Breaking the Wall

Spanish Fork Half Marathon

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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: 219.25Nap Time: 15.00Total Sleep Time: 234.25
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Paced the kids at Onion Days in Payson. Next year I want to have our own Fast Running Blog races. I am tired of supporting raffle jogs. Consider this - with some very rare exceptions every race around here gives away a prize of greater value in a raffle than it does to the overall winner. What kind of message does this send? "We are all winners" -:) ? Why do we even race? Why even bother paying a timing company a thousand bucks to time the race, and then hold an award ceremony? Just bring everybody to the start, fire the gun, jog, everyone is a winner, then go straight to the raffle afterwards.

Yes, dealing with the reality that you are in a race you cannot win can be hard. At the start of the Minuteman 5 K it was announced that we would have an opportunity to win some cash. I knew that most of the crowd had a statistical zero chance of beating me, and yet I had a statistical zero chance of getting any cash. So much for the chance. There was no chance. Many runners approached me asking if I was going to win, or if I had won. They were rather shocked when I told them about the statistical zero, or, post-race, materialized zero. They could not comprehend the dreadful reality of that zero. Yet it is in those races if we choose to face our own inadequacy that we develop the strength to push ourselves and improve. Had I not chosen to face that dreadful zero earlier I would still be running 2:40 marathons.

So we went to the race. It was a 5 K. Benjamin ran by himself in 21:56, 20th place overall among men (out of 118 runners), chicked only 6 times (out of 134 runners), not bad for a kid. Splits were 6:45, 7:07, 7:22, 42. Won 1-9 division by over 6 minutes. Probably course record in his division, but they do not keep track of those. Beat everybody in 10-13 division as well. For some reason he was having a slow day. He ran 21:12 on a slower course 4 months ago. Two possibilities - his pants were too long and too moisture absorbing, and that slowed him down in the second half of the race when it started to rain. Or maybe he is just going through a growth spurt, and his cardio is lacking a bit. In any case, 21:56 is quite a respectable time for a 9 year old, so I am not going to worry about it.

I paced Jenny while pushing Jacob and Joseph. She was doing well in the first mile and a little after, acting feisty, having fun passing people. First mile in 7:26, a slight downhill. The second mile was a mild uphill, and we started to get some minor headwind as well. She slowed down to 7:54. She caught up to a few adult girls in the third mile and that got her going a bit faster. Her next mile was 7:49. She ran 52 seconds from 3 miles to the finish, which I think was a little long. I ran the course two more times later for the mileage. First time around I hit that stretch in 51 seconds going about 7:20 pace, and second time around 49 seconds going around 6:30 pace (based on the split from 2 to 3). Jenny finished in 24:01, new PR by 1:03. 14th place among women overall. Won her age division (1-9), but the win was dimmed by the fact that there were only two girls running. However, she beat everybody in the 10-13 division as well, and set a course record I imagine - at least I have not seen a faster time in that division in the past. Only 43 out of 118 mostly adult men avoided the fate of being chicked by 8 year old Jenny.

Julia paced Marion, sort of. That was a way of finding something productive to do for Julia during the race. I thought that if we gave Julia pacing responsibilities she would be able to mentally handle a 5 K better. They ran together, then Julia took off, then got tired and walked, then Marion caught up to her, then at the end after I had come back Marion picked it up, and Julia started to struggle and fell back a bit. Marion got 30:57. Julia ran 31:12, but she was not officially in the race.

Sarah being 32 weeks pregnant ran 34:37, and finished 91st out of 131 women. That is a huge late pregnancy PR for her. She inspired me to create a new concept - virtual pregnancy. You do not have to be a woman to be virtually pregnant. If you are under 50, are not actually pregnant, and cannot break 34:37 in a 5 K, you are virtually pregnant. What is special about Sarah is that she is not a super-athlete. Her all-time 5 K PR is 24:19. So a 34:37 5 K can reasonably be used as some basic health test. If you cannot break it, it is a condition (virtual pregnancy), and it is probably time to make some life style changes.

Ran some more mile afterwards to make the total of 12, including running the 5 K course twice. Second time around decided to beat Benjamin's time, picked up the pace a bit, and got 21:22. Had to run 6:30 pace at the end to do it. Noticed that the difference between 6:30 and 7:20 for me is mostly in the focus. 7:20 = light breathing while spacing out, 6:30 = same breathing as 7:20 but a lot more focus.

Finished at Marion's house.

A.M-2. Michelle had another 4 miles in her, so we plotted against Marion and convinced/tricked her into going with us on a bike for another 4 miles. Just as we got out the door it started raining very hard including hail. Hail always makes me think of a scripture in Helaman 5:12 in the Book of Mormon which basically says that the winds and the hailstorms of the devil have no power of those who build their foundation on Christ.

At the end of the run I remember Ted telling me about Bill Dillinger coaching him at Oregon and the surprise challenges at the end of a workout. So I figured Michelle could use one of those, and I challenged her to run hard to the end. Then Marion challenged me to beat her, and that gave me a chance to turn my legs over a bit.

Five Fingers - 1243.27 miles.

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

A.M. Ran with Jeff. 2.62 warm-up. Noticed during the warm-up that I was running faster than normal and not as sleepy. Jeff and I speculated if taking a day off work made a difference. I've had this happen before - neural fatigue, then do not work for an extra day, and all of a sudden feeling the power coming back. And the opposite too - lots of work that requires mental focus, then neural fatigue symptoms full blast.

Then 5 mile Vladmir Kuts tempo. Kuts won the Olympic gold in 5000 and 10000 in 1956. In the 10000 he wore out his main competitor Gordon Pirie with a sequence of hard quarter mile long surges. Thus I decided to name this workout in his honor.

The plan was to run 90 seconds for the recovery quarters, and as fast as I could in the fast quarters given the recovery constraints. This workout serves multiple purposes:

Work on race specific speed. Regular 400 meter repeats work on something else - they teach you to run 400 meters essentially fresh. Starting HR for me would be 100-120. In this workout, starting HR is 150-155, and even as high as 160 in the later intervals.

Teach better economy in the marathon pace range. Something happens when you start thinking of 6:00 pace as something you do in between intervals to recover. You run more relaxed, and try to savor every step, and every gasp of breath as if it were your last one.

Reboot the nervous system. We play a trick on it. We say, go fast for just a quarter, then it's break time. Somehow this works. All of a sudden it fires harder than it would have otherwise and does not quit. Yet in the end there is not much of a break. The brain just thinks there is going to be a break. And I think the constant jerking tends to wake it up as well.

I thought the recent struggles maintaining 5:00 pace for as little as a mile would make consistently averaging 80 a challenge. However, I ended up doing much better than expected.

Jeff was in charge of the recovery pace to keep it honest. That helped a lot. He also took charge on the fast quarters, which kept me honest as well.

Splits: 89, 75, 89, 75 (5:28), 91, 74, 91, 76 (5:32), 91, 74 (13:45 at the turnaround), 94, 76 (5:35), 89, 77, 90, 76 (5:32), 91, 78, 90, 75 (5:34) - 27:41.2 for 5 miles. This was the fastest time for this tempo since DesNews. On Saturday all I could do running much more evenly paced was 28:06.

