Breaking the Wall

Salt Lake Half 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 ViewYear View
Graph View
Next Month
15% off for Fast Running Blog members at St. George Running Center!


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: 146.77 Year: 146.77
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: 1657.61
Brown Crocs 3 Lifetime Miles: 1276.97
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Race: Salt Lake Half Marathon (12.96 Miles) 01:10:53, Place overall: 1
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Salt Lake Half Marathon, 1:10:53 (likely short course, not certified, 12.96 on my and Ted's Garmins), 1st place.

Warmed up 2.53 with Ted, Mike Kirk joined us for a bit, really slow, slower than 8:00 average. Saw Neal Gassmann, invited him to participate in our taking leads every quarter plan. Took the first quarter, then called out for Neal to take the second, but he was too far behind, so Mike took it. Then Darrell (or maybe it was Brad, I still get them confused, they look so much alike), who was running the relay, volunteered to take the third. Then I took the fourth, fifth, sixth, and so on up to 52nd.

Course mile markers were somewhat believable, always ahead of the GPS somewhat randomly, but not painted on the road - bad sign, and positioned randomly enough to where based on effort and leg turnover, I was more likely to believe the GPS than the course mile markers. That is bad, I do not put a lot of faith in the GPS. So I'll give my splits by the GPS.

The course starts at the Little Dell Bridge (around 5500 feet) near the East Canyon exit on I-80, goes towards the East/Emigration Canyon junction, a little bit past it, then 180 turn, back to the junction, then up the Little Mountain (about 6300 feet), then down the Emigration Canyon, past the Hogle Zoo and finishes slightly uphill (about 1%grade) near University Marriott (around 5000 feet). So you get a net elevation drop of about 500 feet, but you climb 800 feet in 4 miles first.

First mile was 6:06, followed by 6:33 (steepest uphill), then 6:08 (flatter), 6:14 (up Little Mountain). After that the slowest complete mile was 5:15, the fastest was 4:54, and the rest were spread fairly even in between. No quarters slower than 1:20 until the final uphill, where I saw a 1:26 quarter.

Was not surprised to have finished a bit earlier than 13.11, was actually expecting it. I've seen the times on that course from other runners in the past, did the math as to what kind of shape they were in, then did the math on what time I was going to finish 13.11 in, evaluated the profile of the course, evaluated the gap on the competition in this race (I had a good idea after the turnaround), and figured that if the course were not short we were running a different course then.

Neal Gassmann finished second with 1:12:44. Being a master he was tired from the 100 mile week and the speed workout on Tuesday. Mike Kirk was third with 1:13:47. Ted did a training run in 1:19.

It felt good to run with police escort and nobody else most of the race and through the finish line. This has great psychological benefits. It's been a while since I've done this, I think last time was Top of Utah 2003.

P.M. Ran 0.5 with Julia in 5:10, then 1.5 with Benjamin and Jenny. Jenny and I finished together in 13:58, while Benjamin picked it up a bit on the last quarter and ran 13:50. Pushed Jacob and Joseph in the stroller. Then ran to meet the Fast Running Mommy while pushing the stroller with Jacob and Joseph, 2.05 in 14:51. Ran back with Sarah, we stopped at the swing for a bit, rode it, let Joseph ride it, finished with a warm kiss, and continued. I ended up with 36:51 for 4.1. New life time mileage record this week - 121.

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

A.M. Ran a warm-up with Benjamin and Jenny (0.36), then paced Jenny in the Payson Onion Days 5 K. She ran 25:04, a PR by 1:23, winning her age division (1-9), and finishing 11th woman overall out of 157 women. She beat the second place in her age division by 4:50. I checked the results, it looked like she would have made top 3 in any age division except 14-16 and 25-29. She ran pretty much exactly what I thought she would.

Benjamin ran without a pacer, and I think he was having an off day on top of it. He did PR by a bit, 22:26, but that does not reflect his potential that I saw in his training. I've seen this with him before, though. When he reaches a new level, at first he is not consistent at it, then he gets used to running at faster speeds. Nevertheless, nothing to complain about - he won the 1-9 age division by 5:08, 29th among men, and his chick score was 2, one of them being Breanna who ran a great race and destroyed the field with 19:54, the other only 11 seconds ahead, not bad for an 8 year old boy.

Added some more miles while waiting for the awards/raffle. Benjamin and Jenny got medals for their effort, and Benjamin got a nice cooler in the raffle. While I think in the end it is fair that he got the cooler, I do think that wrong values are being taught when the value of the raffle prize greatly exceeds the value of the prize for performance. I understand very well the business reasoning of the race director - most people do not win anything, and a raffle with good prizes increases the number of participants. However, if we are going to ask ourselves what it would take for Americans to start beating the Kenyans (short of facilitating the immigration process), part of the answer is to convince the race directors to move the best prizes from the raffle into overall and age division awards. Luck should never be rewarded greater than performance - we need to teach the right values at every level.

Then we went on the drive of the Nebo Loop. I was still not done with the miles, and added a few more at Maple Dell. Total of 10 additional miles in 1:13:37. Then ran 0.5 with Julia in 5:08.

P.M. We were out of honey and bread. So for my evening run I had to run to the store. To be able to carry stuff I had to bring a stroller. If I am bring a stroller, I may just as well put a kid in it. So I ran 6.1 in 45:42 with Jacob in the stroller, and some honey and bread I got at Macey's after 1.75 into the run.

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

A.M. The Big Workout. Ran with Jeff. I got tired of wondering how fast I would have run 5 miles had I extended a shorter interval all the way to 5, so today I proposed to Jeff to just run 5 holding 5:20 pace trading leads, until we cannot do 1:20 quarters any more. Then try to do 1:21 until we cannot, then try 1:22 until we cannot, and so on and so forth. He agreed. He is such a nice guy, agrees to just about any form of a cruel and unusual punishment. That is why he has improved so much, I believe.

We warmed up 2.38 really slow, slower than 8:00 average, and then started the tempo at Geneva Road on Provo River 5 Mile Tempo. 5:20 pace still scares me. It should not, but it does. After the first quarter, my body reminded me I was in better shape, and my fear started to leave. We hit the first two miles in 5:18 each. Then 13:17 at the turnaround - the 180 turn messed us up on approach and we hit a 1:22 quarter. After the 180, we did not do that great either time wise trying to regain the lost rhythm - 1:23 quarter. However, Jeff surged pretty hard on the next one, and we hit a 1:19. 15:59 for 3 miles (5:23), and still ahead of the 5:20 by a second with 2 miles to go. Not bad.

However, both of us were pretty tired, and were giving ourselves some slack not pushing too hard taking our leads. Next mile in 5:25. Too bad we did not have Nick McCombs with us, he would have kept us on the straight and narrow 5:20, and the best thing about it would have been drafting! But still 21:24 at 4 miles was a decent time.

The last mile is tough - has a decent amount of uphill, and you've already run 4 and are tired. We hit three quarters in 1:22 each. Last quarter was Jeff's, but I passed him with about 300 to go so we would not get beat by the 5:20 guy too bad. With 200 to go, I shifted gears, and it was too much for Jeff. I ended up with 26:48.3, last quarter in 1:18, last 200 in 38, last mile in 5:24, decent for the uphill. This time is a course PR for me by 7 seconds. Jeff got a huge course PR with 26:51 - he had never broken 28:00 on that course before.

And just like the Cat in the Hat says, that is not all, oh that is not all! We jogged 1.62, and then ran a mild 3 mile tempo to my house. There were two purposes to this run. To get Jeff to his class on time, and to get some more tempo miles in. We ran it in 17:39.8, fairly steady pace, not bad for the net uphill, rolling under the bridges, and turns.

Dropped Jeff off, and ran another 4 miles in 27:13. Total of 16 for the workout.

