Breaking the Wall

Week starting Jul 29, 2007

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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:

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Miles:This week: 0.00 Month: 61.00 Year: 2277.53
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: 277.76
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

Legs felt a lot better today, although still not 100%. The quads are still weaker, and fatigue easily. The plan was for an easy 10 in the morning, and then go another 2 in loops around the block if that felt right. Had to be back by 7:30 for Sarah to leave on her run, and I left at 6:21, so I had to hustle. After one leisurely quarter fairly quickly got up to 7:10 pace. Then saw Lance Barker, and ran with him. He originally was going to run up to the Y, but I was able to persuade him to run a 5 mile tempo. I did not have any desire to run through town to get to the Y trail, nor to climb the Y, nor did I have the time to do it. And I did not want to run alone. I am glad Lance was so easy to persuade.

Our original plan was to run 6:20 pace. Lance did not think he could sustain 6:00 or even 6:10. We ended up running 30:39 (avg 6:08) with the splits of 6:10 - 6:09 - 6:17 (going around a fallen tree twice and with a 180 turn) - 6:05 - 5:58. Lance outdid his expectations by quite a bit. My legs felt more tired from this run than they should have been. So I decided to do only 10. Total time for 10 miles was 1:09:31.

Ran with the kids in the evening. 0.5 with Julia, then to the swing and back with Benjamin and Jenny trading places on the bike, and pushing Jacob and Joseph (another 3.5). Afterwards added a mile in 6:57. It felt very good form-wise. I attribute this to the effects of increased time on the inversion table - I went from 2 times a day of 5 minutes to 2 times a day of 10 minutes. But again, I've seen so many random fluctuations while trying new things, so I am not that excited yet.

Running puts my mind into a higher thinking plane. I am able to think more positively, solve problems, and look at things with a better perspective. Tonight somehow the meaning of the phrase "faith of a child" caught my attention. Having run without prolonged breaks since childhood has done something interesting to my memory. I believe because there is a connecting theme since I started running, I remember that portion of my life very vividly, like it was yesterday. Anything before that I remember no better than the average adult. So in a moment of contemplation the time came into my view when I was about 14 years old. Many of my friends had quit running at that time and were asking me why I still kept going. I did not have a reason to give them. I felt stupid not being able to give them a reason, but I did not even have a reason to give myself. But something very deep down in me that I did not understand, but I could not deny or ignore was telling me that something precious would die if I went along with my friends and quit just like them.

Of course, now I see the wisdom of that decision. I am better off than them or where I would have ended up otherwise because of that choice in many ways. I was able to stay away from alcohol and tobacco, learn how to work, learn how to overcome challenges, and eventually ended up finding the LDS Church, developing faith in Christ,  and being able to have my family thanks to that decision to keep going early on. But how did I know? And how did I find the strength to not only feel the right way, but also follow it when nobody did. At that time, everybody who I would have considered a possible role model had disappointed me in some serious way. There was nobody to follow. I believe God gave me a gift, and did so for a purpose. I am thankful for that gift. I hope that same gift I could use a child will be available to me for the rest of my life.

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Sasha House 10 miler in the morning. Legs are not sore any more, but feeling still weaker. Got bored, threw in a 1.5 mile tempo to wake up/get going in 8:30. First mile in 5:46, the remaining 0.5 in 2:44. Total time for 10.04 was 1:09:41.

Ran with the kids in the afternoon. Julia has been having some motivational problems lately, not uncommon for a 4 year old. We addressed them by reading the Little Engine That Could. So she yelled I think I can pretty much her entire run. That made it quite a bit faster. Instead of her standard 5:30 - 5:50 for 0.5 she ran 5:07. Then ran with Benjamin and Jenny for 2 miles (pushed Jenny after the mile in the stroller) in 18:13. Then ran 2.5 on my own in 17:28.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Sasha House 10 miler this morning at 5:20 AM. Because of the early hour felt sleepy and sluggish. Did a couple of tempo pickups to freshen up. Ran a mile in 5:33 ( the last one of the standard 5 mile tempo), and then ran the last 0.65 at about 5:40 pace. Total time for the run was 1:11:00. The form did not feel good even though I did 5 minutes of hanging upside down on the inversion table before the run. I think that position was not effective because I tense up while trying to maintain it.

Tried a different position in the afternoon, not quite a 90 degree angle between my body and the horizontal plane, maybe only 80 degrees, but I could maintain that position relaxed - 10 minutes. The form felt much better in the evening run. Ran 0.5 with Julia, then 0.4 while the kids played, then Sarah came back from her run, and I took Benjamin and Jenny. Jenny ran her mile in 8:56. She picked it up to 8:00 pace at the end to catch the 9:00 girl, and Benjamin started complaining. I told him his little sister was going to beat him if he kept complaining, that woke him up. On the way back he maintained the 8:00 pace, then saw two dogs, shifted gears, and started going 7:12 pace. With Jenny now in the stroller this gave me a good workout. His last quarter was 1:46, and total time for 2 miles was 16:30. His health is returning, he is starting to act normal.

Dropped Benjamin and Jenny off at the park with Sarah, and continued the run. Saw a potential running partner, ran with him. His name is Roman. Then after about a mile it was time for me to turn around. There was another guy going in the opposite direction. I jogged a bit at around 7:00 pace, he was not coming to me very fast, then figured I wanted to run with a partner for any considerable amount of time, I needed to pick it up. So I sped up to 5:20, and it is amazing how much faster somebody running 7:30 is coming to you at 5:20 vs 7:00 - took me only about 0.2 miles to catch him. Chatted with him a bit, his name was John, then it was time for me to go home. Ended up with a total of 5.5 for the evening run.

Afterwards, picked up a hula hoop and after  a couple of tries was able to spin it for about 15-20 seconds. I have never been able to do that before.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Tempo 5 miles with Nick McCombs on the Provo River 5 Mile Tempo.  This was going to be a test of recovery. A year ago I ran it in 28:26 with a positive split, dying off as I went. 

Splits by 0.5 - 2:49 - 2:47 (5:36) - 2:47 - 2:49 (11:12, 5:36) - 2:48 (14:00) - 2:47 (16:47, 5:35) - 2:49 - 2:48 (22:24, 5:37) - 2:48 (uphill) - 2:42 (quarters of 1:23 and 1:19) - last mile in 5:30, last 2.5 in 13:54 - 6 second negative split - total time 27:54.0.

The pace did not feel super-easy at first, but it just did not get any harder. I kept waiting for a crash to happen, but it never did. This is very encouraging - being able to run 32 seconds faster that last year around the same time away from the marathon with a negative split, which means I had more juice left. 

Nick was being nice to me, did not push the pace, and kept asking me if I was doing OK sympathetic to the post-marathon recovery syndrome.

Total of 10.8 for the run with the warm-up and cool down.

Ran easy 5 miles in the evening, including 2.5 with the kids. Got soaked in the rain.

Went to a church meeting in the evening. In a group of about 10 people there were several Spanish speakers and one Russian. This is actually typical for Provo, even though we are in a small town in the Western United States.


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Sasha House 10 Miler in the morning with Jeff and Nick. Started out really slow, first quarter in 2:25 - that is 9:40 pace! Jeff told us about being caught in a flash flood while hiking at Zion's Park this week. After about 4 miles we finally started breaking 7:00. Then gradually increased the pace to around 6:30. Finished the last 0.3 at 5:40. Total time for 10.04 was 1:10:59. It was very humid.

In the evening ran with Julia (0.5), then with Benjamin and Jenny to the swing - they brought a bike and took turns (3.5), and then added a mile in 6:58.

Abs started hurting a bit. They are naturally weak probably because I do not use them much while running. I always hope it is because the form is changing for the better when they start to hurt.

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Felt since I was still not 100% recovered from the marathon, I needed to do something mild today. Decided to try Tinman 1 mile easy/1 mile marathon pace long run. I absolutely cannot stand a 20 mile run at an easy pace. It takes forever, and I feel more tired afterwards than if I run at least half of it at marathon pace. And I have not had good results with those slow runs in the past.

Started with Ted and Jeff from the finish of the Provo River 10 miler (Riverwoods), and ran up to the start and back. Forgot The Toy, so decided to do the mile pickups by the Hawk's marks when they were there, otherwise just go roughly by time. Started out with a jog, took about half a mile before we started breaking 8:00. Ran the first tempo mile up 0.5% grade into a headwind in 5:58. Before the start of the second, Jeff and I had to make a pit stop. Ted went ahead at an easy pace. It took us a bit too long, and we fell further behind than could be covered with one tempo mile. We did the first tempo mile into a headwind and up about 1.5% grade in 6:06.

After that, there was still no sight of Ted, so we kept going at the same effort further up. After about another mile, we still could not even see Ted. So we eased off thinking that perhaps we might have missed him somehow. Then a couple of minutes later we passed some runners and asked them if Ted had passed them. They told us he was about 200 yards ahead, so we picked up again. It took us about 0.8 at about 6:00 pace to finally catch him. Ran with him until his turnaround - 7 miles, and then started the tempo. By that time we were going up South Fork. Jeff had to be to work early, so he turned around at 7.5. I figured a tempo effort up that grade would be about 7:00 mile, so I decide to go for 7 minutes. However, after the 7 minutes were up I did not feel like losing the momentum, and decided to go another 2 minutes to make the total tempo mileage on the odometer around 5 before the turnaround.

Hit the turnaround in 1:09:17 - not bad for 800 feet of climb with only half done at a tempo effort. On the way back, decided to make my tempos a bit longer to get the whole run over with quicker. Figured I'd do the stretch from the start to Vivian Park (3.23) and the standard 3 mile tempo from Nuns to the mouth of the canyon. Felt sluggish starting out, but after two miles got into a good rhythm. Finished the 3.23 stretch in 18:16, which is around 5:40 average.

Jogged from Vivian Park to Nuns at around 6:40 pace. Then started the second tempo. First two miles were sluggish again - both in 5:44. I felt a bit low on fuel. However, when I reached a little deeper, I was able to find more. The third mile was 5:37, giving me 17:05 for the 3 mile stretch. Then I could not bear the thought of dragging along for another mile at 6:40 pace. It would have felt like hitting a construction zone at the end of a 15 hour drive. So I decided to keep the tempo effort to the end. It was actually a bit more than a mile, but I timed a mile stretch on the trail in 5:34. Total time for the whole thing was 2:09:11, ran the Provo River 10 miler coming back in 59:54.

Ran 2.5 in the afternoon by myself in 18:14, then 2 miles with Benjamin in 17:07 (Jenny ran the first in 9:11, then rode in the stroller along with Jacob). Another 0.5 with Julia in 5:42.


Felt good, on the second run could not really tell I had done the first.

Benjamin looked great on the last 0.5. At 7:30 pace he looked like he was out for a stroll - very relaxed stride.


Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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