Breaking the Wall

January 2010

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15% off for Fast Running Blog members at St. George Running Center!

Location:

Orem,UT,United States

Member Since:

Jan 27, 1986

Gender:

Male

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.

Personal:

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 nine children: Benjamin, Jenny, Julia, Joseph, Jacob, William, Stephen, Matthew,  Mary, and Bella.  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:

Miles:This week: 0.00 Month: 207.91 Year: 2917.47
Saucony Type A Lifetime Miles: 627.15
Bare Feet Lifetime Miles: 446.12
Nike Double Stroller Lifetime Miles: 120.59
Brown Crocs 1 Lifetime Miles: 1509.03
Brown Crocs 2 Lifetime Miles: 903.91
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
332.4519.855.256.25363.80
Water Clogs Miles: 8.25Airwalk Clogs Miles: 54.00Water Clogs 2 Miles: 278.35Water Clogs 3 Miles: 2.75
Night Sleep Time: 220.00Nap Time: 15.50Total Sleep Time: 235.50
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
12.250.000.500.2012.95

A.M. 10.2 in 1:11:59. If you told me I'd be able to run this fast after feeling the trail with my feet but without looking at my splits I would have laughed. But somehow low 7:00 and later even 6:40, occasionally sub-6:40 started happening in spite of the slippage. Did a pickup to test if my recent attempts to massage out the scar tissue and other garbage in the right pectineus muscle did any good. The form felt smoother, the right glut was engaging better, but no miracle smoothness yet. Not surprising, easy come, easy go, it will take a lot of learning and then a lot of work to apply that learning to undo the damage that was done 23 years ago.

I spent the last ten years trying to find the culprit that makes me run funny. I think I've finally found it. At least I feel like the pieces of the puzzle are securely together, and I have an explanation I am content with for everything that happened and everything I've felt over the course of my running career. The culprit is the damaged right pectineus. Everything else is a consequence. 

Jenny ran with Sarah. 

Drove to SLC later in the morning to visit with Sarah's family. On the way there around 106th South on I-15 all of a sudden Sarah starts telling me that somebody she does not recognize is trying to say hi to us. She rolled down the window and had a brief conversation with the driver of a mini-van. I looked briefly, but then turned my eyes towards the road. I have only one working eye, so I really cannot look aside too much or I'll crash the car. The van had Colorado license plates. From that and Sarah's description of the people in the van I figured it was Nan and Aaron. This turned out to be correct. Aaron posted a comment in my blog confirming the encounter. Small world.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 17:13. Julia ran the first 1.5 in 13:38.  0.5 with Joseph in 4:40. 0.25 with Jacob in 2:56.

Water Clogs Miles: 2.75Airwalk Clogs Miles: 10.20
Night Sleep Time: 8.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.50
Comments(1)
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
10.955.000.000.0015.95

A.M. Ran 13.2 in 1:27:29 on the Uneventful Half course. The trail had good parts, and not so good. Still slippery almost everywhere to some extent. Did some pickups, some of them timed and measured. Of the ones timed and measured -  1.5 in 8:41, considered going 2.5, but the quads were tensing up, and I was approaching an area with more snow and ice, so I figured 1.5 was good. Then did about 0.7 hitting 1 K in 3:39 up a small grade and with some ice. Ran the last 1.5 in 8:59. Had some obstacles on that stretch. Two bridges where I had to slow down, on one I hit a 100 in 28 (7:32 pace), some snow drifts, and the last 0.14 on our street where I had to slow down to 6:40. Was pleasantly surprised when I saw with a quarter to go that I miscalculated my finish time projection, and that it was going to be a minute faster.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin and Jenny in 17:42. Julia ran 1.5 with us in 13:30. 0.5 with Joseph in 4:38. 0.25 with Jacob in 3:00. 

 

Airwalk Clogs Miles: 13.20
Night Sleep Time: 8.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.50
Comments(1)
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
0.000.000.000.000.00

Day of rest. Went to church. This was the first Sunday of the month, so we had a Fast and Testimony meeting. We fast once a month, and then donate at least the amount we saved by not eating or possibly more as a fast offering. That money is used only for helping the poor. Tithing, which is 10% of our income, on the other hand, is used to support and expand church operations such as build and maintain chapels and temples. The clergy does not get paid.

The Elder's Quorum lesson was again on a General Conference talk. This time Elder Scott's from the October conference. He talked about how to hear the voice the Lord, and the blessings we receive when we intently listen and follow. 

