Tag: wellness

It’s time to bet big … on myself

“I don’t like to gamble, but if there’s one thing I’m willing to bet on, it’s myself.”

Beyoncé

When I started running, I had no idea where I was going. I started because I wanted to lose weight and I knew it would help me in that goal. But, beyond that, I had no idea where it was taking me?

Less than a year into my weight-loss journey my trainer, Kevin, challenged me to run a 5K in the midst of a plateau. He gave it to me as a challenge to work towards. So, I put in the work and ran my first 5K. It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t fast. But, I did it.

But, then something happened. I looked at my results and said — “I can do better.” So, I set out to train for another 5K. One that I could run that would be faster and much, much prettier. And, I did.

So, I just kept running trying to improve. This lead not just in the desire to run faster, but longer. Soon, I had my eye on a 10K which naturally lead to a half marathon.

Training for my first half marathon — I thought THIS would be it. This is the crowning achievement of my running career. The thought of running any further — especially a marathon — was unfathomable. I wasn’t a REAL runner, so I couldn’t possibly do that.

Well, after I ran my first half marathon in July 2011, I ran another and another and another. I got faster and actually enjoyed running 13.1 miles — then I started entertaining the thought of doubling that mileage.

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And, before I knew it I was registered for a marathon. A FREAKING MARATHON! That race distance that only REAL runners run.

Once again, I thought this would be my crowning achievement in running. When I crossed the finish line I could cross off the accomplishment on my bucket list and go back running half marathons, 10Ks and 5Ks. But, then something happened — I signed up for more marathons. And, before I knew it, I had run a total of three marathons by the end of the year.

By this time I had a goal to reach 180 races by age 40. So, I kept training and running. Along the way, not only did I enjoy the accomplishment of racing, but I made countless friends and created many enduring friendships. Running was changing my life in nearly every faucet of my life.

But, it hasn’t always been a smooth ride. It’s been quite tough at times, actually. Whether it was dealing with my Mom’s breast cancer, the death of close family members or battling my own health issues — the common denominator has always been — running.

Running wasn’t a way to escape reality, but a time I could deal with reality. Running gave me time to process the challenges. It gave me moments of reflection, motivation and inspiration. It was leading me where I wanted to go.

Nearly three years ago I started having problems with my thyroid once again. The health issues took me through a roller coaster of emotions. It was frustration being as active as I was — and feeling fatigued and slower. Not only that but I was slowly gaining weight after a years of maintenance.

But, I didn’t let (or want) those issues to stop me. They couldn’t stop me. I had a goal at hand. Plus, I knew if I stopped I would signaling the white flag of defeat — which I could never do.

So, I just kept running.

I was much slower. And, it took a harder toll on my body, especially in regards to my stamina. But, I was now one of the last runners to finish, but I kept going.

Around this time I looked for ways to keep me motivated. I knew just running wasn’t enough. I had to do something new — something that scare and motivate me all in one.

And, since I knew I wasn’t getting faster, I started looking at longer distances — ultra races. I knew a number of ultra runners who spent their weekends in Utah’s backyard and it always appealed to me. But, running anything longer than a marathon didn’t.

That lack of appeal eventually subsided and I found myself registered and committed to running a 50K. So, despite everything going on with my health — I trained for the 50K around a schedule of marathons and long runs. It wasn’t easy, but I did what I needed to do to prepare myself for the race.

When race day came I was lucky enough to run with some great friends that helped me get through those 30-something miles on Antelope Island. The last half of the race was spent trying to meet cut-off times, dodging stubborn bison and battling the dark after my headlamp died.

But, I made it. And, I earned the title of ultra runner.

The accomplishment felt like crowning accomplishment of my running journey. After spending over 10 hours running 30 miles of dirt trails — I couldn’t think of any reason why any sane person would do anything longer.

Then I remembered — I wasn’t sane.

Within a few months I got talked into running a 50 miler. I wish I could say it took a lot of convincing, but it didn’t. It was the first time I formally met Blu Robinson and Jed Jensen from Addict II Athlete and they casually talked about the 50 miler like a novice runner would about a 5K.

And, like any long distance race I’ve run, I found myself registered and committed to running the Pony Express Trail 50 Miler. The biggest selling point was that each runner was required to be assisted throughout the race. Meaning, I had a car stalking me — stocked full of fuel, water and food throughout the whole race. This basically translated to me that I wouldn’t die.

My training for the 50 miler was no joke. It was tough. I did a number of 20 milers, including one on a treadmill in the middle of the night. Not to mention a number of marathons specifically laid out to help prepare me for my 50 miler.

