Breaking the Wall

Fast Running Blog February 10 K

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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: 0.00 Month: 220.24 Year: 560.35
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
Blue Crocs Lifetime Miles: 1164.32
Kimisant Black Clogs Lifetime Miles: 720.62
Black Crocs 2023 Lifetime Miles: 1312.70
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Brooks T4 Racing Flat Miles: 55.10Saucony Type A Miles: 20.60
Night Sleep Time: 47.00Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 48.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Day of rest. Had Stake Conference today. Got a new Stake President, the old one is going on a mission. Had a member of the Quorum of the Seventy Elder Mask. He happens to be a grandson of Andres Gonzalez who was the first LDS missionary from Mexico back in 1910. Elder Mask told us about how his grandfather got called to go on a mission soon after he got married. He had to walk 24 days to get to the mission field. During the mission he and his companion were about to be executed by a firing squad, but they managed to talk their way out of it by bearing their testimony and telling the soldiers they had an important message for the new president of the federal government. They got to see the president, and they got along with him well enough to be able to ensure the safety of the missionaries in Mexico.

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 Daniel, Matt, and Mary Ann. Jeff slept in, will run in the afternoon. We ran 7 together, then dropped off Daniel, ran another mile and then Matt needed to turn towards BYU. So I stayed on the trail, and Matt and Mary Ann ran towards BYU with the expectation to flirt. Total of 10 miles in 1:16:39. Interestingly enough, add another hour and you get Hobbie's marathon PR.

Did explosive sprints. I think they have done some magic in the last month. On December 31 I raced a 5 K in 17:03 on a course and under the conditions very similar to the one last Saturday. The only  difference I would consider material is that I ran the first one alone and the one last Saturday drafting. But I do not think I could draft up 42 seconds. Maybe 20. The other 20 I think are a legitimate improvement in fitness.

The feeling in the 5 K on Saturday was also very different compared to the 5 K a month ago and the half-marathon two weeks ago. I felt some power in the legs, they were not caving. That is why I think I was able to negative split the race. I have never been able to negative split a 5 K before, the race is just so fast that my legs get too tired to run the last mile any faster than the average pace.

That gets me thinking. In 2005 I worked a lot on explosive power. Then I did an 800 meter time trial (in 2:14), and I was able to even split it. Makes me wonder if the explosive power for a distance runner correlates with the ability to finish strong, and I am not talking about the kick, but the entire second half of the race.

P.M. 1 with Julia in 9:44. Then ran with Benjamin and Jenny. We did a warm-up of 0.5 in 4:22, then ran fast. Jenny went the first quarter with us, Benjamin and I ran 0.5 hard then jogged and waited for Jenny. Then we jogged to the finish of Jenny's 1.5 - her time was 12:58. Benjamin and I finished his 2 miles, his total time was 15:57. Jenny's quarter was around 1:41, Benjamin's half mile was 3:11.

Brooks T4 Racing Flat Miles: 13.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with Daniel, Jeff, and Mary Ann. 10 miles in 1:14:31. Did explosions, and picked it up a bit in the last quarter to 5:50 pace. We dropped off Daniel at 6.5. Soon after we ran into Tommy Gruenewald, a BYU runner. He joined us for about a mile. He was wearing sweat pants and a ski jacket, and did not look like a guy that could run 8:21 3000 at all judging by his clothes. I love it when fast runners dress down. One time Bill Rogers hammered out a 20 mile race at around 5:00 per mile wearing jeans and tennis shoes, I think. It was back in the day when sponsorships were hard to find, and he was too poor to afford more traditional running apparel.

This also reminds me of an experience of my own. On July 24th, 2003 I was headed to the start of the Deseret News Marathon. Half way through I realized that I had left my racing flats at the house. The only shoes I had were a 13 oz pair that I got from a gift certificate to the Riverwoods Mall won in the 10 miler two years earlier. Those were the closest to running shoes you could find at that store. I tried running in them, but pretty soon they were relegated to the walking shoe status due to their heavy weight and general awkwardness. I was not even thinking of running a race in them as a possibility.  So I tried to call a couple of friends to see if I could borrow their racing flats, but nobody was awake at that early hour. I said a silent prayer, and in response heard a gentle answer:

Run in the shoes you have, it is not the shoe that makes the runner.

So I did. I ended up with 2:34:48, which was a course PR by 2:27, and the second fastest marathon I had run to that point. It was a PR equivalent considering the nature of the course.

