Tag: utah run

RACE #162: Jordan River Half Marathon

One of my greatest learned life lessons didn’t come from my Dad, a grandparent or some guru — it actually came from Kenny Rogers. Back in 1978 — before I was even a twinkle in my parents’ eyes, Kenny Rogers came out with a song called The Gambler with this advice —

You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
Know when to run
You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealin’s done

There’s a lot of life lessons there. Probably enough that could fill a whole blog post. But, that’s not that kind of blog post — this is my race report for this past Saturday’s half marathon. But, it’s very applicable to this race.

A post shared by 🔼That’s me. (@josherwalla) on

In running you gotta know when to go full force, when to hold back and even when to step away. Which is something I’ve been doing a lot this past year and it’s been very humbling dealing with my sprained ankle, thyroid and whatnot (whatnot is code for depression — thanks largely to my thyroid issues, but that’s a post for another day).

I’ve had to drop races, switched distances and even DNF a race. All in all — it’s been humbling and eye opening to me. It’s made me realize many things about my running, my priorities and life in general. Again, that’s a post for another day.

But, trust me, this is all applicable to this race report.

When I signed up for this race, I actually signed up for the marathon. I planned to run the marathon. I wanted to run the marathon. But, many factors lead me to the decision to hold back and downgrade to the half marathon.

Do I think I think I could have done the marathon on Saturday?

Yes.

But, I knew that I couldn’t. My training wasn’t what I wanted. Not because I didn’t want to put the training in, but my ankle prevented me from many of the needed training runs, long runs and whatnot (that’s not code word for depression, it’s just a filler for everything else you need to do to prepare yourself for a marathon).

Plus, right now the focus is on two long term goals — preparing myself for my 100 mile run in February and get closer to my 180 race goal. I don’t need another marathon right now to get me closer to those goals. Especially since my training plan for my 100 mile run is based on time on my feet and my 180 race goal is for any race over 13.1 miles.

So why potentially ruin both goals?

The answer to that question confirmed my decision.

I am starting to turn longer miles in my training. And, much like other ultra races, the training isn’t much about pace or time than it was about time on my feet. And, because of the relative flatness of this course, my coach and I decided to slow down my pace and really focus on time on my feet. This essentially would be a training run — with aid stations every few miles and a race medal at the end.

Being a somewhat smaller race, I knew I was going to be in the back. And, I was. My friend Julie and Jenni were sweeping the half marathon course — so I basically crashed their party.

I tried to just focus on my pace — not so much the running pace, but the kick in my walk. Transitioning from road to ultra training is a different mentality, because they’re different beasts. I’m excited for the transition — something I probably could have done a few weeks ago? Either way, here I am.

A post shared by 🔼That’s me. (@josherwalla) on

I had a blast with Julie and Jenni. We fartleked the course, encouraged the marathoners running past and just had a blast. It really was a nice change of pace and mentality. Something I needed.

Somewhere around miles 7-8 my legs started to ache. I’ve had this issue the past couple of month or so. It’s not horrible, but uncomfortable for my long runs, training runs and races. Since Julie has been doing keto since January I used the time to pepper her with questions during the race. She suggested the aches were just the body still getting used to the keto diet — it was teaching my body to not rely on the carbs and insulin to fuel my body.

This made sense.

The transition has been easier in the past few weeks, but recovery is tougher and my mid-week workouts are hit and miss. Some are great and some are just miserable. But, I need to remember that I am retraining my body — a body that has rigorously worked out fueling with carbs over the past 7-8 years.

Patience. Patience. Patience.

A post shared by 🔼That’s me. (@josherwalla) on

And, really, for me, that’s hard to practice. If I’ve learned anything over the past 2-3 years, especially THIS year, it’s patience. Patience with my health issues, patience with my ankle, patience in my training. There’s a point where you just get sick of it and want to move on — but, there in lies the need for the lesson.

I focused on my fueling the last 5-6 miles. I had my Powerade Zero with me and had to remind myself to drink it a few times. I had no need for my emergency applesauce packet, thanks in large part to the weather. The cloud cover was perfect and a nice change of pace from the heat of the summer.

The last couple of miles we were joined by Jason Henry. Jason is one of my favorite people, we ran our first ultra together a couple years ago at the Antelope Island 50K. He and his wife are just the kindness, nicest people. He’s been dealing with running injuries as well, so I haven’t seen him in a while. It was nice to have those few miles to catch up.

The last half mile I ran ahead of the group to finish with a good strong effort. I finished under four hours, which I was shooting for — nothing to write home about, but for the training and time I needed on my feet — it was what I needed.

The ankle wasn’t horrible either. There was some soreness, but the pain on top of my foot — nonexistent. Which I think kind of confirmed my belief that the ankle pain was more to do with that, than with my previous ankle injury. And, right now, as I write up my race report it doesn’t hurt — so that’s good.

I am looking forward to the next couple of weeks. I don’t have a race this upcoming weekend — it was suppose to be the St. George Marathon, but that’s not happening. So, I am planning on doing some time on the trails up here in Bountiful on Saturday. I am going to hike Mueller Park with my friend Lizz. To add some miles, I’ll probably run to the park and back home (which should add about 5-6 extra miles to the hike).

But, after that I am pretty much a running fool up until I leave for Greece. I have The Haunted Half in Salt Lake on Oct. 14th, both the SoJo Half and Howloween Half on Oct. 21st, The Haunted Half in Provo on Oct. 28th. And, then in November I am running both the Snow Canyon Half and Joshua Tree Half on Nov. 4th and then the Mt. View Trail Half on Nov. 11th.

A post shared by 🔼That’s me. (@josherwalla) on

So, yeah, lots of running before I leave Greece on Nov. 15th.

I am looking forward to it. I am sweeping a couple of those races, so it will be great training for my 100. Especially on my double race days. I think those days will be great training, better than a marathon or 50K could do for me right now.

I’ll blog all about that training and my upcoming races in the next couple of weeks. But, I have 162 races down and 18 more to go!

The end is ‘nigh!


MY NEXT FIVE RACES


Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 6.0 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 22.72 miles
TOTAL MILES — 41.82 miles
Races This Week — Jordan River Half.

September 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 22.0 miles
Race Miles — 49.75 miles
Walking Miles — 106.19 miles
TOTAL MILES — 177.94 miles
Races in September — (4) Revel Big Cottonwood Half, Huntsville Half, Timp Elk Run & Jordan River Half.