Once race day came I just focused on putting one foot in front of the other. I relied on my training and just focused on the goal at hand — getting to the finish line.

There were a lot of ups and downs — physically, emotionally and even spiritually. But, after nearly 17 and a half hours — I got to the finish line. I reached my goal — I ran a 50 mile race. I did something I felt at times nearly impossible, even just days before the race.

But, I made it.


“If you think you can — you can!”

Ronald Reagan

I really fell in love with the longer distances — for a number of reasons. Not only did I love the physical challenge, but I really learned a lot about myself. I learned a lot about pain. Because that happens a lot during an ultra race.

I never cried as freely and openly as I did at mile 45 of my 50 miler. But, I learned how to process the pain I was feeling — and control it. Being able to manage and control pain is a remarkable feat and I believe a true test of one’s character. Ultra races were becoming great teachers to me.

Since that 50 miler, I have run a couple more ultra races. A couple weeks after that 50 miler I ran the Antelope Island 50K once again (cutting off nearly an hour on my time — mind you!), in February I ran 40 miles in 12 hours at the Jackpot Ultra Running Festival in Las Vegas and then there was my ill-fated Salt Flats 50K that I DNF’d last weekend. But, if I didn’t fall ill with the flu I would have tackled that beast!

My favorite ultra race so far has been the Jackpot Running Festival, I like the idea of a timed race on a looped course with the goal to see how many laps you can do within that time. Not only do you get an aid station every two miles or so, but you’re literally competing with no one else — but, yourself.

Jackpot has a number of timed races — a 6, 12, 24 and 48 hour race. They also had a 100 miler, marathon, half marathon, 10K and 5K, but most of the runners did one of the four timed courses. The winner of the 48 hour race managed over 210 miles.

Yeah, you read that right.

In fact there were nearly 30 runners who ran over 100 miles, including six runners who ran over 150 miles. Mind boggling numbers if you ask me.

I read all of these results as my legs were still recovering from my 40 mile run — and I couldn’t shake the feeling that “I could do this” from my conscience. Every time I dismissed the thought — it just came back stronger. Even when I reminded myself of the pain I experienced at mile 45 of my 50 miler — the feeling remained.

So, I did the only logical thing that came to mind — I signed up for the 48 hour race in 2018.

Yup.

I signed up to run my first 100 mile race.

Typing this makes it feel very surreal to me, even a couple months after doing so. I am running a 100 miles. The thought makes me want to pee my pants out of sheer terror and excitement all in one emotion.

I’ve kept my registration relatively private since February. I’ve told a couple of close friends and family members. Heck, this is the first that my parents are hearing of this news. It’s just been a lot to process and this is a HUGE goal and milestone for me.

I still have my doubts about my ability. And, I am sure others do too. Heck, my parents definitely do, because their fear of my running is that one day my legs will fall off.

But, I have to at least try. I have too.

I have to try.

I have to try.

I have to try.

I’ve journied so far from my first 5K — heck, from the couch itself — that I can’t stop myself now without trying. To borrow a phrase from a favorite song of mine, “If you never try you’ll never know, just what you’re worth.” (Fix You, Coldplay).

When I stepped on the scale back in 2009 to start my weight-loss journey, I started the journey accepting failure — and success. I didn’t know where my decision that day would lead me. I accepted the consequences to my decision to LIVE my life. And, it’s lead me here.

I don’t see this decision any different. I am accepting the possibility of failure with the determination of success. I don’t know what lays ahead for me in the next nine months — but I’m going to find out. I’ve got a training plan in the works that I fill will give me the chance of success come February.

The motto for the Jackpot Ultra Running Festival is “BET BIG. RUN LONGER” — it’s something that’s on their shirts and medals. And, it’s something that I took to heart during my run this past February — especially since I signed up for the 48 hour race.

I feel like I am betting big with this goal. I am betting big on myself. Because, this is a gamble. There’s no guarantee of success, but there’s also no guarantee of failure either. So, I’ve got to place my bet.

But, unlike casino gambling, I can control more variables to my advantage. I can control my effort. I can control my training. I can control my preparations — both physically and mentally. And, I can control the odds come race day. But, with a goal like this, it’s going to take much more than this — in essence, I am not just betting big on myself — I’m going all in.

So, all in it is!

As a reminder of this goal and the needed commitment and dedication I’ve been running with a poker chip on me since I registered for the race. Every run — training and race — I run with it on me. I’ve tucked it in my pocket, but I really should make a necklace out of it to keep it on me better.

