Breaking the Wall

Week starting Aug 26, 2012

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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: 0.00 Year: 870.94
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 4 Miles: 90.95
Night Sleep Time: 56.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 56.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Day of rest. Went to church.  My mind is drawing a blank on the subject of the Sacrament meeting talks. That has been happening more often on things where I should not draw a blank. So either it is a sign of aging (I am 39 after all), or perhaps the mind can actively retain only so many memories, and eventually something has to give. I did remember the Sacrament Hymn, however - O Savior, Thou Who Wearest. I heard it for the first time about 10 years ago, or perhaps that is the first time I paid attention to it enough to learn some about its history. The music is very old, it was written originally by Hans Leo Hassler in the 1500s, then later adapted by Bach. But the words we sing in our church were not written until the 20th century, and the author is Karen Lynn Davidson who taught English at BYU. I have always felt that the words that we sing are the right words for the melody, and I am quite impressed that it took 400 or so years to find them. I am also impressed that those words were found not by some famous poet, but by a humble sister that I might find myself sitting next to in church and not think much of her. Just another member of the congregation. Not quite! To find those right words we needed somebody who had the advantage of the increased understanding of Christ's Atonement which came through modern day revelation, and who also had a literary talent to be able to express it. And that is not all. Without the help of the Holy Ghost those words could not have been written. That hymn from time to time comes to my mind during a hard workout. It is comforting to know that Christ has overcome the hardest thing there is to overcome, and because of that we have the ability to overcome hard things through Him. When that hymns comes to me it is a very special feeling - I feel support from some source invisible to the natural eye, but nevertheless real. It may not speed me up by a minute per mile, I always wanted it to and wondered why it does not, but as I've matured I understood that is not part of the plan. It is not about achieving speed, it is about having a vision to overcome and fly. Whether it is a 6:00, a 5:00, or even a 4:00 mile it is still a pedestrian crawl even compared to a bike much less an angel, but regardless of how slow it is, if you achieve it by looking upward with faith, the Lord sees that you want to fly, and that is what He wants to know.

Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with the kids. Benjamin did 7, Jenny 3, Julia and Joseph 2, Jacob 1. I did total of 12, including 2 with weights. 

P.M. 0.45 with William. 


Green Crocs 4 Miles: 12.45
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Benjamin and I attacked the 5:00 mile barrier at Orem High. Neither of us had the juice today to break it - we ended up with 5:03.7 for him and 5:04.2 for me. He can now drop me in the kick. He led the first lap in 75, then I took over at 500 and brought him to 800 in 2:29 (74). So far so good. But on the third lap I did not have the juice to deal with the headwind and botched it quite a bit - 3:47 (78). Benjamin took over at 1100 as planned and tried to kick. I tried to help him, but we were both rather sluggish and could only manage a 75 for the last lap. But still Benjamin improved his track mile PR by 5 seconds.

Then we paced Jenny. It has been a while since she even tried to set a mile PR. She has suffered from a growth spurt that gave her a good amount of muscle and joint pain along with cardiovascular underperformance. So her old PR of 6:52 she set 3 years ago never got broken since. It was now time to kill the beast. 

The plan was to take her through the first two laps in 1:40 each, and then see what happens. We instructed her to not doubt our pacing and maintain contact even if she thought all she could do at that pace was take one more step. That seemed to work - she trusted our pacing and got a new PR of 6:42.8. The splits were 1:38, 1:42, 1:43 and 1:36 with the rest of the total time going towards the additional 9.34 meters. 

Then we ran another mile, which made it 7 total for Benjamin, and I went for 5 more with Julia and Joseph following me on their bikes. I was mad about that 5:04, and the kids were anxious to go faster, so I did a mini-tempo to release the fumes running the last 2 miles in 11:20 (5:33, 5:47 uphill).

Total of 12 for me, Benjamin did 7, Jenny 3, Julia and Joseph 2, Jacob 1, William 0.5.

Green Crocs 4 Miles: 12.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Did a mile time trial with Julia at Orem High. With all of the kids it seems like I am doing time trials all the time. She wanted a rabbit, I told her she had to break 7:00 to get one. She tried last week, but missed it by 0.9, all of which came from not trusting my pacing and falling back when the pace got hard. So I instructed her this time repeatedly to trust my pacing, and made sure she understood that if she wanted to run sub-7:00 she could not afford to doubt at any point - the mile is just way too short for that, you sneeze, and you are hopelessly off pace.

The plan was to go 1:42, 1:42 then try not to lose ground on the third lap, and kick in the last. We did 1:41, 1:44, 1:48 and 1:40 for the last lap with the total time of 6:55.7. This brought the count of sub-7:00 milers in the family to 6 out of 9: myself, Sarah, Benjamin, Jenny, Julia, and Joseph. The only three that have not done it yet are Jacob, William, and Stephen. They all have a good excuse with the six year old Jacob being the oldest.

Got home, ran with the other kids. Benjamin did 7, Jenny 3, Julia 3, Joseph 2, Jacob 1. I ended up with a total of 12, 2 with weights.

P.M. 0.5 with William, 4.5 with Joseph and Julia on bikes, Joseph did a few surges, and I followed, thus about a mile at marathon race pace. 

Green Crocs 4 Miles: 17.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. The kids ran on their own today, Benjamin was in charge. He ran 7, Jenny 3, Julia and Joseph 2, Jacob 1. I did a workout in the canyon. The purpose was to kick the "downhill respiratory panic reflex". So the workout was 3x1 mile down the steepest sections of the Provo Canyon I could get to within reasonable time from my house. The first interval was on the old highway from the 16 mark to the S mark. I did it in 5:02.1 compared to 5:26 in the Uneventful Provo River Half. Then I jogged 600 meters and did another one in 5:04.8. The same mile in the Uneventful was 5:29. Then I jogged 1300 meters and did the last one. I felt I was getting tired, and it also had less of a downhill (5:33 split in the Uneventful), so I was thinking it would be good to break 5:10. But I decided to do the first quarter in 75 anyway and see how long I could last. To my surprise, I pretty much lasted all the way with 5:01.2 split. I tried to break 5:00, but did not have the juice. I was actually quite surprised because I did it in 4:52 fresh racing Benjamin last week, and this time alone and with it being the third mile it was not that much slower.

Overall this was a good workout. It taught me to not panic when the breathing gets hard and just push through it. I will repeat it next week. Total of 13 miles.

P.M. Julia ran 0.3 with William. 

Green Crocs 4 Miles: 12.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Jacob did a mile time trial today. He said he wanted to break 7:00. His PR was 7:27, it was only a month old, and I thought it was a pretty strong PR. I was quite impressed by his faith. I told him we would start on pace, and then see what happens, and that I would be very happy with 7:15. In the first lap he was actually a little hesitant and we got 1:47. Then he sped up to 1:45. His third lap was a bit of a struggle, but not too much - 1:48, and he found some juice in the last one to kick in 1:46. His time was 7:09.8. I was quite happy with that - he is only 6 years and 1 month old.

Then I ran with the other kids Benjamin did 7, Jenny 3, Julia and Joseph 2. 2 with the weights. Ran some more alone - total of 12.

P.M. 0.5 with William, 4.5 more alone - total of 5. 

Green Crocs 4 Miles: 17.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with a big group. We had Chad, Scott, Matt Poulsen, Dan, Brandon, and Brodie. First 10 miles easy pace up the Provo Canyon to the start of the 10 mile tempo in South Fork. Did that in 1:12:06. This was actually quite brisk, about 3 minutes faster than what I normally would do in this workout. But it is OK to push the first 10 a little bit outside of the very easy range as it helps dump glycogen to make the last 10 feel more like you are at the end of the marathon. I am estimating that in this workout if you count the fact that you are not tapered, this is like running the real marathon from 7 to 17 or maybe from 10 to 20, depending on how fast you run the first 10 and how drained you are at the end of the week. Regardless, it is a good marathon preparation workout - you avoid the real "zone", but you are close enough to it to prepare physiologically and psychologically without doing damage to the body.

Brodie turned around early. Matt ran back at an easy pace. Brandon ran at about 6:00 pace. Dan ran with him for the first 6 miles. Chad tried 6:30 pace, but ran out of juice. I ran with Scott for the first 3.5, then eased off to what I could sustain. My time was 55:58, which is a record for this course by 12 seconds. In the middle I timed a mile in 5:18 on the Provo City Marathon course (1st mile), then another in 5:23 on the triangles right after Vivian Park. Once I eased off I was going around 5:40-5:45 pace. The 3 mile tempo course was 5:37, 5:44, 5:40 (17:01). My last mile, which is uphill, was 5:58.  Scott got 54:28.

Overall this was a good result, and I was happy that I was able to survive the aggressive pace in the first 3 miles, and survive afterwards. The pace actually did not feel too bad in principle, in some ways it felt like a jog, but my CO2 exhaust pipe was not ready for it. I think I should be able to hold that pace for the whole 10 in this workout if I get the CO2 exhaust pipe in shape.

P.M. 0.5 with William, Joseph, and Jacob at Orem High including 100 meter time trial. William ran it in 27.6. I think he has 25 in him, but he still has not figured out the idea of sprinting. We need to do some practice. But even without it, I am not too unhappy with the result as William is still only 3 years and 10 months old. However, in order to win the Thanksgiving 400 he will need to improve his 100 to 25 by the time of the race.

Green Crocs 4 Miles: 20.50
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Green Crocs 4 Miles: 90.95
Night Sleep Time: 56.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 56.00
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