Breaking the Wall

Week starting Mar 25, 2012

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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: 0.00 Year: 948.94
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
Green Crocs 3 Miles: 93.80
Night Sleep Time: 54.50Nap Time: 3.00Total Sleep Time: 57.50
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Day of rest. Went to church. We had another departing missionary speak. This is quite a difference from our old ward where we might see this maybe once every two years or so. The Sunday School lesson was on the last words of Nephi, so 2 Nephi 31-33. At the start of the lesson I was actively participating and making comments. However, towards the end my body decided to remind me that I had a sleep deficit after running 96 miles with increased intensity last week. So I drifted away and continued to learn via Lehi's dream. This gave me the needed boost for the Elder's Quorum where the lesson was on Elder Bednar's talk on family history. I was able to stay awake, pay attention, and actively participate in the lesson.

Took a long nap when I got home. Vigorous exercise is a very effective treatment against insomnia. I would highly recommend it. 

Night Sleep Time: 9.00Nap Time: 2.00Total Sleep Time: 11.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. 7 with Jeremy. Benjamin did 3. I ran another 1.4 going back to Sarah and returning with her,  then drove the Fast Running Van to Computune to get the alternator changed, and ran back the long way which was about 4 miles. So 12.4 total. Did a few random pickups - one post-VPB, one to get back to Sarah faster.

P.M. 1 with Jacob and Joseph, 2 more alone, total of 3.  Jenny and Julia ran 2.

Green Crocs 3 Miles: 15.40
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 2 with Julia. Then 3 with Benjamin, Jenny did 1. Then worked on leg strength with hill sprints. Finally measured the marked supposedly 100 meter stretch. It ended up being 334 feet the way I run it, so 5 feet longer. So I suppose it was measured on the very innermost curve. I had already measured the incline with an electronic level earlier - it was 6%. So I did the first one in 18.0, then 17.7. The conversion factor to the true 100 meters is about 0.3 for 18.0, actually very convenient, subtract the factor of 1:60. I was doing great on the third one but apparently overdid it as my left hamstring cramped up. I slowed down and finished the interval in 17.6. Then tried one more, but could only do 19.3. So I called it a day as far as the speed was concerned and jogged. It was painful, but I could run a bit sub-8:00. Ran enough to make the total 12 miles.

P.M. Ran 1 with Jacob, 1 with Joseph, and 3 to Computune to retrieve the van. The hamstring felt a bit better, but was still hurting. 

Green Crocs 3 Miles: 17.00
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. This was an interesting night. Stephen woke up and cried, so I decided to calm him down by sleeping on the floor right next to him. That worked. He likes company. While on the floor I dreamed that William woke up, and in my dream I entertained him by running a file system check utility on a computer. Then I woke up from that dream, and moved back into my bed. This time I dreamed that James and Allie were getting married. Its been a while since I've checked anybody's blogs, maybe they are getting married after all.

Ran with Jeremy and Benjamin. The hamstring was still fussing, so I ran mostly easy. However, I could not resist the temptation when Jeremy told me he had done three quarters in around 90 the day before. So I told him, just run a quarter like you did the day before and let's time it. I was expecting a 90, so I figured it would not be too bad for my hamstring. He did 82 uphill. Then we did one more downhill. It was 74. My hamstring really did not like the 74 but I toughed it out.  

This was quite remarkable. A couple of months ago Jeremy was getting dropped while trying to run a downhill quarter in 80. Hardly any speedwork, just base, and now he is able to hit 74 without being pushed. I asked him what he thought his split was, and even after having run 82 earlier uphill, and knowing the time of that interval he guessed 80. This goes to show how much aerobic endurance is a factor in a race so short as a quarter mile. Granted, this is not a true quarter as we are doing it mid-run, so it is perhaps more indicative of 800 meter run performance, but still. No speed work at all, and we have an improvement in the middle distance speed. This also goes to show the futility of doing speed work without proper aerobic base.  The lack of aerobic fitness will keep the sustainable speed at bay so there is no speed stimulus, and the shortness of the intervals will preclude the development of endurance. In other words, in order of Jeremy to work on speed, he needs to be hitting quarters in at least 74. But when he is out of shape aerobically, you cannot expect him to run even one that fast.