But, it’s just this little $100 souvenir poker chip that reminds me of not just the 100 mile goal at hand, but the bet I’ve placed upon myself. I might be a cheesy little emblem, but in the three months that I’ve been running with it — it’s been my reminder to keep going, keep pushing and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

I don’t dare say that this will be my one and only 100 miler. I’ve learned from my past that’s just a temporary lie I tell myself on occasion. But, I don’t know? And, I’m not worried about. My focus is simply on the journey in front of me.

This is a journey of a thousand miles. I know it will get daunting at times and there will be doubts. There will always be doubts. But, I know if I just focus on that footstep in front of me, it will take closer to my goal and a place I once dreamt possible.

It’s just up to me to take that next step.


“You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.”

Stephen King

RACE #145: Saltair Half

Going into this race — I wasn’t having a very good week. Last weekend during the Riverton Half I started having a little pain in one of my molars. I didn’t think too much about it, because it was cold and I just have very sensitive teeth.

But, this was the same tooth that my dentist couldn’t work on because he couldn’t get me numb. It needed a crown, but he just couldn’t do anything with it. So, he filled what he needed to do and felt that we could wait a few months and try again. He didn’t feel like it was close enough to my nerve to worry about a root canal.

Well, it got to that point of needing a root canal.

By Sunday evening it was throbbing and I couldn’t chew on that side at all. I knew I was going to need a root canal. So on Monday I called my dentist and he ended up referring me to a endodontist to do the work. But, the endodontist couldn’t see me until Wednesday. So that left me with about three days of dealing with the pain.

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Luckily, my dentist gave me a prescription for some Lorotab. It helped. But, I won’t lie, I kinda hate that stuff. I hate the drowsy feeling and with most pain medications I always get itchy from it. But, come Wednesday I was BEYOND ready for the root canal.

I was beyond surprised how quickly and painless the whole procedure was. I was zonked out and didn’t feel a thing. Sure, my jaw hurt for the next couple of days, but by Friday I was feeling 100% — or close to it.

I’m telling you all this, because it’s framing the context of this run. The past week was brutal on me. It shot my planned workouts and runs I wanted to get in — I got only two miles of running in and FAR less walking miles than I like. The week just sucked.

So on Saturday morning I was just ready for this run. I knew it was going to suck. Not only did not I get the wanted training in the past week, but the course isn’t my favorite — especially when it comes to speed. It’s an out and back flat course along the frontage road running west to east along I-80 in Magna.

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I’ve done the Saltair Half a number of times before — so I knew what I was getting myself into. I knew I wasn’t going to be fast, I knew it was going to be tough on me mentally, but I knew I also needed the miles and it wasn’t race toward my 180 goal.

So there I was in Magna at the Great Saltair ready to run.

Despite having only 38 runners for the half marathon the race had pacers — many whom I know. The sweeper was Julianna who I’ve ran with countless times. With that few runners I knew we’d probably be hanging out a lot during the race — if not the whole race.

I had a feeling I was probably going to be the last runner, but I didn’t care. I’ve stopped caring about that where I finish years ago. As long as I do my best for that day and finish, I am happy.

Once the gun sounded Julianna and I started off together. We walked a good part of the first two miles — mistakingly keeping pace with one of the slower dualathletes. We picked up our pace once he turned around at the 5K turnaround, but I won’t lie — it was more like a run/walk for a bit. Something that would probably make Jeff Galloway proud.

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Early into the race I noticed that there weren’t any port-a-potties along the course. Like none. In the past there had been at least one at the aid stations. But, there weren’t any — which made me a little anxious. Even if I don’t use it, I know if there isn’t one — I’ll end up needing it.

I tried to not think much about it and just enjoyed the company of Julianna. Once we got to the turnaround point we met up with another runner who was walking at this point. She wasn’t feeling well and had just tanked out. I felt bad for her, because she really could have used a restroom.

After walking with her and Julianna for a bit, I decided to pick up my pace and go ahead. I wanted — well needed — to run. So, I sprinted off around Mile 8. Well, it wasn’t much of a sprint. I didn’t have much spring in my legs, but I decided to keep my walking to a minimum and just push myself past my comfort level.

I felt really good about my last five miles even though I knew I was well past my sub-three semi-goal. But, this race wasn’t about a time goal anyways — it was my therapy from a tough past week. It was my therapy away from the stress of the past week. And, it was my therapy helping me to mentally prepare myself for my 50K in a couple of weeks.

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The last couple of miles were brutal. I had no spring whatsoever — and on a flat course — it shows. My sprint was a mall walkers pace. But, I pushed myself through that pain, kept my walking to a minimum and just kept focus on the finish line.

And, I made it.