HR - climbed to 163 at the end of most intervals, back down to 150 at the end of each recovery. On the last one Jeff was yelling at me with a very loud voice to give him five. I did all I could, and this drove HR up to 168.

Afterwards ran a cool down with Jeff to 10.5 total, then 1.5 with Jacob in the stroller, then 2 with Benjamin running and Julia in the stroller in 15:44. We were out of soy milk, so we ran to Albertsons.

P.M. 1 with Julia in 11:13, 1.5 with Jenny in 13:48 during Benjamin's soccer game at Wasatch elementary. Benjamin's team won 3-0. Jenny lost her bunny. Although she is fast enough to be an asset on your average high school cross country team, she is still only 8 and does get upset about her lost precious bunny. We have an idea of where it may have been left. When we came to look for it later Phil Olsen's son told us he had seen it, and showed us the approximate location, but it was not anywhere near. I looked for it this morning again, and I found just about everything of greater interest for someone to pick up except for Jenny's bunny. Jenny is very upset. There was a cross-country meet going on around that time as well. If you know anything about Jenny's bunny, send us a note.

T4 Racer - 501.93 miles.

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

A.M. Ran with Jeff and Josse. Paced Josse through 3x2 miles. She ran 13:08, 13:34, 13:30. On the last one she wore my HRM. Interesting HR patterns. She started the interval with HR of 125. It climbed to 165 in 0.5. Then around 1.25 she hit 172. In the last quarter she was able to be consistently over 180, and maxed out at 187. During the cool down her HR hovered in the 145-150 range. So, assuming the HRM was working right, we are looking at a cardio/aerobic power limitation. At least over that interval. It would be interesting to see what her HR does when she crashes around mile 7 of a half-marathon.

P.M. -1 Ran 1.03 with Benjamin, Jenny, and Julia to pick up our new van in 10:03. Julia fell back a bit and finished in 10:11. Fueling a CNG vehicle is a different experience. Definitely less convenient, and it takes longer - took about 5 minutes to pump 6.8 gallons, and we had to wait for two people ahead of us to finish since only one pump was working. However, cannot complain about the price. Filled up about half a tank for $5.83. This should be good enough for about 100 miles. And if you do run out of gas you have to be towed.

P.M -2: 1 with Benjamin in 8:48 with Jenny joining for the first 0.5 in 4:39. Then 4 miles on the trail to the Utah Lake in the dark in 29:45. I could only hear crickets and my footsteps as I watched the very late stage of the sunset. It was beautiful.

The reason I ran out 4 miles was that Joseph wanted to go for a ride in our new van. So Sarah drove to the Utah Lake to pick me up. Noticed how roomy the van was. All that room will come handy during relays. If only we can make sure we do not run out of gas, that is.

On the way home we observed an interesting scene. Two cows were being escorted along the road by a pickup truck and two police cars with their lights on. We were stuck behind the procession for a few minutes. Finally the cows made it home, and we were able to resume normal driving.

Five Fingers - 1258.52 miles.

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

A.M. Ran with Derek. The plan was to do 6x1 mile with 200 recovery in 5:20 each. Ran 2.38 warm-up. Did the first one alone in 5:22.0. Splits: 82, 80, 81, 79. HR maxed out at 159, avg. 145. Felt good at 5:25-5:30 pace, but felt like there was an impassable wall at 5:20 pace.

Ran the next one with Derek in 5:20.1. Splits: 82, 80, 79, 79. HR avg 152, max 161. Same feeling as in the first one.

On the third one (alone) - 5:22.4. Splits: 81, 81, 81, 79. HR - avg. 153, max 164. Same feeling.

At this point I realized it was time to stop the workout. It became apparent that the nervous system was already tired at the start of the workout and making it work only made it more tired. Unlike the muscle the nervous system does not overcompensate during recovery. Maybe it would if you could truly rest it, but I do not have that luxury. I have to work to pay the bills, running does not do it. And I have other responsibilities as well. So in essence I should approach this like I would training an injured muscle in the circumstances that required me to use that muscle extensively during the day. The training would need to be of therapeutic nature.

Ran some more with Derek to 8 miles, and then another 3 by myself.

T4 Racer - 513.93 miles

P.M. 1.5 with Benjamin in 13:26 (he was not feeling well), 1.5 with Jenny in 13:17, and 1 with Julia in 11:00. Pushed Jacob.

Five Fingers - 1262.52 miles

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

A.M. Ran with Tyler, Matt, and Nick McCombs. Total of 12 miles in 1:32:47. Picked up in the last half mile for a neural drive test. Ran 84,81 (2:45) flat terrain, HR got up to 152. Felt energized in the second quarter and felt like I could hold that pace forever. The breathing was deep and vigorous, but at the same time pleasant and sustainable.

Did an experiment with Nick and Tyler. Tyler weighs about 140-145 lb, so essentially my weight. Nick weighs 115-120 lb. I arm wrestled both, and lost within 5 seconds both times. Asked both about their arm training activity. Tyler does push-ups once a week, Nick does not do anything. To add more data to this - last spring I arm wrestled Jeff (125 lb, no consistent arm training either) and lost in about 20-30 seconds.

The results confirm my suspicion that there is something more going on than just untrained arms.

Some more food for thought. Around the age of 9 and up until 11 I was tied with another kid in a group of 20 boys in the tennis ball throw. This was not just a one time thing - we threw the tennis ball about once a month in our PE classes. What is interesting is that while I was a skinny kid, the other was not that skinny. And he found himself at the rear in all forms of fitness tests. The average kid of my build would out-throw me by 50%, while there was one in that group that out-threw me by 100%. That same kid was number one in all fitness tests including distance running and cross-country skiing.

So in short, the hypothesis is that Quality X correlates with the ability to produce a lot of coordinated quick force per muscle mass in any muscle in the body without having to train it. So you could predict somebody's distance running potential fairly accurately with the following tests: make sure they have enough slow-twitch fibers, then make sure they do not have any inherent cardiovascular weaknesses or defects, and then have them throw a tennis ball and prorate the throw distance for body weight. Crazy idea - yes. But I think one day it will be proven right.

Another twist on it. If you stipulate slow twitch fiber dominance among the competitors, and prorate the throw distance for body weight and arm size, my predictions is that guys like Wanjiru and Bekele would have a shot at winning the world competition in the tennis ball throw. You can run low 2:20s in the marathon off pure aerobic power with a below average neurological explosiveness, but to run under 2:06 you need to be explosive.

P.M. 1 with Julia in 10:48, 1.5 alone in 11:53, 1.5 with Benjamin and Jenny in 13:16.

Five Fingers - 1278.52 miles

Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
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Race: Spanish Fork Half Marathon (13.11 Miles) 01:13:55, Place overall: 1
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Spanish Fork Half Marathon, 1:13:55, first place.

Originally was planning on running Peruvian Lodge, but it conflicted with a church meeting in the afternoon which I did not want to miss. I figured a half marathon would be a good for marathon preparation anyway. And we had a comp that would have gone to waste otherwise. Plus I had not yet won any races this year. So I guess I was like an injured tiger that cannot catch quick antelopes anymore and goes for easier meat.

