Breaking the Wall

Week starting Jul 06, 2008

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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: 208.73 Year: 1853.01
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: 714.43
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Night Sleep Time: 54.50Nap Time: 1.33Total Sleep Time: 55.83
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Day of rest. Managed to play the Star Spangled Banner on the keyboard without mistakes with Sarah listening. Called Lybi, and being a bit more nervous with her listening over the phone made a couple of mistakes but recovered and was able to play it through. That is an improvement for me.

Also, a few days ago sang the Star Spangled Banner solo for Sarah and she gave me 5.5 out of 10. Off key only on a couple of notes. So, assuming  her rating system matches Daniel's, on a good day and a very familiar tune and stationary I can sing as well as Jeff running at 5:30 pace.

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

A.M. Decided it was time to cut back the mileage and add some intensity. This is going to be more experimental. The purposes are to test a) how it will affect the performance in shorter distances now that I've run 8 months of very solid base and b) how much of that speed will be retained once I go back to base mileage. My recent HRM data suggests that while I've received significant cardio gains from base building, I am running more and more into the 5 K speed limit. In other words, I cannot go any faster in the half because I am almost at my 5 K pace already. My hope is that the 5 K speed limit will budge more than it has in the past now that there is a huge aerobic base breathing down its neck.

Ran with Jeff and Daniel. Dropped Daniel off, finished the run with Jeff. Did one post VPB pick-up and we also tried to chase down a guy to recruit him for FRB, but he turned around early. Thus 0.6 of tempo running. Total of 13 miles in 1:41:50.

P.M. 1 with Julia in 9:52, 2 with Benjamin in 16:58 with Jenny running 1.5 in 13:11. One more without running kids in 7:28. Pushed Jacob in the single stroller the entire time. Played freeze tag in a park with Benjamin and two other kids. Lots of places to climb and hide at that park, so it was tough. Finally wore all of them down and froze them all. With reduced mileage felt energetic.

Five Fingers - 647.84 miles.

Night Sleep Time: 7.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.50
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Power workout for me today. Ran with Jeff, Josse, and Michelle. Matt found us on the trail and joined us. The workout was 6x1 mile with 400 recovery on an almost flat stretch on the Provo River Trail alternating directions. The power training aspect came from towing Josse in a harness. This was going to give her some overspeed training. Who needs an overspeed treadmill when you have a harness and somebody to pull you? And who needs a hill when you have a harness and somebody to pull?

I did not know what to expect, but a rough goal was to allow Josse to stay with Michelle. This proved to be too hard of goal for a couple of reasons - Michelle was stronger than I expected, and the pulling Josse in a harness was not as easy as I initially thought. I expected to work at about 1-2% grade uphill effort, but it ended up being more like 3% grade or 20-30 mph headwind.

Splits: 5.47.9 (on this one we managed to stay with the pack), 5:51.5, 5:50.9, 6:02.1, 5:46.6, 5:53.4. Peak HR was 164 on the first repetition, after that it was between 166 and 168. Michelle chicked me on all the repetitions except the first. It was an interesting experience. I am running with everybody, and all of a sudden I am working the same, even harder, and they are pulling away as if I were standing still, and there is nothing I can do to keep up. The harness handicap turned Michelle into a virtual Kara Goucher from my perspective. This was a good chance to learn humility.

Towards the end I started to get the grasp of the art of pulling. Which is probably the same as the art of running uphill or into a headwind. To be successful it is very important to fire up the leg muscles as quickly as possible the very moment your foot lands. A quick explosion of energy, once you get going start relaxing the muscles, they've done their work, you're going, they can rest. Easier said than done, it is like saying all you need to do to play a piece on the piano is hit the right keys at the right time.

Overall a good debut of the FRB Towing Service. Josse enjoyed the workout, felt good, but we'll have to see if she gets the delayed onset soreness. I estimate she had just run the equivalent of 6x1 mile down a 3% grade. This could be hard on the quads.

Total of 12 miles for the run.

P.M. 1 with Julia in 10:55, 2 with Benjamin in 16:58 with Jenny running the last 1.5 with us in 12:56. 1 more with no running kids in 7:51. Pushed Jacob in the stroller the whole run.

T4 Racer - 280.68 miles.

Five Fingers - 651.84 miles.

Night Sleep Time: 7.25Nap Time: 0.33Total Sleep Time: 7.58
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with Jeff and Daniel. Daniel ran 3 miles then turned around. Jeff was with me the entire time. We talked about education, how much difference motivation makes in the ability to learn and how to motivate kids to learn. Just as we were talking we saw the Provo High team with their coach Phil Olsen who also teaches Spanish. So we joined them, and gave them a pep talk. 13.2 miles in 1:43:13, 7:49 pace, avg HR 115.

P.M. 1 with Julia in 10:55, 2 with Benjamin in 16:49 with Jenny joining us for 1.5 in 13:10. 1 mile alone in 6:59.  Pushed Jacob in the stroller for the first 2.5 of the run.

Five Fingers - 668.04 miles.

Night Sleep Time: 7.75Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.75
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. 6x400 with 200 recovery with Jeff on the trail on a mostly flat section alternating directions. The target was 72 seconds but it was rather approximate. I did not want it slower than 73, nor did I want to hurt like 67. I was OK running a 67 if I could do it relaxed, but I did not want to become preoccupied with running 67s once I happened to get into that zone on accident.

On the first one we were overcautious in the first 200 - Jeff was waiting for me to go and I was waiting for him, so the first one was way off pace. After that we settled into a brisker groove and were ahead of target on all others. Splits (max HR in parenthesis):

75.2 (153) - 70.5 (161) - 69.8(161) - 67.6(166) - 67.6(165) - 68.0(164).

We had a forced extra stationary(for me) minute of rest before the last one due to Jeff's VPB. Thus lower HR at the same pace in spite of doing it later in the workout.

The thought that entered my head while we were in the 67-68 zone - why can't you run a 10 K like this? It would be nice, 68 400s gives 28:20 in the 10 K. I left that I lacked the power in the legs to sustain it. The heart could handle it just fine, I think. I would only need to be able to sustain the HR of about 180 for 28 minutes. I could do that in 2000. Then by 2004 I apparently experienced some dramatic cardiovascular gains and since then was never able to get my HR above 175.

Ran a long cool down (total of 13.35 for the run). Luz joined us shortly after we were done with the speed portion. Since she commented earlier about how easily Jeff handled 6:00 I volunteered him to sing for Luz. He got 8 out of 10 from her on the Star Spangled Banner at about 9:00 pace. Then I did it as well. Luz gave me a score of 5, I am wondering if that was too generous. She also gave me a more objective evaluation - completely off key 3 times, and flat 10 times. Have not counted the total notes in the song, but it appears that this would make it about only 20-25% error rate. This is a great improvement for me even for stationary singing.

Ran a mile with Julia in 10:00.

T4 Racer -  294.03 miles

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 16:28 with Jenny running 1.5 in 12:17. 1 more alone in 7:49. Pushed Jacob in the stroller.

Five Fingers - 671.04 miles.

Night Sleep Time: 7.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.50
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Total of 13.1 in 1:43:10. Started with Jeff, Matt joined us for a few miles. Did a VPB tempo for about 0.5 miles. Ran the last mile with Julia in 9:17.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 16:11 with Jenny running 1.5 in 13:03. Benjamin ran a 0.5 without Jenny in 3:08. It was out and back, and nasty rolling going under the bridge at 800 N on the trail twice. I was pushing Jacob in a stroller, so I figure this was about marathon pace effort for me. Then I ran 2 more in 15:25 pushing Jacob, most of it slow, but a biking couple passed me, and they were not going very fast. They were going slow enough to tempt me into picking up the pace, and I fell for the temptation. When the guy noticed that he was being followed by a runner with a stroller, he signaled the girl to pick up the pace, and they were gone. But not for long, they eased off and starting coming back. Then it was time for me to turn. I ended up running a quarter in 1:23 down about 0.5% grade.

Five Fingers - 688.04 miles.

Night Sleep Time: 7.75Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.75
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with Jeff and Thatcher. Thatcher is 18. He set a PR for the longest distance ever run. I set a PR for the negative gap in age (17 years younger) with a running partner to go over half-marathon distance in one run. We ran 14.1 in 1:47:08, 7:35.8 avg. The weather was cool, so that kept my HR below 120 for most of the run. Then we had a 0.15 mis-start with Julia - she realized she need to go the the bathroom shortly after we left the house, so we went back. Ran 9:58 mile with her and Jeff. Then we ran 1.5 with Jeff, Jenny and Benjamin in 11:47, and Jeff continued with me and Benjamin for another quarter, and then Benjamin and I turned around. We finished Benjamin's 2 miles in 15:32.

Five Fingers - 705.29 miles.

Night Sleep Time: 7.75Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.75
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Night Sleep Time: 54.50Nap Time: 1.33Total Sleep Time: 55.83
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