Breaking the Wall

Week starting May 22, 2016

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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: 154.81 Year: 1799.09
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: 595.71
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Black Crocs 2 Miles: 86.67
Night Sleep Time: 16.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 16.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Day of rest. Went to church. Taught Benjamin how to drive our 15-passenger van, and read some Second World War history with him in Russian. It was a Wikipedia article that was supposed to be objective, but it was in Russian, so likely written by a Russian. So whenever Germans lost it said "the enemy was anihilated". When the Russians lost, "the Red Army failed to hold back the relentless pressure from an overwhelming force of the enemy". Benjamin was greatly entertained by this language.

Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2016-05-23 08:24:36
Workout Totals: Distance13.005Time1:39:09.70Pace7:37.49
Usual day. Benjamin and I did 10+3 with "fat" pickups. Otherwise usual distances for the kids.
Leg 1:Distance6.005Time44:51.20Pace7:28.16
With Benjamin. Did a "fat" 1 K.
Split 1:Distance5.280Time40:20.80Pace7:38.48
Split 2:Distance0.625Time3:41.20Pace5:53.92
Split 3:Distance0.100Time0:49.20Pace8:12.00
Leg 2:Distance4.000Time31:37.30Pace7:54.32
With Benjamin, Joseph, and Jacob.
Leg 3:Distance3.000Time22:41.20Pace7:33.73
With Benjamin in the PM. Did a "fat" mile.
Split 1:Distance1.500Time11:59.60Pace7:59.73
Split 2:Distance1.000Time6:03.70Pace6:03.70
Split 3:Distance0.500Time4:37.90Pace9:15.80

Black Crocs 2 Miles: 13.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2016-05-24 07:55:09
Workout Totals: Distance17.180Time2:08:14.10Pace7:27.85
Total of around 17 miles. Did a workout with Benjamin. 2 up, 4 down the canyon. I did 2 in 12:03 (5:58, 6:05), Benjamin in 11:14 (5:39,5:35). 4 miles - me 22:38.9 (5:39,5:39,5:43,5:37). Benjamin 20:34(5:05,5:09,5:16,5:05). Benjamin was feeling tired, probably glycogen depletion. I told him to eat more.

Benjamin ended up with 13 miles. Otherwise kids ran usual distances.
Leg 1:Distance2.280Time17:32.80Pace7:41.75
Leg 2:Distance2.000Time12:03.30Pace6:01.65
2 miles uphill.
Leg 3:Distance1.800Time16:45.80Pace9:18.78
Leg 4:Distance4.000Time22:38.90Pace5:39.73
4 miles down.
Leg 5:Distance3.100Time27:50.50Pace8:58.87
Leg 6:Distance4.000Time31:22.80Pace7:50.70
With Joseph and Jacob.

Black Crocs 2 Miles: 17.18
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2016-05-25 08:59:13
Workout Totals: Distance11.035Time1:23:26.10Pace7:33.66
Did 10 in the AM with Benjamin (some with Joseph and Jacob as well), and 1 with Stephen in the PM. Usual distances for the kids.
Leg 1:Distance6.035Time44:48.30Pace7:25.45
With Benjamin, did a "fat" 1 K.
Split 1:Distance5.300Time40:12.00Pace7:35.09
Split 2:Distance0.625Time3:39.80Pace5:51.68
Split 3:Distance0.110Time0:56.50Pace8:33.64
Leg 2:Distance4.000Time29:44.40Pace7:26.10
With Joseph and Jacob.
Leg 3:Distance1.000Time8:53.40Pace8:53.40
With Stephen.

Black Crocs 2 Miles: 11.03
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2016-05-26 08:04:41
Workout Totals: Distance14.560Time1:45:32.20Pace7:14.90
Total of 14.56. Benjamin ran 10.56 + 3. He paced me through a 3 mile tempo run down the canyon. It was a strange run. I felt good in the first 200, then after a small uphill I started feeling sluggish, and asked Benjamin to lead me at 83 per quarter, which he did up to 0.75 in 4:10. Then I asked him to speed up to 82, he sped up to 80, it was too hard, but I thought I'd give it a shot. So I went with him for the next 1 K in 3:21, mile split was 5:30. When we hit the small uphill I asked him to take it easy, he did, we had 8:14 at 1.5. Then he sped up to 81, that felt too hard, I asked him to back off. He slowed down to 85, we had 11:00 at 2 miles, it still felt hard, but I was ready to deal with the last mile. Benjamin, however, experienced a major side ache which I think was correlated to stiffness in the back. We stopped with about 0.7 to go to massage it. That fixed the problem, Benjamin could run normally again. After the stop I hard the hardest time getting back to pace. We ran 2:50 from 2 to 2.5. Then in the last 0.5 Benjamin shifted gears. It felt very hard, I did not think I could do it, but then I told myself - you are not running 0.5 at the end of 3, you are just running 0.5. It was easier to believe because we had enough of a stop for me to recover earlier. Once I did that, the pace became manageable, and I was able to run 2:34 (5:08 pace) for the last 0.5.

