Breaking the Wall

Week starting Mar 05, 2006

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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: 112.39 Year: 1403.52
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
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Started the morning with a 1 mile jog. Did another one with Julia in the stroller after breakfast.

Later in the afternoon went to the Provo Canyon for the speed workout. A warmup to the Canyon Glen Park, 4x100 accelerations, and now the real work starts. 12x400 downhill with 200 recovery jogging backwards. I noticed a moderate headwind, and thought perhaps a sub 69 average would be a good goal. Regardless of the time, what was important for me is learning good relaxed form trying to make the quads work less and the gluts and the hamstrings work more.

First repetion exceeded my expectations. With the headwind I was prepared to see something like 68.7 or 69.3 on my watch. Great was my surprise when it said 66.0. I followed with a series of sub-67s when the head wind was mild and the downhill stretch was steady, and a bit over 67 when the headwind got stronger and the short uphill sections were present. I made it a practice to always start a repetition with a short prayer asking to be able to do a good repetition, and also say a prayer of thanks at the end regardless of the time of the split. This workout is very hard to get through without a prayer for me.

One repetition started with an uphill, and then the head wind was strong on the downhill section. I hit it in 67.9. This one was my slowest. Before the next one I prayed to be able to break 67 - that was all I hoped for. When I finished it, great was my surprise to see 65.5.

Another prayer before the last one. I wanted to run 65. Some headwind, but not too much. I got my goal - 65.2, and 66.8 average for the workout.

The form did not feel particulary pretty, but as Emil Zatopek once said, this is not gymnastics, you do not get points for looks. I felt strong, the last 100 m of each repetition did not feel as miserable as it used to, and I was able to hit the times with the headwind that I needed a tailwind for just a week earlier. This is a good sign.

Ran with Benjamin and Jennifer when I got home, and also 0.5 on the way to the swimming pool in the evening (We took the kids swimming tonight). Total mileage for the day is 13.5.

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

Easy day today. Ran with Eric and George in the morning. As it often happens, I had to make a pitstop, so I took off about 0.7 miles away from my house at a pace I thought was the slowest needed to give me enough time. I began to wonder how fast I was going, so I decided to clock myself. I guessed the pace was 6:05-6:10. Pleasant surprise - it was 5:45. That is a very good sign.

Then George and Eric did the tempo run over the Slate Canyon Loop (2.11 miles). George hit a good time of 15:23 with the last mile of 6:54. The last mile was about what I expected, however, the overall time was a bit slower - I was expecting a sub-15:00. He was probably tired from his run the day before.

Total length of the morning run was 10 miles as usual.

Later in the afternoon, I took Julia out for a mile in a baby jogger, then Benjamin and Jennifer for their run a bit later, and added another 0.5 miles of "always on the run" in the evening to hit 13 mile total for the day.

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

Slept in this morning. Since I had to be at the Provo Temple by 8:00, cut my morning jog to 0.5 miles. In the afternoon ran with Steve in the Provo Canyon. 2x3 miles downhill. We had a very strong headwind. However, taking turns leading every 1 minute made things a bit easier. Again, the start at the Nunns Park, and the finish by the power plant at the mouth of the Provo Canyon. On the first repetion, the first mile was a bit aggressive - 5:12. Then we relaxed a bit, and the headwind began to punish us. Additionally, Steve was out of gas from his crazy mileage. We even hit one 200 in 44 - 5:52 pace. The second mile ended up 5:23. We closed with a 5:21 to finish in 15:56. On the second repetition, we had a more conservative start - 5:22. Then we sped up a bit on the second mile - 5:16. The wind let up a bit on the last 0.5, so I was able to close with 5:13 to finish in 15:52. Steve fell back a bit and finished in 15:54. With the cooldown the total length of the run was 12 miles. I ran with Benjamin and Jennifer, and added another "always on the run" mile to end up with 15 miles for the day.

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

Easy run today. Got up in the morning and it was snowing. Just had a dream about winning some small 10 K. For a prize they were going to give me some fairly large contraption of no practical use created for a special project by the local high school students. I felt bad I had to tell them I could not take it. With only 1060 square feet in my house, 4 children, and one more on the way, there was simply not enough room.

My wife Sarah tells me my dreams are boring - too close to reality. As a case in point, a few nights ago I dreamt about Hobie Call winning the Hobblecreek Half-Marathon with the time of 1:03:22. He was disappointed afterwards because he was shooting for 1:02. Well, Hobbie indeed could have run that time - he ran 1:05 in that race in 1999, and a high 1:07 in the Great Salt Lake Half-Marathon in 2002, which my predictor converts to 1:02 in Hobblecreek. And he is the type of guy that sets high goals and tends to be disappointed when he does not get them.

I also had a dream before the St. George marathon in 2003 that the race had already happened Trevor Pettingill won it with the time of 2:20:04. In reality, Trevor ended up winning with the time of 2:20:35.