P.M. 2.13 to Benjamin's soccer game in 17:51. It was hot, 95 degrees. Ran 0.55 in 4:14 around the field before the game, then decided I'd rather do the extra mileage on the Provo River Trail in the shade. Benjamin's team won 5-1. Then back home via a scenic route with Jenny, Julia, and the double stroller. 3.74 in 35:42, including 1.5 in 14:22 with Jenny, and 0.5 in 5:36 with Julia. It must be noted that the slow average pace was not just the work of Jenny and Julia, I contributed my fair share to it while they were in the stroller. Of course, they weigh about 90 lb together, so with them and one tire being under-inflated the pace is about 40 seconds per mile slower.

I think my form has changed for the better. Check the recent Salt Lake Half pictures vs Ogden pictures. If indeed so, I have two suspects to credit for it - high mileage, and the inversion table, which I have been doing every day twice for 10 minutes each session for the last two months.

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

A.M. Sasha House 10 Miler with Ted. 10.1 due to the new bridge route. Easy pace - 1:18:50. It was dark, rained a bit, flashes of lightning, tree branches on the trail. Ted as a precaution removed his HRM to not attract lightning with electric signals.

Saw in a newspaper report that Chuck Engle, the notorious marathon junkie who specializes in running local marathons all over the country trying to see how many he can win in a year, claimed Salt Lake City as his place of residence. He e-mailed me back with the following:

Unfortunately the job that I had moved to Salt Lake
City fell through. I would love to live in or near the city and run and
work...but without income it would not be a very wise move on my part. I
had accommodations lined up and I was working on packing for the end of the
month...but the company that I was to work for has abandoned their expansion
plans. Thank you for the invitation and if you know of anyone who is
looking to hire an HR rep, sales or someone with knowledge in running please
let me know. I have a Masters in biology and chemistry and multiple years
experience in coaching, sales, advertising as well as human resource work

I would love to have Chuck in Utah. He and Bill Cobler would get along great. If anybody is in a position to give him a reason to come, contact him at marathonjunkie at

P.M. Ran 0.5 with Julia in 5:15, then took the double stroller with Jacob and Joseph, 1.5 with Jenny in 13:30 (Benjamin on a bike), found Jeff on the trail, and he joined us, 2 with Benjamin (Jenny on a bike) in 15:53, then 0.2 trying to find Sarah, then left the stroller at home and ran 3 in 20;52. 

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

A.M. Had a most peculiar dream, very entertaining, enjoyed watching it. I dreamed that I turned 104 and died. My body was still in good condition, like it is now, but I was needed on the other side. To facilitate the transition, though, I was allowed to come back occasionally and run. Running felt good, and I thought I could set a record in the zombie division. So I found Iain Hunter (who was still alive and looked young), apparently in the dream he was the nation's expert on running zombies, and told him I wanted to set a record. I ran for him, he timed me, and said I was the fastest zombie runner he's ever seen.

Now back to real life. Ran the warm-up with Ted, Adam, and Jeff. 4.87 in 38:26. Then 12.23 tempo with Jeff, starting at 1.5 mark of Provo River 5 Mile Tempo, to the turnaround of Sasha House 10 Miler, back to the start of the Provo River 5 Mile Tempo, 180 turn, then Provo River 5 Mile Tempo, and back to the house. Let Jeff set the pace and tried not to influence it. We went at a fairly even pace, started out in 5:56, then eventually worked our way up to 5:46, then Jeff started feeling his training this week (he ran 10.5 the night before, and then slept only 4 hours), and was struggling with the pace, but still managed to maintain around 5:55 all the way home. We finished the run in 1:11:58, 5:53 average. At first I felt the pace was brisk, but then warmed into it, and it became relaxing. Felt refreshed after the run, but still took a nice nap, and really enjoyed it.

Ran with 0.5 with Julia in 4:21

P.M. Ran with Benjamin and Jenny to Benjamin's soccer practice. Jenny ran 1.5 in 13:48, then rode in the stroller the rest of the way. Benjamin and I ran 2.04 in 18:58. Ran a couple of loops around the soccer field, and then headed back home, 2.57 in 17:56. Starting to feel tired from the mileage, but not too bad. 


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

A.M. Easy 12.06 alone in 1:23:55. Started out at slower than 9:00, took me 8 miles to start cracking 6:40, then I went after the 1:24:00 guy, but had to run the last quarter in 1:28 to get him. Felt fresher than the night before.

P.M. 0.5 with Julia in 5:24, then 1.5 with Benjamin and Jenny in 13:43, then another 0.5 with Jenny in the stroller and Benjamin running, this gave Benjamin 17:21 for 2 miles, then 3.5 by myself in 24:25. 

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Race: Alta Peruvian Logde 8 K (4.97 Miles) 00:22:21, Place overall: 2
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. 2 miles with Benjamin in 16:21, then 2 miles by myself in 13:39. Watched Benjamin's soccer game, they won again 7-0. Afterwards, 1.53 with Jenny in 14:10, and 0.57 with Julia in 5:20.

P.M. Peruvian Lodge 8 K, 22:21, 2nd place after Paul (21:46), details to follow.

Ran 2.5 warm-up with Cody. Paul and Bob were a bit too feisty for me in their warm-up. Convinced Paul and Bob to try to trade quarters. Paul's reason to consent - "if I do not go with it, you'll just sit on me".

Known troublemakers at the start: Paul, Bob, Nate Hornok, Albert Wint. Nate agreed to trade quarters as well. Turns out there was another I did not know - Danny Oliva originally from California, now living in Herriman. Bob was supposed to take the first quarter, but Danny ran with him side by side. I tried to take the second quarter, but Danny took it for me, I said thanks in my mind, and then took the third quarter instead. Then Paul took the fourth. First mile in 4:31 according to my GPS, 4:19 at the official mile marker. Which one of them is right? Normally I'd be able to tell by feel, but with a 7% drop starting at 8700 feet I am confused. Garmin proved right eventually.

I tried to take the next quarter, and did it, sort of, Paul ran just side by side forcing a fast pace instead of tucking in behind me and letting me control the quarter. Smart move on his side, he's watched me run this race enough, he knows if he brings me with him to the last mile, which is 9% grade down, and I am feeling good, this is bad news. He took the next quarter, around 1.5 he dropped me and Bob. Bob and I worked together for the next 0.5. Next mile (by GPS) 4:31 again, 8:32 at 2 miles.

Bob dropped back after two. From that point I just tried to coast at a good pace knowing that if I just maintained, even if somebody came up on me I could just draft a bit, and then do the Sasha lethal dash on the 9% grade on the last mile. I did have hopes of catching Paul, but they were very slim, especially without anybody to pull me or at least to threaten me from behind - he was moving away from me at a steady rate of 10 seconds per mile.

The downhill flattened out a bit to slow me down to 4:35 on the next mile, followed by 4:32 which was flatter at first, but then the 9% drop started. I saw the official mile markers showing consistent splits of 4:20, and began to hope that maybe they were right rather than the GPS. But, as it is with things that are too good to be true, they were not. On the last mile, I could see the wisdom of Paul's early move. Without any hope of catching Paul at that point, and no audible or mathematical threat from behind, I hit the next three quarters in 65.9, 63.3, 63.2, and 57.2 for the last 0.23, which is equivalent to a 61.5 quarter. 22:20 on my Garmin with the distance showing 4.98 (0.01 off), officially 22:21. This is my second fastest time on that course. The only time I've run it faster was 2003 (21:58), and it was a much different race. I came the race a lot fresher (only 68 miles that week vs 120), already started my taper for TOU. Sat in a pack for the first 2 miles. Then Joe made a move, Corbin went after him a bit later, I was surprised nobody else did, was feeling good and went with Corbin. When we got to the 9% grade, I unleashed my lethal weapon, passed Corbin and I was running super-scared. I had 4 guys behind me that have been beating me by anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute in 5 Ks. I felt like I had stepped into a lion's den, grabbed a piece of meat, and now was running for dear life. Additionally, Joe was close enough where it looked realistic to catch him. So compared to that race, I think this one was shows at least equivalent fitness.

