Breaking the Wall

October 2011

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15% off for Fast Running Blog members at St. George Running Center!

Location:

Orem,UT,United States

Member Since:

Jan 27, 1986

Gender:

Male

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.

Personal:

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 nine children: Benjamin, Jenny, Julia, Joseph, Jacob, William, Stephen, Matthew,  Mary, and Bella.  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: 238.56 Year: 1577.43
Saucony Type A Lifetime Miles: 627.15
Bare Feet Lifetime Miles: 446.12
Nike Double Stroller Lifetime Miles: 120.59
Red Crocs Lifetime Miles: 1909.35
Brown Crocs 1 Lifetime Miles: 1119.99
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
331.0523.7534.059.45398.30
Green Crocs 2 Miles: 381.85Green Crocs 1 Miles: 14.25
Night Sleep Time: 209.00Nap Time: 2.00Total Sleep Time: 211.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
12.200.007.300.0019.50

A.M. Total of 17.5. Did a tempo run on the Fast Running Blog 5 miler course. This course has been a stumbling block for me this year. I've had a lot of not so good workouts on it. Part of the reason is that I've been doing them alone and comparing the times to what I not too long ago got when running them with Jeff. Part of the problem is that to get to that part you have to run through construction, and for some reason this drains me mentally. And part of the problem is perpetuation - you have had a couple bad workouts, you subconsciously are expecting the workout to be bad, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. In any case, I felt it was time to break the spell.

So I started the tempo run opening with a 5:41 mile followed by 5:39. I did not like how I was feeling. After doing a quarter in 87 which felt a lot harder than it should have, I did not want to run like that any further and stopped at around 2.3 mark. Jogged a bit as I thought about what I was going to do. I could try another day, but that would mean running through that construction mess again while thinking negative thoughts subconsciously and trying to battle them consciously. There would be more negative thoughts. At the same time, if an 87 quarter after 5:40 pace for the first 2 miles felt hard, this did not predict good things for the rest of the workout. I figured I'd give it another try, this time with a more aggressive start and more mental effort put into the run. If nothing good is happening, at least I will get home faster.

So I started at the 2.5 mark in the opposite (slight uphill) direction and got the first mile in 5:35. Then I laid a goose egg with a 5:44, but it was not too bad as it was there was some minor uphill. But it wore on me mentally, and I lost steam. As I approached the turnaround I wondered if I should call it good, but decided to finish the full 5. It did help to know that on the way back I would have a small downhill. So my half-way split was 14:15, and 3 mile split was 17:08 (5:49). That was quite a goose egg, some of it is mental. I have a hard time with 180 turns. I slow down before one because I feel it is not worth it to give it a good push if you are going to lose the momentum already, and then on top of that it takes me a good half mile to get going again.

In the last two miles I felt better and gave it a good push.At first I thought just not give the 5:40 guy any more ground than he's already got on me. But then my 4th mile was 5:37, and I realized that with a 5:35 I could actually catch him, and 5:35 felt doable. So I went for it and ran the last mile in 5:30 with the last quarter in 79. This gave me 28:15.4 for the whole run, which is my fastest time of the year for this course by a few seconds. More important, though, is that I have made progress in overcoming this mental block.

Ran home, and ran with the kids. Benjamin, Jenny, and Julia did 2 miles. Joseph and Jacob did 0.5.

 After the run we listened to General Conference. There were a lot of good talks. I liked Elder Holland's talk on missionary work in the Priesthood session. I also liked Elder Anderson's talk on children. He quoted the frequently quoted scripture in Moses 1:39 that states that the purpose of God with regards to our existence is "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man". Then Elder Anderson stated the obvious but frequently forgotten - that before immortality there has to be mortality. In other words, before a person can receive the blessings of Heaven he must be born on earth.

Took a nap in between sessions to avoid a forced nap during the afternoon session. You must have a fresh mind when listening to General Conference talks - even though they discuss matters that appear rather simple I find them just a strenuous on the mind as lectures on deep theoretical math.

P.M. 2 miles


Green Crocs 2 Miles: 19.50
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.50Total Sleep Time: 8.50
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
0.000.000.000.000.00

Day of rest. The second day of the General Conference. Elder Callister's talk stood out to me. He presented the idea that the argument that the Book of Mormon came from the inspiration of the devil belongs to the same category as the accusations against Christ that he cast out devils by the power of the devil. To which Christ responded that the kingdom divided against itself cannot stand. What I find interesting is that that exact same thought came to me during a missionary discussion on Wednesday and I shared it. I knew where that thought came from, and it was a welcome confirmation of the source to hear it expressed again in General Conference from a member of the Seventy. Further along, he quoted C.S. Lewis on the subject of Christ being called "a great teacher". C.S. Lewis did not like the idea, and for a good reason. If Christ indeed is who he says he is, it is disrespectful to call the Son of God and our Savior just "a great teacher". If he is not, he is merely an imposter or a crazy man, and as such should not be called "a great teacher". Similar logic applies to the Book of Mormon. You cannot call it "a great book of history", etc. If there is any history in it, it is true, has a divine origin, and you should follow its teaching. There is no logical middle ground either on Christ or on the Book of Mormon.

