Tag: ultra

The Post Ultra Blues …

I love ultras.

But, I hate the ultra aftermath.

The recovery period. The aches. The pain. The questioning your sanity (well okay that’s an everyday occurrence). And, of course, the general blues.

I’ve accepted the ‘running blues’ — or whatever you want to call them — for pretty much anything over a marathon. The week after a long race I usually get into a funk for a couple days. Part of it is that I usually take 2-3 days extra to let my legs recover and that tends to make me somewhat cranky.

Anyways — that’s been me this week.

My hips and butt (I’m sure there’s a more couth way of saying that) have been hurting a bit longer than usual. I tried to shake it out on Tuesday and Wednesday and got a couple miles in — but, it was a bit too much, especially for the hips. Afterall, they don’t lie.

I even tried playing basketball last night, but ended up only playing for about five minutes in the first half. It was a close game and we had a deep bench, so I let the fresher legs have at it. It was fun just watching the game — which we ultimately won in the last minute.

As sore as I am — I already signed up for next year’s Jackpot Running Festival. That’s something funny about runners — even ultrarunners. We can be dying right after a 50, 100 or 200 mile run and ask when we can sign up for next year.

I swear we’re masochists at times.

But, I am looking forward to getting back into the swing of my runs and workouts next week. I do have a race this weekend — thankfully indoors — at the Olympic Oval. I am running the half marathon at the SL Track Club’s Indoor Tri. I am going to use the word ‘running’ loosely here. Especially if my hips are going to get sassy.

But, it’s all about moving forward. And, that’s what I am doing.

Step by step.


Not today Satan. Not today. #postultralegs

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Not today Satan. Not today. #postultralegs

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Not today Satan. Not today. #postultralegs

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Hey, look, I actually did some running …

It’s been over two weeks since my last run. If you ask me if I feel bad about that, I’d definitely say no. Very much a no. I’ve needed the rest after piling on the miles the previous two months. The body just needed to mend.

Well, the legs and feet needed to mend. I still worked out — doing mainly weights. But, I had nary the interest to run and that’s okay. I really was spent after my 50K two weeks ago.

But, this morning — I laced up my Hokas and decided to break my non-running streak. Not so much because of guilt, but more so out of necessity. I was hungry for some endorphins and just wanted to get my body outside.

So I did.

I didn’t really have a distance goal. And, heavens no I didn’t have a pace goal. I just went out by feel and decided to go head back when I felt like it.

The legs carried me in an out and back run of about 3.4 or so miles. The only reason why I cared about the distance was because I am tracking my miles this year — otherwise it wouldn’t have mattered. Because, the only thing that mattered was being out there.

There wasn’t anything too noteworthy of the run. I saw a dog. That was cool. And, I got lapped by two really speedy runners — I kinda felt bad for them because the both times they lapped me they were checking their Garmin.

There is something to be said to just be out there in the moment feeling care free about needed distance or pace. Trail running and specifically my 50 miler has really changed my perspective on the role of running in my life. Goals are important, but the means to achieve those goals shouldn’t be a do or die focus. You lose the benefits and blessings that running offer when you focus too hard on them.

Anyways, enough of my preaching. I am just happy that I got out there today and I am looking forward to a run or two more this week — probably after Thanksgiving. The weather has been perfect lately and I can’t NOT take advantage of that while it lasts.

But, the rest of the week is being focused on the Thankful 13 — we’ve got packet stuffing tomorrow night and then race set up on Wednesday afternoon and evening before race day on Thanksgiving morning. We’re still looking for volunteers so if you’re interested — PLEASE — sign up, we’d love (and need) your help.

I’ll blog a bit more either later this or next week. The Joshbys are coming up soon and I’ve got a few things pertaining to my 2017 races that I’ll be sharing here in the next couple of weeks. Fun, fun news!

But, that’s all for later. The focus is on the race and the holiday. I’m looking forward to just spending time with my family — there’s nothing better. So, Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!


2667in2016

RUNNING MILES

257.25 miles

RACE MILES

400.05 miles

WALKING MILES

1320.08 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

1977.38 miles


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RACE #136: Antelope Island Classic 50K

Tough things are tough. But, man, can tough things be more than rewarding. That’s kind of how I feel right now. That’s kind of how I felt going into this race. I knew this was going to be tough, I knew it was going to suck at points, but I knew that in the end I would come away with that rewarding feeling that I did something awesome.

