Breaking the Wall

Utah Valley Marathon

Previous MonthRecent EntriesHomeJoin Fast Running Blog Community!PredictorHealthy RecipesSasha Pachev's RacesFind BlogsMileage BoardTop Ten Excuses for Missing a RunTop Ten Training MistakesDiscussion ForumRace Reports Send A Private MessageWeek View
Graph View
Next Month
JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
198619871988198919901991199219931994199519961997199819992000200120022003200420052006200720082009201020112012201320142015201620172018
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: 0.00 Year: 2339.68
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: 268.74
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
284.7537.2215.406.80344.17
Green Crocs 3 Miles: 317.85Green Crocs 4 Miles: 19.00
Night Sleep Time: 194.50Nap Time: 0.50Total Sleep Time: 195.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
9.303.000.000.0012.30

A.M. Ran alone for the first 6. Decided to do a little tempo on the way back. Did almost 3 miles of tempo, the last 3 miles was 17:15, probably would have been around 17:10 had I turned on the engine right away. Then ran with the kids. Benjamin did 6, Jenny and Jacob 1, Julia and Joseph 2, William 0.3. 12.3 total for me.

Green Crocs 3 Miles: 12.30
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
9.407.500.000.0016.90

A.M. Total of 15. Did a 6 mile tempo run in the canyon 3 up then 180 and 3 back down. It was an odd run. First mile was good - 5:51, and felt sustainable in spite of the uphill and headwind. Then all of a sudden I had difficulty maintaining the pace in the second mile - 6:16. It did not seem like the uphill got too much steeper or the headwind stronger. HR was stable at around 154-157. I did not understand that. Then I slowed down even more - 6:33. The uphill gets steeper at that point, and the headwind did pick up, but still I think that was too much of a slowdown. Then I turned around, took some time to shift gears, finally got going. Hit the first mile back in 5:35. Then all of a sudden I got a side ache. I do not get them often, in fact, that is the first one I got in three years or so. And it was bad. I had to slow down to 5:50 pace for a while. Next mile was 5:48. With three quarters to go the side ache subsided some and I was able to speed up a little. In the last quarter I had some zip in the legs and ran it in 79. Last mile was 5:43, total time 35:43.

Got home ran with the kids. Jenny did 1, Julia and Joseph 2, Jacob 1, Benjamin 6. Benjamin and I ran the last 1.5 of our run  in 8:53. Total of 16.6 for me.

P.M. 0.3 with William. 

Green Crocs 3 Miles: 16.90
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
0.000.000.000.000.00

Day of rest. Went to church. We had a Fast and Testimony meeting. Then a lesson in Sunday school. Learned some Korean in it as we started a class for new members and investigators and we had two Korean speakers there. Then we had a lesson in the Elder's quorum on sustaining our leaders.

Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
11.300.000.001.0012.30

A.M. Ran with Ariel. Felt like I needed a mental reboot after the Saturday oddity. Figured it would be good to run a sub-5:00 mile. Short, fast, and a side benefit of increased glycogen accumulation kick-back, which I could use before the marathon on Saturday. Had Ariel help me for about 250 meters after 800. Ran it down the canyon. Splits were 71, 73, 75, 75 - 4:54.3. I think once I knew I had sub-5:00 in the bag I mentally relaxed and was not motivated to push harder. Plus 5:00 is not a walk in the park for me by any means even for short distances, so 75s was a nice compromise in the second half, I suppose.

Ran with the kids afterwards. Benjamin did 6, Jenny and Jacob 1, Julia and Joseph 2.

P.M. 0.3 with William. 

Green Crocs 3 Miles: 12.30
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
7.800.500.000.008.30

A.M. 8 miles total, all with the kids, except for a 0.5 pickup at 5:40 pace. Benjamin did 6, Jenny and Jacob 1, Julia and Joseph 2.

P.M. 0.3 with William. He set a personal course record of 2:57. That distance is a little less than 0.3 and I have not yet wheeled it, but I write 0.3 to round it off. 

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
9.300.000.000.009.30

A.M. Did 6 with Ariel, then 2 with Benjamin, and 1 with Jacob and Julia. Benjamin added 2 more with Joseph. I ended up with 9 miles.

Yesterday I found an answer to a question that I have been trying to answer for years. We have these odd pieces in my running:

 

  • Best 100 m 13.9
  • Best 800 2:12
  • Best 5 K 15:37
  • VO2 Max 75.9 
  • Funny looking form, problems with stability on the right side
  • Constant feeling of running against myself, being stuck in the mud 

Now many runners would be happy with a 15:37 5 K and a 2:23 marathon even in St. George. But I was not. Something deep inside kept telling me I was not getting what I was worth in some way with those results. I've been very disciplined in training and in recovery. I've learned the best training principles and used them. Fast Running Blog became a witness to the power of those principles as time and again I've watched runners apply them and move to the level they thought was out of their league. I wanted to know why I had those struggles.

I have visited a number of specialists who provided various explanations and attempted various cures non of which have been effective. The challenge with such a problem, I think, is that when you tell most specialists you do not have any pain, their brain shuts down. How about that: "Doctor, with VO2 Max of 75 I am barely breaking 16:00 in a 5 K on a good day, it should be low 14. Can you tell me what's wrong?" 

One day a few months ago as I sat in the temple I prayed to have the answer, and it was time for it come, I suppose, as I met Sergio in the locker room. It turned out that Sergio was a physical therapist with an interest in neurology and running. I decided to see if he had anything to offer on this matter. Working with him eventually led to what I believe is the resolution of the mystery. He gave me a referral for an spinal X-ray to test for spina bifida occulta. Two images were taken, anterior view and lateral view

His conclusion after looking at the X-rays was that I have spina bifida occulta in L-4. In plain terms, and you actually can see it quite well in the lateral view,  a chunk of L-4 on the right side is missing, which creates stability problems. It is actually quite remarkable that with all of that I was able to run mostly injury free - never skipped more than 3 days in a row for any reason ever, no more than 1 day in the last 14 years. Sergio said with this problem you live more or less OK until you are 30, then if you get fat you can start developing clinical symptoms like numbness, back pain, etc. 

This condition is something you are born and there is no cure for it. It affects about 10-20% of the population. Unlike the spina bifida manifesta, which we hear about more often, this condition is mostly asymptomatic except that you are awkward, and might be going to the bathroom more frequently than a normal person. There is no effective cure for it. Surgery helps sometimes, but in the case like mine it will most definitely make it worse. It may be possible to mitigate its effects by strengthening the hip extensors and the abdominal muscles to provide extra support.

I told Benjamin I had good news for him. My L-4 is missing a chunk, I've run 2:23 marathon with my condition which he most likely does not have, and he is my son. While I do not have plans to give up, and through faith and hard work will try to find a way to work through or around this problem, I told him that even if I fail, he will have a chance to find out how much this condition slowed me down. So will Joseph, Jacob, William, Stephen, and whoever else we are going to have. 

P.M. 0.3 with William.

 

Green Crocs 3 Miles: 9.30
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
Comments(3)
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
6.300.000.000.006.30

A.M. 4 with Ariel. 2 with Julia, Joseph, and Jacob. Jacob surprised me today. I challenged him to run 2 miles instead of just 1, and he agreed. I was expecting him to fall far behind as Joseph lately has been closing his 2 mile runs with a sub-8:00 mile, but he held on quite well and finished our hard 2 mile course that I think is actually longer in 17:02. I am estimating this is worth sub-26:00 in a 5 K. Benjamin's best 5 K at the age of 5 was 27:25.

Jenny ran 1 mile. Benjamin did a total of 4. I ended up with a total of 6.

P.M. 0.3 with William. 

Green Crocs 3 Miles: 6.30
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
5.700.000.000.606.30

A.M. Did my pre-marathon carbo-load stimulation workout. It was my number 3000 or however many I've done in my life speed workout done with spina bifida occulta, but the first one in which I knew I had it. I wondered how it would affect me - would it make me slack off some knowing I had an excuse to be slow, or would I get mad and push harder? I believe the workout was sufficiently short and painful to not allow me time to think about it - I just ran. The workout was 1000 meters down the canyon with the target of under 3:00. Jeremy helped me with the first 200 meters. The splits were 35, 36, 34, 37, 36 - 2:58.2. I believe the variation was caused by the shifting direction of the wind. I did not feel like I increased the effort for 34 or decreased it for 37.

Benjamin did 3, Jacob 1, Julia and Joseph 2, Jenny 1.

P.M. 0.3 with William. 

Green Crocs 3 Miles: 6.30
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Add Comment
Race: Utah Valley Marathon (26.22 Miles) 02:41:31, Place overall: 8
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
1.0026.220.000.0027.22

A.M. Utah Valley Marathon, 2:41:31, 8th place.

The fields was loaded today, but the times were slow due to a headwind from about 7.5 to about 20.  I felt the effects of headwind a lot. Up to 7.5 I was doing great. I worked together with Jordan Perry and Scott Keate, we traded leads every 4 minutes. Jon Kotter and three Kenyans were up ahead. Riley Cook and Bryant Jensen were behind but they caught up to us around 7. Our splits were 5:33, 5:32 (11:05), 5:31 (16:36), 5:31(22:07), 5:41 (27:48),  then with some headwind/crosswind next two miles in 11:34 (39:22). Little did I know that I would have only one more mile in the race that would be under 6:00.

And then we got onto Hwy 189 heading to Provo, and the headwind started. Last night Scott expressed concerns about the headwind in the forecasts. I dismissed it saying the wind is never too bad when it does blow the wrong way, and it usually blows the right way anyway. However, today was an exception. It was more than just occasional gusts - it was steady and relentless, and gradually eating away at my hopes of a decent time. This was bad news for me for two reason. Slow time is one. Ability to compete is the other. Lately I have experienced problems with the headwind consistently slowing down more than what is usual even for me which is more than the average runner in my bracket. I tried to address them by doing speed into a headwind with no results. I am wondering if my lower spine experienced some deterioration in the last year. Regardless of the cause, it is a fact that at this point headwind is a serious competitive disadvantage for me.

