Breaking the Wall

Orem Earn Your Turkey

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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: 202.42 Year: 3453.86
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: 231.94
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Red Crocs Miles: 65.96
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Day of rest. Went to church for the first two meetings, then came home to trade with Sarah. Mary was sick with a stomach flu.

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

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2017-11-20 16:26:33
Workout Totals: Distance10.000Time1:14:45.70Pace7:28.57
Total of 10. Ran with the kids, then more distance with 5x0.25 down the canyon. It was dark, so it was hard to push, but I managed to stay around 75 average.

Joseph and Jacob ran 4, Jenny 6, Julia had a stomach bug, ran only 2 miles. Sarah did 5 at about 9:40 pace.
Leg 1:Distance0.500Time4:04.80Pace8:09.60
With Matthew, Stephen, William, and Joseph.
Leg 2:Distance1.500Time11:57.70Pace7:58.47
Same company minus Matthew. Played leapfrog.
Leg 3:Distance8.000Time58:43.20Pace7:20.40
Alone with 5x0.25.
Split 1:Distance4.050Time31:34.30Pace7:47.73
Split 2:Distance0.250Time1:15.60Pace5:02.40
Split 3:Distance0.250Time1:49.20Pace7:16.80
Split 4:Distance0.250Time1:16.60Pace5:06.40
Split 5:Distance0.250Time1:51.10Pace7:24.40
Split 6:Distance0.250Time1:13.90Pace4:55.60
Split 7:Distance0.250Time1:53.70Pace7:34.80
Split 8:Distance0.250Time1:15.70Pace5:02.80
Split 9:Distance0.250Time1:52.70Pace7:30.80
Split 10:Distance0.250Time1:14.70Pace4:58.80
Split 11:Distance1.700Time13:25.70Pace7:53.94

Red Crocs Miles: 10.00
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2017-11-21 12:36:59
Workout Totals: Distance10.330Time1:19:09.60Pace7:39.79
Ran with the little boys, then ran with Joseph and Jacob. I did 2x0.625 with 0.25 recovery in 3:18.6 and 3:19.0 down the canyon, they did the first one with me. The headwind was strong today. I measured it on the way back to get the car by doing another 0.625 interval up the canyon and was able to run 3:25.6 with the same effort. Last week, I ran 3:19 down the canyon with more left in the tank, and 3:32 up with as hard of an effort.

Sarah was not feeling well, jogged a mile. Jenny did 6 (4+2) all at 8:00 pace. Julia did 3 miles in 24:22.
Leg 1:Distance0.500Time4:16.20Pace8:32.40
With Matthew, William, and Stephen.
Leg 2:Distance2.510Time20:59.90Pace8:21.95
With William. First 1.5 with Stephen.
Split 1:Distance1.500Time12:56.80Pace8:37.87
Split 2:Distance1.010Time8:03.10Pace7:58.32
Leg 3:Distance0.520Time4:39.10Pace8:56.73
Warm-up with Joseph and Jacob.
Leg 4:Distance1.500Time8:54.40Pace5:56.27
2x0.625 workout.
Split 1:Distance0.625Time3:18.60Pace5:17.76
Split 2:Distance0.250Time2:16.80Pace9:07.20
Split 3:Distance0.625Time3:19.00Pace5:18.40
Leg 5:Distance2.020Time16:19.90Pace8:05.10
Cool-down with Joseph and Jacob.
Leg 6:Distance3.280Time24:00.10Pace7:19.05
Back to get the car with a 0.625 interval up the canyon.
Split 1:Distance2.520Time19:29.60Pace7:44.13
Split 2:Distance0.625Time3:25.60Pace5:28.96
Split 3:Distance0.135Time1:04.90Pace8:00.74

Red Crocs Miles: 10.33
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2017-11-22 10:41:20
Workout Totals: Distance10.000Time1:15:45.40Pace7:34.54
Total of 10. Ran with the kids. They ran a bit less to rest before the Thanksgiving race tomorrow - all except Matthew. He was having a fit during his regular 0.5 mile run because William got ahead of him, so his time was slow - 4:16. But he wanted to try again right away, and he did better this time running 3:59. So he ended up with a mile. Joseph and Jacob did 3, William 2, Stephen and Matthew 1. I did 7 more after that with 0.625 down the canyon in 3:13.1 - what a difference still air makes! Yesterday that same effort was giving me 3:19.