I wasn’t planning on running the 50K. In fact, when I signed up I did so for the half marathon THINKING this would be a great way to wind down my racing season, especially two weeks after running the Pony Express 50.

But, then Pony happened aaaaaaand I got the bug. Not to mention my recovery from the Pony 50 was better than expected. My legs recovered faster than I expected and looking at the trail half marathon happening this weekend — I KNEW I could do the 50K. I just didn’t know if I wanted to do the 50K, I mean two weeks after a 50 miler is kinda crazy to do a 50K?!

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

Then again — what’s an adventure without those moments of crazy? I tried to temper that itch, but after a couple of days I contacted the race director, Jim Skaggs, and asked him if I could up my registration from the half to the 50K. He more than obliged and before I knew it — I was signed up for the 50K.

The reason why I decided to do the 50K was kind of two fold — one, I knew I could do it, because I ran this last year and, two, I wanted some redemption out on this course. Last year I ran this 30-35lbs. heavier and it took a toll on me. The hills between miles 11-14 were brutal on my body and I flirted with cutoff time after cutoff time. So this year I just simply wanted to do better than laster — I wanted to feel and do better than 2015.

And, for the most part — I did.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

The night before the race I laid everything out on the couch that I THOUGHT that I needed. And, compared to last year I really cut down on what I took with me. I didn’t take my hiking pack with me, just my small back pack. This year I packed with some salt and vinegar potatoes, candy, back up water and applesauce to name a few compared to the change of clothes, shoes and 2-3 bottled water I had last year.

Yeah, I was a TOTAL rookie last year. Bad decisions.

I eagerly hopped into bed and was planning on getting up around 4-4:30am so I could be in my car and at the Island by around 6:30-7am for the 8am start time. But, I woke up at 3am and just stayed up. I wasn’t nervous, just more excited than anything, because besides being another ultra this would be my last true race of the year. More on that below.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

So I just kind of laid in bed for a while reading, checking my Facebook and mentally preparing for the day. I have to say it was kind of nice not feeling stressed or rushed. I just took my time and moseyed on over to Antelope Island to pick up my bib and make my way to the starting line.

Honestly, I could have probably showed up at 7am and been fine. Because I ended up sitting in my car for about an hour waiting for the start. But, it was kind of nice being there earlier than most everyone else because I got first pick of the port-a-potties at the starting line. These were the only port-a-potties along the course — so I made sure to take advantage of them before I starting running.

Before starting I did manage to get out of the car for the prerace instructions and stand at the fire pit with a number of friends who were out there to either race or volunteer. This has always been my favorite part of running. I don’t usually get to see many friends out there (because they’re usually faster than me) so the pre and post-race festivities are usually my favorite. But, it was great to see a few faces I haven’t seen in awhile.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

My strategy for the race was rather simple and it helped having ran the course before. I knew there’d be quite a bit of climbing for the first 14-15 miles of the race so I wanted converse my energy as best as I could the those first couple of miles. I wanted to have enough energy around miles 5-6 and 11-14 where the biggest climbs on the course are located. So I started off slow and focused on a brisk walk while using with my walking rods.

It really was a good strategy because I knew if I didn’t pace myself I would die on those climbs. And, the rods helped because they kept me just above a dead man’s march. This was my first time using the rods and they made a HUGE difference. As long as I was focusing on a rhythm it was like I had a pacer out there keeping me on track. I don’t think I can ever do trails again without them.

At about mile 3-4 the last runner on the course caught up with me. And, of course, we became friends. I was happy for the company, especially know the hills in front of us. So we became instant friends for the next 10-12 miles.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

His name was Jeff and he was from California. This was his 200-something-th ultra and at nearly 70 years young he was still going (his friend out there and ahead of us was older). For the past several years he’s been working on running ultras in every state. He’s run ultras in all 50 states, but now he wants to run five ultras in every state — he’s probably 3/4 of the way done?

Either way — a VERY impressive resume. And, so for the most part I just listened to his stories. Stories about running ultras in Rhode Island, Tennessee, Hawaii and New Jersey. Stories of friends and how aging has impacted their running. And, of course the granddaddy of them all the Western States 100.

We even touched on art and books and just life. It was a great way to pass the time and not focus on the stupid hills ahead of us. I was very appreciative of the company. Distraction is the great pain reliever in running.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

At mile 13-ish I knew we were going to be hitting the hill that nearly killed me last year. The only way to explain this hill is that it’s pure hell. It sucks. It’s miserable. But, there’s only one way to conquer it and that’s by doing.