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 381.55 miles
Race Miles — 375.17 miles
Walking Miles — 1027.43 miles
TOTAL MILES — 1784.15 miles
Races done in 2017 — (23) 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 and Jordan River Half Marathon


A post shared by The Runcast (@theruncast) on

RACE #154: Bountiful Handcart Days Half Marathon

This race means a lot to me. Well, the whole Handcart Days festival means a lot to me. Growing up our family was heavily involved when my Dad served as the Chairman for the event. That included coordinating the parade, park festivities, entertainment and fireworks with a committee of local volunteers.

I spent a lot of time at the Bountiful Park lugging food to the concession stands, setting up VIP parade booths and whatever else was required. Sometimes I was even forced to watch the parade — which if anyone knows me, knows I absolutely HATE parades. But, that’s a post for another day.

In the seven years my Dad was involved with the festival, we never had a race — not even a 5K. But, in the 10 years after my Dad was released from the chairmanship one was added in conjunction with the South Davis Rec Center. So when I decided to run my first half marathon back in 2011 — it just seemed fitting.

A post shared by 🔼That's me. (@josherwalla) on

I run the race twice since that hot July 2011 day. It was my 100th race back in 2015 where friend Jim Gastelum arranged a 100 banana salute at the finish line and then I ran it again last year to celebrate my 5th year anniversary of my first half marathon. This race has become a race of milestones for me of sorts.

When I lined up this year for the race, I wasn’t really celebrating a certain milestone. Unless there’s significance for a 6th anniversary or 154th race that I am unaware of? I was running to run. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t thinking of those milestones and the plan to run this again next year for my 180th and final race in my 180 goal.

But, my mind was on other things. The day prior I got word that a good friend of mine — not just a running friend — was diagnosed with brain cancer. Robert Merriman has been a good friend for some four years or so now. He is truly one of the greatest men you’d ever met. Not a mean bone in his body, yet one of the best senses of humor.

A post shared by 🔼That's me. (@josherwalla) on

This news quickly spread throughout the running community and left many of us shocked. Robert had friends throughout the community, because of the nature of man he is. He’s always encouraging, always giving and always cheering others on.

Having this news really made this run one of reflection for me. Not just on Robert, but about other friends and family in my life who’ve battled cancer. It was this time two years ago we found out about Meridith’s breast cancer. My Mom’s own cancer journey was on my mind, even though that was over five years ago. All that emotion was very much on my mind.

But, my heart was also reflective on how through all of that — running was there. Running is a mental, spiritual and physical therapy for me in these moments. I remember when I got the news of my mother’s diagnosis I went out for a run that day to help clear my mind and find peace.

It’s almost become a natural reaction for me to run when life gets tough, confusing, frustrating or difficult. Not to run away from it all. But, to run with my thoughts, and often a prayer in my heart, to center myself and find strength to tackle whatever is in front of me.

A post shared by (phat) josh (@fight4phat) on

So, toeing up to that starting line on Saturday morning was to find that center balance.

Like the previous couple years I decided to take the early start at 5:30am. I have no reason to do it other than I want to get done faster and spend less time out in the heat of the day. I kind of wish all summer races had a 5:30am option. It’s light enough that I know where I am going … so why not?

A handful of us started early and I got about three or so miles into the race before the leading runners passed me. I thought that wasn’t bad, especially since I wasn’t planning on pushing myself at all during this race. That’s what happens when you have a race on Monday, a bum ankle and a flat course. I was Clydesdaling it.

Around mile three I started getting Tummy Gremlins and knew I needed a Honey Bucket soon. I found one just off the Legacy Parkway Trail, but when I approached it was deadlocked. DEADLOCKED?! Who does that?

I didn’t have much time to ponder about that so I just moved forward in hopes that the next aid station would have one. I won’t lie, it was the longest two miles of my life. I’ve run some painful miles in the past — but, when the Tummy Gremlins attack, they mean business.

A post shared by 🔼That's me. (@josherwalla) on

Finally, when I turned a corner to see the Mile 5 aid station I saw the most glorious Honey Bucket. When I limped toward it I was elated it wasn’t deadlocked or occupied. I made it right in the nick of time.

I am not sure why I included this story, but it was pretty much the highlight of the first half of the race. And, luckily — well, thankfully — the second half was much, much, much better.

Just shortly after my near disaster, I ran into Merri and Glen, a brother and sister that were running in memory of Glen’s son Benjamin who passed away recently. Merri reads this blog and introduced herself. After yo-yo’ing for a couple of miles we met up again at the Mile 7 aid station and ran together the rest of the way.

Talking with Merri and Glen about Glen’s son Benjamin was what I needed. Already with a reflective heart — I just listened to Glen talk about how Benjamin lived with one of the biggest hearts — toward humanity and animals. I listened to his stories of Benjamin’s musical talents and how he recently drove to Southern Utah to adopt a dog slated to be put down.

I was grateful for this moment.

A post shared by (phat) josh (@fight4phat) on

My heart kept wandering toward those I’ve lost in the past few years — both friends and family. I thought a lot about my Grandma and Aunt Diane — two of my biggest influences as both a kid and adult. I thought about their big hearts, I thought about the small unsaid acts of kindness they shared with others and how proud they were of the changes I was making in my life.

Loss is hard, especially when you lose someone so close to your heart. And, I couldn’t help but think throughout this run how running helped mend that my heart. It was a very unexpected spiritual experience for me. I felt honored to be able to share that moment with Merri and Glen.

It was a completely uplifting run for me.

After we crossed the finish line, we took a picture together and parted ways.

But, I couldn’t stop thinking about this run throughout the day. I couldn’t stop feeling a deep sense of gratitude for having running in my life. Not just for affording me to be a part of this powerful experience, but that it’s helped me through many difficult times in my life.

Life is a beautiful thing. And, running has helped enhance that for me — in times of sorrow, pain and joy. And, for that I’ll always thank God for the gift of running.


MY NEXT THREE RACES


He has my heart … and banana.

