Tag: weekly running

RACE #142: Lucky 13 Half Marathon

This race was an audible. I was originally planning on running the Antelope Island Buffalo Run 25K, but due to some time sensitive family obligations on Saturday I decided to scratch the 25K for the shorter race. As hard as it was to give up a trail race, I couldn’t be gone a good chunk of the day.

So, luckily, I found the Lucky 13 Half Marathon and changed course. The race starts at Gardner Village in West Jordan and is a fairly simple out and back course along the Jordan River Parkway Trail. Joe Coles and On Hill Events do a series of races at Gardner Village and this was the first one I’ve been able to run.

The race started at 9am and packet pickup was from 7:30-8:30am so I decided to volunteer and help Joe. Doing the volunteer coordinating for Runtastic Events I like to volunteer for other races to see how they do things — from communication, assigning to certain jobs and general use.

The race was rather small — there were 200 runners. Most were running the 5K, but a good chunk ran the 10K while only 50 ran the half marathon. I don’t mind small races at all — in fact, in some situations I kind of prefer it. Especially factoring on the course. And, since we were running on the Jordan River Parkway — it was a good size.

Starting off the race I didn’t really have a game plan since I registered a couple days before. I wanted to push for a sub-three, which I felt was possible. But, honestly, didn’t know for 100% because of the back issues have been having the past three weeks. My running hasn’t been ideal and my miles lower than I would like.

But, I was going to try for it anyway.

Fighting through the crowd of runners soon thinned out as the 5K and 10K runners got to their turnarounds. I wasn’t sure if anyone was behind once it was just us half marathoners left running south on the course. But, I didn’t care. I was just focused on putting one foot in front of the other and giving it a good effort.

I was feeling pretty good during the first half of the race. There was a bit of a headwind, but nothing like two weeks ago at the March Madness Half. I figured once I turned around I’d get a nice tailwind — which would help PUSH me a bit to my sub-three time goal.

Once I got to the turnaround Steven MacKay, a fellow runner from Run4fun, was directing us to make sure we made the turnaround. Once I started heading northward I noticed I was the last runner. But, I wasn’t completely isolated, there were a couple of runners just ahead of me.

I was a few hundred yards behind the runner just ahead of me and I could tell he was starting to struggle around mile eight or so with frequent walk breaks. I kept focusing on him in an attempt to catch up and possibly pass him. I knew I could do it, but I just had to be smart about it.

Around this time Steven caught up with me. After his volunteer post was complete he ran the last stretch of the race to get his miles in for the day. Since there weren’t any pacers for this race Steven decided to bring us runners in — and I’m thankfully he did. The company was much appreciated.

This was the first time meeting Steven in person, but we’ve been acquainted through Run4fun and Facebook. But, our running journeys hold many similarities with our weight loss and fitness back stories and it was nice talking about that — it helped me keep distracted from the fatigue and heat.

Yes, heat.

The temperature starting the race was quite nice. It was around 55-60 degrees at 9am, but by the time I reached the last couple of miles it reached at least 70 degrees. I was baking.

I tore off my monkey hat and was nearly tempted to throw my shirt off as well — but, then I remembered there were decency laws about that. So the shirt stayed on.

But, it was hot. And, it zapped me. Completely zapped.

By this time Steven and I caught up with the runner ahead of us. Steven stayed with him while I forged ahead. We didn’t separate much the last mile or so, but I was motivated to just stay ahead. I didn’t care much if I finished last — but, I wasn’t going to do it without a fight.

Plus, I knew I was going to be cutting my time goal REALLY short. I wasn’t sure if I was going to meet it or not. But, mile 12.5 mile of a half, that feels like you’re running through an Easy Bake Oven, isn’t a good time to math. Well, there’s never a good time to do math — but, especially in THIS moment.

So, I just kept one foot in front of the other and pushed myself as much as I could. That was pretty much all I could anyways. Anything more or less felt like it would kill me.