Last year I would about 5-10 steps before stopping. Not to mention that, but every 30-40 steps I’d sit down and figure out a new way to die so I didn’t have to climb further. It was miserable. Miserable, miserable, miserable. Even Tim Gill who was running with me had the same struggles up that blasted hill.

But, this year I just wanted to do better than last year. I didn’t know exactly what that meant, but I wasn’t planning on stopping every 5-10 steps. I just wanted to push myself further and take less breaks. So that was the gameplan — as simple and unpremeditated as it was.

A photo posted by Joshua Hansen (@fight4phat) on

I was still running with Jeff at this point, but at the base of the hill as we started the climb I told him I would see him at the top if he didn’t keep pace with me. I just had to go my pace if I was going to conquer the hill I’ve dubbed, “Stupid Steep Hill.” So I tapped into my inner mountain goat and inched up the hill with my walking rods in hand.

I was feeling pretty good when I got half way up the hill. Having probably overexerted myself a bit too much (I only stopped once at that point) I felt a little faint — so I sat down on the hill to eat some applesauce, a little water and a couple Swedish Fish. I needed some quick energy for the rest of the climb and I wasn’t about to pass out in my attempt.

Jeff was about 100 yards behind me as I took my break and informed me he was going to bow out at the aid station. I was bummed to hear that, but he was preparing for a 50 miler in a couple of weeks and he was feeling a cold coming on and didn’t want to risk it. I completely understood and for someone who’s ran over 200 ultras I’m sure this isn’t his first DNF. So I just kept moving forward — well, upward — on the hill.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

As much as that hill sucks — I kept reminding myself that I was much stronger than last year. And, that this wasn’t as hard as Mile 45 was during my 50 miler. I wouldn’t say this made the hill any easier physically, but being in tougher situations mentally does help make it easier to endure.

Before I knew it I had made it up that bleeping hill. I only stopped about three times — and by stop I mean hunched over to catch my breath — but, I felt great, especially knowing the rest of the course was much, much easier from this point on. No more up hill climbs!

Despite that sense of accomplishment I got to the aid station depleted. I was feeling pretty week and knew I needed to refuel. I wanted more liquid than food, but still helped myself to some salted potatoes and a banana. But, there at the aid station I saw staring at me — was a can of Mountain Dew.

A photo posted by Joshua Hansen (@fight4phat) on

Now, for those who know me — I haven’t had soda in nearly four years. I decided to cut it out to help with my running and weight-loss. And, it’s been a big difference. I don’t crave it like I used to, but there at mile 14 after that hill — I needed it. My body craved it.

And, I caved.

Do I feel bad about my moment of weakness? Um, kinda? But, not really. Because it was a total game changer for me — the sugar, sodium, caffeine and carbonation gave me new life. Sure it broke my streak, but it also saved my life — well, okay, run.

And, in the miles after I left the aid station I made the pact with myself that I would continue to not drink soda recreationally. But, during an ultra — totally acceptable. Not half marathons or marathons — just ultras. Because if I made the exception for those distances — I might as well just make Mountain Dew my official beverage of choice. But, ultras are different beasts and the soda made a big difference for me.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

After leaving the aid station I started the descendant down towards the ranch house. I love this part because it’s down hill, but after killing my quads climbing up the other side of the mountain the quads don’t want to give you free reign to cruise down the hill. Plus, the descendant it just slightly past comfortable. Which caused for a semi-fast slow run down the trail.

To my surprise Jeff was right behind me and caught up to me. Even though he had said he was bowing out, he decided to stay out there after talking to the sweepers and aid station. He told me he decided to keep going because he was sick of listening to his whining. I chuckled at his reasoning, because I can totally relate.

As much as I wanted to stay with Jeff and have some company I still felt the need to just keep going at my pace. Part of this desire was from the need to proof to myself that I could do better than last year, but also from the stronger desire that I just wanted to just simply be done. So I kept my pace.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

Once I got to the ranch house the course flattened out so I put away my walking rods and just ran. Well, shuffled. The legs were pretty shot.

But, I knew this was where the half marathon started so mentally I tried to create a new race in my mind. Meaning I tried to forget the previous 17-18 miles and just focus on the 13.1 mile ahead of me. It kinda worked. I still got reminders when I tried to push my legs further than they wanted to, but I just wanted to keep pushing myself as much as I could — because I wanted to do better than last year.

