Breaking the Wall

Week starting Jan 31, 2010

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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
Water Clogs 3 Miles: 87.00
Night Sleep Time: 53.50Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 54.50
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Day of rest. Went to church.  The talks in the Sacrament meeting were on prayer. In Sunday school the lesson was on creation. Because it was fifth Sunday we had a combined meeting of priesthood and relief society. The subject was prayer and fasting.

My mother has sent me some family history information, so I was studying my family tree. As I looked at it I realized that most branches have died out. Russia has had some turbulent times in the 20th century - two regular wars with major action on its territory, a civil war, Stalin's purges. The blockade of Leningrad alone had a death toll of September 11th on a daily basis in a city that had the population about 10% the size of New York. It lasted 900 days. However, what caused the most devastating effect on my family tree was not the violent calamity. The destruction came from people either not getting married at all, or marrying and having no more than two children who in turn did not feel the importance of having children.

I call that "ideological genocide". Instead of killing people with weapons you simply convince them that it is not worth the sacrifice to have children. There is no drama, no outrage, no revulsion. It happens slowly, but surely, and the damage is much more severe. I remembered a quote from the Proclamation on The Family: "we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets

Night Sleep Time: 8.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.50
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. 10.2 with Jeff in 1:18:13. Did a pickup for a mile in 5:34. Jenny ran 2.5 with Sarah.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 16:54. Julia ran 1.5 in 12:52. 0.5 with Joseph in 4:46. 0.25 with Jacob in 2:36.

Water Clogs 3 Miles: 12.95
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. 10.3 in 1:22:50. Met Jeff on the trail. After a while we found Kevin and he joined us for a bit. To our disappointment another part of the trail is under construction. They are building a bridge at Lakeshore drive (mile marker 1 of the Fast Running Blog 5 Miler). Fortunately there is a reasonable detour that goes right past Luz's house. However that does mess up our tempo runs. But I hope they will be done with it before we really get into them. On the positive side, when the Lord pours out more blessings on us than we can receive in our current house and it is time to move, that bridge will expand our options.

Jenny ran 2.5 with Sarah. 

P.M. Took Benjamin for a 6:00 pace to failure workout. Cold air made him fail earlier than I hoped. He did 88, then another 100 in 22, then 23, 25, kicked in 22 - 3:00 at 0.5 but then felt too tired to go more. To not let him get off the hook I challenged him to run a fast 100 after a 200 jog. He did 20.1. Then he jogged 100, and I challenged him again to run a 200. He ran 44.3. Then I challenged him to run another 100. 20.1 again. Then we had a quarter left to make it to the mile. I added up his splits and realized he needed only a 96 quarter to have his total time for the mile be 6:00. So I challenged him again to run a quarter as fast as he could. He grumbled and said he absolutely could not do 90. I told him I did not care, I just wanted to see what his best was, even if it was 1:40. He ran 87.3. Thus we got 5:51 for the mile in fragments of 800 - 100 - 200 - 100 and 400. 

Then we got in the car and he said - "I am so exhausted I do not think I could run a 100 in 25!" I figured the opportunity to teach him to sense the limits of his body correctly was too good to pass up, so I called his bluff. We got out and he ran 100 in 19.1.  We ended up with a total of 2.25 miles.

1.5 with Julia in 12:56. 0.5 with Joseph in 4:46. 0.25 with Jacob in 2:35. 

Water Clogs 3 Miles: 14.80
Night Sleep Time: 7.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.50
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Temple day. Ran earlier than usual. 10.15 in 1:17:55.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin and Jenny in 16:46. Julia ran 1.5 with us in 12:56. 0.5 with Joseph in 4:34. 0.25 with Jacob in 2:36. With 100 to go I challenged Jacob to beat the 2:40 guy. Then we walk into the house and he tells Sarah: "Mommy, I beat somebody. I beat a guy I do not know!" Different kids react differently to the invisible virtual nemesis. Joseph kept asking me why we could not see the 6:00 (5:30, 5:00 as he got faster in his half mile run) guy that we were trying to beat. 

