Breaking the Wall

Week starting May 27, 2007

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: 0.00 Year: 1283.13
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

Benjamin and Jenny ran in the Harrington Memorial 5 K today in American Fork on the American Fork 5K course. Ted and his son James came over early in the morning. Ted tried to replace the battery connectors on Zhu (our Ford Escort Wagon), but turned out I got the wrong kind. So the job was postponed until after the race.

We did some easy running before the race. Then Ted paced Benjamin, while James and I paced Jenny. Benjamin ran a new PR of 22:49, an improvement of 29 seconds. His mile splits were 6:59 (down), 8:11 (up), and 7:00 (down). He was second in the 10 and under division losing to his arch-rival Alexander Barry by 26 seconds, who also ran a great race after just running Magna 5 K in 21:57.

Jenny also ran a PR of 26:27. Her first mile was 8:38, followed by 9:24 uphill. That is when she started passing people. On the last mile she unleashed her furious Jenny kick and ran 7:41 passing a good number of people. She almost got Alexander Barry's father but did not quite have the juice on the last 100 meters after essentially having sprinted the entire mile.

Steve joined us for some more miles. We began discussing how much slower this course was than Magna. To provide some data for the debate I decided to run the course at a steady marathon pace effort. Steve joined me. We ran the splits of 5:27 - 6:07 - 5:38 and the final time of 17:51. Steve thought we had eased off much on the last mile, and he may have been right as I was probably getting slightly dehydrated with the temperatures getting into the 80s. But at the same time Ted was jogging up ahead of us, and this may have been triggering his greyhound instinct. One thing for sure is that we have put in at least 5:47 flat effort into the first two miles - we reached the two mile mark in 11:35 which is located above the start. At the end Steve and I agreed the course was comparable to Heart of Holladay.

Stopped by at Checkers on the way back, got the right kind of connector, and Ted finished the job on Zhu. Zhu is now very happy, and so are Sarah and I. We do not have to lift up the hood and wiggle the connection every time we want to start it any more.

Ran with Julia plus a tiny bit more to make it 13 for the day. In the evening had a barbeque at Ted's.

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

Did not get good sleep the night before. New resolution. If I am not in bed by 10:30, I will do a handwritten dictation of one paragraph. I normally do not use a pen, and try to avoid doing it as much as possible. This is a much more unpleasant punishment for me than smelling socks. I grew up with the public bathrooms with non-flushing toilets where people used to smoke. That adjusted my sense of smell. I find the sock smell rather aromatic, almost like flowers compared to a Soviet-era mens bathroom in Moscow.  Sarah, however, is going to smell my socks.

Ran the warm-up with Ted. Still did the standard 5 mile tempo run. Decided to go marathon pace, and then pick it up if I felt good. First mile in 5:49, followed by 5:43. Feeling asleep. Got into a rhythm on the third one hit the turnaround in 14:22 (2:50). Next quarter in 1:26, and feeling strong. Decided to shift gears to threshold on the last 2.25. Next quarter in 1:23 (17:11, 5:39), then 1:22, 1:23, 1:23, 1:24, the mile in 5:32. Now the lack of sleep is starting to show. The legs feel strong, but the neural drive starts disappearing. But still not too bad.

The uphill quarter in 1:26, feels like I am slacking, but it takes super-human mental effort to go any faster. Then 1:25, 1:24, and the last one in 1:20 to beat the 5:40 guy. 28:18.3 for the tempo, last mile in 5:35, last 2.5 in 13:56.

Did a fairly brisk cool down with Ted. He was trying to beat the 7:00 mile guy on the last quarter, so we ran it in 1:29. We missed him by 7 seconds. Had Ted told me what he was trying to do, I would have run it harder.

Ran with the kids in the afternoon. 

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

Easy run with Ted at 4:50 AM. Two items of notice - it took me as usual 4 miles to warm up to pace, but I could handle 7:20 pace after the first mile. After that 7:00 pace felt easy. HR was normal - very low as usual, lower than it should be for the pace in the first 4 miles, then normal after that. Also, only one bathroom stop - the average for this early in the morning is 2.5.

