Breaking the Wall

SLC Track Club Winter Series 15 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:

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: 52.00Nap Time: 3.50Total Sleep Time: 55.50
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Went to church. In spite of a good night sleep, I managed to drift off during Sunday school. Got woken up by everybody laughing. I wondered if they were laughing because somebody asked me a question, but then I realized they were laughing about something else. Took a nice nap afterwards.

Night Sleep Time: 9.00Nap Time: 1.50Total Sleep Time: 10.50
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. First 2 with Daniel, Ted, and Jeff. Daniel turned around. Dropped Ted off at 6. Dropped Jeff off at 10. Was planning on only 15, but ran into John Kotter from BYU, and decided to add a little extra with him. He told me a story about being chased by a pack of seven stray dogs in Moscow while on a run with a bunch of top Utah high school runners. He said it was somewhat similar to that joke about two runners and a bear: "You think you can out run a bear?" "No, but all I need to do is outrun you!" Ended up with 2:17:00 for about 18.4.

P.M. 0.5 with Benjamin in 4:19, then Jenny joined us and we ran another 1.5 in 13:12, total of 17:31 for 2. Then 1 with Julia in 11:07. 

Night Sleep Time: 7.75Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.75
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. 10.1 with Josse and Jeff in 1:16:04. I noticed Josse was conversational at 7:20 pace, and suggested we test her fitness, to which she agreed. We let her set the pace for 0.5, which we did in 3:10. Then I had a VPB, and did a bit of a tempo pick-up to catch up. Afterwards, we paced Josse to a 6:23 mile, which would have been about 6:21 without an ice patch. Dropped Jeff and Josse off, and went for another 5. Did a 300 meter pickup in 59 seconds to probe 15 K race pace.

The original plan was to do a mile time trial indoors. I was curious how fast I could run a mile all out. But after some thought I decided it would be a bad idea. I get injured on the track easily, and the dust, the germs, and the stress of an all-out mile, all being something I have not adapted to, could easily bring on a respiratory infection or some other illness. So I decided I should be satisfied to know that I can run a 5:04 at the end of a flat 10 K and leave it at that.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 17:09, Jenny joined for the last 1.5 in 13:05. 1.05 with Julia in 11:42. 3 miles cross-country skiing in the Hobblecreek Canyon.

Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
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A.M. Ran with Ted and Jeff. Dropped Ted off at 6 miles. Total of 10 miles in 1:13:17. 

P.M. It was warm. Around 35-40 F. Ran in shorts. Benjamin announced at the start of his run that it takes  220 muscles to take a step. Then he proceeded to use all of those very well to run 2 miles in 15:20 without too much of an effort. Pushed Jacob and Joseph in the double stroller for this portion. Then ran 3.5 alone in 24:17, 6:56.29 pace. Then 1 mile with Julia in 10:18, and 1.5 with Jenny in 13:02. Met Brad Skidmore on the trail. He is going to run with us tomorrow.

Night Sleep Time: 6.75Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 7.75
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A.M. 10.1 with Brad in 1:22:42. The trail was slippery. You would not think it should be with so little snow, but it was. I could barely move. Dropped him off and decided to go the other way. It was a lot better. I decided to run a bit a race pace or close to feel it better, so hit 0.8125 in 4:26, this is 5:27.38 pace. Had a hard time getting going, but eventually eased into 5:20 pace. Total time for 15.1 was 1:57:16.

For those who read my blog, but do not read the discussion board. We need a babysitter for this Saturday. Click here for details.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 16:11, then 3 alone in 20:53. Jenny and Julia did their usual runs with Sarah.

Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
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A.M 15.2 in 1:56:09. Had Brad and Adam with me in the early miles, and found Matt Anderson at the end.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 15:38, 1.5 with Jenny in 13:01, 0.5 alone in 3:31, and 1 with Julia in 10:41. 

Night Sleep Time: 7.50Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 8.50
Race: SLC Track Club Winter Series 15 K (9.321 Miles) 00:50:43, Place overall: 3
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Raced in the SLC Track Club 15 K. Warmed up a bit over 3 miles at a Kenyan warm-up pace - around 8:30 at the start with the entire FRB team. Then it was time to race. My goal was to run under 50:00, which is slightly sub-5:22 pace. I figured we'd go out at 5:20 and just try to hold it. Maybe slip off in the middle, then gain back on the kick.