A post shared by 🔼That’s me. (@josherwalla) on

Best duet I’ve heard since Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s “Drunk in Love”

A post shared by 🔼That’s me. (@josherwalla) on

Got my biannual thyroid check this past week. I knew something was up with my energy levels and … yup … the thyroid was off. So my doctor switched me to a lower dose of Levothyroxine. No more Armour. I’m feeling a difference, which is good, but we’ll start seeing the bigger effects in the next couple of months (hopefully). I’m just hoping my energy levels are better and the new meds help make losing weight easier. It should. I’d really like to lose 30lbs before November, but we’ll see. If that doesn’t happen at least a good 30-35 before my 100 miler in February. Goals, goals, goals. It’s been hard making weight loss goals with Hashimoto’s, because the thyroid is so fickle. I just want consistency. And, I’m hopeful I’m on the right track. ———————————————————— #fight4phat #fitness #wellness #health #running #runnerslife #runner #run #weightloss #weightlossjourney #hashimotos #hashimotoswarrior #thyroid #hypothyroidism #workout #wod #instarunner #run4fun #runningcommunity #levothyroxine #thyroidmedication #hypothyroidism #hypothyroidismweightloss #goals #healthgoals #thyroidproblems ———————————————————— @fight4phat @josherwalla @joshruns180 ———————————————————— Follow my blog at www.phatjosh.com

A post shared by (phat) josh (@fight4phat) on

You better believe that if I’m going to be sitting in the dentist’s chair for most of the morning I’m going to get in a longer-ish run beforehand. Planned on a quick two mile run, but after realizing I had enough time for a longer run, I doubled it up and did four miles. Since I have two half marathons this weekend I didn’t want to do anything pushed, especially with my ankle so I just focused on my gait mechanics and enjoyed the warm morning run. Winning. ———————————————————— #fight4phat #fitness #wellness #health #running #runnerslife #runner #run #weightloss #weightlossjourney #hashimotos #hashimotoswarrior #thyroid #hypothyroidism #workout #wod #instarunner #run4fun #runningcommunity #utahrunningclub #morningrun #4milerun #fartlek #runutah ———————————————————— @fight4phat @josherwalla @joshruns180 ———————————————————— Follow my blog at www.phatjosh.com

A post shared by (phat) josh (@fight4phat) on

Are we sure this is a war over monkeys and not drugs?

A post shared by 🔼That’s me. (@josherwalla) on

Lest we ever forget.

A post shared by 🔼That’s me. (@josherwalla) on

Sunsets like tonight could turn the manliest of men into a poet.

A post shared by 🔼That’s me. (@josherwalla) on


A post shared by The Runcast (@theruncast) on

RACE #129: Run Elevated Half Marathon

I’ve been looking forward to this race for quite a while. Well, okay, maybe for the last three months. I wasn’t planning on racing this weekend because I needed to get a 20 mile training run in for my marathon and ultra training. I was reserving my goal half marathon race for the year for the Nebo Half which is happening this upcoming weekend.

BUT — I do a little switcheroo, because I have a family reunion this upcoming weekend in Idaho. And, as much as I love Nebo, I kinda love my family more. Don’t ask me to gauge that, because there may or may not be that much of a difference when you’re talking about the Nebo Half.

I love that race.

So, since I wasn’t running Nebo, I decided to pick up the Run Elevated Half Marathon instead — another equally fast canyon race. I’ve been running Run Elevated for four years now — ever since it’s inaugural run in 2013. I love it. I PR’d on the course in 2013. I feel intimately close to the race — well, okay — that sounds like a bad choice of words. Basically, I know the course really well and love every bit of it.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

The infamous hill — can’t remember what they call it — doesn’t phase me. I’ve gotten use to just jogging that blasted hill. It’s a pace killer, but I’ve learned it’s better to keep a slower pace up the hill then to walk the hill. Even if that pace is slower than your usual walk. Trust me — that logic makes sense to a runner.

Then there’s the whole canyon that I love — Little Cottonwood Canyon lends itself as one of the prettiest canyons here in northern Utah. It’s less traversed than Big Cottonwood and Emigrations, mainly because it’s roads don’t lend itself well to runners. They’re smaller shoulders compared to the other canyons. I’ve only ran the canyon once outside of this race.

Additionally, this is the only road race that goes down the canyon. I think it’s mostly because the community tries to limit them as much as possible — which I would understand. It is a watershed after all. All of that makes this race kind of a special treat. It’s capped off at 2,000 runners — so it’s small and intimate enough that it really feels like a special event.

The numbers felt really low though this year, which honestly wasn’t surprising. There were a number of races held this weekend. And, by a number, I mean — too many. There was besides Run Elevated — Top of Utah Half, East Canyon Marathon, High Unitas Marathon, Rivalry Relay and Lake Relay. When people point to saturation problems here in Utah this weekend is a good example. The High Uintas Marathon ended up being cancelled this past week — probably because of low registration? I’m not sure.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

Either way — I really hope race directors correlate a bit better next year, because there’s still a market for these races, but you’re just going to kill yourself if you keep competing against each other like this. There are plenty of underutilized weekends for races. But, this post really is one for another day. Regardless, I noticed a difference at this race compared to year’s past.

But, to this race. So my goal — one that I’ve been trying to hit since June is that of a sub-2:30 half marathon. I try not to think too much of where I’ve been in the past. Because a few years ago — I was hitting 2:10-2:20s quite regularly. And, because of my health issues and that I’ve basically been at ground zero building myself back up. Which is fine — because I gotta get back somehow, right?

Anyways — I’ve come close to this goal. And, after not hitting it at Drop13 in June and the Deseret News Half in July — I really wanted to reach the goal at the end of summer, especially since September and October were my marathons and ultra. Speed wasn’t going to be priority — especially since that’s not my goal for my marathons.

So this was it.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

Going into August — I felt really optimistic about my progress towards the goal. I had some really great runs and I felt stronger, especially as I transitioned my diet from the Whole30 to a Paleo 80/20 diet. Things were just clicking.

But, then about two weeks ago — I got sick. And, it just sucked pretty much everything out of me. For a good week I just didn’t get in the kind of runs I wanted to and last Saturday I got in less miles I wanted to — but they were still miles. Needless to say — I just didn’t know where I would be physically going into this race? Especially considering I was still dealing with congestion and a mild cough.

So the week leading up the race — I wasn’t sure how to approach the race. Do I just go for it as planned or do I go by feel and just push myself? Going through with the race as planned meant I’d be running with my Garmin watching my pace carefully as I ran down the canyon.

But, if I didn’t have it in me to reach the goal, the last thing I need is a constant reminder wrapped around my wrist of how horrible of a runner I was because I didn’t hit my goal. Normally, I would just say — let me stick with the 2:30 pacers and I’ll be fine. But, considering the race doesn’t have pacers — that wasn’t an option either.

A photo posted by @fight4phat on

I was grappling back and forth with this mentality all week long. And, it wasn’t until Friday night that I just told myself — “screw it! I’m running Garmin-less.” I just knew if I didn’t hit my goal it would have ruined my whole race. I had to run the race oblivious to the time and just go out there and with my best effort. That’s all I could ask for, right?

The morning of the race — I felt good. I did have a bit of congestion. But, otherwise I felt good. To make sure I didn’t have a coughing attack mid-race I made sure I had my inhaler. I felt good to go. I still didn’t know how my race would end out, but I was ready to take a stab at it.