Also, this half is a loop course, no downhill. I always wonder and estimate what my downhill performances are worth on a loop course. This would be a good chance to get a less disputable measurement. I say "less disputable" because race directors make no claim of course certification, and I do not have any knowledge of that course being certified. However, I saw some signs of a diligent effort to ensure correct length. All mile splits made perfect sense. I also noticed that mile 2 of the 5 K was at the exact same spot as mile 11 of the half, while the finish of the 5 K was marked a few meters before the finish of the half. This is how it is supposed to be - the distance from mile 2 of the 5 K to the finish is about 4 meters longer than the distance from mile 11 of the half to the finish. It was comforting to know that the race directors cared enough to pay attention to that detail, they were not rounding it off to 0.1 of a mile.

But regardless, past performances on this course have established a standard. So in some respects it did not matter if the course was exact. We had the following benchmark times:

Dennis Simonaitis 1:12:53 (2005), Mike Kirk 1:14:33 (2004), Chris Rogers 1:16:08 (2007), Chad Derum 1:17:42 (2007).

The race website reports also that Trevor Pettingill ran 1:08:31 in 2003. I also know that Matt Harmer ran 1:11 in the same race. This sounds suspicious. Although both were in good shape around that time, neither of them had a performance of comparable quality. Trevor ran 1:09:57 a couple of weeks earlier in the Great Salt Lake Half, which has a net drop of 100 feet and a couple of short hills in the last 2 miles. Trevor that year hit what my predictor said he would within 20 seconds in every other race with the exception of St. George - the predictor said he would have run 2:19:23 while his actual time was 2:20:35, and Alta Peruvian lodge which is so weird of a race that the predictor is off quite often. Matt had run the Great Salt Lake half in 1:13:38 (I think), and was on the upswing getting into better shape, but I still find it questionable that he would have been capable of a 1:11 on the 2007/2008 course. Sounds like a different course, or a wrong turn.

The site also reports that Rolando Sanjinez ran 1:14:15 in 2006. That one is particular suspicious. That same year he ran 1:13:29 in Hobblecreek. An equivalent performance on this course would have been around 1:19-1:20. He also never in his entire racing history reported by Athlinks.Com produced a performance anywhere near in quality to that time, not even in a 10 K. There is no way somebody could gain a 5 minute improvement in the half in two weeks after racing consistently for a month at the same level in a 10 K. At the same time, Tony Vakaafi ran 1:12:55 in Hobblecreek that year, and 1:17:58 in the Spanish Fork Half, which does make sense. That sounds like Rolando may have taken a wrong turn.

Dennis, Mike, Chris, and Chad appear to have legitimate times relative to each other and consistent with their performance levels that year. So I figured I'd use those times as a guide and dismiss the dubious ones.

Warmed up 2.5 some by myself, and some with Tom. With no surprise appearances at the start (aside from myself) I was racing three virtual runners (Dennis, Mike, and Chris) and one real - Chad was here to represent himself, and he was in better shape as well leaving me no room for the neural fatigue garbage. From Provo River Half and from the second leg of Wasatch Back I knew that when the neural fatigue hits me, Chad is faster. So it was important to avoid neural fatigue at least for the first half of the race. I had an expectation not to hit any based on how I felt and what I did the day before, but I was not 100% sure. Neurological Sasha Science is still very much in development and quite error prone.

Ron Greenwood asked me how fast I was going to run it. I said based on my analysis I should be around 1:14-1:15.

I came to the race with my home family in our natural gas 15 passenger van. With it being our recent purchase I am still quite excited about the idea of CNG. So when I smelled the fumes from the lead motorcycle I remarked that it should be converted to natural gas. We had a pack for the first 2 minutes or so, and then I started to pull away. However, while crossing a busy road about 0.5 or so into the race there was an incident. There was no police protection, and a bus was coming full speed. I waved to the bus hoping it would stop. The driver either did not notice me, or did not care and kept blasting full speed. So I had no choice except use the skills I learned in Moscow while crossing the Moscow Belt Route (a 4-lane highway) on a daily basis - run on the road in the direction opposite of the bus, and as soon as it passed me and I was behind it, dash across the road. This allowed Chad to catch up, but he did not stay with me.

Mile splits are based on the race mile markers. Knowing those would be reliable from the last year race reports I did not bring a GPS.

First mile split - 5:37. I think we climbed some, but it was subtle. I lost about 3-4 seconds on the bus. Chris had 5:52 last year. Not feeling overexerted, but neurologically just staying a little bit below the red line. I know something about that red line - you cross it, and the race is over. The challenge is to sense it since I could cross it without breathing very hard. But I think I am learning.

Mile 2 - 5:40. More uphill. Happy to still have 3 seconds on the 5:40 guy. Knowing what's up ahead I knew I would need every one of those seconds. Good news - ran uphill breathing energetically, but without perceived neural overexertion. That is a sign of the neurological health and bodes well for the rest of the race.

Mile 3 - 5:46. Still uphill. Not very steep. Still feeling good. Quick relaxed stride. Moving as fast as I can without crossing the red line.

Mile 4 - 5:43. Not bad considering the steep rhythm breaking bump in the middle. But the rest of it was flat, that helped. Hit the red line briefly on the bump, but did not go over. The bump did not bother me very much otherwise, recovered quickly. Another good sign. Only 6 seconds behind the 5:40 guy after the bump mile, and based on what I heard the next mile is faster, looking forward to it.

Mile 5 - 5:33. The reports were verified. This was a good mile. Had a slight barely noticeable downhill for a portion. I did not notice it until I had to come back, though. Shows how biased the human mind is in the area of recognizing blessings vs adversity. I wondered why I was able to move my legs so quick without much effort all of a sudden. A church hymn came into my mind during this mile. My favorite one - A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief. I find it interesting how a slow tune can help a fast pace. The tune might be slow, but the message is deep, and thus it brings the power. Happy to be 1 second ahead of the 5:40 guy.

Mile 6 - 5:47. Started with a slight down (I think), but then there was a steep bump, and maybe it was more than a bump. There goes my lead over the 5:40 guy, but he better watch out because I am feeling good, and we'll be dropping elevation on the way back.

Mile 7 - 5:54. Steeper climb. Slowest mile of the race, but I was expecting that from the race reports. Felt strong on the uphill. Hit the red line, but not for long enough to go over it. The 5:40 guy is laughing at me about his 20 seconds lead. I am shaking my fist at him in hopes of a quick revenge now that we are that highest point of the course.

Mile 8 - 5:28. Downhill, finally. But too abrupt which made it too short. Now done with the loop, running the course backwards, and seeing the crowd going in the opposite direction. Recognized a couple of people in the crowd - Kim Lee, and Josse's mom. I am sure there were more that I should have recognized as people were greeting me by name. My face recognition ability does not work very well at race pace. The 5:40 guy now has only 8 seconds, but still is hoping to hold me off. Better give him a name - I think his name is Mike Kirk, aka Virtual Mike.

Mile 9 - 5:40. No downhill, that is my excuse for not closing on Virtual Mike. He is laughing at me, looking back, and poking out his tongue. In the meantime Virtual Dennis is feeling pretty safe.

Mile 10 - 5:39. Seeing the uphill in front of me, realizing what helped me run 5:33 going the other way, and being tired of Virtual Mike's teasing I pressed a bit harder, but still a tad under the red line. Then we did the mile 4 bump backwards, and I floored it on the down-bump to steal a second from Virtual Mike on a slow mile that he hoped to gap me on.

