Breaking the Wall

March 2008

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Orem,UT,United States

Member Since:

Jan 27, 1986



Goal Type:

Olympic Trials Qualifier

Running Accomplishments:

Best marathon: 2:23:57 (2007, St. George). Won the Top of Utah Marathon twice (2003,2004). Won the USATF LDR circuit in Utah in 2006.

Draper Days 5 K 15:37 (2004)

Did not know this until June 2012, but it turned out that I've been running with spina bifida occulta in L-4 vertebra my entire life, which explains the odd looking form, struggles with the top end speed, and the poor running economy (cannot break 16:00 in 5 K without pushing the VO2 max past 75).  


Short-Term Running Goals:

Qualify for the US Olympic Trials. With the standard of 2:19 on courses with the elevation drop not exceeding 450 feet this is impossible unless I find an uncanny way to compensate for the L-4 defect with my muscles. But I believe in miracles.

Long-Term Running Goals:

2:08 in the marathon. Become a world-class marathoner. This is impossible unless I find a way to fill the hole in L-4 and make it act healthy either by growing the bone or by inserting something artificial that is as good as the bone without breaking anything important around it. Science does not know how to do that yet, so it will take a miracle. But I believe in miracles.


I was born in 1973. Grew up in Moscow, Russia. Started running in 1984 and so far have never missed more than 3 consecutive days. Joined the LDS Church in 1992, and came to Provo, Utah in 1993 to attend BYU. Served an LDS mission from 1994-96 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Got married soon after I got back. My wife Sarah and I are parents of eleven children: Benjamin, Jenny, Julia, Joseph, Jacob, William, Stephen, Matthew,  Mary,  Bella.  and Leigha. We home school our children.

I am a software engineer/computer programmer/hacker whatever you want to call it, and I am currently working for RedX. Aside from the Fast Running Blog, I have another project to create a device that is a good friend for a fast runner. I called it Fast Running Friend.

Favorite Quote:

...if we are to have faith like Enoch and Elijah we must believe what they believed, know what they knew, and live as they lived.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie


Favorite Blogs:

Miles:This week: 0.00 Month: 206.85 Year: 1851.13
Saucony Type A Lifetime Miles: 627.15
Bare Feet Lifetime Miles: 446.12
Nike Double Stroller Lifetime Miles: 124.59
Brown Crocs 3 Lifetime Miles: 2191.97
Brown Crocs 4 Lifetime Miles: 790.51
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Night Sleep Time: 214.75Nap Time: 17.33Total Sleep Time: 232.08
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Brief report, details when I have time. Leg 22 of Del Sol in 17:30, GPS measured at 3.37, 5:11.57 avg. pace. Then later leg 34 (GPS measured 6.17) in 33:58, 5:30.31 avg, severe nervous system fatigue in the last 3 miles - no surprise, though, since I got zero sleep and the leg was at 9:45 AM. Our team won by almost 42 minutes though, with the average pace of 5:38.34, which would have been good enough to make top 5 in Hood to Coast.

Now more details. Van 1 ran very well, featuring Logan's 4:55 average over 7 downhill miles which alone increased the gap by 4 minutes. Adam received the baton about 17:30 ahead of the Running Shop and attacked his leg with the typical Adam fury. Ted did very well on his leg, and handed to Kory, who ran ahead of schedule as well. Then it was my turn.

I was angry for two reasons. I was upset about the mishaps on my first leg and wanted to redeem myself. And I knew that the only way I could run half way decent at 4:45 AM after not sleeping all night would be by getting productively angry. I have a hard time with that. I have no problem getting emotionally upset, but I do have a difficulty becoming upset in a way that gives me a sustained increase in muscular power output. So I tried to get as mad I as I could about what happened earlier in hopes of channeling the energy into running performance, and it did work to an extent. I ran 4:50 pace on the downhill portion (about 3%), and then once it flattened out I slowed down to around 5:20. 17:30 for the leg, gapped Jason by 10 seconds, was happy with the effort.

Jeff ran strong on his leg, then handed off to Steve. Steve was running angry as well, and beat his predicted pace. We increased the gap to 21:56 before handing off to Van 2.

By that time we had passed most of the teams that started earlier which I was happy about for two reasons. No traffic jam to worry about near Saguaro Lake, and the pristinely clean port-a-potties up ahead.

Van 2 was mostly on schedule, although the fatigue began to take its toll on some runners, and they were a minute or two off on their legs, but I was expecting that. Paul's spreadsheet does not account for the sleep deprivation fatigue, so you should always add 10-20 seconds a mile on the third set of legs. Nick and Logan did not skip a beat though, and were right on schedule. I suppose some runners handle the relay sleep situation better than others, we need to make a note of that and give them longer legs at the end in the future.

Adam was wound up for his third leg. He ran great up the hill and was still ahead of schedule on the Ragnar of Del Sol in spite of being on the third leg. We asked Van 2 to stay around to time the gap, and I became very concerned when I saw them drive by 24 minutes into Adam's leg. Then I realized that due to the dynamics of the race, it was more likely that they just got tired of waiting and took off.

Ted got a decent time on his leg, then Kory survived his. He was struggling with neural fatigue, but still ran decent, and handed off to me. My leg was a steady 1% grade downhill, 6.1 miles of it. The temperatures got up to over 70 F, but that was not a big problem. The heat did not bother me very much. I ran the first mile in 5:13, followed by 5:18. A bit slower than the projected 5:11 pace, but still acceptable. My teammates sang me BINGO, controlled the lights at the intersections, and handed me water. Sarah and Lybi came to cheer as well with all of the kids.

The real trouble started on the third mile. The neural fatigue was reaching the levels above my ability to fight it. I ran a 5:32, followed by 5:38, and a 5:44. What a joke! This is on a downhill at near sea-level altitude. This reminded me of the important role that the nervous system plays at speeds 5:20 or faster. If it gives out, it does not matter how fit you are, you are going to be stuck around 5:40 pace. I mustered all of my strength and managed a 5:34 mile, plus a semblance of a kick for the remaining 0.17 to finish in 33:58, 46 seconds slower than Jason even though he had lost some time at a light. I am sure glad my teammates brought the baton far ahead enough to where this did not really matter.

Jeff ran very well, and even had a little experience with a couple of dogs, then handed off to Steve. We did our best to control the lights and direct Steve to make sure he did not get lost, as his leg had a lot of turns, and was not properly marked in some places. At the end we all jumped out of the van and finished with Steve. In spite of our big lead he pressed hard to the very end and made all of us work to keep up. 17:04:37 at the finish, a win by 41:58 over the Running Shop, and 1:45:24 over Google.

Immediately afterwards we all went to James and Lybi's house for lunch. We downloaded my route of leg 10 from Adam's GPS, researched it, identified the location where my cell phone was dropped, entered the coordinates into my GPS, got directions to it from Google maps (it was a 61 mile drive one way), and I went geo-caching. I had never geo-cached before like this - a night with no sleep, three legs of a relay in the meantime, no nap, and straight down to business to find something I actually needed very much as opposed to something useless in regular geo-caching. The treasure hunt was successful. My Garmin led me right to my cell phone. Wonders of technology!

P.M. 1.5 with Benjamin and Jenny, and 0.5 more with Jeff Shadley and Benjamin. Went to the awards ceremony. It was a bit of a bummer. The results got messed up, and we got nothing more than a set batons, while Google got a treadmill for winning the corporate division. Our 5:38 per mile average and an outright win by quite a margin unfortunately did not get a fair amount of attention in the announcements. At least we got some publicity from passing a multitude of teams and actively recruiting people for the blog at every opportunity. Google got to see the power of the Fast Running Blog in action. And I wonder what we would do with the treadmill if there was one for us anyway.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 1.50Total Sleep Time: 1.50
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Sarah and I and the kids stayed overnight with James and Lybi. Went to church with them. Their ward has been promoting fitness goals, one of them being family weight loss. I suggested it would not be a good idea for us.

Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
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Travel home from Mesa. Left early and got in at 5pm, so I had time for a run. Decided to keep it short since I really did not have that much time to start with, and was still fatigued from the race and the travel. 2 with Benjamin in 16:49, 1.5 with Jenny in 12:59, 1 with Julia in 9:41, and then 6 more. Kept running into couples. First it was Jeff (different new Jeff) and Ann. They denied that they were on a date, although it did look like it. Turned out Jeff had served a mission in the Ukraine, so we chatted in Russian some. Then it was time for them to turn around, but shortly thereafter I ran into Jeff McClellan and his wife Kimia. She was following him on a bike. So we all went together from there.

Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. 10.1 with Jeff and Josse in 1:16:30. Did 0.5 of tempo pickups after a VPB at 5:20 pace.

P.M. 5.75 with Julia running one mile in 10:05, then riding in the stroller the rest of the way. We went to Reams Family Foods to get her a present for running under 10:00 in a training run on her own initiative. Then 1.5 with Jenny in 12:59, 1.05 by myself in 7:21, and 2 with Benjamin in 15:47.

Night Sleep Time: 7.25Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.25
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. 10.1 with Jeff in 1:09:09 at 5:10 AM. Started slow as usual, but quickly warmed into a good pace. Did a tempo pickup on the last quarter - 1:22.

P.M. 1 with Julia in 10:39, 1.5 with Jenny in 12:28, she closed with a 7:55 mile, 2 with Benjamin in 15:51, and then another 5.55 in 42:14 with 0.5 worth of tempo pickups.

I have finally finished my Del Sol report.

Night Sleep Time: 6.75Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 6.75
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Really did not want to get out of bed this morning. It was so comfortable. Ran 15.1 in 1:43:31. First 10.1 with Jeff. Adam joined us for the first 3.5. Jeff and I had a need for VPB, and picked up the pace to get to a good spot before the need would strike in a crippling manner. We ran 600 in 2:01 (5:23 pace). Then another 700 in 2:16 (5:10 pace) to catch up. We got a bit carried away on this one. Adam told us we sounded like a herd of buffalo when we came up from behind. Ran into Matt again with about 1.5 to go.

P.M. Took a nap. Had a dream about all of the girls on the blog running a relay race along the Black Sea.  Jenny was running carrying Jacob instead of the baton for some reason. Our team van was actually a bus that looked like this:

bonus challenge - identify the model. The bus was old and had a hard time going uphill. A leg was coming up that climbed 9%. I was getting concerned that the bus would not make it. Then I woke up. It took me a while to realize I did not need to worry about the bus making up the hill.

Ran 2 miles with Benjamin in 16:32. He started out slow, and gradually increased the pace. At 1.5 mark after hearing his split he correctly stated that he was 2 seconds behind the 8:30 guy and, then said, direct quote: "At this rate of aggression I will have him completely destroyed by the finish!", which he proceeded to do.

Jenny and Julia ran their usual distances with Sarah. I ran another 3.05 in 22:22, found Provo High team on the trail, ran with them a bit, did a couple of pickups.

Night Sleep Time: 7.75Nap Time: 1.50Total Sleep Time: 9.25
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. 15.03 in 1:48:59. Jeff slept in, so I ran to his house (1.35), then 9 more with him. Counted the stride rate at 6:50 pace. It was 172-174. Decided to test it at a faster pace. Ran a quarter in 1:26, stride rate was 184. Ran into Tyler. he was doing a short tempo. Ran the last 0.4 with him, timed 600 of it, it was 1:59. Tried to count the stride rate, but at 5:20 pace it was too tedious. Then ran into Matt. He joined us. We dropped off Jeff, then dropped off Tyler, and then Matt and I went separate ways with 0.46 to go (for me).

P.M. Did a kids relay of sorts from Canyon Glen Park to a little bit past Will's on 800 S in Orem. First, 1.42 with Julia in 14:12, then 1.74 with Jenny in 15:01, and 2.02 with Benjamin in 15:49. We did not make the kids stay up all night and then do it again two more times, though.

Night Sleep Time: 7.75Nap Time: 1.50Total Sleep Time: 9.25
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A.M. 20.1 in 2:30:49. The run started with Adam, Michelle, Jon Allen, Hyrum, and Tyler. Dropped Hyrum off after 2 miles. Dropped Tyler and Adam after 12. Michelle and Jon ran the entire way. Did 2 post-VPB tempo pickups, first was 0.5 in 2:37 (1:21 - 1:16) about 8 miles into the run, and the second was about 17 miles into the run, also 0.5 in 2:37 (1:19 - 1:18). Turnover was 178 at 8:15 pace, 172 at 7:30 pace, and 194 at 5:20 pace. The tempo pickups felt good, very sustainable, although I was breathing hard. It has been probably at least 6 years since I felt I could not go any faster because I was breathing too hard. It is usually something subtle, no major pain, muscles feel fine, breathing feels fine some kind of invisible wall stops me. Some days it is further out than others. I actually like it when I am able to breathe hard and still feel the pace is sustainable.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 17:32, then 3 alone in 22:25. 

Night Sleep Time: 7.75Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.75
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Typical Sunday. Got good sleep at night, went to church, took a nap later in the afternoon.

Night Sleep Time: 8.50Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 9.50
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A.M. 15 miles in 1:47:50. First 2 with Ted and Hyrum, then 5 more with Ted, and the remaining 8 by myself. Had a fluke happen after dropping off Ted. The nervous system did something weird and I ended up with a 5:59 mile without actually trying to run in that range. The breathing and the muscle strain were within the easy pace range, so I did not feel anything. I figured I could not have become a 2:05 marathoner overnight, so there was no way that 6:00 pace would be a true easy especially at altitude. And as I paid closer attention to the body signals I could feel that the nervous system was working in the non-easy range. So I eased off consciously although without hitting the breaks and dragging on purpose, but was still in the wrong range - next two miles were 6:14 and 6:11. So I decided to reboot myself by doing strides. Did 8x100 in 17-18 seconds. That calmed me down and I was able to get back into the true easy pace for the rest of the run.

However, this experience in combination with the pace fluctuations in Del Sol made me wonder if my muscles, and heart are already fit to run much faster, but the brain/nerves are lagging behind.

P.M. 1.5 with Jenny in 13:20, 2 with Benjamin in 16:45, 0.7 alone in 4:33, 1 with Julia in 10:20.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. 15 miles in 1:48:39. Started with Ted, Jeff, Josse, and Adam. Adam turned around after a mile, dropped Ted off at 6, dropped Jeff and Josse at 10. Picked up the pace a bit on the last 5, ran it in 32:52. Also, did 1.25 worth of catching up after bathroom stops at around 5:40 - 5:50 pace.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 16:52, then 3 more in 21:35. Pushed Jacob in the single stroller for the entire run. 

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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A.M. Ted was not feeling good, did not make it. Jeff slept in. So I ran alone at 5:15 AM. Started out a bit quicker than normal - 7:21 in the first mile, after that a slight sub-6:40. Ran into Jeff at around 5.5 mark, and we ran together from there. 1:06:59 for 10.1.

P.M. Sarah went to Wal-Mart and got me a pair of crocs for $5. I wanted to try them as a proof-of-concept for near barefoot running. At the very worst, I figured, they would make nice slippers for the summer. Did my entire evening run in crocs. First a mile with Julia in 10:47. Then 1.5 with Jenny in 13:45. Her ankle was hurting, so she did not have to catch the 9:00 girl today. Then 2 with Benjamin in 15:26. Then 5.5 more by myself. I was pressed for time, and needed to keep around 7:00 average to avoid being late. Started with a first quarter in 1:45, followed by 1:41. Then hit the mile in 6:38. Figured I'd just stay ahead of the 6:40 guy. Then I noticed that my split for the next 0.5 was 3:07. I recalculated it to be sure, it was right. The next one was 3:02. I figured, forget it, this is my second run, and I have only 3.5 left, and then a night of sleep, I am not going to hold back. If I feel like running 6:00 pace, I'll just go for it. After that it was unreal. I started running 5:40 pace without actually trying to run a tempo. The rhythm and the harmony of movement were so appealing that I did not notice the effort. The form felt great. I went by a couple of guys in their 40s going around 8:00 - 8:30 that looked like they were experienced runners. This must have been quite a sight for them - a runner in crocs passing them at 5:40 pace, I must have looked like a beach bum running away from a tidal wave. I slowed down to 5:50 under the bridges, and then was back up to 5:40 pace. Ended up catching the 6:00 guy for the whole run with 32:52 for 5.5. Last 3 miles in 17:07, 5:42.3 average.

Checked for side efforts from crocs afterwards, there were none so far. Noticed that the shin muscles were working a lot better, and I felt like was getting more out of them than in regular shoes. It was also easier to take my foot off the ground, there did not seem to be as much of my usual lingering.

Night Sleep Time: 6.75Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 7.75
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A.M. Finally I got around to doing a scheduled speed workout. It did help that Jeff wanted to do a tempo. I decided I was going to become a boltun, which is the masculine form of boltushka. Both words mean a talkative person in Russian. For me, being a boltun means I am not going to schedule any speed work unless somebody is doing it with me, and even then, go his pace even if he is slower. The rationale behind it is that even though my muscles and cardio can handle pushing the pace every other day fine, my nervous system subtly becomes worn out. The lack of muscular fatigue does not help, either, because it tricks me into thinking I am good to go for another workout too soon. With a partner, the nervous system will get taxed less. If he is slower, I can move up front and pull him and still be OK. If he is faster, I can draft - the muscles will work harder, but the brain will not. If he is an equal match, then we'll trade quarters, and the brain will be working half the time.