BJ Christensen and Aleskander Thomas took off as I expected them to. Steve and I worked together trading leads. There was a slight head wind. Or so I thought. First mile in 5:18. It felt easy, but at the same time I got this feeling - I do not want to race even though the pace is easy, in fact I do not want to race at all. I've had it before. I think I know what it means - nervous system fatigue. That is bad news, I've had nervous system fatigue before. The pace feels aerobically easy, but at the same time with every exertion of effort I cannot break 5:40. I was expecting it today in some degree, though, as I have not been sleeping very well - waking up too early from excitement about life with everything that is going on. I tried to mitigate that as much as possible with naps, but apparently it did not work as much as I hoped. Nevertheless, I decided to cross my fingers and just hope for the best.

6:38 at 2 K, 8:17 at 2.5 K, 10:40 at the mile (5:22). Still alive. 4 K in 13:19, still alive. 3 miles in 16:08 (5:28), no worries, I'll blame it on the wind. 16:43 at the 5 K, 21:34 at 4 miles (5:26), seems like the wind picked up. Steve and I are still trading leads somewhat informally. Whoever is feeling the pace is getting too slow moves up front.

25:08 at the turnaround. 8 seconds off pace, but no worries, we'll get tail wind on the way back, and when we start racing each other hard with a couple of miles to go, we'll catch up. Or so I thought until we had completed the turnaround. What I thought was a headwind on the way out was actually a friendly cross-wind. I guess sometimes we mistake friends for enemies when they ruffle our feathers. So the turnaround made it an unfriendly cross wind.

27:01 at 5 miles (5:27), I move up and press the pace in hopes of getting back up to 5:20 or at least close, but all we could manage was 5:37 on the next mile with 32:38 split at 6. That's bad, the 5:30 guy is starting to close on us. I try to take it in stride.

32:38 at 6 miles (5:32). The good news is that we sped up. The bad news is that the 5:30 guy is closing, and is threatening to come close enough to make me not PR (50:57). And also I am literally falling asleep. Where is the pillow? I'd like to take a nap. The lips feel numb, the quads feel numb as well. Typical night or early morning relay leg feeling. I suppose good practice and confidence builder as well for next week. 33:48 at the 10 K. Last 5 K in 17:05, however, last 2.5 in 8:40, not good at all. If things go like that, the PR might not happen.

38:10 at 7 miles (5:32). We are perpetually stuck at that pace. Trying to pick it up, but not much is happening.

40:41 at 12 K. 10:20 for the last 3 K would not be good enough for a PR. The torch under my fanny is getting lit up. I am feeling good, perhaps even too good, but there seems to be nothing I can do about it. Just cannot get out of the rut. Unfortunately, Steve is the same way. I am starting to wish he would put the hammer down and try to lose me, but he is not feeling up to it either. 12.5 K in 42:24.

43:42 at 8 miles. Another 5:32! Third in a row. We are having a love affair with that pace, and we are in a serious need of repentance, or there might be no PR for me today. 45:27 with a mile to go, a sub-5:30 is good enough for a PR. Fortunately, Steve starts smelling the barn and picking up the pace.

The last mile had quarter marks, thanks to the SLC Track Club. A quarter in 1:21, wow that hurt good enough for 1:19, followed by 1:22. sub-2:47 for the last half gives a PR. Steve picks up the pace even more. I breathe a sign of relief. The PR is happening. We pass mile 9, and now the race is for real. Steve picks it up, I respond, warm into the pace, then try to pass him, he speeds up, I tuck behind him. 49:42 with 0.214 to go. With about 0.1 to go I move out again and start gradually opening the throttle with the intent to reach the max RPMs and hold it to the finish. It is scary, but I know that the momentum will carry me through even if the anaerobic bear attacks me. Steve responds, I keep revving it up and manage to pull away. 50:43.0 for me, 50:43.9 for Steve. Last mile in 5:16, and a 14 second PR for a non-aided 15 K.

Aleksander Thomas won with 48:37 and BJ was second with 48:49. Amazing times for them with the conditions, I was expecting to see them somewhere in the 49:30 - 49:50 range with the wind. But they must have gotten in better shape.

Ran a long cool down to make to the 20 miles for total. Paced Brent in the middle. He had a good kick - 1:36 on the last quarter. Towards the end, Steve started to push the pace, and we ran the last quarter in 1:29. With about 3 miles to go I felt hungry as a lion, and ate accordingly when we got back to Saltair.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 16:34.

Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Night Sleep Time: 52.00Nap Time: 3.50Total Sleep Time: 55.50
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