Breaking the Wall

Week starting Nov 06, 2011

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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: 151.06 Year: 782.84
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: 216.09
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Green Crocs 2 Miles: 93.60
Night Sleep Time: 41.00Nap Time: 8.00Total Sleep Time: 49.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Day of rest. Went to church as usual. The lesson in Sunday school was on the spirit world. We learned about the importance of not procrastinating the day of our repentance. Once you lose your body, the spirit has a very limited capacity to improve. What a waste of time it is to live on the earth wondering if there is a God and saying you will believe when you see Him! The whole reason He placed us here is so we would learn to do His work going off the faith.

The lesson in the deacon's quorum was on the Sacrament. Then we had a Fast and Testimony meeting.

Night Sleep Time: 9.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 9.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Total of 12. Some with the kids. 5 with Benjamin. 2 with Jenny and Julia. 1 with Joseph. 0.5 with Jacob. Ran the last 1.5 at a quick pace. Started out with an 87 quarter, then 83, 86 through the tunnel, and then shifted gears and did 83, 82, 82 for a total of 8:23.6. 5:30 pace felt good. I was breathing more, but I felt in control.

P.M. 2 miles.

Green Crocs 2 Miles: 14.00
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 8.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran a total of 12. Paced Sarah through a 2 mile tempo at the end of her 5 in 15:53. Ran 5 with Benjamin, 2 with Jenny and Julia, 1 with Joseph, and 0.5 with Jacob.

P.M. We had a CPR class. Our friend is a certified teacher, so she did it at our house. We had a group of 8 people. 2 miles after that. Then I dreamt about doing CPR for the whole night.

Green Crocs 2 Miles: 14.00
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. Total of 14.1. Met Neal on the trail. We did my weird 2100 meter interval from the DI bridge to the Union Pacific bridge. The "dream" target was to average 5:00 pace through it. However, it was cold - 21 F at the start of the run. So that made it difficult. Also, the "dream" target assumed Neal would be able to hold it without problems, but he ended up having some problems today. So it went like this - 75, 74 for the first two quarters. The pace felt fast at first, the air was cold, and I was concerned that I might fade badly. But I got used to it as we went along and my confidence kept increasing. Our next quarter was 77, which was expected due to the tunnel under 820 N. The one after that started feeling easy, and for a good reason because we did it in 76, and it is a nice quarter. Should have been 75 with the same effort. Our mile split was 5:03. Around that point I started feeling comfortable enough to pass Neal. I hesitated some because I was not prepared for him struggling at this pace. So due to this hesitation I ended up with a 200 in 39. I was actually feeling quite good, but not good enough to shift gears from 5:10 to 5:00. So I ended up coasting for the last 300 meters in 58. It would have been a 57, but there was a girl on a skate board blocking the passageway around the barricade that I normally take, so I had to take the other one, which gave me a longer route and also resulted in a loss of badly needed concentration. The time for the "weird interval" was 6:40, which is 18 seconds faster than my previous fastest time this year, and is a 5:05 per mile average. Neal finished it in 6:46. Then we ran some more, and found Jeff Combs. He ran with us, then Neal went home, and Jeff and I went to get the kids.

We ran 0.5 with Jacob, 2 with Jenny (Julia did 1), 1 with Joseph and Benjamin, and 4 more with Benjamin, so he ended up with 5. Jeff turned around and ran home when we had 1 mile left.

Green Crocs 2 Miles: 14.10
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. 12 miles total. Some with the kids. Benjamin did 5. We did race pace pickups to tune up for the 3 K cross-country race. 300 in 1:05, a quarter in 84, then 1200 in 4:19. Jenny did 2, Julia 1.5, Joseph 1, and Jacob 0.5. 

P.M. 2 miles.

Green Crocs 2 Miles: 14.00
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. Total of 15.5. Ran some with the kids. Benjamin did 3 including 0.5 in 2:51 to practice race pace. Jenny did 2. Julia 1. Joseph 1. Jacob 0.5. Then I ran 4 more including 1 mile in 5:39. Then we went to look at a house in Orem near Orem High. We have been thinking of either building a new house or buying one. The Lord has poured out so many blessings there is not enough room to receive them. So we are house shopping. The requirements, of course, are for it to be big enough (2600 sq feet), have at least two full bathrooms, be affordable, and be properly positioned for running. At first I was not considering Orem because the only places that appeared to have easy access to the Provo River trail were  exceptionally expensive or just too far away. I needed something withing 0.5 mile I thought. But then I got an idea. If we lived close to Orem High, the little kids could run on the track, and then being a little further from the trail would be OK.  So this location is about 0.45 from Orem High, and it is a very nice mostly car free 0.45, and about 0.62 of very nice running from Carterville road access at 400 S, which is just as good as the trail, perhaps even better as you can get to the Provo Canyon with less interactive from the cars on Carterville road than you would coming straight out of the crazy expensive River Bottoms area. I ran 5.5 miles around the area to evaluate it and gave it a go. Sarah looked at the house and gave it a go too. So we made an offer on it. $125 K for 2900 sq feet. The house needs work, but nothing crazy. Short sale, so there are multiple offers and it takes time to get approved. But we can wait.

P.M. 2 miles.

Green Crocs 2 Miles: 15.50
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with Jenny and Julia - 2 miles, also with Jacob 0.5. Then did the rest of my long run. Benjamin and Joseph did not run because they were running in the Utah State Cross-Country Championship later. I did the flat 10 mile tempo on the 5 miler course. At the start of the run I weighed 141.8. This was caused to some extent by some stomach problems I experienced in the last few days. I was not feeling bad, but for some reason I kept having liquid stool, which means, likely, that the nutrients were not going in. At least two weeks ago that weight meant near depletion, I had it at the end of the 20 mile run.

So I did another 2 miles of warm-up and then started the tempo. The pace did not feel easy, but I could hold it. The splits by 2.5 were 14:26 - 14:33 - 14:28 - 14:31. All miles fell in the range of 5:46 to 5:50. Total time was 57:58. I think I lost some time on the leaves. There were a lot of leaves on the ground. Last mile was 5:48. So I did not have a whole lot of juice left, but I had enough to maintain the pace at least.

After the tempo I felt sluggish, but I still had 5.5 miles left to go. At first I did not feel like going faster than 9:00. I eventually coaxed myself into 7:20 pace after a couple of miles. In the last 0.5 I decided to measure how much fuel I had left. It turned out that I did not have a whole lot. I struggled through two 93 second quarters. They did have a lot of turns, but still I usually can crack 6:00 pace even after all the adventures. I weighed myself after the run and measured 138.6 lb. Still, 6:12 pace means I had some glycogen in the muscles. When it is completely gone, the pace becomes more like 6:30. Either that, or I learned to run 6:12 off blood sugar and fat, which would be very nice because that would mean that I would never crash beyond that in a marathon as long as my stomach can still process the sports drinks.

P.M. Went to the State Cross Country Meet. Benjamin ran 3 K in 11:35 finishing second after Aiden Troutner. He was in contact through the first half of the race, actually leading most of the time, but then Aiden made a move and Benjamin could not respond. Aiden won with 11:07. Afterwards we had a discussion on learning how to draft without feeling that you are not in control, and also how to avoid the temptation of thinking - I've made it far enough, the work is done. Benjamin had never been able to make this far with Aiden, so mentally he was not ready to race him even though I think fitness wise he could have at least made it to the kick.

Joseph ran in the Pre-Bantam 2 K and finished second in 10:21 after Ammon Blackburn whose time was 9:56.

Later in the evening ran 2 miles. Decided to test how well the fuel levels have recovered and ran the last mile in 6:00. I forgot after the turnaround to turn on the engine right away, so I ended up with the first quarter in 95. Then I did 89 ,88, and 88. Food did help. 


Green Crocs 2 Miles: 22.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Green Crocs 2 Miles: 93.60
Night Sleep Time: 41.00Nap Time: 8.00Total Sleep Time: 49.00
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