After yesterday's experience I was confident the crocs were good enough for a 15 mile run. Jeff's first question when he saw them was if they stay on your feet. They actually do quite well. We warmed up a few miles, then started the Provo River 5 Mile Tempo. The plan was to run side by side for about 0.5, then I would move up front and pull Jeff at whatever pace he thought was right the rest of the way. Jeff is still not quite in his top shape after his injury, normally we just trade quarters. So we did the first two quarters in 1:24. After that I accelerated to move up, but forgot to ease off once I was there. So the next quarter was 1:20. Then I eased off to 1:24, 5:32 for the mile. Jeff seemed to be doing OK, so I ran the next mile in 5:30 at a steady pace hoping that maybe we could beat the 5:30 guy. But then Jeff started struggling and we backed off some. 13:51 at the turnaround, we lost quite a bit hitting both quarters before and after in 1:26. Doing a 180 in the dark over by that gate is a bit tricky.

16:40 at 3 miles. 22:17 at 4. Then Jeff struggled on the micro-hill - quarters of 1:27 and 1:26, then I told him we needed to run sub-5:40 to break 28:00, so he sped up a bit, and we closed with 1:24 and 1:23 to finish the 5 miles in 27:57.

Ran back with Jeff to his house, then the additional distance to make the total of 15.

More notes on the crocks - the pluses are that the form feels great, the foot comes off the ground quickly, the fatigue is less noticeable, the foot lands on the toe, and the shin muscles are working very well, better than in any other shoe I have ever worn. The minuses are that my big toes do not like the feeling of rubber pressing against them, The side of my foot hits the side attachment clip of the back strap on the sharp turns at fast speeds, and the extra rotation of my right foot causes it to rub against the top edge of the shoe which resulted in a minor blister. Plus their durability is not that great. After only 25 miles I am already seeing wear marks in the toe area. No wear marks on the heel, a very good sign. So far, I am encouraged to try Vibram Five Fingers, which should have all of the advantages of crocs but would hopefully address the disadvantages. Plus, being able to use the toes more freely should help.

P.M. Crocs again. 1 with Julia in 10:27, 1.5 with Jenny in 13:10. She said: "There is no way I can catch the 9:00 girl" as she closed 10 seconds on her in a quarter. She repeated that half-way through the next quarter in which she closed the remaining 10, and added another 3 seconds on top of it. Afterwards, she was finally convinced that the 9:00 girl was not that hard to beat, and put another 17 seconds on her in the next quarter closing in 1:58. Sometimes our perception of reality is not correct.

Another 2 with Benjamin in 17:39. He is racing on Saturday, and he said before the run that he did not want to run faster than 8:50 pace. He ended up being right on, which took a lot of self-restraint. Added another 0.5 by myself.

Night Sleep Time: 7.75Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.75
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. 15.1 in 1:46:50 in Crocs. 11.1 of it with Jeff. Ran 0.9 via a short cut to his house, then with him, then dropped him off and ran 3 more. I think I have the blistering issue resolved, possibly the Crocs stretched out. My lower calves felt a bit fatigued, though, so I think I'll give them a break tomorrow and run in my racing flats instead. Plus it would really be bad to end up with a broken Croc 8 miles away from the house while Benjamin needs to get to his race soon.

The Crocs are still in good shape, the wear marks on the front did not get bigger, and no wear marks on the heel appeared. You can still read "Made in China" on the bottom of the sole, as well as No Boundaries TM. No, this is not a joke, an April Fool's day joke, although it does sound like one, I really have been running in a pair of $5 Crocs, Jeff being a witness.

Here goes the shoe counter, let's have some fun:

Crocs - 45.1 miles.

I am curious if they can handle 500. Already 9% there.

P.M. 1 with Julia in 9:39, 1.5 with Jenny in 12:30, 0.7 with no running partners in 4:58, and 2 with Benjamin in 18:32. Pushed Jacob and Joseph in the stroller for all segments except Benjamin's. Wore Crocs.


Crocs - 50.3 miles.

Night Sleep Time: 7.75Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.75
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A.M. Steve Ashbaker the Air Dark Horse rescued me today from having to run 20 miles alone. Decided to take a break from Crocs today, and wore racing flats.

I originally wanted to run to Bridal Veil and back, but it was cold enough already without the wind, so we agreed to do our 10.1 mile course twice. We were having fun in the first half. First, we caught the 7:00 guy at mile 3. Then there was a branch on the road. Steve being the Air Dark Horse flew right over it. I being the Low Flying Spy Plane ran into it and took a spill. Only a few scratches, got up and went on, no problems.

Then it was time for Russian jokes. Here is the one for today. Gorbachev comes to the White House. Reagan seats him at the piano and says: "You can press any key except that red one". Gorbachev finally is overcome with curiosity and presses the forbidden red key. He gets splashed with ink, and plans a revenge.

Now Reagan comes to the Kremlin. Gorbachev invites him to the piano and admonishes him not to press the forbidden black key. He finally gets too curious and presses it anyway. Nothing happens. He does it again. Still no result. He goes to Gorbachev to complain: "This is borning! Back in America...", to which Gorbachev replies: "There is no America."

We were having so much fun that we forgot it was time to shift gears into the brisk easy  zone - around 6:20 - 6:40, but we did remember around mile 6, and made it to 10.1 in 1:08:58. After that it was time for the tempo portion. I told Steve that a quarter under 1:30 was good, and over 1:30 was bad, otherwise, anything was acceptable, and we got going. At first we were going 5:50 pace, then we even picked it up to 5:44, but then Steve was not feeling good for some reason, so we eased off to 5:50, and then to 5:55 - 6:00 pace. We ended up running the last 10.1 in 59:48, 5:55.25 average. Total time for 20.2 was 2:08:46, 6:22.48 average.

