Breaking the Wall

Week starting Nov 11, 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: 167.90 Year: 3393.99
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: 778.63
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

A.M. The Uneventful Half-Marathon with Ted in 1:31:55, 8x100 strides, picked it up on the last mile, ran it in 6:00. Felt strong.

P.M. 0.5 with Benjamin in 4:22, then 1.5 with Benjamin and Jenny - pushed Jacob in the single stroller for that part. Benjamin took off at the end, his 2 mile time was 18:07, Jenny ran her 1.5 in 14:05. Then 1.05 with Julia in 10:53, and 3 by myself, no stroller, in 20:59. Some interesting stomach issues. Burps, lots of gas, could not run longer than 1.5 without a serious bathroom break. However, all solid, and felt strong while running. Sarah and Jenny got some stomach issues as well.

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

A.M. Ran the Big Workout at 5:00 AM with Ted. Adam joined us for the first 4 miles. Warm up 6.22 in 45:49. Decided since it was early, I had stomach issues the day before and might possibly be a bit dehydrated or carbo-depleted, it was dark, plus I was just feeling plain lazy to hammer out 7.5 all by myself - so I decided to take it easy and run with Ted at whatever pace he wanted as long as it was sub-6:00. This could potentially be a hard workout as Ted sometimes has really good days and gives me a run for my money.

We went through the first 2.5 in 14:50 trading quarters. Sped up a bit on the way back - 14:34. The pace felt odd - no man's land. Too fast too be easy and relaxing, too slow to make me focus. So I kind of mentally drifted and suspended myself. Then Ted had a very serious VPB stop, some serious stomach problems. I told him I wanted to catch the 44:00 guy. With the stomach issues, he was not sure he'd be able to. So once we got going, he overcorrected and really put the hammer down hitting a 1:24 quarter. I was taken by surprise, but was able to refocus and come to grips that we were now in a different pace zone. So we hit the mile in 5:38. Then it was Ted's turn to lead. He thought I was not letting him lead, I thought he was too tired to lead and would not pass me. So I hit a quarter in 1:23, eased off a bit on the next one to 1:24 hoping that Ted would be able to draft, but he was falling behind, and I was already in gear. So I just kept going. Ran the last slight uphill mile in 5:29, 13:54 for the last 2.5, 43:18 for 7.5. Ted finished in 43:38, leaving the 44:00 guy in the dust as well.

Cooled down the last 1.38 in 10:45, 1:39:52 for 15.1.

P.M. Started with 0.05 to get Julia from her friend's house, then 1.05 with her in 11:15, then 1.75 with Jenny in 16:17, then 2.1 with Benjamin in 17:27, and 1.05 by myself in 7:35. Pushed Jacob in the double stroller the entire time. Felt strong.

Quotes from our kids at different ages:

Benjamin at the age of 3 after another kid took a toy away from him in church: "Sam, you must not do this, you must repent!"

Jenny at the age of 3: "When I grow up, I want to be a Lamanite so I can kill sheep!"

Julia at the age of 5: "...and the most expensive kind of love is marriage!"

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

A.M. Easy 10.1 with Ted in 1:14:30. Started at slower than 9:00, sped up to 7:00 on the second half, eventually worked our way up to 6:20 pace at the end. Felt great, neighing horses.

P.M. Ate something bad, possibly fish, or maybe just too much. After lunch was sitting down in front of a computer and started feeling chills and a bit dizzy. Got up, walked around, tried again. Noticed the chills were there when trying to read the computer screen, but would go away otherwise. Went for a run with Julia to test the waters. We ran 1.05 in 11:12. Felt better. Then Ted came with James and Jared. Ran 1.5 with Ted, James, Jared, and Benjamin in 12:43, then another 0.5 after dropping Jenny and Jared off in 3:28, 16:11 for 2 miles. Then 3 miles with Ted and James in 22:30 with 6x200 around 40s. Then 3 miles with Ted in 21:51. Found a friend on the road - his name is Lorenzo. Felt progressively better throughout the run.


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

A.M. Big Workout with Ted at 6:00 AM. Woke up, was still feeling a bit funny. So I was not sure if this would affect my running or not. Yesterday at slower speeds it did not, but a 5 mile tempo has a tendency to explore and reveal hidden problems.

Ted came wearing shorts and announced his car reported the temperature of 20 F. That was the last thing I wanted to hear because if it was true, I would have to wear pants in addition to gloves and jacket. So I went downstairs to my computer to check the temperature. It was 29.2 F at the airport. This was right on the edge of the shorts/pants threshold for me, but I was so happy that I could wear shorts.

The warm up was slow, took us 2.5 to catch the 8:00 guy, but I heard the horses neighing. Hit 6.22 in 47:24, and started the tempo. Ted took the first quarter, a bit too hard, at first I thought I was just not warmed up, but then I saw 40 for the first 200 and told him we were going 5:20. So he backed off. We went through the first mile in 5:31 showing about equal degree of pace initiative during our quarter stints. Then Ted's ankle started to give out, and he started to lose steam. He did a 1:25 quarter, I did not want them to be slower than 1:24, so I picked it up on my turn and overcorrected to 1:21. Then Ted took his in 1:25 (uphill), which was fine with me, and I did mine in 1:24 which is still a bit uphill and rolling. This gave us 5:35 for the next mile. Then Ted did 1:26, it was a bit slow, but I did not feel like correcting it too hard with Ted being obviously not 100% already, the pending 180 turn and the goal of running 5:20 pace average on the way back. So I did mine in 1:24 again, 13:56 at 2.5, avg. 5:34.4.

On the way back, I was able to kick into gear right away. The first quarter was 1:21, then a steady stream of 1:20s with one downhill one in 1:19 up to the 4 mile mark. 3rd mile was 5:31, 4th in 5:19. The first quarter of the last mile had some leaves. I also lost concentration going through the gates, and wondering if I should try to hit the stop button on my watch with the gloves on, or if I should just not worry about it and simply look when I cross the line. Then I started to get worried about the overall time being messed up. I caught myself quickly enough, but this slowed me down to a 1:21 quarter. I learned that when running 5:20s little things begin to matter - your mind must be void of vain worries or you lose the momentum.

Repented on the next quarter and ran it in 1:20 again. Picked it up with 0.5 to go, ran it in 2:35. Last mile in 5:16, last 2.5 in 13:16 (avg. 5:18.4), incidentally a PR for that stretch, total time 27:12, avg. 5:26.4, only 24 seconds slower than all-time PR which was done in 60 degrees, only 3 mile warm-up, trading quarters with Jeff, the intention to run fast all the way, and a mildly positive split. I suppose this means I am mostly over the mini-illness of yesterday, but sure did give me some serious concern at first.

Talked to the farmer with the dog while waiting for Ted. His named turned out to be Harold, and the dog's name is Eeah (or however you spell it). Told him he was our farmer with the dog, and the dog's name for us is really Bingo.

Cooled down the last 3.88 in 28:18, avg. 7:17.63, total time for 15.1 1:42:54, avg. 6:48.84.

P.M. The Lost Sheep Stu decided to call me today. I told him he was officially a Lost Sheep. He said he wanted to go for a run. We ran 4 miles in 31:53. He committed to changing his Lost Sheep status. Encourage him through the new Private Message feature if he does not re-appear on the blog tomorrow. Then ran 1.05 with Julia in 11:16, and 1.5 with Benjamin and Jenny in 13:56. Benjamin drifted off at the end and finished in 13:51. Benjamin is tapering for Regions.

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

A.M. The Uneventful Half Marathon. It was more eventful than normal today. Ted and I started together. Soon a friendly lost dog joined us. It ran with us 2 miles, then found a lady with two dogs, and decided that was a more interesting company. In the mean time, Adam appeared out of nowhere, and caught up to us. So now it was Ted, me, and Adam. Adam ran with us to about 9 miles. I did 8x100 strides. Ted skipped those with his knee bothering him. Total time for the run was 1:34:49.

P.M. 4 miles with Lost Sheep Stu in 32:46 pushing Jacob. Then 1.5 with Benjamin and Jenny in 13:58. Benjamin surged ahead at the end and finished in 13:49. Then 0.7 by myself, no stroller in 4:58.

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

A.M. Long run at 5:00 AM. Had to get it done early to make it to Benjamin's Regionals race. Ted joined me for the first 5 miles. His knee was still bothering him, so he went only 12. Decided to run 15 hard instead of 10 for a change. In all honesty I just wanted to have an excuse for running the tempo part slower. But it ended up being decent anyway.

First 5 in 35:15, 240 feet of rolling gain, mild occasional headwind. Then picked it up. Next 5 in 31:12, 310 feet of steady gain, steady mild headwind. Turned around. Next 5 in 28:50, 310 feet of steady drop, steady mild tailwind. The sun finally came up and I could see. Last 5 in 28:19, 240 feet of rolling drop, not sure about the wind, probably mild tail for the first 2 miles, then none. Held 5:40 along University, then slowed down to 5:48 in the tunnel maze. Gave myself a kick in the pants after DI bridge, got back into 5:40 rhythm, but just did not have the juice to go faster. Then on the last mile starting singing Bingo in my head, got excited, and kicked into 5:30 gear. Ran 5:30 on the last mile, felt like I could have held it for another mile or two in a pack. Total time 2:03:36, 6:10.8 avg, last 10 in 57:09, 5:42.9 avg, last 15 including the Provo Canyon climb in the dark in 1:28:21, 5:53.4 avg.

Benjamin ran 3 K 13:31.2 in the Regionals taking 25th in Bantams, 1st from Team Provo again. This is a new cross-country PR for the distance for him.

P.M. Got a nice nap. Then was short on time, so had to make it quick. Fairly quickly got into the rhythm, and found myself running sub-6:20 before I knew it. Decided I could still finish the run in time at a slower pace, but by then I was already rolling. So I slowed down to around 6:25. 5 miles in 32:29, avg. 6:29.8. Odd feeling at the end of the day. I feel like I had not trained at all. Jenny and Julia ran their usual distances with Sarah.

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