Ted picked it up to 6:40 trying to catch the 7:15 guy. With a quarter to go I watched to catch the 35:00 guy for the last 5.02. So we ran the last quarter in 1:23. My legs felt good, like they had some jet energy in case Ted decided to test my kick. We ended up with 1:12:22 for 10.04.

The highlight of the afternoon run with the kids was Julia's first timed mile ever. Her goal was to break 10:00. After seeing Benjamin and Jenny get all the prizes for running fast times, she said to me: "Daddy, can I get whatever toys I want if I break the mile?" I told her she could if she went under 10:00. The main challenge was not the fitness. It is hard for a 4 year old to comprehend how long a mile is and to keep running at a hard pace with no end in sight. Especially for Julia - Jenny was a very mature 4 year old, she was already reading scriptures at 4.5, and comprehending the things of life in general much better. Julia is barely able to read her power words, and still does not quite realize what is going on around her, more like your average 4 year old kid.

Jenny volunteered to help pace Julia. This made a big difference. We did the time trial on the Provo River Trail. First half a slight up, then turn around and come back to the start. The first quarter was perfect - 2:30. The next 300 meters went great, we were right on pace for 10:00. Then Julia started to panic. I told her she could slow down. We got to the half in 5:07.

After the turnaround, Julia realized we were going back, so the finish was close. She started pushing the pace and ran the next quarter in 2:18. Then she saw the four dots and stopped thinking it was the finish. We told her no. She lost a bit of time on that, but fairly quickly got going again. Jenny and I kept giving her encouragement telling her she was still on pace and could get her prize if she did not quit. Jenny kept telling her to believe in herself. With 100 to go we saw our friend Amy with her kids, and that cheered Julia up enough to run the last 100 in 33 seconds "breaking the mile" - 9:57, now 5 people in our family of 7 are sub-10:00 milers!

Julia probably has the ability to run sub-9:30 with her current fitness if only she could understand the distance and how to run it better. That will come with age.

I checked Jenny's blog, and did some math - Jenny broke 10:00 for the first time at the age of 4 years and 295 days. Julia was 4 years and 242 days old today. Jenny had been running 0.5 miles a day consistently for about 3 months prior to breaking 10:00, and this was not the first time she had run the whole mile. Julia started much earlier, but her consistent daily runs have maxed out at 0.35. She had never previously run the whole mile without stopping for a considerable period of time.

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

The day of growth today. 5x400 + 3 mile tempo + 5x400 in the Provo Canyon. This workout used to be unpleasant. It did not feel particularly unpleasant today. Having Ted around helped quite a bit.

Warm-up, then the anaerobics. Exact opposite of aerobics. Usual morning headwind out of the canyon. Slower on the way up. 70.0 down - 76.4 up - 70.5 down - 75.9 up - 69.8 down. So far so good. Felt strong but not fast.

Jogged up to Nunn's Park. I decided to call the barrel that we start the tempo from Vladimir Kutz in honor of the Russian runner who won the Olympics in 5000 and 10000 in 1956. Before he started running he was a pudgy kid which earned him a nickname of bochka or barrel in English. He is also known for a special coaching method - drop a group of runners 20 K from the training base in the middle of nowhere, and tell them that lunch starts in an hour, whoever is late does not get to eat.

We gave Ted a 30 second head start to make things interesting. After the first 900 he actually increased it to 31 seconds. I noticed that along with the 3:21 split at 1000 and decided to get down to business. 5:18 at the mile. 10:34 at 2 (5:16). I've closed the gap, but Ted is still 16 seconds ahead. Now I'd better really get down to business. The greyhound instinct is starting to kick in, and Ted sure knows how to exploit it. I cannot believe it - I am now running 5:10 pace, and Ted is edging towards me very slowly, this means big trouble if and when I catch him, he'll give me a run for my money on the kick. With a quarter to go I figured if match or beat his fastest quarter in the interval session, I should be safe. Easier said than done, that would have to be 71. I managed 71.5, last mile 5:04, total time 15:38, passed Ted with 50 meters to go. Ted ran a great time - 16:08, a 30 second PR for the course for him.

The tempo felt hard, but it seemed whenever I needed a boost of speed, I could reach deep down and find it. That is a very good sign. Also, I was not mentally fighting the idea of doing 400s afterwards, another good sign.

