Breaking the Wall

Week starting May 17, 2009

Previous WeekRecent EntriesHomeJoin Fast Running Blog Community!PredictorHealthy RecipesSasha Pachev's RacesFind BlogsMileage BoardTop Ten Excuses for Missing a RunTop Ten Training MistakesDiscussion ForumRace Reports Send A Private MessageMonth ViewYear View
Graph View
Next Week
15% off for Fast Running Blog members at St. George Running Center!


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:

Click to donate
to Ukraine's Armed Forces
Miles:This week: 0.00 Month: 16.05 Year: 1637.99
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: 14.04
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Five Fingers 2 Miles: 58.00Brooks T4 Racing Flat Miles: 24.00Bare Feet Miles: 15.00
Night Sleep Time: 55.00Nap Time: 4.50Total Sleep Time: 59.50
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Day of rest. Went to church. Had a lesson on adversity in the Elders Quorum. That is a familiar topic. I remember teaching a lesson on the subject a couple of months ago. Two funny incidents happened during the lesson. First, the teacher rewarded every student that brought the lesson manual with a treat. Knowing my dietary preferences he brought radishes from his garden for me. Then to illustrate various levels of challenge/adversity he wrote two math problems on the board. The first one was 1+1, and the answer to it was 2. The second was to integrate sqrt(x) from 0 to 1, it was harder, but still doable without having to write, and the answer to it was 2/3. Then William started crying, so I missed the rest of the lesson.

Night Sleep Time: 9.00Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 10.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with Ted and Colby. 6 miles in 45:27. Jeff slept in. After 6 miles ran 4 with Sarah in 41:38. Then 2 with Benjamin in 16:59, and 2 with Jenny in 20:07. Julia ran the last 1.5 with us in 15:02.

Steve sent me a Timex HRM and a new pair of Five Fingers. Tried them out today.

Five Fingers 2 Miles: 14.00
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with Jeff, Daniel, and Tyler Cannon. Jeff and I thought we felt good enough for a tempo run. So we attempted one after a warm up. First mile was supposed to be a good rhythm mile, then 5:20, then fast. From the get go it felt hard. The first mile was 5:46 and I felt like I did not want to go any faster. Then we sped up reluctantly to an 81 quarter, followed by 78, then I backed off and let Jeff go, 80, 81 for a 5:20 mile. HR was 162-163 at 5:20 pace, but I felt like I could not push it any higher or go any faster. Assumed adrenal failure, decided it would be counterproductive to try to run through it in training since I already do that in races. So at that point I eased off. Jeff ran 5:19 - 5:08 for the last two miles. At 5:04 pace Jeff's HR was 184. Then we jogged back. Did a fat mile in 5:58. Measured the respiratory rate of 17 breaths per 100 meters. 

Then I proposed that perhaps there is a pattern (for me) of 15 breaths per 100 meters on a good day, and 17 on a bad day. Jeff suggested that there is too much room for error in this test. I wanted to know how much, so we decided to run half a mile at around 6:00 pace counting breaths in the second quarter with the goal of breathing as little as possible. Our half mile time was 3:01 with the last quarter in 1:29. Jeff took 20 breaths over the last quarter. I took 49.  10 in the first 100 meters. It was really odd to breathe this way, and I think eventually I would have had to revert to the natural breathing pattern if we were to continue.

From that I developed a working theory. There is a certain optimal air volume per breath, and it is fairly consistent on any given day. It is possible to breathe in more than that, but the faster the pace, and the longer you go at it the harder it is to do it. That optimal air volume, however, on a good day will be higher than on a bad day. It is not related to the heart performance. In fact, for the same runner, it is possible to have a lower HR at the same pace with that optimal volume reduced at the same time, so he is breathing harder even though HR is lower! Another illustration of how unrelated this is to HR is comparing me and Jeff - Jeff's optimal respiratory rate at 6:00 pace is 13 breaths per 100 meters. Mine on a good day is 15, and 17 on a bad day. Good day and bad day HR for me would be about the same. Yet his HR at any pace is 15 bpm higher than mine.

So in short, for me: good day - can sustain HR at 165, natural respiratory rate 15 times for 100 meters at 6:00 pace; bad day - HR cannot be sustained above 162 for signficant periods of time, natural respiratory rate 17 times per 100 meters at 6:00 pace. The HR has been tested for a while already, so I am quite sure about that. Respiratory rate needs more testing. But what I like about it is that if it proves reliable, 0.5 miles of 6:00 pace could tell me what's up, and that is a very non-invasive test.

P.M. Decided to try the new shoe. Well, I had that shoe ever since I was born, but had not used it much. It is completely free and available to all, and is called Bare Feet. Sarah said being a city boy I would not be able to handle it on asphalt. I ran 2 miles with Jenny in 18:44 (Julia ran the last 1.5 in 14:10), and 2 more with Benjamin in 16:29. It hurt a little bit, but once the run was over, the only negative result was minor blisters on the tips of the big toes. Noticed that even compared to Five Fingers, Bare Feet form was different, noticed my right hip flexor working harder. Will probably need another 3 months before I can do all of my easy miles barefoot.

Brooks T4 Racing Flat Miles: 10.00Bare Feet Miles: 4.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran 6 with Jeff, Ted, Colby, and Tyler. Matt Knold joined us for a few miles mid-run as well. Did a fat mile in 5:51. Respiratory rate was 17 breaths per 100 meters. Then ran 4 more with Jeff, Tyler joined us for a mile then turned around. Jeff and I ran another fat mile in 5:58. Total time for 10 miles was 1:13:07. Then 2 more with Benjamin in 17:16, and 2 more with Jenny in 18:45. Julia ran the first 1.5 with us in 14:42.

Five Fingers 2 Miles: 14.00
Night Sleep Time: 7.75Nap Time: 1.50Total Sleep Time: 9.25
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with Jeff, Daniel, and Tyler. We warmed up 3.87 miles together with a fat mile in 5:58. Respiratory rate was 14 per 100 meters. Passed an odd looking/acting guy that would prove to be a source of entertainment/annoyance during the tempo.

Then Jeff and I did the Good Rhythm Tempo, while Daniel and Tyler finished their uneventful 8. We started at the turnaround of the Fast Running Blog 5 Miler and ran the course in the opposite direction.

Mile splits: 5:43 - 5:42 - 5:44 (with 180 half way) - 5:27 - 5:25. Total time 28:01.1. Half splits were 14:19 - 13:42.

First mile was uneventful. I felt a slight difficulty breathing and a bit of sluggishness. The Nutty Clown greeted us at the start of the second mile and pretended to attack us. We had to swerve to get around him. HR was at 150 at the end of the first mile, then progressed to 156 and stayed there. On the uphill quarter of the second mile HR dropped to 154, and we slowed down to 87 from 85. Thus 5:42 instead of 5:40. The pre-180 quarter in the third mile was also slow - 88, thus a slow mile split.

Then towards the end of the third mile The Nutty Clown was waiting for us in the bushes, and jumped out to spook us. We had to swerve again. I was spooked, and felt it. Decided to try to use the adrenaline and pushed the pace a bit. It worked somewhat. From that point to the end the quarters were 83, 80, 82, 82, 84, 82, 81, 78. HR got up to 163 for 82, dropped to 161 on 84, climbed to 166 on 81, and to 168 on 78. For the first 10 seconds after finishing felt a bit puky. Jeff's HR maxed out at 183.

On the way back we realized we had to pick it up to get home in time. So we started going around 6:40 pace with 3 miles to go. My HR was hovering around 135, Jeff's at 160. So we reasoned that perhaps Jeff was more dehydrated than me. Normally our difference is no more than 20 beats a minute. Then I wondered what would happen if I got my HR up to 150. Jeff thought his would be 170, and he was dead on. It took about 5:55 pace and a long time too, about 2 minutes, I felt I really had to focus, and once HR got up to 150 it would not go above it, and kept slipping to 149.