Danny was third with 23:00. Nate Hornok I think got 23:19, then Bob, I think 23:39. Wasatch Running Center got 1-2-4-5 finish. 

Very good recovery after the finish. No significant pain anywhere. As soon as they took off my tag, I said to Paul, let's go up. Paul said he needed a minute. A minute later he needed another minute. On the way back ran with Paul and everybody at first, then Danny pulled ahead, and I went with him. We started out at 11:30 pace, then sped up to 10:30. Danny stopped at 1.25, his girlfriend picked him up. I had more miles to do, so I ran all the way back. Eventually eased into a sub-9:00 pace. Got to the lodge, still had some distance to do, hit the flat parking lot, looped around it with Cody. Caught the 9:00 guy, ended up with 57:51 for 6.51, 8:53 average, not bad for climbing from 6800 feet to 8700.

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

A.M. Start of the ease-off week before TOU. It is funny how you start to think of a week that ends with an all-out marathon as an easy week. The mini-taper before the marathon more than compensates for the actual effort of the marathon itself.

Ran on the Provo River Trail with Ted. He came to my house warmed up, and dragged me through the first quarter in 2:01. This was a bad idea, that made me warm-up sooner, and I started initiating sub-7:00 pace earlier than he wanted. At first I thought no noticeable effects from Alta Peruvian, but then I noticed the quads feeling a bit tender when going under the bridges. However, last year it hurt a lot worse. Ran 12.15 in 1:25:59.

The purpose of TOU - test how much my recent Big Workouts and mileage have done for my fuel storage. Go out hard, if Hobbie and anybody else (rumor has it Ezekiel Ruto is running it) runs slower than my threshold on the first half, go with them. As soon as it becomes unsustainable, back off, and try to maintain sub-6:00 or whatever feels good. Run myself out of glycogen, and then see how fast I can run on fats. This will accomplish two things - a Really Big Bonk Workout that my body hopefully will respond to by refueling aggressively, get an idea for proper pacing in St George as well as proper disaster management plan, and ... who knows, if a miracle happens, maybe there will be no bonk, and I'll get an accidental Trials qualifier. Sounds crazy, but I am not afraid to do it after my post-Great Salt Lake cool down adventure. I know I can comfortably maintain 7:10-7:20 on a flat course with a cross-wind in 70 degree weather with no fueling or water for at least 13 miles after racing an all-out half at the end of a 112 mile week. In TOU I will be fresher (I hope), there will be no cross wind on the last half (I hope), it will be cooler (I hope), I will run the first half a bit slower than all out (I hope), the last half is still a slight downhill, and there will be fuel and water.

Just discovered a great post in Paul's blog. He thinks only three people have read it. Let's prove him wrong.

P.M. 0.5 with Benjamin, Jenny, and Julia all running, 4:51. Dropped Julia off, 13:21 split at 1.5, dropped Jenny off, 16:45 split at 2 (Benjamin hit 3:24 for the last 0.5). Then played badminton with Benjamin and my mom for a bit at the park, got eaten by mosquitoes, then continued the run. Benjamin admonished me to catch the 8:00 guy. I was happy to exceed his expectations finishing the  5 mile run in 37:07.

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

A.M. Provo River 5 Mile Tempo with Jeff. Slept in this morning, barely jumped out of bed just when Jeff showed up. Ran a slow warm-up, 3.62 at slower than 8:00 average, with a record-slow first quarter in 2:31. Did a longer warm-up on purpose, waiting for the sun to rise, and for the body to recover from sleeping in.

The plan was to run 28:00 or a bit under. Jeff had been doing some hard workouts, so I suggested he should just draft today. The start was rough, first 200 in 44, first quarter in 1:26. Then I pushed a bit, it woke me up, and I settled into pace. First mile 5:34, second 5:31, then 0.5 in 2:47, 13:52 at the turnaround, recovered from 180 in 2:49, third mile in 5:36. Felt good, did not want to positive split, picked it up a bit to get back into the rhythm again, next mile in 5:31. Then the next 0.5 uphill in 2:47. I was running relaxed thinking about how slow I could go and still even split when Jeff took the lead and started pushing the pace. I justed tucked in behind him and coasted, but we were now outside of the marathon pace zone. Next quarter in 1:19, and then with 200 to go I pulled alongside Jeff, and we finished the last quarter in 1:15. Total time was 27:33.7, nearly caught the 5:30 guy, last 0.5 in 2:34, last mile in 5:21, and last 2.5 in 13:41, definitely a negative split.

Cooled down 1.38 to the house.

5:36 pace felt like a jog, 5:30 felt like I could make it at least to 15 in a pack. Good sign, because this is flat/slightly rolling, and I had not yet tapered at all. TOU is high quality downhill the first 14, then a slight downhill for the next 4, then a mild up for the next 2, good down for 1, then rolling to the end. I feel good about being on pace for the Trials Qualifier at 15, which, if you can do at TOU, you will qualify in St. George.

One more thing - Kory still has not found a place to stay in St. George. Does anybody have offers for him?

P.M. 0.5 with Julia in 5:10, 2.1 with Benjamin to his soccer game in 17:23, then 0.4 in 2:55 on grass before the game started. Benjamin's team won again 6-2. The other team had bigger kids, but Benjamin's team dealt with the problem by never letting them have the ball. Back home with Jenny, 1.58 in 14:00, then added some more to make the total 2.02 in 17:10. Felt a nerve irritation in the lower back after waking up from a nap, maybe laid in a funny position. Have had this before, a couple of times it made my runs very very miserable in the past, so I am concerned. However, the pain was manageable to begin with, and was reduced by the end of the day.

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

A.M. Easy 8.03 with Ted and Jeff at 5:00 AM in 1:00:57. The nerve irritation is gone.

P.M. 0.5 with Julia in 5:28, then 1.5 with Benjamin, Jenny, and an empty single stroller in 13:56. Bathroom stop, then put Jenny in the stroller, and, since Benjamin was complaining about Jenny's slow pace, and itching to run fast, I challenged him to break his rather stale 0.5 mile record of 3:18 which he repeated at the end of a 2 mile run earlier. He fussed about how there was no way he could run two quarters in under 1:39 each. I told him to hit the first one in 1:40 or faster, and then decide if he wanted to go for the record, or just jog in. He hit the first one in 1:36, that made it essentially impossible for him to decide to back out. He eased off a bit, but then with 0.14 to go I told him he really needed to hustle  to get the record, and he sure did. Last quarter in 1:32 with the total time of  3:08! Benjamin's total time for 2 miles was 17:04.

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

A.M. Ran with Ted and Jeff. Ted originally wanted to do 6x800 at threshold. I figured there is no way he'd be able to do them at threshold, so I convinced him to do 2x1.5 miles instead. We did the first one in 8:48.9, and the second in 8:29.1. Both felt very relaxing, the horses were neighing, but I told them the time to neigh would be on Saturday. Total of 8 miles.

Ted, Steve, and Kory still need to find a place to stay in St. George. Would anybody in our St. George group, or their friends, have some floor space for them?

P.M. Steve, Ted and Kory found accommodations in St. George through our generous friends. Steve and Ted are staying at Mik'l's parents' house, while Kory will be staying with Logan's parents. We have one more homeless runner, though. Katie  got into St. George at the last moment. For those who have not been following the blogs closely, she is our fastest female marathoner on the blog (2:59), and she did it after having given birth to four children. Leave a comment in her blog if you would like to have her over. She does not mind floor space, that beats camping out or paying for a hotel.

Ran 2 miles with the kids tonight. First 0.5 with all three in 4:54. Then put Julia in the stroller, hit 1.5 in 13:40, then put Jenny in the stroller as well. Finished the last 0.5 with Benjamin in 3:39, which gave us 17:19 for the whole run. Benjamin seems to have made a breakthrough in his top speed. He really made me work on the last 60 meters today. Of course, I was pushing a double stroller with considerable weight by that time, but he actually managed to drop me at first, and I had to go full throttle to catch up.

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

A.M. 2 miles with Ted and Benjamin in 15:49. Then 2 more with Ted in 14:54. Then 1.5 with Ted and Jenny, and Julia joining us for the first 0.5 then riding in the stroller the rest of the way. 0.5 in 4:54, then finished the 1.5 in 13:08.

P.M. Drive to Logan. Did a VO2 Max test, got 68.8 after 40 seconds of 11 mph at 4% grade at the end of the test, stopped it early to not be too tired for the marathon. Full details of the V02 Max test:


Utah State University

Exercise Physiology Lab

*** Metabolic Text Report *** 2007 / 9 / 14 15 : 41

Patient Information

Name PACHEV, SASHA File number 91309 Doctor x

Age 34 yrs Sex M

Height 70.5 in 179.07 cm Weight 146.98 lb 66.81 kg

Tech Kevin Ball

Test Protocol

Exercise Device Treadmill

Test degree Submaximal

Test Environment

Insp. temp. 21 deg C Baro. pressure 641 mmHg

Exp. flow temp. Mean of room temp. and 37.0 deg C

Insp. O2 20.93 % Insp. CO2 0.03 %

STPD to BTPS 1.45

Base Values for Sampling

Base O2 20.93 % Base CO2 0.03 %


. .
. .




min L/min ml/kg/m
L/min L/min
BPM L % % bpm Kcal/m Kcal

0.35 0.3 4.53 1.29 0.32 9.29 1.06 17.01 0.79 17.63 3.49 66.06 1.55 0.55
0.69 0.37 5.58 1.6 0.35 9.12 0.94 18.04 0.73 16.89 3.87 69.45 1.86 1.16
1.05 0.42 6.34 1.81 0.4 10.74 0.93 19.06 0.82 17.04 3.71 71.47 2.11 1.94
1.36 1.12 16.79 4.8 1.06 26.49 0.94 19.69 1.95 16.75 4.02 88.82 5.59 3.64
1.69 1.5 22.52 6.43 1.47 33.51 0.97 33.27 1.46 16.47 4.4 122.76 7.55 6.14
2.02 2.36 35.27 10.08 2.07 46.26 0.88 30.27 2.22 15.97 4.5 129.94 11.58 9.96
2.37 2.81 42.01 12 2.38 51.41 0.85 28.83 2.59 15.64 4.66 127.58 13.7 14.71
2.68 2.91 43.51 12.43 2.55 56.14 0.88 32.24 2.53 15.89 4.57 129.48 14.28 19.14
3.03 2.77 41.45 11.84 2.47 54.37 0.89 30.84 2.56 15.95 4.57 127.9 13.65 24.01
3.35 2.85 42.64 12.18 2.52 55.19 0.89 31.15 2.57 15.89 4.6 128.01 14.02 28.51
3.67 2.95 44.14 12.61 2.6 57.35 0.88 34.74 2.4 15.92 4.56 130.35 14.5 33.1
4.02 2.9 43.43 12.41 2.54 56.45 0.87 34.72 2.36 15.92 4.53 129.67 14.25 38.03
4.35 3 44.96 12.85 2.58 56.21 0.86 33.07 2.47 15.75 4.62 130.72 14.69 42.92
4.69 3.21 48.09 13.74 2.8 61.81 0.87 37.94 2.37 15.87 4.56 135.61 15.77 48.32
5 3.14 46.99 13.43 2.71 58.24 0.86 35.41 2.39 15.69 4.68 134.6 15.38 53.09
5.35 3.33 49.8 14.23 2.94 63.7 0.88 34.77 2.66 15.84 4.64 137.86 16.37 58.74
5.68 3.38 50.61 14.46 3.02 65.23 0.89 36.16 2.62 15.86 4.66 142 16.67 64.28
6 3.4 50.84 14.53 3.06 65.24 0.9 34.14 2.78 15.83 4.72 142.21 16.78 69.68
6.34 3.62 54.12 15.46 3.34 71.89 0.92 38.05 2.75 15.98 4.67 144.59 17.95 75.81
6.69 3.58 53.56 15.3 3.35 72.77 0.94 37.41 2.83 16.08 4.63 146.69 17.81 82
7.03 3.69 55.18 15.77 3.44 74.48 0.93 38.58 2.81 16.05 4.65 148.8 18.34 88.19
7.34 3.79 56.74 16.21 3.56 76.72 0.94 38.67 2.88 16.05 4.67 148.83 18.88 94.04
7.69 3.9 58.34 16.67 3.69 79.53 0.95 39.59 2.92 16.08 4.67 153.03 19.45 100.92
8.01 4.03 60.32 17.24 3.84 83.5 0.95 41.31 2.94 16.15 4.63 155.01 20.14 107.26
8.34 3.98 59.63 17.04 3.85 84.21 0.97 41.32 2.96 16.23 4.6 156 19.96 114.03
8.68 4.2 62.87 17.96 4.06 87.6 0.97 42.13 3.02 16.17 4.67 158.38 21.05 121.02
9.01 4.21 62.94 17.98 4.1 87.83 0.98 42.08 3.03 16.17 4.7 160.46 21.12 128.05
9.34 4.29 64.25 18.36 4.24 90.64 0.99 42.4 3.11 16.21 4.71 161.5 21.61 135.18
9.68 4.34 65 18.57 4.37 93.76 1.01 41.67 3.27 16.29 4.69 162 21.95 142.56
10.01 4.49 67.21 19.2 4.58 99.49 1.02 44.36 3.26 16.4 4.63 162.82 22.77 150.26
10.34 4.58 68.61 19.6 4.74 105.05 1.04 46.15 3.31 16.53 4.55 143.12 23.32 157.84
10.69 4.43 66.31 18.95 4.59 101.98 1.04 45.98 3.22 16.55 4.53 93.13 22.54 165.68
11.01 4.5 67.3 19.23 4.65 102.99 1.03 46.25 3.24 16.53 4.55 165.93 22.87 173.1
11.34 4.57 68.38 19.54 4.79 105.53 1.05 46.25 3.32 16.56 4.57 167.93 23.31 180.66
11.68 4.6 68.79 19.65 4.84 105.28 1.05 46.29 3.3 16.52 4.63 169 23.48 188.78
11.93 4.21 63.07 18.02 4.49 96.79 1.06 47.34 2.97 16.52 4.67 169 21.58 194.25

Max VO2 4.6 L/min 68.79 ml/kg/min 19.65 METS


Notes: After about a minute standing, started at 8 mph, grade 1%, ran 3 minutes. Then increments of 0.5 mph every minute up to 11 mph. 2 minutes at 11 mph. Then a minute at the same speed with 2.5% grade, and another 40 seconds at the same speed 4% grade.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Race: Top of Utah Marathon (26.2 Miles) 02:28:42, Place overall: 4
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M Ran Top of Utah marathon in 2:28:42, first half in 1:10:57, 4th place, got beat by Hobbie and two Kenyans, details to follow later.

OK, now finally found a moment for details. They will be getting posted incrementally.

Woke up in the morning, and felt like boxing. Good feeling. Kory was happy he did not sleep in the same room with me. Started the morning with a scripture study as usual. Read in Alma 14 about how Alma and Amulek burst the bands they were tied with and made the prison collapse through their faith. Something to learn from them. Then read in Ezekiel 34 about the shepherds who feed themselves but not their flock. Both scripture chapters applied to the race in a way. I was going to work on bursting the bands my unbelief, and I was going to race a guy named Ezekiel, first time I actually met anybody by that name. I have a special respect for the nation that goes that deep in the Bible to find the names for their children. God had to bless them with something for that, and He did with running speed and endurance.

