Breaking the Wall

Murray Fun Days 5 K (short course)

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Orem,UT,United States

Member Since:

Jan 27, 1986



Goal Type:

Olympic Trials Qualifier

Running Accomplishments:

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

Draper Days 5 K 15:37 (2004)

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


Short-Term Running Goals:

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

Long-Term Running Goals:

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


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

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

Favorite Quote:

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

Elder Bruce R. McConkie


Favorite Blogs:

Miles:This week: 0.00 Month: 160.46 Year: 2462.47
Saucony Type A Lifetime Miles: 627.15
Bare Feet Lifetime Miles: 446.12
Nike Double Stroller Lifetime Miles: 124.59
Navy Crocs Lifetime Miles: 2133.34
Navy Crocs 2 Lifetime Miles: 1263.81
Race: Murray Fun Days 5 K (short course) (3.034 Miles) 00:17:01, Place overall: 10, Place in age division: 1
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2014-07-04 07:06:56
Workout Totals: Distance12.084Time1:35:47.60Pace7:55.64
Murray Fun Days "5 K" (short course, estimated at 3.034, wrong turnaround spot) 17:01 (adjusted 17:26). Good enough for 1st master ($100) and 10th overall.

Benjamin had a breakthrough race finishing 5th in 15:48 (adjusted 16:11). He broke the old family course record of 16:24 which I set in 2005, and entered the "behind Teren by less than a minute" club, though he was the last finisher in that club today, and was 4 seconds from not making it. Teren won with 14:52 (adjusted 15:13), then Steve Shepherd 15:04 (adjusted 15:25), Jason Holt 15:12(adjusted 15:34), and Nate Hornok 15:13 (adjusted 15:35). Mark Payne had a breakthrough race and finished second in the masters with 17:09 (adjusted 17:34), and Dennis was the third master with 17:25 (adjusted 17:51).

Joseph, Jacob, Jenny, and Julia ran 3 miles, Stephen 0.5, William 1. Details below.
Leg 1:Distance1.850Time15:32.80Pace8:24.22
Warm-up with Benjamin.
Leg 2:Distance3.034Time17:00.60Pace5:36.39
The race. The course got messed up. According to the explanatory rumors, the parade organizers decided to move the turnaround figuring a couple hundred feet would not hurt. If that is correct I must point out that a) you do not do that on a certified course, it does you no good to certify a course if you do not follow it precisely, and b) moving the turnaround doubles the error. In any case, I did some post-mortem estimates based on various split times and GPS reports and came to the conclusion that we would not be too far off if we estimated the actual distance we ran today as 3.034, so 25 second adjustment for a low 17 runner - this gives me 17:26.
Split 1:Distance1.000Time5:45.00Pace5:45.00 Leg:Distance1.000Time5:45.00Pace5:45.00
First uphill mile. It was accurate. I followed Dennis at first, and then Clay Twig once he took over. At first the pace felt too slow, but I decided to be patient.

Benjamin had 5:13 at the turnaround, so maybe 5:05 at the mile and he was in contact with Teren, Jason Holt, Steve Shepherd, and Nate Hornok. I told him to sit on Nate "till the standard bearer fainteth", and then just run his best to the finish.
Split 2:Distance2.034Time11:15.60Pace5:32.15 Leg:Distance3.034Time17:00.60Pace5:36.39
The turnaround came too quickly, and I suspected something was not quite right, but thought maybe my memory of the course was wrong - I am in the masters age division now and I believe by now I have earned full right to use faulty memory as an excuse. As it turned out later in spite of my old age my memory was correct.

Clay pulled me away from Dennis for which I was very thankful. We hit the 2 mile marker in 10:43 which confirmed that we turned around too early. I took the split as we passed the starting line and it was 11:22. So it took me 39 seconds to cover that distance, which means that it should have taken about 19-20 seconds to run from the mile mark to the turnaround. I did not time that stretch, but my rough feeling is that we did it in around 7-8 seconds, thus the estimate of the 25 second error over the whole course, which agrees with the reported GPS distances in the 3.03-3.04 range.

Benjamin hit the 2 mile marker in 9:47, so around 10:10 for the real 2 miles - that would be a 2 mile PR for him on a loop course - very very solid for out-and-back with a hill.

I was able to hang with Clay for another quarter mile or so after that. He was closing on a group of runners, and I hoped to be able to make it with him and latch on to them, but I just did not have the toughness. Some of it was physical, part of it was mental. I was distracted by the knowledge that the course would be short. Knowing in advance that my time would not be legitimate stole a portion of my motivation to push. It was subconscious, I was telling myself to not worry about it and just race, but there was only so much I could do. I did my best and pushed with all I could find, and managed 16:25 split at the 3 mile marker, so 5:42, and then 35 for the last 0.107.

Benjamin had a great race finishing in 15:48 taking 5th.
Leg 3:Distance4.200Time35:31.40Pace8:27.48
Cool-down with Benjamin.
Leg 4:Distance1.000Time10:20.40Pace10:20.40
With William at home. It was hot, so I told him to run slower to be safe.
Leg 5:Distance0.500Time5:36.50Pace11:13.00
With Stephen and Jacob.
Leg 6:Distance1.500Time11:45.90Pace7:50.60

Black Crocs Miles: 12.09
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
From steve ash on Tue, Jul 08, 2014 at 06:32:46 from

Looks like you and Benjamin had a good day and a good race. You should have stopped by I'm not far from there..

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