I got to the last two aid stations with about a half hour to give from last year’s time — which made me feel really encouraged. I fueled up with some sips of Mt. Dew, bananas and at Mile 19 some pretzels and M&M’s. I rarely touched much of the food I brought with me — which surprised me. I was bummed too, because I had some Gummy Peaches I wish I had had the stomach for — but, just didn’t.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

At the last aid station I came in right before Jeff — and at this point the sweepers caught up with me as well. We were the last two runners out there. But, at this point Jeff was really done and he ended up bowing out — leaving me out there as the last runner. Which I had no problem with — I just didn’t want to spend that much time with the sweepers.

The last seven miles were actually pretty relaxing. I was slowing down a bit so I took out my walking rods again to help pace me and just focused on the mile ahead of me. It was actually pretty peaceful and in those last few miles I found a good rhythm.

It wasn’t until about a mile and a half (or less) that the sweepers caught up with me. And, quite honestly, I probably would have kept going without them if it wasn’t for a buffalo standing along the trail ahead of me. These were the same sweepers that helped move buffalo standing on the trail so I just waited for them to do it again for me.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

Even with the buffalo moved I still sheepishly crept around it trying not to make sudden movements or looking threatening to it. I know I wasn’t looking threatening to it — but, buffalo can be jerks at times and I just wanted to be safer than sorry.

Once the buffalo wasn’t an issue I spent the last mile or so with the pacers. They had remembered me from the previous year and were astounded by my progress — I was much stronger and faster than last year. And, it was nice to have someone out there see that too.

When I got to the finish line I was first greeted by Robert Merriman who snapped a couple pictures of me. But, then as I crossed the finish line I got the treatment by not just strangers, but friends like the Veaters and Heather McFarland, as I finished. I couldn’t ask for better friends and a better running community to be a part of.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

After the race I grabbed my finisher’s mug and grabbed some buffalo stew along with some water and food to chow down before making the drive home. It was actually a pretty peaceful moment — the race crew left rather quickly including my friends leaving just me there as I ate my chili watching the sun set over the western end of the Great Salt Lake.

In that moment I just thanked God for allowing me that day — for the new friendships — for the obstacles — for the found strength — and of course the ability to do something I absolutely love to do.

While I have grown madly in love with the trails and ultra distances my body is also ready for a change of pace. Mainly, it’s ready for some rest. Especially when you consider that I’ve ran three marathons, a 50 miler and a 50K in the past two months.

So the next couple of months the focus is going to more on strength training and some cross training. I want to hit the weightroom and lower my mileage for a bit before getting back into racing at the start of the year.

But, you better believe me that I’ll be back on those trails next year. I’m already signed up for the Antelope Island Buffalo Run in March.

I wouldn’t miss it.


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So, as I mentioned above I am no longer running the Thankful 13 on Thanksgiving. Why? Well, I am actually going to be working it! I am the volunteer coordinator — for at least the Thankful 13 if not other Runtastic races. Sure I am bummed that I am not running the race, but it’ll be fun still being there and a part of the race.

Basically my job will be getting volunteers for the packet stuffing, packet pick up and race day jobs. It’s a big task, but one I am excited about. I’ve done volunteer coordinating before and know it’s no easy task.

Like I’ve told friends if you can volunteer a few hours on or around race day we’d love your help! You can sign up for specific jobs here. So please sign up if you can. Remember for every hour you volunteer you get 20% off a future race. Meaning five hours equals a FREE race!

So anyways, I flirted with the idea of signing up for the Bakers Dozen Half to replace Thankful on my schedule, but you know what? I’m not. I want the rest. Well, rest from running. My focus for the next couple of months is going to be strength and cross training. I’ll still run, but I’m back off the racing until the turn of the calendar. A decision I feel good about.

This makes my next race the New Year’s Run Resolution on New Year’s Eve at the Olympic Oval. I’m not sure if you count this as a race, because it’s more like a party, but it’ll be a fun way to kick off 2017 — with running and friends. And, not to mention a good way to kick off my marathon and ultra training.

But, yeah, a change of pace I’m excited about. So make sure to sign up to volunteer for the Thankful 13! We’d love your help!