Jogged about 0.8 from Hotel de Petersen (aka Paul's house) with Paul and Kory to the bus loading area. Made up a geek joke that only a runner with some Unix sysadmin/programming background could understand, fortunately Kory was in that group so there was somebody to share that joke with - what do you call missing a bus? Answer - Bus Error. Quick explanation of why a geek would laugh - you get a Bus Error when a program royally crashes, it is like when somebody loads a tray loaded with something you really do not want on the floor, and at the most inconvenient moment it all comes crashing down.

Having created and shared the joke, I nearly got the Bus Error myself. I realized my chip was back at Paul's house. So ran there, got it, and barely made the last bus. This gave me a good warm up, though.

Ran another 0.5 to visit a VPB (virtual private bathroom), then I was ready to race.

Trouble at the start: Hobie Call, two Kenyan - Ezekiel Ruto (PR of 2:14) and Joseph Sitienei (PR of 2:11), and the dark horse Steve Ashbaker.

Talked to Hobie, admonished him to start out on pace. He assured me it was his plan. Last year he missed the qualifier because of goofing around for the first 6 miles. He told me he was going to hit the half in "something crazy like 1:07". I told him it was not crazy at all and that he had the fitness to run the first half in 1:07 and live.

Talked to Joseph, he said he wanted this to be a training run before Twin Cities, keep it at 2:35. I wondered why he had to come all the way here to run 2:35 for a training run. There was going to be no money except may age division prize for running this slow. I figured he would soon realize he'd have to do his training run a lot faster to come home with cash.

As I already stated earlier, my plan for this race was "and should we die before our journey's through, happy day all is well. We then are free from toil and sorrow too, with the just we shall well. But if our lives are spared again, we'll see the saints their rest obtain. Oh how we'll make this chorus swell, all is well, all is well". I wanted to go out hard, put myself into a state of struggle and learn to power through it. I also wanted to test my suspicion that the reason I slow down on the second half is not so much fuel as it is plain neural fatigue. My hypothesis is that if make the first half hurt, the nervous system is tuned for driving the second half, but otherwise, it just goes to sleep even when there is plenty of fuel.

I debated whether I should go out with Hobie at his fast pace. But his watch died, and I figured I could be there for him at least in the first mile to give him his split. He took out fast. My GPS reported the first quarter as 1:11 (it was a bit short, as it turned out, but I think we did get at least 1:13). I told him, do you realize we are going around 4:40 pace? He had a response full of faith - that's OK, the Trials will be fast, we'd better get used to it now. Fortunately for me, we did ease off a bit, and hit the first mile in 5:02. That did not hurt too bad. I figured I could give him another split at 2, and maybe if he eased off to 5:15, even make it to 3 or 4. The second mile was 5:08. I gave Hobie the split, and backed off to 5:23 on the next mile.

Joseph came up on me shortly after 3, I decided to go with him to 4, then felt good enough to make it to 5. 5 miles in 26:08, keeping my head above water, staying ahead of the 5:20 guy while the downhill lasts. No significant tail wind, but now headwind either, which is very nice. Backed off after 5, but Joseph is still not too far ahead. Saw Hobie cross the 6 mile mark from afar, his split was faster than 30:51. Then I knew that barring a very serious disaster he would be sub-2:20, more likely 2:18.

With the downhill becoming more gradual we slowed down to around 5:30 - 5:35 pace. Joseph was running ahead of me, but not putting any distance. At the downhill around 7 mile marker I just let it go with the Sasha downhill maneuver and caught up to him. Drafted a bit, then he invited me up front. I suggested we share quarters. He agreed. The alliance did not last very long, though. He asked me, how fast is that guy up ahead. I told him I was fairly certain he would run to 2:18. The moment I said it, he just took off, and was gone. I think that move cost him the second place, though.

10 miles in 53:36, 5 mile split of 27:28, not bad for the reduced downhill and no wing-endowing tailwind. Still ahead of the Trails Qualifier guy. Around 12, Ezekiel went by. He was in a hurry, I could not even think about latching on, and moved away from me fast.

Tail wind picked up a bit, I hit a 5:32 mile from 12 to 13, got to the half in 1:10:57. Then the wind just carried me from 13 to 14, I felt like I had wings, 5:22, and one more mile on the Hollow Road in 5:32. Hit 15 miles in 1:21:15, right on pace to the second for the Trials Qualifier, which was exactly my plan - make it to 15 on pace, the rest does not matter.

From that point on, coasted with the idea that anything sub-6:00 was good. The downhill was pretty much over, there was no tailwind, and we had some unpleasant rolling hills up ahead. Had to make a VPB stop shortly before 17. Got to 18 in 1:38:48. The next two uphill miles in 6:04 and 5:58, 1:50:50 at 20. Pushed it hard on the downhill mile (0.5% grade) from 20 to 21, got 5:46. I decided to use a different mental approach on the second half. Instead of thinking, you have X miles left, hold back, I was thinking, push hard the next mile, then if you die, just jog in, but push hard that one mile. It worked very well, I kept feeling strong in spite of pushing it. I suspected from my training that I should have been able to run slightly over 6:00 on a flat/slightly rolling terrain at 4500 feet with no glycogen in the muscles, and I wanted to prove it to myself. Mentally, it was very hard and scary. I knew what I had done in the first half. However, around mile 14 as the tail wind picked up and was carrying me, a song came into my mind, based around Proverbs 3:5 - I'll trust in the Lord with all my heart, and will not lean upon my own understanding. In all my ways I'll acknowledge him, and he will direct all my paths.

This tune stayed in my head for the rest of the race. It gave me the courage to keep pushing for one more mile without the fear of the consequences.

Over the next 4 miles I hit a string of 6:12 over the rolling hills and frequent turns. Again, taking it one mile at a time. Then as I was climbing the hill on Main street on approach to mile 25, I was able to remember how I felt there a year ago. I thought, there is no way I could qualify in St. George with a tendency to be this weak this late in the race and running this slow. The thought of even trying scared me. This time it was different. I felt no fear. I confidently charged up the hill feeling more strength on it than I ever have. I visualized mile 25 of St. George, being on pace for a Trials Qualifier, and being confident that if I gave it all I've on the last mile, I'd get it. This vision did not scare me, it did not look impossible anymore. I was not afraid of the pain of that effort anymore. At this point I knew that I had accomplished the purpose for which I had entered this race. I had broken the wall of doubt and fear.

Mile 26 started uphill, but then flattened out, and had a quick sharp drop. I felt strong, but had a hard time shifting gears, got 6:10. Then my favorite trooper appeared out of nowhere on a motorcycle. Yes, I have a favorite trooper. He was there with me when I won in 2003 and 2004. He was also there when it was not my turn to win, and still cheered for me in other races. Somehow he intuitively knew exactly what I needed. He turned on the flashing lights and the siren. I forgot everything, and went into the kick mode. The response I get from the flashing lights and the siren would make you think I have a history of juvenile delinquency or something like that. I managed 1:12 on the last 385 yards, uphill, that is around 5:30 pace. I felt like I could have held it longer, but not faster. I wonder what would have happened if he showed up at 23. 2:28:42 at the finish, first time under 2:30 since 2003 and second in my life on a non-St. George course of correct length (I ran 2:25:30 in DesNews 2004, but the course turned out to be short).

Hobie won with 2:16:39, then Ezekiel Ruto with 2:24:27, Joseph Sitienei 2:25:42. Steve was 5th with 2:36:43. The bloggers controlled the top 15, taking places from 4th to 12th. Congratulations to Kory, Cody, Adam, and Jon on setting PRs.

P.M. 0.5 with Julia in 4:22, 1.5 with Jenny in 14:23, then 3 with Sarah in 29:23. Pushed the double stroller with Joseph and Jacob. No noticeable side effects from the race aside from a small tenderness in the lower back (gone after 10 minutes of inversion table), and a small staleness in the legs.