Sarah did 3 at about 9:35 pace, Jenny 4 at about 8:10, Julia 3 at 8:15.
Leg 1:Distance1.000Time8:15.40Pace8:15.40
With Joseph, Jacob, William, Stephen, and Matthew.
Leg 2:Distance1.000Time7:32.50Pace7:32.50
With Joseph, Jacob, and William.
Leg 3:Distance1.000Time8:01.30Pace8:01.30
With Joseph and Jacob.
Leg 4:Distance7.000Time51:56.20Pace7:25.17
Alone with a pickup down the canyon for 0.625.
Split 1:Distance3.550Time27:10.20Pace7:39.21
Split 2:Distance0.625Time3:13.10Pace5:08.96
Split 3:Distance2.825Time21:32.90Pace7:37.66

Red Crocs Miles: 10.00
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Race: Orem Earn Your Turkey (3.952 Miles) 00:22:33, Place overall: 8, Place in age division: 1
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2017-11-23 07:25:23
Workout Totals: Distance12.052Time1:26:41.90Pace7:11.62
Earn Your Turkey race, 3.952 miles according to my wheel measurements, 4 miles officially, 22:33, 8th overall, 2nd master after David Taylor (22:30), 1st in in 40-44, turkey.

The family got 9 turkeys altogether. Details, in age order:

Dad: Used the previous course wheel measurements taken in 2014 to create a pace chart for 22:30, then followed it. It was very helpful, as I knew that if I was off pace it was OK to be aggressive, and otherwise I should be conservative. Given my latest adrenal decline and the workouts I thought I would fall off the target by 20 seconds like I did last year but apparently I have climbed out of the hole some - I was never more than 7 seconds behind target at any point, and with a push in the last mile ended up closing it to only 3. I lost a couple of pride points - got beat by Dave Taylor who is 5 years older than me, and also got chicked again, this time by Rachel Young (22:27), but I'd rather run fast and have others who I should be able to beat run faster, than run slow and have others run slower. 5 K equivalent according to Runworks 17:29. More details in the split notes.

Update: after entering the split notes and comparing it to to target pace, I decided to look up elevations as well. Turns out the course is not exactly flat. The north-south direction varies only by a couple of feet, but the east-west direction has about 0.6% slope with the east direction being uphill. This explains how I could gain 4 seconds on the schedule on the stretch from 1.44 to 1.93 while running alone, then lost 6 seconds going from 2.42 to 2.91 while drafting, but then got dropped while drafting on the stretch from 2.91 to 3.40 but still stayed on pace which shows that it was not that I was just out of juice.

Overall I was happy with the evenness of the splits - the slowest pace for any significant stretch was never slower than 13 seconds per mile over the average, and it happened on a 0.6% incline when at the point in the race where you are tired enough from the effort, but it is still too early to start the kick.

Mom (Sarah) - 32:22, 4th in 40-44, fastest time since 2007 (31:57, course PR) when she was only 31 and had given birth to only five children. Last 400 in 1:52. 5 K equivalent of 25:08.

Jenny - 26:31, 7th overall, 1st in 15-18, turkey. 2 seconds faster than last year. She experienced some loss of fitness due to college stress which resulted in a reduction of mileage and sleep, so she was not as fit as she was during the summer, but she was able to maintain enough form to run 20:35 5 K equivalent.

Julia - 29:04, 2nd in 15-18. 13 seconds slower than last year, but we were expecting that due to her recent adrenal issues. This was actually a good result as it shows she is starting to climb out of a hole.

Joseph - 1 mile - 5:16, 1st in 11-12, turkey. Though the course appears to have started and ended at that same place as before, we are a bit suspicious that it may be short, so we will measure it. Though 5:16 is fast, it is within the realm of possibility for him. His time trial PR on the track is 5:24, he has run 5:11 down the canyon, and he gets energized by the crowds when he is winning. The conditions were good, and he had a rabbit - Kyle Peterson who was strong enough to take the wind for him and is good at holding a steady pace.

Update: We measured the course, and it came short - 5162 feet, or 0.978 miles, which gives Joseph 5:23 and William 6:03.