After meeting up with Dith at the bus pick up I hopped on the bus with the Skinners and rode up the canyon where we hung out until the 6:30am gun time. Thankfully the weather was doable compared to a couple years ago when it was snowing at the starting line. I’ll never forget that — it was such a buzzkill. There’s nothing like getting excited for a summer race, only to be meet with snow.

Anyways — crossing the starting line I just let gravity do it’s thing. I focused on not going out too fast, because I knew how easy it was on this course. I ran the first mile somewhat fragmented. I ditched my hoodie a half mile in before retying my shoes. My legs were still a little sore from leg day on Wednesday, so I just needed to warm up a bit.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

A couple more miles into the race I started hitting my stride and feeling pretty good. I just focused on my breathing, tempo and effort. It was around this time also that my two month old headphones decided to die. Well, half of them died. I suspect my headphones were a Chinese knockoff. But, that’s a story for another day.

After I settled for one ear stereo I just ran. I felt good and I just focused on my effort. I didn’t know where my pace was and while I cared, I didn’t. I just wanted to — dare I say — my best foot forward.

I stopped at each aid station to refuel. Not only did I refuel with water and a swig of Gatorade, but I brought some an applesauce packet to eat midway through. I tried to not stop too long at the aid station. I did have to stop once. And, I took a few pictures at the stops, because the scenery was just BEAUTIFUL.

In retrospect I probably wouldn’t have taken a few of those pictures. I couldn’t have held through my pit stop, but I did take a pit stop for a posed race picture. That one I probably should have ran through, because I was much closer to my goal than I thought. A lot closer.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

The first 7-8 miles are all canyon miles and I knew once I was out of the canyon — it would be MUCH tougher. That happened to me at Timp, Deseret News and Drop13. But, when I was hitting the mouth of the canyon I just went into a beast mode. Mainly, because I knew it was going to get tough, especially as we approached the hill.

I ran into my friend Shaylee at the mile nine aid station as she was pulled off the course due to injury. I felt bad because I know how much she loves this fast race as well.  Injuries just suck. And, this course can lend itself to some fun ones if you’re not careful.

Once we got onto Wasatch Blvd. the downhill around mile 10 was welcomed, but I knew the blasted hill was around the corner. So, I just kept at it. My approach to the hill was simple — just run it. And, if I couldn’t run it, just pretending your running — even if it’s at your normal walking pace.

So, yeah, that was basically what I did up the hill. It’s not that long of a hill, but it will kill your pace if you’re not careful. Especially if you walk. So, when it comes to hills like this one, I just keep myself in the running motion so I keep the mechanics going. I find it’s easier to get back into my pace if I do this.

Now, if there’s a science to all of that — I don’t know? But, it’s saved my races in this race, St. George and a couple others.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

Once I was past the hill, there was about 2-2.5 miles until I hit the finish line. I took a quick glance at my phone’s clock and realized I was making great time. I tried to do some math to see if I was on target — I figured I was, but I wasn’t sure. So, I just ran like I was going to hit my goal.

The last two miles felt strong. Both mentally and physically. I just kept moving forward. My legs were burning, but I didn’t care. I tried to numb everything below my neck and just focus on running. It honestly felt like the last two miles flew by fast. And, I am sure if I ran with my Garmin those last two miles would rival my canyon miles. Or at least it felt like it.

During the last mile as I was making my way towards the finish line, I started getting a little emotional. It wasn’t because I felt like I was on pace or that I was going to reach the goal. But, it was from the feeling that I put everything into this run. I was feeling spent. I was feeling sore. I was feeling strong. I was feeling focused.

It was around this time that OneRepublic’s “I Lived” came across my playlist. And, that didn’t help either. It’s one of my favorite songs. The lyrics, music and message — were just what I needed as I ran towards the finish line. It’s one of few songs on my life playlists.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

But, as I hit the homestretch I just hit another gear and sprinted towards the finish line. The clock said something like 2:32, so I knew I was going to be close — after considering when I crossed the finish line and all. I didn’t think I got it, but I knew not only that I was close, but that I gave it everything in me.

Once I refueled and got my drop bag I headed over to the results table and got my card. The card read … 2:31:00:03. A mere 1:01 minute from my goal. Oh, so close.

I won’t lie — I reanalyzed every pit stop, picture and aid station — because a few tweaks here and there and I probably could have gotten my goal. But, I wasn’t feeling a sense of disappointment. Far from it. I gave everything during those 13.1 miles, despite not knowing how my body was going to react after being sick the week before. Despite feeling under the weather still — I pushed forward.

Plus, it was still a year best time for me in the half marathon.  How can I feel about that?

A photo posted by @fight4phat on

Sure there are a lot of shoulda, coulda and wouldas. But, that gets you nowhere dwelling on for a race already ran. Will I learn from it? You betcha. Not just in race plan management, but maintaining race pace and pushing through pain. There’s a lot there that I could talk about — but, really, that’s a post for another day.

I feel great about my race and look forward to breaking through that goal time — this year or 2017. Looking back at my running patterns too, I ran 2:30-2:40 pretty consistently for my first year of running until I broke into the 2:10-2:20 the following year. So, in a way, I feel like I am following that pattern. Hopefully that means 2017 will be a fast year for me. I feel confident enough that it will be if I continue working hard and pushing myself.

After the race I still had to get seven more miles in for my 20 miles needed that day. I was originally planning on running seven miles in Sandy near the  finish line, but I had to get home and decided to do them at home on the treadmill.

My goal for these miles were really to simulate fatigue — and my legs were fatigued. I waited a couple hours after getting home before doing my miles — and they definitely hurt. It was hard getting into a rhythm, but I pushed through the pain and eventually found one. I really tried to visualize myself out on the course of my 50 miler going through that kind of fatigue.

A photo posted by @fight4phat on

I’ll tell you what — it’s been fun training for my 50, because it’s so different from a marathon. There’s so much mental preparedness I need to prepare myself for, that I look for way to do it. Whether it’s running 20 miles on a treadmill or running 7 miles hours after a fast paced half marathon — I always look for ways to prepare me for October 21.

This upcoming month is going to be the real test. I’ve got three marathons coming up — Big Cottonwood (Sept. 10), Huntsville (Sept. 17) and St. George (October 1) along with my miles this weekend and a special relay with AIIA on Sept. 24. So, I’ll be doing big, big miles — and really getting myself ready for October 21. I’m nervous — but, more excited than anything.

And, really it’s just focusing on one foot in front of the other — much like I’ve been doing since I ran my first 5K.


MY NEXT RACE

130 - Revel Big Cottonwood Marathon

My next race isn’t until September 10th. And, I’ll be sweeping the Big Cottonwood Marathon once again. I did it last with my friend Ramie and had a blast and a half (not to mention a Slurpee). This year I’ll be sweeping with my friend Chanda — I am anticipating another blast and a half (and not to mention another Slurpee).