I quickly went from being conversational to struggling to maintain contact with my partners. It was an odd feeling. I still felt like I could talk, the headwind did not tax my breathing. But I just did not have the power in the legs to go the pace, or so it felt. Perhaps the wind was changing the position of the torso which made it impossible due to the vertebral defect to get either good bounce out of the spinal column or push with the leg muscles effectively.  

I struggled for about a mile, then lost the contact for good, and now had a problem. The headwind moved me down into a lower bracket, but I had been in a higher bracket for the first 7.5 miles which was enough to gap my current bracket by a lot. So I was alone, battling the headwind, and whoever would come from behind I would not likely be able to keep up with because anybody who could catch up would want to go faster. Those who would go the pace I could handle were too far behind to be able to close the gap. And that pace was somewhere in the 6:20-6:40 range. There was one 5:55 mile (downhill), after that no downhill could compensate for the wind for me. I got to 10 miles in 57:55, so that is 18:33, 6:11 average, but that was helped by that miracle 5:55 mile. 1:17:06 at 13 (19:11 for 3 miles, 6:24 avg), 1:17:53 at the half.

Things started to look ugly. I was concerned that inefficient headwind running could run me out of fuel, and then I would be jogging (more than I already was), and that jog could start very early, so this could be a very long day. Unlike my last marathon, though, I had good things going for me - I was healthy, and I had good opening miles, which is an indication of good fuel levels, and I also felt not too weak in the fuel department even with the headwind. 

 Nevertheless, the idea of 6:20s that early in the race that could eventually deteriorate into who knows what did not sound appealing to me at all. I really did not want to run any further. Nevertheless, I had taken a comp, and when I do I make it a matter of principle to finish unless there is a serious risk to my health. I knew that it would matter to Hyrum to have one more person in the results with a time under 2:50 especially on a day like this when sub-2:50 becomes a more rare commodity. And I did not want to set a bad example for my children by not finishing the race I could have finished. So I just pressed on hoping that if things got worse they would not get much worse.

Was still at sub 6:00 average at 15 - 1:29:50, but that was the last mile where I had sub-6:00 average. Got passed by a runner I did not recognize in the 16th mile. Tried to go with him, told myself try until 16th mile marker, but after about a quarter mile realized he was out of my bracket under these conditions. Saw Jeremy around mile 17, he ran with me for about half a mile or maybe a little more. It helped a lot. Kept watching my mile splits. They seemed to be stuck around 6:24. Well, at least they are not getting slower, and maybe in the last 6 there will be no headwind.

20 miles in 2:01:48. So 31:58 for the last 5. That is almost exactly 6:24 per mile, 2 seconds faster. If I hold that, that is a 40:00 10 K, add a little slippage in the last miles, so we are looking at 2:42. With the wind this is better than embarrassing. 

The headwind subsided some in the last 10 K, although it was still present. I began to use the knowledge of my recently discovered condition to help with the speed. A way to partially compensate for the missing chunk of L-4 on the right side is to contract the right glut to help with support. I've always known that if I managed to do that at the right time during ground contact I run faster. But now I knew why, so I remembered it at this point in the race. It was not easy, it did not want to contract, the timing of contraction was difficult, it felt like a complex acrobatic maneuver that required focus. But it obeyed me somewhat, and I was able to slightly pick up the pace.  My last 10 K was 39:43 at a fairly steady pace which is 6:23 average, and I was able to finish faster than the projected 2:42 by 29 seconds.

Ahead of me - two Kenyans went 1-2, Jon Kotter third, then Bryan Jensen, Jordan Perry, Runner X (will find out who he was when the results are posted), and Scott Keate. At least that's all I could gather at the finish line. Apparently Riley and one of the Kenyans dropped out. Not sure about their times, I left before they got posted at the finish, and they have not been posted online yet. But I do know that Jordan got around 2:35 and Scott around 2:37.

Benjamin took 2nd place overall in the 10 K with 38:42, which is now his 10 K PR. During the awards, the announcer first observed that the third place overall finisher was 15, then she realized that the second place overall was 13. Benjamin remarked it would have been funny if the first overall was 11, but that was not the case.

P.M. 0.3 with William. Kids did their runs. Jenny and Julia did 2, Joseph did a total of 2 including his track meet, Jacob did 1. Joseph ran 800 meters in the USATF Utah Junior Championship. He was very excited about it, and did quite well winning Sub-Bantam boys in 3:16.13. In fact, he beat all the Bantam boys as well, and lost by a second to a Bantam girl - they were all in the same heat, but the awards were separate. What is impressive is that he managed to run a negative split (1:39/1:37) in spite of the windy conditions. Then we saw a funny line on the stadium display - "Joseph Pachev Fast 3:16.13". Fast Running Blog, which is Joseph's team, got appropriately abbreviated to just Fast.

 

... 

Green Crocs 3 Miles: 27.20
Night Sleep Time: 6.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 6.00
Comments(14)
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
0.000.000.000.000.00

Day of rest. Went to church. The talks in the Sacrament meeting were on Priesthood. Then I went to the investigator/new member class where we had a lesson on Heavenly Father, and I learned some more Korean. Then the lesson in the Elder's Quorum was on prophets and revelation. I liked President George Albert Smith's story about the plane being guided by a radio beam.

Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
7.750.000.750.008.50

A.M. Ran 6 with Jeremy. Had a VPB, then ran 0.5 down the canyon in 2:37. Legs felt good, only very small residual soreness. Then ran with the kids. Joseph and Jacob did a time trial in 200 and 100. I paced Joseph, Benjamin paced Jacob. Joseph did 200 in 41.5, Jacob could not quite figure out how to sprint and did 49.0. Then we did 2x100. Joseph did 19.9 and 19.7. Jacob did 22.5 and 21.5, finally figuring it out. Those were their personal bests. Total of 8.2 miles for me. Benjamin did 4, Jenny and Julia 2.

P.M. 0.3 with William, Joseph, and Jacob. 

Green Crocs 3 Miles: 8.50
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
12.200.000.000.1012.30

A.M. Ran 8 with Gary and Jeremy. Gary asked me why he could not run 52 in a quarter anymore like he did in high school so we did some tests. We ran 100 meters all out twice. First time Gary got 13 something, I got 15.4. The second time Gary got 13.6, I got 14.9. Jeremy did this one as well and ended up about half a step in front of me.

Then I did a total of 3 with Julia, which included a mile time trial on the track. It was a historic time trial. She has struggled for the last 3 years. Her best time of 7:47 dated back a few years. Finally she was mentally and physically ready for the mile time trial. I gave her a modest goal - to break her record of 7:47. She did 1:47, 1:54, 1:55, 3 rounded seconds for 9.34 meters, and then the last lap in 1:43, last 100 in 21. Total time 7:22.9, new mile PR, and a huge mental block that has plagued her for the last 3 years now severely dented. Now we need to that with Jenny.

Then I also ran 1 mile with Jacob. Benjamin did 6, Jenny and Joseph 2. 

Total of 12 miles for me. 

P.M. 0.3 with William, Joseph, and Jacob. 

Green Crocs 3 Miles: 12.30
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
13.000.000.000.0013.00

A.M. Ran with Ariel. We did 6 miles. Then with the kids. Benjamin did 6, Jenny, Julia, and Joseph 2, Jacob 1, William 0.3. Total of 12.5.

P.M. 0.5 for transportation purposes. 

Green Crocs 3 Miles: 13.00
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.50Total Sleep Time: 7.50
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
12.750.000.250.0013.00

A.M. Ran with Ariel. Did a post-VPB quarter in 79 catching up. Then ran some more alone, and with the kids. Jacob did 1, Joseph, Jenny, and Julia did 2. Total of 12.2.

PM1. 0.5 transportation run.

PM2.  0.3 with William.

Green Crocs 3 Miles: 13.00
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
12.650.000.400.0013.05

A.M. Ran with Ariel. Did a 600 post-VPB in 1:58. Then took Joseph and Jacob to the Orem track for the mile time trial. It was Jacob's time trial. I knew he was fit to break 8:00. Joseph had already broken 7:00, and I also did not have a pacer for him if I was pacing Jacob. Benjamin is gone on the wilderness survival trip, and there is nobody else in the family that can pace Joseph - he is too fast for everybody else. On the second thought, I should have just run with each one separately, but I did not think of that. So anyway, I paced Jacob while Joseph in his Joseph style overconfidence tried to run 6:50 alone.

Jacob's target was 1:58 laps, which would have given him around 7:55 accounting for the extra 9.34 meters after 4 laps. He did 1:52, 1:50, 1:55, 1:52 laps + about 3 seconds for 9.34 meters. His time was 7:32.7. He is still 6 days away from being 5 years and 11 months old. Benjamin ran 7:58.7 on that same track when he was almost that same age. Needless to say, I was quite impressed. I knew Jacob would do well, but this was quite a pleasant surprise. I suppose the best Father's Day present he could have given me.

Joseph did better than I expected, especially considering his erratic pacing. I did not get his exact splits, nor does he remember what he saw on the watch, but he busted out from the gun probably at around 5:40 pace, which is faster than what he could do for a quarter. He gradually faded until we started closing on him. Seeing us approach gave him extra motivation and he sped up. By some miracle he managed to run 7:05, which is only 6 seconds slower than his Daddy-paced 6:59 PR, and his second fastest mile ever. 

I ran 1 more with Joseph, and 2 with Jenny and Julia. Total of 12.25 for me. 

P.M. 0.5 with Joseph and Jacob, 0.3 with William. 

Green Crocs 3 Miles: 13.05
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
15.000.003.000.0018.00

A.M. Started with 10.7 alone with a 3 mile tempo up the Provo Canyon. I decided I am not running another race until that 3 mile tempo is sub-6:00 in every mile at least on some day. The wind changes from day to day, and is usually a headwind, but it is abnormal for me to not be able to crack 6:00 on every mile at least on some days when the wind is relatively mild. I believe the cause of the latest struggles is that overtime my lower spine gradually caved in due to the overload from malformed L-4 and partially lost its resilience. This year I have never been able to run those 3 miles faster than 18:39, and the last mile of 6:30 was about the best I could do. It is more uphill than the first two, and it does have more headwind, but in the past I have been able to run it under 6:00. The downhill performance has been decent - this year I've run under 16:00 several times, which is comparable to the downhill times from the same period when I was frequently running 17:30-17:45 on the uphill with the last mile under 6:00.