Jacob - 4 miles, 24:19, 1st in 11 and under, turkey. 5 K equivalent of 18:52. Not knowing exactly what to expect I gave him a pace chart for 24:00, and he was able to stay more or less close to it. He did notice his legs tiring out in the last two miles, so maybe we need to incorporate occasional 3 mile tempos and 6 mile easy runs to get him ready for the Phoenix 10 K. We do need to be careful, though, to not overtrain him as he is only 11 years old.

William - "mile", 5:54, really 6:03, 1st in 9-10, turkey, 3rd overall in the heat.

I am wondering how many of "race day magic" performances are simply due to a short course. I have trusted these courses for years, but wondered, especially about the 4 miler, how I was able to hit the pace that was frequently faster than any certified loop course 5 K that year. For a while I attributed this to the flat nature of the course. Looking at the course map on the USATF website, if you zoom in you can see the fudging - on the second loop the curves are taken on the outer sidewalk, so the 4 miles on the map actually ends before the real finish. The first loop also is rather sloppy about those curves, but not quite so bad.

Stephen - 800, 3:08, 1st in 7-8, turkey, I think it was accurate. The split at the turnaround was 88. This is his second win in this race.

Matthew - 400, 1:52, 1st in 3-4, if 800 was right, then this had to have been long, because it took me 40 seconds to run from the 800 to 400 turnaround in my race, and 43 from there to the finish. Given the consistency of the earlier splits, and also my patterns in workouts, it would have been unlikely for me to run to have that much variation over the last 400. So with proper adjustment, his time becomes around 1:49 - which actually is his track PR.

Mary - "400", 2:57, 2nd in girls 3-4, Joseph ran with her, about what I expected based on her training.

Bella - "100", 1:46, 4th in 0-2, youngest participant award, turkey, this was definitely short, as it took me 18 seconds to run this in my race, and Stephen ran this in 17 in his. His top 100 right now is around 19 high. With a 14 months old you never know what to expect, at first we were concerned she might score a DNS because she was fussy. But then Julia showed her a picture of a dog and told her the doggy wanted her to run. That worked. She walked the distance cheerfully.

We got the largest immediate family award again.

Looking at things in the perspective. First time I raced here was 1997. I do not remember when Sarah started joining me, but I think it was around 2001. For a while she raced only if she had not had the baby or was not very pregnant, but in the recent years she just started racing it regardless. Our first attempt at getting Benjamin to run in the kids races were unsuccessful - up until he was 4 he either DNS'ed, DNF'ed after running a few feet, or dragged. Then at 4 he won, and then after that he was competitive. Last year he was second overall in the "4 mile" race.

Over the last 12 years we have watched Joseph progress from pushing a walker toy at the age of 10 months for 100 meters, crying in the process, but nevertheless pushing forward, to winning the "mile" at 5:23 pace.

Jacob began his career with a DNS at 16 months on a cold morning, but then raced without problems and progressed to running "4 miles" at 6:09 pace at the age of 11.

Even though the course lengths have been dubious, they have usually been the same length which allows us to monitor the progress of running generations. Most important, this is one of the few races around where you really can run as a family. That is why we keep coming back.
Leg 1:Distance2.700Time20:21.30Pace7:32.33
Leg 2:Distance5.056Time32:22.60Pace6:24.22
My race + running back and pacing Sarah.
Split 1:Distance0.463Time2:33.20Pace5:30.89
Target: 2:38, +5 seconds
Split 2:Distance0.492Time2:48.40Pace5:42.28
Target: 2:48, split right on, total +5
Split 3:Distance0.485Time2:48.00Pace5:46.39
Target: 2:45, split -3, total +2
Split 4:Distance0.499Time2:47.30Pace5:35.27
Target: 2:51, split +4, total +6
Split 5:Distance0.484Time2:50.90Pace5:53.10
Target: 2:45, split -6, total even.
Split 6:Distance0.492Time2:54.80Pace5:55.28
Target: 2:48, split -6, total -6.
Split 7:Distance0.485Time2:45.30Pace5:40.82
Target: 2:45, split 0, total -6
Split 8:Distance0.552Time3:06.00Pace5:36.96
Target: 3:09, split +3, total -3.
Split 9:Distance1.104Time9:48.70Pace8:53.24
Ran back, cheered Jacob, Jenny, and Julia on the way, then met and paced Sarah.
Leg 3:Distance0.060Time1:46.90Pace29:41.67
With Bella.
Leg 4:Distance0.257Time2:57.70Pace11:31.44
Paced Matthew, then timed Mary.
Split 1:Distance0.257Time1:52.80Pace7:18.91
Split 2:Distance0.000Time1:04.90Pace0:00.00
Leg 5:Distance0.496Time3:08.40Pace6:19.84
Paced Stephen.
Leg 6:Distance0.978Time5:54.80Pace6:02.78
Paced William.
Leg 7:Distance0.465Time3:43.20Pace8:00.00
Running around to get places.
Leg 8:Distance2.040Time16:27.00Pace8:03.82
With Joseph at home.

