Breaking the Wall

Law Day 5 K

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Orem,UT,United States

Member Since:

Jan 27, 1986



Goal Type:

Olympic Trials Qualifier

Running Accomplishments:

Best marathon: 2:23:57 (2007, St. George). Won the Top of Utah Marathon twice (2003,2004). Won the USATF LDR circuit in Utah in 2006.

Draper Days 5 K 15:37 (2004)

Did not know this until June 2012, but it turned out that I've been running with spina bifida occulta in L-4 vertebra my entire life, which explains the odd looking form, struggles with the top end speed, and the poor running economy (cannot break 16:00 in 5 K without pushing the VO2 max past 75).  


Short-Term Running Goals:

Qualify for the US Olympic Trials. With the standard of 2:19 on courses with the elevation drop not exceeding 450 feet this is impossible unless I find an uncanny way to compensate for the L-4 defect with my muscles. But I believe in miracles.

Long-Term Running Goals:

2:08 in the marathon. Become a world-class marathoner. This is impossible unless I find a way to fill the hole in L-4 and make it act healthy either by growing the bone or by inserting something artificial that is as good as the bone without breaking anything important around it. Science does not know how to do that yet, so it will take a miracle. But I believe in miracles.


I was born in 1973. Grew up in Moscow, Russia. Started running in 1984 and so far have never missed more than 3 consecutive days. Joined the LDS Church in 1992, and came to Provo, Utah in 1993 to attend BYU. Served an LDS mission from 1994-96 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Got married soon after I got back. My wife Sarah and I are parents of eleven children: Benjamin, Jenny, Julia, Joseph, Jacob, William, Stephen, Matthew,  Mary,  Bella.  and Leigha. We home school our children.

I am a software engineer/computer programmer/hacker whatever you want to call it, and I am currently working for RedX. Aside from the Fast Running Blog, I have another project to create a device that is a good friend for a fast runner. I called it Fast Running Friend.

Favorite Quote:

...if we are to have faith like Enoch and Elijah we must believe what they believed, know what they knew, and live as they lived.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie


Favorite Blogs:

Miles:This week: 0.00 Month: 16.00 Year: 2314.91
Saucony Type A Lifetime Miles: 627.15
Bare Feet Lifetime Miles: 446.12
Nike Double Stroller Lifetime Miles: 124.59
Neon Crocs 3 Lifetime Miles: 1185.83
Race: Law Day 5 K (3.107 Miles) 00:17:23, Place overall: 7
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran the Law Day 5 K, 17:23.6 officially, 7th place. 17:21 on my watch. Everybody had about a 2 second difference between the watch and the official time, so I assume the time was started a little early. Not surprising because nobody could hear the "Go" command and we just assumed that it happened and started running.

The course is a beast, first half uphill, second half downhill back to the start, but with a whole lot of sharp turns. To make things worse, it rained almost like in the days of Noah, not a good day to race on the hills, either up or down, and especially to try to turn at high speeds.

Three years ago this was still a race easily winnable in 17:42 with the second place not in sight. But the times have changed, and I think they have changed for the better. Some law firms are really interested in winning this race as a team, and every year things have been getting progressively competitive. So this year Chad recruited Jeff and I to run for his team to help him keep his job. I said earlier on the forum that the reason the Kenyans beat Americans is this. A Kenyan boy is doomed to poverty if he does not get serious about his running. An American boy is doomed to poverty if he does. I would say if at least ten law firms in every city the size of Salt Lake viewed competitive racing seriously enough to put together a team to represent them in a competition, I would take back the second half of my original statement, and the Kenyans would not be beating us anymore. So far there have been only two, and only in Salt Lake, but let's reward them with a link to boost their Google rankings:  Manning Curtis Bradshaw & Bednar and Olson Shaner.

So the teams were:

Manning Curtis Bradshaw & Bednar : Jeff McClellan, Josh Steffen, me, Emily Bates (winner of Moab Half in 1:22, 17:22 5 K at sea level), and Aimee Larkin (2:46 St. George marathoner).

Olson Shaner : Teren Jameson,  Thatcher Olsen, lost sheep Neal Ferrin, Sue Nielsen (she almost chicked me in Draper Days 2003 running 16:20 vs mine 16:06), and Emily Jameson.