I learned something. What matters the most in running is the fitness. Fitness, unlike beauty, is not skin-deep. It is in the muscles, the heart, the lungs, the bones, the nerves, the brain, the liver, the glands, and other numerous organs, most of which are internal. It cannot be bought, it has to be earned.

P.M. 1 with Julia in 9:09. 2 with Benjamin in 17:14. Jenny ran 1.5 with us in 13:24.

Brooks T4 Racing Flat Miles: 10.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran early with Jeff. 10.1 in  1:22:09. Did the explosions. Talked about computers. It was a surreal feeling - I felt like I was sitting down at a desk explaining something. Well given a slower than 8:00 average on a course with near perfect traction my perception was perhaps not too far away from reality.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 15:44 including 0.5 in 3:04. 1.5 with Jenny in 13:11. Julia ran a mile with us in 9:13.

Brooks T4 Racing Flat Miles: 10.10
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with Jeff, Daniel, and Mary Ann. Dropped off Daniel and Mary Ann around 6.5. Mary Ann ran less today because she wanted to run a race at UVU later. Jeff and I finished 10 in 1:17:56. We did explosions, and I also did a 0.3 post VPB tempo at 5:30 pace.

Jeff and I discussed the importance of maximum leg power in the ability to negative split. My theory. Suppose you have two runners one named Powerhouse and the other Aerobic Animal. The Powerhouse is so strong he can run the same pace as the Aerobic Animal applying only 70% of his maximum force while the Aerobic Animal has to apply 80% of his maximum force. Both run at the same VO2 at that pace. The Powerhouse cannot go faster aerobically because he cannot bring in more oxygen. The Aerobic Animal cannot go faster aerobically because of neuro-muscular issues.

My prediction is that during the first half of a long race (5 K or longer), the Powerhouse and the Aerobic Animal will run alongside with equal degree of comfort. Then the Powerhouse will gradually pull away in the second half. Why? The Aerobic Animal will get tired for running at 80% of his maximum force for neuro-muscular reasons, and would have to slow down.  The Powerhouse was running only at 70%, he might not have any more oxygen, but he can keep the pace, and then even increase it in the last 2 minutes since he can afford to go into oxygen debt at that point, and his muscles can use that debt.

Ran 2 miles with Benjamin in 17:27 after finishing with Jeff.

P.M. 1.5 with Jenny in 13:07. Julia ran the first 1.5 with us in 9:09.

Brooks T4 Racing Flat Miles: 12.00
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, Matt, Daniel, and Mary Ann. Usual route and drop off points. Did a 0.4 post-VPB tempo at 5:20 pace. Did explosions. It rained, I was soaked when I came home. Total time for 10 miles was 1:16:11.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 15:27. 1.5 with Jenny in 13:26. Julia ran 1 mile with us in 9:20. 

Brooks T4 Racing Flat Miles: 10.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
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Race: Fast Running Blog February 10 K (6.214 Miles) 00:34:55, Place overall: 1
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran 10.1 with Jeff in 1:22:39. Daniel ran the first 2 miles with us, then turned around. Helped Mary Ann set up the race course. The trail was very slippery, but then the ice melted when we were coming back. 2 more with Sarah at home in 21:25. Then ran to the start of the race, about 1.2 miles. 

In the 10 K I hoped to relax and coast through it in about 36:00 or a little under if I felt like closing strong. However, the 5 K started at a faster pace than I anticipated, and I did not want to get dropped by the 5 K runners. So I figured, let's have some fun. After the half in 2:39 we still had a pack. Then it was just Bryce. I figured I'd run 5:20 to the 5 K turnaround, then take it easy. Bryce fell back. I hit 1.5 miles in 8:00, 8:18 at 2.5 K, and took my foot off the gas pedal immediately.

Then I noticed that Bryce did not turn around and was in the 10 K. So I realized I would have to run pretty hard the whole way. I did a couple of 87 quarters to rest, then sped up to 86. That felt hard, but doable. Ran like that pretty much the rest of the race, sped up a little bit in the last mile to dip under 35:00. The first 5 K was 17:13 (8:55), then 26:11 at 7.5 K (8:58), and 8:44 for the last 2.5 K. Second 5 K in 17:42. Bryce finished in 36:45.

Ran back to the house with Daniel.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 15:25. 1.5 with Jenny in 13:40. Julia ran a mile with us in 9:39.

Saucony Type A Miles: 20.60
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Brooks T4 Racing Flat Miles: 55.10Saucony Type A Miles: 20.60
Night Sleep Time: 47.00Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 48.00
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