Two important takeaways from that - Benjamin's mysterious side aches are likely connected to his back tension, and I can improve my finishing speed my changing my mental focus.

Otherwise kids ran their usual distances today.
Leg 1:Distance5.280Time40:36.60Pace7:41.48
Leg 2:Distance3.000Time16:24.60Pace5:28.20
Tempo run.
Leg 3:Distance2.280Time18:56.80Pace8:18.60
Leg 4:Distance4.000Time29:34.20Pace7:23.55
With Joseph and Jacob.

Black Crocs 2 Miles: 14.56
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2016-05-27 09:02:32
Workout Totals: Distance11.015Time1:23:32.00Pace7:35.02
Total of 11. Benjamin did 10. Usual distances for the kids, except Stephen ended up with 2 miles due to his lack of effort in the morning - 10:07 mile with Julia in spite of her efforts to get him to go a respectable pace. I gave him a choice to run another mile to earn the fruit snacks, a fig bar, and a Russian movie. His standards are 9:40 for one fruit snack, 9:20 for two, 9:00 or one quarter 2:05 or faster during the run for a fig bar on top of the fruit snacks, 8:40 or one quarter 2:00 or faster for a Russian movie on top of everything else. He earned the Russian movie through 2:00 quarter at the end.

Benjamin was very much like that when he was 5. The deal was that if he broke 10:00 he got to choose the movie, otherwise I got to choose the movie. He would frequently go through the first quarter in 3:00 or so insisting that he could not go any faster. Then I would remind him of the consequences of running slow, and he always sped up to finish in something under 10:00.
Leg 1:Distance4.000Time29:32.90Pace7:23.23
With Benjamin, Joseph, and Jacob.
Leg 2:Distance6.015Time45:15.90Pace7:31.52
With Benjamin. Did a "fat" 1 K.
Split 1:Distance5.300Time40:50.00Pace7:42.26
Split 2:Distance0.625Time3:41.00Pace5:53.60
Split 3:Distance0.090Time0:44.90Pace8:18.89
Leg 3:Distance1.000Time8:43.20Pace8:43.20
With Stephen.

Black Crocs 2 Miles: 11.01
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2016-05-28 07:23:22
Workout Totals: Distance19.890Time2:32:53.30Pace7:41.20
I did 20, Benjamin 15, younger kids ran their usual distances. Benjamin and I repeated our Tuesday workout 2 up + 4 down the Provo Canyon. Benjamin did 11:12(5:39,5:33) + 20:13(4:59,5:05,5:12,4:57). I got 12:00 (5:57,6:03) + 22:29 (5:35,5:37,5:41,5:36). I prayed this morning as well as during the run to be able to run 12:00, and this is exactly what I ran, to the tenth of the second. After the first mile I was not certain, I only had 5:57, there were some climbs up ahead, and the headwind was stronger than on Tuesday. I learned something about what it means to have faith. "It is by the grace that we are saved after all we can do" (2 Nephi 2:25), and "Work out your salvation with fear and trembling" (Philippians 2:12). I gained a better understanding in a practical way what those passages mean.

I tend to expect my goal-specific prayers to be answered by gaining the fitness that puts me a little bit above my goal. That is not how this one was answered. I had to dig rather deep into the depths of my soul to find the extra gear in the last half mile and I had that ability to dig today.

I feel another prayer was answered as well. I prayed last night to know how I can coach Benjamin to make a breakthrough in running. And I saw something in my mind - when he hits an uphill he lengthens his stride instead of upping his turnover. I explained to him what I knew about running uphill - move the arms quicker, drive the knee up, increase leg turnover - but I knew that he would need an experience I could not give him to internalize it. So I asked him to pray as he runs so the Lord would teach him how to run uphill. I think he made some progress today. He closed with a 5:33 on the uphill interval, and he recovered better from the uphill bumps on the downhill interval. I was particularly happy that he found 4:57 after a slow-down to 5:12. Most of it actually came from the last 0.5 in 2:25. I was also happy that the slow-down mile was 5:12.

Otherwise, kids ran their usual distances.
Leg 1:Distance2.280Time18:07.10Pace7:56.80
Leg 2:Distance2.000Time12:00.00Pace6:00.00
Tempo uphill.
Leg 3:Distance1.310Time12:30.20Pace9:32.67
Leg 4:Distance4.000Time22:29.60Pace5:37.40
Tempo downhill.
Leg 5:Distance5.300Time48:59.50Pace9:14.62
Distance with Benjamin.
Leg 6:Distance5.000Time38:46.90Pace7:45.38
With Joseph and Jacob.

Black Crocs 2 Miles: 19.89
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Black Crocs 2 Miles: 86.67
Night Sleep Time: 16.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 16.00
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