 So to revisit the low respiratory rate theory. Today was an interesting data point. It predicted strong neural drive. In reality, the neural drive was not bad, but not exceptional either, and it took some playing around to activate it. Need more data points to refine the theory.

P.M. Wore my oldest shoes (Bare Feet). 2 miles with Benjamin, Jenny, Alan and Lars in 16:32. Jenny was not feeling good and jogged in the last .25 to finish in 17:02. Then 1.5 with Julia in 13:50. Getting used to my new/old shoes.

Brooks T4 Racing Flat Miles: 14.00Bare Feet Miles: 3.50
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with Ted, Jeff, Tyler, Colby, and Vern. Did explosions. After 6 miles it was just Jeff and I. We ran a fat mile in 6:00. Total time for 10 was 1:15:40. Then put on my Bare Feet shoes and ran 2 with Benjamin in 17:23, and 2 with Jenny in 19:42. Julia joined us for the first 1.5 in 14:43.

Five Fingers 2 Miles: 10.00Bare Feet Miles: 4.00
Night Sleep Time: 7.75Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.75
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran a recovery 20 miler with Jeff if there is such a thing. I ran pretty hard long runs for the last several weeks, and Jeff was going to drive to Mesa afterwards, so we decided to take it easy. I decided to stop being a chicken and finally wear Five Fingers on a long run. I figured if I only run easy in them I keep learning barefoot form only at slow paces. If my fast miles happen in shoes, I will just keep unlearning what I learned in Five Fingers.

The warm-up was uneventful - 10 miles uphill from my house to Bridal Veil Falls in 1:14:41.On the way back we ran a mild 5 mile tempo down the Provo Canyon (first 3.2 miles) and then following the trail along the University Avenue for the remainder. We followed the magic triangle marks for distance. The mile splits were 6:01 - 5:52 - 5:43 - 5:40 - 5:26.  Total time 28:42, 5:44 average. HR was 137 at 5:50 pace, 147 at 5:40 pace, and 153 at 5:25 pace. Early on we had more downhill and tailwind. This goes to show how much downhill and tailwind help on the economy end. Jeff was consistently 15 or so beats higher than me. What is interesting is that the last mile felt quick, like I was working.

Shortly after we finished the tempo we saw a group of bikers. Jeff reported there were 21 of them. Of all things somebody could be thinking in the 16th mile of a 20 mile run counting people was not something I would have expected. He told me counting people in a group was his hobby. I was very impressed with this talent. Later I asked him how many people attended his Elder's Quorum in church last Sunday. He knew the exact number, he said it varied from 19 to 21 as people kept coming and going. With this talent he is going to make a great ward clerk, and he actually has been one. Also, when he and Kimia have 10 children he will never accidentally leave one of them at a gas station on a trip.

Around mile 16 we were done with the post-tempo jogging and picked up the pace to get the run over with to around 6:40. My feet started to burn a bit. With a mile to go Jeff asked me if I wanted to run the fat mile. I did not feel like it at first, but then the thought of finishing the run 40 seconds sooner was more temptation than I could handle, so I agreed. So we ran our last mile in 5:58. Towards the end my HR was 155 at 5:50 pace and it was also warmer than 8 miles ago. Total time for 20 was 2:17:09, 6:51 average, last 10 in 1:02:28, 6:14 average.

The feet did OK, there are minor blisters on the balls of both feet that will hopefully turn into nice callouses.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin and Jenny. Timed only the last 1.5 in 13:06. 1.5 with Julia in 14:30. Happy to be able to run barefoot at the end of a long day.

Five Fingers 2 Miles: 20.00Bare Feet Miles: 3.50
Night Sleep Time: 7.50Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 8.50
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Five Fingers 2 Miles: 58.00Brooks T4 Racing Flat Miles: 24.00Bare Feet Miles: 15.00
Night Sleep Time: 55.00Nap Time: 4.50Total Sleep Time: 59.50
Debt Reduction Calculator
Featured Announcements
Lone Faithfuls
(need a comment):
Recent Comments: