Breaking the Wall

May 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: 162.86 Year: 2872.42
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
232.4874.0522.6722.65351.85
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
7.905.000.000.1013.00

Ran in the Provo Canyon this morning. Warm-up a mile with a couple of strides, a mile with ankle weights, then jogged up to the Canyon Glen Park. Started 5 mile tempo run there, 2.5 down, then 2.5 back up. The goal was to go 5 miles at an aggressive marathon pace. Frequent running at race pace prior to the race helps me relax and feel confident when I am actually racing.

Moderate tailwind for the first 2.5 miles. 5:33 - 5:28. Then a half in 2:47 with 13:48 at the turnaround. Feeling very good. When the mind turns off, the pace is 1:24 per quarter. When it engages, it becomes 1:21-1:22. This probably means the true marathon pace is 1:25 per quarter (5:40 per mile) on that grade (1 %) and with this tailwind. Turned around, now moderate headwind instead of a moderate tailwind. Hard to shift gears after the 180 turnaround, and the wind is not helping at all. I hit a quarter in 1:33, then finally was able ease into a slightly sub-6:00 pace. Next half in 3:02 (5:49 mile), then 5:55, and the last mile in 5:53. Total time 28:38. Quads cramped up a bit on the climb towards the end. Cooled down back to the car. Total of 10.5 for the workout.

During the day, ran with Benjamin and Jennifer, and a little bit on my own. Total mileage 13 for the day. Taper time for Ogden.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Comments(1)
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
8.200.500.000.309.00

Jogged three Slate Canyon Loop laps with Eric in the morning. Accelerated at marathon race pace before the end of the second one, and put on the ankle weights for the third. Eric asked me how fast I could run a mile with the ankle weights. I like precise answers. So I accelerated for 200 meters at what felt to me like a mile race pace and timed it - got 41.7. So I figure 5:30 is possible. Maybe I should try the whole mile for fun some time after Ogden. I feel the ankle weights are adjusting and aligning my bones in a better way, and stretching out my ligaments, so I'll keep wearing them every day for a mile this week. Ran with Benjamin and Jennifer in the late morning. It was another record day. Hit the warm-up half in 4:45. Then Jennifer said: Daddy, the pace is too slow! and hit the next quarter in 1:56. She accelerated to 1:46 on the last one with the last 100 in 24. Benjamin decided to show class, and pull away by a second on the last 100. 8:27 for Jennifer's mile, and 3:42 for the last half! She was not done afterwards, and wanted to go on a cooldown with me and Benjamin. Benjamin wanted to time his 100 meter sprint. He did it in 19.1, a new record for him. That meant I had to do a 19.1 100 meters with a double stroller and Julia with Joseph in it. I actually fell behind a bit on the first half, but then caught up, and was able to coast. Later in the afternoon Benjamin wanted to do a 200 meter sprint. He was tired by then, but still managed a record - 44.8. So that gave me 200 meters at marathon pace in addition. In the evening jogged about a mile with Julia and Joseph in the stroller. Total of 9 miles for the day. Benjamin has made his first web program. It splits a given number into a product of prime numbers. He gets very excited when somebody comes to that page and tries it out. Feel free to do so, and leave a comment in his blog.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
4.401.600.000.006.00

4 miles in the morning with a mile with ankle weights, a 1 mile tempo in 5:38, then a jog, and a half-mile tempo in 2:48. This is my way to deal with pre-race anxiety - run a little bit at race pace, and this puts my mind at ease. Any kind of anxiety is bad during taper, especially when you are playing the short taper game. Adrenaline interferes with the storage of glycogen, so if you worry too much and sleep too little in the week before the race, you will not run a good marathon.

During the day did some light jogging with a 200 m stride at marathon pace, and ran with Benjamin and Jennifer.

Today was supposed to be an easy day for Jennifer, and a hard one for Benjamin. Benjamin went to the dentist earlier, and appeared to be a bit weak afterwards. So we decided he would run an easy half-mile with Jennifer, and jog a bit more afterwards if he felt good. However, after running a quarter in 2:29, he apparently found some extra energy and decided to run fast. Jennifer took off after him. So much for an easy run. He at first opened up a bit of a lead, but then Jennifer caught up and tried to pass him. In the process, she accidently pushed him, and he threw a fit and stopped. Jennifer kept going, and I was not going to stop and let Benjamin ruin his little sister's quarter record. So in about 10 seconds his fit was over, but it was too late - he could not catch Jennifer, who ran 1:43. Benjamin still finished the quarter in a decent time of 1:51, but for the first time in his life he technically lost to his little sister. Afterwards we had a talk, and he really did not want to end the day on that note. So we left Jennifer at home, and ran back to the quarter mark for him to try again with the goal to beat Jennifer's time. He ran much better once he learned his lesson that having a fit results in losing. This time it was 1:39.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Comments(10)
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
4.401.500.000.106.00

Easy run in the morning with Eric. Did some marathon tempo pickups, and ran a mile with ankle weights. Did a stride and hit 200 in 39.7.

In the afteroon ran with Benjamin and Jennifer to the park on Center street. Dropped them off there with Sarah, and ran back. Total of 6 miles for the day.

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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
4.401.500.000.106.00

Did an easy run in the morning with marathon tempo pick-ups. Hit a mile in 5:42, and then a half in 2:50. Did a mile with ankle weights with a 100 m stride in 21.

In the evening ran with Benjamin and Jennifer, and then drove with Eric to Ogden. We stayed with George's brother John overnight. Had a bit of an adventure finding his house, and attempted to break into somebody else's in the meantime with a similar address.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
6.3026.200.000.0032.50

Ogden marathon. 2:30:03, second place, course PR. I am very happy with this time, as well as the place. It seemed like the odds were against me, but I was able to beat them. Ogden marathon has an elevation drop of 900 feet, and on surface looks like a fast course. It is not as fast as it appears. The course record is only 2:29:01 set by Joe Wilson in 2005, and there is a good reason for it. The first 8 miles is a gentle drop, then rolling hills up to 18. The race starts at 5400 feet, but drops only to 4900 by mile 17. Then a short abrupt drop right before 18, that evens out. Another abrupt drop after 20 for the next 2 miles, more gradual in the next 2, and then essentially flat on the last 2. See Paul's course map for details. Of all the courses in Utah, I believe it is the most DNF-inviting. A runner thinks he is going to get an amazing time because of the elevation drop. Everything goes well for the first 5 miles, then he is a little off-pace in the next 3, and then he has 10 miles of absolute mile split horror to endure as he battles the rolling hills at about 5000 feet elevation. The subsequent downhill helps a bit, but there is not enough of it to make up time, and the legs are usually not fresh enough to really get some solid speed. At the start, in addition to myself we had the following contenders I expected to be in the lead pack: Joe Wilson, PR of 2:21 in Austin, last year's winner of Ogden and St. George, first American in Salt Lake and DesNews Marathons last year, and name a race in Utah that he has not run and won. Beat me in Moab half by three and a half minutes. Mike Kirk, PR of 2:23, winner of St. George in 2004. Beat me in Moab half by over a minute, and in the Salt Lake Track Club 15 K by 44 seconds. Nate Long, PR of 2:34, winner of Top of Utah last year, his first and only marathon. Not a fast PR, but he beat me in that race. Ran a 50:21 15 K on a less than ideal course this year. Steve Ashbaker, beat me twice last year setting a 1:07 half PR (Hobblecreek, fast course), while I set mine. This was probably equivalent to a 1:10 sea-level. He also beat me in the Top of Utah marathon last year setting his PR of 2:36. Granted I did not have a good race then, but still this is a psychological advantage. His recent workouts indicated that he was capable of running a 2:30 in Ogden. Mine predicted only 2:33 if I had a good race. However, his probability of having a bad race statistically is much higher than mine, but when he has a good one, better watch out. The gun went off, and the pack of five formed just like I expected. We were coasting on a gentle downhill at a relaxed 5:40 pace. At mile 3 Steve got a little antsy and opened up a lead. I gave him a verbal warning, but he did not listen. Pretty soon Mike Kirk made a mild effort to go after him. I saw an opportunity. Catch Steve, then trade leads with him, maybe Mike will join, and get away from Joe and Nate while they are goofing around. So I executed the plan. Steve and I have trained together and practiced 1 minute lead trade-off extensively. So as soon as I caught him, we started our maneuver. Mike caught us, and we invited him to participate. He agreed. So we worked like a clock. The pace picked to the 5:30 range, and felt good. We made our way to 8 miles where the downhill ended, and made a turn towards Eden. What a name for a place on a marathon course around the half-mark! At thirteen you are in Eden, and then around 20 you feel like you will meet Adam and Eve pretty soon. Joe and Nate caught up to us. I invited them to join in our lead trade off. Joe wanted to do a mile at a time, but it did not work, because we already had our structure going. At around 13 I remarked that we had a pack of 5 good runners but the money was only 3 deep. We hit the half in 1:13:42. Good pace. At 14 I took my turn to lead, but at the end of my minute nobody volunteered to take over. So I kind of on accident started a break away. The more I thought about it as I climbed the hill, the more the break-away made sense to me. So I went for it full blast. To my surprise, Joe did not try to cover it. Ok, no problem. I opened up a good lead, and then Joe and Mike finally started a pursuit. I hit 20 miles in 1:53:44, and was very happy. Finally by 21 Mike caught me alone without Joe. Being caught is not the best thing, but I was happy because I got caught by a teammate rather than Joe or Nate. Mike and I both run for Wasatch Running, a running shoe store in Sandy owned by Glen Gerner. So I saw the race now more of Wasatch Running vs. Weber State Alumni/Ogden boys than me vs. everybody else. By that time, I felt ok, but not exceptionally well. I asked Mike if he wanted to go or work with me. He said he wanted to work together. So we did. He gave me an update on what was going on behind. He dropped Joe at 20, but Joe was dangerously close. So Mike suggested we should put on some distance on Joe. We hit a downhill mile in 5:32, and another in 5:25. I was absolutely amazed at this pace that late in the race even on a downhill. However, I was running at my limit. Right before 23 I backed off and told Mike to go. He opened up a bit of a distance, and ended up 34 seconds ahead with 2:29:29, second fastest time in the history of the race. Mine was third fastest. After the interviews, I ran back to mile 24 to meet Eric. We ran together and he got 3:47:44. In the evening, ran 1.5 miles with Benjamin. Total of 32.5 miles for the day. A very long day.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Comments(12)
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
11.002.000.000.0013.00

Ran 10 miles in the morning alone with a mile with ankle weights, and two mile marathon tempo pick-ups one in 5:46, and the other in 5:41 over by my house. In the afternoon ran with Benjamin and Jennifer, as well as my usual always on the run.

The recovery is going very well. Only the hamstrings are moderately sore. This is exactly where I want it to hurt. I've been trying to make them hurt after a marathon for a long time. The only other times when they have hurt recently has been after Top Of Utah 2003, and St. George 2003 - my two other best marathons. I believe this one was a better performance than those - my predictor says I ran an equivalent of 2:22:50 in St. George, and after going back and analyzing the data that made me set it this way, I still agree with the estimate. A number of elite runners that were in the same shape for both, and finished within the same or comparable distance from me in both marathons get correct predictions using the current formula.

Total of 13 miles for the day. Now it is the time to let the muscles rest a bit, and start developing the deadly 5 K fangs for the circuit. There are going to be plenty of college-speed venom-fanged predators hunting for circuit points, and I need to have a way to defend myself. Plus that speed will come handy in St. George - I'll be able to relax at 5:20 for at least some time.

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Comments(5)
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
12.002.000.000.0014.00

Easy run with Eric and George in the morning. Did some marathon pace tempo pick-ups including a mile in 5:37, and a mile with ankle weights. The soreness in the hamstrings is gone. Total of 11 miles in the morning. Ran with Benjamin and Jennifer in the afternoon. Jennifer is still recovering from the food poisoning on Saturday, but still ran an 8:48 mile on her own initiative. I told her to run a 10:00 mile. Also ran a mile on the Provo River Trail after a meeting with a client. In the evening went to the church to watch the kids for the Relief Society Enrichment Night - it was the Elders' turn. Ran on the way there with Benjamin. We also did a lap race around the church building (outside) with all the kids. Benjamin won and gave our Elders Quorum President (who was a co-pacer with me) a run for his money eventually dropping him on the hill at the end. Then Benjamin's friend Shay wanted to race him in a sprint. I took them to a safe stretch in the parking lot. They first raced uphill on an unknown distance (probably about 50 meters). Benjamin got 10.2, Shay 11.8. He opened up most of the distance on the last 10 meters. On the downhill, Shay did better - Benjamin 9.7, Shay 10.2 - only 0.5 gap. Then I had them do a standing broad jump. We did not have a tape, but it appeared that Benjamin was jumping about 5 inches further. Now Shay is a fairly athletic kid, and is 2 months older than Benjamin. So he can be considered representative of what is normal for an untrained 7-year old to do in sprinting. In addition to Shay, I have observed similar results comparing Benjamin's performance in explosive exercise with other kids his age - he seems to rank towards the top. What is interesting is that I do not do any kind of special explosive training with him - only distance. The only explosive exercise he gets is the normal kid play. My explanation of his performance is that his endurance training gives him the ability to play extra hard and develop additional explosive strength. This is what my wife also noticed - her comment: You have created monsters. They do not get tired like other kids.

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Comments(2)
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
7.341.544.620.0013.50

Did not get good sleep in the last couple of nights. The Ogden marathon awards ceremony took long enough for me to get a sun-burn, and I've been itching for the last couple of days. So the lack of deep sleep, and getting up at 5 AM today to run contributed to not being fully awake. Who called that ceremony an award ceremony? To sit in the sun for an hour and half after running a marathon only to find out that they did not have the checks ready yet. This sounds more like a punishment ceremony to me. I wish they would just hand the checks out when you cross the line instead of the finisher medal (I understand a first-time non-competitive marathoner is excited about finishing, but after 35 marathons it does get old), take your picture, and then honor you "post-humously" at some ceremony later that you do not have to attend if you are too tired or need to get home soon, or better - just do a write-up about the race on the website. Skip the plaque too - give it to the first runner across the line that does not have one yet and really wants it. My house is only 1060 sq. ft filled with fast-moving children - I am running out of room for the trophies. However my bank account is not nearly as full, and always has room for a check. Anyway, I was not expecting to be able to run fast today, and thought of doing 4x1.54 downhill on the Slate Canyon Loop at marathon pace. First one was at marathon pace - 8:38. I felt more awake on the next one and hit it in 8:18. Then woke up more and ran 8:13. Last one in 8:03. When the pace started reaching 5:20 on the rolling hills section it felt hard. However, 5:24 felt like an honest half-marathon pace, and 5:28 felt relaxing. Came back from the temple, and ran a mile with ankle weights. Then later in the afteroon, ran with Benjamin and Jennifer. In the evening with Julia, and then Joseph wanted to go for a run too. But he cannot run very far yet, so I put him in a stroller to give him the experience. Total of 13.5 miles for the day.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Comments(4)
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
10.802.500.100.1013.50

Sarah found some cream for my itching shoulders, and I was able to take a good nap in the afternoon yesterday, and go into deep sleep last night. Got up this morning and ran easy on the foothills near my house with Eric and George. Had a forced tempo pick up to catch them after a bathroom stop. Then ran a mile with ankle weights, and a marathon pace tempo on the Slate Canyon Loop (2.11) in 12:26. Climbed the hill section at 6:45 pace, and that felt relaxed. I kept it relaxed on purpose, not worrying too much about the pace, only measuring it to see what I get for the effort. On the flat/rolling parts ran 5:44 pace. In the late morning ran with Benjamin and Jennifer. Then in the afternoon went to TOSH in Murray to participate in the Lower Back Pain study. Ran on a magic treadmill at different speeds. Had special markers attached to me all over my body, and cameras and the computer watching their every move like a hawk. Also the magic treadmill measures the ground reaction forces. They will mail me a CD with all of the measurements afterwards. They are still looking for subjects. If you are interested, contact Joe Seay at lbprunningstudy at (make sure to put the real at sign here you see in e-mails, spammers go a way) hotmail.com, or call 801.314.4037. One of the research workers was actually Jed's cousin. Small world. They had fun when I asked them to crank up the treadmill to 5:00 pace. Their normal protocol goes to 8.5 mph (about 7:03 pace), but I wanted to get a measurement at a high speed. They said high speed running gives them some interesting results to study. I told them I'd help them recruit people that can give them a good sample at that pace. We have a few with the blogs here.