Mile 11 - 5:36. Virtual Mike is concerned. His lead is down to 3 seconds, I am gaining momentum, there is downhill up ahead, and there will also be a kick. He is hoping for sudden neural fatigue which can happen, but we would need some uphill for that, and there is not much except for a little bump with about half a mile to go.

Mile 12 - 5:35. Virtual Mike has been passed, and I think now has lost all hope. Virtual Dennis is out of reach, but sub-1:14 is not. If I finish in 1:13:something, he will not laugh so hard at me looking down from his 1:12:53 podium. Saw the 5 K crowd going the other direction. They started exactly 1 hour after we did. So the ones that are faster than 6:00 mile could possibly be catching some half-marathoners, the ones that are in that range could possibly be racing them, and the ones that are much slower will be getting passed by half marathoners. Interesting situation. So the 1:18 guys could possibly have some fun racing Holly Hagerman. She ended up chicking the field with 18:51, and she is a master. How about that - the entire field got chicked by a master! First time I've heard of something like this in any race anywhere. To add injury to insult, a good portion of the field got virtually impregnated (for lack of a better term) and strollered as well by Jennifer Hughes who ran 24:50 while 29 weeks pregnant (I think) and pushing a stroller. Fast ladies live in Woodland Hills, Michelle has some good company.

Mile 13 - 5:28. Trying to dip under 1:14. Spent most of the mile making a promise to myself to floor it no matter where I was once my watch said 1:13:00. Tried to shift gears several times, but there was not much of a movement. Lived true to my promise at 1:13:02 but still felt like there was not much of a go in the legs. Saw 1:13:26 at 13 miles. Need only 34 seconds for the kick. Not hard assuming mile 13 is in the right place, but if it is a little off it may be a challenge. Assume it is off and on the wrong side, pedal down the floor, but the engine feels maxed out already. Close my eyes, try to not be distracted. Also this mental game of seeing the finish line closer suddenly once you open your eyes works wonders. They have a tape stretched out and everything, full show. Benjamin comes to help and starts racing me towards the tape. Several thoughts go through my head - his 100 meter PR from last spring is 17.7, he is fresh, and I do not want to get beat to the tape by my 9-year-old son! So I was able to find another gear and pull away from him a little bit.

The kick was 30 seconds by my watch (4:34 pace), which gave me 1:13:56, but my official time was 1:13:55. I am glad my stomach was empty and I did not take anything in during the race. After I finished I started making the throw up motions with my throat but nothing came out.

Could not wait for anything, had to get dressed and get going ASAP to take Benjamin to his soccer game, and then help Curt with the Provo Marathon. Benjamin's team won 5-1.

T4 Racer - 529.53 miles

P.M. 1 with Julia in 10:18, 2 with Benjamin in 16:45 with Jenny running the first 1.5 in 12:44.

Five Fingers - 1281.52 miles

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

Day of rest. Caught up on sleep. My body really needed it after getting up at 5:00 AM the day before and no nap.

Night Sleep Time: 9.00Nap Time: 2.00Total Sleep Time: 11.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran 6 with Derek, then 6 alone. Total time for 12 was 1:29:48. Did a 0.5 pickup with the splits of 81,78 (2:39) to test neural drive. Got good feedback. The pace felt tempo-natural, I did not feel like I had to force it. The breathing felt energetic, but not out of control.

P.M. 1 with Julia in 11:34, 1 pushing Jacob in 7:57, 2 with Benjamin in 16:40 still pushing Jacob. Jenny joined us for the first 1.5 in 13:13.

Five Fingers - 1298.52 miles.

Night Sleep Time: 7.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.50
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A.M. 6 with Tyler and Derek, then 6 more alone. Was originally planning on 6x1 mile but did not get good sleep last night because of itching. Did not want to stress the weakened nervous system, so canceled the workout. But it must have been doing as bad as I thought. Towards the end of the run I started feeling edgy and picked it up to 6:00 pace for about 0.7 to calm down the neighing horses. Then I felt like another pickup and decided to do a tempo quarter. Hit in 82, still felt energetic, did another one in 81. The second one was rather obstructed - I had to go under a bridge, uphill around a corner, then a 90 degree turn and some rough road. Then with about 0.2 to go I was itching to do a stride. Once I started the stride it felt good so I decided to keep that pace to the end. This gave me an 86 quarter in spite of running slow in the beginning. Nevertheless, I still think not doing the mile workout was a good idea. Those neighing horses are often just on the surface. You push for a few miles hard, they stop neighing, and you feel flat. Save the energy for another day.

Total time for 12 was 1:29:26.

While I was itching last night and could not get to sleep I decided to call my dad in Russia. We had a good talk. We talked about many things including the perceptions Russians have of the United States. While talking to him a thought hit me. America has two faces. A beautiful face of service and an ugly face of greed. Our ability to get along with other nations depends on which one of those faces they are able to see. As a teenager I found myself on the side of America because I was able to see that face of service. The time was right and God's blessing was there. However, not everybody will live in that time and will have the same blessing. A sure way to improve our ability to get along is to completely get rid of the ugly face of greed. We must do in on an individual level. We must decide today to control our appetites, serve with all of our hearts, and do so consistently, without exceptions, excuses, or skipping. If we do that, everybody, not just select few, it will have an effect of solving most foreign policy issues naturally without even trying. If we do not, we deserve all of the problems, and it would not be right for us to expect those problems to be solved until we are committed to changing ourselves.

P.M. 1 with Julia in 10:52, 0.5 with Benjamin in 4:09. Then 1.5 with Benjamin and Jenny. We found a potential running partner on the trail - Tyler Carr. He turned out to be a Russian speaker as well, so he and I chatted mostly in Russian. Benjamin needed to go the bathroom towards the end of the run, so he picked it up. This gave him 12:43 for 1.5 and 16:52 for 2 miles total. Jenny and I finished 1.5 in 12:53. Ran another mile with Tyler. Pushed Jacob in the stroller.

Five Fingers - 1314.52 miles

Night Sleep Time: 6.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 6.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with Jeff, Derek, Michelle, and Josse. Michelle did 4K - 3K - 2K - 1K workout with 200 recoveries. We took a longer recovery between 2K and 1K because she was losing steam a bit in the 2 K. Her times were 15:32.1, 11:12.7, 7:34.1, and 3:28.7. That longer recovery helped for 1 K. She still could not get her HR over 180 no matter what she did, and could not hold it consistently over 176. Yet as high as it is when she jogs, she should be able to push it into 185-190 range at least. Josse did a fun workout without a watch joining us for portions of the intervals. Total of 15.5 miles.

P.M. 1 with Julia in 10:47, 2 with Benjamin in 16:22, first 1.5 had Jenny with us, the time was 12:43.