So I started doing things to take care of the spinal resilience. Added more calcium to the diet to keep the bones from falling apart, started doing back muscles strengthening exercises to partially compensate where the spine is failing, and started hanging upside down on the inversion table to encourage some spinal regeneration. Once a week (or twice if motivated) I will be running this uphill tempo to measure the progress and get an idea if I am on the right track. No point in racing until the problem is fixed unless for one reason or another I really want to run 2:36 or slower on a Top of Utah like course in good conditions. 

Today I ran 18:29 with the splits of 5:59, 6:15, 6:15. I was happy that I did not slow down in the third mile - every other time I did this run this year I slowed down a lot - at least 20 seconds per mile. About half way through the run I prayed for some hope. I figured I needed to define hope numerically, and said if I can run a low 6:20 in the last mile, we can call that hope. My prayer was answered with a 6:15, for which I am thankful. I am learning that when you pray you need to be accepting of the Lord's timing, and only ask for things that are expedient in the Lord's schedule which you have earned with your faith. Sometimes we may get arrogant and start thinking that we have earned something with our faith which we have not yet. That is perhaps one of the most common causes for prayers not being answered in the way we expect. 

Got home, ran 2 with Jenny, Julia, Joseph, and Jacob, then 6 more with Benjamin. Total of 18.7 for the run.

P.M. 0.3 with William during our relay practice on the track. I discovered that Stephen can do 200 in 2:06, and William in 1:14. I did the calculations, and am estimating we can do the wedding relay 5000 in under 18:00 if everybody runs like I am expecting them, and Benjamin and I can do alternating quarters with 72 average.

Green Crocs 3 Miles: 19.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Comments(1)
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
0.000.000.000.000.00

Day of rest. Went to church as usual. The Sacrament Meeting talks were on reverence. For Father's Day we had a couple that raised nine children speak. It was good to hear from them, to get a perspective of somebody who made it this far. At times Sarah and I feel a little lonely in a sense (although we are in Utah and you would think we would not) - most people we know that have seven or more children are from the older generation and their children are gone. We actually know quite a few in that category. But we know only a handful of families that have seven or more in the house, and that is largely due to Sarah's efforts to network with other families that home school. I have often wondered why it is so. While the reasons are complex, one of them is that even though we have had great advances in technology and productivity, somehow we digressed from being able to more or less comfortably support a family of 5 or more children on one income to struggling to support a family of  2 children. Two incomes do not help much in increasing the number of children you can support - you are playing soccer without a goalie. While you can score more goals you get scored on much more than the little extra your goalie in the field can help you achieve.

Here is some insight. I talked to a car mechanic a few days ago that started working straight out of high school back in 1975. He was getting paid $10/h. According to his memory, a starter home at that time could be bought for $10K, and a clerk at a grocery store made about $3.75/h.  In 2000 the car shop where he worked was charging $50/h for labor, and he saw $16 of it. By now the numbers are $92 and $18. So the where is that extra money going? Not into the pockets of the car shop owners, that is not possible in a free market economy. You cannot almost double your prices unless your competitors are somehow handicapped and are not able to be profitable at a lower price than yours.

According to those rough numbers, the clerk at a grocery store today makes roughly double of 1975 salary, so does the car mechanic. But you will not buy a starter home even for the four times of the home price of 1975.

Another example, not cost of living related, unless you like to race a lot, but still very illustrative, is the cost of organizing a race and the exponentially rising race entry fees. Gone are the days when you could run a 10 K for 3$ with no shirt. The new generation of runners demands "the experience", which costs money. Ironically, the money a lot of them cannot afford to pay, but they do not realize it until they see their credit card bill, but by then it is too late. 

What happened? My explanation is that we have lost the common sense, our values have shifted, we have cursed ourselves, and are stuck in a vicious cycle of spending the money on "that which is of no worth" and our labor on "that which cannot satisfy". The way to get out is to begin to simplify, and be willing to defy what we perceive as the norm in that. Then maybe we have some hope. 

 

Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Comments(4)
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
15.000.000.000.0015.00

A.M. Ran 8 with Ariel. Then ran with the kids. Did a mile time trial on the track with Joseph. We had the ambitious target of 6:50, but we fell short by 4.8 seconds, which was still a PR and solidified Joseph's hold on the sub-7:00 barrier. The splits were 1:43, 1:45, 1:42, 1:42 and 2 seconds for the extra 9.34 meters. So 6:54.8. Benjamin at his age had a PR of 7:12.

Then ran with Jacob, Joseph, Jenny, and Julia. Jacob did 1, Joseph ended up with a total of 2.25, Jenny did 1, and Julia did 2. I ran 14 miles total.

P.M. 0.7 with Benjamin, Joseph, and Jacob. 0.3 with William.

Green Crocs 3 Miles: 15.00
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
11.300.001.750.2513.30

A.M. Ran 2 with Jenny, then took her to the girls camp drop-off, and did a mile time trial with Benjamin. The target was 5:10 and we hoped for 75, 78, 80, 75 + 2 seconds for 9.34. However, we miscalculated somewhere. Benjamin did not have that level of fitness today likely due to not being completely recovered from his wilderness survival trip. After the first lap in 75 he struggled both physically and mentally and it was followed with 82, 85, 85 + 2 seconds, total time 5:29.8. Still his second fastest mile ever, and the fastest on the track. We did have some wind blowing from the canyon as well, which seemed to be stronger than average. At least I noticed the difference between the home and the back stretch in the first lap, and overall that 75 felt quite hard, in a way I was relieved that Benjamin could not do it because it meant I did not have to. Other laps were too slow to feel the pain and I was too busy yelling at Benjamin trying to help him learn how to deal with a situation when the pace you thought you could do ends up being faster than what you can actually do.

Then I ran with the other children, and some more myself. Benjamin ended up with 6 miles total, Julia and Joseph did 2, Jacob 1. I did a couple of pickups - a quarter in 80 that should be fast because the first half of it is more or less flat, but the second is downhill, but it never is - need to find out why. Then 0.75 that should be dog slow because the first half of it is up a slight grade and into a headwind, then a 180 and you run back, but again that one is never as slow as you would expect - I ran it in 4:05 with a moderately hard effort that might have given me maybe 3:55 if I did it down the canyon.

Total of 12.3 miles for me. 

P.M. 0.7 with Benjamin, Joseph, and Jacob. 0.3 with William. 

Green Crocs 3 Miles: 13.30
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
10.700.003.000.0013.70

A.M. Started with Jeremy and Ariel. Warmed up 2.2 miles, then did my test tempo - 3 miles up the Provo Canyon from the mouth to Nunn's Park. The purpose of the test was to measure the effectiveness of my latest work on improving the spinal elasticity. My suspicion is that in the last year it began to deteriorate in response to the overload resulting from the recently discovered L-4 defect which I have had since birth. So in other words, it has always been bad, but lately it has gotten worse. The problem manifests itself in poor uphill performance, and particularly when there is a headwind. I attempted to address the problem by increasing calcium intake, and doing weight exercises to strengthen the hip extensors and the lower back. My reasoning is that if what I am doing is effective, I will see a major improvement in the uphill/headwind performance, but only a relatively minor improvement in neutral or aided running (flat, downhill, or tailwind).

In the tempo run I managed to do 18:09 with the splits of 5:57, 6:06, 6:06. As far as I could tell, there was a headwind which did not bother me as much, and no tailwind. At least I felt it going up, and felt no adversity on the way back. That was a big positive. On Saturday I did 5:59, 6:15, 6:15, which was an improvement over 5:51, 6:16. 6:32 two weeks prior. I felt like my leg turnover was better and it was being facilitated by a bouncier step as it is difficult to move your legs quickly when your landing is like plop-plop (think of running on a surfaces that is too soft, you cannot get good leg turnover). So I am 6 seconds per mile away from qualifying to race seriously again.

 Did a total of 10.7, then ran with the kids. Jenny was at the camp ( but she did get 2 miles in there), Julia and Joseph did 2, Jacob did 1. Benjamin ran 6. I ended up with a total of 12.7.

P.M. 0.7 with Benjamin, 0.3 with William. 

Green Crocs 3 Miles: 13.70
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
13.250.000.251.5015.00

A.M. Ran with Ariel. First did 5x400 down the canyon in 73.6, 72.7, 72.3, 71.8, 70.8 with 100 meter recovery which was around 33 seconds between the first two, and then I decided to jog a bit slower so I could hit faster times in the interval and it was around 40 seconds. Then I did 2 more pacing Ariel with a long recovery in 79.8 and 76.4. Then ran with the kids. Joseph, and Julia ran 2. Jenny ran 2 at the camp. Jacob did 1. Benjamin 6. I ended up with 14 miles for the run.

P.M. 0.7 with Benjamin, 0.3 with William. 

Green Crocs 3 Miles: 15.00
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
14.700.000.000.0014.70

A.M. 8 with Ariel, then ran with the kids. Joseph and Julia did 2. Jacob did 1. Benjamin 6. Jenny ran at the camp. I had a total of 13.7 miles.

P.M. 0.7 with Benjamin. We did a relay practice at the track. William ran 0.25. Joseph did a total of 0.5. Jacob about 0.25. Benjamin hit a quarter in 73 for fun. I did a quarter with Joseph in 1:38, plus so more, so we'll call it 1 mile total for the PM.

Green Crocs 3 Miles: 14.70
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
Add Comment
Race: Wedding Bell's 5 K Relay (3.107 Miles) 00:17:45, Place overall: 2
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
10.750.000.001.2512.00

A.M. Allie and James decided to prepare for their wedding by putting on a race as if the wedding itself was not enough of a hassle already. They came up with a great idea - race 5000 meters on the track with a team of up to 25 runners each running a multiple of 200 meter segments with the runners being allowed to run multiple non-consecutive legs. This created a rare opportunity for our entire family to participate. We split it like this: starting with Stephen (22 months old, 200 meters), then William (3 years, 200), Sarah (the mother of the running children 3 months pregnant with her eighth, 200), Jacob (5 years old, 200), Joseph (7, 200), Julia (9, 200), Jenny (11, 200), after than I alternated with Benjamin (13 years old) every 400 meters with me running 5 of those, and Benjamin 4. 