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Comments(3)
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
11.392.110.000.3013.80

In the morning ran with Eric and George on the foothills. We dropped George off to do more miles on dirt, and I encourage Eric to run fast for the last 0.75. He maintained 6:12 pace and I really liked his breathing. It sounded like he was handling the pace a lot better than he used to.

Then I put on my ankle weights and did a short fartlek. Started out with 50 seconds slow/10 seconds fast, but then realized that it is much harder to get going in 10 seconds to get any workout with ankle weights than without, and made it 45 slow 15 fast. Did this for a mile - 7:09.

Afterwards a tempo run at marathon pace on the Slate Canyon Loop (2.11). Did it in 12:23. Felt good.

Then ran with Benjamin and Jennifer. Went to see a client for the rest of the day. Ran a mile during a short break. In the evening ran about 1.8 miles to the theater - Benjamin and Jennifer were in a play. Total of 13.8 for the day.

I think I am starting to figure out my pelvis mystery. My right leg is 9mm longer and it tilts accordingly to compensate when I stand. After running with ankle weights for the last few weeks, I have been feeling different, and am starting to catch the form I had when I was 12. Back then I could relax and just fly. The stride felt effortless. I ran a 10 K in 37:38, 1000 in 3:03.8, and 3000 in 10:08.2. Then a mystery happened around the time I turned 15. I trained consistently, but nevertheless gradually that ease of movement was gone. I started feeling like an elephant, and have been the rest of the time until now. At the same time, durin g a medical check-up, the doctor noticed there was something strange with my pelvis, but he could quite figure it out.

Now after wearing the ankle weights for the last few weeks, that 12 year old smoothness is beginning to partially come back. I felt it particularly on the hill at mile 14 in Ogden. I fully expected to be dropped on that hill. However, when I hit it, I was able to run fast and relaxed, and drop the competition to my surprise.

My explanation so far of what happened. Between the ages of 12 and 14, a very critical bone formation period, I ran 4 days a week during the cold time of the year in Moscow on an indoor track at the Znamenskiye track and field school. It is 200 meters long, and has curves about 25 meters long. They are very sharp, and are tilted at a large angle. I averaged about 30 fast laps during my hard workouts. The pace was rarely slower than 6:00 mile, and was often faster than 5:00 mile. So I would hit those curves time and again. Eventually, it raised the right side of my pelvis more or less permanently, and this encouraged the right leg to grow some extra length into the provided room.

Whether it really happened that way or not, one thing I am fairly certain of is that running on those curves did the damage that caused the loss of smoothness, and running with ankle weights now is partially undoing it. The question is - can that damage be undone in greater measure? If genetically I am supposed to not have it, is it possible to encourage an adult body to restore itself to the shape it is genetically supposed to be?

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Comments(2)
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
9.500.000.003.5013.00

Ran in the Provo Canyon in the morning. A mile of warm-up, a mile with ankle weights, some strides and jogging, then the real workout.

2x1.5 miles downhill with 0.5 recovery jog - essentially full rest. The idea was to go out at 5:00 pace and hold it until it would become impossible. Then just hang in there to the end doing my best.

There was tailwind in some places, and cross winds in others. First one - quarters 74-74-74-75-75-76. 7:28.3. Not bad. Chatted with an older guy named Phil during the recovery jog, and one more. 75-75-74-77-76-74. 7:31.5. In both repetions, it seemed like my body was trying very hard to run aerobically. It almost felt like a tempo run through the first mile. Then it got a bit harder, and on the last quarter the breathing was out of control - sucking air in like crazy, and exhaling with vengence. And all that just to keep the pace. With the cooldown, it was 10 miles for the workout.

The rest of the day was rather crazy, as Saturdays often are. However, I managed to get my jogging in. Ran with Benjamin, and Jennifer in the afternoon. Then at 10:00 pm I was still at 11.75 for the day, 1.25 short of my daily minimum quota. The day does not end until I've run 13 unless I am tapering, so I went for another 1.25. All the kids were still awake. I took Joseph and Julia in the stroller. Benjamin said he was feeling like a fast mile, so I took him also. He ran a mile in 7:55, would probably qualify as a world record for a 7 year old timed running after 10 pm, if they kept such records. Then he jogged another 0.25 with me.

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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
6.400.008.600.0015.00

Drove to the Canyon View Park. Warmed up a 1 mile, a mile with ankle weights. Then jogged to the start of the Squaw Peak road. Ran hard up (about 4.3 miles) to the parking lot at the top in 33:56. Rested a bit admiring the scenery, just barely enough to find BYU, and then down moving my legs as fast as I could in 21:31. According to the G-Map Pedometer, this is 1700 feet elevation gain, which makes it about 7% grade. G-Map pedometer gave me 4.13 for the distance, but Hawk's "holy" marks that got paved over and the unknown hero's marks on the road that are still present indicate it is closer to 4.3. I need to measure that route some day, unless somebody has already and is willing to post the results. In any case, I want to put quarter marks on it. Running uphill felt very strange. I was not breathing very hard except for the last quarter mile, and even then, only moderately hard, but I could not go any faster. It actually felt very similar to the 5 K I ran on the track two weeks ago. This is showing something, not sure exactly what, but it appears that it takes the same type of strength for me to run a good 5 K as it does to run uphill for a long time - I did those Squaw Peak runs before Draper Days in 2004, when I ran my best 5 K. On the way down, it took me a while to get used to moving my feet so fast. I think I finally got it on the last mile. Ran with Benjamin and Jennifer later in the morning. Going to Idaho Falls tonight to see a client.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
13.300.000.000.0013.30

Idaho Falls. Ran easy 10 miles in the morning on the trail by the Snake River exploring the neighborhood. Found a relatively bad part of town. My client later told me that while Idaho Falls does not really have a really bad part of town, the part I found is what keeps the focus of the anti-gang unit in Idaho Falls.

While in the "bad part of town", got approached by a dog. I challenged it to a boxing match. It got scared and backed off. Then it started chasing another dog, and I departed in peace.

Ran around the neighborhood by the office for my always on the run during lunch break. Then in the evening ran with Benjamin and Jennifer.

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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
3.8010.000.000.0013.80

Another day in Idaho Falls. Did a marathon pace tempo run. Had to do a lot of guessing on distance. Decided to start out after a short warm-up, go to the Freeman Park where there is a loop that is 0.99 miles according to this map, then loop around to calibrate, and then return in time to make it 10 miles of tempo running when I got back to the hotel. Did 6 laps of calibration with the pace varying between 5:49 and 5:57. Total time for the run was 59:30 - assumed a slower pace just to be safe. The loop is just like the reservoir miles of Ogden - rolls up and down all the time. Ran about 1.3 outside the office during lunch break. In the evening ran with ankle weights and the kids. Benjamin and Jennifer on foot, Julia and Joseph in the stroller.

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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
8.005.000.000.0013.00

Last day in Idaho Falls. No office work, just a trip to Yellowstone. Not sure what wears you out more. Ran 10.5 miles in the morning on the same course as yesterday, except this time did a tempo for only 5 miles in the middle. Running alone is starting to get tedious, so I did the tempo not only for fitness, but just to get the run over with quicker, and keep my mind occupied. Idle mind gets busy analyzing the pace during recovery runs, and if you let it go for too long the pace gets faster and hits what Jack Daniel's calls the no-mans land - the pace that is to fast to allow your body to rest, but at the same time too slow to train you for anything. So I figured, I could handle a couple of miles of warmup, then do a short light tempo, then I have the rest of the run to analyze my feeling on the tempo, and will be able to run slow. Ran 5 miles on the loop (5 laps + a little bit) in 29:30. Starting to feel the trip wear-down. There is a good reason why I really, really, really do not like to travel, and it is precisely this feeling of being overtravelled.

Then we checked out (a workout in and of itself with 4 small kids) and drove to Yellowstone. I put on ankle weights to wear for the day. I suppose that literally gave me a lead foot. So now you've got a guy with a lead foot driving a van with the license plate VANGOGO.

In Yellowstone, ran a lap with Benjamin and Jennifer around the Old Faithful. Right when we were done it errupted.

Got home at 9:00 pm. Unloaded the van and ran another mile to make it 13 total for the day.

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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
9.484.220.000.3014.00

I forgot to mention in my earlier entries that my wife Sarah has started her blog. She is 7-months pregnant, and has been running consistently 2 miles a day througout her pregnancy. She can still go at 11 minute mile pace on a good day. I had a couple of dreams that Sarah would call boring because they are so real. In the first I was running a steeplechase and got lapped by Henry Marsh right when he was finishing. I've never run steeplechase, but if I had tried it against Henry Marsh in his best shape, this is about where I would expect to finish after some steeplechase training. In another dream, I was running a marathon in a tactical race. I still had three tired runners with me on the last mile. The marathon was rather peculiar - you had to run up a few flights of stairs at the end and touch the door of an appartment to mark your finish. That is where I made my move and broke away from them. My time was 2:33. Well, a month and a half go I did win a marathon in 2:35, and I ended up getting lost on the last 400 meters and crawling under a barbed wire to get to the finish. About the same level of weirdness as the dream. Also, in a marathon, I would definitely have quite a bit of a competitive advantage on the stairs - I may run out of fuel, but my legs usually are not sore, often so fresh I would not be able to tell you I had run a marathon if I had not had the memory of passing 26 mile markers. The morning started with a diarrhea. No wonder I kept feeling thirsty last night. Apparently the water was not being absorbed properly. To make things worse, Eric and George were not around. So I jogged making a couple of urgent stops for about 4.7 miles, then put on ankle weights and ran for a mile 45 seconds slow, 15 seconds as fast as the ankle weights would let me. 7:04 for the mile. Then a marathon pace tempo run to get the misery over with quicker. Two Slate Canyon Loops (4.22) in 24:54. It felt like a start of a marathon knowing that I was going to have some serious problems later on no matter how conservative I started, so might just as well push it so I'll be further along when the trouble comes. However, I did not feel puky toxic, only sluggish. The hills did not feel right, and it took way too much mental effort for this slow of a pace. I could shift gears without feeling too miserable, though, when I caught myself off-pace. Later in the morning ran with Benjamin and Jennifer. In the afternoon, ran with Joseph in the stroller and the ankle weights. Wore the ankle weights all day. In the evening after dinner and scripture study, I felt lazy, did not feel like running at all. Brigham Young says when you do not feel like praying is when you need to pray the most. With some adjustments for true overtraining syndromes, this can be applied to running - when you do not feel like running, you need to run the most. So I went, with ankle weights and Joseph in the stroller. Sure enough, I felt a lot more like running towards the end of my always on the run mile. 14 miles for the day. Speedwork tomorrow.