Five Fingers - 1333.02 miles

Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 2.00Total Sleep Time: 9.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran alone. Jeff and Derek were supposed to come at 5:30 AM, but neither showed up. The plan was to try 6x1 mile but back out if I sensed trouble. Warmed up 4 miles. Ran the first repeat in 5:20.8 and it felt harder than it should have. On the second one (5:22.5) it became clear the nervous system was not up to it. The lungs felt lazy, and the legs felt like cotton. It was still dark at that point. I jogged a couple of miles waiting for the sun to rise, and decided to see if maybe it was just the lack of light - start an interval, finish it if sub-5:20 pace started coming naturally, otherwise stop as soon as it became clear things were not any better. They were not any better - I ran a quarter in 82 and did not feel like going any faster. Ran easy the rest of the way. Total of 12 miles.

Got home, and then ran 2 more with Benjamin in 15:47. He ran his standard 0.5 in 3:02.

My normal approach in the past when I had a speed workout planned has been to force my way through it regardless of how I felt. I decided to make a change to that. I will reserve the heroic effort for races. If a workout is not going well, I will give it some time to make sure it is not a lack of warm-up, and once it becomes clear there is a problem, then bag it. My thinking is that if the body does not want to run hard it will not become stronger from running hard.

T4 Racer - 543.53 miles

P.M. 1 with Julia in 9:59, and then 1.5 with Jenny in 13:03 during Benjamin's soccer practice. 

Night Sleep Time: 7.25Nap Time: 0.50Total Sleep Time: 7.75
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran 12 miles total, 6 miles with Tyler. Decided to test the neural drive and run a control mile. Ran the last mile of the standard 5 mile tempo course in 5:19.8. That one is a slow mile - direction difference is 7 seconds and I ran it in the slow direction. Felt decent. The breathing was energetic, but not bothersome. Legs felt some initiative. So I decided to do a 3 mile tempo towards the end of my run once I dropped off Tyler.

Ran 3 mile tempo from 7.62 to 10.62 into the run. Out and back course - to 1.5 of the 5 mile tempo, and then back. So about 8 second terrain difference between first and second half, second half slower. Splits: 81, 81, 81, 81 (5:24), 82, 83 (pre-180 turn, 8:09 first half), 84, 82 (5:31), 82, 83, 82, 79 (5:26). Total time 16:21.9.

HR: after the first mile hovered around 157. Then climbed up to 160. On the last quarter hit 168.

Subjective: felt very controlled up until 1.5. The turnaround knocked me out of rhythm, but I recovered OK. Felt energetic, but could run a faster pace. Fast pace made the legs feel sour (cannot kick, but can hold the pace for a while) vs led (like at the end of an all out 800 meters).

Thoughts: I think the problem today was the muscles were not relaxing in time. Which made it hard to run 80 second quarters or faster. The power aspect of the neural drive was OK, I think. I could push HR to 168. However, that HR should have produced a 76 second quarter, not a 79, based on being able to hit 82s at HR below 163. Around 80 second pace I was hitting the limit of how fast the muscle could relax, which is why it was so hard.

 T4 Racer - 555.53 miles

P.M. 1 with Julia in 10:22, 2 with Benjamin in 16:50, first 1.5 had Jenny with us (13:07), then 1.05 alone in 7:08.

 Five Fingers - 1337.07 miles

Night Sleep Time: 7.75Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.75
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A.M. Went to our ward camp-out in the Hobble Creek Canyon. Did not get good sleep. My nose was cold. Decided to cut the run short and not push to hard to avoid putting the body over the edge and getting sick. Ran to the start of the Hobble Creek Half Marathon, then to mile 8, then back to the Cherry Campground. Total of 16 miles in 1:47:56. Picked up to about 5:45 pace from mile 1 of the half to 8. Then when I turned around and did not have the downhill anymore I did not feel motivated to push and just jogged at about 7:30 pace. Not surprising given only 3 hours of sleep in spite of 7 hours of attempted sleep.

Saw a few runners, more runners than cars, that is a good sign. I think I even saw Michelle and Josse, they were going the other way with two other runners who I did not recognize in the dark. I would not have recognized Michelle and Josse either except by their voices.

Afterwards had to hustle to Benjamin's soccer game. Little did I realize how long it could take to take a tent down, especially if you've never done it before. Fortunately I was wise enough to ask a more experienced fellow ward member for help early enough, so we were able to make it to the game on time. Benjamin's team played the team from our old neighborhood, and lost 1-3.

 T4 Racer - 571.53 miles

P.M. Special occasion. Jenny got baptized. Sarah and I gave talks, and then I baptized and confirmed her. Remembered my own  baptism in 1992. Interestingly enough it happened that I was baptized in a pond in Moscow that I used to circle during my runs.  I did not choose the location, though.

Later in the evening, ran 1 mile with Julia in 9:42, and 2 with Benjamin in 15:32 with Jenny running first 1.5 in 11:51. Considered running a few more, but decided to play it safe and not fatigue the body excessively. I do not want to get sick.

Five Fingers - 1340.07 miles

Night Sleep Time: 3.00Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 4.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Day of rest. Went to church. Sarah spoke in the Sacrament Meeting, played the flute for a musical number, and substituted in Primary, all while 8 months pregnant. She thought she had a break compared to playing the organ.

Night Sleep Time: 9.50Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 10.50
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A.M. Ran with Tyler. Did a control 1 mile in 5:19.2. Same stretch as Friday, last mile of the 5 mile tempo course. Felt good. Energetic breathing was not bothersome and felt sustainable. No sour legs. One concern - legs felt slightly weak at the end, would have needed to go longer to find out if this was a problem, but did not want to go over the edge. Plus to go further I would have had to hit some nasty segments - under the bridge, sharp turns, rough trail, and it would have skewed the measurements.

Dropped Tyler off after 6.25, and went for another 3.75. Shortly before the turnaround saw a runner being pulled by a dog. Decided I wanted to get to know him, and also decided I wanted to have enough time to get to know him, so I needed to run pretty quick. So I hit a quarter in 78 to catch up. His name turned out to be Erny Perry. We had a nice chat.

Five Fingers - 1350.07 miles

A.M -2. Julia set a mile record - 8:17. Splits: 2:07, 2:08, 2:05, 1:57. She was conversational up until the last quarter. So I figure if she had the ability to focus she would have run a sub-8:00.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 17:09, Jenny ran first 1.5 in 13:10.

Five Fingers - 1352.07 miles

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

A.M. Ran with Derek and Tyler for the first 6 miles. Did my neural drive test/avoid taper cramp tempo. Decided a good distance would be 1.5. Derek ran it with me, Tyler went ahead while I visited a VPB and Derek stretched. We started at the start of the 5 mile tempo course.

We started out slow - first 200 in 41. Probably due to a short warmup, and still not much sunlight. Then we picked it up and hit half mile in 2:39, and the mile in 5:15 (2:36). The second half was definitely aided, not sure by how much, but not by a whole lot. Maybe 3 seconds. I know, however, that the whole mile going the other way is 7 seconds slower. Based on the 2:1 rule ( twice as much loss in the anti-aided direction than the gain in the aided direction, good rule of thumb to determine a flat equivalent) this would make it about 2 seconds of help and about 5 seconds of hindrance in the opposite direction.

After that we eased off a bit and hit the next quarter in 80. Then we were confused because we still could not see Tyler. I suggested we run another 200 still on pace in hopes of catching him before the 3 mile turnaround from my house. So we did that. However, having to talk caused a bit of a loss of focus, and we ran the next quarter in 81. And then 41 for the last 200. I think both of us were still confused by Tyler's mysterious disappearance. We finished 1.625 in 8:37 (5:18 average pace), and soon found Tyler. Turned out he had stopped for a VPB.