I made it in 3:26:11. Not my best time. By far. But, I wasn’t disappointed. I wasn’t necessarily happy with it. But, it was what it was — therapy.

After being handed my medal and a bunch of bananas (you gotta give it to them that they know me!) — I hopped in my car and just headed back home. On the drive home I reflected on the run and how tough it was on me. And, how difficult this past week was on me mentally and physically. I was proud of myself for pushing through it all and doing the run. Because it wasn’t easy.

And, now my mind is fully on my 50K in a couple of weeks. Luckily, I don’t need to rely too much on my speed. The speed I was at during this race is probably even a bit too fast for my 50K. So, as discouraging as my time might feel for my half marathon — I feel good about where I will be physically during the 50K.

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The next couple of weeks I am just focusing on my workouts and runs. I’ve been working out at home the past couple of months — well lots of physical therapy exercises for my back (which is a non-issue now) and my sprained ankle. But, I am going to get back into my boot camp workouts at my gym and add some more weight training.

Plus, the good thing about training for my 50K is that I am technically tapering. So with PrepperCon this weekend my runs don’t have to be long. I am going to do five miles on Friday or Saturday — on top of the mileage from walking around the convention. I’ll either run around the Sandy area or just hop on the hotel treadmill. Either way — it’s no 20 miler.

But, I am excited for the next couple of weeks. And, as difficult as this past week has been, it’s nice to be able to acknowledge it, process it and then — move on.  Which I am doing now.

SALT FLATS OR BUST, BABY!


MY NEXT FIVE RACES


When I think of Easter, I often think of my angel Grandma — or Yia Yia. She was (and still is) a rock in my life. Her sense of humor, her love of family and her belief in me will always be a hallmark of her legacy. But, it’s one of the Greek Orthodox Easter traditions that she passed onto us, that I will always remember, do and say. In Greece, a common Easter greeting between one another is Χριστός ἀνέστη! (Christos Anesti) Meaning … Christ is Risen! But, instead of the greeted responding with the same greeting they reaffirm that saying with Ἀληθῶς ἀνέστη! (Alithos Anesti) Meaning … Truly He Is Risen! Since her passing over two years ago, I ponder much on that saying. It is because of Him that I know I’ll see my Yia Yia again. It is that victory over death that we will ALL rise again. I am grateful for this Easter season and for what it means to me personally, for my family and us all. I stand in reaffirming to all that Christ has truly risen! Happy Easter!

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This is the Utah way of saying … “I’m ready for summer, but I’m not sure if it’s here yet.”

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With a mug like this, Adventure’s First Stop™ is usually the bathroom.

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Teaching young Tatum the ways of the Hansen Egg Challenge. He's a natural.

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Weekly Review

As mentioned above, this wasn’t a good week for me — physically, mentally or emotionally. The root canal and tooth pain really threw me off. But, this upcoming week I am looking to make up for all of that. I don’t need huge mileage — because of my upcoming 50K — but, I want to get at least three good runs in, on top of the time on my feet that I’ll spend at PrepperCon on Friday and Saturday.

It should be a much better week. It’ll be physically demaning and a bit hectic, but that’s what makes it interesting — right?

Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 2.0 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 21.61 miles
TOTAL MILES — 36.71 miles
Race(s) this week — Saltair Half.

April 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 6.0 miles
Race Miles — 39.3 miles
Walking Miles — 45.63 miles
TOTAL MILES — 90.93 miles
Races in April — Emigration Canyon Half Marathon, Riverton Half, Saltair Half, Salt Flats 50K and Tulip Festival Half

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 187.75 miles
Race Miles — 135.42 miles
Walking Miles — 371.09 miles
TOTAL MILES — 694.26 miles
Races done in 2017 — 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 and Saltair Half.



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RACE #143: Emigration Canyon Half Marathon

Welp, I finally got the Emigration Canyon run I’ve been wanting since at least last week. And, I can’t be any more happier with my effort AND results. It’s been a good two years since I last ran down Emigration Canyon — well okay — 18 months-ish? Whenever the Haunted Half was in 2015? Anyways — I’ve needed a good Emigration Canyon run for QUITE A WHILE.

And, I got it this past weekend.

Canyon races here in Utah have a tendency to be seen as pure downhill courses. While that may be true in some canyons and for some races — this is a different kind of race. Sure, you get some AWESOME downhill, but you’ve got to earn it first. The first 4-4.5 miles of the race are pretty much all uphill. It’s kind of a beast.

I ran this race back in 2014 so I knew what to expect. I knew it was going to suck. I knew it was going to be tough. But, I knew if I endured it well and ran it smart, the rest of the race should be a fun brisk run down the canyon.

