Breaking the Wall

Utah Valley Half-Marathon - pacing

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
Green Crocs 5 Miles: 55.60Schwinn Double Stroller Miles: 2.00
Night Sleep Time: 40.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 40.50
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Day of rest. Went to church. It was a Fast Sunday, so we bore testimonies. Then we had Sunday School and the Elder's Quorum. In the Elder's Quorum they asked me if I really could not beat Benjamin in the 2 mile run. I told them yes, he was for real, I gave it all I had and it was not enough. They also asked me if my legs were sore. I told them I lacked the neural drive to make them sore over 2 miles.

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

A.M. Total of 12 miles. Most with the kids. Benjamin did 8, Jenny 1 (sore throat, probably allergies), Julia 3, Joseph 3, Jacob 1, William 1. Our neighbor Logan joined us for 4 miles.

Green Crocs 5 Miles: 12.00
Night Sleep Time: 7.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.50
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Not a whole lot of sleep. Last night as Sarah was going to bed she got stung by some poison-injecting creature. We got rather concerned because we could not find the creature. We wondered if it could have been a scorpion. Eventually the mystery was solved when we found a wasp.

Dave joined us today for the run. Logan joined us for the first 2 miles, then ran back. We repeated our workout from last week. I debated if it would be a good idea for Benjamin to run this long and this hard in the middle only 4 days prior to the half marathon. From the point of view of physiology it was less optimal. But he needed it psychologically after his adventures a week ago even though he had had a good race on Saturday. He needed a second witness of his ability. I knew that his performance in the half would be determined more by psychology than by physiology, so we went ahead with the workout.

We warmed up 5.3 as usual, then started the 3 mile tempo from Bridal Veil Falls. I paced the first two miles. We did the quarters of 84, 82, 81, 83 (5:30), 81, 80, 81, 80 (5:22), then I led for one more quarter in 78. Then Dave had the permission to take over and run as fast as he wanted, and he ran a 77. Benjamin passed me as well and sat on Dave's tail. I was hanging on for dear life during that 77 quarter. But then Dave slowed down to 79, and all of a sudden it became almost enjoyable. In the last quarter I gave it a little push moving closer to the front, and that got Benjamin going. With 200 to go we dropped Dave, and with 100 to go Benjamin dropped me. Our last quarter was 75 for Benjamin, 76 for me, 79 for Dave. The times were 16:01, 16:02, and 16:05 respectively.

So it was total of 10.6 for Benjamin and Dave. I ran another 3 to make the total 13.6. 2 of it was with Joseph and Jacob, and 1 with William. 

Green Crocs 5 Miles: 13.60
Night Sleep Time: 6.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 6.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Did 4 with Benjamin, Logan, and Andrew. Jenny did 2, Julia 3, Joseph 3, Jacob 1, William 1. Total of 8 miles for me. A respiratory sickness of some kind has hit our family, and I saw in the last couple of days in Jacob, so I had him run with William today. But he made William run 9:13.

Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. 6 miles total. 4 with Benjamin, Andrew, and Logan. Jenny and Julia did 2. William was sick - high fever and congestion. I made Joseph and Jacob rest as a they did have a little bit of cough and fever as well. At the end of the day made the decision to switch to the half-marathon instead of the full. Several reasons combining together, but the main one was I realized that it was important for me to be with Benjamin in his first half-marathon.

Green Crocs 5 Miles: 6.00
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. William is still sick. Sarah got sick as well. I ran 4 miles with Benjamin and Logan, 1 with Joseph and Jacob, 2 with Jenny and 2 with Julia. Pushed the stroller for 2 miles with Mathew in it. Did a few pickups. Total of 9 miles. Considered going more, given that I do not have the marathon, but decided to play it safe. I was having a bit of a cough and a snotty nose, and decided that I needed to be at the starting line of the half in good pacing shape given that I was expecting to be leading at 5:50 for at least a good portion of the half. Pacing is not the same as sitting in a pack, which I would normally do in a race - you have to take the wind, you have to talk occasionally, and you have to focus on the runner you are pacing, so you cannot be in pain.

Green Crocs 5 Miles: 9.00Schwinn Double Stroller Miles: 2.00
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
Add Comment
Race: Utah Valley Half-Marathon - pacing (13.11 Miles) 01:15:21, Place overall: 11, Place in age division: 1
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Utah Valley Half-Marathon pacing Benjamin - 1:15:21, 11th overall, 1st master, $150. Yes, Benjamin ran fast enough today to allow me to win the masters while staying with him the entire race. This was my first race as a master if you do not count the ward "fun run" a week ago.

I was originally planning to run the marathon, but two days ago felt that I should run the half with my 14-year-old son Benjamin. I see now that this was an inspired decision. I know he needed me there. The Lord also gave me a sign of sorts - the stars aligned and with the help of my advanced chronological but not yet quite as advanced biological age, a generous prize structure, and the absence of Iain Hunter, I was able to win $150. Even though we are quite well-off financially nowadays, cash prizes still excite me. It is rare that a cash prize goes unclaimed by a decent competitor. So it does feel good to be the competitor that claimed the prize.