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runcast-logo

WE’RE BACK! After a couple months of life and “stuff” (mainly VERY busy schedules, etc., etc., etc.) — The Runcast is back! In this episode I sit down with Coach Blu from Team Addict to Athlete and talk about our Pony Express 50 miler. We talk about the ups and downs and how we got through it.

Hopefully we paint a picture of what it’s like to tackle a beast like this for newcomers to the ultra scene. It’s not easy, it’s tougher than tough — but, so rewarding at the same time.

Give this episode a listen and then make sure to come back next week as Coach interviews me on the AIIA Podcast …


2667in2016

RUNNING MILES

253.55 miles

RACE MILES

400.05 miles

WALKING MILES

1275.09 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

1928.69 miles

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Time to “PONY UP” and go for some new goals …

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Maybe I am just going stir crazy from the lack of running I’ve had the past week and a half — maybe it’s the walking pneumonia and drugs they put me on? But, I’ve been craving a new adventure lately.

Something fun.

Something crazy.

Something epic.

And, of course when you’re searching an adventure with those kind of adjectives as a runner — you’d basically be talking about an ultra marathon.

Of course, I am already an ultra marathoner — I earned that title (and mug) back in November at the Buffalo Run 50K on Antelope Island. It was nothing short of epic. One of the toughest things I’ve done mentally, physically and spiritually.

And, then putting the unpredictable element of skittish buffalo along the route made it just that much more fun.

But, I did it. And, thanks to a group of awesome friends — especially Tim and Jason — I didn’t die. It was an experience that I will remember forever. But, an accomplishment I knew I didn’t want to end there.

Having managed to run/hike/walk/skip/crawl 33 miles around Antelope Island — I knew I was capable of much more. Much, much, much more. And, that eventually I would want to build upon that accomplishment either with a faster time or a longer distance.

And, since I could care less about my time of any race over 13.1 miles — I knew one day I wanted to run a 50 miler. The when was up in the air — well kinda. I wanted to take the “smart” approach and work on my base more along with getting stronger in my core and overall strength. My thyroid issues have taken a lot of that away from me.

But, you know what?

The more I try to justice the reasons to work on all those first — the more I realize … there’s no better time than NOW to do them. I can work on both things at the same time. I think I sometimes try to departmentalize the heck out of my life sometimes.

Like all those motivational quotes, posters and stationary say — there’s no better time than the present.

So …

I am signing up for the Pony Express 50 Miler on October 21-22 of this year!

Yep. I’m biting the bullet. I am pushing myself further than I what I THINK I can do. And, I’m doing it.

Am I scared? A little? Am I prepared? Obviously not now. But, you know that come race day I will be. Mentally, I want to tackle this beast now. But, I know that before that happens I’ll have to put the work and training in first.

Since I am running the St. George Marathon on October 1st (some 20 days before the Pony Express 50) I’ll  essentially be training for both. Which is perfect. Hit two birds with one stone, right?

I am not going for time at St. George so my training miles will be more focused on miles than pace or time which goes right in line with my ultra training as well. But, like I tell everyone — when it comes to long distance miles over 13.1 miles — I am most definitely a zen runner.

Mentally, I want and need this.

This is something I can focus on basically right now up to race day. My focus with my weight-loss, health and training is to prepare myself for the Pony 50. It’s the mountain in the distance that I am running and climbing towards — it won’t be easy — but it will prepare me.

In my mind this is all a journey, a fight and quest. And, I can’t wait to do it!

It scares me to death for all the right reasons.

So, who else wants to join me?

RACE #113: Antelope Island 50K

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I DID IT! I am officially an ULTRA marathoner! Words can’t begin to express how I feel about the accomplishment. I have lots of gratitude for just the ability to run and being able to just do something like this, but I have been humbled by all of the words of support I’ve gotten the past few days. I’ve got some amazing friends.

The seed to do something like this was planted this past spring after Jill and I ran the Buffalo Run 25K. It seemed like a natural progression — but honestly — before that, didn’t have much ambition or interest in doing something as ridiculous as an ultra marathon. But, that changed back in March — especially watching a number of my friends run their first 50K and 50 milers.

It inspired me. It made me realize a bit more that — I could do that too. That seed was planted.

And, now, here I am eight months later having gone through my own 50K experience. It was a humbling experience — but such a wonderful triumph. My emotions throughout the race were as high and low as the hills and valleys of the amazing terrain of the island. There were times I ran in awe and utter elation — while others I wanted to die.