Night Sleep Time: 8.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.50
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
9.700.003.250.0012.95

A.M. 10.2 in 1:07:46. It was cold, 14 F, but I felt good and wanted to run fast. So after about 1.4 warm-up, I decided I would run fast until I was tired, hit too much snow/ice, or until I got to 2.5 miles of fast running. I was going to play it by ear on the pace, but I did want to monitor it.

I ended up doing 87-85-85-86(5:43)-84-84-86-85(5:39,11:22)-85-81 (14:08 for 2.5). All quarters 86 and slower were on the areas with more snow/ice. The road otherwise was decent, and I did not feel a whole lot of traction problems. However, when I pushed into the 84 quarter range (5:36 pace) I started feeling that the air I was breathing in was too cold. So I remembered a recent post on the blog about cold air at

http://fryrunner.fastrunningblog.com/blog-01-01-2010.html

That gave me some food for thought. I do not think it would be too inaccurate to say that for a runner to start feeling breathing problems in 14 F he needs to work as hard as I do at 5:40 pace. While that pace is sustainable for me for a while, it is very stressful. It would be a disaster for me to train at that pace all the time.

There is an adjustment that would need to be made in the comparison, though. The misery at 5:40 for me comes from the nervous system overload, and not so much from the aerobic stress. So perhaps a less aerobically developed runner would not overtrain as quickly breathing as hard as I do at that pace on his runs. But he would still overtrain unless he cuts his mileage a lot. And if he does, his aerobic development would not happen.

Jogged about half a mile to recover from the effort,  then gradually picked up the pace, and was running around 6:40 in about 2 miles without having to force it. That was a positive for me, good indication for the nervous system condition. Normally I want to run no faster than 7:30 for at least 4 miles after a similar effort. 

Was feeling energetic with 0.75 to go and decided to run it fast. Did 86-92-86 to finish the segment in 4:26. The reason for 92 was having to navigate around snow drifts on a slippery road. The last quarter also had some ice. 

Jenny ran 2.5 with Sarah. 

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 17:01. Julia ran 1.5 with us in 12:51. A little dog helped us with the pace early on, and then Julia stayed excited and maintained a faster than normal pace for the rest of the run. 0.5 with Joseph in 4:35. 0.25 with Jacob in 2:45.

Water Clogs Miles: 2.75Airwalk Clogs Miles: 10.20
Night Sleep Time: 8.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.50
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
12.200.750.000.0012.95

A.M. 10.2 with Jeff in 1:13:08. We started out slow as usual for this time of day, and dragged through the first 4 miles or so averaging slower than 8:00. Then we realized Jeff would be late for work, and picked up the pace eventually to sub-6:40. A couple of times we picked up to 6:00. First time to buy some time for my VPB, and second time at the end just because.

Jenny ran 2.5 with Sarah. 

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 16:23. Julia ran 1.5 with us in 13:06. We picked it up in the last quarter and ran it in 1:30. 0.5 with Joseph in 4:16. He was on the move today. 0.25 with Jacob in 2:35.

A couple of weeks ago I asked the children a test question. Do fast runners run Stomp-Stomp or Woosh-Woosh? They all independently gave the correct answer without having to think (Woosh-Woosh). Then I tested their non-running cousins to see if maybe the answer was too obvious for anybody, and they struggled to understand what I was talking about.

Water Clogs Miles: 2.75Airwalk Clogs Miles: 10.20
Night Sleep Time: 7.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.50
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
12.200.750.000.0012.95

A.M. 10.2 in 1:13:32. Ran the last 0.75 in 4:25.

P.M. Got my new Water Clogs. My Airwalk Clogs are actually in great shape after 700+ miles, except for slight wear patterns. I have been working on loosening up my right pectineus, and the recommendation in the Myofascial Release Manual was to get new shoes to facilitate the process of reprogramming the gait. So I plan to get a new pair of clogs every month or so for the next year. Fortunately you can get Water Clogs at Target online for $8.99. This time I got a smaller size so they would not fall off at higher speeds. 

 2 with Benjamin and Jenny in 17:28. Julia ran 1.5 with us in 13:15. 0.5 with Joseph in 4:29. 0.25 with Jacob in 2:35. 

Airwalk Clogs Miles: 10.20Water Clogs 2 Miles: 2.75
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
Comments(1)
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
13.251.250.000.0014.50

A.M. Ran 10.25 in 1:19:49. Met Jeff on the trail. After about 8 miles we did a 0.75 pickup in 4:21 up about 0.5-1% grade along the river from the 500 N bridge to 800 N bridge. There was hardly any snow on the trail.

Jenny ran 2.5 with Sarah. 