Night Sleep Time: 9.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 9.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
13.500.000.000.7514.25

A.M. Total of 12.25. We had an adventure. We decided to go see the Frontier Airlines Provo - Denver flight take off and then do our runs on the Provo River Trail over by the Utah lake. Then we went for a run. I put William and Stephen in the stroller. Our real stroller is having issues, so we used the little one that is really not meant for running. Its wheels are too small. I thought they were big enough to go over a bump on the Provo River trail, but they were not. So down goes the cradle, baby, and all... William and Stephen both got cut lips and scraped noses, but otherwise fortunately no serious injuries.

I ran 2 with Joseph, Julia, and Jenny, then 0.5 with Jacob, and 5 with Benjamin. Also did a 0.75 pickup in 4:00 to retrieve the van because William and Stephen did not want to go back in the stroller after the accident.  Added more distance after getting home to make it 12.25.

P.M. 2 miles.

Green Crocs 1 Miles: 14.25
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
13.100.000.000.9014.00

A.M. Total of 12. Did 5 with Benjamin, 2 with Joseph, Jenny and Julia, 0.5 of it with Jacob.Then did the hill sprints. Was surprised that the performance improved quite a bit from last time - my fastest was 9.7 (last time 10.2). And they felt more "sprinty" as well. On the way back ran 0.5 in 2:27.5, and it felt good too.

P.M. 2 miles.

Green Crocs 2 Miles: 14.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
12.000.000.000.0012.00

A.M. I had to get up early to get my run done before going to the temple. Sarah could not sleep either and decided to run at the same time. I patrolled the trail for the duration of her run going back and forth along the route. I ended up with 7.5 miles, she did 5. Then I added another 2.5 miles to make it 10 total.

The kids ran on their own. Benjamin did 5, Jenny and Julia 2, Joseph and Jacob 0.5.

P.M. 2 miles.

Green Crocs 2 Miles: 12.00
Night Sleep Time: 6.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 6.00
Comments(1)
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
13.500.000.500.0014.00

A.M. Total of 12. 5 with Benjamin, 2 with Jenny and Julia, 0.5 with Jacob and Joseph, the rest myself. Did a pickup and ran the last 0.5 in 2:48. One difference I observed between a 2:30 and a 3:00 marathoner. Both are equally comfortable at 7:30 pace. At least the probability of a 2:30 guy choosing to run at 7:30 on his easy run is not that much different from that of a 3:00 guy. However, the difference is that the 2:30 guy has a jet engine that takes some effort to engage but once it gets going he can run 5:40 pace for a long time, though quite reluctantly because of the need to focus. 3:00 guy's does not have it. Now what about a 2:10 guy? That is a different animal. His natural choice of easy pace probability curve is shifted - I do not see him happy at 7:30 pace. He might choose 7:00, but more likely 6:30 or even 6:00. And his jet engine takes him to 5:00.

Maybe what that means is that your average 3:00 guy is really an undertrained 2:40 guy. The 2:30 guy is usually well trained.  So really there is not that much of a difference between those two in terms of Quality X, which is why they choose about the same easy pace. The 2:10 guy is well trained, but has a different level of Quality X. So he chooses a faster pace for an easy run. It very well may be that the natural choice of an easy pace is a strong predictor of potential after all, or at least stronger than you would think at first.

P.M. 2 miles.


Green Crocs 2 Miles: 14.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Comments(2)
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
14.000.000.000.0014.00

A.M. Total of 12. 5 with Benjamin. 2 with Jenny and Julia. 0.5 with Jacob and Joseph. The rest alone.

P.M. 2 miles.

Green Crocs 2 Miles: 14.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
16.000.006.000.0022.00

A.M. 20 miles with a 5 mile tempo in the middle. Same course as last week - Fast Running Blog 5 Miler course starting at the Utah Lake. I decided to start out a bit faster on purpose, then ease off without easing too much, and then give it a push for the second half. For one reason or another I found this approach more appealing. Perhaps it is psychological. A slower starting out pace still feels hard and I start doubting my ability to keep it, which makes me slow down even more. If I start out faster, I do not worry about the slowdown because I have some capital in the bank to spend, and then I have a reason to fight the slowdown because I do not want to waste my capital. The strategy produced good results today.

First mile was 5:30. Then 5:40 (minor uphill). 14:05 at the turnaround, and the third mile in 5:45 (16:55 for 3 miles). I told myself - do not lay a goose egg on the quarter before the turnaround, but I did regardless running it in 89. However, I was able to kick into gear soon, and after a couple of transitional quarters started hitting 83s consistently like a clock. The 4th mile was 5:33 (22:28), and now I was on schedule to catch the 28:00 guy (5:36 pace) if only I could hold 83s. I hit the next 3 quarters in 83. I wanted to hit close to 80 in the penultimate quarter, but it did not work out. I think if I had somebody with me it would have happened easily. But with a quarter to go I was mad that I did not get that split, and gave it a more diligent push, which gave me 80 for the last quarter, 5:29 for the last mile, and 27:57.3 for the whole run. This is the first time I cracked 28:00 on this tempo run this year.

Ran home making it the total of 14 so far, then 5 more with Benjamin. Then I had one more mile left. I saw I need to run 5:34 to get sub-7:00 average for 20. It was going to be a stretch. I could probably have run a nice straight mile in 5:34 just fine, but it was not the mile I was running. It had a total of 10 90 degree turns and one 180 which I find very annoying when fatigued. But I tried anyway and managed 5:46. This gave me 2:20:12 for 20 miles.

Jenny and Julia did 1 mile. Joseph and Jacob did 0.5.

P.M. 2 miles.

Green Crocs 2 Miles: 22.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Comments(1)
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
0.000.000.000.000.00

Day of rest. Went to church. The lesson in Sunday school was on family responsibilities. I missed most of the deacons class due to a visit with the Stake Young Men councilor. Then we had a Fast and Testimony meeting. Sarah played the organ. William and Stephen decided to get fussy at the same time. This presented some challenges, but we dealt with them.

Night Sleep Time: 10.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 10.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
13.450.000.000.7514.20

A.M. Total of 12. 5 with Benjamin, 3 more alone, ran 0.75 in 4:01 feeling good, in fact, I was planning to run it in 4:12, but after seeing how easy the first quarter was, I decided to keep the pace. I was happy with it because it is has five 90 degree turns. 2 with Jenny. 1 with Joseph and Julia - Jacob ran 0.5 of that. 1 more alone.

I got curious about how much energy running burns and decided to research the subject. I started by looking up different calculators. Every single one of them uttered the absolutely ridiculous heresy. 5 miles at 6:00 pace takes the same or less energy as 5 miles at 12:00 pace. What a joke! The conclusion is obviously absurd. Take took guys of the same weight with 20 lb of fat they can lose, feed them the same diet, have one run 5 miles at 6:00 pace every day, have the other do the same at 12:00, do that for three months, then weigh them at the end. The 12:00 guy will lose 5 lb maybe, the 6:00 guy will have all of his extra weight gone!

So I decided to track down where this heresy comes from and found a paper that used a linear approximation of VO2 as a function of speed with positive values of a and b, so VO2 per minute per kg = a*V + b where V is velocity. Well, if we try to do it per unit of distance, since t = d/V, we get  VO2 * t = (a*V +b)*t =  (a*V+b)*(d/V) = d*(a + b/V). From this formula as V increases, the energy required to run a unit of distance (e.g one mile) decreases! That is what those calculators base it on. Now that I am remembering, this is actually an accepted fact that VO2 increase with speed is linear.

This may very well be true, but I think what the formula is missing is something like c*V^2 term, or possibly a higher power to account for the anaerobic energy use. It is wrong to assume that all "aerobic" exercise is 100% aerobic. And from what I remember about the Kerb cycle reactions, the anaerobic energy is very expensive - you have to burn a lot of carbs for that extra 10 seconds per mile of pace.

There may be another explanation as to where the energy goes, but the point is - running faster requires more energy per unit of distance, not just per unit of time.  If you have just written out a fancy proof with the end result being that 1 = 3 you may not know where your mistake is, but you can be 100% it does exist.

P.M. 2.2 miles.

Green Crocs 2 Miles: 12.00
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Comments(5)
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
13.300.000.000.8014.10

A.M. Started with 5 with Benjamin which included hill sprints for me, but not for him as his foot felt tender. I did most of them in 9.9, but managed one in 9.3. Not sure how that happened. Then I did 0.5 in 2:27.4 hitting every single split exactly the same as last Tuesday.I have marks at 200, 300, 500, 600, and 700, and I checked all of them. I am quite a geek, I realize, as I remembered all of those splits from last week without recording them. Then did 2 with Jenny, 1 with Joseph and Julia, 0.5 with Jacob, and the rest myself to make the total 12 miles.

P.M. Benjamin and Joseph ran in a 1.5 K cross-country race in the Kiwanis Park. Benjamin finished 6th overall while winning the Midget division in 5:37. Joseph took second in the Pre-Bantam with 7:33. There were about 60 kids total in the race, quite a turnout. I was expecting fewer than that. Who knows what that was worth on the track, though.

I ran 2.1 miles later in the evening.

Green Crocs 2 Miles: 14.10
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
8.000.505.500.0014.00

A.M. Total of 12. Started with 5 with Benjamin. We paced Sarah through 0.75 in 5:32. Then we went further on the trail and shortly before the turnaround saw a girl going about 8:00 that made a good chasing target that ended up about 2:00 ahead of us once we turned around. So I gave Benjamin a challenge to catch her. He did quarters of 86 followed by 83, and there was still no sign of her. Then we had to stop to cross the road as the tunnel was flooded. My watch did not stop. We lost about 20 seconds. We started going and Benjamin was anxious to catch somebody still. Then we saw another girl going about 9:30, and she was quite far away. However, Benjamin hit the gas pedal again, and we ran 600 in 2:04 and actually caught her before it was time to get off the trail. So we ended up with a 5:58 mile that included about a 20 second stop. This would be Benjamin's PR if you took out those 20 seconds, and it also shows about what his race on Tuesday was worth.Definitely quite a bit more than 5:37 1500 for sure. Jenny ran the first 0.75 with us, then turned around and ended up with 1.5.