Race account mile by mile.

1 - 5:39 - Downhill. Lots of runners still around, I am recognizing Steve Anderson and Steve Ashbaker. Benjamin is faithfully on my tail with the absolute minimal gap, just like I have taught him. I listened to him, his breathing sounded good. The split was 11 seconds faster than planned, but I sensed that Benjamin's effort was maybe slightly higher that ideal, but not 11 seconds. So I eased the effort maybe by 2 seconds per mile, and continued.

2 - 11:18 (5:39) - Lesser downhill. Steve Anderson pulled ahead, Steve Ashbaker is with us. I was surprised that we repeated 5:39 with what felt like an easier effort and what looked like a lesser downhill. Probed Benjamin's breathing - it sounded like he was handling the pace fine, so I maintained the effort.

3 - 17:11 (5:53) The Heartbreak Hill of the UVM. Was pleased with the split on the climb and Benjamin's response to it. We dropped Steve Ashbaker and passed Steve Anderson. After that we were in no man's land the rest of the race, but that was what it took to run 1:15 today. Had I gone for the marathon and left Benjamin to fend for himself, he probably would not have had the confidence to break away at this point. Contrary to what I had supposed, there would have been nobody to run with him.

4 - 22:57 (5:46) The end of the UVM Heartbreak Hill followed by a steep decent. Benjamin groaned a couple of times, but it sounded positive - meaning "I am mentally struggling, I have the fear of having to run another 9 miles like this now that I've run 4 and I am quite tired but I am in control of it, I now what it takes to win against it". We passed a water station, and I established the ritual that I would repeat at all water stations later on grabbing a cup, turning around and dumping it all on Benjamin. 

5 - 28:30 (5:33) We hit some nice downhill. Benjamin is still doing well.

6 - 34:10 (5:40) Flatter, also I may have eased off a little sensing that Benjamin might be about to start struggling. I am figuring our 10 K split was around 35:20, which is a PR for Benjamin, and is actually my masters PR as well.

7 - 39:50 (5:40). Nice slight downhill grade. I observed that we had 39:12 split at the 20 mile mark of the the UVM, which means about 10 K to go.

8 - missed the split. Benjamin is hanging in there, groaning more, but maintaining contact.

9  -  51:14 - 11:24 for two miles, 5:42 average. Dave Taylor joined us here for a 4 mile tempo at the end of his 16 mile run.

10 - 57:07 (5:53) - 10 mile PR for Benjamin. We did the last 5 K in 17:55. Benjamin is now in the unchartered territory. He's never run more than 10 miles hard. He worried about being there. I did not as much - I know if someone is holding pace through the first 10 he does not crash too bad in the last 3 in the half. If you are going to crash after 10, there is usually some pace bleeding after 6.

11 - 1:03:08 (6:01) - uphill mile. Benjamin survived it with our encouragement. Now the time to shift gears in the last two miles and see what we can get.

12 - 1:07:57 (5:49) - gentle decent to the finish. I shifted gears mildly to recover from the uphill mile, and Benjamin responded.  

13 - 1:14:44 (5:47) - Benjamin took the initiative and gave it a courageous push in the first half of this mile and I thought I was going to get dropped in the last quarter for a minute or two. But then he ran out of juice and I was in control of the pace again. 

13.1 - 1:15:20 on my watch, 1:15:21 officially. The kick in 36 seconds - 5:30 pace. We finished together side by side, but the official timing was messed up - Benjamin ended up with something really odd - 1:15:26 chip time, 1:15:29 gun time - it should have been 1:15:21/1:15:21 - I wrote to the timing company about it and hopefully they will fix it.

In the afternoon Joseph, Jacob, and Jenny ran in the track meet. I managed to look up the start time in the wrong place, and we got there late. Nevertheless, the meet officials were nice enough to organize a special 800 meter heat  just for us at the end of the meet. Jenny won the battle against the 86F heat and the wind and qualified for the meet in Eugene with 3:01.66. Joseph and Jacob were still feeling the effects of the bug they picked up and struggled - Joseph ran 3:18, Jacob 3:25. Jenny's splits by 200 were 41, 47, 47, 46. I was happy with that - she courageously pushed from the gun and then kept pushing all the way. Now all of our children 6 years and older (Benjamin, Jenny, Julia, Joseph, and Jacob) have the qualifying mark. Benjamin will run 3000 with the goal of setting the Utah state record in the 13-14 year old division, everybody else is running 800 trying to break 3:00 (Jenny, Julia, Joseph) or get to is as close as possible (Jacob).


Green Crocs 5 Miles: 15.00
Night Sleep Time: 6.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 6.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Green Crocs 5 Miles: 55.60Schwinn Double Stroller Miles: 2.00
Night Sleep Time: 40.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 40.50
Debt Reduction Calculator
Featured Announcements
Lone Faithfuls
(need a comment):
Recent Comments: