Breaking the Wall

Murray Fun Days 5 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: 16.00 Year: 2314.91
Saucony Type A Lifetime Miles: 627.15
Bare Feet Lifetime Miles: 446.12
Nike Double Stroller Lifetime Miles: 124.59
Neon Crocs 3 Lifetime Miles: 1185.83
Race: Murray Fun Days 5 K (3.107 Miles) 00:17:45, Place overall: 6, Place in age division: 2
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2017-07-04 07:26:49
Workout Totals: Distance13.557Time1:50:18.80Pace8:08.22
Murray Fun Days 5K, 17:45, 6th overall, 2nd master, $75. First time without Benjamin since 2013, but I brought Joseph (19:22), Jacob (19:41), and William (22:16) instead.

Top 10:

1 Anthony Costales 28 M 15:46
2 Teren Jameson 40 M 16:09
3 Andrew Blackham 17 M 17:17
4 Albert Wint 37 M 17:38
5 Nan Kennard 35 F 17:39
6 Alexander Pachev 44 M 17:45
7 Matthew Wolpert 41 M 17:47
8 Dennis Simonaitis 55 M 17:50
9 Tyler Howland 33 M 18:00
10 Andrew Ross 17 M 18:12

I was happy with my race even though I got chicked. It is rather interesting, though, that in 5 of my last races that offered prize money I got chicked in 4, but got masters money in all. I suppose given a choice - get beat by a woman, or get beat by another master, especially a 55 year old, I would choose getting beat by a woman. What is interesting, though, is that before last year I had never won prize money of any kind - even as a master - in those circumstances. So the explanation is that for 3 out of those last 5 I traveled outside of Utah to a big race with a nice payout. But another part of it is that Utah is also starting to produce/attract top performers.

My first mile was 5:42. I ran it fairly relaxed with Dennis and Mark. I tested them with a couple of surges and could tell that at least at that point I was a bit stronger, but not strong enough to drop them. Plus there was nobody close enough ahead except maybe Albert that I could go to. And even Albert was too far away, and it was just not worth it to even try. So I just ran with Dennis and Mark, trying subtly to egg them on to go just a little bit faster waiting for the "getaway car".

The "getaway car" arrived shortly before mile two in the form of Andrew Blackham (Merrilee and Jason's son). I was able to latch on. He separated me from Dennis and Mark very quickly. The effort felt very hard and miserable, but I knew this was probably my best chance to escape. So I just kept telling myself, make it to the mile marker 2, make to to the starting line marker... I think I made it just a little bit past that. My split at the turnaround was 6:04, 11:18 at 2 miles (5:35 high), and 11:59 at the starting line.

Then the real misery began. I reached my limit and could not go with Andrew anymore. I had to drop back, and now I was alone - a target for the wolves behind me. I was like my son Joseph when he was maybe 3 years old. He liked to sit and watch Benjamin, Jenny, and Julia play, and when the opportune moment arrived he would pounce on a toy they were playing with and run for his life. They would eventually catch him, but he gleefully enjoyed his moment of glory.

I knew if it came to a sprint I would likely outrun Dennis, but not Mark. There was another "secret" wolf - Matt Wolpert. I did not even realize he was in the race - he started it late and ran 17:20 for the actual running time, but only 17:47 officially.

So I hung on hoping for some rescue from the wolves which came in an unexpected form - Nan. She brought only one of the wolves with her - Dennis, but I was running scared and thought Mark was somewhere around as well. When she passed me, she was moving fast, but I knew I had to stick with her or else the wolves would eat me for lunch. So I did the best I could. I was about to drop back when we entered the park, but then told myself - hang on for the downhill. That decision was worth at least $25 if not the whole $75 of my prize. When I got to the top of the last hill I was very much ready for the race to be over. But it still had about 200 meters left. I said a prayer asking the Lord to give me the strength to not get passed, and was able to find another gear to hold my position.

Joseph opened with 6:21, then it is not clear what his splits were. Jacob was with him at the mile, then dropped back. William's splits are unknown. We will see what the kids will do in Draper Days.
Leg 1:Distance1.900Time15:36.00Pace8:12.63
Warm-up with Kenny the Apache.
Leg 2:Distance4.307Time28:49.00Pace6:41.44
The race + waiting/jogging afterwards.
Split 1:Distance1.000Time5:42.80Pace5:42.80
Mile 1 - with Dennis and Mark.
Split 2:Distance1.000Time5:35.50Pace5:35.50
Mile 2 - mostly with Dennis and Mark, Andrew Blackham (Jason's and Merrilee's son) passed us and I latched on for a bit to build a gap.
Split 3:Distance1.000Time5:51.60Pace5:51.60
Mile 3 - full of drama. Got passed by Nan, but held off the old wolves.
Split 4:Distance0.107Time0:34.70Pace5:24.30
Kick - holding off a pack of wolves.
Split 5:Distance0.000Time1:37.30Pace0:00.00
Joseph's time.
Split 6:Distance0.000Time0:19.00Pace0:00.00
Jacob's time.
Split 7:Distance1.200Time9:08.10Pace7:36.75
Went to find William, but missed him. Searched far enough to exclude all even semi-plausible contingencies before returning to the finish. He actually finished in 22:16.
Leg 3:Distance2.600Time22:19.90Pace8:35.35
Cool-down with Kenny the Apache.
Leg 4:Distance0.500Time4:20.10Pace8:40.20
With Matthew on the little boy course. He insisted on going even though it was 100F. I figured half mile is short enough that this would not be dangerous, but long enough for him to learn to not insist on running in such conditions. It was tough for him - I think he learned.
Leg 5:Distance2.000Time17:46.20Pace8:53.10
At night with Stephen on the little boy course watching fireworks.
Leg 6:Distance2.250Time21:27.60Pace9:32.27
At night with Sarah to the park, 2 loops, and back - also watching fireworks.

Camouflage Crocs 2 Miles: 13.55
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From Glory in the long run on Mon, Nov 13, 2017 at 19:03:08 from

Truly an amazing race report. You are a master in many ways.

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