Stephen was the reason we were able to break 18:00. In practice his best time was 1:56. But on race day he pulled off 1:41. Of course he put us in the last place, and we got lapped by Jake's team for the first time at that point - Devra running 200 meters followed by Kevin's quarter was 1:41 as well. But they were much older than 22 months, and they were out of diapers, so they had a good reason for being a lap ahead.

William ran the second leg in around 1:12, passed one team ending our last place problem, and handed off to Sarah. At that point, I was in charge of Stephen, and Benjamin was in charge of William who started crying because Sarah left without him (both he and Stephen did not cry during their legs, and only William cried afterwards), and we had to hand them off to Sarah once she finished her leg so we could do ours. So those logistical challenges prevented me from taking the splits.  However, Sarah, Jacob, Joseph, Julia, and Jenny put in a good effort and I recall getting the baton 1400 meters into the race at 6:46 from Jenny.

 Jake got the baton at around the same time a bit behind me, except they were 2200 meters into the race. He passed me after the first 50 meters or so. Thinking that he will run some longer distance at maybe 4:40 per mile pace or so I started following him. Then when I saw that the first 200 meters was around 30 seconds and now starting to feel the pain of the pace I realized the problem. Jake was running a shorter distance. I had just run the first half of my leg at my near PR 400 meter pace. I had 4 more after that with only a little over a minute rest. So I backed off and coasted, but it was too late. The proverbial anaerobic bear had jumped out of the steeple chase pit and was already riding on my back.

The rest of the race was a blur for me. I would run my leg, hand off to Benjamin, then try to regain consciousness while Joseph was asking me questions which I lacked the presence of mind to answer, once I did become conscious again I would see Benjamin half way through his leg and get ready for the next one. I tried to keep track of the splits, but it was not very successful. I think I do recall hitting one quarter in 71. We were going back and forth with the Jake's team now, with us sometimes being "ahead", or rather behind by less than two laps, and sometimes them being ahead by a bit more than two laps. They ended up ahead of us by a bit more than two laps finishing in 15:11.

I really was feeling it in my last leg. My legs felt like lead and refused to move. I was really glad the race was over when we finished in 17:45. So Benjamin and I managed to run the last 3600 in  10:59, which is 73.2 per lap average. We passed all the other teams except Jake's and ended up finishing second. Jake's team was gracious enough to donate to us their $100 prize for the win, for which we are very thankful.

Afterwards, I ran some more with the kids, and more at home with Sarah following me on a bike. I ended up with a total of 12 miles, Benjamin did a total of 6, Jenny ran about 0.5 - her legs were hurting, Julia and Joseph 2, Jacob 1, William 0.12. 

This was a good experience in working together as a family towards a common goal with the strong supporting the weak, and the weakest link in the chain working hard to improve its strength. I feel good about being able to say that our entire family with this age distribution, number of children, pregnant mother, and the requirement for each member to participate for at least 200 meters was able to average 5:42.8 per mile over 5000 meters. 

Green Crocs 3 Miles: 12.00
Night Sleep Time: 5.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 5.50
Comments(4)
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
0.000.000.000.000.00

Day of rest. Went to church. Was tired, fell asleep during the first Sacrament meeting talk. However, this gave me the energy to understand the second. It was good. What I remembered the most was the quote from President Benson about the importance of personal scripture study. He said many church leaders focus on attendance, number of missionaries, number of baptisms, activation rates, etc, but all those things will take care of themselves if every member of the Church begins to have a high-quality scripture study on a regular basis. I compare this to how runners worry about their stride rate, or if they are heel striking, but consistent mileage and with timely added speed work will take care of that. Just get fit, and all the secondary attributes of fitness will appear automatically.

Afterwards picked my mom at the airport. She will stay with us until the end of August.

Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
12.700.000.000.0012.70

A.M. 8 with Ariel, then more with the kids. Benjamin did 6, Jenny, Julia, and Joseph 2, Jacob 1. I ended up with a total of 12.

P.M. 0.7 with Benjamin.

Green Crocs 3 Miles: 12.70
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
11.500.000.001.5013.00

A.M. Did a time trial in the mile at Orem high track with Benjamin. Ariel joined us for a part of it. We had a modest target of 5:20. It went quite well. I took him through the first three laps in 79, 80, and 81. I sensed a bit of weakness on the third lap and eased off a bit, that's why we got 81. However, I did have to work at that pace myself, so I was not entirely unhappy about having to slow down a bit. In the last lap Benjamin was strong. I sensed that and invited him to pass me with about 270 meters left, and he did. This was for several reasons - psychological benefit of feeling you are outkicking a competitor, also I did not know how strong he was, and did not want to guess what his kick pace should be, especially given that I was sufficiently tired myself to lack pace precision. Benjamin kicked well, our last lap was 75, and the total time, including the 9.34 meters, was 5:17.3. This is his new track PR, and is only 3 seconds slower than his trail aided mile PR of 5:14. We will hopefully be able to take that down in the next attempt.