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Even with the daunting first 4.5 miles of the race, I felt I had it in me to do really well and get the sub-three time goal, I’ve been pining for the past couple of races. I just had to be smart, be patient and keep my goal in my mind during those first few miles.

I was still trying to figure out exactly how I was tackle the climb at the starting line. I knew I was going to have to employ some sort of run/walk method. If I tried to run those first few miles I would burn out before I got to the summit. So, I had to reserve some energy, because once I hit that summit I was planning on cruising down the canyon.

So, that’s what I did. Once the gun sounded, I started doing a two minute run/one minute walk. I did that for about the first mile or so and then I did a one minute run/one minute walk. After a while it went to a 30 second run and minute and a half walk. And, when the climb was a bit too steep, it went to a nice fast mall walk.

Basically by mile 3-4 my pace was kind of all over the place.

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It was hard to gauge where I should be putting my effort and where I should be holding back so I don’t tank my later miles. So, I just kind of played if by ear and tried just listening to my body. I reached the summit (mile 4.5-ish) in about an hour and five minutes (14:27 min/mile). I didn’t know how I felt about it, but in retrospect, I was okay with the pace. Especially, considering the last 8.5 miles were much faster (.12:35 min/mile).

But, once I hit the aid station at the top of the summit, I just hit cruise control and immediately felt right at home. I was on familiar terrain. I immediately passed a couple of runners. I was a bit worried I was going out too fast — and while I thought about it, I didn’t really care. I figured my 4.5 mile warm up was enough and I’d just listen to my body the rest of the way.

Which is what I did.

I walked the aid stations and ran most of the way. There were a couple spots around miles 11 and 12 that I had to walk, but I tried to focus on my goal at hand — and that was to sub-three the race. So I pushed myself.

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The last mile was really tough on me. I was just gassed. And, part of that — meaning all — was because of fueling. I brought some Clif Bloks with me, but I figured I’d be fine with the water and Gatorade at the aid stations. The only problem was — the aid stations had only water. This threw me off, especially as we ran out of the canyon and into the warmer valley. My body needed those electrolytes.

I was worried about depletion so that is why I slowed down a bit those last couple of miles. And, because, I just didn’t have much else to give. As I turned toward the home stretch I kind of chuckled of the thought of someone carrying me across the finish line like those two runners did to the one runner in Philadelphia a couple weekends ago. But, I carried myself across the finish line and double pumped my fist when I saw the clock read 2:52:21.

I did it. I reached my goal.

And, not only did I reach my goal, but I also placed AGAIN! I was third in the Clydesdale Division! This was the second time in the past two races that I placed! This made the effort and result that much sweeter.

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As much as I am happy with the results, I know it’s just the beginning of what I want to do with my running and training. As much as I’d love to get back to my 2:08 hour PR days, now isn’t that season. I have a few ultras I am planning on running this year and ultrarunning doesn’t mix with half marathon speed training. At least for me.

But, I want to consistently get back to my 2:25-2:35 race times and I feel like I can do that with my ultrarunning hand-in-hand. It’s just a matter of continuing to train smart, continue losing weight and temper my Hashimoto’s. I know no doubt I’ll get there — and I want to be there by the Revel Big Cottonwood Half Marathon in September.

I’ve got a lot of running coming up in the next 4-5 weeks — including my 50K at the end of the month. While my focus is on that — the Riverton Half is next week and I really want to build upon what I have right now.

Which I know I will.


MY NEXT FIVE RACES


Here’s to the Happiest of Birthdays to my dear mother. Words can’t fully express the love and admiration I have for her. She’s simply amazing. Besides ALWAYS going above and beyond what’s expected, she has the purest of hearts I know. She’s the greatest example of “The Golden Rule” in my life. I’m also grateful that she never told me what I could or couldn’t do in life. She never, and still hasn’t, put limitations on my abilities. Even when everyone else tried to. As tacky as it sounds, she gave me wings. She’s also taught me the value to fight. Seeing her fight breast cancer … AND WIN … showed me the necessity of faith and grit with a side of stubbornness to overcome and accomplish anything truly great. Happy Birthday Mama!

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Moana Singalong Chorus.

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Hoka. Hoka. Hoka. Hoka. Hoka. And, those might be filled with race medals too.

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GET THAT GLUTEN OUTTA MY FACE!!! 🚫🍞

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Weekly Review

It was a great week of running for me. Not only did I meet my race goal time, I got some really good training in. I am being coached by RYR (Run Your Race) and I got some awesome assessment runs in — along with a couple good recovery runs. I had a fast clipped 5K and all out mile run to do — and they were beasts. But, that will give my coaches a starting point to help with my race goals.