This will be the fifth time that I’ve ran the Big Cottonwood Marathon. Well, okay — fourth for the 26.2. I did the 13.1 once back in 2013. The funny thing is that when I’ve signed up for the race — I’ve never registered for the marathon. I always sign up for the half marathon, but I either upgrade to the marathon (like I did in 2012 and 2014) or get asked to sweep the course (like I did in 2015 and last year).

Now, I’m planning on signing up for JUST the half marathon in 2017, but we’ll see how that pans out come next year.

Anyways — there’s no real game plan for this marathon other than sweeping the course. Well, okay, I lied. The first 14-15 miles in the canyon I just have to maintain a 13 minute pace until we get onto Wasatch Blvd. for the out and back. After that — it’s just being as fast as the slowest runner. So, really there is a technicalness to the course even if I’m sweeping.

And, if you’re wondering — yes — I stop for Slurpees at Mile 20. There is a 7 Eleven at the mouth of the canyon and it’s just a crime to bypass the opportunity to grab a mid-marathon Slurpee.

I love this race — and even if I’m not running it for myself, there is nothing quite like running Big Cottonwood in the fall. Totally gorgeous and worth the registration fee. Plus, this will be great ultra training being on my feet for 6:30-7 hours. It’ll be a fun loooooong day.


THE NEXT RACES ON DECK

131 - huntsville marathon 132 - st george marathon133 - park city red rock relay134 - pony express trail 50135 - haunted half provo


WEEKENDGRAMS

I just want someone that looks at me, the way I look at Slurpees. #thatsalliask

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on


2667in2016

RUNNING MILES

216.5 miles

RACE MILES

206.0 miles

WALKING MILES

1006,65 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

1429.15 miles

MILES TO GOAL

1237,85 miles


12788035_1688827578069562_373889742_n

This is one of my favorite episodes of the AIIA Podcast. Jed was one of the first athletes I met in AIIA and seriously, he’s one of the greatest guys I know. He helped run me in at the Provo City Half back in May and, really, he just embodies everything that AIIA stands for.

This is definitely worth the listen. I love uploading these podcasts to my phone to listen during my races or runs. Sometimes I’ll listen during my morning commute, but when it comes to the AIIA podcasts, I’d much rather be inspired out there when I’m running. Really help me connect to the message.

Give the episode a listen …


A photo posted by Runcast USA™ (@runcastusa) on

RACE #124: 13 Miles of Freedom

First off — HAPPY FOURTH! I hope you’re having a great holiday weekend. This really is my favorite weekend of the year. So much family time, so many community activities and it’s summer to boot! Plus — USA! USA! USA!

One thing that’s been missing ever since I started running some six years ago is a 4th of July race longer than a 5K or even 10K to run during the weekend (or on the holiday itself). There are PLENTY of races (both half marathon and marathon) on or around Pioneer Day here in Utah — but, nothing really around the 4th.

Well, until this year.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

This was the inaugural run of the 13 Miles of Freedom put on by Extra Mile Racing. As the name implies it’s first and forth most a half marathon (along with a 5K on race day). I registered fairly early when I saw it on the race schedule, because I’ve eagerly been waiting for a patriotic half marathon to count towards my 180 race goal.

The race runs along the Jordan River Parkway starting at 5400 S. and then running north to about 2400 S. and back via an out and back loop. Well, at least that’s the way you’re suppose to go. Unless you get lost and go an entirely wrong direction. But, more on that later.

The one thing I loved about this race was how lax it was. Most Extra Mile Races are, which I love. The race didn’t start until 7am, so I didn’t have to leave until about 6am to mosey over to the race, get my bib and prepped for gun time. I loved being able to mingle with friends before the race as well — Elsha, Monte, Karrie, Ron, etc., etc., etc.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

I was a little worried about the late start, but it wasn’t THAT bad, because there were stretches of covered trail and plenty of water at the aid stations. So the heat wasn’t much of an issue for me until the last couple of miles.

My goal for the race was basically to just — run. I didn’t have a goal. After a month of racing Drop13 and AF Canyon along with RAGNAR — I just wanted to run this with no time expectation. I wanted to use it more so as a training run than anything else.

I guess, my only goal was that I wanted to run under three hours — but, I wasn’t totally dead set on achieving that goal. It just depending on my run and whether or not I ended up hanging out with Tammy, who was sweeping the course. And, since I ended to get 15-16 miles in for my training — I even thought about running back to run in with Tammy.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

But, none of that was necessary, because I definitely got plenty of running in thanks to my keen sense of following directions. Basically, I got lost. But, that description doesn’t do justice to the adventure that those extra three miles were. Not at all.

As I mentioned earlier the course was a fairly simple out and back course with a loop for the turn around. Nothing extraordinary difficult about following the course, especially if you paid attention to the course signs. Which, Extra Mile Racing did a great job at marking.

The first 4-5 miles were fairly nondescript — I felt great and I was plugging along the trail. I did get chased by a stupid goose. But, I wasn’t going to let a Canadian goose ruin my All-American run — so I just out ran it. I was having fun listening to my music and jamming out to a mix of my favorite running and patriotic songs.

My energy levels were great and I would stop at each aid station and refuel with water and bananas. Nothing too big. But, at the second aid station (where we turn onto the loop) the volunteer must have stepped away for a moment — so I was at the station alone. I was downing some water and a banana when a guy and his 5-6 chihuahuas stepped onto the trail — the guy asked me what was going on and after I told him about the race, he just kept talking to me.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

He reminded me a lot of my Aunt Diane — who could corner you into a 15-20 minute conversation about nothing of importance. He started telling me why four of dogs were leashed and two of them were not and why one of them wasn’t because of some bladder infection. I was trying to be polite, but I really wanted to get back to my run — so I kinda backed away slowly from him and excused myself — not looking at where I was going.

And, well, I missed my turn. I kept going straight. And, I didn’t think much of it because I saw a lot of the faster runners coming towards me — so I just kept plugging along in my happy zone.

I kept passing runners and it wasn’t until I reached the bridge that I had my friend Catey tell me that I was going the wrong way. Instead of taking the clue, I thought she was just joking — so I kinda laughed it off and kept running — looking for this turn around loop.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

When I got up to the 2100 South overpass I started to worry a bit because I wasn’t seeing any other runners. But, I kinda just shook that off as being a slower runner. So I just kept going — and that’s when it got awkward. Super awkward.

As I ran under the 2100 South overpass I passed a biker and then a ways further I noticed what I thought was another biker in the walkway — assumingly taking a rest stretch. I noticed him kinda squatting and didn’t think much about it until I got closer.