Red Crocs Miles: 12.07
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2017-11-24 11:32:49
Workout Totals: Distance10.000Time1:18:34.70Pace7:51.47
Dysfunctional stomach day for me. Probably ate something wrong at the family Thanksgiving dinner yesterday. Managed to get through 10 miles, but did it in segments over the course of the day. Did not throw up by making sure I never ate more than my stomach was telling me I could handle.

Ran with the kids, they did reduced mileage as they were sore from their races yesterday. Jenny did 6 (3+3), Sarah and Julia 3. Julia got a cold.
Leg 1:Distance1.500Time12:28.10Pace8:18.73
With Jenny, Joseph, Jacob, William, and Stephen.
Leg 2:Distance0.500Time4:04.10Pace8:08.20
Added Matthew.
Leg 3:Distance1.000Time7:38.70Pace7:38.70
With Joseph, Jacob, and Jenny.
Leg 4:Distance3.000Time23:47.30Pace7:55.77
With Jenny.
Leg 5:Distance4.000Time30:36.50Pace7:39.12

Red Crocs Miles: 10.00
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2017-11-25 10:48:02
Workout Totals: Distance13.560Time1:45:32.80Pace7:47.02
Second day of indigestion. Was able to eat more, though. Did not throw up. Was able to run 13.5 miles in segments throughout the day. Joseph and Jacob did 6, William 4, Stephen 3, Matthew 1. Sarah ran 5 miles at around 9:40 pace. Jenny did 3+3.28, also through indigestion.

Matthew did a mile down the canyon in 7:35 which is worth 7:53 on the track (reasoning being we observed around 12 seconds slowdown off 5:00, so around 7:30 pace it should be 18). This is the first time we have had a child under 5 go sub-8:00 in the mile. Joseph and Jacob paced him. His splits were 1:52, 1:55, 1:50, 1:58. So clearly he can improve quite a bit by just improving his mental focus. I was quite happy with this performance. Afterwards he said that a prayer helped him break 8:00.

I split my run into 7 in the morning and 6.56 in the evening. Did 1 mile pickup down the canyon in the dark in 5:48. Jenny ran a quarter of it with me from my 700 to 1100, and then a bit slower to the end of my interval. At the start I was feeling great due to the lightness of the body as a result of not eating much. But then the reality of the lack of fuel settled in and the pace became harder.
Leg 1:Distance3.000Time25:16.10Pace8:25.37
With Stephen - first 1.5 also with Joseph, Jacob, and William.
Leg 2:Distance1.000Time7:21.00Pace7:21.00
First half alone, second with Joseph, Jacob, and William.
Leg 3:Distance1.000Time7:35.00Pace7:35.00
Matthew's mile time trial down the canyon. Joseph and Jacob helped pace.
Leg 4:Distance1.000Time7:08.50Pace7:08.50
With Jacob up the canyon to get the car. Matthew stayed with Joseph.
Leg 5:Distance1.000Time6:58.70Pace6:58.70
With Joseph on the little boy course.
Leg 6:Distance3.280Time26:08.50Pace7:58.20
With Jenny.
Split 1:Distance0.140Time1:12.30Pace8:36.43
Split 2:Distance1.000Time5:48.30Pace5:48.30
pickup down the canyon.
Split 3:Distance2.140Time19:07.90Pace8:56.40
Leg 7:Distance3.280Time25:05.00Pace7:38.84
Back to get the car.

Red Crocs Miles: 13.56
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Red Crocs Miles: 65.96
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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