P.M. 2 with Benjamin. We took advantage of decent weather and ran a mile time trial. The goal was to try to break 6:00. We went through the quarter in 1:29, then 1:51 at 500. Then Benjamin started to fade. I kept the 6:00 pace to encourage him, and went through 0.5 in 2:59. But he was falling behind, so I stopped and waited. We hit 0.75 in 4:46. I yelled at him not to give up and do a good job in the last quarter. He regrouped some and ran a 1:34 closing quarter to finish in 6:20.

I think the barrier for him is mental. He does not yet fully believe that he can maintain 6:00 pace for the whole mile, so when it start to hurt he starts sandbagging. We discussed ways to try to break it. One idea is to open with an 85 quarter, which will make it hurt so bad that slowing down to 90 will appear like a jog. He liked the idea, so we might try it in a week if the weather permits.

1.5 with Julia in 12:57. We saw the BYU team. I told them they were fast. She asked me if they could run a one minute mile. I explained to her that one minute mile cannot currently be done on foot by a human.

0.5 with Joseph in 4:40. 0.25 with Jacob in 2:52. 

Water Clogs 2 Miles: 14.50
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Comments(1)
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
12.950.000.000.0012.95

A.M. 10.2 with Jeff in 1:13:41. Jenny ran 2.5 with Sarah.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 17:17. Julia ran 1.5 with us in 13:14. 0.5 with Joseph in 4:38. 0.25 with Jacob in 2:25. That was a record for him.

Water Clogs 2 Miles: 12.95
Night Sleep Time: 7.50Nap Time: 2.00Total Sleep Time: 9.50
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
12.855.000.000.0017.85

A.M. Long(er) run with Jeff. 15.1 in in 1:48:01. Did a tempo on the Fast Running Blog 5 Miler course. Total time 29:32. Splits - 5:53 - 5:56 - half in 14:49 - 5:58 - 5:56 - 5:49 - second half in 14:43. The original plan was to tempo for 10 miles, but Jeff was still sick. The trail was decent. Some snow/ice patches, but mostly clear. However, it was rather cold - 18 F. I tried taking my hat off once we started going fast, but it did not feel good, so I put it back on.  The pace felt OK, sustainable for 10 without a heroic effort. I think I am starting to get back into shape some.

Immediately afterwards ran with the kids. 0.5 with Joseph in 4:35, 2 with Jenny and Benjamin in 16:59. Julia ran 1.5 with us in 13:02. 0.25 with Jacob in 2:35. 

Water Clogs 2 Miles: 17.85
Night Sleep Time: 8.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.50
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
0.000.000.000.000.00

Day of rest. Went to church.  The talks in the Sacrament meeting were on being spiritually clean. I had some thoughts following those talks. At the start of 3 Nephi 11 when Christ appears to the Nephites they hear a voice three times before they can even understand what it is saying. The voice is described as a voice a perfect mildness. That kind of voice cannot be heard or understood in noisy surroundings. Spiritually noisy that is. Feelings of anger, envy, hatred, selfishness, lust, etc are a source of that noise. For that reason I refuse to listen to certain types of music or watch certain movies. Not just because the Church says you should not. I know what it does to my ability to hear that voice of perfect mildness. It is difficult enough already to hear it, I am struggling as it is. I do not need to surround myself with things that make it more difficult.

Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Comments(1)
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
7.604.251.000.0012.85

A.M. Ran with Jeff. 10.1 total. We did another tempo on the Fast Running Blog 5 Miler course. The way I saw it was to finish the 5 miles we did not finish on Saturday. My total time was 29:06. Jeff kicked and dropped me with 200 to go and his time was 29:03. The splits were 5:56 - 5:49 - 5:52 - 5:51 - 5:38. The last five quarters 85-87-84-83-84. 

The temperature was 16 F and it was foggy. The trail conditions were similar to Saturday - mostly dry, occasional snow/ice segments.

I was happy to see that my last 4 miles of the tempo were done in 23:10, which is only 5 seconds slower than my race time for 4 miles in November, but sure with a whole lot less effort even though my quads started feeling strained a bit between 3 and 4 miles, and then caved in the last 200. 

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 16:30. Last quarter in 91. Julia ran 1.5 with us in 13:16. 0.5 with Joseph in 4:39. 0.25 with Jacob in 2:33. 

Water Clogs 2 Miles: 12.85
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.50Total Sleep Time: 8.50
Comments(1)
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
12.350.000.000.5012.85

A.M. 10.1 alone (Jeff slept in) in 1:19:21. Did some 100 meter strides. Timed a 200 in 35.7. Felt strong, but clumsy. Legs felt like untrue wheels of a bike. Found Jenny and Sarah with about 0.4 to go. Jenny ran the last 0.4 with me. We timed a quarter in 1:46. Jenny ran a total of 2.5.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 16:53. Julia ran 1.5 with us in 13:07. 0.5 with Joseph in 4:38. 0.25 with Jacob in 2:35. 

Water Clogs 2 Miles: 12.85
Night Sleep Time: 7.50Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 8.50
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
12.950.000.000.0012.95

A.M. 10.2 with Jeff in 1:19:58. 

P.M. 2 with Benjamin and Jenny in 17:23. Julia ran 1.5 with us in 13:18. 0.5 with Joseph in 4:43. 0.25 with Jacob in 2:44. 

Water Clogs 2 Miles: 12.95
Night Sleep Time: 7.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.50
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
12.200.000.000.0012.20

A.M. 10.2 with Jeff in 1:19:56. Jenny ran 2.5 with Sarah.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 17:27. Julia ran 1.5 with us in 13:04. Jacob and Joseph did not run due to sore throat and cough. 

Water Clogs 2 Miles: 12.20
Night Sleep Time: 7.50Nap Time: 0.50Total Sleep Time: 8.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
12.200.000.000.2512.45

A.M. 10.2 with Jeff in 1:17:56. Did a quarter pickup in 71.6. It felt good, better than I expected. I was pleased with that. However, the form was still clumsy, still feeling like biking with untrue wheels. Jenny ran 2.5 with Sarah.

P.M. All kids except Jenny and William had coughs. So they ran less and slower. 1 with Julia in 9:14. 1 with Benjamin in 9:17. 0.25 with Joseph in 2:35. Jacob got another day of rest. 

Water Clogs 2 Miles: 12.45
Night Sleep Time: 7.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.50
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
16.450.000.001.2517.70

A.M. 15.2 with Jeff in 1:59:06. Did 5x400 with 400 recovery jog after about 2.4 warm-up. I was hoping to hit 72-73, but with Jeff's help it went a lot better. 71.0 - 70.1 - 67.8 - 68.7 - 70.5.

A thought on quarters or any intervals for that matter. The main purpose of those for a marathoner is to learn to run with good form. To accomplish that purpose we need to choose the pace carefully. The idea is to run fast enough so that anaerobic bear will ride you your back if you run with bad form, but slow enough that he will not ride on your back regardless of your form. So suppose with bad form the anaerobic bear starts feeling a whole lot heavier between 70 and 71. Or in other words if you hit that quarter in 70 with good form, you feel the comfort of 71. If you run it in 71 it is comfortable regardless of the form. If you run it in 69 it is uncomfortable regardless of the form.

So in that example - the problem with 71 is that you can keep running with bad form and you do not feel it. The problem with 69 is that it is so painful that even if you improve the form you do not notice a whole lot of difference. Another problem with 69 is that you start training anaerobic bear tolerance. Which means that the pace at which you feel the difference between a good and a bad form becomes faster without any improvement in long distance performance. This also has a side effect of faster fuel burn at any speed, which leads to a spectacular wall experience in the marathon. This is why it is so common to see a post-collegiate star that should be running no slower than 2:13 barely manage 2:30 or worse in his first marathon. Too much anaerobic tolerance from all the brutal track workouts in college (and likely post-college as well, since he is used to training that way), so the metabolism shifts, 5:00 is a jog for him, but all of a sudden he gets past 15 and he cannot do 6:00, then he gets past 20, and he cannot even do 6:30. This takes some time to overcome.

However, if you can just feel that balance of speed, you can achieve good results. The form will smooth out, and the performances in all distances from the mile to the marathon improve at the same time.

There is really no formula to calculate that speed even if you know your race performances because different people could have a different degree of anaerobic tolerance even if they have the exact same race times. You need to do it by feel. One way you would know you've done it right is that you'll notice that as the workout progresses your subsequent intervals keep getting faster and you cannot quite understand why because you are not working any harder. The form feels smoother, you start developing a greater measure of harmony and balance. You are able to enjoy the speed without paying too great of a price in terms of pain.

P.M. 2 with Jenny in 16:52. Julia and Benjamin, still sick, ran only 1 mile with us in 9:23. Then Jenny closed with a 7:29. 0.25 with Joseph in 2:36. 0.25 with Jacob in 2:35. 

Water Clogs 2 Miles: 15.20
Night Sleep Time: 8.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.50
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
0.000.000.000.000.00

Day of rest. Went to Church. In addition to our regular meetings we had the State Priesthood meeting at 7:00 AM. Very appropriately, the opening hymn was Rise Up, O Men of God.

In the Sacrament meeting we had a talk on obedience with a lot of examples from the Old Testament. Old Testament is full of examples when seemingly small acts of disobedience to God's commandments resulted in severe punishments. Lot's wife turned into a pillar of salt for looking back as they were fleeing Sodom. Achan was stoned for taking some of the riches of Jericho. The sins of Sabbath breaking and idol worship were punished by stoning as well.

I have wondered why the punishment had to be so severe. Perhaps because it was critical to the survival of Israel to learn that there is no such thing as a small rebellion against God. Failure to obey precisely has dire spiritual consequences. God has not changed. While similar sins today are not punished by being stoned, disobedience weakens our faith a lot. So we are still punished, but only by the natural consequences that come upon us as a result of our weakened faith instead. This will be worse than being stoned if we do not repent. Alma in chapter 12 talks about how when we stand before God and see our sins in plainness we would wish that the rocks could fall upon us to hide us from His presence.

On the other hand, obedience results in stronger faith, and it is something we are going to need in the last days very much. Even more after this life is over. Our faith, the strength of our spirit, is the only form of wealth we get to carry out of this world.

Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 1.50Total Sleep Time: 9.50
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
11.950.000.000.0011.95

A.M. 10.2 with Jeff in 1:26:58. Hardly any snow on the ground, but very slippery due to ice. Jenny ran 2.5 with Sarah.

P.M. 1 with Benjamin and Julia in 9:19. 0.5 with Joseph in 4:58. 0.25 with Jacob in 2:58.

Water Clogs 2 Miles: 11.95
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
12.850.000.000.9013.75

A.M. Ran with Jeff. Met him on the trail. 11 miles in 1:29:19. Slippery, but with some dry stretches. Did a couple of pickups, all around 5:20 pace. 400 in 79, 700 in 2:21, another 400 in 81.

Jenny ran 2.5 with Sarah. 

P.M. All kids are now back to full health. 2 with Benjamin in 16:58. Julia ran 1.5 with us in 13:00. 0.5 with Joseph in 4:30. 0.25 with Jacob in 2:55. 

Water Clogs 2 Miles: 13.75
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 7.50Total Sleep Time: 7.50
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
12.850.000.000.0012.85

A.M. Met Jeff on the trail. Ran 10.1 in 1:21:40. At the start the trail was OK, but then got slippery later on. 

Came to check my e-mail this morning. Oops. Last night I was making changes in the blog, and forgot to test everything before making them live. So this morning my mailbox was full of error reports. I have fixed it now, I think. Sorry about that.

At least it is nice to know that the blog is being used.

As a side effect, there is a non-working feature - graph view. You can pretend to use it. Hopefully in the next couple of days it will become a working feature. 

P.M. 2 with Benjamin and Jenny in 17:02. Julia ran 1.5 with us in 12:57. 0.5 with Joseph in 4:23. 0.25 with Jacob in 2:44. 

Water Clogs 2 Miles: 12.85
Night Sleep Time: 7.50Nap Time: 1.50Total Sleep Time: 9.00
Comments(9)
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
10.902.200.000.0013.10

A.M. 10.35 in 1:19:54. Met Jeff on the trail. Ran the last 1.96 in 11:45. The speed was affected by three slippery tunnels where I had to go slower than 8:00, a rough road stretch, 5 turns, a snow-drift jump, headwind and wet road. I figure the effort was worth around 5:40-5:45 pace. About 0.37 away from the house I passed a car that was backing out of the driveway. It did not catch me for another 200 meters. It felt good to hold off a car, even if it was for only 200 meters.

P.M.  2 with Benjamin in 16:36, last quarter in 89. Julia ran 1.5 with us in 13:20. 0.5 with Joseph in 3:51, splits of 2:01 and 1:50. That is his new record for the distance. I asked him afterwards if it was hard. He said no. I never thought of Joseph as having a running talent when he was younger due to his shuffling stride. But running every day is fixing the problem. Jenny also shuffled a lot when she was 3 and 4, but by about the age of 6 she developed a smooth form. Ted once took her for a run and commented that she looked like a miniature elite runner.

That makes me wonder if the Kenyan "talent" comes mostly from running naturally and a lot at a young age. I believe the genes are only a rough outline of what you are going to be. That is a human and not a dog. The color of your skin, the shape of your face, etc. That type of stuff you cannot change.

But when it comes to athletic performance deep down we have all kinds of genes that could give us all kinds of talent. The question is which ones will get expressed and how much, and this is controlled to a great extent by what our mother does when she is pregnant and what we do at a young age.

Ran 0.25 with Jacob in 2:51. It was very windy, and I was concerned about how well he'd handle it, but he toughed it out.

Water Clogs 2 Miles: 13.10
Night Sleep Time: 7.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.50
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
12.750.000.000.4013.15

A.M. Ran alone. 10.4 in 1:18:06. Did a couple of pickups. 200 up a small grade (0.5%) in 38, and 400 in 79. During the pickups the form felt better than I expected from the perception at easy pace.

P.M. Hailstorm/snow. 2 with Benjamin in 17:17. Julia ran the first 1.5 with us in 13:28. 0.5 with Joseph in 4:40. He liked the storm more than any of the children. 0.25 with Jacob in 2:43. Jacob wore a Russian fur hat.

The "virtual" graph feature is now somewhat functional. Buggy, but should work fine on normal templates if you have run in every one of the zones over the month. Otherwise you get the gist but looks a little funny. If you have non-running or really odd template you will see some interesting things. I'll fix the bugs over the next week.   Yes, and apparently I did not break the data entry, since I can type in this one.

 

Water Clogs 2 Miles: 13.15
Night Sleep Time: 7.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.50
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
17.700.000.000.2517.95

A.M. Ran with Jeff. Lots of snow, but runnable. Decent traction. Ran 15.2 in 1:57:12. Just for kicks we did a hard quarter on snow. 80 seconds with about a 70 second effort.

Had a discussion on muscle spindles, and the effect of hypersensitive spindles in hip flexors on running economy. My suspicion is that a hip flexor is the worst place for a runner to have a hypersensitive spindle because it will make the hip flexor contract to resist the stretch during the later phases of the ground contact as the body moves forward and the hip is extended. Such an inopportune hip flexor contraction will then having a braking effect on the forward motion. There is really no other joint I can think of where excessive stretch reflex is so undesirable when running.

The reason we got so technical in the discussion is that I've read some research showing that a trigger point is a bundle of hypersensitive spindle tissue, I do have some nasty trigger point in my right hip flexors, and my range of motion in the right hip extension when running is noticeably worse than on the left side. To make things more interesting, stretching the hip flexors has never done anything for my running speed. I can improve the static range of motion, but the stretch reflex resistance is still there.

So I have a thought on the importance of flexibility for a runner. A number of studies demonstrated that faster runners are not that flexible. Yet it is fairly obvious that if you have zero flexibility you will not run at all. So what's up? I've wondered about it for a while and never had anything meaningful to say except the obvious "you just have to have a balance". Now I think I finally have something worth sharing.

The flexibility in and of itself is not important. What is important is to have low antagonist muscle resistance in the critical range of motion in critical motions in critical joints. The only critical joint/motion I can think of the is the hip joint and the motion of extension. You do need to have a reasonable range of motion, enough to run, but that is good enough. You do not need a gymnast's range of motion or anywhere close.  In some joints/motions the high antagonist resistance may actually be good. E.g. knee flexion and dorsi-flexion. Not so high that you get injured, but as high as you can get away with. So that means it is good for the quads and the calves to be a little tight.

But when it comes to the hip joint, things are a little different because resistance to hip extension is a braking agent. Normal running range of motion is not too difficult to achieve. But we do not want just the range of motion. Improving the range of motion does us zero good if we did not reduce the stretch reflex of the hip flexors in the normal running range of motion. And stretching in some cases (maybe more often than in "some cases") can make it worse by irritating the spindle tissue and thus increasing the stretch reflex. The fix in this case would be to work on the trigger points in the hip flexors to eliminate them and restore the muscles to their normal state.

The above, of course, is all just theory now. I'll have a chance to test it this year.

P.M.  2 with Benjamin and Jenny in 17:19. Julia ran 1.5 with us in 13:26. 0.5 with Joseph in 4:38. 0.25 with Jacob in 2:25.

Water Clogs 2 Miles: 17.95
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
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Day of rest. Went to church. We had good talks and lessons. The talks in the Sacrament meeting were on missionary work. The lesson in Sunday School was on agency. One brother shared a funny missionary story. They visited a man who claimed affiliation with the Southern Baptist Church. The discussion turned to the doctrine of salvation by grace and the role of works. The LDS missionaries stated that faith without works was dead. The man said it was false, grace alone was sufficient with no works required. The missionaries showed him a passage in his Bible (James 1:17-20) that backed up their point. The man got angry and ripped that page out of his Bible.

Interestingly enough, the lesson in the Elder's Quorum was on anger. The teacher shared an experience he had trying to control his anger when his computer got infected with a virus when his wife clicked on a box that said the computer was infected and offered to download and run a "cleaning tool", which "cleaning tool" was in fact a virus. One brother, a black convert from New York, raised his hand and said - "That's nothing, a friend of mine had a similar problem with his computer, and he got so angry that he smashed his $1000 laptop in pieces!"