I am hoping to gain some speed, but also endurance for my ultra races coming up in the next month and year. I’m excited to start seeing my progress.

Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 7.0 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 24.17 miles
TOTAL MILES — 44.27 miles
Race(s) this week — None.

March 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 44.1 miles
Race Miles — 26.2 miles
Walking Miles — 110.52 miles
TOTAL MILES — 180.82 miles
Races in March — March Madness Half and Lucky 13 Half Marathon.

April 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 0.0 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 2.7 miles
TOTAL MILES — 15.8 miles
Races in April — Emigration Canyon Half Marathon, Riverton Half, Saltair Half, Salt Flats 50K and Tulip Festival Half

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 181.75 miles
Race Miles — 109.22 miles
Walking Miles — 328.16 miles
TOTAL MILES — 619.13 miles
Races done in 2017 — New Year’s Half Marathon, Sweethearts 5K, Jackpot Running Festival, SL Tri Club Indoor Half, March Madness Half, Lucky 13 Half Marathon and Emigration Canyon Half Marathon.



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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.

ONWARD ‘HO!


NEXT FIVE RACES


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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Feature in Dr. Jason R. Karp’s “Run Your Fat Off” Book

A number months back, I got contacted by Dr. Jason Karp — aka “The Running Doctor” — asking if I wanted to share a little bit about my story on a running weight-loss book he was writing. And, of course I said that I would love to. I’m always willing and wanting to share my story, because I don’t know who I will inspire or motivate. If it wasn’t for others that inspired me — I am not sure what direction my life would be in. I want to pay it forward the best I can, whenever I have a chance.

After a few interviews and email exchanges, including the selection of ‘BEFORE’ and ‘AFTER’ pictures with Dr. Karp, I just waited for the book to be released. And, well — it arrived yesterday in the mail! Dr. Karp was nice enough to send me a personally signed copy.

I thumbed through the pages looking for my story and picture and was quite surprised to find it on page 18 of the book. I was one of the first stories he shared. But, I kind of forgot what I had shared with Dr. Karp and it was fun to go over the content of the interview again.

I loved the piece of advice I shared for new and aspiring runners …

“It doesn’t matter what your size, experience l, or fitness level; just get out and run. No one cares how you look running, because everyone looks ridiculous running. Have you ever looked at race photos? Don’t worry about it. Be out on the road or trail for the right reasons. For you.”

I’m glad I was able to share a small part of my journey in Dr. Karp’s book and it also further motivated me to continue to work on my book. A book that has always seemed like it’s been a work in progress. Because — well — it has. It’s something I wanted to start back in 2010 after I lost 100lbs and it’s kind of morphed into something else, because my story has grown, progressed and evolved since then.

I’m learning that it is less about my life changing as it is me living life more and more.

So, I continue to write a little bit more and more each day. And, when the time comes I’ll reveal and share more on my writing projects. I just don’t know if now is the time to share all of that.

Whatever your fitness running goals are check out Dr. Karp’s new book “Run Your Fat Off” you can find it pretty much anywhere online and I am sure if you’re into those things called bookstores they’re there as well.

But, I must publicly thank Dr. Karp for allowing me share that small part of my story in his new book. It really means a lot and I hope someone out there reads it and finds that motivation and inspiration to live a life they never dreamed.

Ode to Big Cottonwood Canyon …

I love Big Cottonwood Canyon. I’m pretty sure I’ve said that a million times on this blog. The proximity, scenery and elevation drop is bar none. Well, I shouldn’t say bar none, because Little Cottonwood Canyon, American Fork Canyon and even Emigration Canyon can give it a run for its’ money. But, when it comes down to it all, Big Cottonwood Canyon is the one that’s getting the last rose.

I’ve been looking forward to this past weekend’s run for WEEKS! And, I mean WEEKS! So when I threw my back out last Monday I was nervous I’d have to skip this run. But, I did some slow miles, lots of stretching and core work to help strengthen that back. All that fun stuff.

But, I really didn’t want to miss this run — besides, I was the one who set it up in the first place. It’d be like not showing up to your own party. Luckily, I made it! And, there was a great turnout.

Most of us met at the Park n’ Ride at the mouth of the canyon at 6:30am before carpooling up. There were a couple other groups that either went at 5:30am (sooooooo early) and a few later than the main group. It was a lot of fun to get everyone together and social offline.

