Breaking the Wall

March 2006

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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
259.7437.2556.2116.55369.75
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
10.250.000.003.2513.50

Speed workout in the Provo Canyon today. 12x400 starting at the Canyon Glen Park downhill with 200 m recovery jogging back up after each interval. With a moderate tailwind I was able to average 66.6. The slowest repetion was 67.7, while the fastest was 65.5 (the last). The first two were 65.6 and 65.9. I think there is a bit more downhill on that section and the tailwind was a bit stronger. I do not think there was any tailwind on the slowest repetition - at least I felt no headwind jogging back after doing it. That is the fastest I've ever been able to do this workout, even with tailwind. During the warmup I jogged with a runner named Gary who is also a computer programmer. I was also fortunate to find a partner for my cooldown - Sam, a UVSC student who is also participating in the ROTC program. In both cases we had a nice chat. After the cooldown, Sarah came with the kids. I ran another mile with Benjamin in 8:41, while Sarah ran with Jennifer. Then I taught Benjamin to ride a bike while Sarah finished the rest of her run. With the "always on the run" miles the total mileage was 13.5 for the day. The form during the intervals felt more relaxed and coherent. I felt that my muscles were working in harmony more than they normally do. I felt I was able to run with a very wide relaxed stride like I did when I was 13. Here is what I find interesting. Back in Russia they often tested us on a ten-fold broad jump - maximum distance in ten steps from a standing start going from one foot to the other and landing into a pit. They do have correlational chart the data that ties the jump to other metrics. Look for the second table. The Russian term for the the ten-fold jump is Десятерной прыжок. If you see Бег and then a number, it is running that distance in meters. When I was 13, I ran 60 meters in 9.3 and jumped 21.50 meters. According to the chart, my jump corresponds to 9.0, which is a little faster, but still within the allowable range. I could run 200 in 30.7. The chart does not have a 200, but it does 300. I am fairly confident I could have run 300 in 48.0 at that time. My stride felt relaxed. Now at the age of 17 I jumped 27.50 meters. However, my best 200 meters was 27.5. This would convert to about 13.9 in 100 meters. The chart shows that with that kind of a jump I ought to be able to sprint much faster - 11.9. My stride was not relaxed any more - it felt very tense. I have not been able to fix it since. I noticed that there is a way to relax my stride - run with reduced resistance - eg. downhill and with a tailwind. If I train like this for a while, I start getting better results even in regular or high resistance running - flat/still air or uphill/headwind. However, training with high resistance makes me tense up, and although I get stronger, my form gets so bad that I start running slower either with high or low resistance.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Comments(2)
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
11.000.501.500.0013.00

Ran with George this morning. Eric was out of town. We did 6x400 on the Slate Canyon loop. George is getting faster. He averaged 1:20 on the first 5 which we did downhill. Then the last one was flat. He managed 1:25. What I am particularly happy about is that he is holding his ground throughout the whole interval which he could not do before. So far it looks like George is the type that responds better to intervals than to slow jogging or tempo runs. Total length of the morning run was 10 miles as usual.

In the afternoon and evening did my usual "always on the run" miles, and ran with Benjamin and Jennifer. Jennifer set her mile record today of 9:31. When we started out it looked like it was going to be a regular run. 1:25 for the first 200. Then Jennifer got excited and started pushing the pace. Benjamin took my suggestion to be a gentleman and break the wind for his little sister. Not only did he break the wind, but he also pushed the pace. 2:40 for the 400, 3:50 at 600, and 5:01 at the turnaround.

After the turnaround Jennifer complained the pace was too fast. We slowed down to a 10:00 pace for the next quarter to give her a break. 7:31 with a quarter to go. I thought she was going to do another quarter at 10:00 pace, which with a bit of a kick would give her a respectable sub-10:00. A record was clearly out of the question - she would have had to repeat a PR on a quarter to get it.

Well, little Jennifer is a feisty creature and she got excited again. To my amazement she accelerated to a 2:00 last quarter to break her 1 mile PR by 1 second. Go Jenny!!!

What is even better is that Benjamin and Jennifer have not been getting along all day long. After the run, Jennifer thanked Benjamin for breaking the wind for her, and they hugged each other.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
12.200.001.300.0013.50

Started the day with a 1 mile jog. Another 2 mile jog in the early afternoon. Met George on accident. He was also doing his "always on the run". Looks like this is becoming a fashion.

Took Benjamin and Jennifer for their run in the late afternoon, and then started my real run. Did 3 miles with a babyjogger. First Benjamin really wanted to get a rock half a mile away from the house, but did not want to run another mile. Then Julia needed to be taken away from the house for a few minutes while Sarah did the clean up after dinner. The combination of headwind, 33 pounds of weight in the stroller, and a flat tire gave me a good chance to practice correct form in high resistance running. I focused on engaging the hamstring and the glut earlier during ground contact, really trying to feel the impact in the glut.

Then it was time to do some fast running. First, half a mile into a headwind in 2:43. Again practice correct form in high-resistance running. A couple of miles of jogging, and now the same stretch backwards. I got to half-mile mark in 2:39, and was feeling good, so I decided to keep going and add a downhill quarter with the same effort. 3:55 for 0.75 mile.

