Breaking the Wall

Minuteman 5 K

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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: 56.00Nap Time: 1.50Total Sleep Time: 57.50
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Day of rest.

Night Sleep Time: 10.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 10.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. 10.1 with Jeff in 1:20:38. James, Matt, and Daniel ran with us at some points. Then 2 with Benjamin in 16:49. Jenny joined us for 1.5 in 12:40. Jared ran with us for the first 0.75, but then fell back. He finished 2 miles in 17:57.

Had a thought about modern day scientific understanding of running, the dark ages, and the printing press. Back in the dark ages only select few knew how to read and had access to books. The two were connected. If you do not get to read, there is little motivation to learn how to read. If you do not know how to read, books present little value to you. You can only learn by talking to those who know how to read and have access to books. You have no choice but accept their word, that is the best you can do. Vicious cycle of ignorance.

I think our understanding of running (and many other things as well) is still in that cycle to a great extent. The average runner has no way of measuring much - distance, time, heart rate, body weight and stride rate are about the only things that a middle class home budget runner is able to measure on a daily basis. Maybe blood glucose and cholesterol if you are willing to poke yourself every day. Lactate levels if you are willing to poke yourself and pay $900 for the device. You could measure pH of your body fluids, and electric properties of the body. There are a number of smart alec devices that think they know how much body fat is on you from the electric properties of your body. But I would not call this a body fat measurement. This an electric current measurement that is being used for an almost wild guess estimate. Maybe I missed a few more measurement opportunities, but the point is, there are lots of things we can measure in a lab compared to what we can measure at home.

Because lab equipment is so expensive, most people do not have access to it. Because they have no access to it, even those who can study how that equipment works have only a superficial knowledge of the meaning of those measurements. Even those who have access to it who we consider experts are still at the level of a dark age scholar compared to what it could be if those measurements were affordable enough to be done by the general public in their own homes. There is little motivation for the general public to learn what that equipment can do and how to read the results. Thus we have the same vicious cycle of ignorance. On a different level than in the middle ages, but still the same pattern.

The vicious cycle of ignorance was broken by the invention of the printing press. All of a sudden your average Joe had a reason to learn to read! It is starting to happen a bit in the way we understand how our body works, but there are obstacles. I believe we would see a lot more affordable scientific equipment if the public was more interested in practicing science than in watching a TV show about science. But a TV show about science is about as scientific as we get in our pursuit, for most people that is a pinnacle of their mind training for the day. If we could make it the very low point instead of the very high point, eliminating the mind-numbing, aptitude decreasing, and time wasting entertainment from the lower spectrum we might see more sub-2:10 marathoners among with many other positive developments from this change. If, only if. If mushrooms grew in a mouth, it would not be a mouth, it would be a garden!

P.M. 1.07 with Julia in 11:05.

Five Fingers - 812.65 miles.

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

A.M. Ran with Jeff, Michelle, and Josse. Jeff paced Josse, while I paced Michelle through a 3x2 mile workout with 200 meter recoveries. We ran them on the trail alternating directions starting at the start of the 5 mile tempo. The times were 12:00.7, 12:01.4, and 11:51.2. Michelle wore the HRM while I wore the watch so I could see how hard she was working in terms of cardio. She was not working at all according to the HRM. Most of the time her HR hovered around 174-175. It would get there in the first 5 minutes of the interval and then just stay there or even drop a bit. But she struggled maintaining the pace. I challenged her to get her HR to 190 in the last mile of the last interval. She tried, was able to hit 177 briefly, then lost it back to 174. Then in the last quarter (1:22) she was able to bring it to 180, but she could not hold it there. Last mile was 5:53. I told Michelle she needed to remove stress out of her life and get more sleep.

P.M. 1 with Julia in 9:04, 2 with Benjamin in 14:58. Jenny joined for 1.5 in 11:30.

Five Fingers - 826.78 miles.

Night Sleep Time: 7.25Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 8.25
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with James, Jeff, and Matt at different times. Total of 10.27. James, Jeff, and I started together and warmed up for 1.38. Then I paced James through 6:00 pace until failure test. He made it to the mile in 5:56 with HR reaching 199. After that he suffered through another quarter in 1:36. His HR dropped to 197. I challenged him to bring it over 200, but he could not. He said the limit was not being able to get enough air. Looks like a cardio weakness, probably maturation related. Breanna had a similar problem about a year ago, and eventually grew out of it.

Then ran with Jeff the rest of the way after jogging back to him. Of all things the subject of our conversation drifted to microwave safety. I recalled a time when I was messing around with a microwave trying to crash its computer. So I was pressing lots of buttons randomly. Eventually the microwave responded with a message that said : Child. Jeff recalled a story about how he and his brother fried oats in a microwave. His younger brother (2 at the time) put in his oats into the microwave and tried to cook them. He was pressing all kinds of buttons randomly. Then Jeff (5 at the time) came and said, no this is not how you do it - Mom told us pres 1,3,0,Start. So he did that, except there was a number on it earlier from his brother's messing around. So the oats cooked for quite a while and caught on fire.

Ran into Matt and ran with him some as well.

A.M-2 Took VanGoGo to Computune to check out the anti-lock break light on problem and ran back with Benjamin and Jenny - 2.25 in 19:31.

P.M. 1 mile with Julia in 8:57. She earned the Saturday lunch out with Daddy prize. The standards are 9:00 for 1 mile for Julia, 1.5 in 12:00 for Jenny, and 0.5 in 3:10 for Benjamin. Benjamin has a shorter distance because he normally runs 1.5 with Jenny - I decided to make him do that to keep him from speeding on his daily runs.

It did take a trick to get Julia to do it, though. I pulled ahead shortly before the turnaround and said - Julia, if you are behind at the turnaround, we are going past it until you catch me. This got her to pick up the pace and hit the half mark in 4:35. After that it still took some work to convince her that she was capable of getting the standard with some reasonable effort, but it was not exceptionally hard.

Five Fingers - 837.05 miles.

Night Sleep Time: 7.75Nap Time: 0.50Total Sleep Time: 8.25
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. 10 with Jeff in 1:19:24. Benjamin rode his bike for 2 miles, then ran a warmup, then we did 6:00 pace until failure, which came at the quarter (1:29). Then he jogged 400, then tried 0.5 under 3:10, went through the quarter in 1:37, was losing it, and eased off to a jog. Still ran 0.5 in 3:30, and then we jogged back to his bike. Then we took him home, and ran 4 more miles. Ran 0.5 in 2:29 to feel the 5 K pace for the Minuteman 5 K this Saturday.

P.M. 1 with Julia in 10:48, 1.5 with Jenny in 13:15, and one more mile with no running kids in 6:40. Pushed Jacob the entire time. 

Five Fingers - 850.55 miles.

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

A.M. 10 miles in 1:18:49. Jeff ran with me all the way. Daniel came to borrow the bike, and rode with us for a little bit to test the tire before taking off. Benjamin rode with us to a nice part of the trail, then ran 2 miles in 15:28 with 0.5625 in 3:32 (this was supposed to be 0.5, but we missed the mark and went 1/16 of a mile further). About 0.6 into the run we found Matt and he joined us.

P.M. 1 with Julia in 9:57, 1.5 with Jenny in 13:13, and 1 more with no running kids in 8:02. Pushed the double stroller, first with Jacob and Joseph, then traded Jacob for Julia. Benjamin rode along on his bike during Julia's and Jenny's runs. Jenny almost got bit by a German shepherd that got out of the gate and was roaming the street attacking the passers-by. It sniffed her but then got scared of something and ran away. 

Five Fingers - 864.05 miles.

Night Sleep Time: 7.75Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.75
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Race: Minuteman 5 K (3.107 Miles) 00:17:07, Place overall: 15
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Minuteman 5 K 17:07, 15h place. Same course as the new Draper Days.

Warmed up with Seth and Jeff. At the start was not feeling super-energetic. Part of the problem was warm weather, but only a part. I could blame it on the post-marathon fatigue, but there was not that much of it. Maybe the combination of reduced mileage, the marathon itself, and the tight calf issue brought on the slump. Something was not right, I suppose we will find out if this is just a post marathon slump or something more serious.

First mile was OK, 5:04. 2 seconds slower than Draper Days. I brought the HRM this time. HR climbed up to 168. I was running with Dennis at this point with a whole bunch of guys led by Teren ahead of us. And I knew they were not coming back. I did not feel like I was breathing too hard, but legs started feeling a bit shaky.

On the second mile the legs started to give out, and I backed off. HR dropped to 165-166. Neal Gassmann passed me. I tried to latch on, and was able too, HR climbed to 168, but then the legs started feeling too weak to hold the pace, and I backed off. Danny Oliva passed me, again the same story as with Neal - was able to follow a bit, then legs feel weak, cannot do it. 9:49 at 3 K, 10:33 at 2 miles, 14 seconds slower than Draper Days.

4 K 13:23, now 25 seconds slower than Draper Days. Not good. HR hovers around 166-168. Managed to push it to 172 on the hill. Steve Ashbaker passed me shortly after the hill. Made it to the finish in 17:06.3 on my watch, 17:07 officially. 39 seconds slower than Draper Days!

Jeff ran great - third place with 15:31 in that company, only 17 seconds behind Teren. Seth was second with 15:30 (officially, mistimed, though, his time should have been 15:27), Teren won with 15:14. Alexander Tomas was fourth with 15:33. Some other times that I remember:

Dennis 16:01, Josh Steffen 16:16, Neal Gassmann 16:20, Augustus Grey 16:21, Thatcher 16:48, Steve 16:57.

Ran a long cool down starting out with Jeff, Seth, and Teren, then Jeff turned around early due to time constraints, Seth stopped earlier as well.

P.M. 1 with Julia in 10:38, 2 with Benjamin in 16:51 with Jenny running the first 1.5 in 12:59 with us.

T4 Racer - 358.06 miles.

Night Sleep Time: 7.75Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.75
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Night Sleep Time: 56.00Nap Time: 1.50Total Sleep Time: 57.50
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