Immediately afterwards took Benjamin to the Rex Lee 5 K. Ted and I decided that since Ted was injured, it would be better for me to pace his son James, and for him to pace Benjamin. James ran a PR of 19:25, and Benjamin ran a PR as well, 22:02. I was impressed with his last 200 in 45 seconds. Ran some extra, ended up with 25.2 for the whole deal. James even gave me about a mile in my marathon pace zone.

Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
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In spite of getting good night sleep I drifted off during the Sacrament meeting. Then Sarah handed me a kids book that talked about Lehi's dream.

Night Sleep Time: 8.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.50
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A.M. Got a running book. This is a significant development for me. I am a firm believer that only few books are actually worth the money and the eye strain. The book is Brain Training for Runners by Matt Fitzgerald. I find that many of his ideas are very similar to what I discovered in my own running experience:

  • train six days a week, rest on the seventh
  • it is the brain that initiates the fatigue shutdown, not the muscle
  • excessive shoe cushioning overtime creates feet that are prone to injuries
  • sitting on your bum all day long messes up your running form
  • recovery is as important as stress - beds make champions, miles just help them get ready for bed
  • drink by thirst, do not overhydrate
  • low ground contact is a sign of an elite runner
  • you slow down not because you are out of fuel, but because your brain thinks you are about to run out of it. You speed up not because you got more fuel, but because your brain thinks it is coming.
  • Elite runner stride has a well-time sequence of power surges and relaxations. The primary active agent of the fatigue-induced slowdown is the disruptions of those timings.
  • emotional stress is bad for your running performance, keep it down
I really liked his idea of visualizing that you are running on a non-motorized treadmill.

Another Crocs day. Ran 2 mile warm-up in 17:37 with Hyrum. Then figured the Uneventful-Half would bring me to the target mileage for the run. Ran by feel, focused on running on a non-motorized treadmill. The pace naturally got faster. After a while I decided to see what would happen if I did not monitor it for a while. I hit the 2 mile mark in 12:41 when I decided to stop checking the pace. Next time I checked my split was at 5.05, and it was 31:24, 6:08 average for the unmonitored section. Then I checked it again at 7.5, and it was 47:01, 6:07 average for the unmonitored section. Then I monitored it from then on, and tried not to let the observation influence the pace. It was a fairly steady 6:07 - 6:15 pace that appropriately reacted to the changes in the terrain, which told me I was truly running by effort.

Around 9.3 into the Uneventful Half I ran into Matt and he joined me. He has an interesting quality - whenever you run with him, you always feel like he is pushing the pace. Ran at around the same pace uphill to a little bit past Macey's with him (9:10 for 1.5), and then on the way back we were aided by the downhill, and both of us kind of cranked up the effort. I am not sure if I was responding to his moves, or if I was just making my own, but the pace eventually progressed into the sub-5:40 range. The last mile was 5:33. Total time for 13.11 was 1:20:13 (6:07.11 average). I toyed with the idea of cranking it up and catching the 1:20 guy, but I figured I would have had to run sub-5:20s, and I was not in the mood. Total time for 15.11 was 1:37:50.

Too fast for an aerobic run, perhaps, but I figured since I'd be running slow tomorrow, and I do not schedule hard speed workouts any more, and my body naturally wanted to run this fast, I'd let it.

Crocs - 65.41 miles.

P.M. 1 with Julia in 10:05, 1.5 with Jenny in 12:52, 2.55 in 19:46 including 2.11 with Benjamin in 16:47. All in Crocs.

Crocs - 70.46 miles.

Night Sleep Time: 7.75Nap Time: 0.50Total Sleep Time: 8.25
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Crocs again. Started with Hyrum, Josse, and Jeff. Dropped Hyrum off at 2 miles. On his own initiative he ran his fastest post-comeback mile in 7:35 at the end. He'll be running with us all the way before too long.

Then I needed to go to the bathroom. Jeff and Josse took off. I ran a brief warm-up 0.5 in 3:08, then cranked it up and hit a 0.5-1% downhill quarter in 1:19, eased off under the bridges and with turns on the next one to 1:25, then picked it back up to 1:20 on the following, and then caught Jeff and Josse about 50 meters later. Had a VPB around 8 miles into the run, caught up at around 5:30 pace, no splits.

Dropped Jeff and Josse at 12.1, and ran 3 more by myself. Total time for 15.1 was 1:50:37.

Crocs - 85.56 miles.

P.M. Wore Crocs. 2 with Benjamin pushing Jacob in the single stroller in 16:52, then 3 not pushing anybody with Benjamin riding a bike in 19:43. Was running easy until the last 1000, then picked up the pace. All I wanted to do was catch the 6:40 guy for 3 miles, but once I pressed the gas pedal I was immediately at a slightly sub-6:00 pace. So I ended up with a 3:41 for the last 1 K.

Crocs - 90.56 miles.

Night Sleep Time: 7.42Nap Time: 0.50Total Sleep Time: 7.92
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A.M. Ran with Jeff at 5:10 AM. Took a break from Crocs just in case, ran in racing flats. We started out with a 2:11 quarter (yes, that's right, 8:44 pace for 0.25, Kenyan warmup), 7:43 mile, then eased into a slightly sub-7:00 pace. After we crossed 9.6 mark I asked Jeff how he felt about catching the 1:10 guy, he said that would be fine. So we picked it up with around 0.45 to go, and ran the last two quarters in 1:28 and 1:22. I was surprised to see 1:22 on the last one as Jeff was telling me about the challenges of going to bed on time the entire time, and I was listening with more interest than I would normally have at 5:30 pace. Our time for 10.1 was 1:09:49, 6:54.75 average.

P.M. Wore Crocs. 1 with Julia in 10:48, 1.5 with Jenny in 12:20, 5.6 by myself in 36:57, and 2 with Benjamin in 16:34.

Crocs -  100.66 miles.