That’s when I discovered this guy was NOT a biker or even a runner. But, it was a naked (complete naked) homeless man who was squatting to — well — take care of his business. In that moment of realization I just turned my head to straightaway and ran a little bit faster so I could get out of that overpass.

I was both shocked and laughing at the same time. These kind of things always happen to me. And, of course this would happen to me now. But, I just kept running.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

After about another half mile of running I started to really question my sense of direction. So I whipped out the map course on my phone and compared it to my GPS and noticed that I was about a mile and a half off course. After a moment of — ugh — that feeling quickly turned to a moment to dread. Because, I knew I had to go back the way I came from — and pass the naked homeless guy once again.

I was hoping he was at least done with his business and dressed. I could handle that. Probably.

So when I retraced my steps and started going under the 2100 South overpass I noticed him once again. Thankfully, he was done with his business, but unfortunately he was still completely naked. He was calmly sitting upon a rock leaning back against an overpass beam reading a magazine. Being the complete gentlemen he was, he gave me a salutation — which I returned quite awkwardly.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

I felt the desire to stop and offer him something. But, quite honestly what he needed the most was something I had only one pair of. And, I don’t think running the rest of the race pantless was a viable option. So I just kept running.

I’m assuming he was either drying his clothes after washing them in the river — or just hanging out in the buff because it was too hot for clothes. I won’t lie — I’m jealous of his confidence, but it was an awkward moment. Hilariously awkward. And, something I’ll always remember of all my races.

Once I got over my traumatic experience I retraced my steps and got back on the course. Once I got back on the course I had added an extra three miles to my half marathon. Thus, making it an ultra half marathon.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

I really didn’t mind the extra miles, I needed them anyways and meant I didn’t have to tag them on after my race. Plus, I had an experience I’ll never forget. But, I stopped my watch after 13.1 miles and I did those miles in 2:47:16 — not bad considering the circumstances.

But, once I was on the route I was worried about where I was in relation to the sweeper. I wanted to make sure I had water or some support at the aid stations since I didn’t carry any with me. Luckily, about 4-5 miles from the finish line I was met by race support on a bike and they gave me some water, because the aid stations were out of water. That’s where I also learned I was behind Tammy — so I sped up to catch up with her.

I finally caught up with her about 3-4 miles from the finish line and ended up finishing with her and another runner who was struggling in the heat. I had told Tammy that I might end up running with her, but we didn’t know it was going to end up happening THIS way.

A photo posted by @fight4phat on

So I just ended up going the rest of the way with Tammy and the other runner. I wasn’t in too much of a hurry since I already my mu miles in — plus some. I was just happy to be out there. Not to mention getting QUITE the experience to write in my journal.

It was great training for my 50 in October and my preluding marathons. Next week there’s no race. I am going to make it a high mileage week since I won’t be getting a lot of miles in on Saturday (it’s my niece’s baptism in the morning). But, I’ll be getting in PLENTY of miles throughout the month with training and races (I have four — and three within a week).

Anyways — HAPPY FOURTH! I hope you have a great holiday and go do something runny. This is the perfect holiday to celebrate with a run!

PEACE OUT!



125-Utah Midnight Run Legacy

My next race isn’t until July 15th — which for me, seems like an eternity. I won’t lie — if it wasn’t my niece’s baptism on Saturday morning this week, I’d probably be running Hobbler. I need to serve some redemption on that course. I swept it last year, but it kicked my trash. 

Anyways — I’ve done the Utah Midnight Run on the Legacy Parkway now for five years. Sounds so weird saying that, because I still feel like so much of a rookie when it comes to running. But, I’ve been running since 2010 and half marathons since 2011 — so I guess it’s bound to happen, right?

I’ll be using this as a double run — not double race like past years. I’m planning on running the 13.1 miles and then another 5-6 miles in the morning. Some fairly basic and light fatigue running. But, I’ll need to start doing more fatigue training in August and September as I get closer to my 50.

This will be a great opportunity to do that and a fun opportunity to run with friends!


NEXT THREE UPCOMING RACES

126 - bountiful handcart days.fw127 - desnews half.fw128-timp half.fw


RUNCAST USA: MUSIC EPISODE

Runcast - Podbash Banner

This episode was released on Friday afternoon — so you might have missed it! But, I’m sharing more of my favorite running songs. I’ve got some familiar stuff with Fallout Boy, Imagine Dragons — and, yes — Justin Timberlake. But, I am also sharing some newer and less known stuff as well.

If anything — listen to the leadoff episode, it’s my favorite!


THE PARK HOPPERS: RUN DOLE WHIP RUN!

ParkHoppers

As many know me, know I am a HUGE Disneynerd. You’ll never find me the happiest when I’m sitting at Disneyland waiting for the fireworks to start while eating a Dole Whip float. Pure heaven, pure joy.

This past week I was a guest on The Park Hoppers podcast on Pod Bash. They grilled me on my Disney-ness, we taste tested some Dole Whips around town and I also shared some info on the Run Disney races at Disneyland — and Walt Disney World. I had an absolute BLAST!

Listen to the episode here …


This kid. This shirt. This moment. I love being an uncle. #chubbingtatum #unclejosher

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on


2016miles

RUNNING MILES

142.45 miles

RACE MILES

137.4 miles

WALKING MILES

805.0 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

1084.85 miles

MILES TO GOAL

1582.15 miles



A photo posted by Runcast USA™ (@runcastusa) on

#FitnessFriday: Dealing with my annual Post-RAGNAR Cold

ARGH-LICIOUS! You know how rain has become a tradition for the Ogden Marathon? Well, a cold or illness has become a tradition for me after running RAGNAR. It’s pretty easy to see how — you’re running on VERY little sleep (about nine hours in three days for me) and just wearing your body thin.

I tried to run through it on Monday — and did so somewhat successfully to keep my strike alive. But, it officially died on Tuesday. I just had nothing in the tank after work and ended up in bed around 8:30pm. But, I’m sharing more of all of that below — so go read that for more details.

I am feeling better. Much better. It was a quick recovery. I just hate dealing with it. I hate colds. But, then again, I’m not sure if I’ve ever met anyone who loves them?!

I do feel ready for tomorrow’s half marathon. I’m excited to just run. The canyon, course and cause are all personal favorites of mine. It’s going to be a great day — I have no doubt about that.

I signed up for a couple races this past week. Most noteworthy being the Pony Express 50 Trail Run in October. I already committed to running it — I just hadn’t registered yet. I was kinda waiting until the last possible moment until the registration price goes up — and that is happening at the end of the month.