I did not feel the greatest going into the race, and ran accordingly. Nevertheless, our bacon was saved with great performances by Jeff, Josh, and our Emily, and a couple of relative underperformances by Olson Shaner. We ended up winning cumulatively by 3 seconds. One nice thing about a team race is that when you have a bummer your teammates can pick up the slack.

I got dropped by everybody pretty much from the gun and ran in fear of being chicked hoping not to let the team down too much. First mile was uphill, and I ran it in 5:43. I still could see Jeff trying to hang on to Teren, and wondering if today may be the day he would beat him. This would be a stretch, though, as Jeff had only two weeks from his marathon, and he does not recover that fast yet.

At the start of the second mile I saw  Teren gap Jeff, but Jeff was still fighting. I wished I was not having as much of a bummer so I could be a little bit closer to watch. I like the story of Elijah and Elisha in the Old Testament in 2 Kings :

And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.

And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so.

The way I apply this to running. Once you begin to see a faster runner finish that you could not see before, you are making progress. That is the first step to receiving his power, and maybe even a double portion of it.

2 K split was 7:28. Ouch. Talk about running slow up that hill. Trying to stay positive and reel in Andrew Hansen. Maybe Thatcher and Neal after that. Timed the gaps at the turn shortly before 3 K - 9:43 for Thatcher and Neal, 9:49 for Andrew, 9:59 for me. Telling myself to use Andrew as a magnet to get the fastest possible time.

3 K in 10:58, 2 miles in 11:36. One of those would have had to be off, there was a turn in between those marks, and not a whole lot of downhill.

4 K in 14:06. Downhill. Starting to feel better. Thinking the race is not going as much down to pot as I originally imagined after that first mile.

3 miles in 16:47. Trying to stay in touch with Andrew, but just too wet, and too many turns.

Finish: Teren 15:53, Jeff 16:09, Josh 16:32, Thatcher 16:50, Neal 17:06, Andrew 17:08. Full results at Milliseconds Website.

Afterwards ran a cool-down with Jeff, and then went to Benjamin's chess tournament right there at the University of Utah, very convenient. Because I was going to be out of the home for a long time I did not want to run full 20 miles. So I ended up with 10.5 miles for this run.

I found out that kid chess in Utah is a whole lot more competitive than running. In the state cross country championship they had only about 25-30 runners in the entire Bantum division. In chess they had 70 players in just the 4th grade. Most of them rated, which means they had played in tournaments before. Benjamin was one of the few non-rated players. He played very well winning 3 games, drawing once,and losing twice. I was impressed that over several hours of playing he never lost a piece in a blunder. Both times he lost the opponent had to earn it winning on pawns at the end.  The ethnic diversity was also interesting. A whole lot of Oriental kids, also a lot of Latinos. Both times he lost he played Orientals. He ended up taking 20th place out 70 players. For a comparison, in Cross Country he took 6th racing kids a year older and taking a wrong turn.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 16:58. Jenny and Julia ran their usual distances with Sarah.

Saucony Type A Miles: 10.50
Night Sleep Time: 7.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.50
From Andrew Hansen on Mon, May 04, 2009 at 19:24:36 from

What a great race between the two teams! Congrats on your 3 second win.

I agree that there needs to be more money in running, which is why I had my firm (Workman Nydegger) sponsor the prize money. Of course, I added a new category of "fastest lawyer" to give me something to run for. he he he. I had a feeling that the ringers would show up again this year.

The distribution of the prize money got kind of screwed up. I think for next year I'll ask "And Justic For All" to do M/F of $100, $75, and $25 for top three and $75 for fastest lawyer. Also, do you think I should demand that they start the race on time as a condition for donating the prize money? I'm also thinking of donating a start gun. =)

The prize money aside, the best thing that the Law Day run has going for it is the competitiveness that running on a team provides. I think other local 5k events would do well to have a competitive team event and a prize for winning. Many mistake running as less competitive than other sports. I think this misguided trend makes the sport less exciting for everyone, including those who really aren't competitive.

And finally, I don't know what it would take, but I wish we could change the course. I mapped out a 3.1 mile run using Google Earth that turns on the central campus drive instead of going all the way to the top. It has 180 feet of climbing instead of 230 and the downhill is more gradual. I'll have to run it to see if it is practical.


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