I wasn’t sure what mileage I wanted to do — with the factors of my back, recent race schedule, future race schedule and the like — I kinda decided somewhere between 8-10. That seemed like a good number. But, I didn’t really decide until I got to the Park n’ Ride when my friend Camille said she was doing nine miles. That seemed liked a good comparison (smack in the middle), plus I always like running Camille.

At 6:45am we jumped in the car and carpooled up the canyon. We dropped off a few at 8 miles, but the rest of us went up the extra mile. After a little more stretching of the back we headed down the canyon back to our cars.

For the first couple of miles I kept up with Camille pretty good, but I was slowing down. Part of it was my back, but it was more of a combination of my tired legs and this being my first downhill run of the year. I knew my speed wasn’t going to keep me up with Camille so I sent her ahead.

After Camille left I just plugged in my music and just zoned out. I focused not necessarily on my pace, but just not walking. I had to walk a couple stretches — not out of fatigue, but I just didn’t know if it was icy (there was actually only one sketch stretch that was icy). The last thing I needed was to fall with my back.

Even though I wasn’t as fast as I wanted — I didn’t really care. I’ve been ultra training all winter so of course I am going to still be rather slow. After the Salt Flats 50K I’ll have more time to do some speed work — speed work that will focus on doing really well at the Revel Big Cottonwood Half in September. If you’re wondering — that’s the goal. There’s a lot that will and is going into that training, but that’s a post for another day.

Anyways — the nine miles down were beautiful as ever. The beauty of this canyon is breathtaking and is one reason I love running it. Whether it’s the Vigor Big Cottonwood Half, Drop13 Half or the Revel Big Cottonwood Marathon — I hate missing those races, because they’re fast and gorgeous.

I am not able to run the Vigor Big Cottonwood Half again this year, but I am excited because they have a trail series of half marathons starting this year. They’ve had smaller distances, but not the half — until this year. There are three throughout the summer and I am signed up for the one in August.

I can’t wait!

Seriously, the excitement is ridiculously high.

I really enjoyed the run. It was great being around so many great friends. I absolutely love the running community, especially here in Utah. There are so many runners who inspire and motivate me to do my best. I feel extremely lucky and blessed.

Moving onto next week — I have my 25K next week on Antelope Island. I’m rather giddy about this one for a few reasons — one, IT’S TRAIL and, two, IT’S TRAIL! I get to break out my Trekking poles, douse myself in bison repellant and enjoy an aid station full of M&M’s, salted potatoes and Nutella tortilla wraps.

Trails speak my language.

Plus, I have a number of friends running the 100 and 50 miler so I might stay for a little after my race to encourage them along. The dangerous part about doing that is the more time I spend watching these amazing runners tackle 100 miles — the more it makes me to tackle that distance too.

I’m crazy, but am I that crazy?!

Please don’t answer that.

Anyways, ANTELOPE ISLAND OR BUST, BABY!


Weekly Review

It was a tough week for miles. After throwing my back out on Monday at the Dentist office — the week was used stretching out the back and doing lighter workouts. I got about five miles of sloooooow miles in during the week. Just enough to keep my back lose.

I was worried about being able to run the group run, but manage a good — but, slow — 9 miles down Big Cottonwood. I didn’t want to overdo it because of my race this weekend out on Antelope Island. I am running the Buffalo Run 25K. I’ll be on my feet for a while during that race — so, the focus is this week will be lower mileage and continuing to stretch my back out.

Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 14.0 miles
Race Miles — 0.0 miles
Walking Miles — 21.97 miles
TOTAL MILES — 35.97 miles
Races this week — None.

March 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 17.5 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 41.3 miles
TOTAL MILES — 71.9 miles
Races in March — March Madness Half and Antelope Island 25K.

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 133.65 miles
Race Miles — 83.02 miles
Walking Miles — 189.53 miles
TOTAL MILES — 406.2 miles
Races done in 2017 — New Year’s Half Marathon, Sweethearts 5K, Jackpot Running Festival, SL Tri Club Indoor Half and March Madness Half.


I tried to convince Dave to get this shirt. But, he declined. At least for meow. #walmartventures

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It’s National Dentist Day … naturally, I’d be celebrating it here. #nationaldentistday

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Sadly, none of these dispense cotton candy. #nationaldentistday

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Living with Hashimoto’s: The Next Phase

It’s hard to believe that we’re in March already. I’m thankful for that. I hate January. And, I’m not too fond of February either. The whole thing February has going for it is that it lingers around for only 28 days or so.

I just hate the winter months. I hate the winter blues. I hate the snow. So much hate. You’d almost think I’m one extra winter month away from joining the Dark Side. Thankfully not. December manages to warm my soul with Christmas.

