Breaking the Wall

Week starting Apr 01, 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:

Miles:This week: 0.00 Month: 152.01 Year: 1148.62
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: 92.01
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Green Crocs 3 Miles: 96.50
Night Sleep Time: 53.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 53.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Day of rest. Watched the General Conference.  My favorite talk was by President Uchdorf with his two word sermon: "Stop it" regarding our tendency to get offended and hold grudges, and his mention of the bumper sticker: "Do not judge me because I sin differently than you". I also liked Elder Nelson's: "Can an explosion at a printing shop produce a dictionary?" in reference to the Big Bang theory, and Elder Rasband's "Do you ask a drowning person if he needs help, or do you just jump in and help?"

Night Sleep Time: 9.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 9.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with Benjamin and Jeremy. Did a 0.6 pre-VPB pickup, felt strong. Dropped Benjamin off at 6, ran 2 more with Jeremy, 2 more alone, and 2 more with Jenny and Julia. Total of 12.

P.M. Ran 1 mile with Jacob and Joseph. Joseph wanted to earn a trip to the Y on the mountain. Normally we take our kids there when they turn 8 as a right of passage of sorts. But he wanted it early. So I told him he had to run sub-8:00 on our course slightly longer than 1 mile hilly course. He ran 7:49. Jacob did 8:14, which is also his new record.

Green Crocs 3 Miles: 13.00
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. Ended up doing a medium long run of sorts. Started with a 5 mile warm-up. Then did hill sprints. This time there were more like hill strides because I did not want a repeat of hamstring fiasco of last week. I did 6 of them up 334 foot stretch up 6% grade in 19.0, 18.6, 18.4, 18.2, 18.0, and 18.0. The hamstring still tightened up, but it did not bother me as much as last week, I could still run mostly normal pace after that. Then I ran 6 with Benjamin, including a post-VPB 600 in 1:53. The hamstring began to fuss after the first quarter, but I managed to maintain the pace in spite of it. Then I ran another 3 with Julia and Sarah. Jenny ran 1, she was having leg problems from her accelerated growth. She is now about 5-4, about half an inch taller than Benjamin, even though she is only 11.

P.M. 1 with Jacob and Joseph. Then Joseph joined me for another 2 on a bike. I was not sure how he was going to handle it. His bike has only one gear, he is 7 years old, and the course is hilly with grades up to 6% in places. Julia struggled on that course last time I took her. However, Joseph did not. He kept up with me just fine on the hills, and our time for a little over 2 miles was 14:53.  

Green Crocs 3 Miles: 18.00
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 Benjamin and Jeremy. They warmed up with me, then did the start of my tempo. My workout was 2 miles uphill, then 1 mile jogging recovery, and 3 downhill. Jeremy made it to about 900 meters up, the split at 800 was 2:53. Benjamin made it past 1100 all the way to his turnaround. The split at 1000 was 3:35, and at 0.75 4:19. My mile split was 5:50 as the next quarter brought on some serious headwind. The next mile was 5:59, so 11:49.9 for 2 miles. I was feeling tired from yesterday's 18 mile day, and decided to take it a little easier in the 3 mile downhill tempo. First mile was 5:21. Then I fell into a coasting grove where 83 quarters felt good, but anything faster did not, so I coasted like that for 1.5 miles. Second mile was 5:32, and the next 0.5 was 2:46. Consistent, but slow. Passed a guy that wanted  me to tell him what I was training for. I did not have either the time or the lung capacity to give him any kind of answer, much less the one that I would have wanted to give him. But I will give it here. The moment you begin to insist on training for concrete immediate goals such as a particular race you reduce yourself to being slower than your potential because training properly involves long-term conditioning. It also involves a change of lifestyle, and a creation of good habits. Thus to say "train for a race" is an erroneous oversimplification of the process.  You train to be fit, and when you have the fitness or you want to test your fitness you race. You may introduce race-specific elements into your training to make sure you do well in a race of particular importance. But all of that is minor details compared to the issue of general fitness, which most recreational runners seriously lack ironically due to the mindset of "train for a race". With no race in near view they stop training consistently and lose whatever fitness they may have gained by "training for a race". Without training being a solid year-round process they are not able to progress. With that in mind, I never think too much about which race I am training for. When you are fast, there will always be a race to prove it. I just train to be faster and once in a while I race to evaluate the quality of my training. 