I ran 1.5 with Joseph, and 0.5 with Julia and Jacob. Then I decided to do an experiment. I wanted to know how much weight is lost at sub-6:00 over 5 miles in 50 F if you are wearing shorts and a T-shirt. So I weighed myself before the start and it was 146.2. Then I ran 5 miles on my nasty course. I really do not like that course, but I do not have anything better that starts and finishes at the house. Total of 14 90 degree turns, one 180 turn, 2 road crossings (flooded tunnel) complemented by dodging a gate each time, 4 tunnels, and 2 wooden bridge crossings.  I did the tempo run with the following splits - 5:56, 5:55, 5:50 (14:50 at the turnaround), 5:38, 5:36 - total 28:55.7. Felt good. When I finished I weighed myself again and it was 145.0. So 1.2 lb went away somewhere. There were no bathroom visits in between the weight measurements. So where did it all go?

 I was probably using up about 4.3 liters of oxygen per minute, and thus emitting about the same volume of carbon dioxide. So that is about 124 liters of CO2 that came out. Enough to fill up a small tank. Now we have to consider that O2 came in to produce CO2 that came out. CO2 density at 32 F and normal atmospheric pressure is 1.977 grams per liter. That should be good enough for this estimate. O2 density under the same conditions is 1.429 grams per liter. So 124 * (1.977 - 1.429) gives us about 68 grams of carbon lost via breathing. That is about 12% of the total weight loss! Through an intricate chemical process you could in theory collect all of this CO2 and make diamonds out of it. The process, of course, would cost more than the value of the diamonds produced. The rest was sweat I suppose.

P.M. 2 miles.

Green Crocs 2 Miles: 14.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Comments(3)
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
14.000.000.000.0014.00

A.M. Total of 12. 5 with Benjamin. Jenny did the first mile with us, and then turned around - total of 2. 1.5 with Julia. Joseph did 1, Jacob 0.5. Added the rest alone.

P.M. 2 miles.

Green Crocs 2 Miles: 14.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
13.250.000.000.7514.00

A.M. Usual 12. 5 with Benjamin. Jenny did 2. Julia did 1.5. Jacob 0.5. Joseph 1. I did a pickup for 0.75 in 3:58. It felt good.

P.M. 2 miles.

Green Crocs 2 Miles: 14.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
12.0010.000.000.0022.00

A.M. 20 mile run to Bridal Veil Falls and back. On the way out ran 7:00 pace up until I got to the Provo Canyon. Then slowed down to 7:30 for a while as the wind did not want me to enter the canyon, and then sped back up to around 7:15 after that. The time at the turnaround was 1:11:11. On the way back ran a tempo. I knew it was going to be good, but I was not looking forward to it. It was not the tempo that I minded, I suppose, I just did not like to run all 20 alone. But I did not have anybody with me today, so I did not have a choice. I suppose I did have a choice to run less or not at all but those were not reasonable choices and had the consequences attached to them that I did not want. 

So it was actually nice to run the last 10 fast - less time, a feeling of accomplishment, and the time is spent in a trance of sorts. There is some pain from the effort, but definitely no boredom. So I turned on the jet engine and went. Learning from the experience in the last two weeks, and, come to think of it, my entire racing experience, I decided to be a bit more aggressive in the early miles to get a good split and feel like I have some vested stake in the run. I've seen the jet engine work for years, but it never ceases to amaze me how one moment you are going 7:00 and you feel like you are working, and then the next moment you are going 5:30 and not only are you still alive, but you can keep it for 10 miles.

I hit my 3 mile downhill tempo course in 16:30, which starts around 0.5 into the tempo, and then was maintaining something in the 5:40 range for the next 2 miles or so (small downhill). My split at 6 miles  was 33:13, and then 39:04 at 7 miles (5:51 - uphill). Then I did 5:48 (downhill, but with turns, a bridge and a tunnel), followed by a nice warm goose egg of 5:54. The turns, tunnels, bumpy road, and bridges were too much for me by that point and I was losing concentration. On the positive side, this mile consisted of a half in 3:00, followed by kicking into gear and speeding up to 5:48. In the last mile I said enough goose eggs and ran it in 5:40. It took some effort, but I did feel that if I had somebody challenging me, I would go faster. My time for the last 10 miles was 56:26. I was happy that I was able to show the 5:40 guy who is the boss by 14 seconds. This was my fastest time this year for the course. It is not too far away from my best time ever, which is 55:38.

I weighed myself at 145.0 before the run, and was down to 141.4 after. So 3.6 lb loss over 20 miles. By the evening I got it all back up with a plus - 147 something, which is good - pack some nutrition and liquid. I have been wondering lately, however, if it is possible for me to weigh 138 lb at the start of a race with the same muscle strength and bone health. I do have to specify "at the start of a race" because of the fluctuation of as much as 10 lb depending on when the weight is measured. So somewhat on a whim I decided to try an experiment - do push-ups and situps twice a day to cause some muscle activity where it normally does not happen in hopes of packing my strength more compactly.The idea is that a slow-twitch fiber muscle mass gain will be small, but the activity will reduce the fat mass with a small net positive, and every little bit counts.

I've also been eating fiber to try to clean out the gut better. It may not be a lot, but there is no reason to carry that stuff around. 5 lb of dead weight for somebody in the 150 lb/16:00 5 K range is worth about 8 seconds a mile based off the VO2 Max model - assuming that VO2 max for a given runner on a given day determines performance 100%, and then going to the charts to see how much faster you would run with the current_weight/(current_weight-dead_weight) increase in VO2 max. Flawed model, but good enough for a quick and dirty estimate.  When the weight fluctuates as much as it does it is hard to measure the progress, but I think in the last two weeks I managed to get rid of at least 3 useless pounds.

P.M. 2 miles


Green Crocs 2 Miles: 22.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 1.50Total Sleep Time: 9.50
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
0.000.000.000.000.00

Day of rest. Went to church. The lesson in Sunday school was on eternal marriage. Then I went to the deacons' class, where the lesson was on perfection through the Atonement of Christ. The Sacrament meeting was taken up by the Primary program. Four out of our seven children were up there. Benjamin was too old, while William and Steven too young.

Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
14.000.000.000.0014.00

A.M. 12 total. 5 with Benjamin, then some with the other kids and alone. Jenny did 2, Julia 2 as well. Joseph did 1, and Jacob 0.5.

P.M. 2 miles.

Green Crocs 2 Miles: 14.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
13.250.000.001.0014.25

A.M. Total of 12. Benjamin did 3.5 with me. Did hill sprints. They were a bit longer because I could not find my old marks. Did 10 of them, the fastest was 11.7. Then did a 0.5 pickup in 2:28.0. Felt a bit sluggish. Ran with the other kids - Jenny 2, Joseph and Jacob 0.5.

P.M. Benjamin and Joseph ran in a cross-country meet at Kiwani's park. It was 3 K. Benjamin won the Midgets again with 11:32, and it was good enough for 5th overall. He battled in the kick with a boy about 3 years or so older, and lost respectably - only a second. I was expecting him to lose that kick by more, but he has matured now and his kick is very solid. Joseph ran 16:07 taking third in the Pre-Bantam. He has crazy turnover - bam-bam-bam-bam-bam. I ran 2 miles later.

Green Crocs 2 Miles: 14.25
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
13.000.000.001.0014.00

A.M. Total of 12. Did 5 with Benjamin. Jenny did 2. We paced Sarah through a 0.5 "shake the cobwebs" run in 3:27.4. She is making progress. Now sub-7:00 for 0.5. Her mile record is 6:52, and she is shaking her fist at it. After giving birth to seven children!

Benjamin felt energetic in the last quarter, so we ran it in 79.

Then I ran with the other kids. Julia did 2, Joseph 1.5, Jacob 0.5. Then I finished the run and did my own "shake the cobwebs" 0.75 in 3:48.1. Did not like how it felt. I wanted to hit 3:45 without feeling excessively anaerobic. I did not even hit the pace, and was feeling quite anaerobic already. You would think that if I can coast at 5:40 essentially forever I should be able to hit 5:00 for less than a mile without feeling too bad yet, but it does not happen. I suppose what I am observing is the proverbial resistance as you try to poke your head out of your currently aerobic zone and claim some new territory on the frontier. It is like stepping out of the safety of the trenches straight into the enemy fire. But new territory does not come unless you fight for it.

P.M. 2 miles.

Green Crocs 2 Miles: 14.00
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
12.250.250.750.7514.00

A.M. Total of 12.Started with a warmup and a cobweb shakeout 0.75. It went better this time. I got 3:45.7 with almost perfectly even quarters. I also figured out a trick on how to survive under enemy fire with more comfort - exhale more vigorously. This allows you to be more aerobic. Perhaps another contributing factor was the weight at the start of the run. Yesterday it was 146.6, today it was 145.0. However, yesterday I waited until the end of the run to do the "shakeout", while today I did it first thing. So I was probably close to 145 when I started it yesterday as well, except this morning I was fresher, which could also be a factor. But at the same time, yesterday was warmer, which helped. So I would say the difference is most likely explained by having had some practice at the pace from the day before.

Then 5 with Benjamin. The Utah County pumped out the water from under the bridge, so now we had a good mile. I remembered that at around 3.5 mark into the run, and challenged Benjamin to break his PR of 5:43 in the middle of 5. He resisted, I told him to at least try 5:40 pace for the first 0.5, and if it did not feel good, ease off there. So he decided to be obedient and went for it. First quarter in 82, then 83. He was holding the pace just fine, but in his mind he figured he was done. Just like in this joke. In Doctrine and Covenants in multiple places it takes about the worth of one soul, and how great shall be your joy if you should labor all your days and bring just one soul into God's kingdom. So a missionary says to the mission president - I've baptized that one soul, can I go home? So Benjamin just slowed down to a jog. I did not and yelled at him to catch me. He hesitated for some time, but then decided to be like Nephi rather than Laman and Lemuel. I slowed down to the pace that was fast enough for Benjamin to get the record, but slow enough that he would be able to catch me within a reasonable time. That ended up being a 92 quarter. Benjamin caught up, ran the last quarter in 81, and we ended up with the mile in 5:38.6, which is his new record. As soon as he finished he told me he was glad he obeyed and got the record.

