Breaking the Wall

Top of Utah Half

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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: 51.55 Year: 2011.51
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: 881.43
Race: Top of Utah Half (13.109 Miles) 01:15:24, Place overall: 12, Place in age division: 2
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2017-08-26 05:17:39
Workout Totals: Distance21.210Time2:23:13.10Pace6:45.14
Top of Utah Half, 1:15:24, 12th overall, 2nd master, $75.

Started out with Nan and Jacob Kuntz, but could only keep up for a little over 3 miles. Then Dennis caught up to me. I latched on. Matt Wolpert passed us. When we got to the steeper downhill between 5 and 7 I found another gear, passed Dennis, then passed Jacob and Matt, and tried to catch up to Nan. Started to run out of juice as it flattened out. Matt passed me shortly after 9. Right before he passed me my Croc fell off. Not sure why. I lost about 5 seconds and was not able to latch on. However, shortly after 10 John Coyle passed me and I latched on. He pulled me up to Matt by 12, but as soon as we were about to make contact, I fell apart and could not keep the pace. John passed Matt, but I could not even make contact. So I stayed a few seconds behind him for the rest of the race. He won the masters with 1:15:18.

Top finishers:

Aaron FLETCHER 01:04:46.8
Bryant JENSEN 01:06:30.2
Riley COOK 01:07:06.7
Nate KRAH 01:07:43.5
Fritz VAN DE KAMP 01:08:04.5
Ben VAN BEEKUM 01:09:18.3
Tom DERR 01:11:10.0
Eric STRAND 01:11:39.5
Nan KENNARD 01:14:34.2
John COYLE 01:14:46.4

Dennis took 3rd in the masters with 1:16:39 (55 years old). Nan's 1:14:34 was not only the course record, but probably the world record for a mother of four (defined as someone who has given birth to and is currently raising four or more children). Nancy Kiprop ran 2:24:20 marathon in Vienna. She has seven children, but she adopted five of them, which puts her in a different division.

Aaron Fletcher got the course record as well.

Something odd happened in the last 5 K. All competitors around me including myself appeared to have an unusual slowdown. Looking at the split at 9 miles/finish time for me: 2017: 50:41/1:15:24, 2016: 50:47/1:14:49, 2015: 50:43/1:15:04, 2014: 50:47/1:14:46, 2013: 50:21/1:14:49. The Croc incident happened after 9 and cost me maybe 5 seconds, but where did the rest of it go? The time should have been at least 20 seconds faster, even counting the incident. Matt Wolpert had a faster split at 9 than he did last year, had no Croc incident, and finished 35 seconds slower. Nan had about 30 seconds on me shortly after 9 at the spot of the Croc incident - pre-incident. So 5 seconds on the incident, the remaining 15 on just being more fit. John Coyle is an outlier with an unusually fast last mile, but that is to be expected from a 1:06 guy out of shape (or doing a training run, but he looked too fat for a 1:06 guy from behind, so I am assuming just out of shape). Removing the outlier, Matt, Nan, and I ran more or less the same relative to each other comparing the first 10 miles and the last 3, and yet there was a clear slowdown for me and Matt relative to last year (and other years for me).

My best explanation so far is that it got a bit warmer, warm enough to where you slow down by 7 seconds per mile or so without noticing.
Leg 1:Distance2.100Time18:56.10Pace9:01.00
Warm-up with Nan Kennard and Jessica Stanford.
Leg 2:Distance13.110Time1:15:24.10Pace5:45.09
The race.
Split 1:Distance1.000Time5:36.60Pace5:36.60
Split 2:Distance1.000Time5:36.50Pace5:36.50
Split 3:Distance1.000Time5:36.60Pace5:36.60
Split 4:Distance1.000Time5:47.20Pace5:47.20
Split 5:Distance1.000Time5:33.80Pace5:33.80
Split 6:Distance1.000Time5:26.20Pace5:26.20
Split 7:Distance1.000Time5:32.00Pace5:32.00
Split 8:Distance0.950Time5:16.40Pace5:33.05
Split 9:Distance1.050Time6:15.70Pace5:57.81
Split 10:Distance1.000Time5:58.40Pace5:58.40
Split 11:Distance1.000Time6:04.60Pace6:04.60
Split 12:Distance1.000Time6:18.60Pace6:18.60
Split 13:Distance1.010Time5:48.40Pace5:44.95
Split 14:Distance0.100Time0:33.10Pace5:31.00
Leg 3:Distance6.000Time48:52.90Pace8:08.82
Cool-down with Joseph and Jacob. Nan, the Richardsons, and Merillee Blackham joined us for the the first 4.

Red Crocs Miles: 21.21
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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