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11.400.000.003.6015.00

Last night I began to wonder if my dreams perhaps were a stumbling block. In the top of my mind I believe I can run faster, but deep down perhaps I doubt, which makes me dream only of things I have done before. This morning it seems I have made a breakthrough on the dream front - I dreamt about warming up before a marathon having full confidence that I was going to qualify for the trials. I was as sure I could do it as if the qualifying standard were 2:35 and not 2:22.

Drove to the Provo Canyon, jogged a mile, a mile with ankle weights, a few strides, then the running by faith workout. 2x1.5 miles downhill (about 1% grade) with 0.5 miles recovery. Hold 5:00/pace until I can't, then survive for the rest of the interval. This time there was no survival stage - I was able to stay sub-5:00 average on both of them all the way.

First one, 73-74-74-75-74-75 - 7:25.3. Second - 75-74-74-76-76-73 - 7:28.7. Unlike last week, started breathing hard right away, but was not as miserable at the end.

Total of 10 miles for the workout.

Came home, ran with Benjamin and Jennifer. Did some jogging later on with ankle weights. Wore them all day. Total of 15 miles for the day.

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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
9.000.000.004.0013.00

Decided to try Paul's magic ladder today. Went to the Provo Canyon. Usual warm-up routine including a mile with ankle weights. Then the workout - all downhill at about 1% grade or so. Jogged 200 meters back for recovery between all intervals except 400 between the 1000s to get a bit more rest, and to end up in a more convenient place on the trail. There was a moderate tailwind. Last 200 was actually a slight uphill, and last 400 probably half up and half down. Others did not have siginficant uphill sections. 200 (34.5) - 400 (67.9) - 600 (1:45.3) - 800 (2:22.8) - 1000 (3:01.1) - 1000 (2:59.6) - 800 (2:23.8) - 600 (1:47.3) - 400 (69.5) - 200 (31.4). It definitely felt anaerobic, but not the extreme anaerobic experience, not quite like racing a mile. However, I have to say that compared to a 4:48 pace, 4:56 feels like a jog. Ran with Benjamin and Jennifer when I got back. Then put on ankle weights, and went to see a local client. Stayed at the office all day, but did my always on the run. Total of 13 miles for the day. This Saturday I am running in Magna 5 K. Mike Kirk is running in it too. The course is very fast. The net elevation drop is about 1.2% I believe. However, the first half is a very high quality downhill on 8400 W - you can really get a good bang for your buck there. Afterwars it is a slight up, then a very quick abrupt down at about 2.5 miles, and then a very subtle down to the end. I strongly recommend everyone who can possibly get there to run it. The course has been properly measured, it is on the circuit, prize money goes 5-deep, so you will see some good competition. I also have it on my predictor, and it is one of the better-analyzed races, so you will be able to estimate your current condition very accurately. The race starts at 8:00 AM around 41st South and 84th West in Magna. You can fill out a form online at raceutah.com. For more info, call Demetrio at 288-9555.

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Ran with Eric and George in the morning. George had already run some, so we dropped him off early. Did a "bio break" acceleration at marathon pace. Then took Eric on his tempo run. He set a record for the Slate Canyon Loop (2.11) (14:28). Dropped him off, put on ankle weights, did 45s slow/15s fast for a mile in 6:57. Cheated and started the fast part early (with 100 to go) to be sub-7:00. Last 100 in 18 seconds.

Took off ankle weights, and ran a tempo Slate Canyon loop in 12:25. The pace felt abnormally good even on the uphill section until I hit some headwind. Afterwards, even after I turned and there was no noticable headwind, the pace stopped feeling abnormally good.

This led me to some thinking. I've had two races this year in which I underperformed relative to competition - Moab half-marathon, and the BYU Robison Invitational 5000 meters. Both had signficant headwind. Of course, you should expect to run slower with headwind, but I slowed down more than the peer group of consistent runners I am tracking. There is clearly a weakness. I do not have any reliable historical data of running into a headwind for myself, so I cannot tell at this point if this problem has been around for a while, or if it something new. My current working theory is that the weakness is in my ability to regain rhythm after a break when fatigue sets in - I have noticed it could take me as long as half a mile to get back to normal speed when I am fatigued after a 180 turn. Sometimes it happens when I am even not that fatigued. This could have something to do with my threshold being very close to my VO2 Max. One thing I know is that takes a lot of mental focus for me to run even a quarter at my threshold pace. I remember feeling very confused about how to run in both of those high wind races.

Later in the morning ran 2 miles with Benjamin and Jennifer. They both are going to race in the Harrington Memorial 5 K in American Fork on the Memorial Day (May 29). This will be Jennifer's first 5 K. Initially, I did not want her to run it, but she has my genes - a persistent red head. With Sarah being pregnant and Jennifer's "monster" speed, Jennifer's participation gave us a challenge to find her a pacer since I'll be tied up with Bejamin. Fortunately, George agreed.

Since Jennifer had never run more than 1.5 miles at once before, I was a little concerned about her ability to run a 5 K, and decided to give her a practice 2 mile run today. She did a lot better than I expected. Her assignment was to run the first mile in 10:00, and then try to accelerate on the second mile if she felt good. She ran the first one in 9:33, and the second in 8:49, with the last 400 in 2:00, and last 200 in 56. With the ankle weights, and pushing Julia in the stroller, I started feeling something during her kick myself.

Wore the ankle weights the whole day, and did always on the run. Total of 13.2 miles for the day.

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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
9.750.000.253.0013.00

Difficult day today, but managed to fit in the miles. The speed workout had to be done early as usual. Just wanted to do 2x0.75 miles near my house on very mild rolling hills at 5 K pace. However, for some reason, I can never run fast on that road. It does not seem like it rolls that much, and I have measured the distance several times to make sure it is accurate.

Figured it would help to do a couple of quarters at that effort first to warm up, as early as it was. Did them in 79, and 77. Then a 0.75 in 3:53, and the next one in 3:52. Then I di d not feel quite done yet, and did 2x0.5 in 2:35.5, and 2:35.1. Jogged some more to make it 9 miles for the whole run.

Legs felt a little funny after wearing ankle weights for two days in a row. Decided to give them a break today.

Then went to the temple, and then straight to see a client in American Fork. Got home after 6pm, did my always on the run mile with ankle weights (finally!), ate dinner, then ran with Benjamin and Jennifer. Dropped them off, did some more running with a double stroller and Julia and Joseph in it. 7:00 pace felt good with it in street clothes (T-shirt and long pants), good sign. The stroller has new unpunctured and properly inflated tires, which makes a big difference. Wondered what my threshold pace would be with it, and picked it up a bit on a quarter to feel it. 1:29, 5:56 pace. About 6 months ago, I tried a 5 K pace effort with the same stroller, but flat tires, and a slightly higher weight (Jennifer and Julia) and could only get 6:30 pace. I am in better shape now, but maybe 5 seconds per mile or so.

Some improvement on the dream front. Seemed like a big one - I was in the lead of the Boston marathon with nobody around me. However, after I've thought about it for a while, I realized it was only a weak attempt of the mind to get to where it is supposed to be. The race looked more like a smaller marathon. There was no police escort, the crowd was too small for Boston, there were no sub-5:00 splits, and the pace felt way too slow and easy, more like 5:40. So the mind was saying "win Boston", but not doing "win Boston". It got directions to shape up to believe I could run fast, but it attempted a shortcut to execute or rather circumvent those directions.

I am now beginning to understand the experience I had before Richmond 2003 marathon. I prayed to know what to do, and felt the impression to go out with Elly Rono until the pace felt so fast that I did not think I'd be able to finish a marathon if I continued any further. I did exactly that - fortunately, Elly took a while to warm up. We did 5:39, 5:24, and then 5:20 up a slight grade. I backed off in the middle of the 4th mile, stayed at 5:30 pace up to mile 15, PRed on a flat half marathon (1:12:09), and then gradually eased into a premature cooldown to finish in 2:31:45 taking 7th. I am now understanding the importance of that exercise. Sometimes (maybe always?) your mind needs to make a breakthrough before your body does. You need to have "dream" races where you go out with somebody out of your league, and hang in there until you puke to get your mind to want to be there. Then somehow your mind starts sending constant signals to your body to change, and if it does so for long enough, and you back it up with proper training and recovery, the physical change eventually happens.

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8.400.000.001.6010.00

Another crazy day. I have way too many clients now, and am trying to figure out a way to have other programmers help me. This is a challenge - I have very little experience managing other people. But this could be a good thing - once I get the hang of it, I hopefully will be able to train more while the business mostly takes care of itself. However, in order to get there, I need to get really good at delegating, or quite the opposite will happen.

Starting to taper for Magna. Only 10 miles today. Ran a bit with Eric and George on the foothills, and then did some tune-up speed. 0.5 miles in front the house in 2:33.6, and then a quarter in 1:17.5 trying to get a better feel for my 5 K pace. It feels weird - I want to relax and run 5:20-5:25 pace, which would feel a lot more comfortable. Hopefully having competition in the race will help me wake up and bring myself to put up with the 5 K pain.

Ran with Benjamin and Jennifer, and did a little bit of always on the run in between work. Benjamin is in great shape - I had him do 0.5 at what felt like an aggressive 5 K pace, and he hit 3:45 running hard but well in control. This is very good - he did this alone. In competition, he really sees red and is literally on fire. He really likes to be able to say "this guy with legs almost as tall as I was right next to me, but I put on a Benjamin surge and dropped him for good".

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7.850.000.500.909.25

More tapering for Magna. Jogged two Slate Canyon loops with Eric, then did some tune-up speed. Did a couple of accelerations at 5 K pace to accomodate for the "bio break". First, measured anaerobic threshold by feel. Hit the control 0.5 in 2:42.5, and it felt very very good. I do not recall 5:25 pace feeling that good on that section ever before. Then did a probe for a 5 K pace on the same stretch. 0.5 in 2:32.6, and it felt aggressive - I had to concentrate hard to make it happen. Now this could explain why it is so hard for me to push the 5 K pace - anaerobic threshold is so close, and so inviting, like a soft warm bed at the end of a hard day. What is the solution? Probably not to worry about it, and just keep doing what brings the threshold up. I do not mind developing Alberto Salazar syndrome at all - 57 seconds on a quarter, 4:01 mile, and 13:20 5 K. A slowdown of only 7 seconds per quarter from 400 m sprint to 5 K pace. If I did that, I'd be running my 5 K in 13:51. I do not really need a true 5 K speed development, I am just concerned that the lack of 5 K speed creates a barrier for the threshold. The question is how to avoid this being a barrier, and it is an open question right now. Ran a mile with ankle weights. Later in the morning ran with Benjamin and Jennifer. Jogged a mile with Joseph and Julia in the stroller in the evening. Salt Lake Marathon has put its half-marathon and 5 K back on the circuit. I definitely do not need another marathon at this point, especially in hot conditions. I figured I did not want to run the half either for a number of reasons. However, 5 K sounds good - gives me some 5 K practice, plus hopefully good circuit points with everybody now spread around among three races. So I decided to do it. The Salt Lake Marathon web site says: Not ready to run a marathon? Then get involved in the race by joining thousands of other runners and walkers in the 5K!. Well, that will officially be my reason...

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11.700.000.003.3015.00

Magna 5K. 15:35, 5th place. Headwind on the downhill stretch made the times slow. Teren Jameson won with 14:45, then Joe Wilson 15:14, Dennis Simonaitis 15:16, and Corbin Talley 15:24. I barely escaped the jaws of a lion trying to eat me for lunch and take my precious $20 of prize money away from me - Nate Hornock was 6th with 15:40.

With the headwind on the first 1.7 or so downhill stretch, the plan was clear. Hang in with the non-Teren big boys until I puke. Then if Nate, Mike Kirk, or Steve Ashbaker are around, trade leads with them.

Teren took off very fast, there was a pack of curious runners that I suppose just wanted to see for a couple of minutes what it feels like to run in the lead pack, then as it usually happens, the position got settled according to the level of fitness. Teren battling the wind on his own, then Joe, Corbin, Dennis, and myself trying to catch a ride. It started hurting right away, but I decided to run with them until it would become physically impossible.

Joe felt good and broke away. I stayed with Dennis and Corbin. Mile 1 in 4:40. Around 1.5 we reeled Joe in, and he joined us. Mile 2 in 5:01. I am still with the big boys, and the bigger boy (Teren) is still visible enough to take his splits. Then about 11 minutes into the race the lions began to roar as they prepared to divide their lunch. I set a goal to hang with them until 12 minutes into the race. At 11:47 it became physically impossible for me to stay with them and I got dropped.

Then I tried to survive. 3 miles in 15:06 ( 5:25), and I heard loud breathing behind me. This has to be Nate, and it means trouble. He has a kick. At first I thought let him have $20, but then I said no way and gave it all I had like an antelope fleeing from a lion to safety. I made it!

Ran a bit more, then ran with Benjamin and Jennifer at home, then a little more with Julia and Joseph in the stroller. 15 miles for the day.

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6.400.008.600.0015.00

Went to the Harrington Memorial 5 K in the morning. Benjamin and Jennifer were doing 5 K, Julia decided to do a mile. The 5 K course turned out to be quite a beast - first mile downhill, second mile a never ending up, and then the last mile down. Benjamin ran a PR of 25:05. He was not quite mentally ready for the hill, and was about to quit right before he reached the top, but I reminded him he would lose to Jennifer if he did, and that helped. Jennifer handled the hill and the rest of the race just fine running 29:05. Both got trophies and were quite happy about it.

Julia ran a mile, tripped half way, would not continue without a bandaid, took her 17 minutes to finish the race. She did better than Benjamin at her age though - when he was 3, he tripped before a 400 meter race, and would not even start it.

Afterwards, went to the Provo Canyon with George. George ran trails. I went to do the Squaw Peak road run. Up in 32:57 (new record), down in 21:11. On the last mile down, started getting a side ache. I think it is from a bit of a cold I've caught recently - I always get them when I have a cold.

Wore ankle weights for the rest of the day. Did my always on the run routine. Total of 15 miles for the day.

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10.592.110.000.3013.00

Eric still had a sore calf, so George and I went without him on the dirt trail. After we got back, I did my 45 s slow, 15 s fast fartlek for a mile with ankle weights. Did the mile in 6:51, but cheated starting my last fast part with 100 to go. Afterwards, ran a tempo loop (2.11) in 12:23. Felt good on the uphill, but then the quads started cramping up a bit, and I started feeling I was working too hard for this slow of a pace. I wonder if the problem is the tension in the muscle impeding the blood flow. That is what it intuitively feels to be.

Ran with Benjamin and Jennifer, and did my always on the run for the total of 13 miles for the day.

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8.783.470.000.7513.00

Another crazy day, but got my training in. Early in the morning before going to the temple ran with Stuart. He did a time trial - Slate Canyon Loop (2.11) in 14:40. He is in a better shape than I thought - I gave him a goal of breaking 15:00 and felt it would be really good if he got close. The loop is short but tough - I like it because in 2 miles it discovers problems it would take 6 or so to see on a flat course. Afterwards, did a two loop tempo at marathon pace with a pickup at 5 K pace at the end. I initially intended to only do the last 0.5, but seeing my splits made me a bit excited and I decided to do the last 0.75 instead. Hit the first loop in 12:17. Last 0.75 in 3:55, last loop 12:00, total time 24:17. Felt better than yesterday, but still experienced the quad cramp up problem on the kick. This is to be expected, though - I am in the middle of hard training with strength emphasis. Wore the ankle weights for the rest of the day after coming home from the temple. Got in 3.5 miles of always on the run/kids run, all with ankle weights. Benjamin really made me work on his kick - he hit the last 100 in 23. With the ankle weights, Joseph in the stroller, and at the end of a long work/service day I really had to dig in to stay with him.

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232.4874.0522.6722.65351.85
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