I ran with the other kids. Jacob and Julia did 0.5, Joseph 1. I added some more to make the total 12.

P.M. 2 miles

Green Crocs 2 Miles: 14.00
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Comments(1)
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
13.000.005.000.0018.00

A.M. 16 miles total. I knew that I would not be able to do a long run on Saturday, so I decided to do a medium long today instead with a tempo. I did the Fast Running Blog 5 mile course in the normal direction. The weight at the start of the run was 144.4, so I was likely low on glycogen. It did show in the run. I opened with 5:29, then 5:32, and then three goose eggs in a row - 5:44, 5:42, 5:42. Total time 28:09.8. Some of it was the 180 turn and a slight uphill on the way back. But the difference of 13:51 - 14:18 in the halves was more than the uphill and broken rhythm could explain. Still, I'll take the bonk/goose egg pace of 5:42, it beats 5:50 that I was seeing in the spring.

Came home, then ran 5 with Benjamin (Jenny did 2), and 2 with Julia. Joseph did 1, and Jacob did 1.5.

P.M. 2 miles.

Green Crocs 2 Miles: 18.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
7.501.006.500.0015.00

A.M. Had only time for 12, and had to get up at 6:00 AM to do it. I suppose I could have gotten up earlier, but there is a fine balance between stress and recovery. At some point getting up earlier to run more miles becomes counterproductive, especially if you have a busy day ahead. The weight at the start of the run was 143.2, so even less glycogen apparently than the day before, and it did show. I wanted to get a better understanding of yesterday's 5:42 goose eggs, so I decided to do some moderate fast running in the middle of my run. I did not have a clear plan, just wanted to go at 5:30 pace until I started fading, maybe go some more to understand the pattern better, then jog some and try the same effort again to see what it would yield. 

So I did the first 2.5 of the yesterday's tempo in 13:59. The first mile was 5:32, then I slowed down to 5:39, but did not slow down more after that. After a bit over 2 miles of jogging I was back at the same spot and decided to run some distance of the second half of the tempo. From the start I noticed that I was feeling sluggish but at the same time the pace felt sustainable. It was marathon type "I am at mile 15, and I do not want to dump all of my fuel right there and then quite yet" feeling. Yet the pace was 5:37 for the first mile. Then I struggled in the next mile doing it in 5:46, but it had some uphill, and then was able to shift gears and run 2:45 for the last 0.5 which gave me 14:08 for the 2.5. So adjusting for the terrain difference between going out and going back, I essentially repeated my earlier 13:59 effort, but it felt different, more suitable for the marathon. In the first repetition I felt like I was running a bad half. In the second it felt more like a good marathon.

One thing that I did differently was an attempt to lighten the push while increasing the leg turnover. I do not know if the leg turnover was actually higher, but this was the cue I used. Regardless, I think what was happening is an increased recruitment of the true slow twitch fibers that are less glycogen-hungry as opposed to the intermediate 5K fibers that eat glycogen like there is no tomorrow. It is easier to run 5:40 pace by recruiting the 5 K monsters, as they are strong and this pace for them is a jog. Recruiting the marathon fibers to run 5:40 requires some practice.

On the way back saw that I needed to run the last 0.75 in 5:02 to break 6:40 average for 12. I moved my legs a bit, and ended up running it in 4:37, 6:10 pace. What was odd is that it felt like 6:40, maybe a bit under. I did not expect that at this point of depletion.

Benjamin did 5, Jenny 2, Julia 2, and Jacob 0.5.

P.M. Joseph ran 1.4 around the track at Runner's Corner. We went there to get Benjamin a pair of spikes. We ended up getting a non-spiked version of cross-country shoes for $20.

I ran 3 miles later with the last 1.5 in 8:44.

Green Crocs 2 Miles: 15.00
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
0.000.000.000.000.00

Day of rest. Went to church. We had a lesson on the law of chastity in Sunday school. A very basic subject, one of the Ten Commandments, and also taught at a higher level in the Sermon on the Mount. But, as evidenced by the commercial success of various enterprises that promote unchaste behavior, apparently this commandment is not well understood. Even in the Utah County. If it was, many DVD rentals would go out of business with the selection they offer.

Interestingly enough, the lesson in the deacon's quorum was on avoiding temptation. Then the talks in the Sacrament meeting discussed teaching the Gospel in the family. One sister told about how the experience she had with reading the scriptures and the family home evening growing up. She said she enjoyed it. It was a memorable experience for her. She asked her mother why it did not happen more often. The answer was: "Because you, kids, hated it." What I learned from this is that the kids may express negative thoughts at times, but we must have the faith to persist in the course that was given us by the Lord through His prophets. They will later appreciate it.