Once I got back to Gardner Village, the course wound back to the finish line. I always get the urge to sprint at any finish line, but there wasn’t anything else in the tank. I was on empty. I crossed the finish line, got some water and an orange and just collapsed.

I was done.

Shortly after Steven and the last runner crossed the finish line as I just sat there fatigued out of mind. I was not prepared for that heat. And, those last two miles were brutal for me. But, I was done and that’s what mattered.

I checked my time and noticed I didn’t get my wanted time. I came in at 3:01:24. Obviously, not my best time. But, it was still better than my last two half marathons — so I guess that’s a win?

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While chewing on that unmet goal I was always informed that I actually PLACED in my age group. Which immediately changed my mood. My reaction was a mixture of laughing and astonishment. I’ve never placed at any race before — 5K, 10K, half marathon, marathon and beyond.

Now, let’s not forget that there were 50 half marathon runners so my odds were more than above average to place. But, I run smaller races and didn’t even SNIFF the podium. Considering I am 35 — that’s a prime running age. I just always assumed that I’d place at races I’d run once I hit 70.

I don’t take the placement lately. In order to place — I still have to show up. I still have to run. And, I still have to finish the race. So, it’s not like it was just GIVEN to me. I earned it.

But, I am ready to put in some better half marathon training in the next few months. I don’t want to be stuck around this 3 hour mark much longer. I know I’ve got it in me to run faster. Much faster. And, with my health starting to get under control I know I’ll get there.

But, I have some big goals in front of me, so I am going to be pin point with my plan. And, I’ll blog more on all of that later. I am focusing on next week’s loooooooong ultra training run and then back to racing with the Emigration Canyon Half Marathon on April 1st. I won’t lie, I’m looking forward to some more downhill running.



I wish this bib meant I was eating lobster. #butnope #dentisttime

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RACE #142: Lucky 13 Half Marathon, March 18, 2017 (3:01:24) I did something for the first time EVER during this race! I placed! Yep! I made onto the podium! I came in third place for my age group! Now, before you oh and awe too much over this accomplishment … 50 people ran the half. BUT … I’ve run smaller races and didn’t even sniff the podium. It was a tough race. It got unusually hot for a March race here in Utah and my last two miles was a death shuffle … but, I made it 3:01:24 and I placed! I wish I sub-three’d, but I felt great about my effort. I’m eager to get faster and with one more 50K happening by next month it’ll slowly happen. On to the next one! Emigration Canyon or BUST! #lucky13half #race142 #running @joshruns180 @josherwalla @onhillevents

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Helping move my cousin has me in a mood for a game of Tetris™. #tetrismaster

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Weekly Review

Another tough week for me, but I got most of my mobility back with a massage and continued work on my back. I am trying to be patient so I don’t come back too fast and too strong — I am healing my back for the long term. Especially my long term goals. I am going to up my miles a bit this week capped off with a 20 or so mile run on Saturday.

Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 3.0 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 25.41 miles
TOTAL MILES — 41.51 miles
Race(s) this week — Lucky 13 Half Marathon.

March 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 20.5 miles
Race Miles — 26.2 miles
Walking Miles — 66.71 miles
TOTAL MILES — 113.41 miles
Races in March — March Madness Half and Lucky 13 Half Marathon.

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 136.65 miles
Race Miles — 96.12 miles
Walking Miles — 214.94 miles
TOTAL MILES — 447.71 miles
Races done in 2017 — New Year’s Half Marathon, Sweethearts 5K, Jackpot Running Festival, SL Tri Club Indoor Half, March Madness Half and Lucky 13 Half Marathon.

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RACE #121: Drop 13 Half Marathon

I needed this race. I needed this moment. I needed this victory. It has been nearly two years — an eternity in running terms — since I’ve had race I walked (or hobbled) away from knowing that was truly MY best. I perfectly aligned mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually for this race — and it felt great. It was my best half marathon finish in time in nearly two years.

I’ve missed that feeling.

Sure there’s room for growth in all those areas — but, I run much better when all of that is aligned. I just want to continue to build upon this momentum. After a couple tough races in Provo and Ogden — this gives me hope that I am turning a corner. Especially physically.

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The Whole 30 diet that I’ve been following the past three weeks should get a lot of credit for those changes. I feel myself slimming down., I have a lot ore energy and my metabolism and thyroid seem to be working MUCH better. I might make some slight adaptations, but I’m sticking to the basic meal plan (that’s all a post for another day — maybe in a week or two?).

Another change has just been consistency in general. I’m day 13 now into a running streak and I am trying to be more deliberate with my runs. Which again, I know I can (and will) improve upon. Anyways, I’m in a good place heading for somewhere better — and that excites me. It’s been a while.

Anyways — going into the race I set a goal for myself of 2:35-2:45 — that seemed like a reasonable and attainable goal. Especially, since I ran a 2:55 at Provo and I’ve been focusing on my training and diet the past month. Especially after my horrifically wet race in Ogden.

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PLUS — I knew this would be a fast race. My best race time last year was 2:37:11 on the same course. So I knew I had it in me to run within that 10 minute range. It also helped running a good portion of the race last week as a refresher on how to run the canyon.

So that’s been my focus the past week — I wanted to hit that time goal. So in my training and free-time I’ve been trying to visually prepare myself for that. I know that sounds kinda crazy — but, I’m a very visual person and I like to see what I am doing before I do that. But, that’s yet another post for another day.

On Saturday morning I carpooled down to the race with Tim and Boojah Gill at the lovely hour of 3am. We grabbed our shirts and packets and loaded the bus to the starting line. Luckily, it wasn’t freezing up in the canyon — something I always fear. It was just right.

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The two hours before gun time was spent mainly napping and then socializing with my friends. I always have a blast at the starting line. I guess that’s the result of being a people person?

Whether it’s getting pictures with my groupies (yes, I have groupies — I just found this out on Saturday), Run4Fun, the pacing team or others — I love that time of anticipation and energy before a race. It’s always lots of fun.

When the gun sounded and the mass of runners crossed the starting line I stayed back for about 3-4 minutes until the craziness passed. Well, that and to just compose myself. I wasn’t nervous or scared — I just wanted to align my thoughts, actions and intentions before going out.

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One thing I was nervous about though — was going out too fast. This is hard for me to gauge, because I love going by feeling. Especially since I stopped running with my Garmin about a year ago. So the first couple of miles I just kinda cruised at a good comfortable pace.

I was kinda surprised at how good I felt. I zipped past a number of runners and within the first couple of miles passed the 2:40 and 2:30 pacers to meet up with the 2:20 pacers — Jane and Tiffany. I started running with them and felt pretty good at their pace. It was around here that I knew I not only could, but would hit my goal. And, it was a good sign that I could actually carry a conversation with them — lately at that pace I’d be huffing and puffing like an asthmatic smoker.

Around miles 3-5(ish) I kinda forced myself to back off just a little bit of their pace. I knew in the longterm I couldn’t maintain that pace because I still was building up that stamina, but also I wanted to slow down for the terrain at hand. It was a little flat and I wanted to preserve my energy for miles 7-8 when we hit the “S-curve” in the canyon. I wanted to fly down it.

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Since I didn’t know what my time was — I kept running. I won’t lie — I didn’t just let the urge to figure out my time simply pass. I wanted to know. And, for the first time in over a year — I actually wished I was running with my Garmin (that’s a good sign, I am in a good place). So, I was just determined to do my best, push through the fatigue and keep positive — because I’d get the time at the end of the race.

Tim, Boojah and I ran a lot of the race together, but we also yo-yo’d each other throughout the race. Tim had some stomach issues, so he would fartlek (quite literally) between aid stations and catching up with us. It’s always great running friends and it helped keep me on track mentally and physically having him around.

As we approached the mouth of the canyon we had about 1.5-2 miles to the end finish line. I was worried about this stretch for a couple reasons. One, it’s out of the canyon and I couldn’t rely on a little help from my friend Mr. Gravity. Two, the change in terrain would mess up my tired and weary legs. And, three, knowing I was going to be hit a wall at this point.

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Yes, all of that happened. But, at the same time — I knew it was also a short couple of miles to the finish line. To escape the weight of the situation I used one of my many techniques in my later miles to keep myself going. I went back six years ago and visualized my first 5K — I remembered how miserable it was, how much I hurt and how awesome I felt once it was done.

For some reason visualizing that first 5K helps me push aside whatever physical or mental issue I have in the moment — and just push through it. Really, I think it’s a great reminder to me of how far I’ve come the past 6-7 years. If Fat Josh can do it — Phat Josh can CERTAINLY do it too (and better).

Anyways, I pushed through the last stretch and crossed the finish fatigued, tired and sore. Not only that, but my butt was extremely sore — I literally and physically kicked my trash.

And, it felt so good!

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As soon as I finished I grabbed my medal, popped a squat on the pavement composed myself and just said a little prayer of gratitude. I talked with my friends Christy and Monte for a while before making my way to the bananas (naturally) and water. And, I just soaked in my thoughts and feelings of the moment.

I did my best. I left everything out there. And, I felt — for the first time in a long time — that I was running in the right direction.

It took me until yesterday to get my time — but, I clocked in at 2:31:14! My best time in over two years! And, MUCH closer to a sub-2:30 then I could have imagined going into the race.

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It’s really hard to put into words how much hope and encouragement this gives me. It’s been a tough couple of years of running — especially when you see your abilities and times go down. I know I am not where I ultimately want to be, but I’m on the right path now. I’ve figured a few of the questions out with my thyroid and metabolism — and I now just want to carry this wave to those goals.

I know it’s not going to be easy. I’m also not going to have races like this all the time. I’ve ran enough to understand that. But, it’s race like this one that reassure me that I’ve got it within me to reach my goals and get to where I want to be.

I am going to revel in this for a little bit, but the work isn’t done. I’ve got Ragnar (this week) and AF Canyon (June 25) ahead of me. I’d like to push myself once again at AF Canyon, but in July I’m circling DesNews (July 25) and Timp (July 30) to further test and push my progress.


122 - ragnar wb.fw

RAGNAAAAAAAR!!! It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The time a runner crams into a packed car for two days with five other runners and makes the trek from Logan to Midway via the Wasatch Back. There is something so fun and addictive about RAGNAR that I will always love. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly, but a lot of it has to do with just being around others and doing something you all love.

This year I am runner 11 in van two. I’ve got a couple of easier legs compared to my second leg — which is a 9.7 miler in the middle of the night. I have mixed feelings about midnight legs — especially since I had a near encounter with skunk a couple years ago.

But, I’m not overly worried about it — I just want to have fun (which I will). I’ve got my shopping list of goodies planned out — which basically means lots of bananas, grapes, apples, sweet potatoes and other veggies since I’m planning on still doing the Whole 30 after my first 30 days.

So here we go for yet another … RAGNAAAAAAAR!!!


Last weekend Coach Blu and I had the opportunity to interview the Mayor Running — himself — the legendary Bart Yasso. Well, okay, I didn’t really interview Bart, it was all Coach. But, I did get to share a little bit about my own journey — which was pretty cool.

It’s not every day you get the opportunity to have Bart Yasso in town or on your podcast and I am glad that AIIA was able to get him on their show, because his journey is very much the same journey as many of the athletes in the program.

I am not going to give the story away — because I want you to listen to the episode. And, even if you have heard his story or read his book before, it’s still a great episode. One of the best AIIA episodes to date.

Give it a listen …


Fun times at the kid’s table. #unclejoshertime

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131.45 miles


91.0 miles


711.02 miles


933.47 miles


1733.53 miles

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