But, I did it.

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I wanted to run this race with Jill — especially since we’re into “epic sh–” like this. But, she’s pregnant and — well — for obvious reasons, we’re going to have to do this together in 2016. But, my friend Jason Henry jumped on the chance when I tried to recruit others to join me. The same with Tim Gill. He got into the race last minute, but honestly, I couldn’t image doing something like this without him either. We’ve had some great experiences this past year running and sweeping races.

Our friend Marisa who was running her first ultra as well — joined us at the starting line. So we had a good solid running squad. Our game plan was simple: finish. We had a couple of cut-off times we had to meet and about 10 hours to complete the race. I fully expected to take the whole 10 hours — which I did. But, when you’re goal is to just finish, time is secondary. Well, time is important — especially at the cut-offs — but you get what I’m saying.

Our plan for running the terrain was easy — walk the hills and run the rest, especially the downhills. And, if we had to walk to at least speed walk faster than a mall walker. Sound plan, right? And, for the most part that’s what we did.

The first five miles were fairly easy until we got to the first aid station where we were greeted by the Earnshaws and Robert Merriman. As we journeyed towards the next age station at mile 13 — we really had no idea what were getting ourselves into. I knew from the spring 25K that there was a fairly steep switchback at one point, but beyond that — I had no clue — except that there were some “pretty bad hills” from others who’ve ran this course before.

That was an understatement.

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Those hills. Oh, those &*#% hills! There were three sets of hills that lead up to the next aid station. So, you’d conquer one — not seeing the next hill — and just stare at it thinking “DANG IT!” But, there’s only one way to conquer them — and that’s going up them. By the second hill, I was struggling. So mentally I was just focusing on one step at a time.

When I topped that second hill and saw the third hill in front of me — I wanted to die. Literally. So I took a seat at the base and refueled, knowing this was going to be a beast. By this point, Jason and Marisa were half way up the hill and ahead of us. This was the last we’d see of them. Jason twisted his ankle and was advised to go on at the aid station so it wouldn’t freeze up and become more painful.

So, Tim and I tackled the hill together — along with the sweepers who caught up with us (we were a half hour ahead of the cut-off, we just were the last runners). I can’t begin to describe to you how I felt throughout that last monster hill. There was a lot of pain, fatigue and nausea. I wanted to spew numerous times — nearly at every step.

Tim and I would take about 10-20 steps — stop — compose — and then repeat. It was horrible. Mentally, I wasn’t in a good place. I wondered if I could really do this and if I would make it out alive. Because, I wanted to die. At that moment — death seemed like a great option. But, I had this little voice within me tell, “just get to the aid station and you’ll be fine.”

That was my rallying cry for the rest of that $%&# hill — JUST. GET. TO. THE. AID. STATION.

And, I did.

I didn’t die, I didn’t throw up and luckily I didn’t poop my pants (a valid fear anytime during a race).

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When I got to the aid station and took a seat in a camping chair — drank down some more water and tried to work up an appetite. I knew I had to eat though I didn’t feel like it. I got a peanut butter and jelly square in me — a few M&M’s — and a bunch of canned potatoes dipped in salt.

Oh, my gosh, those potatoes were heaven sent. Seriously, I don’t think an Iron Chef could have whipped up a better tasting dish at that moment, then those canned potatoes and salt.

Once Tim and I got fueled up and recomposed we headed back out. Luckily, the worst of it was over. The rest was downhill — and fairly flat. Our only concern was just getting to our next aid station before the cut-off which was at 3pm. Relieved, we let the downhill towards the ranch carry us and did a lot of run/walking especially since Tim aggravated his achilles.

We got into the next aid station basically at the cut-off time. Luckily, the volunteers let us continue. This motivated the both of us to pick it up. We had an hour to get to the next aid station about three miles away. So we booked it. We created a run/walk system — where Tim lead for a stretch at his fast pace and then we switched with me walking a little bit. Basically, we did a “Trail Galloway run/walk” to the next aid station.

We gained some good time to the last cut-off and had about six minutes to spare. Talk about elation hitting that aid station — I was greeted by my friend Dulci with a big hug. I really felt like I crossed the finish line — because now I knew I would finish. There was no threat of cut-offs — I was on the home stretch and I was GOING TO DO THIS!

After fueling up we headed out for the last 6-7 miles of the race. By this time the sun was starting to set and our side of the island was getting dark — and with it came cooler temperatures. Which made me feel a bit colder because of the sweaty shirt I was wearing. But, we just kept pushing through.