Interestingly enough, I do not recall our kids ever complaining about either the family scripture study or the family home evening. In fact, the oldest three - Benjamin, Jenny, and Julia in addition read the scriptures on their own without a reminder. Joseph and Jacob do a supervised personal study with a parent or an older sibling helping them find their place and helping them with the difficult words if needed.

I do not know if it is just that we got very good kids, or maybe it has something to do with the environment and upbringing. We never miss. We will postpone or cancel whatever needs to be postponed or canceled, we will do it in the most inconvenient circumstances if needed, but it will happen. We believe that if a certain form of entertainment is not appropriate for a child it is not appropriate for the adults either. We do not have any video games and the like in the home. We home school, which mean that our children spend more time with the parents. Our kids are expected to work in some way, and there is always plenty of opportunity. We eat at least one meal a day together. They never eat junk food and never watch dumb TV shows. In fact, we do not even have a cable TV subscription. Ironically, the only time we wish we did is during the General Conference, but radio does the trick.

Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Comments(1)
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
11.500.002.500.0014.00

A.M. Ran with Neal Ferrin. We did a 2.5 tempo on my "obstacle" course. It went quite well - we ended up with 13:40.9, 5:28 pace done very consistently. It was good to run with somebody. After the tempo I ran 5 with Benjamin. Jenny did 1.5, Julia 2, Jacob 0.5, Joseph 1. I ended up with a total of 12.

P.M. 2 miles.

Green Crocs 2 Miles: 14.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
13.002.000.000.0015.00

A.M. Ran with the kids. Benjamin did 5. Jenny and Julia 1. Joseph 1. Jacob 0.5. I ran some more to make the total 12. Ran the last 2 miles quicker, wanted to be done with it, and also wanted to practice economical running. The time for the last 2 miles was 11:32, 5:46 average pace.

P.M. 3 miles with Sarah in 26:14.

Green Crocs 2 Miles: 15.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Comments(1)
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
14.750.000.000.7515.50

A.M. Ran 0.75 in about 3:46. I had 2:29 at 0.5, but then ran into some adventures. Had to yell at two groups of teenagers to get out of the way as they were blocking the trail, and lost concentration. On top of that, missed my finish mark.Then came home, and ran with the kids. Ran with 0.5 with Jenny, Julia, and Jacob did 0.5. Ran 1 with Joseph. 6 with Benjamin. Taught him some Russian. We learned the phrase "Ещё немного, ещё чуть-чуть.", which means - "just a little bit left, just a tiny bit". I grew up with it. It was used to teach Russian kids to endure in a sport.You would often hear it during a track meet.

Come to think of it, it is much more effective for preparing world-class athletes than today's: "Everyone is a winner!" It is not the overhyped  excitement that wins, it is the quiet perseverance.

Total of 12 miles.

P.M. Total of 3.5. Part of it was 1 mile run with the scouts. I was amazed at how many of them could not handle the virtual pregnancy 5 K pace for even a mile. Sarah ran a 5 K in 34:37 while 8 months pregnant, and she is not a natural athlete. When we first got married and she tried to run with me I thought she had some kind of a heart condition. So I figure it is fair to call anybody under 40 years old who cannot beat that time "virtually pregnant". Hmm...a  high incidence of virtual teenage pregnancy among boys. Not good.

Green Crocs 2 Miles: 15.50
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Comments(1)
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
12.000.000.000.0012.00

A.M. 12 miles total. 5 of it with Benjamin. Ran with the other kids as well. Jenny and Julia did 1.5. Joseph did 1. Jacob 0.5.

P.M. Chess tournament. Had a good day, won both games. Interestingly enough, in both the opponents lost their queen on a blunder. Rating got up to 1565, the highest ever. Benjamin lost against an 1800+ guy, then won against a 1400. The game that he won was quite dramatic. Benjamin was one move away from getting mated, but he found a combination that sacrificed the rook, but eventually won the queen eliminating the threat of mate and winning the game.

His rating went up a little bit as well, he is now at 1575. I feel like I've proved to some extent that an old dog can still learn new tricks. It was inevitable, of course, that he would pass me in rating at some point, but I am happy that at the age of 38 I can keep up somewhat in the rating progress with my 12-year old son. Chess is a great way for us to connect because it is one thing where we are essentially equal. We play correspondence games online to improve our skills. We do it as a team, and discuss our moves. Sometimes we disagree on what the best move is. When it happens the one arguing against the move takes the side of the opponent and we play it out for a few moves. The proponent of the move must demonstrate that he can deal with attempted refutations. The opponent must find a refutation. There is more than a good chess move that comes out of this process. We are learning critical reasoning and how to disagree in a constructive way and then possibly accept correction so that we both are eventually led to the right answer.

Green Crocs 2 Miles: 12.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
12.500.000.002.0014.50

A.M. 12.5 miles total. 5 with Benjamin.Did 4x0.5 workout in the middle. Benjamin did the first repetition with me. I told him to make it to 600, then if he felt like he could run another 200 finish the repeat. We made it to 600 in 1:50. Then Benjamin backed off and finished in 2:32, which is his new record and a symbolic time because I ran 2:32.8 800 on the track at the age of 12 years and about a month. Benjamin is 12 years and 8 months old, so he is older. However, he did this in towards the end of a 5 mile run. Any distance with a significant anaerobic component that  results in a near maximum heart rate at the end is run best when you start with an HR of about 20-25% above resting. In other words, if you stop and let your HR drop, you will race an all out 800 probably good 5 seconds faster if not more even if you are extremely well aerobically developed. So all in all, he is doing OK.

I kept the pace more or less and finished in 2:28. My next repeat was with only 100 meters recovery, so I was feeling it some, but it was not too bad - 2:29.3. The remaining two were with longer recoveries and I got 2:28.3 and 2:28.1. The last one involved some dog dodging. I came to an almost complete stop as a dog lunged in front of me. I do not mind being chased by a dog, but I really do not like it when it jumps right in front of me. So I lost some rhythm, but made up the time anyway as I was a bit upset and gave it a push.

Jenny did 1.5, Julia 2, Joseph 1, and Jacob 0.5.

P.M. 2 miles.

Green Crocs 2 Miles: 14.50
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
12.0010.000.000.0022.00

A.M. Usual 20 miler. Benjamin ran the first 2 miles of it with me, then turned back. He ended up doing 5, including 1 mile with Joseph. Jacob did 0.5 with them. Jenny and Julia did 1.5. When I approached the Provo Canyon I realized a race was taking place on the trail. At first I thought it was some small race, but then I remembered that Halloween was approaching, so this must have been the Halloween half marathon. Seeing the spread among the leaders, I figured there were not a lot of people in the race. Turned out I was wrong. There was a huge crowd, and it kept getting bigger and bigger. I saw the 1:30 pacer, that was James Moore, and I think Allie was with him, then 1:40 pacer, then 1:50 pacer, then 2:00, then 2:10. I wondered how I would be able to do my tempo on the way back as the trail was completely blocked by the crowd running somewhere in the 9:00 - 10:00 pace range. I also saw various expressions of idiocy under the guise of a Halloween costume. I was not looking forward to seeing it again on my way back.

My split at 10 miles was 1:11:15 or so.  Then I turned around and started the tempo. My that time I was around the people headed for around 2:15, so for a while the crowd was not too thick, but not for long. As soon as I caught the 2:10 pacers, things became challenging. However, I managed to find a way to deal with the mess and maintain good speed. Most people got out of the way upon request. I had to issue that request every 5-10 seconds. I discovered that a two-syllable exclamation does not interfere with the breathing too bad if you wait to do it until it is time to exhale. Once in a while I had to do a maneuver similar to what we frequently see happening on I-15 during rush hour. I had to step on the dirt only two or three times, and bumped into a runner only once with a few more near misses, but those do not count. Somehow with all of the adventures I pulled off around 5:35 average pace through that section, which lasted around 4 miles, and it did not feel too hard.

Then it was finally over, and I was able to run normally. Not sure what the mile splits were exactly earlier, but I started caring about them only when I got past 6. I did the uphill mile in 5:47, then the next adventure mile in 5:47 again, then one more adventure mile in 5:47, and then I was fed up with it and ran the last mile, which is adventurous as well in 5:38. This gave me 56:31 for the last 10 miles. I was happy to have hit sub-5:40 average again on this course in this workout. At the end I felt strong, no perceived fuel shortage, but at the same time I could not put that strength to use. Nevertheless, I was happy to have felt this way - my weight at the end of the run was a low 141 lb, and I got it up to 147 by the evening. So I must have been quite depleted, and it is good to know that I can run sub-5:40 while at that level of depletion.

P.M. 2 miles

Green Crocs 2 Miles: 22.00
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
0.000.000.000.000.00

Day of rest. Went to church. The Sunday school lesson was on the New Testament, talked about 1 John 4 where John draws the connection between loving God and obeying the commandments. Then I went to the combined meeting of young men and young women where the lesson was on gratitude. Then we had a Sacrament meeting. Our family did a musical number. We sang "I am a child of God" with Sarah playing the flute. Yes, I went up and sang. So did all of the children. Even William tried to sing. Stephen stayed quiet, which I think is good for a 14 month old during a musical number. Sarah was concerned that William might wonder off and try to be disruptive, but I said that somebody in the congregation would stop him, and if they did not, they would deserve the disruption.

Night Sleep Time: 9.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 9.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
14.000.000.000.0014.00

A.M. 12 total. 5 with Benjamin. Jenny and Julia did 2. Joseph 1, Jacob 0.5. Ran a couple of miles with Neal.

P.M. For Halloween I was a runner. Ran 2 miles. I even wore a costume. Shorts and long-sleeved T-shirt.

Green Crocs 2 Miles: 14.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
331.0523.7534.059.45398.30
Green Crocs 2 Miles: 381.85Green Crocs 1 Miles: 14.25
Night Sleep Time: 209.00Nap Time: 2.00Total Sleep Time: 211.00
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