I am nervous — for sure. But, more than that I am just excited to tackle this beast. I have a lot of optimism and faith I’ll be able to rock it. I just need to trust in the training, do the miles, continue to lose weight and just get stronger and healthier.

A tall task. But, like training for a 5K, 10K or marathon — it’s just one step at a time. PLUS — the cut off is pretty forgiving (20 hours). Which for a first time 50 mile ultra runner — I’m appreciative of. So, yeah, I know I can do this! I’m working on getting a crew together — so if you want to come party with me and maybe even run some miles, let me know!

I also signed up for the Run Elevated Half Marathon (August 27). I wasn’t going to run any races in August — because the 27th is a planned 20 miler for me. But, the goal for my 20 milers is to make them both physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually challenging for me.

On August 13th, I am planning on running 20 miles on a treadmill at midnight and then on the 27th I am planning on racing Run Elevated — and then about an hour later — run the last seven miles needed for my 20 miles of the day.

The goal is to do some fatigue training — obviously. But, emotionally and mentally — this is going to be tough for me. After a race — I’m usually checked out. My body and mind are checked out. I am sure I could pump out a few more miles right after crossing the finish line. But, I am to simulate REAL fatigue. I am going to let me body rest and recover for about an hour — before starting to run again.

It will be brutal.

But, it will also be some great ultra training. I really want to show my body and mind that I can push through anything tough. I don’t want to give it an excuse out on the course to stop.

I am also planning on doing some similar runs and techniques with my registered marathons in the fall. I am sweeping the Big Cottonwood Marathon — that alone is tough, being on your feet for about 6-7 hours. It’s great fatigue training, especially as you get out of the canyon and into the heat. You better believe me that I’ll be getting another Slurpee mid-race again.

Then I am running the Huntsville Marathon the following week. My plan there is to run the first 13 miles at a pretty good clip. Like my half marathon pace — take a 15-20 break at the midpoint and then run the rest. Again, I want to simulate fatigue and push through that.

I am not sure what I want to do with the St. George Marathon yet. I think I just want to run it easy. Veyo Hill and the two miles after that climb will be a good enough challenge. But, maybe I’ll pick up the speed at Snow Canyon? I don’t know. I’m taking suggestions for that.

Anyways — I am excited. Nervous. Inspired. Motivated. Pretty much all of the emotions.

It’s going to be a fun adventure. An adventure I am on now! Every race — every mile — lead to that 50 miler.

HAPPY RUNNING!


123 - af canyon half.fw

I am pretty excited about tomorrow’s race. This is one of my favorite races for many, many, many reasons. First, I absolutely love the course — American Fork Canyon is downright GORGEOUS! Second, I love the cause. How can you not love a race that donates 100% of it’s collected race fees to local cancer center (specifically the Intermountain Healthcare Cancer Center).

Cancer affects pretty much everyone — if it hasn’t personally hit you, odds are it has directly affected loved ones. As many of you know my mom is a breast cancer survivor. She was diagnosed back in March 2012 and went through the whole double mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation and numerous reconstructive surgeries to not just get her boob backs, but to tweak muscles and ligaments affected by the reconstructive surgeries.

My grandpa succumbed to lung cancer 20 years ago. That was tough to process as a teenager, especially when he was such a big part of my world. I’ve also lost a couple of childhood friends to cancer. Way before their “time” to go.

Cancer just sucks.

While I am running for my Mom and those who have passed on. I am also running for those who are fighting now. That is why when I registered for this race (basically on Day #1 of registration) I started the #Run4Dith team. Because, last year around this team my friend Meridith aka “The Dith” was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Before she started chemotherapy she ran the Timp Half (down the same canyon) and all of her friends decided to run with her in pink! It was such a great experience. I decked myself out in pink — including my infamous pink bra — and ran for her and those who have, are and will fight cancer.

Tomorrow isn’t going to be any different. “The Dith” will be running with us again. And, this time around it seems a bit more celebratory than the last time. She still has an arduous road ahead of her with surgery, but she’s gotten past a lot of the “crap.” I am looking forward to running with her and the “#Run4Dith” team tomorrow.

As far as goals go — considering how I’ve felt this past week with my cold — I don’t know? I’d love to break 2:30 and better my time from Drop13. But, knowing how my legs and stamina go — I am shooting for between 2:30:00-2:39:59. I just want a sub 2:40. That’s really my only goal.

I am running with my Garmin for the first time in over a year — so that should help. I want to pace myself to about 11:45-12:00 minute miles. But, then again — I am also going to go off feeling. If I am running to bust it — I’m going to bust it. I just need to remember to save some energy in the tank for the last few miles out of the canyon.

Anyways — YEAH RUNNING! YEAH DITH! BOO CANCER!


12788035_1688827578069562_373889742_n

Due to weddings and RAGNAR last week there was no Runcast. That will be coming next Friday. But, AIIA is still rolling! This week’s episode is an interview with Jeff Smith. This is a GREAT episode. Such a humble man. You’ll love this story.

Give it a listen …


PHATGRAMS

#undisputed #unclejosher

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

This is how we settle our differences around here. #paintballfight #prepperfamily

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

She brought us into this world … she can take us out. #paintballfight #nannacommando #prepperfamily

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on


fight4phat

It’s been an odd week. I am now nine days into my second round of Whole30. Nothing too exciting to report. It’s basically going about the same as it was during my first round. Lots of salads, omelets, fresh fruits (namely bananas and grapes) and potatoes — with other things inbetween.

But, as far as the fitness side of things — especially with my cold — this week was just not my best. My running streak died on Tuesday. I cranked out a mile on Monday, but it just didn’t happen on Tuesday. I was so out of it — I just downed some Tylenol PM around 8:30pm and called it a night. The sleep really helped and was needed.

As noted above — this is my third year in a row that I’ve gotten sick after RAGNAR. It’s pretty much become a tradition now — much like rain at the Ogden Marathon. It’s been a cold two of the three years — and then last year it was heat exhaustion that just made me sicker than sick for the following three days after the race.

I worked out a little on Wednesday and then last night I did do a small circuit training along with a two mile treadmill run. Nothing too extraordinary. Oh, I also mowed the lawn — if you want to consider that a workout. But, when it’s 90+ degrees outside — it turns into one.

Anyways — it’s probably good to have a slow week. I really just needed to recoup from RAGNAR and let my body rest. The one thing I noticed though was how quickly my body is rebounding from this cold. It’s been a couple day endeavor, not 7-10 days like I usually get them. I credit a lot of that to the Whole30 Diet. Because, I am not eating added sugar or dairy — two causes of inflammation in the body.

So, I am just saving my energy for my race tomorrow. I want to run strong and I feel like I will. But, the body needs to heal some and I am ready to get back at 100% next week. I’ve got to remember this is a marathon and not a sprint. 

Anyways — everything else is going well with the diet. I am losing more weight. I can feel that. I am not stepping on the scale again until July 16th — but, I feel the difference around the waist and my energy levels. And, of course how fast I have rebounded from this stupid cold.

This diet plan really works. And, really, it’s not that hard. It’s just educating yourself to what you’re eating and doing it. It’s not very restrictive — sure there’s no dairy, added sugar, processed foods, legumes and grains. But, it makes you open up to a whole new world of other foods. Good, whole foods.

I highly recommend it. Not only if you are wanting to losing 30-40lbs — but simply to get healthy and be fit.



A photo posted by Runcast USA™ (@runcastusa) on

RACE #120: Alpine Classic Half

After last week’s Ogden Half — I was immediately looking forward to this weekend. Why? Because the 10-day forecast didn’t call for rain. That was the main reason.

But, I was also excited because I love pacing and sweeping races — you never know what you’re going to experience, because you’re not on your timetable. Especially when you’re sweeping. You’re basically as fast as the slowest runner — so it’s hard to gauge a finishing time compared to pacers who are locked into a time.

This race — I wasn’t sure what my finishing time was going to be. Especially since this is a smaller course — about 200-225 racers. Usually these races are anywhere around 3-4 hours. But, that variable differs widely compared to the bigger races — about 1000-3000 racers — where I am typical out there between 4-4:30 hours.

Going into this run, I was hoping for about 3:30 hours or less. About the same time I finished Ogden last week. Ugh. I swear my running shoes still squeak.

Anyways — I was prepared for the long haul. I brought a long my backpack — stashed with raisins, almonds and water (all Whole30 compliant foods). I also stashed a First Aid Kit and some Ibuprofen in case I come across an injured runner. I swear I’m not a packing mule, but I take my job seriously — and I come from a family of preppers … soooooo … it’s in my blood.

After picking up my packet and pacing stick we mingled for a little bit before gun time at 7am. The half and 5K started at the same time — which normally isn’t an issue. But, being the sweeper I wanted to make sure I wasn’t ahead of any of the half marathoners. The last thing I wanted to do was get ahead of any half marathoner — especially if they needed assistance or help.

So, I decided to run the first mile with Ramie and Cevan who were pacing the 2:40 group. And, as we passed runners I would glance at their bibs to make sure I wasn’t leaving behind any 5Kers. Luckily, I wasn’t. But, at the same time — I wasn’t quite sure.

Once the 5K and half marathon split around mile two I stuck around the intersection to just make sure. I didn’t see any other green half bibs — so I just went back to running the half marathon route.

About a mile or so later I caught up with the last half marathoner. He was run walking most of the race, so I just kept my distance for most of the race. When I sweep I usually don’t interfere with the last runner until around mile 8-10, unless I see that they’re struggling or hurt.

This runner wasn’t hurt, but confessed to me that he was undertrained and had some shin splints in the first mile — so we was just going to jog the rest of the race. I wanted to correct him that you don’t “jog” a race — but, alas, I just let him go ahead.

With keeping an eye on him — I played a game of catch and mouse with him. I’d let him get ahead quite a bit before booking it back to within a few hundred feet behind him. I did this mainly to get some a good workout in during the race, because it was a lot of walking. It was perfect.

Though I was playing cat and mouse the runner ahead of me — I still was worried that I was ahead of another runner. So I would occasionally stop and wait for a minute or two and then get back to running. Around mile 11 — one of the other pacers was running back up the course to get extra mileage in, so I asked him to check for other runners.

Luckily when he got back to me there wasn’t anyone else behind me. I could run a little bit easier knowing that. And, so I just focused on finishing the race.

Once I got back to the middle school and to the finish line I glanced at the clock and noticed that I came in around 3:08 hours. Which kinda surprised me. Well, okay, really surprised me — probably the fastest sweeping assignment I’ve ever had — and I chuckled because it was also nearly a half hour faster than my time the previous week at Ogden.

I guess that kind of shows the misery and obstacles we faced in Ogden weren’t a fluke?

Anyways — it was a great race. Beautiful course. The hills make it difficult, but that’s also what I love about it. It’s a very technical race. You can’t just put yourself on cruise control and expect to roll right into the finish line. You’ve got to work and think your way through it. Utah Run does a good job putting these kind of courses together.

I think next year, I might just run this race instead of pace. I want to challenge myself through the run. But, that’s a year out from now. My focus now is Drop 13 in a couple of weeks — and my 50 miler in October.

Baby steps towards that 50.


121 - drop 13.fw

I am looking forward to this race. I’ve been looking forward to it actually almost since — um — like last year. I love any and every race that runs down Big Cottonwood Canyon. It’s my favorite canyon here in Utah — both for it’s beauty and terrain. It’s perfect for running. Perfect.

Drop 13 last year was my year best time of about 2:35. I am not sure if that’s attainable, but I am going to push it. I’m feeling stronger and more energetic since I’ve started Whole30 and I feel like I have a great run in me. So, the focus on the next couple of weeks is to continue to shed the pounds, run consistently and work on the core.

If anything, Drop 13 will be a good starting point to launching myself back into getting faster. I know I have it within me and I’d love to proof that to myself throughout the summer and especially at the Nebo Half.

DROP 13 OR BUST, BABY!


12788035_1688827578069562_373889742_n

If you haven’t listened to the new Addict II Athlete podcast — you’ve got to give it a listen. By far one of my favorites to date. Coach Blu is talking about the AIIA Minor Leagues and the importance of impacting our youth.

Listen to it now on Pod Bash


@joshruns180 INSTAGRAM

So for the past few months I’ve been intending on starting an Instagram feed of my races — well, my races that I am counting towards my 180 goal. So basically any and all races over 13.1 miles. I’ve procrastinated it for a while — but, this past weekend, I had some time and decided to just for it.

I’m slowly added each race with a brief, brief synopsis of the race. But, the goal is that each race gets one post and I’ll add them up to my 180 races. I’m sure after I reach that goal I’ll probably continue to add them to the feed. But, as far as I am concerned right now I want to get caught up as soon as possible.

Check out the account here. But, it’s been fun reliving a few fun memories and races while putting this together …


2016miles

RUNNING MILES

106.05 miles

RACE MILES

77.9 miles

WALKING MILES

657.38 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

841.33 miles

MILES TO GOAL

1825.67 miles



A photo posted by Runcast USA™ (@runcastusa) on

InstaReplay: Alpine Classic Half

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

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

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

Here are a few pictures from the race —


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

A photo posted by Fight4Phat® (@fight4phat) on

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

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

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

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

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

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