race. Still, I just wanted to do and give my best, whatever that was.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

When the gun sounded the first mile was horrible. It might have been my overeager desire to go out fast or killer playlist? Either way, my body wanted to remind me what we did the previous week by giving my a couple of sore shinsplints.

Having dealt with shinsplints before I knew that I just needed to keep going and just push through the pain. Within time — be a couple of minutes or miles — they’d be gone. If running has taught me anything over the years it’s how to manage and deal with pain. Before I started running, if I hurt — I’d stop. No matter the degree of pain.

But, over the past 5-6 years I’ve learned in order to get over pain — you have to go through it. Most pain is relatively easy to get through and over time the body adjusts to it so that you don’t feel it at that stage anymore. Other pain just has to be endured with the hope it will subside in time — which is strangely the case for most long distances.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

Now of course — that means nothing unless you also learn to listen to your body. I’ve also had to learn when to stop and which pain needs more attention or rest than others. Back in 2012 I ran two half marathons after getting some stress fractures at the St. George Marathon — that was dumb. It took me out of running for about a month. But, hey, it also introduced me to Hoka One Ones so it wasn’t that bad.

Anyways — I pushed through the shinsplints and by the first aid station at Mile 2 I was fine. It helped being absolutely mesmerized with the scenery. I tried stopping to take pictures of it, but hardly any of the pictures did it justice. It was hard to believe that “THIS” was literally in my backyard, I felt like I was in a completely different state. The rolling mountains on each direction and eye popping fall colors put me in complete awe.

The crowd of runners thinned out fairly quickly within the first 4-5 miles — I yo-yo’d with a couple of runners until I pulled away around miles 9-10. I took pride in this, because not only was I feeling good, but I was feeling strong — so whenever I saw a runner ahead of me I just focused on catching and passing them.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

Once I got to about the half way point I was completely alone. I blazed down the canyon in about 2:43 hours, not a bad time. I couldn’t see any runners ahead of me or behind me. The odd feeling was knowing not only did I still have half of the race left to run, but that I wasn’t even the last runner. I’m not going to lie, I kinda enjoyed the feeling.

As mile 14, 15, 16, 17 passed I still great. I even attempted a couple of jumping pictures around mile 17. I didn’t crumple into a heaping mess so that gave me some hope. It was around this time that I was feeling a sub-6 marathon was doable. Even though I don’t care much about my marathon times, this was a goal I felt I could push myself to — so I pushed an extra bit harder.

Being the only runner in sight I took the liberty to belt out singing to my heart’s content. I usually don’t do sing running unless I’m on the dreadmill at home or absolutely alone. And, there’s a reason for that — I can’t carry a tune to save my life. And, I completely mean that. I sound something like a dying seagull being gummed to death by a toothless shark.

It’s bad.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

But, being alone on the course I just got into my music and started dancing and singing to whatever the ‘shuffle’ brought me next. At one point I was into the greatest rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody of all-time And, I mean — ALL. TIME. I was singing to the top of my lungs while also playing the drums, keyboard and air guitar while managing to lead the orchestra.

It was a masterpiece.

Unbeknownst to me a police officer patrol the course must have seen this masterpiece of mine and stopped me to ask if I was okay. Of course I wasn’t — it was around Mile 18-19, I hadn’t seen any other runners for miles and I was left alone to my own devices. But, I assured him I was okay and hoped he thought my display of artistic excellence was me just running into a swarm of gnats.

But, I just kept going. I did start feeling “THE WALL” around mile 21-22 when we exited the main road down the canyon into Huntsville. I knew this was probably going to happen because the course flattens out quite drastically.

A photo posted by @fight4phat on

I tried keeping my stride going, but soon it was apparent that stride turned itself into the marathon death shuffle. The heat was starting to be felt and I was praying for that cool canyon breeze to start blowing again. I felt like death and I knew it something didn’t change the last few miles would be pure hell.

Luckily, my prayer was answered and a breeze started blowing again. This gave me a boost of energy and a bit of a kick in my step. So, I just kept pushing myself forward. I kept my walking at mile markers and the 0.1 between the marathon and half marathon signs. Outside of that it was either the marathon death march or my attempt at mall walking.