Night Sleep Time: 8.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.50
Comments(4)
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
11.950.250.000.7512.95

A.M. 10.2 in 1:18:33. The trail was covered with snow for the most part, but there were some clear patches. Did pickups where I could, total of about 0.75 of them at around 4:50 pace.

On the biomechanics battle front over the course of the last week was able to work out the trigger points in what I think is pectineus (I am still quite a newbie when it comes to identifying muscles by feel), and discovered a nasty trigger point in a larger and lower hip adductor.  Have been working on it. Need to have the faith and the patience.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 16:44. Julia ran 1.5 with us in 13:28. 0.5 with Joseph in 4:33. 0.25 with Jacob in 2:29.

Water Clogs 2 Miles: 12.95
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
17.750.000.000.0017.75

A.M. Ran with Jeff. Met him on the trail. It snowed a lot, so the pace was very slow. On the way back to the house saw a runner, turned around and ran with him. His name is Kevin Ellsworth, and it turned out that he actually was a Lost Sheep. Ended up with around 15 miles in 2:07.

Jenny ran 2.5 with Sarah. 

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 16:57. Julia ran 1.5 with us in 12:46. 0.5 with Joseph in 4:36, 0.25 with Jacob in 2:28.

Water Clogs 2 Miles: 17.75
Night Sleep Time: 7.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.50
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
12.700.200.000.0012.90

A.M. Jeff and I were both asleep. Met him on the trail. 10.15 in 1:22:01. Did a little pickup at the end at 5:50 pace to wake up.

Found a lose bull on the trail. He broke through the fence and got out. He did not try to attack us, but we turned around early and then added on just to be safe. This is the first time in 25 years that I can remember I have ever modified my running course due to a threat from an animal.

P.M. Ran 2 in 18:37. First 0.5 with Benjamin and Jenny. Then Julia joined us but she had scraped some skin off her foot in a playing accident, and could not go very fast. So I told Benjamin and Jenny to pick it up. Benjamin took off with 0.75 to go, Jenny with 0.3 to go. Benjamin ran 17:11, Jenny 18:00. I stayed with Julia. 

Water Clogs 2 Miles: 12.90
Night Sleep Time: 7.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.50
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
12.100.000.500.0012.60

A.M. Met Jeff on the trail. 10.1 in 1:18:58. We did a 0.5 pickup up about 0.5% grade in 2:43 (84,79). It felt easier than I expected. The magic right adductor (adductor brevis, adductor longus, portion of adductor magnus?) seems to be making small progress, but is still "trigger-pointy" and the form still feels ugly.  I have been scraping it and finally got some red spots to come up, which is encouraging. 

So far I've had success removing trigger points and improving the range of motion without stretching in the upper back and in the pectineus. No improvement in the form, though, still ugly. However, what is important is that I am learning how to fix muscles. One step at a time, lots of trial, lots of error, finally success.

I should know something about trial and error. Dealing with errors is the life of a computer programmer. Most of the time you test your work you get an error. Then you fix it, and run into another. A programmer without errors in his life is like fish out of water. Good programmers learn to love errors. If they do not, their job satisfaction greatly decreases, and they get "promoted" into management. I had a co-worker once that often answered the phone with "What's the error?", and would comment after a successful run of ping: "Host is alive error".

So errors are good. Lots of error, then finally success. You appreciate it more. 

Jenny ran 2.5 with Sarah. 

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 16:46. Julia ran 1.5 with us in 13:05. 0.5 with Joseph in 4:37. Spaced out Jacob's run because he was asleep at the time when I ran with the other kids, and I forgot to go with him later. 

Water Clogs 2 Miles: 12.60
Night Sleep Time: 7.50Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 8.50
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
12.150.200.000.5012.85

A.M. 10.1 in 1:17:59. Met Jeff on the trail. We moved a bit quicker today, but still pretty slow. Did a form evaluation pickup for about 0.2 at around 5:50 pace. According to Jeff the form looked stiff at first, but then better later on. We also did a 0.5 pickup up about 0.5% grade in 2:33.9 even splitting it. It felt better than I thought it would. The plan was only 5:30 pace.

Jenny ran 2.5 with Sarah. 

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 16:49. Julia ran 1.5 with us in 12:58. 0.5 with Joseph in 4:15. 0.25 with Jacob in 2:15, his new record.

Water Clogs 2 Miles: 12.85
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
16.700.000.001.2517.95

A.M. 15.2 with Jeff in 1:51:14. Did a ladder in the middle. 800 in 2:20.1 (68,72), 1000 jog, 600 in 1:45.5, 800 jog, 400 67.6, 600 jog, 200 30.8. The jogging was done at around 9:30 pace.

The temperature was 18 F, and I was wearing  tights, jacket, hat and gloves. Not the best conditions for this type of workout by far. I was surprised that I was able to hit those times. Given the conditions and my lack of middle-distance training in the last 8 months I optimistically hoped for 2:24 - 1:48 - 70 - 32. So when Jeff opened with a 33 200 in the 800 repeat I warned him. It took him a while to settle down (thus 2:20 split), but I handled it OK. Did not feel a huge anaerobic bear, and did not want to feel it because I still had the rest of the workout in front of me. So I was content to hit the second quarter at target pace.

I was also happy with how the rest of the work went. The times demonstrated that the 2:20 800 opener did not quite put me at my limit. This is significant. My all time 800 PR is 2:12 on the track in perfect conditions at the age of 18 after six months of focused middle-distance training. So to run 2:20 in 18 F in winter gear on the road with no middle-distance conditioning except 5x400 two weeks ago in the last 8 months and live to do the rest of the workout respectably means something good had happened.  

What is interesting is that I never felt my legs powered hard enough to merit going this fast. The form felt loosened up, there was less resistance, but I did not have more power. 

I am very encouraged by this development. I have spent the last 10 years looking for a structural improvement, and have never had a workout or a race where I could even suspect a measure of success from my structural efforts. "Structural" = "not related to leg power or endurance", e.g. improving posture, flexiblity, re-activating a deactivated muscle, etc. Improvements came mostly from the increased aerobic power and better health. I ran more miles, I ran more of them at race pace, I did brutal workouts, I cleaned up my already clean diet, I slept more. It helped me achieve a measure of success, but I was up against a wall because I had reached the limit of those methods, or at least was very close.

I knew that if I were to reach my goals, I needed to find a structural breakthrough. I had hopes that the medical profession would have the answers, but not before long it became clear to me that if it did the answer was hidden far away, each step in the search cost money and time, and I did not have either one to look for the answer using this route. So my only hope was, to quote a Primary song our children sing in church,  "search, ponder, and pray".

Finally after 10 years of discouraging struggles today I saw a dim glimmer of light from the depths of the dark and never ending tunnel that winds around being good but not that good of a runner in hopelessly perpetual circles. Finally something I did in the structural department produced the results that I consider positive, pointing at the possibility that I may be going in the right direction. It was the trigger point massage and scraping of the Magic Adductor. Medically I still do not quite know what I am doing. In fact, I cannot even tell which adductor my Magic Adductor is, Longus, Brevis, or Magnus, or if it is a combination of those. I have been going by feel asking the Lord every day to give me inspiration and then paying close attention to the body signals as I would go through the trouble area. 

It was an exciting moment for me today. It was nice to receive a small assurance that I am somewhat close to the right track. 

P.M. 2 with Benjamin and Jenny in 17:29. Julia ran 1.5 with us in 13:31. 0.5 with Joseph in 4:51. 0.25 with Jacob in 2:49. 

 

Water Clogs 3 Miles: 2.75
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Comments(3)
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
0.000.000.000.000.00

Day of rest. Went to church.  The talks in the Sacrament meeting were on prayer. In Sunday school the lesson was on creation. Because it was fifth Sunday we had a combined meeting of priesthood and relief society. The subject was prayer and fasting.

My mother has sent me some family history information, so I was studying my family tree. As I looked at it I realized that most branches have died out. Russia has had some turbulent times in the 20th century - two regular wars with major action on its territory, a civil war, Stalin's purges. The blockade of Leningrad alone had a death toll of September 11th on a daily basis in a city that had the population about 10% the size of New York. It lasted 900 days. However, what caused the most devastating effect on my family tree was not the violent calamity. The destruction came from people either not getting married at all, or marrying and having no more than two children who in turn did not feel the importance of having children.

I call that "ideological genocide". Instead of killing people with weapons you simply convince them that it is not worth the sacrifice to have children. There is no drama, no outrage, no revulsion. It happens slowly, but surely, and the damage is much more severe. I remembered a quote from the Proclamation on The Family: "we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets

Night Sleep Time: 8.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.50
Comments(4)
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
332.4519.855.256.25363.80
Water Clogs Miles: 8.25Airwalk Clogs Miles: 54.00Water Clogs 2 Miles: 278.35Water Clogs 3 Miles: 2.75
Night Sleep Time: 220.00Nap Time: 15.50Total Sleep Time: 235.50
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