Ted's hip was hurting, so he decided to do 200s to make it a bit easier on it. That helped me a lot - he paced me through the first 200 on every one of the intervals. Ran a bit faster overall - 69.0 down -  77.1 up - 69.6 down - 75.1 up - 66.3 down.

Cooled down, got 13.2 for the workout.

Ran with Julia in the afternoon. Benjamin heard about the meet in Payson and wanted to go. So we all went. Ran with Jenny, then watched the meet. Benjamin ran 50 meters in 9.3, long-jumped 7 feet ( new record), and then there was the 1600 meters. They announced that the parents were invited to join. That was very good as there was a fairly strong headwind on the back stretch. I gave Benjamin a goal of running no laps slower than 1:45.

This was a 440 yard track. After the meet I realized  that due to a mistake we had actually run about 1607 meters instead of 1600. Not a big difference, but still nice to know we've run more.

Benjamin ran a PR of 6:48 with the laps of 1:43, 1:43, 1:42, and 1:40. I was very impressed. He said he started hurting at 525 meters, and it kept getting worse with each lap. Unusual mental toughness for a kid so young. He took third place overall.

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

Went with Sarah, our kids, Ted, his wife Elizabeth, and their kids to the zoo. Got there via a running detour adventure. Ted and I along with our running kids got dropped off at the East Canyon exit on I-80. Then as each child was done with his run, he would get picked up and continue the journey in the car. Julia ran a half mile in 4:33 downhill singing the entire way. Jenny ran the mile, mostly downhill but the last quarter uphill in 8:51. Benjamin and James continued to the 2 mile mark with the last mile being unending uphill, and finished in 18:27.

As we climbed up the Little Mountain hill we saw a snake hiding in the pavement crack. We went about 8:20 pace on the climb, and maintained somewhere between 6:20-6:40 on the downhill in the Emigration Canyon. Picked up a bit on the last mile, ran it in 5:56. It was nice to study DesNews course at a conversational pace with a brain that is getting a full supply of blood sugar, but with the legs actually feeling the terrain. I had never done this before.

Afterwards we saw lots of interesting animals at the zoo. I liked the big turtle and the crocodile that looked like a log.

Ran 2 easy miles in the evening to pad the mileage to the goal. 

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

Standard 10 mile tempo today. James had a track meet at 8:00 AM, so Ted and I started our run at 8:50. It was warm by then (around 65), and it kept getting warmer (70+). We jogged 1.9 and then I started the tempo.

First 2.5 in 14:26, felt easy. HR at 150. Turned around, came back in 14:30. This one felt harder, possibly due to warmer temperatures. 28:56 at 5 miles. Consciously decided to pick it up a bit on the third 2.5, ran it in 14:21. Felt like I had to work a lot harder, but the heart rate was very reasonable for the conditions - hovering between 153 and 155.

On the last 2.5 shifted gears into the threshold pace. The goal was to go under 14:00. My first quarter after the 180 turn was 1:25. After than, the slower quarter was 1:24.5. Last mile in 5:32, last 600 in 2:01, last 2.5 in 13:55, last 5 in 28:16, and the total time of 57:12, fastest time this year so far.

Interesting experience on the last 2.5. I felt like the pain of the pace was sustaining the neural drive to keep it. That happens to me only when I start getting into really good shape. It is instinctive, you cannot consciously make it happen, you have to train a certain way for this instinct to develop.

Immediately after I finished, Ted took me for a brisk cool down. He announced he was 1:15 ahead of the 7:00 mile guy, and he planned to run another 5.3 miles and stay ahead of him. So we almost immediately started running sub-7:00 pace. Not a relaxing cool down at all, especially with the temperatures approaching 80.

Got home finally, Ted stayed ahead of the 7:00 mile guy, I ended up beating the 6:20 guy for 17.25 miles with the average pace of 6:18. As soon as I walked in, Julia wanted me to take her for a run. I told her I needed to get some water in first. Then took her for her standard 0.5 mile run.

Ran with Benjamin and Jenny in the afternoon.

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
Debt Reduction Calculator
Featured Announcements
Lone Faithfuls
(need a comment):
Recent Comments: