Breaking the Wall

Utah Valley Half marathon

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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: 103.30 Year: 1747.58
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: 60.25
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Day of rest - went to church.

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 - 2016-06-06 09:16:56
Workout Totals: Distance10.000Time1:19:01.10Pace7:54.11
10 total. All with Benjamin. Usual distances for the kids. Benjamin and I did a pickup for 1 mile in 5:47.
Leg 1:Distance1.000Time9:11.00Pace9:11.00
With Stephen
Leg 2:Distance3.000Time23:37.00Pace7:52.33
Leg 3:Distance6.000Time46:13.10Pace7:42.18
Split 1:Distance4.650Time37:23.00Pace8:02.37
Split 2:Distance1.000Time5:47.90Pace5:47.90
Split 3:Distance0.350Time3:02.20Pace8:40.57

Black Crocs 2 Miles: 10.00
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 - 2016-06-07 07:44:04
Workout Totals: Distance9.325Time1:12:38.20Pace7:47.37
We went to the canyon today. Benjamin did 2 miles down in 9:48 (4:52, 4:56) - something was wrong, he was tense. William did 0.5 in 3:08.8 down the canyon. Joseph ran 1 mile in 5:31.4, Jacob got 5:40.6. Jacob had some issues as well - he felt tension from the start.

Benjamin did total of 8. Otherwise usual distances for the kids.
Leg 1:Distance0.300Time2:40.60Pace8:55.33
Leg 2:Distance0.500Time3:08.80Pace6:17.60
Williams 0.5 down the canyon.
Leg 3:Distance0.875Time6:36.20Pace7:32.80
Some jogging.
Leg 4:Distance0.700Time6:02.50Pace8:37.86
With Joseph and Jacob.
Leg 5:Distance1.000Time5:40.60Pace5:40.60
Paced Joseph and Jacob through a mile down the canyon.
Split 1:Distance1.000Time5:31.40Pace5:31.40
Joseph's time.
Split 2:Distance0.000Time0:09.20Pace0:00.00
Jacob's time.
Leg 6:Distance1.500Time13:30.10Pace9:00.07
More distance with Joseph and Jacob.
Leg 7:Distance1.000Time9:08.90Pace9:08.90
With Stephen.
Leg 8:Distance0.250Time2:04.90Pace8:19.60
With Matthew - new record.
Leg 9:Distance2.500Time17:58.90Pace7:11.56
With Julia for the first 1.5, then did a pickup for a mile, she ran for the first 1 minute with me.
Split 1:Distance1.500Time12:18.60Pace8:12.40
Split 2:Distance1.000Time5:40.30Pace5:40.30
Leg 10:Distance0.700Time5:46.70Pace8:15.29
Cool-down, ran back to meet Julia, then ran with her.

Black Crocs 2 Miles: 9.32
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 - 2016-06-08 07:49:06
Workout Totals: Distance10.000Time1:18:06.60Pace7:48.66
Today Benjamin ran into a serious issue. He ran one mile with Joseph, Jacob, and William in 8:07, and everything seemed to be fine. Then he ran another mile with William in 8:17 and during that mile started feeling pain in the tendon under the knee. He tried running more, but could not go for even a mile, and ended up walking home.

I ran a total of 10. Usual distances for younger kids.
Leg 1:Distance1.000Time8:54.80Pace8:54.80
With Stephen - pushed Matthew and Mary in the stroller.
Leg 2:Distance3.000Time23:18.20Pace7:46.07
With Joseph and Jacob.
Leg 3:Distance6.000Time45:53.60Pace7:38.93
Split 1:Distance5.280Time41:37.60Pace7:53.03
Split 2:Distance0.625Time3:30.40Pace5:36.64
Split 3:Distance0.095Time0:45.60Pace8:00.00

Black Crocs 2 Miles: 10.00
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 - 2016-06-09 07:53:54
Workout Totals: Distance9.000Time1:08:52.10Pace7:39.12
Another miserable day for Benjamin. He could only run 1 mile. Took him to Josse, she massaged and scraped him. That was painful enough to make him recite Russian poetry which provided some entertaining value for Josse's kids.

I did a total of 9. Joseph and Jacob and William did 2, Stephen 1, Jenny 4, I think. Julia had a stomach problem, and was only able to run 1 mile.
Leg 1:Distance1.000Time9:00.90Pace9:00.90
With Stephen, Joseph, Jacob, and William.
Leg 2:Distance1.000Time8:01.60Pace8:01.60
With Joseph, Jacob, and William.
Leg 3:Distance1.000Time8:17.40Pace8:17.40
With Benjamin.
Leg 4:Distance6.000Time43:32.20Pace7:15.37
Alone, did a pickup for 1 K down the canyon.
Split 1:Distance5.280Time39:17.70Pace7:26.53
Split 2:Distance0.625Time3:24.70Pace5:27.52
Split 3:Distance0.095Time0:49.80Pace8:44.21

Black Crocs 2 Miles: 9.00
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 - 2016-06-10 07:51:42
Workout Totals: Distance6.000Time49:37.00Pace8:16.17
Taper day before the UVM. Benjamin was able to do a bit better than the day before - ran 3 miles on grass. Kids ran less in the AM due to the state track meet (USATF).

I did a quarter pickup at the end of the run in 81.8 on the road.

In the state meet Jenny and Joseph ran in the 3000. The conditions were horrible - 92 F, 5 pm, so the sunlight is still quite direct. I thought of a few things to mitigate the impact of the heat. First, I had them drink an ice smoothie 30 minutes before the race to keep the body cold. Second, I had them cut down the warm-up to just a 100 meter jog from the van to the start of the race 5 minutes before the start. Until then they sat in the van with AC on. That seemed to work, they ran fairly close to their recent PRs in spite of the conditions and performed better relative to their competition.

Joseph ran 11:23.62, 11 seconds off time-trial PR, 3 seconds off race PR. Splits 3:39, 3:47, 3:57 - last K was rough, but it was rougher for his competition.

Jenny - 12:28.25, splits 3:55, 4:16, 4:17 - same deal with the last 1 K.
Leg 1:Distance1.000Time8:07.20Pace8:07.20
With Joseph, Jacob, and William.
Leg 2:Distance1.000Time9:08.70Pace9:08.70
With Jacob and Stephen.
Leg 3:Distance3.000Time25:31.40Pace8:30.47
With Benjamin.
Leg 4:Distance1.000Time6:49.70Pace6:49.70
Split 1:Distance0.750Time5:27.90Pace7:17.20
Split 2:Distance0.250Time1:21.80Pace5:27.20

Black Crocs 2 Miles: 6.00
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Race: Utah Valley Half marathon (13.109 Miles) 01:17:45, Place overall: 12, Place in age division: 1
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2016-06-11 05:50:59
Workout Totals: Distance15.930Time1:40:56.40Pace6:20.19
Ran in the Utah Valley Half today. 1:17:45, 12th overall, 1st master, $150. Lost about 25 seconds in the bathroom.

Brett Hales won with 1:05:45.

Benjamin was injured and not able to race. We did a lot of work to help the injured muscles heal, but the problem ended up bigger than what we had the ability to fix in such a short amount of time. He was able to jog 4 miles, some on grass, but was not anywhere near racing. Just to check if maybe the miracle had happened I had him do a 200 meter stride in front of our house. His first 100 was 20, then he slowed down to 23 due to uncooperating muscles. This was a sign to us that he should not start the race.

My race was rather strange. I felt quite decent up to 8 miles averaging a bit slower than 5:40 and feeling that I should be able to finish at 5:50 pace or so. Then I lost contact with Kyle Petersen, had a bathroom stop, and then for the life of me could not even run 6:00 pace. Not sure what happened - I was not feeling bad. Maybe I had not done enough long tempos and just do not have endurance past 8 miles. Maybe this is part of getting old - when I had somebody with me I could run, but when I was left alone I just could not find my normal toughness.

I am going to be more thorough to make sure long tempos happen. I am also realizing that I need to do 2 hard workouts a week with good rest in between. I have been doing more frequent light speed. Will see if that makes a difference.

Post-race was quite eventful. At the awards ceremony I was surprised to meet our blogger Mark Palamer who came here to run the marathon all the way from Florida. I invited him to join us for the rest of the day.

First we went to the USATF Utah championship. Jacob ran 800 in 2:38.79, perfect splits of 78,80. He got outkicked by McKay Wells on the home stretch, but it did help McKay run a PR of 2:35.88. This was the best track 800 that Jacob has run in competition. I was happy to see that he was finally able to pace himself properly in a competitive situation.

William ran 3:14.27 uncontested after the first 100 meters. Stephen played a goof ball today and ran 4:22.

Then we went to the OremFest "mile". It was a bit shorter, maybe only 1500, if that. The race offered small cash prizes for the kids going three deep. I was not sure if they did it by grade, so I signed up only Joseph, Jacob, and William hoping for the top three sweep. It turned out later they did it by grade, so we ended up with three wins. In retrospect I should have signed up Stephen as well. Next year if they have it in the same format, I will have Joseph, Jacob, William, Stephen, and Matthew.

Joseph got 5:16, Jacob 5:21, William did not time himself.

Matthew and Stephen ended up running about 1.5 miles for transportation purposes. Mark ended up doing some post-marathon running as well.

Afterwards, we all had dinner at our house.
Leg 1:Distance1.600Time12:45.70Pace7:58.56
Leg 2:Distance13.130Time1:17:44.60Pace5:55.26
The race.
Split 1:Distance3.000Time17:15.30Pace5:45.10
Splits were 5:29,5:34,6:12(uphill). Started out with Mike McPherson and Richard Harris and ran with them for 2 miles, then felt the pace was too fast. Towards the end of this mile Kyle Petersen caught up to me, and I followed him to 8 miles.
Split 2:Distance1.000Time5:52.40Pace5:52.40
With Kyle.
Split 3:Distance1.000Time5:43.30Pace5:43.30
With Kyle.
Split 4:Distance1.000Time5:41.40Pace5:41.40
Happy with the split.
Split 5:Distance1.000Time5:39.80Pace5:39.80
Also happy with this one.
Split 6:Distance0.980Time5:32.30Pace5:39.08
This was my last good mile.
Split 7:Distance1.020Time6:06.10Pace5:58.92
Lost contact with Kyle, and started to feel the urge to go to the bathroom.
Split 8:Distance1.000Time6:29.70Pace6:29.70
Lost about 25 seconds on the bathroom stop.
Split 9:Distance1.000Time6:13.80Pace6:13.80
What is going on?
Split 10:Distance1.000Time6:14.10Pace6:14.10
Still cannot get going.
Split 11:Distance1.000Time6:09.50Pace6:09.50
Tried to shift gears, not much happening.
Split 12:Distance0.130Time0:46.90Pace6:00.77
I think this stretch was long.
Leg 3:Distance1.200Time10:26.10Pace8:41.75

Black Crocs 2 Miles: 15.93
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: 60.25
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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