Breaking the Wall

Week starting Nov 12, 2006

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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:

Russian champion tries Crocs, commits to racing a marathon in them

Nikolay Chavkin in the video below did 3x1000, first two in Adidas carbon-fiber models, the last one in Crocs. Surprised by the result (2:52, 2:52, 2:50) with the fastest interval done in Crocs, he committed to racing a marathon in Crocs if the video gets 42K likes and 195 comments (for 42 km 195 m, the marathon distance). Nikolay's current marathon PR is 2:14:00. The video was created by a Russian sporting goods store chain. Their moto is "more sports - brighter life", which we think is wonderful, and also deserves a Like. If you want to see a fast marathon in Crocs, go to the video and click the Like button. And make sure to share it with your friends.

Miles:This week: 0.00 Month: 230.99 Year: 230.99
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: 46.98
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

With the help of large doses of garlic and onions, the cough has reduced from the level of AK-47 to the sound of a less automatic rifle. Did not feel like going for a run at all. Was not sure if it was sickness or plain laziness, so decided to go out and see how I felt. Ran a mile in 7:30. Coughed so hard afterwards that I almost lost my lunch. HR got up to 130. Then a mile with Benjamin, Jenny and Abby in 9:31. HR was 119 at 10:00 pace. Normally it gets there at 8:00 pace. Then another mile with Benjamin in 7:52, HR at 130, lots of coughing afterwards. Decided to go for another 2 miles. Felt miserable on the first. That kicked in the fighter instinct, and I started feeling strong on the second. Decided to add another mile. Ended up with 3 miles in 22:12, HR hovering around 137-138. Not a lot of coughing afterwards.

A little later ran 0.25 with Julia.

Felt better in the evening. I think part of it was maintaining a solid consentration of garlic in the system throughout the day, but I also credit the arousal of the fighter instinct that came from pushing through a miserable mile.

There is a fine balance in training when sick that needs to be maintained. If you push too hard, the body does not have the energy to fight the illness. However, if you take it too easy or not train at all, the mind quits and the body also along with it. I think I overdid it on the trip, but today finally hit a good balance.

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Ran 8 miles with Ted in the Provo Canyon in the evening. 4 miles up in 29:22, then 25:58 back down. Did not think I could run that fast without serious consequences, but Ted went, and I went with him, and as of almost 24 hours later still no negative consequences, actually feeling much better.

HR still high - 140 going up, 145 going down. However, the faster the pace, the closer it seems to get to normal. Resting HR also normalizing - got down to 59 while driving. The cough is still very strong, but I felt a lot more motivated to run than anytime since Wednesday.

Came home, ran with the kids. Scared the neighbors with the cough.

Taking large quantities of garlic and onions, lots of water, that is helping quite a bit.

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Still coughing but felt like running in the morning to get a breath of fresh air. Went out and ran a mile in 7:10. Then ran with Julia. Ran with Benjamin and Jennifer a bit later. Then ran with 8 miles Ted in the evening on the Provo River Trail. After two miles we found another runner. His name is Alvin, and he is getting ready for the Atlanta Half-Marathon. We maintained 7:40 pace. My HR hovered around 129. Better, but still 7 bpm too high for the pace. Less coughing, although there was quite a bit when we went under I-15.

Still taking lots of garlic. Too bad Americans do not like the smell of it, and I am glad I do not have to work in an office, especially the one where having the "right" smell counts. I am putting "right" in quotes. Perfume and other politically correct substances might smell nice but they do not heal. The smell of garlic and onions might not be as pleasant to some, but they are excellent natural antibiotics. In my entire running career I have gotten a lot of respiratory and other infections, but do not recall ever having to use a synthetic drug for an antibiotic. Large doses of garlic and onions have always been able to bring me back to the point of being able to run again within no more than two days. That said, there are times, I suppose, when a synthetic antibiotic might be necessary, but I think if we learned to enjoy the garlic and onions more when sick and when healthy as well, we would be a lot healthier.

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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Ran alone on the Provo River Trail by Geneva Road in the morning. 8 miles in 55:50. Decided to chase the 7:00 mile guy after the turnaround (28:41). He was coming back to me, but not very fast. Not surprising, I am still coughing, although quite a bit less. No AK-47 salvos today until I stopped at the end. I was still behind with a quarter to go, so I took no chances and ran it in 1:31. HR climbed to 156.

HR was fairly good 2 miles into the run - 134 at 7:00 pace, only 6 bpm above the norm. However around mile 3 I noticed a drift upwards. When I started the chase, I was going 6:47 pace, and HR was 143. Slight uphill, but still that is about 12 bpm overboard, even adjusting for the grade. I think I was gradually dehydrating as I went along, which happens when you have a cold.

However, I felt a lot more motivated to run. The thought of having to run 8 miles alone did not bear too hard on me.

Ran with the kids in the evening - added 2.75 miles altogether.

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Provo River Trail in the morning, 8 miles in 55:54. Did a 1.5 mile health test tempo in the middle in 8:57. HR was 155 at 6:00 pace. On the last quarter, sped up to 1:28, HR climbed to 157. Still 10 bpm higher than normal.

The latest HR drifts encouraged me to try an experiment. I brought a bottle of water with me and drank every two miles. This reduced the drift a bit - 142 at 7:00 pace uphill at the end instead of 145, and made the whole experience better. I also for the first time in a week did not have AK-47 cough salvos at all, not even after running the tempo or stopping at the end.

Ran with the kids in the afternoon.

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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Provo River Trail by Geneva Road. The cough is almost gone. Decided to do a test of health. Warmed up 3.75. HR was 132 at 7:10 pace - 5-7 bpm above normal. Then drank some EmergenC to rehydrate. Then did the 5 mile tempo.

First mile 5:49, HR got up to 154. Then 5:47 (11:36), HR at 159. 14:31 at the turnaround (2:55). 3 miles in 17:30 (2:59), HR at 160. Next mile in 5:57 (23:27). Pushed it on the last mile (0.5% rolling uphill), got 5:48, 29:15 total, HR climbed to 165.

Cooled down 1.25 to make the total 10. Ran with the kids later in the afternoon.

The tempo run showed the sickness + the trip took more out of me than the Deseret News Marathon. That is not good. I wonder if I had something more serious than a simple cold.

However, the recovery after a sickness like this in the past has been fairly fast, so let's hope it happens again. I need to be in a fairly decent condition by Thanksgiving to win a turkey in a 4 mile race.

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