Night Sleep Time: 6.75Nap Time: 0.50Total Sleep Time: 7.25
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Must have eaten something rotten last night. Was not feeling good this morning. Resting HR was 66 instead of the usual 48. Felt nauseous. Went for a run anyway, but kept it short. Ate an apple right before the run, that seemed to help a bit. Ran with Jeff. Hyrum did not make it. We ran the first quarter in 2:21, and I really did not feel like I could go any faster. We finally caught the 8:00 guy around 2.5. Then we hit some headwind, we turned around and it became tailwind. Around 5.5 into the run I thought of Jeremiah 4:19:

My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my very heart; my heart maketh a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace...

There is a good one in Lamentations 1:20 as well, which I found while looking up the reference on the first one:

Behold, O Lord; for I am in distress: my bowels are troubled...

However, a mile later I started feeling better. We picked up the pace to sub-7:00. I ran to Jeff's house, dropped him off, then added the extra distance to make it 10.02. Thought of going a bit longer, but decided to err on the side of caution and finish the distance later tonight if I really felt better. Total time was 1:13:58.

Crocs - 110.68 miles

P.M. Stomach still feeling troubled. I set a dubious PR on this run for the number of different types of foul emissions from both ends of the digestive tract. Started with 0.5 in 3:44 to find Benjamin. Then 2 more with him in 16:14. Evaluated how I felt, and figured I should be able to handle another 4. Started with a 7:36 mile, feeling painful in the stomach, but nothing I cannot run through. Next mile in 7:05. Started feeling weak, like I wanted to walk home, or better, just lay down and not move at all. But the home is now 2 miles a way, so I'd better run, 2 miles of walking would be a long and painful walk with a sick stomach. Stopped for a VPB hoping it would make me feel better. Started running, still feeling weak, focused on a goal - keep it sub-8:00. After about half a mile I did not feel any better, but the pace got faster - started running 7:15 pace. Then about 3.35 into the run all of a sudden I started feeling extremely weak, I do not remember feeling that bad at the end of my worst marathon, and soon I found out why. A few seconds later I threw up, first time in 7 years. When I thought I was done, I started running, but was still feeling very weak, and for a good reason. I had more stuff to throw up. I stopped, finished the job, and all of a sudden felt almost normal. Finished the rest of the run at around 6:50 pace, 29:36 for 4 miles.

I think this experience provides a good case for the brain-governed fatigue model. I did not have any less glycogen in my muscles in the moment of weakness right before throwing up when I probably would not have been able to sustain 8:30 pace than a couple minutes later when I was comfortably running 6:50s. So the most sensible explanation of what happened I can think of is that my brain sensed extreme stomach distress, and started shutting down the muscles in response to facilitate coping with it. When the distress was over, the muscles started receiving normal signal.

Crocs - 117.18 miles.

Night Sleep Time: 7.83Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 8.83
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with Tyler. My original plan was to pace him through a 5 mile tempo at 5:30 pace. With the stomach troubles of yesterday that plan was put into question. However, I decided to give it a try anyway. I told Tyler I would run 5:30s until I can't.

I did take some measures to ease the impact of GI distress. There were two concerns. One, if there is something in the stomach that is not being digested, the nausea will come up. Two, with the lack of ability to digest food, low blood sugar, and glycogen depletion would cause problems. I had an interesting experience with a 5 mile tempo after a stomach flu about a year ago when I was able to run 5:30s in the first 2 miles, but then very quickly digressed to 5:55s for the rest of the run. To mitigate the impact of the illness, I ate my standard breakfast meal right before bed (uncooked rolled oats, dates, and peanuts mixed with soy mile) along with some Powerade, and added a large cup of Powerade in the morning as well.

We warmed up 2.62 miles and started the tempo. First mile was 5:24 with perfectly even splits by quarter. I noticed Tyler was struggling a bit at 5:25, and eased off the pace to the 5:30 target. Next mile was 5:31. Around 2 miles my legs started feeling slightly toxic, and I was concerned. But I figured I'd keep the pace for as long as I can and not worry about it. If I have to stop, I have to stop. Then we did a half in 2:45, (13:40 at the turnaround), and the next half in 2:46, which gave us another 5:31 mile. We got into a nice 1:22 per quarter groove after that, and I now started feeling confident I'd be able to sustain it to the end. Tyler struggled a bit around 3.75, so I eased off to a 1:24 quarter, which gave us a 5:30 mile for the next split. The mini-break helped Tyler regain his strength, and he pushed the pace to a 1:23 quarter on the mini-uphill, followed by a 1:21 once it flattened out. With about 500 to go he started struggling again, and a gap began to open up, but I figured he would close it in the final kick especially if he had a moving target, so I just kept the pace. Which is pretty much what happened. I finished in 27:21.6, Tyler was withing 0.5 of a second, which gave him a PR for 5 miles, as well as 4 miles en-route. Last mile was 5:25. Incidentally, this is my 5 mile PR for wearing Crocs, and only 33 seconds slower than my fastest time on that course.

Then we did a long cool down at around 8:00 pace to make the total of 15 miles. I felt like I do at the end of a marathon on the last mile due to the lack of nutrition the day before, but otherwise everything was fine, much better than yesterday. I still could not eat very much at breakfast, but was able to get in enough to make me feel decent.

Crocs - 132.18 miles.

P.M. 1 with Julia in 11:38, 0.15 to drop Julia off at the church and back, 1.5 with Jenny in 12:50, 2.53 with Benjamin to Jamba Juice in 21:55. Stomach still not good, dinner consisted of a small cup of Jamba Juice.

Crocs -  137.36 miles.

Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. We had quite a group this morning. Josse, Tyler, Steve Ashbaker, Cody, and Jeff. We paced Josse to a 1:34:51 Uneventful Half for a warm-up. This is her fastest time of the year on the slowest course she's run so far (if we adjust her Painter's time for the shortness of the course). Then Josse and Tyler were done, Jeff was going 16, Cody, Steve and I went for 20. We ran a tempo for the last 7 miles. I set a conservative goal of 6:00 pace given my stomach troubles lately and expecting a bonk.

I felt somewhat hungry in the morning before the run. That was a good sign. I ate a honey sandwich and drank a large cup of Powerade. I also drank a large cup of Powerade after we finished the warm-up.

Jeff was going to run 1.5 with us, then go back, Cody courageously decided to hang with us until death, then jog the rest of the distance. We ran the first mile of the tempo in 5:46, the pack was still intact. Jeff turned around at 1.5. We hit the next mile in 5:40 with some help from Steve's pace initiative. Then we noticed Cody was struggling, and eased off a bit to help him stay with us longer. He made it to about 2.75 mark. The next mile was 5:43. Steve moved upfront and pushed the pace, I just hung on for dear life. Next mile in 5:36 with a 180 in the middle. Steve was doing surges to 5:20 pace, then easing off. I started feeling a bit fuzzy in the head during the surges, and decided to just keep it steady and not respond. When I stopped responding to the surges, I felt a lot better, 1:23 quarters started feeling sustainable. 5:34 for the next mile in spite of a small net uphill. Steve's fervor died down a bit, he stopped surging. I enjoyed that, but not enough to move upfront and start pushing the pace. Our next mile was 5:37, and it was not a fast mile at all - net uphill, a couple of turns, sharp uphill curve coming from under the Geneva road bridge. On the last mile I finally felt like pushing the pace, so I moved upfront. We hit the next two nasty quarters (rolling net uphill, bridge tunnels) in 1:25 each. Then 1:24, and 1:21 on the last one with the help of a sprint in the last 60 meters, which gave us 5:35 for the last mile. Our total time for 7 miles was 39:31, 5:38.71 average. Total time for 20.11 was 2:14:22, 6:40.9 average.

I suppose my body learned to burn fats better since I've been doing high mileage. I have no other explanation as to where I found the fuel to do two workouts like the one today and the one yesterday while struggling with a stomach flu and putting in the miles.

P.M. Wore Crocs. 3 pushing Jacob in 22:24, then 2 with Benjamin (no Jacob) in 16:34. Still stomach flu issues, although better. Was able to eat my regular oats breakfast, and a large bowl of soy ice cream at night. Somehow managing to live off stored fat, I suppose.

Crocs - 142.36 miles.

Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 9.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Happy Easter. Took a 2 hour nap after church. Improvements on the stomach front. Was able to eat and digest the big turkey dinner Sarah made.

Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 2.00Total Sleep Time: 10.00
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A.M. 2 with Hyrum in 16:22, 2.1 more with Sarah in 20:07, 11.1 more alone in 1:11:30. Picked it up on the last 0.5, ran a 1:30 quarter followed by 1:23. Stomach is feeling much better, pretty much normal, although I was not as hungry as I should have been. Wore Crocs.

Crocs - 157.56 miles.

P.M. 1 with Julia in 10:30, 1.5 with Jenny in 13:07, 2 with Benjamin in 16:44, and 0.7 alone in 4:33.

Crocs - 162.76 miles. 

Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Stomach issues continued. Still not as hungry as I ought to be, not eating as much, plus the runs. But otherwise, surprisingly I am able to train. Started with 10.1 with Jeff, Josse, and Brad. They ran it in around 1:18, but thanks to 4 VPBs I ended up with 1:15:01 and about 1 mile worth of tempo running. Timed a 0.3125 segment at 1:40, exactly 5:20 pace. Then ran 2.1 with Sarah. Josse joined us for the first 2.1. The time was 21:05. Afterwards 3 more in 19:21, total time for 15.2 was 1:55:27.

Crocs - 177.96 miles.

P.M. 1 with Julia in 11:23, 1.5 with Jenny in 12:46, 2 with Benjamin in 16:01, and 0.7 alone in 4:50.

Crocs - 183.16 miles. 

Night Sleep Time: 7.17Nap Time: 1.50Total Sleep Time: 8.67
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Took a break from Crocs. 10.1 in 1:10:12 with Jeff at 5:15 AM. Jeff's quads were tired from a bike ride on Monday.

P.M. Wore Crocs again. 2 miles with Benjamin in 15:22. He started wearing Crocs as well. Yesterday he was getting used to them, today I think he caught on. His last mile was 7:19, and it came naturally with no encouragement on my end to catch any kind of guy. Then ran 8 more alone in 50:35. That makes it 1:05:57 for 10, 6:35.7 average, and 6:19.38 average for the last 8. A bit fast, but Crocs tend to put a bit of a devil in me, so it felt very good. Had a song in my head from one of the later sequels of Nu Pogodi where the savage cannibal rabbits are trying to eat the wolf, and it got me going. Saw Bill Cobler with Breanna on their bikes certifying the Provo City Half. Picked it up to slightly sub-6:00 pace with 0.6 to go.

Crocs - 193.16 miles.

Night Sleep Time: 6.75Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 6.75
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Jeff was sick this morning with stomach problems, so he did not come. I suppose I passed the baton to him. Mine, on the other hand, was in super shape after taking some acidophilus. Yesterday it was anxious to digest everything in sight, and the trend continued today.

Ran the first 8 miles with Brad. We started with a Kenyan warmup. First quarter in 2:19, first mile in 8:40. Then we sped up a bit, but did not catch the 8:00 guy until past 4 miles. After that we went faster, and ended up with 1:00:59 for the distance.

Dropped Brad off and went for 7 more in 45:25, 6:29.29 average. Total time for 15 was 1:46:24, 7:05.6 average. Picked it up a bit on the last quarter, ran it in 1:22. It was windy, but not too bad.

This run brought my Crocs over the 200 mile landmark. What is interesting that the amount of wear increased at a much smaller rate between 100 and 200 vs the first 100 miles.

Crocs - 208.16 miles.

P.M. 1.5 with Jenny in 13:02, 1.5 alone in 10:27, 2 with Benjamin and pushing Joseph in the stroller in 15:22.

Crocs - 213.16 miles. 

Night Sleep Time: 7.75Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.75
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Tyler came to run with me this morning. Benjamin wanted to run part of our warm-up. He wore Crocs again. His first mile was 7:42. Afterwards, he hit two quarters in 1:46 each. I challenged him to break 7:00 on the last mile, and he took off as if his name was Haile or Kenenisa. It was not so much the speed as the long stride and the apparent ease with which it came. His next two quarters were both 1:41, which made it 6:54 for the mile, and 14:36 for 2 miles.

Tyler and I ran another 1.38, and then started our 5 mile tempo. Our first two miles were 5:28 each, followed by 0.5 in 2:45 right before the turnaround. Tyler was hanging back a bit during the first 0.5, but as soon as we turned around he started pushing the pace. We ran the next 0.5 in 2:42, which gave us 5:27 for the third mile. We coasted through another 0.5 in 2:44, and then Tyler started pressing the pace again, and we did 2:40 for the next 0.5, 5:24 for the mile. This started to feel hard, but I thought I'd be able to run at least 5:20 for the last mile. Tyler pressed even harder and hit the uphill quarter in 1:19. I hung back a bit and did 1:20. After that Tyler started to slip away. I thought it was because he picked it up to 5:10 pace, but the split at the next quarter showed that he was just holding 5:20, and I was slowing down. My next quarter was 1:22. In the last half mile, Tyler held a steady pace and finished in 27:06. My legs started to give out, and I slowed down to a 1:24 quarter followed by 1:23 on the last one. 5:29 for the last mile, and 27:16.8 for 5 miles, 5:27.36 average.

Last 0.5 felt like the last leg of Del Sol. Barely breathing, but cannot go any faster even for 50 meters for the life of me. Probably because I've been speeding on my easy runs lately. I am discovering that the nervous system is a funny animal. You cannot tell it is fatigued without trying to run at top end. And because of that, it is difficult to tell if you are wearing it out too much, especially in my case when the aerobic ability is high, the muscles are damage-resistant, but the neurological ability is low. I need to make sure I do not exceed 7:00 pace on my easy runs even if I feel like running 6:20s.

Tyler, on the other hand, got a 5 mile PR, and a 4 mile PR en route as a bonus. His recent increase in mileage is starting to pay off.

Ran some more with Tyler at 8:00 pace, dropped him off at 12 miles, then ran 3 more to make it 15.

Crocs - 228.16 miles.

P.M. 1 with Julia in 10:35, 1.5 with Jenny in 12:33, two more alone in 15:21.

Crocs - 232.56 miles.

Night Sleep Time: 9.33Nap Time: 0.83Total Sleep Time: 10.17
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Long run with Jeff and Tyler. We ran very easy. Around 10 miles into the run a runner named Matt caught up to us, and we picked it up to his pace. Or maybe he slowed down to ours. We invited him to join the blog. I think he just did, but he has not yet posted the workout, or enough bio to be able to tell for sure.

I did 2x200 accelerations each in 37 seconds involuntarily due to being over-hydrated. We dropped Tyler off at 15.1, my time was 1:54:05, Jeff and Tyler would have been a bit slower. Then we ran some more. Jeff turned around after a mile, and I went another mile with Matt, then another 0.5 and turned around. I debated whether I should run the last 2 fast. The benefits would have been getting home sooner, and practicing running fast at the end of a long run. The concern was that yesterday I was showing signs of neural fatigue, and those little pickups day after day may add up. Finally, the desire to be home and eating breakfast sooner prevailed over everything. I thought 5:40 pace would be good, given that there is a 40 feet of elevation gain in those 2 miles, lots of turns, and ups and downs when going under bridges. But it turned out that I had more juice than I thought. My splits by quarter were 1:23, 1:22, 1:23 (under a bridge, then sharp curve to do 270 turn), 1:21, 1:23 (3 underpasses), 1:23 (underpass, uphill), 1:21, and 1:19 for the total of 10:55 for 2 miles. There was an occasional tail wind around 5-7mph.

This gave me 2:27:27 for 20.1. I was pleased to see that I felt very energized in the last 2 miles. My guess is that running at 7:30 pace with friends for me is more like a leisurely walk in the forest. It nurtures my nerves, and then I have the energy, even if it is a long run. Running 6:30 alone, on the other hand, may feel just as easy, but it slowly burns the nerves out.

P.M. 1 with Julia in 11:07, 1.5 with Jenny in 13:17, 2.5 with Benjamin in 21:27.

Crocs - 237.56 miles.

Night Sleep Time: 7.75Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 8.75
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Went to church.

Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
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A.M. Woke up and saw ice on the road again. Bummer. Or maybe a blessing in disguise - it would be easy not to speed on base runs. Decided not to wear Crocs to keep the feet from getting too cold.

Started with 4 with Hyrum and Daniel. It was cold, windy, and slippery. I saw a big traffic jam on I-15 as we went under it, and said to myself - I am glad I am not driving in this! Then I realized that the drivers who saw me would probably think - "I am glad I am not running in this!", but not after a few minutes of thinking. We ended up with 36:55 for 4 miles, but it was about 40 seconds faster for me due to a VPB.

Ran another mile with Daniel in 8:43. Then 10.1 by myself in 1:18:02 slipping, getting blown off by the wind at times, and admiring the scenery. Saw a few birds. Too bad I did not have Karl Jarvis with me. I could only identify the ducks.

P.M. 0.5 with Julia in 5:37, 1.5 with Jenny in 13:17, 2x100 with Joseph in 43 and 41, Joseph got a PR in 100 today. Then 2 with Benjamin in 16:12, and 1 alone in 7:49.

Crocs - 242.68 miles.

Night Sleep Time: 7.75Nap Time: 2.00Total Sleep Time: 9.75
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Night Sleep Time: 214.75Nap Time: 17.33Total Sleep Time: 232.08
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