Ran back, then added 2 with Benjamin in 15:45, and 2 without him in 14:56. Pushed Jacob in the stroller during that part of the run.

T4 Racer - 581.53 miles

P.M. Went to Benjamin's soccer game. They won 3-1. Later, 1 with Julia in 11:47, 1.5 with Jenny in 12:52.

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

A.M. Ran with Jeff this morning. It was supposed to be an uneventful run, but it was not so. The pace was very uneventful due to the darkness and the early hour of the day. The slow pace reduced the clearance between my feet and the ground which is naturally low to begin with, the conversation distracted me from paying attention to the footing, and the darkness compounded the danger. So I clipped a bump in the road and went down.

Got up right away thinking no big deal, a couple of scrapes, and started running. However, a few steps down the road I noticed I started to feel dizzy and uncomfortable, like I could not get enough air, even though I was not hyperventilating. I told Jeff I needed to stop for a minute. He figured out right away what happened and asked me if I had hit the ground with my chest, which I did. He said this had happened to him before once when he was playing freeze tag. At the same time I remembered an incident a few years ago when a hockey player was hit in a chest with a puck and died on the spot due the heart stopping. This gave me a concern, but with Jeff's survival story, and the fact that I was still conscious and able to move and reason, I felt a measure of comfort and confidence that this would turn out to be no big deal. Things got a bit worse for a minute - I felt I needed to lay down, and I felt my heart doing one hard thump, and then an awkward pause. So obeyed my instinct and laid down. Then after about 20 seconds I felt an urge to walk, and I obeyed that instinct as well. After about 10 seconds of walking I felt ready to run. For about a quarter mile I still felt a bit nauseous but after that normal for the rest of the run.

We spent a good portion of the remainder of the run discussing how fast Jeff could have gotten the ambulance to get to that section of the trail. Decided 20 minutes would have been very good. Had this been more serious by that time I would have been having a good time with my relatives in the spirit world.

Dropped Jeff off at 7.25, and went for 3 more. Did a tempo pickup for a mile in 5:37. Could not get going until the last quarter - had the fear of hitting another bump on the trail and that made me too cautious to break 5:40 pace for a while. Finally I overcame that fear and hit a 1:20 quarter.

 Five Fingers - 1362.32 miles

P.M. 1.08 with Julia in 10:29, 1.5 with Benjamin and Jenny in 15:04. We took it easy because Benjamin got hurt playing soccer and his shin was hurting.

Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.50Total Sleep Time: 7.50
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with Tyler and Derek. Tyler asked me about the conflict between Russia and Georgia. That got me thinking about my repertoire of Georgian/Russian interaction jokes, and they heard a couple. Then I went on to Brezhnev jokes. Then it was time for the fast mile.

We ran it from mile 3Derek ran it with me. We did 81, 78, 78, 79 - 5:16.5. I felt strong, did not have to focus so hard on maintaining the pace, felt like I could probably hit the first half of TOU in 1:10-1:11 with favorable winds in the canyon.

Dropped them off a 7 and ran another 3.

Five Fingers - 1372.32 miles

P.M. 1 with Julia in 10:38, 1.5 with Jenny in 13:10. 

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

A.M. Ran 8 miles alone. Did my taper cramp prevention/neural drive test mile in 5:19.8. Ran it from 3 to 4 of the 5 mile tempo course. Splits were 79, 81, 79, 80. Felt OK, but not great. However, was holding 5:20 pace without too much struggle, and no sour legs. Just did not have the zap and neighing horses. Decided to do a quarter at marathon pace effort. Ran it from 200 to go to 200 past finish on the tempo course. This involves a sharp uphill curve coming from under the bridge under Geneva road. Thought from the zap feedback in the legs that I was headed for about 87-88, but was pleasantly surprised to see 84.6.

Jogged home, and ran a mile with Julia in 10:46.

P.M.  1.5 with Benjamin and Jenny in 13:15.

T4 Racer - 590.53 miles

Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Race: Top of Utah Marathon (26.22 Miles) 02:33:47, Place overall: 3
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Quick report. Top of Utah Marathon 2:33:47, 3rd place behind Ezekiel Ruto (2:22:57), and Nick McCombs (2:28:42), who incidentally ran the exact same time I did last year, except last year we had good tail wind, but this year we did not. $250, back in the top 3 and real money (as opposed to $50 age division consolation cash). Nothing special I did this time except come to the race fit to run reasonably fast. Last year I put on a better performance, but it was not good enough. So in a way I cashed out on it this year.

The run put me in the 10 year TOU club which consists of only 16 people. In those 10 years I won twice, took one second place, four thirds, one fourth, and two fifths. My average time has been 2:34:02 with 2:27:46 being the fastest, and 2:39:12 the slowest. My average place has been third, exactly 3.0. So I suppose today was as close to average as I could get. An interesting way to celebrate the tenth anniversary of running the race.

Drove up alone in my Fast Running Van (Dogde Ram CNG). It was cheaper to drive than Zhu (Ford Escort Wagon). The whole trip from Provo to Logan and back cost me around $14. Stayed at Hotel de Petersen, my usual lodging place in Logan, thanks Paul and Stacey.

Ran a short warm-up to the bus, and some more to shake up the bowels at the start, total of about 1.5. For stretching climbed the fence several times. This was going to be a multiple star race, according to Paul's recent definition.

The temperature was great, maybe only too humid. The wind in the canyon was a mild head/cross. So I knew from experience we were headed for non-spectacular times, maybe 2:31 for me if I was on top of the game, 2:32-2:33 otherwise.

Ezekiel Ruto took off and was gone. His first mile must have been around 5:00. I figured he was going after the sub-2:20 bonus and the course record. He would have needed a break though to pull it off today. So I figured maybe it is good that he is gone so fast, maybe he'd come back. But the hopes were slim. At least slimmer for me than for Nick. I had to worry about not coming back myself to a possible dark horse to keep my money.

First mile was 5:31, then 5:40, then 5:30, 5:34, and 5:36 - 27:51 at 5 miles. The effort was the same. I was running with Nick, Eric Held, and our blogger Steve Cuttitta. Steve dropped back after about the first mile. Eric stayed with us until around mile 7. We chatted some. Nick and I showed Eric the backs of our shirt for the FRB commercial. Let's hope the effort was not wasted.

Mile 6 was 5:39, 34:42 at 10 K. The pace feels just right, although the splits are quite slow. That's OK, who cares.

The subsequent mile markers, at least some of them were in the wrong place. The pace was very steady, but the splits were very odd. Nevertheless we hit mile 10 in 55:36, 13 in 1:12:58, and made it to the half in 1:13:34. Next two miles were good - 5:29, and 5:35, 1:24:04 at 15. However, I started losing steam and lost contact with Nick at the aid stations at 15. This did not bother me too much since I was doing my best. I decided there is no such thing as a slow or a bad split in a race if that was your true honest best that day. Maybe slower than you expected, but you need to learn to be sufficiently humble to take what your body gives you and not get depressed.

Next two miles were all right - 5:51 and 5:50. Nick gapped me by 22 seconds. Then mile 18 in 5:54, and now Nick is 40 seconds ahead. How did he do that?

