Breaking the Wall

Uneventful Provo River Half Marathon

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Orem,UT,United States

Member Since:

Jan 27, 1986



Goal Type:

Olympic Trials Qualifier

Running Accomplishments:

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

Draper Days 5 K 15:37 (2004)

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


Short-Term Running Goals:

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

Long-Term Running Goals:

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


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

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

Favorite Quote:

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

Elder Bruce R. McConkie


Favorite Blogs:

Miles:This week: 0.00 Month: 16.00 Year: 2314.91
Saucony Type A Lifetime Miles: 627.15
Bare Feet Lifetime Miles: 446.12
Nike Double Stroller Lifetime Miles: 124.59
Neon Crocs 3 Lifetime Miles: 1185.83
Race: Uneventful Provo River Half Marathon (13.11 Miles) 01:13:02, Place overall: 1
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. After the problems at the actual Provo River Half marathon I began to wonder I had issues in the area of half-marathon endurance that were more than just a hurt rib cage. So I decided to repeat the race, this time "uneventfully", or in other words completely alone.

I took the first and the last place with the time of 1:13:02, and am generally happy with the effort. This was 1:46 faster than in the actual race, so it does show that the rib cage problem was a significant drag two weeks ago. I was sluggish at the start. First mile (going off race mile markers) was 5:19, followed by 5:23. At this point I was 5 seconds behind my pace two weeks ago. The 4 mile split was 21:32, so 5:25 average for the next two miles. I knew I was running slow for the generous 3 % grade, but I could not get myself to go faster. It did not look slow to the people I was passing, and they were quick to comment, but it was still slow. It is all relative, I suppose. 

Once I got out to the less steep grade, however, I maintained the pace better than I thought I would. I timed a 5:33 mile on the markers. After the first 4 miles, the official markers on this course go a bit wild, so it would be more reliable to keep track by the land marks - those do not move. My split at the letter S at the start of the uphill was 35:28. A mile later at the mark that said 16 it was 41:51 (6:23). 42:28 at the turnaround. 43:01 back at the 16 mark. 48:27 back at the letter S (5:26 mile). 49:32 at the start of my 3 mile tempo course in Nunn's Park. The next 3 miles were 5:29, 5:31, 5:33 - 16:33 for the 3 mile tempo course, which gave me 1:06:05 split at the end of it and 56:08 at what looked like the official 10 mile mark, which is fairly accurate. 1:08:52 half a mile later on the triangles mark, 2:47 for the half mile. I forgot for a moment that I was running the Provo River Half, and not my 10 mile tempo back to the house, and did not cut the corner near the press building. That probably cost me 3 seconds, which unfortunately ended up putting me over the 1:13 barrier. 1:10:01 at the start of the Riverwoods trail right as you cross the bridge.

My overall take from that run is that I know how to hold 5:30s for a while on anything ranging from 0% to 2% downhill quite well, I can hold it fatigued, but I have a hard time sustaining sub-5:20 pace on any grade, even 4-5% downhill. The limiting factor seems to be this strange thing that I have observed before. Being aided by gravity allows you to, more like forces you to, increase your leg turnover. As your leg turnover increases, your brain starts thinking you should breathe more frequently, when in fact, you can do just fine without it. When you start to breathe more frequently that triggers the response "this pace is not sustainable because I am breathing too hard". I call this the "downhill respiratory panic". There is a cure for it - fast downhill tempo runs or long intervals, which I will do in the next couple of weeks.

 Ran a long cool-down to make the total 20, some of it with Benjamin. Benjamin did 7, Jenny 3, Julia and Joseph 2, Jacob 1.

P.M. William finally broke 2:15 in the 400 meters at Orem High track. No hand holding. His splits were 28, 33,  35, 37 - 2:12.8. He earned himself a watch, which I ordered the same night. Joseph tried to break his record in the 200, but in his first attempt he tripped. at around 150 meter mark. He tried again, but was too tired running 40.4. William's total for the run was 0.5. I ended up with about 0.7.

Green Crocs 4 Miles: 20.70
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 2.00Total Sleep Time: 9.00
From scottkeate on Tue, Aug 28, 2012 at 14:29:36 from

What is your plan for this Saturday? I apologize for not getting back to you earlier about this run. I had previously made plans to run from Hope Campground to Hobble Creek Golf course. I wanted to get in a good week of base building without too much concern for tempo miles after the Hobble Creek 1/2. I'm up for a long run with some tempo miles--I'm looking to run a good chunk of miles at my goal MP (5:30). Are you up for another attempt at this 1/2 course with a little assistance? I think I may prefer a 20-mile run with 10 miles at MP.

From Sasha Pachev on Tue, Aug 28, 2012 at 15:32:21 from

Scott - we can do the 10 slow/10 fast mile workout. I would not be opposed to repeating the Uneventful Provo River Half as well. Chad will be joining us, and he is up to whatever long/fast workout we can help him with. In either event we can find something for him to do. What time?

From scottkeate on Tue, Aug 28, 2012 at 16:05:01 from

There is a small possibility that I will be pacing Matt Poulsen and Reed Seamons to a sub-3-hour marathon in Pocatello this Sat--a very small possibility. Could we plan on meeting at your home at 6 AM? My daughter has a soccer game at 11:00.

From scottkeate on Tue, Aug 28, 2012 at 16:05:33 from

My preference would be the 10 slow/10 fast run.

From Chad Robinson on Tue, Aug 28, 2012 at 16:37:57 from

6:00 am is great for me. I would like to have a redo on the 10/10 (or some variation thereof).

From Sasha Pachev on Tue, Aug 28, 2012 at 18:33:21 from

Ok, 6 am then, 10/10 for the workout.

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