Benjamin ran 4. I got back home, ran 2 with Julia (Jenny did 1.5), and then 3 more. The hamstring was chiding me for the 74 quarter the entire time, but was manageable.

P.M. 3 miles alone. Benjamin ran 0.4 with Joseph and Jacob. 

Green Crocs 3 Miles: 15.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 9.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran 8 miles alone in 55:56, then 4 more with Benjamin in 23:40. His foot is feeling better. Julia ran 2, Jenny did 1.5. Total of 12 miles for me.

P.M. 1 with Jacob and Joseph. Jacob set a new mile record in 8:27. Our course is a bit longer than a mile, I think, I still have not gotten around to wheeling it, and it is out and back with some serious grades - 6% in some places. So this was very solid, I think he can hit sub-8:00 on the track. 

Green Crocs 3 Miles: 13.00
Night Sleep Time: 7.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.50
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with Jeremy, then with Benjamin. Jenny and Julia ran 2. I did a total of 12.4. Did a pickup to catch up to Jeremy because I went a bit further out with the idea that the pickup would be 1.5. I hit 1.5 in 7:51 (5:14 average) down the canyon, but I was still not caught up, so I went a bit further, probably to 1.6. Then I did another pickup for about 0.6 at 5:40 pace or so.

P.M. 1 with Jacob and Joseph. 

Green Crocs 3 Miles: 13.40
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. Ran with Jeremy for the first 10 miles at about 8:00 pace uphill to about 1 mile mark of the Provo River 10 miler. Did one post-VPB pickup. Then ran a tempo on the way back. Felt cautious in the first three miles or so and hit almost identical splits on ad hoc markers compared to last week. My body was for some reason reluctant to go faster, even though I was not breathing very hard. I decided to put in a bit more mental effort into the pace, and found another gear. The pace got into 5:30 - 5:35 range, it took concentration to maintain it, but my heart felt strong, and I did not feel like I was low on fuel. Around mile 17 into the run I passed the BYU guys who were going about 6:10 or so. I asked them to pull me at 5:40 for 1.5 miles. Some of them made excuses that the pace was faster than what they were planning on doing. Others did not respond. I continued running alone. That was disappointing, I could have used their help. I did not understand that at all. 5:40 pace for them is a brisk jog, they race 10,000 meters at 4:50 or so. It is good even for a middle distance guy to do at least a little bit of marathon pace zone running in the middle of a long run even the day after a hard track workout, and is more than just good for a 10,000 meter guy.  Was everybody so tired from the Friday workout that not one person had the ability to spontaneously go 5:40 mid-run for a little bit? If so 6:10 was way too fast for a recovery run then. This is hard for me to understand. I have gone many times back to pace the people I knew and the people I didn't immediately after a hard race, and sometimes the pace surprised me and required significant effort, but it was still good because it challenged me to work past the point where I thought I was done while helping somebody else. I believe in reaching out to people in every reasonable way that presents itself, and when you do your body and your mind become stronger. 

Nevertheless, I was able to do OK without company. My last uphill mile was 5:53, and the total time for the last 10 miles was 56:43, which was 1:30 faster than last week, all over the last 7 miles. 

Benjamin ran 5 miles, Jenny and Julia 1, Joseph and Jacob ran 1 with Sarah.

After the run watched the General Conference. Some talks that stood out to me in the Saturday sessions. Elder Packer's mention that it is better to not be able to have children than to have the ability and not have them by choice. Elder Holland's message to the men of the Church "arise from the dust and be men", and Elder Bednar's account of his father who was not a member of the Church at the time yet attended every meeting saying: "Why is it that those who believe they hold the restored priesthood need to be coaxed to do their duty?" Overall I felt nourished by the talks and the hymns, and felt it was very well worth the 6 hours that it took even after a hard run.


Green Crocs 3 Miles: 20.00
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Green Crocs 3 Miles: 93.80
Night Sleep Time: 54.50Nap Time: 3.00Total Sleep Time: 57.50
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