If I could meet you all in person I would. If my Mother is the only one reading my blog than I have. Either way, there are a few things you should know about me. But, instead of writing one long a– boring bio sketch you’re getting in the form of an interview. So go ahead and pretend that we are sitting face to face and you are the one asking the hard pressing questions. I’ll gladly answer.
So who are you?
Well, my name is Joshua Hansen, I was born on a stormy Tuesday in the middle of August. My adolescent years were spent in the Salt Lake City area smack in the middle of Utah (well actually Levan is, but that’s another story for another day). I was a fat kid. I also wasn’t that smart and spent over eight years in the Special Ed program. After graduating from high school I spent two years in Chicago on a Mormon mission. I kinda got skinny while I was there.
But, once I got back home and went to college it came back. Plus some. And, by some I mean, um, about 160lbs. In college I tried to find happiness. I was super involved in college activities and made a lot of friends.
But, sadly, I wasn’t happy.
Over my six years of college (remember how I told you I spent eight years in Special Ed? Took me some time) I started consulting other means of happiness. Most times this included me, TV and a pizza. Sometimes even a bag of burgers.
Then on my graduation day, I hit rock bottom. On one of supposed happiest of days of my life, I felt like dirt. I wasn’t happy, I didn’t have a vision of the future and it didn’t help that I also busted the crotch out of my graduation gown. I knew I needed a change. I needed real happiness.
Over the following months I made slight change after slight change until eventually I got to my weight. On November 11, 2009 I made the decision to just do it and so I did. I didn’t embrace perfection, but I embraced the pursuit of happiness. Bit by bit the weight came off.
After a year of doing this I was challenged to run a 5K by my trainer. I trained for an unimaginable three miles. It was the hardest thing I’ve done. I hated running. But, I knew I had to do it. I had to conquer myself. So I did. After accomplishing my first 5K I wanted to do another and another. This lead me to training for a 10K and then a half marathon.
After accomplishing my first half marathon I was hooked! I felt like I was finally a runner. Running made me happy. After running a few more half marathons I decided to train for a marathon. In 2012 I kept running and putting more miles in my training to get ready for my 26.2 mile adventure. I was hopelessly addicted to running … the races, the friends and the feeling of knowing where you’ve been, where you are and where you are going.
As of January 1, 2014 I have ran 54 races over 13.1 miles. This includes 49 half marathons, 3 marathons and 2 relay races. My goal is to run 180 races before the age of 40 (this gives me about 7 1/2 years).
Why 180? Well for a number of reasons. One, because I’ve lost 180lbs. and two because running gave me the directive to turn my life around 180 degrees. Hence the name of this blog as well. So, yeah, that’s kind of me in a nutshell. Hopefully, through this blog you’ll learn a bit more about it and the quirky side of me that my mother wishes didn’t come out as much. Especially around polite company (which is hard to do especially when you are a runner that loves the word fartlek).
So why are you blogging about your running addiction?
Simply put, I love sharing my story. I love sharing my story because I know there are people in similar circumstances I once was in. I hope that by telling my story and my love for running I can give someone hope to make the changes they want in their life. At my lowest times I looked for others for inspiration and I feel a responsibility to return that tenfold.
But, on the other hand I also use it as accountability to stay on track. There’s an unique motivation that comes from sharing your story step by step. My past blogging experiences have been nothing but positive as I made goals, tracked the scale and documented my daily miles. This includes admitting the mess ups and resolves to do better. It’s empowering sharing your progress through blogging and essentially the world.
Don’t you have another blog?
Yes and No. Well, not anymore. But, you might remember me from such blogs as SimplyJosh, Run Josh Run, PhatJosh, FatJosh, Book of Mormon Stories, MeJosher, Fat2Phat: My 180lbs. Weight-Loss Journey, Basketball Josh, I Want To Give The World A Card, NiteBlog, Josh Does Life and my short lived Josh’s Lined Notebook Journal.
Needless to say this was when I was using Blogger and made new blogs on a whim. But, late last year I wanted to consolidate myself into one blog and do it right. I wanted to share my weight-loss and running story while sharing my love for food, family and life. That’s why I started Running180. I wanted to tell my story as a whole not just certain segments. Plus, maintaining multiple blogs is difficult let alone one.
Why do you run so much? Isn’t that bad for you? Won’t you die?
Because, I love it. I love the calm peaceful feeling I get after a long run. I love the challenge of half and full marathons. I love preparing for them. And, I love the people. Runners are some of the most sincere, loyal and nicest people you’ll meet. Some of my closest friends I met while out on the road (no my friends aren’t hookers).
As far as running a lot being bad for you? I tend to go with articles like this, this and this. Plus, I have a number of friends who’ve ran HUNDREDS or marathons and other races and they’re in the mid-40s with their knees attached. I met a 70+ year old at one my races who’s run multiple races past her perceived “prime.” I look towards her example as proof I’ll be okay. Plus, I want to be running at her age!
What do you suggest I do to get into running?
Just do it! Train for a 5K and start from there. Get other people involved as well. Encourage other family and friends to run with you. And, if they’re a no go, find a running group. You can find many local groups or even virtual ones that can give you support in your goals. But, above all else, get yourself into the right shoe. Go to a local running store and have them help you pick out the right shoe for your body and running style. The right shoe makes a world of difference. Trust me.
What other tips do you have for me to get more into running?