Now the hills. Next mile in 6:13. Not great but acceptable. Followed by 6:19. Now that was very non-spectacular, but that's what the body gave me.

1:54:10 at 20. Nick was around 1:52:50. Not surprising, as slow as I was running he should be gapping me fast.

Hoped to run 5:55 on the next downhill (1%) mile. 6:06 instead. 2:00:16 at 21. OK, here comes Kot Bayun, a cat from Russian fairy tales that disables its would-be attackers by putting them to sleep with magic. I'll be fighting him for the next 5 miles. Next 5 miles are rolling, no net elevation drop, lots of turns. Bad place to have Kot Bayun around.

Let's see if I can get Bayun off my back with a surge. Try running hard for one minute. No, does not work. He has a death grip on me. I am feeling OK, but the legs just do not want to move. I try to move them quicker only to be lulled by the soothing songs of my enemy Bayun. It feels like a dream when you try to run away from danger, you are not tired, but for the life of you you cannot move your legs.

Saw Paul, Cody, and Jon on their way to pickup and escort Andy. Next two miles in 6:30 each. 2:13:16 at 23. This is embarrassing. At least not as bad as in 2005 when I was slower than 7:00 on the downhill mile. Got a short outburst of rain. I liked it for 10 seconds, then I did not like it any more. However it seemed to shake Bayun up a little bit. Maybe in St. George I should ask somebody to stand at the top of the Winchester hill with a twig, or better, some freshly picked nettles, and whip me.

Did not feel power loss on the uphill at the end of mile 25. That is a good sign. Missed my splits at 24 and 25, 26 miles in 2:32:30, 6:24.7 average. OK, now press hard, break 2:34, beat the 40:00 guy for the last 10 K, in general minimize the bummer. As I was coming in through the chute they announced, and I remembered that I had this race 10 times by now, and I also remembered that my worst performance both in terms of time and place had been 2:39:12 for 5th (2005). That put things in perspective, and cheered me up a bit.

1:17 for the kick, 5:52 pace, not bad for the uphill with Bayun on the back.

Life after death:

Walked around a bit, chatted with Nick, drank some Gatorade, ate a banana, then started walking towards Paul's house. Realized it would be a long walk, so I started jogging. Cheered Steve Cuttitta, Albert Wint, and Eric Held as they were finishing. Great race for Albert - 2:42:25, a new PR. Albert has a challenge. He is missing a flap in his aortic valve. Shows that a respectable marathon is possible even with a bad heart. Eric PR'ed as well, and was the first finisher from Logan, hopefully a treadmill for him if NordicTrack did not back out.

Then cheered Ben VanBeekum and Bill Cobler. Jason Shoenfield was right behind Bill, so I used that to scare Bill into a good kick. Jogging started to feel better, the back was a bit stiff at first, but then I warmed it up. Saw Andy being escorted by the crew, considered joining them, but felt too lazy, too wet, and too anxious to get changed.

My watch was still going. Got to Paul's house about 2:56 into the race, and a devious plan entered my mind. I wanted to qualify for Boston! I will be clocked by the time I get out of the shower. I've qualified before (Rocket City 2003) by the time I was driving, but I did not shower then. And I did not have to run very far to get changed - my clothes were at the finish, and I changed in the bathroom of a nearby hotel. And I did not shower. My time then was 3:02 (2:37:25 in the actual race), did not get the seconds. The reason for the hurry was that I needed to get to the airport. So this one would be a lot more challenging, I like long showers, especially after a marathon.

So I hurried as fast as I could, and made it out of the shower by 3:05:37. I even beat my first marathon time (3:05:51). Another challenge. Can I BQ by the time I am driving? Hurried again, gathered my stuff as quick as I could, and ran out to the van. 3:09:33.

I was up for another challenge. I remembered than now that I am 35 they give me extra 5 minutes to qualify. Well, if they give that, I am not going to waste it. Decided to try to BQ by the time I pull up to the pump at LW's gas station. A small traffic jam and a couple of red lights made it a real challenge, but I made it by 3:15:53.

T4 Racer - 619.05 miles

P.M. 1 with Julia in 10:45, 2 with Benjamin in 17:44, Jenny ran the last 1.5 in 13:16.

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

Day of rest. Caught up on sleep. A neighbor knocked on our door and wanted to come to church with us. So we took him. It was his first time since he was 11. He had a good time.

Night Sleep Time: 9.00Nap Time: 2.00Total Sleep Time: 11.00
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A.M. Easy 10.1 this morning in 1:14:51. Was supposed to have 4 training partners, but none showed up. I told Sarah this is exactly why I can win money in marathons. If everybody I ever invited to run with me showed up every time to train, and then showed up at a race, I'd have no chance without some serious Quality X fixes.

Legs felt slightly stale, but the neural drive was good. Around 6 miles into the run I heard neighing horses and decided to let them loose until they stopped neighing, but no longer than half a mile. Ran a quarter in 81 followed by 79, 2:40 for 0.5. They were still neighing to go more, but I told them to be quiet. The breathing was energetic. The legs were slightly stale but not sour. I heard that the Eskimos have 50 different words for snow. Well, runners should have about as many words to describe different feelings during a run. If everybody ran a lot, maybe the vocabulary would be richer, but for now I have to settle for inventing my own terms - stale, sour, snappy, zappy, energetic breathing, attacked by Kot Bayun, etc.

P.M. 1.06 with Julia in 11:15, 2 with Benjamin in 17:50, Jenny joined for the first 1.5 in 13:18. Swimming at Provo Rec, then ran back (2.05 in 15:54). 

Five Fingers - 1387.53 miles

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

A.M. Ran with Tyler and Derek. Total of 12 miles. Did a 5 mile tempo alone on my standard course after 5.38 warm-up. Splits: 5:44 - 5:38 - 5:43 - 5:42 - 5:43. Total time 28:30, out in 14:12, back in 14:18. No staleness in the muscles, but some serious issues with the neural drive. In the last 3 miles the legs utterly refused to run any faster than 5:42 pace. Kot Bayun had his day and kept me under his spell. Probably still out of fuel from the marathon. Total time for 12 miles was 1:21:29.

Immediately afterwards added 2 with Benjamin in 17:15.

I wish I could run a marathon so that I would not be able to run for a week afterwards. Why? Because it would be 2:10.

T4 Racer - 633.05 miles

A.M-2: 1.52 with Jenny in 15:08 with Julia running the first 1.02 in 10:41.

P.M. 0.5 to Steve's Crest to get the Fast Running Van. It had a problem with power windows that got fixed under warranty.

Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 9.00
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A.M. 12 miles in 1:31:49. First 7 with Tyler, Jeff, and Derek. Quite a crew for 5:15 AM.

Thought of the day - you have to have a license to fish, and to drive, but you do not have to have one to buy alcohol. Even in the Soviet Union, an exceptionally bureaucratic state (wow managed to spell this one right on the first try, and just thought of a mnemonic rule to remember - if you pronounce it phonetically, the first part sounds like the Spanish word burro which means donkey, so bureaucratic = ruled by a donkey, easy to remember), you had to get a medical certificate to run a 10 K, but you did not have to have anything except money to buy vodka.

P.M. 1 with Julia in 10:59, 1.5 with Jenny in 12:42. Matt joined us have way through. Then 1.5 more with Matt in 11:56. Pushed Jacob for the entire run. Benjamin did not run - injured from soccer. He was supposed to run the BYU Triple Crown Mile, but was unfortunately side lined. We decided from now on we would play soccer in a less formal arrangement - just friends and family.

Five Fingers - 1403.63 miles

Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with Tyler. Did a warm-up, then 8x400 on the trail with 200 recovery. The purpose of the workout was a nervous system reboot. It has worked in the past in some cases, and my body was suggesting it was time for this particular workout. The focus was to learn a smooth but powerful and wide stride and how to maintain it with the anaerobic bear on the back. The value comes from being able to apply the wide stride skill when the anaerobic bear is not there, but you have to run longer. Usually with a lot of tempo runs the skill carries.

Ran all on the same stretch alternating direction. Tyler did a few 200s with me. Times: 73.1, 73.0, 72.0, 70.0, 71.6, 71.2, 72.6, 69.4. Felt the stride was choppy in the first two, and somewhat in the third. Then it got wider and more relaxed. Lost concentration on the 7th trying to get around a group of walkers. Could not go any faster, but was recovering very well. Felt ready to go again after 100 meter jog, but gave it more rest anyway. Was originally planning on taking 400 meter rest at times to encourage more sub-70s, but realized it was not going to help. Decided I needed to let the times happen naturally, not force them. On the last one coasted through the first 200, then pushed the last 200.

Ran a long cool-down, total distance 12 miles.

The excitement of the day was seeing two police cars on the trail and some teenagers getting arrested. Instead of handcuffs they had some form of a strait jacket around them.

T4 Racer - 645.05 miles

P.M. 1.5 alone in 11:37. 1 with Benjamin and Julia in 10:46. Benjamin's knee is still hurting from soccer, he would not even try running with Jenny. Then 1.5 with Jenny in 13:10.

Went to the temple with Sarah. I told her on the way that somebody was going to ask us if she was pregnant with our first child. She was skeptical. Sure enough, the sealer did.

Five Fingers - 1407.63 miles

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

A.M. Ran alone. The run started with some excitement. Just like yesterday it involved police and juveniles. I ran out about 0.14 and saw Sarah. She got a cramp. We stood there together trying to decide what to do. In the meantime a police car pulled up and a cop asked us if we'd seen anybody. He told us somebody called and reported that some juveniles were causing trouble. I think he thought for a moment we were the juveniles.

Finally we decided to get the van and give Sarah a ride home. So I ran back another 0.14. Then ran 12.1 in 1:32:44. My body said I needed to slower than 8:00 pace in the first 3 miles, and I did not force the pace to be any faster. Then it agreed to run around 8:00 pace. After 6 miles 7:00-7:20 pace felt right, so I ran it. With half a mile to go I felt like picking it up and ran 2:56 for the last 0.5.

Quote of the day:

Those teachers, they just don't understand. They expect something from a guy that has just run a 20 K. It is as if he had just had 100 grams of vodka!

A Russian distance coach.

Joke of the day:

An Eskimo from Chukotka is sitting by the Bering Strait and looking in the direction of Alaska. He is in tears. They ask him what's wrong. He responds: "The Queen sold Alaska, but she did not sell Chukotka!"

P.M. 1.5 alone in 12:40, 1 with Julia in 10:43, 1.5 with Benjamin and Jenny in 13:15. Pushed Jacob for the last 2.5 miles.

Five Fingers - 1420.01 miles

Night Sleep Time: 7.75Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.75
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A.M. Ran with Jeff and little James (Ted's son). We warmed up 5.62. After that James continued to the house, and Jeff and I ran the 5 mile tempo. I was not sure what to expect, so the plan was conservative - go out at around 5:40-5:45 pace, pick it up if I felt good, just try to hold it otherwise.

First quarter was sluggish - 87, then I was able to get into a rhythm. Splits by the mile:

5:36, 5:29, 5:32 (with a 180), 5:29, 5:30

Total time 27:36.6, first half 13:52, second 13:44. Was happy to beat 5:30 average coming back. 53.5 seconds faster than Tuesday.

Jeff was feeling very conversational and energetic. During the first mile I thought he was going to burst into a song. Throughout the run I had to ask him a few of times to back off because I could not hold his pace. In the last three quarters he let his horses loose and ran 76,76,75 to finish in 27:16, and hitting 5:10 in the last mile.

Drafting behind Jeff I could hit 83 quarters fairly relaxed, they almost felt like a jog. However, 82 quarters required concentration, and when it got to 81 it was sufficiently unsustainable for me to have to ask Jeff to ease off. Once Jeff left me, I struggled through a couple of 84 second quarters, and then was able to speed up to 80 on the last one. The struggle may have had something to do with running 81, and then 82 uphill earlier as well as with running alone.

Overall the tempo went better than I expected. I thought it would have been good to just dip under 28:00. Nothing spectacular, but after Tuesday I was prepared for much worse.

Cooled down 1.38, then ran 2 miles with Benjamin in 17:35 in Five Fingers.

 T4 Racer - 657.05 miles

 Five Fingers - 1422.01 miles

P.M. 0.35 around the block with Joseph pushing Jacob in the stroller accompanied by Julia running and Jenny on a bike. 1 with Julia in 11:03. My ESL student's son Moroni joined us half way on a bike. He was quite surprised that Julia was running and not getting tired. I told him she could go faster and challenged her to show off. She picked it up, but it was not too far away from the finish and she ran the rest of the run pretty slow, so a slow overall time. Then I told him I had another running daughter, older and faster. 1.5 with Jenny and Moroni in 12:12. Jenny cranked it up to about 7:40 pace in the second half, and Moroni said, wow. Then I told him she had more in the tank, and challenged her to show off. She sped to about 7:00 in the last 0.14.

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

Day of rest.

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

A.M. 1 with Julia in 10:49. 8 mostly alone in 59:31. Shortly before the turnaround saw Luz, then decided to run a bit faster to catch up after the turnaround, and then a little bit with her whatever pace she was going. Ran the fast portion (1.25) in 7:06. Felt good.

 Five Fingers - 1431.01 miles

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 17:01. Jenny ran 1.5 with us in 12:42. 0.34 with Joseph in 3:58 pushing Jacob in a stroller. He ran the whole way without stopping. This is his first official record for a distance longer than 100 meters. Then Jacob wanted to run to. He did a "speed workout" - 2x100 first in 1:10, second in 1:04. First time I was able to get a 2 year old to run without stopping for that long. I think running is going to be more natural for the younger children as they watch the older ones.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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A.M. Easy 8 in 1:03:31, first 4 with Derek. Felt good.

Five Fingers - 1431.01 miles

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 17:21. Jenny ran 1.5 with us in 13:05. Benjamin decided he wanted to play the last soccer game of the season after all. So we went. 1 mile with Julia there in 10:58. Benjamin's team won 2-1. The players were smaller, and Benjamin was also more careful. No injuries this time. 0.34 with Joseph in 4:12. Jacob did 2x100 - 1:06 and 1:07.

Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Night Sleep Time: 219.25Nap Time: 15.00Total Sleep Time: 234.25
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