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About three miles out we ran into a herd of buffalo was next to the trail. Throughout the race we hadn’t had any issues with them — in fact most were too far away from the trail to be an issue. But, there was one rogue bison that was blocking the trail and being rather aggressive. The runner ahead of us had stopped after it charged her — and when Tim and I got there we made the decision to take a round about way around it near the shoreline.

But, at this time the sweepers came — and luckily — with it some experience with dealing with bison. They said generally if you make a lot of noise and make yourself look bigger then turn around and leave you alone. And, well — we did — and he turned right around and rejoined the herd. It made us feel a tad rookie-ish and stupid — but, duly noted. I’ll definitely remember that for next year.

After that it was the home stretch, we just had a few miles left. The sun starting setting and was getting dark — but Marisa and Heather cheered us on. And, well — we finished!

It was a looooooong day of running. Basically running from sunrise to sunset. But, you know what — I finished and that’s what matters.

I am officially an ultra marathoner.

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I learned a number of things out on the course about myself — my resolve — and what I would do differently the next time I tackle a 50K.

I was reassured that I can do hard things. I know that no matter how difficult the present may be, you can’t dwell on the past — just what’s in front of you. Not to mention, the divine knowledge how important faith is in those moment — you can’t necessarily see the goal destination (in my case — the aid station on top of the hill), but you’ve got to take every step forward knowing you’ll get there.

For the next year’s race — I’ll definitely do more training on the trails. This is one reason why I am cutting back on my races next year. I’ll have done 30 races this year compared to a plan 17 in 2016. I need — want — to hit those trails more. I’ve got some beautiful trails here in Bountiful and very close by in Salt Lake and around Davis County. I want to take advantage of them.

Plus, I want to run Antelope Island more — I want to train on that $%&# hill. I want to be stronger when I conquer it next year. That just needs to happen.

And, if anyone is reading this who thinks that they could never do something like this — HA — if I can do it, you can too!

Signed,
Joshua Snow Hansen, Ultra Marathoner


THE TRUTH ABOUT ULTRA MARATHONS


RACEGRAMS

This is happening. #ultramarathon #antelopeisland50k #race113 #running #antelopeisland #utah A photo posted by Joshua O. Snow Hansén (@kindaqwerty) on

RACE #113 & MY FIRST ULTRA ARE IN THE BOOKS! Definitely the hardest endurance race I’ve done ever! It was tough as sh–! But, I conquered it! Started out with friends — Jason, Tim and Marisa. But, at mile 13 we got separated while Tim and wanted to die on the worst hill (mountain) ever. Tim and I recouped and refueled and finished together. We barely hit some of the cut offs, but the last one we hit I was a feeling of elation knowing we were going to finish. We only had one run in with an angry buffalo, but it wasn’t bad. We made some noise and he then left us alone. But, we did it! I’m now officially an ULTRA marathoner! How cool is that? Heck, I need business cards with that on it! I’ve been overwhelmed with the amount of love and support shown me during this journey! All the messages and notes were much appreciated. My full recap will be up on the blog tomorrow morning! #antelopeisland50k #race113 #antelopeisland #utah #running #ultramarathon @running180 @fight4phat @kindaqwerty

A photo posted by Running180™ (@running180) on


NEXT RACE: THANKFUL 13

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This will be my second to last race of the year. I love this race too. This will be my fourth year running it as well. It’s such a great way to start my Thanksgiving day. I used to do a local 5K here in Bountiful, but how can you justify eating two slices of pie running a 5K? In my book — you can’t.

But, running a half marathon? Heck yes!

This race is done by Runtastic and happens — appropriately — at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi. It’s a fairly flat course, but beautiful nonetheless. I’ll be sweeping the course along with my friend Cevan — so we should more than a fun time.

You can sign up for the half marathon, 5K or Kid’s race here. Hope you see there!


MONTHLY MILEAGE UPDATE 2015

Total Mileage Breakdown for 2015
2015 Training Miles – 246.75 miles
2015 Walking Miles – 451.8 miles
2015 Race Miles – 446.1 miles
2015 Total Miles – 1144.65 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  101.65 miles
August  110.2 miles
September – 115.69 miles
October – 164.7 miles
November – 86.6 miles

A LITTLE MOTIVATION FOR MONDAY