Breaking the Wall

Week starting Jan 14, 2007

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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:

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Miles:This week: 24.00 Month: 0.00 Year: 333.17
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: 380.67
Lopsie Sports Sandals Lifetime Miles: 818.02
Lopsie Sports Sandals 2 Lifetime Miles: 637.27
Iprome Garden Clogs Lifetime Miles: 346.18
Beslip Garden Clogs Lifetime Miles: 488.26
Joybees 1 Lifetime Miles: 1035.60
Madctoc Clogs Lifetime Miles: 698.29
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Easy run with Ted in the morning. Did 10.04 in 1:11:43. The temperature varied from -8F to -4F during the run. Wore anywhere from two to three layers of clothing, including gloves and socks. That was perfect - very comfortable, but not too much. Special emphasis on on the extremities and the crotch. Years of running through Russian winters have helped.

The entire time we discussed Ryan Hall's 59:43 in the half. I want him to run 2:03 marathon to prove the pundits wrong. I love proving the pundits wrong or see them proving wrong. One of my favorite scriptus is 2 Nephi:9:28-29 :

O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish.

But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God.

I think the "pundits" start making wrong predictions when they are out of tune with the Spirit of God and start placing their own wisdom above it. I think the prediction of 2:04 limit for the marahton world record fundamentally underestimates our potential, and I am looking forward to watching it proven wrong by somebody who has the talent and obeys the laws of breaking 2:04.

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Another cold day. 0F at the start, -2F at the finish. Ran with Ted at 4:45 AM. Usual 10.04. Did a tempo 2.5 in 14:59. Hard to run fast with 2.5 layers of clothes, on snow, in the cold, and that early. Not sure how much it slows you down, we'll find out when the roads clear up.

Afterwards, read Lesson 2 Tragedy or Destiny out of the church lesson manual. After the challenges of the run, my mind was very open to these words of President Kimball:

Being human, we would expel from our lives physical pain and mental anguish and assure ourselves of continual ease and comfort, but if we were to close the doors upon sorrow and distress, we might be excluding our greatest friends and benefactors. Suffering can make saints of people as they learn patience, long-suffering, and self-mastery.

Ran with the kids in the afternoon. All three set a record for the coldest they've run it - 7F.

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10.03 miles in the morning at 4:45 with Ted in 1:09:58. Met him on the trail - he started from BYU. Another cold day - 0F temperature.

Ran with the kids in the afternoon.

Got a K-TEC blender in the mail today. Sarah made soup in in for dinner, as well as some apple sauce and salsa.

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Ran with Ted. Today was our sleep-in day  - we ran at 5:30 AM instead of the regular 4:45. Did a tempo. Ran 14:37 on our standard 2.5 mile stretch from Geneva Road to the trail entrance partking lot by the Utah Lake. The road conditions were a lot better, although the first mile still covered with snow for a good part. Still cold, 0F, wore the standard 2.5 layers of clothes.

Ted was feeling tired. I encouraged him to run 7:40 pace the rest of the way. This also gave me a nice mental break after the tempo. Although I am not putting in a lot of physical effort into those tempos, mentally they are very hard. It is dark and cold, the road traction is not the best, it is early in the morning, and the clothes weigh enough and block the movement enough to cause some serious mental resistance. That's why I keep them down to only 2.5 miles and run them at 5:45-6:00 pace. 

Ran with the kids in the afternoon. 

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No sleeping in this morning. Met Ted on the trail. Did not feel like I had a good attitude the entire run. Missed my warm bed all the way long. The inversion dampened my spirits. I can feel the quality of the air that is going in when I pick up the pace. And when I feel the quality is not good, I do not want to pick up the pace. And I feel depressed, a bit of a panic from the realization that something I depend upon for life is does not have very good quality.

Finally decided to do an attitude improvement tempo pick up. Ran the uphill mile (the last one of the standard tempo course, 0.5% grade) in 5:55. That made me feel better. My mind has a natural tendency to notice or recall connections or associations. So I remembered Pushkin's cure for dampened sprits that I had to memorize in the Russian equivalent of grade school or some time early in junior high: 

Выпьем с горя; где же кружка?
Сердцу будет веселей.

which in my translation, is:

Let us drink from sorrow, where is the mug?
The heart will be merrier.

Combine that with the fact that your average Russian literature teacher approaches Pushkin
the same way a devout Christian would approach the Bible. No wonder Russia has serious alcohol
problems.  While Pushkin wrote beautiful poetry, I think the teachers should emphasize that had he chosen not to drink, it would have been even better. And he probably would also have had a less explosive temper which would have given him the wisdom not to duel.


Ran with the kids in the afternoon.

Found a story that just cracked me up about how a bug in a cake printer produced a very
interesting birthday greeting message for an 80-year old Italian lady. I could not stop laughing for about 5 minutes. Good exercise for the abdominal muscles.


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Tempo run with Ted in the morning. Sleep in day - we ran at 7:15 AM. Warmed up to Geneva Road, and did the standard 10 mile tempo. I had too goals - stay with Ted as much as possible, and catch the 6:00 mile guy eventually. The trail was partially covered with snow, but a good part of it was dry. However, you did have to swerve from side to side to catch the good parts. Also, it was around 1F, so I had my standard 2.5 layers.

We ran together for the first 1.5 miles at 6:15 pace. Then stopped for a bio break, while Ted kept going. I started chasing him, and sped up to 5:45. It felt easier than I expected, and I felt some extra bounce in my stride. There are a couple of things I did different last week. Ted brought me some Synflex to try. It is a glucosamine-based supplement that is supposed to promote the growth of cartrilage. My hope is that it will improve the quality of my spinal disks and thus increase the resilience of the spine. I also changed my Pettibon exercise routine to walk around carrying a medicine ball above my head while wearing the headweights.

Hit 2.5 in 15:08, then caught Ted 0.5 miles later, along with the 6:00 guy. Decided to stay with Ted until we were 30 seconds behind the 6:00 guy. Ted was not feeling good - a bit sick, and a bit overtrained. We ran at 6:20 - 6:25 pace, and then slowed down to a 1:38 quarter. We were 28 seconds behind the 6:00 guy, and I decided it was time to take off. The road was covered with snow, so I fell behind even further - 30:32 (15:14) at 5 miles. That was bad news. So I pressed it a bit harder, and managed to not fall behind any further on the way back through the snowy section. Then with the same effort, I started closing the gap when the road was dry. 45:17 at the turnaround, 14:45 for 2.5. Now I was fully aware of the conditions of the trail and the difficulty of running 5:50 pace on it with all the clothes on, so I got down to business. Still 7 seconds to close with a mile to go, and it is uphill and covered with snow. Barely made it - 59:59.7, 14:42 on the last 2.5. 

Ran back to Ted, finished with him, then we ran to my house. 13.7 for the run. Ran with the kids a short while later, and then went cross-country skiing with Benjamin at Sundance. This was his first time cross-country skiing, and my first time in 20 years. I did a few tempo stretches, all I could do was 9:00 mile pace putting in 6:00 mile running effort. However, I believe, cross-country skiing is exactly what I need for my back. It bends it and stretches it in a way that feels just right when I lean forward and push off with both arms. I remember that in the past I felt cross-country skiing made me run with better form. I need to find a time and cost-effective way to do it as often as possible. If anybody knows of a good place to buy a pair of boots and skis, please post a comment or send me an e-mail. 

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