Another 0.75 jogging to cool down. As soon as I got back to the house I found a bunch of kids buying Sarah's healthy ice cream. They started asking me questions about running. One kid by the name of Curtis wanted to know his top running speed . I ended up taking all of them and having them sprint 100 meters. Curtis ran 17.7 (he is 11 years old). Benjamin set his PR of 21.2, and another 8-year-old girl got the same time as Benjamin. Other kids either did not try hard enough, or maybe were extremely out of shape - they could not break 25. I ended up running a total of about half a mile with them. Total of 13.5 for the day.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
5.007.502.500.0015.00

Started the morning with a 1 mile jog. Later in the afternoon went for a 10 flat mile tempo run on the Provo River Trail. Again, the same course as two weeks ago. Start at Geneva Road parking lot, 2.5 miles out to the Utah Lake parking lot, 2.5 back, repeat. First 7.5 at marathon pace effort, last 2.5 give it all I got. First 2.5 in 14:23, 14:25 on the way back, which gave me 28:48 on the way back. Another 2.5 in 14:22 to hit 7.5 in 43:10. Focus on the form. Try to engage the glut and the hamstring early and feel relaxed. Avoid putting all of the weight on the quads. No matter how hard I tried, I still did not quite feel the ground with my gluts as I would like to. I can feel it a lot better when hopping from one leg to the other, which I suppose is the reason I perform out of my range for my running speed in this type of a jump. But nevertheless, the quads did seem to feel a bit more relaxed that two weeks ago. I was anxious for the fast part to see if there was any substance to this perception. Now the fast part comes, and it feels hard. I am reaching out for something I do not have. The words of a church hymn come to mind: Oh, My Father, Thou that dwellest in the high and glorious place, When shall I regain thy presence and again behold thy face?. The meaning is both divine and humorous. I am reaching out past my limits and desire to be where I am not. At the same time, the pain from the effort makes me feel that perhaps the reunion referred to in the hymn might happen very soon if I continue. The form does not feel as good as I want it to be, but the cardiovascular fitness picks up where the biomechanics fail. 13:32 for the last 2.5, 2:38 on the last 0.5, and 1:17 on the last quarter. 56:42 for 10 miles. The last 2.5 5 seconds faster than two weeks ago. Last mile is rather challenging. It has a slight but nasty uphill section for the first half, which makes you slow down by 10-15 seconds per mile or so. And then you have to shift gears not only for the kick, but also just to get into your regular pace. When I decided to shift gears to 5:20 pace on the last half mile, the process was not as painful as two weeks ago, and it actually happened - there were no 41 second 200s of deliberation. This is a good sign. Last 5 miles in 27:54, and that with the first half done at a relaxed pace and a 50 second negative split. In the beginning of January this would have been my best 5 mile tempo run as you can see from the log. Did another mile with Benjamin and Jennifer - 15 total miles for the day.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Comments(1)
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
10.250.000.003.2513.50

Started the morning with a 1 mile jog. Did another one with Julia in the stroller after breakfast.

Later in the afternoon went to the Provo Canyon for the speed workout. A warmup to the Canyon Glen Park, 4x100 accelerations, and now the real work starts. 12x400 downhill with 200 recovery jogging backwards. I noticed a moderate headwind, and thought perhaps a sub 69 average would be a good goal. Regardless of the time, what was important for me is learning good relaxed form trying to make the quads work less and the gluts and the hamstrings work more.

First repetion exceeded my expectations. With the headwind I was prepared to see something like 68.7 or 69.3 on my watch. Great was my surprise when it said 66.0. I followed with a series of sub-67s when the head wind was mild and the downhill stretch was steady, and a bit over 67 when the headwind got stronger and the short uphill sections were present. I made it a practice to always start a repetition with a short prayer asking to be able to do a good repetition, and also say a prayer of thanks at the end regardless of the time of the split. This workout is very hard to get through without a prayer for me.

One repetition started with an uphill, and then the head wind was strong on the downhill section. I hit it in 67.9. This one was my slowest. Before the next one I prayed to be able to break 67 - that was all I hoped for. When I finished it, great was my surprise to see 65.5.

Another prayer before the last one. I wanted to run 65. Some headwind, but not too much. I got my goal - 65.2, and 66.8 average for the workout.

The form did not feel particulary pretty, but as Emil Zatopek once said, this is not gymnastics, you do not get points for looks. I felt strong, the last 100 m of each repetition did not feel as miserable as it used to, and I was able to hit the times with the headwind that I needed a tailwind for just a week earlier. This is a good sign.

Ran with Benjamin and Jennifer when I got home, and also 0.5 on the way to the swimming pool in the evening (We took the kids swimming tonight). Total mileage for the day is 13.5.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Comments(1)
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
12.200.800.000.0013.00

Easy day today. Ran with Eric and George in the morning. As it often happens, I had to make a pitstop, so I took off about 0.7 miles away from my house at a pace I thought was the slowest needed to give me enough time. I began to wonder how fast I was going, so I decided to clock myself. I guessed the pace was 6:05-6:10. Pleasant surprise - it was 5:45. That is a very good sign.

Then George and Eric did the tempo run over the Slate Canyon Loop (2.11 miles). George hit a good time of 15:23 with the last mile of 6:54. The last mile was about what I expected, however, the overall time was a bit slower - I was expecting a sub-15:00. He was probably tired from his run the day before.

Total length of the morning run was 10 miles as usual.

Later in the afternoon, I took Julia out for a mile in a baby jogger, then Benjamin and Jennifer for their run a bit later, and added another 0.5 miles of "always on the run" in the evening to hit 13 mile total for the day.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
9.000.006.000.0015.00

Slept in this morning. Since I had to be at the Provo Temple by 8:00, cut my morning jog to 0.5 miles. In the afternoon ran with Steve in the Provo Canyon. 2x3 miles downhill. We had a very strong headwind. However, taking turns leading every 1 minute made things a bit easier. Again, the start at the Nunns Park, and the finish by the power plant at the mouth of the Provo Canyon. On the first repetion, the first mile was a bit aggressive - 5:12. Then we relaxed a bit, and the headwind began to punish us. Additionally, Steve was out of gas from his crazy mileage. We even hit one 200 in 44 - 5:52 pace. The second mile ended up 5:23. We closed with a 5:21 to finish in 15:56. On the second repetition, we had a more conservative start - 5:22. Then we sped up a bit on the second mile - 5:16. The wind let up a bit on the last 0.5, so I was able to close with 5:13 to finish in 15:52. Steve fell back a bit and finished in 15:54. With the cooldown the total length of the run was 12 miles. I ran with Benjamin and Jennifer, and added another "always on the run" mile to end up with 15 miles for the day.

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Comments(2)
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
13.000.001.000.0014.00

Easy run today. Got up in the morning and it was snowing. Just had a dream about winning some small 10 K. For a prize they were going to give me some fairly large contraption of no practical use created for a special project by the local high school students. I felt bad I had to tell them I could not take it. With only 1060 square feet in my house, 4 children, and one more on the way, there was simply not enough room.

My wife Sarah tells me my dreams are boring - too close to reality. As a case in point, a few nights ago I dreamt about Hobie Call winning the Hobblecreek Half-Marathon with the time of 1:03:22. He was disappointed afterwards because he was shooting for 1:02. Well, Hobbie indeed could have run that time - he ran 1:05 in that race in 1999, and a high 1:07 in the Great Salt Lake Half-Marathon in 2002, which my predictor converts to 1:02 in Hobblecreek. And he is the type of guy that sets high goals and tends to be disappointed when he does not get them.

I also had a dream before the St. George marathon in 2003 that the race had already happened Trevor Pettingill won it with the time of 2:20:04. In reality, Trevor ended up winning with the time of 2:20:35.

Dreams forgotten and after a short scripture study I went with George and Eric on the Slate Canyon Loop. We did 4x400 at around 1:20-1:25 pace in the middle. Then dropped Eric off and finished the 10 miles with George. Maybe one day George and I will convert Eric to the blog religion. Right now he is doing it the non-tech way - Runners World book.

Did my "always on the run" miles in the afternoon, as well as separate runs with Benjamin and Jennifer to hit the total of 14 miles for the day.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Comments(3)
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
13.500.000.500.0014.00

Another easy run today. Did most of the mileage in the morning. Ran with George and Eric. Eric decided to run Ogden. He will need to up his mileage to get ready. I keep telling him he needs to run instead of reading the Runners World. Lately George and I also been telling him to get started on the Fast Running Blog so it would haunt him really good like to haunts Steve. He was almost persuaded this morning. Sound almost like Acts 26:28: almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian... Ran 0.5 in 2:40 catching up after my regular pitstop. It was cold. Legs felt strong, but could feel the aerobic turbo engine complaining about the temperature. It finally got going somewhat. Did some very mild and short accelerations to keep the legs from falling asleep. Also, after we dropped Eric off, George felt good and accelerated to 8:00 pace on his own initiative. In the afternoon, and at night, did my "always on the run" miles with a stroller and Joseph, and then Julia in it. Also ran with Benjamin and Jennifer. Felt very strong. The knees felt like they were going higher than they normally do, and the ground felt more like hard rubber than soft cotton. This is a good sign. However, I put more emphasis on what happens in races,tempo runs, and interval workouts in that order. Tomorrow is a tempo run.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Comments(1)
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
7.008.004.000.0019.00

Started the morning with a 1 mile jog. Then went to Benjamin and Jennifer's swimming lesson. Afterwards drove to the Provo Canyon to do my long tempo run. I decided to do something slightly different today to have more downhill miles. 4 miles from Nunns park down to the Riverwoods shopping center on the trail, then back up, and back down to make 12 miles. The trail is very well marked - a mark every 1/16th of a mile, which is roughly 100 meters. I have verified with my wheel that the marks are correct. This makes it a great place for tempo runs as you can monitor a lot of things. 2 mile warm-up to the Nunns Park. It was unpleasantly cold, and somewhat windy, although quite bearable. Nevertheless, much less than ideal for a hard tempo, especially given the tendency of my form to dramatically deteriorate when quads cramp up. 1:30 for the first quarter. No wonder it felt so easy. Time to wake up. 5:43 for the first mile, then 5:40, 5:38, 5:37. 22:38 for 4 miles. Turnaround. Now I am going uphill. The wind keeps changing, there seems to be an equal balance of head and tail. That makes things slower, at least for me. The quads tense up working into the wind, and then it takes them a while to relax. You do lose quite a bit on those 180 turns. At least I do. 47 seconds for the first 200 after the turn. Then solid 45s on the following ones. 5:59 for the mile. Next mile 5:57, then 5:54. Not bad at all for the uphill. However, the next mile is slow - 6:10. That one tends to be a slower mile going up - the grade gets steeper, and the winds get stronger. Nevertheless, 24:00 for the 4 uphill miles, 6:00 average, and 46:38 for 8 miles. Another turnaround. Now I am shifting into a threshold pace. My mind is fighting it as usual. It is cold and windy. I do not want to do it. Finally the turbo engine starts to kick in. 5:32 for the first mile. Next one in 5:26. I pass joggers and walkers on the trail. There are not many, possibly due to cold weather, but enough to cause problems sometimes. I see two ladies walking. They are just about to enter a narrow section of the trail. This is going to be a mess. I just got into a good rhythm. I do not want to slow down, dodge, then speeed back up. Even thinking about it makes my brain hurt. I yell :Watch out, passing to give them enough warning to figure out what is going on. They hear me and step aside. I feel very thankful. Now my body starts telling me that this pace under those conditions is a little too fast for the marathon. That is actually a good sign. My body dares to think it could run a marathon that fast. It is thinking about a marathon. It was thinking about running a 10 K when I picked the pace up at the end of a tempo 10 miler last week. And because it is thinking about running a marathon, it does not want to start breaking 5:20s. Maybe it has something to do with the alternating winds and the cold temperature. 5:29 for the next mile. Now one more mile to go. I try hard to shift gears to sub 5:20, and my body really does not want to do it. Finally, with half a mile to go, I get a bit of a tailwind, and the air seems a bit warmer now that I am out of the canyon. I do two quarters in 1:19 and 1:17 to hit 5:21 on the last mile and 1:08:26 for the total. 2 miles back to the car for a cooldown. Now this is starting to feel like a long run - I feel the fuel gauge leaning towards low. Done, and enjoying the warmth of the car. Went for a run with Benjamin and Jennifer. Benjamin tried to drop her on the last 200 meters, but could not. She ended up running a PR for 200 (51), and 100 (24). Additionally, jogged a bit more in the evening which brought the total mileage for the day to 19.

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Comments(4)
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
9.540.006.460.0016.00

Started the morning with a 1 mile jog. Later in the afternoon went with Sarah, the kids, and Steve Ashbaker to the South Fork of the Provo Canyon. The kids went sledding. Steve and I did the tempo run. 2.5 mile warmup, and then 3.23 miles from the start of Provo River Half-Marathon to the magic guard rail start in Vivian Park. That road gets ploughed very well, even during the heaviest snow storms. I am revealing the best kept tempo run during winter secret of the Utah County. Steve and I took turns leading a minute at a time. Steve is a great training partner. He always brings a doze of adrenaline to the workouts that I normally lack and is generous about sharing it with me. This keeps the pace fast. We got some nasty headwind and snow on the first repetion. Steve was very aggressive. At one point, he passed me to take his turn with such a zeal that he opened up a gap. I considered for a few seconds letting him go, but then realized he did not know where the finish was. So I shifted gears, and caught up to him. We ended up hitting the first one in 16:28. Steve was disappointed. All this effort for a 5:30 pace on a downhill course? I told him I normally do my tempo runs in those conditions in about 17:40, and it is not easy. He looked even more puzzled. He did not realize it was 3.23 miles, not 3, and the pace was actually about 5:07. There was another thing he did not realize - we were doing another repetition. We jogged back up, and agreed to go a little slower on the second one. This time, there was less headwind, and the sun came out. The pace felt very nice, very relaxed. We ran it in 16:51, an average of about 5:14. Not bad at all. Sarah picked us up at the Vivian park. 12.5 miles for the whole run. Ran with Benjamin and Jennifer in the evening, and did a little bit more of "always on the run" jogging to hit a total of 16 miles for the day. For some reason felt extra thirsty during lunch and dinner, and experienced a very pleasant feeling of freshness, fitness, and strength in the body. I think it is a good sign.

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Comments(4)
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
12.900.600.000.0013.50

Easy run with George and Eric in the morning. We did their fartlek - two sessions of 20 seconds fast 20 seconds slow 10 times. The idea is to shut down the slacking mechanisms by rebooting the body every 20 seconds and really push the cardiac output to the top. It seems like the workout accomplished its purpose - George and Eric were breathing pretty hard. However, after some jogging and dropping Eric off George was not done. He volunteered 1:43 quarter on a downhill, and then sustained about 7:30 pace once it flattened out. I challenged him to break 7:00 for the mile. He sped up to a 1:33 quarter and got 7:02. Afterwards, he wanted to do a couple of sprints. He is getting into a pretty good shape. We will find out how good on Thursday when we do the Slate Canyon Loop tempo time trial. I did a forced tempo pickup for my regular pitstop and clocked a 0.5 split of 2:51. The pace felt good, I enjoyed it. Did some always on the run miles during the day, and a run with Benjamin and Jennifer to total 13.5. I slightly injured my right foot on Friday. Fortunately, the pain is right in the middle on the very outside. My right leg is longer than my left, so I have to do some advanced acrobatics to compensate landing on the outside at an angle, and the aggressively rotating the foot inward to get the maximum power during the push. On Friday, my legs had a little bit more power than usual, the leg muscles fired quick and hard while the foot was still in the outward position and that caught it off guard, I suppose, and cause a minor sprain. I have been able to run at fast speeds, but it does hurt enough to annoy me and to affect the stride. So far I have tried ice with a small measure of success and B F & C with a greater. A doze of BF & C on the sore spot soothed the pain to about 50% of the original intensity and increased the range of painless motion by about 30%. I am going to try some more of that stuff. It would be nice if the pain went away before the Moab half, but I am not too worried - I can still race with it.

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Comments(3)
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
9.750.000.003.2513.00

Started the morning with a 1 mile jog before going to the temple. The foot was still hurting. I wondered if I should really do my scheduled 12x400. In the afternoon went to the Provo Canyon anyway. During the warmup, I figured out a way to plant my foot to minimize the pain. I decided to go ahead with the workout. Strong headwind, although I've seen it stronger. Again 12x400 downhill with 200 recovery. First one in 69.3. Others in the same range. A couple around 70.5 when the wind got stronger. After a few repetions the foot started feeling better. Always a prayer before each repetition and one after. This is the type of workout that makes me remember Alma 34:18-27 very vividly. Before the last repetition I notice that I need to run in 66.6 to hit the average of 69. Brigham Young once said that you should pray as if everything depended upon the Lord, but then work as if everything depended on you. I followed his formula. The head wind eased off a bit, I ran relaxed on the first 200, and gave it all afterwards to hit 66.5 for the split, and the desired 69.0 for the average. After the cool down I expected the pain in the foot to increase after the wear off of the endorphines, but it kept feeling better. Go figure. BF & C magic kicking in? The pumping of the blood cleared something up in the affected area? Maybe it is just time for it to start healing? I guess we learn from this that the next time you have an injury, 12x400 downhill is an effective treatment. In the evening ran with Benjamin and Jennifer, and a little bit more on my own to make the total 13 miles for the day.

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Comments(3)
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
9.550.500.200.0010.25

Starting the taper for Moab half today. The race is in two days. Ran easy 4.25 with George and Eric in the morning. George set a PR on his tempo run around the Slate Canyon Loop (2.11 miles) - 15:13. As usual, I had to make a pitstop, and ran a little tempo effort to open up a distance - clocked 0.5 in 2:50, felt a little sleepy.

In the afternoon Benjamin wanted to run to the BYU Bookstore and back. Jennifer and Julia also wanted to come. So we took the stroller. Jennifer ran the first half-mile, Julia rode most of the way, Benjamin ran all the way at about 9:00 pace on flat sections and a little slower on the hills, and made me work. Julia weighs 33 pounds, Jennifer 41 pounds, our double stroller has a flat tire that I cannot get around to fixing, and you can really feel the hills with this kind of load. About 2.25 out, and the same distance back to give us the total of 4.5.

Ran another 0.5 in the evening to make the total of 10.25 for the day. The foot is feeling better as the pain is gradually leaving.

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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
5.250.001.000.006.25

Taper before Moab half. Ran two Slate Canyon Loops. Did a pitstop acceleration, and a scheduled timed one (0.5) in 2:39. In the afternoon ran with Benjamin and Jennifer. Ran one easy mile in Moab. The foot is almost healed.

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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
6.900.0013.100.0020.00

Moab Half-Marathon. 1:15:58, 6th place. Mike Nielson won in 1:11:55, Joe Wilson second in 1:12:23. Then Ken Pliska 1:14:13, Mike Kirk 1:14:36, and Ewen North 1:15:03. I barely held off Neal Gassmann at the end - he finished with 1:16:03. The times were very slow, probably by anywhere between 2 and 4 minutes depending on your drafting opportunities due to extreme headwind for pretty much the entire duration of the race.

The race started with a pack consisting of Joe, Ken, Mike Nielson, Mike Kirk, and myself hitting the first two miles in 5:27 and 5:21. At that point I felt my quads started cramping up a bit, I needed to back off. I had two choices to make - either try to go at faster pace with the pack and crash later, or be left in no-mans land. Unfortunately, at that point I did not realize how strong the headwind really was. Joe did, however. He tried to break away from the pack, but after five seconds changed his mind.

So faced with the decision, chose a more conservative pace. Perhaps this was a mistake. Mike Kirk and Ken Pliska hitched a ride with Mike Nielsen and Joe to about mile 4, and then backed off. Being left alone, I could not break 5:45 for another 6 miles. Then Ewen passed me. He was going strong. I decided to hitch a ride, and got behind him. The wind weakened a bit, and we hit a 5:33, and then a 5:34. 10 miles in 56:44. If we do a decent 5 K, this could be a low 1:14. Not that great, but decent for the conditions. Ewen put on a surge at around 10.5 and dropped me, or maybe he just kept going, and I could not hold the pace. I did not really try that hard to stick with him thinking we were coming out of the canyon, and once we got into town there will be no wind. Oh, was I wrong!

As we neared the end of Hwy 128, the wind intensified. The next mile was 5:58. I thought it could not get any worse than that. I was wrong again. We turned on Hwy 191, and the dust started flying in my eyes. The next mile was 6:45, and the competion ahead of me did not seem to be getting away very much if at all. Finally, the peak of the torment ended as we turned on 500 West, where we experienced a regular headwind. A lesson on learning to be thankful. I was really happy to have it, and be able to run somewhat normally again. Left turn on 400 North, and headed to the finish. As I turned, I saw Neal Gassmann out of the corner of my eye. This is trouble, as if I had not had my fair share already. Neal in his young days ran a 14:08 5 K. He slowed down to 15:26 since then, but he still has the 14:08 kick. What do I do? Well, he has his kick, but he is tired, and he is far enough behind that if I start mine early he might hesitate for long enough for me to escape. It worked. Last mile in 5:48.

After the race, almost everybody I talked to was depressed because of their slow times. However, there was no reason. Everybody ran about what I expected them to with the adjustment for the wind, except for Mike Nieslon and Joe. They beat the curve, possibly because they traded off leads most of the way.

With the warm-up, cooldown, kids run, and always on the run miles, ended the day with 20 miles total.

Running a 1:12:30 or so equivalent of a still air Moab course is all nice and good, but I need to do something different to move to a new level. The lab measurements of VO2 Max in 2004, as well as my intuition tell me the problem is severe lack of economy. I have been thinking about ways to improve it that are fundamentally different from what I have already tried. What I am after is a high power output while keeping the leg, especially the quad, muscles relaxed the maximum possible chunk of the stride cycle. I can relaxed them at low power, which is why I run well downhill with no headwind. Running downhill teaches relaxation, which is why my uphill running improves when I run downhill. Dumb uphill running makes me tense up, and I run worse in all directions.

But downhill running is only a preparatory step. I need to have extensive practice running uphill relaxed for long periods of time. Here is one idea - run uphill for as long as a certain normally uncomfortable pace is sustained without tension. As soon as the tension comes, stop, jog to recover, then do a stride downhill to re-learn relaxation. Then try again.

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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
7.000.008.000.0015.00

Started the morning with a 1 mile jog. Did another 1 mile jog in the afternoon. Then drove to the Provo Canyon.

Today I decided to try a new type of workout. I was actually not quite sure what I was going to do exactly, but I had a vision. Run fast for as long as I could do it maintaining a relaxed form. Stop as soon as the muscles start tensing up, "reboot" by doing a stride downhill, then continue.

I started with 15x100 strides at between 5:00-5:30 pace depending on whether I was going uphill or down, and which way the wind was blowing. This took me to the start of my rebootable tempo run at the mouth of the Provo Canyon.

I started going uphill closely watching the splits and the tension in the quads. At first I thought I would only be able to make it to the mile mark. 1 mile in 5:25. I decided to go another quarter. Still feeling relaxed and maintaining good pace for the uphill (1:24). Decided to do another quarter. At the end I started feeling it was time for a reboot. 1.5 uphill in 8:12 - not bad. A short reboot, and I am going up again. Did a mile in 5:31, and right at the end of it felt the need to reboot again.

Then turned around and started running downhill. Was able to feel relaxed for the entire length of the stretch - 2.5 miles in 13:17. This gave me 27:00 for 5 miles, 2.5 up, 2.5 down with two reboots. My goal is to reduce the number of reboots to 0 eventually, and still be able to run this in 27 minutes or faster.

Afterwards I started doing 100 meter strides at sub 5:20 pace with 100 meters of jogging in between. It was addictive. It felt not that much harder than just jogging, but the pleasure of the speed was so great that it removed the tedium out of the cooldown. I did 31 strides, 21 uphill, 10 downhill, to give me the total of 48 strides including the two "reboot" ones (3 miles).

This is a great workout. I ended up running 8 miles out of 11.5 at 5:20 average, and it did not hurt very much at all. The remaining 3.5 were probably 10:00 average physically, but a good portion of them was still 5:20 mentally - once you are done with a stride, the mind is still doing it while you jog.

Did Benjamin's run, and added a bit more jogging to make the total 15 miles for the day.

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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
12.001.000.000.0013.00

Ran with Eric and George in the morning. Did an acceleration (0.5 in 2:53). Then we ran their fartlek, jogged a bit, and ran a quarter in 1:25. Afterwards, George did a mile in 6:38 - a new PR. Total length of the morning run was 10 miles.

In the afternoon, did my always on the run miles, and ran with Benjamin. Total mileage for the day was 13 miles.

Benjamin learned to ride a bike today. I just realized that I have the privilege to be a father of somebody who ran a 25:07 5 K before he learned to ride a bike. I also have had the honor of spoon-feeding a sub-8:00 miler. One day after Benjamin ran a 7:58 mile, we were running late for church and Benjamin was taking a while eating his breakfast. To speed things up I decided to help him.

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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
10.550.001.203.2515.00

Started the morning with a 1 mile jog. Then went to the temple. Came back, went to the Provo Canyon to do 12x400 down with 200 meter jog in between . Warmed up to the Canyon Glen Park, did 4x100 strides. Then started the workout running down. There was a headwind, although slightly weaker, it seemed than last week. Ran all of the repetitions very steady. Until the last one, the fastest was 68.2, the slowest 70.3 on the one that is usually the slowest - it is the only one that has a signficant uphill section ( about 130 meters), and I caught some headwind on it today for a bonus. On the last one, I decided to try the Brigham Young method again - pray as if everything depended on the Lord, then run as if everything depended on you. Everything went fine, I coasted through the first 200 in about 34.7, then shifted gears, and was amazed at the response. No siginficant anaerobic kick-back resistance. It felt like a true sprint, no fighting the lactic bear on the back. There was only one problem - my finish mark was covered with dirt and I sprinted past it. Then the lactic bear made himself known and I realized my mistake. According to my estimates, it was about 67, maybe a little under. This gives me about 68.7 average for the workout. Throughout the workout, I tried to relax the quad and engage the hamstring as much as possible, and maintain a wide relaxed stride. This had the result of relaxed running at lower speeds, being able to finish an interval not as tired as usual at the same speed. However, running harder would tense me up. Next time I should try 10x500. It felt like I could sustain the same speed a bit longer with this new relaxation technique. Afterwards, did 100 meter strides at a tempo pace. Finally, got tired of starting and stopping, and just ran a 600 in 1:55 downhill. Then ran with Benjamin and Jennifer, and went with Benjamin as he rode his bike for 2 miles. Jogged a bit more in the evening to make the total of 15 miles for the day. Benjamin has set up his Fast Running Blog. He has been keeping one for a while, but made it public tonight.

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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
11.501.000.500.0013.00

Easy run with Eric and George in the morning. Did a tempo mile in 5:43. Then we did Eric and George's tempo run - Slate Canyon Loop (2.11) in 15:05. This is George's new records. After we dropped Eric off, George and I did some more accelerations. Total length of the run 10 miles.

During the day did always on the run, ran with Benjamin and Jennifer, and took Joseph for a short jog in the stroller. Total mileage for the day 13 miles.

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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
12.700.000.100.2013.00

Easy run with George in the morning. Did some strides. Did a couple of light ones, then 17.3 with George. Then he asked me what I could do it all out. I predicted with this type of warm-up and in training shoes it would be 15.5 on the first try. Did 15.4 and then 15.2.

Then George volunteered an 8:00 pace. I encouraged him to keep it for three loops (6.33 miles). He did it, although he had to work.

Did some always on the run miles, and ran with Benjamin and Jennifer. Total mileage for the day was 13.

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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
4.9013.100.000.0018.00

Started the morning with a 1 mile jog. Then went to the Provo Canyon around 11 am to do my marathon pace tempo run. I always wonder what I would have run for a half-marathon when I do 12, so to stop wondering I just decided to extend it to a half-marathon. Started at a magic mark before Canyon Glen Park. The trail has a mark every 1/16. This does not allow you to get a half-marathon, so I had to guess, but I figured I would not be off by more than 15 meters. Started the run uphill, to Nunns Park, then down to Riverwoods, back up, and back down finishing at Riverwoods. Weird feeling - sleepy and completely unmotivated. Hit a 6:05 mile going up, turned around, some headwind. Eventually worked my way up to 5:42 pace. Then turned around again. With some tail wind was able to sustain a slightly sub-6:00 pace going up, then turned around, and started going down into a headwind. Legs feel fine, the pace feels easy, but something is not right. When I try to pick it up, I quickly lose consentration and catch myself running 5:50. It went on like that all the way to the end to give me 1:16:43 for the 13.1. With a cooldown, I was at 16 miles. Came home, and felt very strange. Thought maybe I was dehydrated. Drank a quart of water. The stomach feels bloated, but I am not feeling any better even after a shower and a nap. Solid foods do not excite me at all - Sarah made me some lunch, and I have absolutely no desire to eat it. No motivation to do anything. Putting on my shoes seems like way too much work. Finally I remembered the word electrolytes. Drank some water mixed with sea salt, and ate some pickles. Then drank some pickle juice remembering the Russian alcoholics - in Russia pickle juice is probably the most popular cure for a morning hangover. It tasted very good, and my motivation and appetite returned. This gives me some food for thought. In the Top of Utah marathon of 2004 almost everybody I talked to or observed, including myself, severely underperformed. Although I did win the race, it was because there was nobody close enough to pass me at the end. I slowed down to 7:10 pace, and was shivering at mile 25. It was warm, but not enough to explain why everybody crashed. It was windy, but not terribly windy. The feelings I had in that race are somewhat similar to what I experienced today. I remember starting out, and not wanting to push the pace at all. When Demetrio Cabanillas Jr took off, I had no motivation to chase him. I've had similar feelings on warm windy days. Do those conditions deplete your sodium levels? Is there any research on that? Did another mile with Benjamin and Jennifer to hit the total of 18 miles for the day.

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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
6.800.008.200.0015.00

Decided it was warm enough to start doing my hard runs in the morning. Maybe not too cold, but quite windy this morning in the Provo Canyon.

Started with 17 tempo pace 100 meter strides, which eventually took me to the mouth of the canyon. The wind was blowing out of the canyon, as it usually does in the early morning.

I wanted to do my "reboot" tempo. However, my plans soon changed as I hit ferocious headwind. First quarter was ok - 1:27, although I did have to work a lot harder than normal. 1:30, then 1:29. Ok, forget the reboots. The pace is too slow, the form is different, the run is totally different. Just try to hit the first 2.5 in 15:00 (6:00 average), and then see what I can do on the way back coming down. Next quarter - 1:34. Ok, we are playing a different type of game, even more different than I thought. Can it get any worse. Yes - next quarter 1:38. It sure can't be any worse than that. Yes, it can - 1:44 on the next quarter. Then the wind eased off a bit, and I was able to speed up to 1:35. However, right before the turnaround the wind was so fierce that it took me 28 seconds to run the last 100 meters. Half-way in 15:59.

Turn around, and try to shift gears. This going to be hard. 5:16 mile. Not bad at all. Another half in 2:39. Tried to shift gears on the last mile to break 29:00. Did not quite make it, but still closed in 5:07 with the last quarter in 73 for the total of 29:01.

A little bit of jogging, then a mix of 100 meter tempo pace strides alternating with a special running drill - the knee goes up on one leg while the other pushes off trying to cover the maximum distance. This took me back almost to Canyon Glen Park. Turned around, did a couple of strides, then decided to join them in one tempo mile. Ran the mile downhill with a tailwind in 5:06. 11 miles for the workout.

During the day did a run with Benjamin and Jennifer, and fit some always on the run miles in between numerous errands and trips to hit 15 mile total for the day.

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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
13.600.000.400.0014.00

Easy run with George and Eric in the morning. They did a fartlek - 20 seconds fast, 20 seconds slow. I did my hip extension form drills.

After two loops, I took the measuring wheel and went to measure the 4th of July Feedom Festival 5 K course. Last year the 5 K was long, while the 10 K was short. I wrote an e-mail to the race directors offering my wheel. Now they want to get the course USATF-certified. The certification needs to be done with the Jones counter, so this measurement was just to make sure the course would certify with possibly minor modifications. I ended up running 11 miles in the morning total.

In the afternoon, ran with Benjamin and Jennifer, and did some always on the run miles to hit 14 total for the day.

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6.652.750.253.3513.00

Started the morning with a 1 mile jog. Then went to the temple.

In the temple talked with a fellow temple worker. He is 61 years old. Turned out that back in his young years he was a very good sprinter - 21.0 200. I told him that my best 100 m was 13.9. His response was probably similar to what I would have said if somebody had told me his marathon PR was 3:45 - this can be fixed. His suggestion was to use ankle weights to teach the hamstrings to contract when they ought to. My body says this is worth a try.

In the afternoon drove to the Provo Canyon to do my speed workout. A warm-up to the Canyon Glen Park. 4 100 meter strides. Feeling good, just not speedy. Hamstrings are refusing to engage at first - maybe tired from my form drills in the last two days.

Started my 10x500 with 200 recovery jog. Headwind. 500 is not as weird of an interval as it sounds. Two of them make 1000. 10 make a 5 K. Hitting 1:29s. On a couple, the headwind got strong enough to slow me down to 1:30. Then it weakened, and my nervous system seemed to have gotten a bit snappier. Started seeing 1:28s. Last one in 1:27 without a strong kick to get the 14:48.5 for the 5 K. I wish I could run it like that without having to take 9 200 meter jogging breaks. But as I like to say, do not just wish you could do something or be something - do what it takes to get there instead.

Jogged half a mile, and started feeling very good. My jacket was 1.5 miles up the canyon over by the Canyon Glen Park. It is uphill, but there was a good tailwind. As they say in Russian, it would have been a sin to miss the opportunity for a marathon pace tempo run. 1.5 miles in 8:41. Was only trying to do 6:00-6:05 pace but ended up with 5:48. This could be a bad sign - strong headwind on the way back.

Got the jacked, and continued the tempo run on the way back. My suspicions about the headwind were correct, although it was not as bad as I thought it could have become. 2:51 for the first 0.5 going down. Then something happened. I started thinking about snappy hamstrings, and it seemed like they started snapping better. The wind either weakened, or I was dealing with it better with the snappy hamstrings. The same effort gave me a 1:24 quarter, then three 1:22s in a row. Then I saw that if I ran a 1:20 it would give me 5:40 average for the 3 tempo miles. I ended up with 1:18 to hit 8:17 for the downhill section of the tempo.

Later in the day ran with Benjamin and Jennifer, and added another always on the run mile to make the total 13 miles for the day.

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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
12.500.500.000.0013.00

Easy run with George and Eric this morning. We did their tempo loop (2.11) in 14:49. This is a new record for George by 16 seconds. And he nearly set a PR on the last mile - 6:39.

In the afternoon ran with Benjamin and Jennifer, and did an easy 1.5 mile at night.

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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
4.251.000.000.005.25

Mini-taper for the Moab Marathon tomorrow. Easy run with George and Eric in the morning. Did one tempo mile in 5:43. Ran with Benjamin and Jenny in the afternoon.

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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
259.7437.2556.2116.55369.75
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