Breaking the Wall

Alta Peruvian Lodge 8K

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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


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Miles:This week: 0.00 Month: 0.00 Year: 870.94
Saucony Type A Lifetime Miles: 640.15
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Brown Crocs 4 Lifetime Miles: 1334.06
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Amoji 2 Lifetime Miles: 436.69
Amoji 3 Lifetime Miles: 380.67
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Lopsie Sports Sandals 2 Lifetime Miles: 637.27
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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
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Drove to Payson with Ted and Benjamin to pace Benjamin in the Payson Onion Days 5 K. Benjamin did an excellent job running a PR of 23:31.6. His official mile splits were 7:16 - 7:42 - 7:56. Ted's GPS gave him 7:17 - 7:47 - 7:57. According to Ted's Garmin 205 the course was only 3.08. The course did not have any sharp hills to seriously confuse the GPS. So based on what I've seen from Ted's GPS measurements in the past, I'd have to say the course was probably 10 seconds short. However, even then Benjamin still would have gotten a PR. I wish the race directors in general considered course certification a high priority. It does cost some money (or work), but it is very well worth it in the long run. Maybe I should make a banner "Race Director, certify your course!" and run it on this site. Along with that "Race Director, start your race where the certification documents tell you you should" especially for the Great Salt Lake half-marathon. The 1-9 age division was very competitive. Benjamin ended up third - got beat by R.J. Lundberg and Nathaniel Kruger who are both 9. He finished 34th in the men's division out of 108, and was beat by 7 women out of 118. Not too bad for a 7 year old kid. The race was won by Mike Michael Buckhoff, a master's runner from California in 16:33.8. The results are available here. Afterwards, Ted and I went back on the course to do a tempo run. I hit the first mile (slight down) in 5:26, which agreed with Ted's GPS. 10:58 at 2 miles, about 3 seconds short, and then I took a wrong turn at around 2.7 and ended up running 3.4 in 19:11. Ted ran 2 miles in 11:40, and then jogged down to finish in 18:56. This would have given him 4th place in the race. I was not very happy with the way I felt in the tempo run - the stride felt tense and choppy. So went I got back home, I decided to do some more tempo running after a run with Jennifer, Julia, and Abbi (Benjamin did his honor lap in the stroller sitting right next to Joseph). The second tempo run went better, at least I liked the way I felt better. I ran one Slate Canyon Loop (2.11). First three slightly rolling quarters in 1:21 each. Then the quarter uphill in 1:32 (5:35 for the mile). 7:26 at the turn-off into the Slate Canyon (1:51 for 0.29 uphill). Then 8:30 with 0.625 to go. 9:05 with 0.5 to go (35 downhill). Next two quarters 73 (down), and 80 (up). 11:38 for the loop, only 5 seconds slower than my course PR. Overall I felt the stride was wider. Did Pettibon exercises, and took the Adrenal formula. Sarah went to SLC to see her family, and when she tried to come back the van refused to start. So she is stuck in SLC now. If anybody can recommend a good mechanic in West Valley, the advice will be appreciated. This means I had to fix myself dinner tonight. I followed her Buckwheat Recipe, and it turned out really good.

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Ran easy 8 miles with Ted in the morning. Then did 4x100 with ankle weights 18.5 - 18.3 - 18.1 - 17.3. Then 2x100 regular 16.0 - 15.6. Then put on ankle weights again and went for a cooldown. Ran into Matt Asplund, so ended up going a bit longer. In the evening ran with the kids. Also did Pettibon exercises.

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Easy 8 miles early in the morning near my house going out and back on my slightly rolling mile stretch. Started at slower than 8:00 pace. Kept gradually speeding up. Saw at 3.25 that I was 53 seconds behind the 7:00 pace, but was running a bit sub-7:00. Figured I'd play the catch game with the imaginary 7:00/mile guy. It is a silly game since all I needed to do to catch him is run one mile in 6 minutes. But it is very entertaining. I caught the fantom runner shortly before 7 miles. He said: "It is not fair". I said: "Too bad". Total time for the run was 55:32. Last two miles were 6:39 and 6:35. This pace is not very fast, but I was pleased that it came naturally without any additional mental effort. The stride felt wider and more relaxed. I felt I was maintaining momentum better on the short hills. The heart rate 3 seconds after the finish was 126 (counting for 10 seconds).

In the afternoon ran with Benjamin. The other kids had already run on the way to computer school (free experimental early reading program in our area done on computers). So I took Benjamin out for a mile in the stroller. I started out at 10:00 pace, but then warmed up and went faster. On the last quarter I saw that I could beat Benjamin's mile record with a little pickup, so sped up to 6:20 pace and hit the mile in 7:06. Ran with Benjamin on the way back in 8:24 with the last 0.5 in 3:50.

Worked out with the weights - 5-4-3 bench press with 105 pounds, narrow grip.

Went to see Dr. Jex. He gave us some more equipment and more exerices. I am doing them every day now.

Noticed an improvement in hand dexterity. Got dressed faster today, washed the dishes in a reasonable amount of time, and put away the laundry faster than my wife expected me.

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Ran with Ted in the Provo Canyon. Did a tune-up for Alta Peruvian 8 K. 6x400 down with 200 recovery. 69.2 - 68.3 - 68.8 - 69.2 - 67.7 - 68.6. Total of 8.5 for the morning run.

Ran with the kids, and added an always on the run mile with Joseph in the stroller.

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Mini-taper for Alta Peruvian 8 K. Ran easy 6 miles in the morning by my house on the flat stretch going out and back in 41:38. It was raining. Last 2 miles were 6:50. The heart rate counted for 10 seconds starting 2 seconds after the finish was 114. That is rather low for me. I suppose the rain tends to lower it. However, it is possible to have it much lower. Lasse Viren had it at 84 going 8:00 pace. In any case, I am glad I do not use the 220-age formula to determine the intensity of my workouts, or I'd die.

Had another session with Dr. Jex. For the first time had a proper response to the shared loading on the neck. Afterwards ran with the kids in the canyon. Ran another mile with Abby later in the evening.

Alta Peruvian Lodge 8 K tomorrow.

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Race: Alta Peruvian Lodge 8K (4.97 Miles) 00:22:35, Place overall: 2
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Alta Peruvian Downhill Dash 8 K, 22:35, 2nd place.

Started the day with a 1 mile jog. Then after breakfast went to the Regional Priesthood Leadership Training in the Marriot Center. There was a lot of traffic - here in the Utah County the LDS population is large, and even if you only gather men in leadership positoins from all the congregations, there was enough to fill up the Marriott Center (22,700 capacity) almost to the limit. Park at the law building to avoid traffic problems and ran 0.5 miles to the Marriott Center. After the meeting ran back.

Came home, ate lunch, and then went to the race with Sarah and the kids. A short warm-up, jogged to the start, hit the porta-potty enough times to avoid trouble in the race, and then they fired the gun.

The race goes downhill at a fairly steady 7% grade, and produces fantastic times if your legs have been trained for this type of running. The course record is 21:04 set by Larry Smithee, which also happens to be world-best for an aided course. My PR on the course is 21:58. John Kariuki, a 2:12 marathoner, ran it once in 21:38. Downhill running is a different type of animal.

I looked at my competition, and saw trouble. Corbin Talley, Steve Ashbaker, Nate Hornok, and Tim Stringfellow.

Stiff headwind from the start. Steve took off hoping to lose us, but we all tucked behind him. First mile in 4:37. Then Tim took the lead. I really liked it - he is tall and has wide shoulders. Two miles in 9:05 (4:28), the wind is still there but subsiding. The pack still has 5 people. Not good, prize money is only three deep. I figured the legs of the competion must have been softened by all the pounding at this point, and decided to take some initiative. I did not think I'd be able to break away, but I hoped to cut the pack down to three. It worked - only Corbin stayed with me. 3 miles in 13:22 (4:17), I think it was possibly a bit short. I sensed that Corbin was strong, and eased off a little to encourage him to take the lead. He did. Our next mile was 4:32.

Then I saw the sign that said 9% grade ahead. I figured if I had a chance of winning, it would be right here. So I took the lead and pushed as hard as I could. Corbin responded - this is trouble.

And then there was more trouble - Nate Hornok caught us. Both Corbin and I were extremely concerned. He has a relentless long kick that will crush almost anybody who happens to be around him. So Corbin puts on a strong surge. I try to hang on but hitting my speed limit. I let him go for a few moments, but then by some miracle manage to cover it.

About 0.5 to go. Corbin and I are looking at our watches, and probably thinking the same thing - when will the race be over. I make another attempt to lose him, but it does not work. Finally, with about 200 meters to go he shifts into the Corbin kick gear. I am already in the Sasha kick gear, so I cannot match it. 22:32 for Corbin, 22:35 for me, 22:45 for Nate, 23:01 for Tim, and 23:15 for Steve. $100 prize + very good circuit points, which makes it very likely for me to reach my goal of winning the circuit this year.

Steve, Nate, and I ran back up to the lodge at what I calculated to be about 9:30 pace average.

Ran with the kids when we got home, and did bench press, narrow grip, 5-4-3, 105 pounds.

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