Dreams forgotten and after a short scripture study I went with George and Eric on the Slate Canyon Loop. We did 4x400 at around 1:20-1:25 pace in the middle. Then dropped Eric off and finished the 10 miles with George. Maybe one day George and I will convert Eric to the blog religion. Right now he is doing it the non-tech way - Runners World book.

Did my "always on the run" miles in the afternoon, as well as separate runs with Benjamin and Jennifer to hit the total of 14 miles for the day.

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

Another easy run today. Did most of the mileage in the morning. Ran with George and Eric. Eric decided to run Ogden. He will need to up his mileage to get ready. I keep telling him he needs to run instead of reading the Runners World. Lately George and I also been telling him to get started on the Fast Running Blog so it would haunt him really good like to haunts Steve. He was almost persuaded this morning. Sound almost like Acts 26:28: almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian... Ran 0.5 in 2:40 catching up after my regular pitstop. It was cold. Legs felt strong, but could feel the aerobic turbo engine complaining about the temperature. It finally got going somewhat. Did some very mild and short accelerations to keep the legs from falling asleep. Also, after we dropped Eric off, George felt good and accelerated to 8:00 pace on his own initiative. In the afternoon, and at night, did my "always on the run" miles with a stroller and Joseph, and then Julia in it. Also ran with Benjamin and Jennifer. Felt very strong. The knees felt like they were going higher than they normally do, and the ground felt more like hard rubber than soft cotton. This is a good sign. However, I put more emphasis on what happens in races,tempo runs, and interval workouts in that order. Tomorrow is a tempo run.

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

Started the morning with a 1 mile jog. Then went to Benjamin and Jennifer's swimming lesson. Afterwards drove to the Provo Canyon to do my long tempo run. I decided to do something slightly different today to have more downhill miles. 4 miles from Nunns park down to the Riverwoods shopping center on the trail, then back up, and back down to make 12 miles. The trail is very well marked - a mark every 1/16th of a mile, which is roughly 100 meters. I have verified with my wheel that the marks are correct. This makes it a great place for tempo runs as you can monitor a lot of things. 2 mile warm-up to the Nunns Park. It was unpleasantly cold, and somewhat windy, although quite bearable. Nevertheless, much less than ideal for a hard tempo, especially given the tendency of my form to dramatically deteriorate when quads cramp up. 1:30 for the first quarter. No wonder it felt so easy. Time to wake up. 5:43 for the first mile, then 5:40, 5:38, 5:37. 22:38 for 4 miles. Turnaround. Now I am going uphill. The wind keeps changing, there seems to be an equal balance of head and tail. That makes things slower, at least for me. The quads tense up working into the wind, and then it takes them a while to relax. You do lose quite a bit on those 180 turns. At least I do. 47 seconds for the first 200 after the turn. Then solid 45s on the following ones. 5:59 for the mile. Next mile 5:57, then 5:54. Not bad at all for the uphill. However, the next mile is slow - 6:10. That one tends to be a slower mile going up - the grade gets steeper, and the winds get stronger. Nevertheless, 24:00 for the 4 uphill miles, 6:00 average, and 46:38 for 8 miles. Another turnaround. Now I am shifting into a threshold pace. My mind is fighting it as usual. It is cold and windy. I do not want to do it. Finally the turbo engine starts to kick in. 5:32 for the first mile. Next one in 5:26. I pass joggers and walkers on the trail. There are not many, possibly due to cold weather, but enough to cause problems sometimes. I see two ladies walking. They are just about to enter a narrow section of the trail. This is going to be a mess. I just got into a good rhythm. I do not want to slow down, dodge, then speeed back up. Even thinking about it makes my brain hurt. I yell :Watch out, passing to give them enough warning to figure out what is going on. They hear me and step aside. I feel very thankful. Now my body starts telling me that this pace under those conditions is a little too fast for the marathon. That is actually a good sign. My body dares to think it could run a marathon that fast. It is thinking about a marathon. It was thinking about running a 10 K when I picked the pace up at the end of a tempo 10 miler last week. And because it is thinking about running a marathon, it does not want to start breaking 5:20s. Maybe it has something to do with the alternating winds and the cold temperature. 5:29 for the next mile. Now one more mile to go. I try hard to shift gears to sub 5:20, and my body really does not want to do it. Finally, with half a mile to go, I get a bit of a tailwind, and the air seems a bit warmer now that I am out of the canyon. I do two quarters in 1:19 and 1:17 to hit 5:21 on the last mile and 1:08:26 for the total. 2 miles back to the car for a cooldown. Now this is starting to feel like a long run - I feel the fuel gauge leaning towards low. Done, and enjoying the warmth of the car. Went for a run with Benjamin and Jennifer. Benjamin tried to drop her on the last 200 meters, but could not. She ended up running a PR for 200 (51), and 100 (24). Additionally, jogged a bit more in the evening which brought the total mileage for the day to 19.

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