Ran more miles afterwards, most of it was with the kids.  Total of 12. Benjamin did 6, Jenny, Julia, and Joseph 2, Jacob 1.  Total of 12 for me. When I was running the extra miles with Benjamin we saw Jeremy a bit ahead and decided to chase him down. Apparently Benjamin did have some energy left - we ran half a mile in 2:35.

P.M. 0.7 with Benjamin, 0.3 with William.


Green Crocs 3 Miles: 13.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
10.000.003.000.0013.00

A.M. Did my 3 mile tempo run uphill. Was feeling tired from the start. The splits were 5:59, 6:07, 6:17 - total time 18:23.5. I have had this feeling before. Probably a combination of running really hard on Saturday and accumulation of the lack of sleep. I am suspecting that feeling means high cortisol levels. I can tell my blood pressure, my weight, my pace, and my heart rate by feel fairly accurately, why not cortisol levels with some training? This is actually an interesting idea - if you trained a mathematically minded athlete by measuring various parameters of his body that could have sensory impact and then telling him the values, he might be able to observe patterns that a scientist might not be able to with all the modern equipment, and suggest experiments that could lead to scientific breakthroughs.

Afterwards ran with the kids. Total of 12.7 for me. Benjamin did 6, Jacob 1, Joseph had a sore hip flexor, too sore to run, probably a growing pain, Jenny and Julia ran 2.

P.M. 0.3 with William. 

Green Crocs 3 Miles: 13.00
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
12.400.000.000.6013.00

A.M. Ran 6 with Benjamin and Ariel, then with the smaller kids. Total of 12.  Jenny, Julia, and Joseph did 2. Jacob ran 1. Did a pickup for 1000 in 3:12.

P.M. 0.7 with Benjamin. 0.3 with William. 

Green Crocs 3 Miles: 13.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
13.000.000.000.0013.00

A.M. Ran 6 with Benjamin and Ariel. Then more alone and with the other kids. Jenny, Julia, and Joseph ran 2. Jacob did 1. I did a total of 12.

P.M. 0.7 with Benjamin, 0.3 with William. 

Green Crocs 3 Miles: 13.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
16.000.003.000.0019.00

A.M. I invited Scott Keate to help me qualify for the rights to race again. As I mentioned in earlier entries I decided I would not run another serious race until I am able to run all three miles of my Provo Canyon Uphill Tempo under 6:00. The reasoning was that the failure to do so pointed to a deteriorating spine, which would mean not only terrible uphill and headwind performance, but also reduced ability to hold pace in the second half of the marathon, as if the loss of speed alone was not enough. So I said I am going to do what it takes to reverse the deterioration, and will test it with uphill tempo runs.

Scott did a great job pacing. We went through the first mile in 5:54. I felt good but still apprehensive. I had been able to run it as fast as 5:51 before also feeling good, but then the pace deteriorated quickly. I was taking it a quarter at a time, and was pleased to see the next two quarters both under 90 with 8:51 half way through, and still feeling good. But I was not out of the woods yet, as the hardest part of the course was still ahead. Next two quarters in 2:56, 11:47 at 2 miles, 5:53 mile. Now I just needed to survive for the next half mile. I knew that in the last half mile I could gut it out a little under 3:00, so as long as I did not drop the ball before 2.5 I would make it. The headwind picked up, but Scott upped the effort to compensate, and I felt good enough not to have to ask him to slow down. We did the next 0.5 in 2:55. At this point I knew the last mile would be under 6:00 as well. The pace now felt hard, but I was more in control than I even had been this year so far. To spite the 6:00 guy and to rub it in, Scott upped the pace even more. So much that with about a quarter to go I asked him to back off. In all honesty I could have toughed it out. But I did not have the mental energy to fight another battle at this point as I knew we were smashing the standard already and my mind was already blown away by that. Even with that, our last half mile was 2:50, which gave us 5:45 for the last mile, and 17:32.3 for the 3 miles. 

My reaction to the result can be summarized with the words of a hymn we sing in church "I Stand All Amazed". I cannot believe the Lord was that merciful to me to allow me to have this experience. A progressive negative split on a progressively increasing incline with a progressively increasing headwind. It took a helper that set the pace and blocked the wind. But there is only so much a human helper could do even if he could pull me with a rope. Somehow by some miracle I was able to challenge and kick every stumbling stone. That miracle, I believe, is in the strength work I've been doing on the lower back, and in the increased sleep in the last few days. Although I do have a rational explanation for it, nevertheless I believe the knowledge of what needed to be done came through divine means.

We ran back to the house, picked up Benjamin, ran 6 more with him. After that Scott went home, and I ran 2 more with Jenny, Jacob, and Joseph. Julia had a hurt foot and ran 1 mile. Total of 18.7 for me.

P.M. 0.3 with William. 

 

 

Green Crocs 4 Miles: 19.00
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
Comments(4)
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
284.7537.2215.406.80344.17
Green Crocs 3 Miles: 317.85Green Crocs 4 Miles: 19.00
Night Sleep Time: 194.50Nap Time: 0.50Total Sleep Time: 195.00
Debt Reduction Calculator


Featured Announcements
Google
Web fastrunningblog.com