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

A.M. Woke up around 3 AM to go to the bathroom. Then laid in bed, but my mind started playing BINGO, I was still wired from the race, but yesterday I did not know and finally rested enough to where the wiredness started interfering with my sleep. So I got up, read the scriptures, then finished my race report, and checked a few others. By the time I was done it was time to run. Ted and I ran easy 12 starting out the first .25 with James at around 7:45 average, then we gradually progressed to sub-7:00 at the end, total time was 1:27:42. Felt very strong, could not tell I had run a marathon, looked for signs, the only things I could discover is soreness upon touch in the shin muscles (good sign, I like to be sore there, this happens when I start getting in shape), and a tingly feeling for about a mile or two in the gluts after a VPB stop.

I told Ted I was looking forward to this week because it was going to be a break. Only 100 miles planned, all speed work at his pace, the long run of only 17 with half easy, and no race on Saturday. I never thought I'd ever think of a 100 mile week as a break.

P.M. 0.5 with Julia in 5:02 pushing Jacob in the double stroller, then 1.5 with Benjamin, and Jenny running, and Jacob in the double stroller in 14:16, then put Jenny in the stroller as well, and finished 2 miles with Benjamin - our time was 17:58. Then added 2.5 in 18:50.

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

A.M. Speed workout with Ted at 4:30 AM on the trail. He had an early meeting, I had to take my mother to the airport. It was dark. We warmed up 4 miles. Drafted behind Ted, occasionally would get wired a bit and pull alongside. We did 6x0.5 with 0.25 jogging recovery. 2:35.7 - 2:37.1 - 2:37.1 - 2:39.1 - 2:35.7. They felt at around the level of aggressive threshold, maybe approaching 10 K race pace. On the last one Ted said he might want to pick it up on the last quarter. So with a quarter to go I pulled alongside and picked it up to see if Ted would respond. But he did not want to be unduly uncomfortable, and dropped back a bit. I just coasted waiting for him to catch up, but he did not.

My mother lost 11 pounds in the month she was here, from 192 down to 181. She cannot run because of her leg injury, so she rode the stationary bike 6 days a week for 10 minutes, and ate our diet. At the airport she told me she noticed it was a lot easier for her to walk.

Some food for thought - an article on Hobie Call. A little old, but still an interesting read, perhaps even more interesting due to its age. For those who missed the big news. He ran 2:16:39 on Saturday in the Top of Utah Marathon. For those who do not know - Top of Utah course is not slow, but it is no St. George, and even no Chicago/London/Berlin, probably comparable to Boston. For those who know the course - his first half was 1:06:40, and he came back with 1:09:59. The second half has a couple hundred feet of net elevation drop, but it rolls more than enough to negate it. So in other words, had he had to run the Great Salt Lake Half out and back, he would still have finished under 2:20. So we've got a guy that can go under 2:20 on a flat course at 4500 feet.

He will still be a dark horse at the Trials, especially with the misleading letter "a" right next to his time for "aided course". If he runs an equivalent quality performance there, though, it would cause a lot of wide-open mouths. Chances are he will - I've never seen him crash in a marathon.

P.M. 2.13 to Benjamin's soccer game with him in 17:20. Another 0.75 around the field by myself in 5:46. Benjamin's team won 5-1. Back 1.6 in 14:23 with Jenny, then added to get 2.03 in 17:30.

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

A.M. Easy 10 from my house in 1:14:48 with different parts run with Jeff, Ted, and Adam at 5:05 AM. Felt strong. Last mile was 6:27 still in the dark, this is a big deal for me, I am usually not motivated to run that fast at any point this early and will not do it unless really trying. The form felt very smooth once we got into 6:40s, there seems to be a struggle, the feet still feel stuck on the ground as if there was glue on my shoes as always, but at the same time there appeared a new force that is fighting that glue. In the past there was no struggle, I just had to bite it and use pure muscle power to deal with the consequences of the glue.

P.M. Sick kids today. Ran with Julia, 0.3 in 3:10, she is recovering from a fever yesterday. Then 0.5 with Benjamin in 4:55, really sick, and 1 mile with Jenny in 10:08, on the sick side. Pushed Julia and Joseph in the double stroller for those. Then put Joseph in the single stroller and ran 3.25 in 24:23. felt good.

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

Update: For those who did not notice - the long awaited discussion forum is active, click on the link above.

A.M. Paced Ted through the Provo River 5 Mile Tempo along with Jeff. His plan was to go out at 5:50 and then pick it up. I asked him if he wanted us to just pull him, or if he wanted to trade quarters, he wanted to trade quarters. We warmed up 3.88 to the 2.5 mark (the gate by the Utah Lake), and started the run there. Went through the first mile fairly even in 5:46. Ted took the first uphill quarter strong, got 1:26, then I had to speed up to pass him to take mine, and I did not slow down, so our next quarter was 1:23. This gave us 5:41 mile. We hit 14:20 at 2.5, did a 180 and headed back. Next mile in 5:43. I announced we were 10 seconds behind the 5:40 guy and proposed to chase him down. Ted was reluctant, but he is a pretty easy going guy, can be talked into running faster even when he does not feel good. To make things more interesting he took his quarter and hit it in 1:22. I took the clue and did mine in 1:22. Jeff took his, and now really put some hot pepper on Ted's plate - 1:20, but Ted was still there with 1.25 to go, which was a good sign. I asked Ted if he wanted us to pull him, or if he wanted to take his quarter. He was smart - he knew if he could take his quarter he would break the rhythm and would not have to run the last mile in 5:23. But the momentum carried him through a 1:24 quarter, which gave us a 5:28 mile. I tried to be nice but not as nice as Ted wanted me to be on the next one - he wanted 1:25, I said he could do better than that, and ran 1:23, Ted survived. Jeff being a much nicer guy, took it easy on the next one - 1:24. Ted started smelling the barn and did his in 1:23. On the last one, I wanted to break 5:30, so I picked it up to 5:20 pace right away. Ted hesitated, but after some aggressive encouragement got going. I ended up getting 28:08.4 on my watch which I stopped a bit too late, Ted was a bit ahead and got 28:07.7 on his watch. This gave us 5:30 for the last mile, 1:20 for the last quarter, 10:58 for the last 2 miles, and 13:48 for the second half, actual negative split of 32 seconds, and effective negative split (adjusting for the uphill/downhill mile) of 25 seconds.

Ted set a bunch of records today, fastest 5 miles on that course, and fastest 2.5 as well. This run shows his threshold is good enough for at least 2:30 in St. George, and very possibly a life-time PR period. And based on his training, he should be able to use his threshold very well in the marathon.
This also goes to show that threshold improves a great deal just off plain aerobic conditioning. Ted's speed work has been very spotty, virtually non-existent in the last two months, but he's been running high mileage.

I was happy to be sufficiently conversational at 5:30 pace on a flat surface to announce splits and other news items every quarter, and do some aggressive verbal encouragement. This is a good sign for St. George.

P.M. Ran 0.5 with Julia in 5:25, she is feeling better. Then 0.5 with Benjamin in 4:28. He is feeling better too, but still not 100%. Then 4 miles in 27:34. Ran the last 2.5 without looking at my watch in  17:19, which tells me my true recovery pace is just a bit under 7:00. Then 1 mile with Jenny in 9:43. She is almost 100%, but not quite there yet.

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

A.M. Easy run with Ted and Adam. Adam went with us to the gate then turned around. 1:14:14 for 10.1.

P.M. Just ran with the kids. 0.5 with Julia in 5:22, then 1.5 with Jenny in 14:08, and 1 with Benjamin in 8:13. All are now healthy.