Water Clogs 3 Miles: 12.90
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Met Jeff on the trail. We did a speed workout of sorts. 1.062 mile down 0.5-1% grade but with a bridge in the middle in 5:36 (probably 5:16 at the mile). We only wanted to go a mile but we missed the mark. Then after some jogging the same mile backwards (uphill). Around 0.7 the stress of the pace created a need for a VPB, so I slowed down to avoid the disaster and told Jeff to finish the interval while I took care of the business. My split at 0.75 was 4:06, his was 4:03. Then I coasted through the last quarter in 90. I did not realize it was that slow, but I guess running in the dark alone I miscalculated the effort. Jeff finished the mile in 5:23. Total time for 10.4 was 1:19:56.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 16:41. Julia ran 1.5 with us in 12:51. 0.5 with Joseph in 4:30. 0.25 with Jacob in 2:54. 

Water Clogs 3 Miles: 13.15
Night Sleep Time: 7.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.50
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Met Jeff on the trail. Ran 10.2 in 1:19:22. Did some pickups (100s, 200s, 400s) totaling a mile at around 5:05 pace.

P.M. Worked on breaking the 6:00 barrier with Benjamin. The plan was go 6:00 pace to failure, then kick, when the kick becomes slower than 6:24 pace stop. Benjamin made it to 1000 in 3:43 (2 seconds ahead of schedule), but then he panicked and said he could not go anymore without failing to break 6:24 pace over 100 meters first. That was revealing and helped me understand why he is struggling with a sub-6:00 mile. Fast pace produces a certain measure of emotional stress and he does not yet know how to handle this type of emotion. He is only 10 and his emotions have not yet matured, but I would imagine many adults have a hard time running fast for the exact same reason.

So the hypothesis is that interval training can be used to treat a certain type of deep emotional problems. Fast pace will very predictably cause some type of emotional blow-up if there is an underlying weakness. The individual can be prepared and know exactly where that blow-up would happen and can be prepared to make an effort to control it. Thus he will develop a skill that he can use when that blow-up rears up its ugly head in other situations.

Since it was obvious that Benjamin's failure was of emotional nature, I told him he had to finish the mile in segments.  So after jogging 600 I told him to try to run 2:17 for the remaining 600. He made it to 300 in 1:06, continued for another 50 meters, and then bailed out. I had him jog back 50 meters, and told him to bust out the gate and blast the first 100 as fast as he could and then hang on to dear life for the remaining 200. I was thinking he would end up with something like 1:03, be he surprised me and ran 59 (5:15 pace) with the splits of 18-20-21. That gave us 5:48 total for the mile in three segments of 1000 - 300 - 300. 

This is the furtherest Benjamin has run at sub-6:00 continuously, and also the fastest segmented mile he has run in a workout. The good news is that he consciously understands the problem, and with each try is more and more prepared to deal with the beast.

Our total distance  was 2 miles.

2 with Julia and Jenny. We stayed together until about 0.3 to go.  Then Jenny took off. I stayed with Julia for about 200 meters, and then went after Jenny so I would get her time. Barely caught her before the finish, our time was 16:58. Julia finished in 17:27.

0.5 with Joseph in 4:39. 0.25 with Jacob in 2:49. 

Water Clogs 3 Miles: 14.95
Night Sleep Time: 7.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.50
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. 15.5 in 1:53:56 with Jeff. Michelle joined us for 13 miles. We paced her through a 5 mile tempo run on the Provo River Trail. Had to change the course due to construction, and ended up with 3 180 turns.

The target was 31:00, 6:12 or 93 quarter pace. Michelle ran 30:56 with the following splits (by quarter): 95 - 90 - 93 - 93 (6:11) - 93 - 93 - 96 - 94 (6:16, 12:27) - 93 - 93 - 93 - 93 (6:12,18:39) - 93 - 89 - 93 - 94 (6:10, 24:49) - 92 - 94 - 93 - 88 (6:07,30:56).

Jeff and I immediately continued with the quarters of 80 - 82 - 81 - 76 (Jeff was a step or two ahead and got 75), with 5:19 for the last mile and 36:15 for 6 miles. The we jogged back to Michelle, ran some with her, dropped her off at the house, then ran some more finishing the last 0.75 in 4:25 (5:53 pace).

P.M. 2 with Benjamin and Julia in 17:28. 0.5 with Joseph in 4:37. 0.25 with Jacob in 2:28. 

Water Clogs 3 Miles: 18.25
Night Sleep Time: 7.50Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 8.50
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Water Clogs 3 Miles: 87.00
Night Sleep Time: 53.50Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 54.50
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