With 0.5 to go I began to question if I was just holding back, or perhaps maybe I was tricking myself and 5:32 pace was really all I had in me today. So I decided to see if I could speed up to 5:20. The effort was successful. I ran two quarters in 79 each, which gave me 5:24 for the last mile, and 16:17.3 for the 3 miles.

Finished the 10.5, then added 2 more with Julia. Jenny took a break to let her muscles and tendons heal. Total of 12.5.

P.M. 1 with Joseph and Jacob in 8:34, 2 more with Joseph on a bike. He surprised me by maintaining 7:00 pace on the uphill. Our time was 14:21 for 2 miles. 


Green Crocs 3 Miles: 15.50
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran 8 with Jeremy, then 4 with Benjamin, Julia did 3 of that. Did a post-VPB 0.5 in 2:39. Jenny rested trying get her muscles to heal.

P.M. 1 with Joseph and Jacob, then 2 more with Joseph on a bike. 

Green Crocs 3 Miles: 15.00
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, Benjamin, and Gary. Benjamin did 5, still recovering from the stomach flu. I paced Jeremy and Gary through a 4 mile tempo, which we did at slightly sub-7:00 pace. The weather was challenging - snow and wind changing directions. I did a post-VPB pickup for 700 meters uphill. The first quarter was 91, the next 300 1:03 with the same effort. So going from 6:04 pace to 5:36 as the wind all of a sudden changed directions. Then ran 2 alone and 2 with Julia. Total of 12.

P.M. 1 with Joseph and Jacob, 2 more with Joseph on a bike. 

Green Crocs 3 Miles: 15.00
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. Started with Chad, Jeremy, and Benjamin. Benjamin turned around after 3 to make it 6. I started the uphill 3 mile tempo after about 2.3 miles. It was one weird day. The wind was blowing as usual, but felt not too bad. So I went through the first mile in 6:02 feeling quite good and  thinking the others will be somewhere around 6:10, maybe 6:20 if the wind picks up. The second mile was 6:20, and I could not understand why - I was not feeling bad, nor did the wind feel like it picked up, but I was getting progressively slower with every quarter.  Then I did not feel the wind too much, but for some odd reason the next mile was 6:49 giving me 19:11 for 3 miles. I turned around and ran an 89 quarter until I met Chad and Jeremy. I was still wondering how in the world I could have run a 6:49 mile with a tempo effort. Then Jeremy turned around, and I ran with Chad. I stopped for a VPB, then ran to catch up. The catch up mile was 6:17, and it felt weird as well. There was some headwind and uphill, but it should have been sub-6:00 with that effort. Last week I was catching up to Jeremy in the same spot and going in the same direction and hit 5:40 pace quite comfortably. I felt like I all of a sudden for some odd reason I was running with a shorter stride, and began to wonder if there was some kind of health problem involved. Then I noticed that part of my face was numb. It was fairly cold, and I was wearing just shorts and a T-shirt. My hands were cold as well. Chad went on to the 9 mile turnaround, and I ran another 3 mile tempo this time in the opposite direction - tail wind and downhill. I went through the first mile in 5:51, but in some ways it felt like 5:20, and for the life of me I could not go any faster. Then the next two miles were 5:43 average, and I ended up with 17:13 for 3 miles. At this point the pace started feeling more normal, although still not 100%, and I wanted to go further, but it was time to turn around and meet Chad.

So I ran back for another 1.5 miles and re-joined with Chad. I was planning on a nice relaxing 6:30 pace that would eventually deteriorate into a more relaxing 6:50 or even 7:10, but Chad surprised me. For about 2 miles he was going 6:00. Then he slowed down to 6:15. If there was any relaxation for me, it happened in the last mile, which we did in 6:58. Chad averaged 6:15 in the last 9 miles of 18. 

When we got to the house, I was at 19 total, and Chad was at 18. I took Jacob and Joseph for a mile, and Chad joined us for one more mile. It ended up being a brisk mile for a cool-down with Joseph running 8:18, and Jacob 8:24 on a hilly course. 

Jenny and Julia ran 2 miles. 


Green Crocs 3 Miles: 20.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Green Crocs 3 Miles: 96.50
Night Sleep Time: 53.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 53.00
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