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

A.M. 16 mile run with Ted, Jeff, and Jeff's roommate Brad. Started at Borders at Riverwoods, and went out to the middle of nowhere in South Fork and back on. First 8 easy, chatted a lot, the horses were neighing. I said it is a bad sign for the training partners when your horses are neighing. Jeff said, what about if the training partner is feeling good. His horses were neighing as well. On the way back the plan was 6 at marathon pace, and then the last 2 at threshold to learn how to push at the end of a marathon. We got to the turnaround by Ted's GPS in 1:02:08, and then Jeff and I took off. We eventually worked our way to 5:20 pace and just held it there. The distance was approximate until we got to the Vivian Park (about 1.5 from the turnaround), after that we were on the magic triangles. Our first mile was 5:33 on the triangles, then 5:24, after that we starting gradually closing on the 5:20 guy for the last 6.5 starting at the first mark after Vivian Park. The pace felt relaxing, almost conversational. The little uphills felt like they were not even there, good sign because I remember how much they used to hurt at tempo pace, we never ran slower than 1:21 quarter even when it flattened out or on sections with uphill. Very good for only 1% grade drop. With 2 miles to go, the 5:20 guy had 12 seconds on us. I told Jeff it was time to start working, so we started trading quarters instead of just running side by side. We ran the last two miles in 5:14 each, good effort considering that it is only about 0.5% grade down with a bit of rolling, and I felt I still had some gas in the tank. I got exactly 5:20 average for the last 6.5 - 34:40 total, 42:53 on the way back, total time 1:45:01. Jeff struggled a bit on the last quarter as I tried to eat the 5:20 guy, and dropped back a second or two but he was still there, which is a good sign for him. I would not be surprised to see him qualify. His main issue would be fuel, but I think his threshold speed and mental toughness along with the downhill of St. George on the last 6 miles could save him. Jeff is very tough, he hangs in there to the last drop of blood.

Speaking of blood, a popular Russian song from the 90s popped into my head while we were running and stayed for the entire last 8 miles. It has a typical Russian stark reality flavor to it, which can be good to taste for aspiring to run a good marathon. The words go like this, the translation and the lack of life experience context loses quite a bit of that flavor - Your blood type is written on your sleeve, and your ID number is written on your sleeve, wish me luck in the battle, wish me luck. Oh how I do not want to be left in this grass, oh how I do not want to be left in this grass, wish me luck in the battle, wish me luck.

Our last 10 K would have been around 33:08. The elevation drop over the last 10 K is around 400 feet, less than DesNews, but I think overall better quality, so we can say I ran the equivalent of a 33:08 DesNews 10 K at the end of a 16 mile run with the first 4 miles of it fairly comfortable. This runs tells me that standard "A" would not be out the realm of possibility, although definitely not a given, marathon is a long way to go. But it is a good confidence builder.

Afterwards, went to pace Benjamin in the BYU Homecoming 5 K. We debated which race to run, the kids 1/2 mile, or the 5 K, Benjamin decided that beating adults is more satisfying that beating kids. I was a bit concerned how he would run after being sick last week, but the run showed that he recovered for the most part. The course was comparable to Heart of Holladay, maybe even a bit slower. The length was correct, it has been wheeled according to the race director, and it also showed to be 3.16 on my GPS. Benjamin ran 22:14.1, PR by 12 seconds, 59th pace, and 3rd in 1-12 age division. Afterwards talked to Michelle Lowry. I knew she was running the race, but I was afraid I might not recognize her because I've seen her only once in person, and she had dropped a lot of weight. My concerns were valid, she did look different from what I remembered, but still withing my ability to recognize after the adjusting the weight expectations in my mind. She ran 19:36, very good time, a mother of three running at the level of a college walk-on, and getting there from 21:10 on a similar course in a period of two months. I think she has a shot of a sub-3:00 marathon.

The warm-up with Benjamin was 0.32, also ran 0.5 with Jenny and Julia in 5:20.

P.M. Ran 1 more mile with Jenny in 9:11.

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

A.M. Easy run with Ted and Brad (Jeff's roommate), 10.1 in 1:14:44. Did 8x100 strides towards the end of the run averaging around 18 seconds on each. With only 101 miles last week (as opposed to regular 120) I was feeling full of energy. The horses were neighing again, the strides helped calm them down a bit.

A little later took Julia for 0.5, we ran 4:46.

P.M. We were out of toilet paper. So this was a creative shopping run. I learned about a store in Provo that finally decided to stop selling alcohol and tobacco after the owner's 9 year old daughter asked him why in the world he was selling this stuff. He had the guts to go through with his convictions, something that almost every single grocery store owner even in the Utah County seems to lack. At least, this is the only regular grocery store in the Utah County I am aware of with the exception of the  BYU Creamery on 9th East that does not sell alcohol and tobacco. I wanted to support the store owner on this decision, so we ran there to shop. The store is called Reams Family Foods, not to be confused with the more commonly known Reams chain, and is located at 2250 N University Pkwy in Provo over by Shopko, which happens to be a very nice run from our house, almost entirely on the trail, 2.74 miles out .  We took the double stroller, put Jacob in it, then Benjamin rode a bike, and Jenny ran for the first 1.5 miles, which we did in 13:36. Then they traded places. We ran another 1.24 and stopped at the store. Managed to load the stroller with a case of raspberries, 12 rolls of toilet paper, two loaves of bread, and two pounds of grapes. We even got a toy soccer ball for Julia. After another 0.76, Benjamin was done with his run. His time for 2 miles was 15:25. Then we put Benjamin on the bike, and Jenny sat in the stroller holding the rolls of toilet paper and another bag with grapes. Benjamin admonished me to catch the 8:00 mile guy for the whole run. I had a bit less than 2 miles to go and about a minute to close, no problem. With the help of 0.5% grade downhill,  fairly quickly got up to 6:20 pace, slowing down to around 7:00 in the tunnels. This must have been quite a scene to watch - a grocery loaded stroller with two kids in it, and one holding rolls of toilet paper going at a brisk pace. Slowed down to 6:40 with the same effort once it flattened out, what a difference  a 0.5% grade makes for a loaded stroller! Total time for 5.48 was 41:58.

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

A.M. Control 3 mile tempo run with Jeff this morning at 6:00 AM. Ted had to go a bit earlier. The rough plan was - 1:19 quarters - good, 1:18 - better, 1:17 too good in the first mile, really good otherwise, 1:20 acceptable in the first mile, too slow otherwise. The significance of this run is that a 3 mile tempo has accurately predicted my marathon times in the past, and I had the data for this particular course for Ogden 2007 and Richmond 2003.

Warmed up 3.38 very easy. Started at the start of the Provo River 5 Mile Tempo by Geneva Road. Jeff and I alternated quarters, I took the first. 1:17 - 1:20 - 1:16 (0.5% down) - 1:17 (0.5% down), first mile in 5:10 - 1:18 - 1:20 (slowed down to not miss the turnaround, it was still dark) - 1:21 (recovering from 180 turn) - 1:20 (Jeff started losing it, I passed him 50 meters early and went for it), 5:19 on the second mile, 10:29 at 2 - Jeff fell back, now I was running alone - 1:19 (up 0.5%) - 1:19 (up 0.5 %, had to break because a dog jumped right under my feet, bad place too, right in the middle of the uphill) - 1:20 (got complacent) - 1:17 (felt good, but could not put together a kick). Last mile in 5:15, total time 15:44.3. Jeff was suffering from our Saturday run combined with the lack of sleep, so he was reduced to coasting through the last mile in 5:42 and finished in 16:12.

This predicts 2:28 in Ogden 2007 (including the heat), and 2:26 in Richmond 2003 assuming a crazy start. Reasoning - ran this in 16:12 before Ogden this year, 2:32:00 in Ogden, and 16:22 before Richmond 2003, 2:31:45 with the approach "qualify or die", first half in 1:12:12, second in 1:19:33, and those halves would be within a minute of each other run at the same effort.

Sasha science analysis for St. George - in the 3 mile run prior to Ogden I did enough VO2 Max workouts to have the ability to cheat in the 3 mile tempo. Ted paced me on the last mile, I hurt a lot, and ran it in 5:18. It was a true VO2 Max mile. Today I ran 5:15 on the last mile for two reasons - did not have anybody around to stir the pot, and could not get to a VO2 Max pace due to the lack of training at those speeds. That is OK, it is good to have a governor that would not let me go that hard in St. George, especially on Veyo. Prior to St. George 2006 I ran the standard downhill 3 mile tempo from Nunns to the mouth of the Provo Canyon in 15:35. This one tends to be about 35 seconds slower than that one. That would give me 15:10 on the Provo Canyon tempo, projecting it over the marathon, 3:38 faster than my finish time in St. George 2006, so 2:21:54. I have a trump card to pull out - higher mileage and a lot more Big Workouts this year, so I should be able to hold the threshold better through the marathon. That could come handy for getting the standard A, or in case something goes wrong, a bit of a cushion to still get standard B.

P.M. 0.5 with Julia in 5:05, then 1.5 with Benjamin, Jenny, and an empty single stroller in 13:49, then put Jenny in the stroller, last 0.5 with Benjamin in 3:32 (you can tell his horses were neighing the whole way through Jenny's run), that gave us 17:21 for 2 miles. Benjamin's soccer team lost  for the first time this season 0-2. Benjamin's explanation of why - 75% of the opposing team were Hispanic, the rest were giants.

Taper time - I feel like I am driving through a construction zone, fines double,  with a trooper following me.

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

A.M. Easy 10, first 6 with a big gang at 5:00 AM - Ted, Jeff, and Adam, the remaining 4 just with Jeff. My watch got messed up during a VPB stop, but I figure my total time was around 1:11:50. Felt strong, could not tell much of a difference in effort between 7:30 and 6:20. The horses were neighing but I was able to hold them back for the most part. Ted said he had just one horse neighing.

P.M. Sick kids today again. Ate garlic and washed my hands after every suspicious contact as a pre-caution. They say a clove of garlic a day keeps the doctor away. Jenny had a fever, so she did not run. Jacob had a fever earlier today, and was breathing funny, Sarah took him to the doctor, but turned out he was just breathing funny, he was actually getting enough oxygen, and then he started breathing normally towards the end of the day. Benjamin struggled through 0.5 in 4:51, I call that sick for him. Julia ran 5:25 for her 0.5, she and Joseph were the only kids without symptoms today.  Ran to the church and back, that gave me another 0.25. Slacking a bit to keep the trooper from giving me excessive taper mileage ticket. I think the trooper's name is Ted.

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

A.M. Ran with the BYU ROTC Army Ranger Challenge cadets. Could not find shoes/shorts, had a late start, took a shortcut to BYU, 1.85 miles, 12:47 6:54.5 avg (used the new calculator feature I coded up yesterday to compute that) fairly brisk for 5:15 AM, but being late gave me the extra adrenaline. The cadets were doing 1-2-3-4-4-3-2-1 minute fartlek with equal rest. During the warm-up I discovered that at least two cadets spoke Russian, and it sounded good to me. With the temperature being 39 degrees, I spoke to them in a burly Russian man mumble rather than like a newscaster, making no allowance for it being the second language for them, and noticed no trouble on their part. I was actually expecting to find some Russian speakers since we had a group of about 30 and mentioned it to them. They suggested I should try Spanish. I did. Nearly half the group started chattering away simultaneously in Spanish telling their mission stories and jokes. Mind you, this is a group of white guys most of whom grew up in Utah in a family where English was the only language spoken.

Back in Moscow in the 90s as Russia opened up to all variety of missionaries I had a chance to meet with a number of representatives of different religions. None of the ones I met had more Russian fluency that a couple of phrase book sentences except for the young LDS missionaries who ranged anywhere from accented functional to virtually native fluency. Even some of the older missionaries, including the mission president and his wife were fluent. Some of them were really good. I remember talking to Elder Jamie Codee, who incidentally happens to be Kendra Hooper's brother, and Steve Hooper's brother in law, small world. We spoke for half an hour, with him doing a lot of talking, and I had not caught anything that did not sound even the tiniest bit wrong in spite of staying on alert the entire time waiting like a vulture to correct him.

That meant a great deal to me. The ability to communicate was not an issue. I was already fluent in English, and in fact, I preferred to have religious discussions in English. Religious terms in Russian just did not quite mean their dictionary translations to me, and when put together produced awkward and confusing sentences. 70 years of state-sponsored atheism had subtly corrupted the language. Those same sentences in English flowed naturally and carried a lot of meaning. I was able to get away from my background and think with a different perspective.

What did matter to me, though, is the thorough wide-scale effort to learn the Russian language, which is not the easiest for an English speaker. It represented preparation, solid work ethic, determination, and commitment. I figured a church that had the ability to instill what it takes to learn Russian in their English-speaking youth was up to something worthwhile.

The Spanish chatter ended with Ted announcing it was time to start the speed portion of the workout. That is when the group split, and we eventually ended up with 2.5 cadets. Ted ran the repetitions somewhere in the 5:30-6:00 range. 2.5 cadets were able to hang on until the 3 minute one. Ted wanted to run at least his marathon pace effort, so we would drop our precious 2.5, and then come back to them during recovery. 10 seconds before the first 4 minute one I had to make a VPB stop. Ran a 3:17 1000 (off Hawks marks) up 0.5% grade (the stretch of the Provo River Trail from Wills to Riverwoods), that felt like threshold-comfortable, caught up to/passed everybody, Ted was the hardest to catch, and I think he picked it up when he heard me coming because all of a sudden he started coming to me a lot slower while I was running a steady pace, then ran about 50 more meters with him, and the repetition was over.

Got back to Smith's Fieldhouse at BYU, then ran home without the shortcut. Total of 12.07 in 1:25:42. Sarah had a mile left when I got back, so we ran 1.05 together around the block in 10:00.

P.M. 0.5 with Jenny and Julia in 5:30, Jenny is still sick, but can run a bit, so her little sister Julia decided to be a nice sister and keep the pace moderate. Jenny did struggle, though, but that is better than yesterday when she could not run at all. Benjamin is feeling good today, is planning on running the cross country 3 K at Kiwani's Park tonight.

Benjamin thought he was feeling good, but really the sickness was still there. He suffered his way through 16:31. I think from now on we will have a rule that if 8:00 pace the day before feels hard or impossible, we do not race. Ran some errands to the church and back afterwards, total of 0.5. 

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

A.M. Easy 7.1 with Ted with some strides in the middle.

P.M. VanGoGo has been having bad luck with door handles. So I had to take it to the body shop again. Ran 1.51 back in 10:20. Ran a mile with Julia and Benjamin in the evening in 9:30, and then 0.5 with Jenny in 5:46. She is still sick, Benjamin is a bit better.

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

A.M. Woke up at 2 AM, head fuzzy, feeling chills. Thought it would go away, it did not. Decided not to run at all this morning. Maybe will do the kids runs if they are feeling good tonight, or maybe just a couple of miles of jogging otherwise. It is the same virus that my kids have gotten. No mucus, no cough, no major fever, but the chest gets very tight so it is painful to breathe. It feels like some nerves are getting irritated. Drinking lots of fluids, staying mostly in bed. Our bishop came and gave me a blessing.

P.M. After spending most of the day in bed decided to go for a brief shake-out. It went better than expected. At first my chest was hurting like crazy and I could not breathe. Started out at slower than 9:00 and for a while it felt like this was the limit. Then I learned how to manage the pain, and sped up to bit slower than 8:00. Hit the first mile in 8:26, then headed back. Learned to manage the pain even better, and noticed that my legs were actually just as strong as they were before I got sick, I just was not getting enough oxygen because breathing was so painful. My body told me it would be OK to push through the pain a little bit. I eventually progressed to 7:12 pace for the last 0.75, and finished 2 miles in 15:50. Never thought I'd be so excited about running 2 miles at sub-8:00 pace. I am learning to count my blessings.

It also helped me realize how tough my kids are being able to run through this breathing pain. Being an adult, and having experienced a lot in 23 years of running, I still had to reach into the depths of my mental toughness to be able to go.

Benjamin and Julia ran 1.05 with Sarah today. Jenny took a break, she is still suffering from the same chest problem. 

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Debt Reduction Calculator

Featured Announcements
Lone Faithfuls
(need a comment):