Breaking the Wall

Week starting Jan 06, 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:

Russian champion tries Crocs, commits to racing a marathon in them

Nikolay Chavkin in the video below did 3x1000, first two in Adidas carbon-fiber models, the last one in Crocs. Surprised by the result (2:52, 2:52, 2:50) with the fastest interval done in Crocs, he committed to racing a marathon in Crocs if the video gets 42K likes and 195 comments (for 42 km 195 m, the marathon distance). Nikolay's current marathon PR is 2:14:00. The video was created by a Russian sporting goods store chain. Their moto is "more sports - brighter life", which we think is wonderful, and also deserves a Like. If you want to see a fast marathon in Crocs, go to the video and click the Like button. And make sure to share it with your friends.

Miles:This week: 0.00 Month: 152.00 Year: 152.00
Saucony Type A Lifetime Miles: 640.15
Bare Feet Lifetime Miles: 450.37
Nike Double Stroller Lifetime Miles: 124.59
Brown Crocs 4 Lifetime Miles: 1334.06
Amoji 1 Lifetime Miles: 732.60
Amoji 2 Lifetime Miles: 436.69
Amoji 3 Lifetime Miles: 348.67
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Night Sleep Time: 20.02Nap Time: 4.00Total Sleep Time: 24.02
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Got good night sleep, went to church, stayed awake for all meetings, then after some missionary visits came home and took a 2 hour nap.

Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 2.00Total Sleep Time: 10.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Jacob kept us awake all night. Did not get a lot of sleep. Ran with Ted and Jeff this morning. Very slippery I first did 5 on my own, the watch got messed up, but it was a bit slower than 40 minutes. Then 8 with Ted and Jeff, and 2 more with Ted, total of 1:21:41 for 10 miles. So that gave me around 2:02 for 15 miles.

P.M. Josse came and showed me some stretches for my extra tight right hip. Will give those a try. Took a 2 hour nap. Ran with the kids. 1.5 with Jenny in 13:27, 2 with Benjamin in 15:51, and 1.05 with Julia in 10:02. Then 0.7 on my own in 5:15. 

Night Sleep Time: 4.50Nap Time: 2.00Total Sleep Time: 6.50
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Uneventful 15.1 in 1:52:19, first 10.1 with Ted in 1:14:41. Still slippery, although not as bad as yesterday. Was able to beat the 7:30 guy. On the last 0.4 finally got out on some dry ground, still patches of ice, but much better. Picked it up, ran 5:45 pace. Did the magic hip stretches later.

P.M. 3 miles cross-country skiing in the Hobble Creek Canyon. When we came back, 2 miles with Benjamin in 15:56. Jenny and Julia ran with Sarah. 

Night Sleep Time: 0.13Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.13
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. We got a serious snow storm. However, at 5:00 AM it was still decent. Ted was being usually late due to snow problems. I waited, then decided to start without him. Went about 200 feet, fell down. Never had an event happen that soon! Got up. Saw Ted about 0.14 into the run, turned around. We ran 10.1 on the trail in 1:18:50. After the first two miles we began to wonder what kind of time we would get in Painters if the roads are like this (we were in about 4 inches of snow). So we picked it up for a mile at a tempo pace. It was one of the better miles of the course, and we did it in 6:29.

I've given the issue some thought and realized that I really do not enjoy anything very much anymore that does not require significant effort, either physical or mental. There are things I do not mind doing, such as watching a movie, but that is where it stops. It is always at the level "I do not mind" vs "I would really like to". Sleep would be one exception, I always look forward to it.

I get so much more joy out of doing things that require effort that whatever I can get out of those that do not just pales in comparison so much that they are not worth the hassle and/or the money unless something else of significance is being accomplished at the same time.

P.M. Ran 2 miles in 15:12 on the trail, then ran 2.2 to the BYU indoor track, did a mile time trial with Benjamin which turned out not so good - he was 3 seconds ahead of 6:40 pace after three laps (0.6), but he was overdressed and got too hot, this frustrated him enough to just stop and call it quits in the middle of the fourth lap. But he PR'ed on 1000 meters en route - 4:06. Ran a bit with Benjamin afterwards outside, he got a talk about mental attitude and Winston Churchill's "never, never, never give up". We will try again today (Thursday). Jenny ran 1.6 easy, and Julia ran 1 mile. Also ran a small errand to the church and back.

Did the magic hip stretches.

Night Sleep Time: 0.11Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.11
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Another uneventful 15.3 in 1:59:55. Nobody fell down. 16 degrees, lots of ice, but enough traction to average sub-8:00. Had our Sasha and Ted uneventful run talk show. After discussing upcoming Dubai and the possibility of Haile being beat by a pacer, we talked about Haile's business success, how much good you can do even with a little bit of money, the Kiva program that allows ordinary folks to provide small business loans to aspiring entrepreneurs in developing countries, the waste of the welfare program that fails to prevent people on welfare from buying alcohol and tobacco, then the discussion turned to the history of the Soviet Union, politics in Russia, and the grip of the Russian mafia on the Russian livelihood today. In reference to Revelations in the New Testament I mentioned the whore that sat upon many waters, and from then on we discussed the current American politics and Hillary Clinton in particular. Dropped Ted off at 13.3, and added another 2 miles by myself.

A.M2  2.1 to the BYU indoor track, then 1 mile warm-up with Benjamin, then 1 mile time trial. With the help of shorts and t-shirt, as well as Winston Churchill Benjamin did much better today. 6:32.2 with the splits (by 0.2) of  1:17 - 1:19 - 1:19 - 1:20 , and 1:17 for the kick. New mile PR. Benjamin's progression in the table below:

 Age1 Mile
5 K
 7.9 7:0923:18

His current 5 K PR is relatively weak, he was not feeling quite 100% when he set it, and it was done on a slow course. A month prior to that he ran 13:57 flat 2 miler closing it with a 6:43 mile, which until now was his 1 mile PR. I imagine also based on his Thanksgiving 800 in 3:00.6 that he really has about a 6:20 mile in him if he was racing kids outside. The indoor dust confuses him, and he starts getting a false sense of fatigue. But his 7:09 last year was also done on the indoor track with comparable dust/lack of kid competition challenge. So it would be fair to say that his true mile speed improved by 37 seconds in a year.

Ran another 0.7 to Computune this time for a tour for the kids. Learned some things about a car shop. Later took the kids to the Love To Learn store in Salem to get their prizes. Benjamin got a solar car kit for $18 for his new mile PR.

Did the magic hip stretches later in the afternoon.

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

A.M. Uneventful 15.1 in 1:56:13. First 10.1 with Ted. It warmed up on the last 5, and the snow got so slippery that I was down to 8:30 in some places. At the end I figured I'd break 40:00 for the last 5. Then I realized that the only way this was going to happen was if I ran 5:00 pace on dry sections, which was doable because there were not that many of them. So I got 0.2 of VO2 Max mileage, and 39:59 for the last 5.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 18:47, Jenny joined us for the first 1.5 in 14:33. Cross-country skiing for 3 miles in the Hobble Creek Canyon. The arms felt stronger, got good push off, although went slow most of the way as the snow was sticky and the road was usually rough. Chased three free roaming cows. The kids went sledding. 1.05 with Julia after we got home in 11:38.

Did the magic hip stretches.

Night Sleep Time: 0.12Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.12
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. 1 mile with Julia in 10:34 to see the fence ice sculpture on the trail. Then 5 mile shakeout by myself in 37:08. Will do the long run with Ted and Jeff later in the afternoon.

Did the magic hip stretches. 

P.M. Ted got hurt snowshoeing, so it was just Jeff and me. It was warm enough for shorts, probably about 40. But still lots of snow on the ground. We ran 10.1 in 1:09:44. Got good traction, so I thought I could do a tempo run. Took Benjamin and Jenny for a run, we did 1.5 in 13:21, then Benjamin closed with a 3:37 0.5. Ran 8 more, including the Provo River 5 Mile Tempo. The snow kept getting more and more slippery as I went along. Did the first 2.5 in 15:27 and thought that was slow until I got through the second half which took 16:00, 31:27 for 5 miles, 6:17.4 avg. I am hesitating if I should really call this a tempo because I was not working super-hard although I was tempo-focused. Decided since I was fresh, and the remaining 1.38 had more traction I'd just keep the effort to the end. Plus I needed to get home fast for missionary visits. So I ran that part in 8:28, 6:08.12 avg, with the last mile in 6:03, and the last two quarters in 1:29 and 1:25. Needless to say the last quarter was the driest. This gave me 39:55 for 6.38 of tempo, 6:15.39 avg, and 2:18:09 for 20.1, 6:52.39 avg. Felt very good.

Night Sleep Time: 0.15Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.15
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Night Sleep Time: 20.02Nap Time: 4.00Total Sleep Time: 24.02
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