I knew I was getting closer to the finish line because of my experience running the half marathon before and I just couldn’t run fast enough. At the last aid station they started pulling the orange cones off the course which made me a bit worried, because the last thing I wanted to happen was to make this marathon into an unintentional ultra marathon.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

The last part of the course was somewhat familiar not just from half marathon, but my first leg at Ragnar this year as well. I didn’t realize that until I crossed the highway and notice the familiar gas station I ran past. It’s funny has running has shrunk the world around me.

Though the cones were gone the race did a great job in marking the course. Since the marathon/half marathon, 10K and 5K courses differed they marked the road in different paint color. I just followed them until I saw the finish line arch. I felt like a graceful galloping race horse running down the homestretch of the race — though in reality I looked more like an exhausted clydesdale that was about to be made into glue.

But, I made it! The remaining volunteers were so encouraging as I crossed the finish line. They congratulated me on my accomplishment, handing me some water and escorted me to the finisher’s corral where they handed me some of the best chocolate milk, grapes — and course bananas — I’ve ever had.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

If there is anything I will remember about this race it will be the volunteers. I have NEVER ran a race with so many engaging, warm, sincere and encouraging volunteers than this race. I am sure many of them are locals and you could tell that they took pride in showing off their hometown. I even got shouts of encouragement from volunteers and locals as I walked (slowly) back to my car after the race.

As a runner and visitor to the community you couldn’t have asked for better support. I am sure this was the same feeling many runners got when the St. George Marathon started 40 years ago. The town loves this race and it will be fun to see how it grows as more and more runners discover this beautiful and well organized race.

After reveling in the accomplishment for a while, I just sat in my car mustering up the courage to start driving. It was about a 45 minute drive and I just prayed I didn’t get a cramp mid-drive — that’s happened to be before and it’s not fun. But, I luckily I made it home with a minor detour to 7 Eleven for a much needed and deserved 7 Eleven.

A photo posted by @fight4phat on

The plan this week is to lay off the running for a bit. I am going to focus on cross training — do a little cycling (stationary of course) and then of course my typical weight training. My body needs a little rest from running and I can feel that after this weekend’s marathon. I’ll still do my planned 8-9 miler next weekend during the AIIA Relay before getting back into the swing heading into St. George the following week.

I am a month away from my 50 miler — and I couldn’t be more excited, nervous and ready to just tackle this thing. I am ready to push my limits and do something once thought impossible. It’s going to be tough, it’s going to be pure hell at moments, but I can’t wait for the experience. It might take me the whole 19.5 hours to do the whole 50, but who cares? As long as I finish that’s my whole goal and dream.

And, finish I will!


132 - st george marathon

I have no time goal for the St. George Marathon other than making sure I get to the cut off at 1pm. Which in my previous runnings of the marathon — shouldn’t be a problem. I am just excited to be running the marathon — it’s definitely one of my favorite marathons. I am home among the red rocks of southern Utah.

This marathon is very technical — and if you’re not ready (or even prepared) Veyo Hill, and the following 4-5 miles before the descent down Snow Canyon, can be rather tough. The last time I ran the marathon Veyo Hill wasn’t the issue, because I knew what I was getting myself into, but the miles after the put me through agony. It was cramp after cramp.

I would like to finish around 6 hours, but that’s mainly because I don’t want to die in the heat of St. George. But, really, the game plan will be a lot like Huntsville — do my best and keep pushing. That’s mainly because that’s going to be my 50 miler game plan.

I’m just ready to get through this 50 miler! But, first I’ve got to get through St. George and Park City.

133 - park city red rock relay 134 - pony express trail 50 135 - haunted half provo


2667in2016

RUNNING MILES

225.0 miles

RACE MILES

261.5 miles

WALKING MILES

1095.34 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

1581.84 miles

MILES TO GOAL

1085.16 miles


WEEKENDGRAMS

Phone shopping. #selfiepicturesmatter

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on



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