Anyways, I’m plugging a long with my Hashimoto’s Disease.

Just a short recap of this journey — I was diagnosed back in late November, lived in denial of the diagnosis in December, came to terms with it in January by going gluten and dairy free and then went somewhat militant in February with the diet.

I did an elimination diet and hyper focused my food to a list of 33 things. For the most part I did really well with it. I won’t lie — I didn’t stick to it 100% during February. When I was in Las Vegas I ate foods that weren’t on my list — but, I was 90% gluten-free and dairy-free during the trip (there were a couple times when I ordered food that I forgot to be UBER specific about no dairy or gluten … luckily, I didn’t get too sick, though I felt it).

Anyways — I feel good about the progress I made this past month. It was tough eliminating many of the foods I love and enjoy — namely eggs and bananas. But, I stocked up on plenty of steak and sweet potatoes which I will always love.

Oh, and avocados.

Basically, there was still plenty of food to love and enjoy.

Now that my 33 days are over I have been reassessing my diet. I plan on adding back bananas and eggs slowly and less frequently. But, also being deliberate of when I eat them. Basically, I plan on focusing on eating bananas and most fruits around my workouts and runs to help give me a natural boost so I am not as dependent on caffeine or energy boosters (ie-5 Hour Energy, Preworkout, etc).

As you can see below I have made another list of 33 foods. I like this idea of 33 foods and focusing on them for the next 33 days. Because I know if I stick to those foods I’ll feel good, have the needed energy and stamina for my workouts and runs.

That’s the beauty of this list. If I defer from it — I feel it. That’s both a motivation and fear. A good fear though. Because, I want to feel 100%. I want to lose weight. I want to feel “normal” again.

And, I have felt a difference the past month. I had more energy during a lot of my long runs and races, especially during my ultra. I feel faster. I feel slimmer. And, I feel the difference in my clothes too. I love the feeling.

But, with the progress I’ve made, I have made a few changes I felt during my last month. Stuff, I am either eliminating or adding — because I want to see how my body reacts or acts with it back or in my diet.

For instance, I am swapping out the rice for brown rice. If I am going to eat rice I might as well get some more nutritional benefit from it, right? I am also adding Daiya — or vegan cheese — well, dairy-free cheese on the list. I need that on the list. Sure, it’s processed and I want to keep the food as non-processed as possible, But, I need some semblance to cheese.

Anyways — check out the list below.

In addition to the food list, I am also being more specific on my eating schedule. I’ve been reading a lot lately on intermittent fasting and I am adding that into my diet. No, it’s not an everyday thing, but it’s something I am planning on doing three times a week — Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.

Basically, I won’t eat or drink calories until 2pm those days. Water, yes. But, no food. This was something I tried doing last fall, but after my diagnosis I just kinda stopped doing it. But, I really like the idea and science behind — especially with how it is suppose to help rev up the metabolism.

There are a number of differing intermittent dieting methods and the one I will be doing is based off the Bulletproof Diet. But, unlike the diet, I am not doing it everyday. I am doing this for a couple of reasons — I hate jumping straight into a strict diet (because I hate the ‘all or nothing’ mentality) and I am planning on exercising in the mornings that I do eat before 2pm. I fear not giving myself enough calories on those days.

In 33 days if I feel better on my fast days — then maybe — MAYBE — I will look into doing more fast days during the week? But, we’ll see after I assess everything next month.

Oh, you will notice I do have one ‘FREE CHOICE’ on the 33 list. That’s basically one dairy and gluten-free food of my choice that I can have — regardless of whether it is on my list or not.

BUT

And, it’s a big but. It’s not something I can freely choose each day. It’s a once a week choice. So, this could be dairy-free sherbet, a Slurpee, a slice of gluten-free banana or whatever tickles my fancy. But, it’s one serving and once a week, that I will consume around my weekend races and long runs.

You might be throwing some shade at that choice and I get that. But, I need some variance. And, I do much better on diet and food plans when there is some kind of variance. Plus, I made up this diet regime — so I am kinda making the rules as we go here.

So, if you are going to judge me, please judge me more on my inability to properly match my shirts and pants. Because that is probably the biggest problem I have with my life at this very moment.

Anyways, here is the food list and my workout routine for the next 33 days …

(CLICK TO ENLARGE)

Anyways — if you have questions or suggestions — I am always open to them. This journey is still very much brand new to me and while there is a guideline on what works for people in my same shoes — everyone doesn’t fit in my shoes.

So a lot of this is trail and error, success and failure and everything in between.

Fun stuff.