Oh gosh, there is so much you can do. Read running books. That motivates me immensely. I love Unbroken, Running with Pheidippides and Born to Run. There are a number of other running books out there, but those three are my favorite. Also, keep finding a ‘next’ race. Whether it’s another 5K, half marathon or marathon. Always challenge yourself and make a new goal for yourself. There’s a wonderful underlying motivation that comes from doing this.
Then finally, share your story. Whether it’s sharing it mouth to mouth, on a blog, Facebook or at work. Share your love of running and your successes as well. You never know who you are going to motivate and inspire to start running as well.
So, yeah, go running!!!
What’s with this word ‘fartlek’ that you keep throwing around?
It’s a wonderful word. My mother hates it because she thinks it’s a vulgar word. But, fartlek is actually a training technique initially developed for an underperforming Swedish cross-country team in the 1920s and it’s basically been adopted throughout the running community. It’s hard to explain so I’ll just let Wikipedia tell you the rest. But, I do incorporate it into my training plan and … I just love saying it.
What is your favorite race you’ve ran so far?
Such a loaded question. I mean, it’s like asking which one of your dozen kids (this happens in Utah, a lot) you love more. I love each race. But, there are certain ones I do enjoy more than others. I love canyon races. My favorite from a location, organization and beauty standpoint is the Big Cottonwood Marathon.
But, I am also a fan of destination races, specifically Disney races. But, like I said, I love them all. Each one comes with it’s own challenging hills, stretches of road (or trail) and/or personality. But, those canyon runs, especially here in Utah are divine.
When you run what is some of your favorite gear? What do you recommend?
I love my shoes. I switched to Hoka OneOne last year and it has changed my running and my feet. But, I really don’t run with much gear besides my shoes, a classy fanny filled with Aleve, some Chocolate GU and a little candy (specifically jelly beans, Swedish Fish and/or candy corn) and NipGuards and BodyGlide to prevent bloody nipples (it’s the price I pay with extra loose skin).
The first thing I recommend are good shoes. Make sure to have your local running store test you for the perfect shoe. Other than that it’s pretty much up to you. It’s a lot of trial and error. I used to run with a hydration pack, all sorts of supplements and gear, but have geared down after figuring out what worked for me. I still run with that gear during long training runs, but during races I will just rely on aid stations for what I need.
So, yeah, it’s all up to you. Just make sure you have fun along the way.
What’s your favorite distance to run? Why don’t you run more marathons?
Easy. I love the half marathon. I am at a point fitness wise that I could run one every week and physically be ok. But, I really have a love/hate relationship with marathons at the moment. I’ve ran three so far and while they were great challenges they just take A LOT out of you. It’s a long recovery for me, plus it’s a lot of running to just prepare for one. I’m sure I’ll run some more (I’d like to do at least two more), but for now I’m sticking with the half marathon.
Why do you talk so much about three-legged cats?
Because, I want one.
Are you single? Can I stalk you?
Well does the fact that I still live in my mother’s basement and want a cat answer that question for you? So, yeah, still (extremely) available … As far as the stalking goes, go ahead, well as far as social media will allow you. No peeking into my Mother’s basement window. You can find me on Facebook (or on the blog’s fan page), Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and probably still somewhere on MySpace?!
Feel free to add me, friend me or follow me. I love making new friends, and in the case of Instagram, I love showing pictures of my food to complete strangers and friends alike.
Do you have a younger brother?
Yes, he often works out with me at the gym. His name is Freedom (or Free for short) and he too is single … and lives in my mother’s basement.
You sure talk a lot about your mother … ?!?
Well wouldn’t you if you had the world’s best Mom? Seriously, though, she’s like the best. If you could give sainthood for living people she’d have earned it years ago! Trust me, dealing with me as a kid provided many miracles. She’s earned it. But, my Mom is my best friend. She’s always encouraged me to do my very best no matter what I do.
She’s never judged or condemned me. Just encouraged me to be my best. It was this belief and encouragement that has gotten me through Special Ed, my mission, college and through my weight-loss journey.
Back in March 2012 my Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. The news hit our family hard, getting a diagnosis like that leaves not just the patient but loved ones with many “what-ifs.” But, she and our family tackled it with faith, determination and resiliency. After a double mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation treatments and a number of reconstructive surgeries she is in remission and enjoying life more than ever with her children and three grandchildren.
She really is a saint, a hero and an inspiration. That’s why I talk a lot about her on the blog.
What else should the world know about you?
Well, I am deathly afraid of deer. I’ve ran into too many while running to be considered a slight fear. I swear their eyes glow red when no one else is looking, but me. Pure evil. I also have a slight obsession with Christmas. I’m usually listening to Christmas music by November 1st and not letting go until tax day.
But, if you think that’s bad you haven’t met my Dad. He hoard records Lifetime and Hallmark Channel Christmas specials in December and then watches them throughout the year. I am not a fan of snow either. Actually, I quite hate it. Which is ironic considering that my middle name is ‘Snow.’ But, you won’t find me doing Utah winter things. I’ve never been skiing or snowboarding, I hate sledding, but oddly love shoveling snow (it’s a great workout). So, there’s that.
Other things? Um, I hate public bathrooms, but love Honey Buckets. My favorite restaurant in the world is Subway (I am still upset at myself that I didn’t start my weight-loss journey before Jared. That should have been me! IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN ME!). I overshare on Facebook. My celebrity crush is Carrie Underwood and I want to be Morgan Freeman when I grow up.
So, is that all?
Oh, I also sometimes love to go ghost hunting and find hiccups the most annoying sound in the world. Ok, that’s all.