Breaking the Wall

Uneventful Provo Canyon 10 K

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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: Uneventful Provo Canyon 10 K (6.214 Miles) 00:34:42, Place overall: 2, Place in age division: 1
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Benjamin, Chad and I raced the Unenvtful Provo Canyon 10 K. Benjamin won with 34:41, I was second with 34:42, and Chad third with 35:23. For those unfamiliar with the term "Uneventful" it means we ran a time trial. The origin of the term comes from the idea that a rather unventful training run for a faster runner could happen at race pace for somebody else, so if they got together the faster runner could help the slower one run a fast time. Except in our case we did not have a faster pacing runner - I am too slow now to be Benjamin's pacer, but he is not yet fast enough to be mine. So we just raced.

We warmed up about 2.7 miles to the start a little bit past Bridal Veil Falls. The course went from the magic mark there to our house. First 4 miles down the canyon, then another mile that looks flat but has a small net drop, and the last mile a very unpleasant uphill.  Net elevation drop is 380 feet or about 1.1%. So roughly your Top of Utah Marathon compressed into a 10 K.

Our splits were 5:32, 5:35, 5:34, 5:30, 5:34, 5:48 for Benjamin, 5:49 for me. Chad stayed with us up to the 3 mile mark then started to slowly drop back. I was surprised to see how strong he was - I was expecting him to fall off around 2 miles at this pace. Benjamin and I ran side by side for the first 2 miles or so, then I tucked behind him and hung on for dear life. I set a goal to not be gapped by more than 10 seconds at the finish which meant I needed to make it to the quarter to go. Benjamin made it a little easier for me by periodically taking his foot off the gas and running the uphill at the end a little slower. Our goal was sub-35:00, so I think both of us stopped really pushing it once we saw we had it securely in the bag. I must admit I had an small desire to kick with 200 to go, but there were two things that held me back - 6% uphill grade and knowing that if I challenged Benjamin and he unleashed his kick 100% he would gap me by 3 seconds instead of just 1.

Benjamin improved his time from Apr 23 this year on the same course by 49 seconds. We should probably add into consideration the fact that back then I pulled him the entire way, while now he had to take the lead. For him this is a huge factor - he responds to competition. I still cannot tell if he honestly ran his guts out, or just barely fast enough to make Dad miserable. Also the temperature was 28F today and it was dark which made us a little sluggish at the start. No big deal if he did not run his guts out - at the tender age of 14 caution is good.

We dropped Benjamin off at the house and took the other children for their runs. Benjamin ended up doing 9, Jenny 4, Julia 3, Joseph 3, and Jacob 2. Chad and I did a mile down the canyon at the end in 5:26 with 18 miles total for the run. This is a very good sign for Chad - in the past he would be lucky to break 6:00 at the end of an 18 miler especially if there was some hard running early on. I was also happy that I could do that 5:26 mile. I reached my goal of 20 miles at sub-6:00 pace this week.

Then Chad went home and we listened to the General Conference together as a family. I really liked Elder Uchtdorf's talk. One thing that stood out to me in particular was - "doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith". This is very profound. It takes somebody who understands faith to put it in those words.

P.M. Took William for a run in between the General Conference sessions. He wanted to go to the track and run a mile time trial. This was signficant - he does not usually volunteer for that. Track running is tedious for a 4-year-old kid. Especially the one with William's personality. But somehow he got the idea, so this was an opportunity not to be missed. He went through the first lap in 2:02. So far so good. Slowed down a little on the second, but that was expected. Then comes the unexpected - his Croc came off. He could not find his and wore Jacob's. I had seen him run in those before, and did not recall them causing any problems, lazy as I am I allowed him to run in Jacob's Crocs. I told him to keep going without a Croc, and he did. Soon after the other one came off as well. Good thing we are on the track. Second lap in 2:11, followed by a respectable third lap in 2:07. He reached the 300 meters to go mark in 6:54 and then his 4-year-old lack of maturity showed - he stopped and said he did not want to run anymore. I told him he only had to run less than a lap to get his record and a prize with it, so he started going again losing a few seconds there, probably about 7. He reached the 200 to go mark in 7:33 and the 100 to go in 8:04. Then for some odd reason he stopped right at the 1600 meter mark with the time being 8:30. It took me some time to explain to him that he was not done, but he still managed to finish the full mile in 8:40.0 which is his new record by 2.7 seconds. I think I am going to call this "William's Beer Mile". But this does show that with a little bit of purely mental training and with the Crocs that are the right size he is capable of around 8:20 and very soon will be breaking 8:00. Then we'll be able to say - "In our family if you cannot break 8:00 in the mile we put you in a diaper!"


Green Crocs 6 Miles: 19.00
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
From Tara on Tue, Oct 08, 2013 at 10:20:03 from

Nice work! I love William's track story. Hahaha:)

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