Breaking the Wall

Week starting Dec 30, 2007

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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
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Night Sleep Time: 41.00Nap Time: 4.00Total Sleep Time: 45.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Uneventful 15.1, first 10.1 with Ted in 1:14:22, I suppose having Ted around was the event. Then the last 5 in 33:09, total time was 1:47:31. The trail was covered with snow almost entirely, but the cold temperatures (18 degrees) created decent traction.

P.M. Cross-country skiing in the Hobblecreek Canyon. Up 1.5 in 13:28, then 11:55 down on the way back, 25:23 for 3 miles. The road was rough as usual. Then later 1.05 with Julia in 11:13, and 2 with Benjamin in 16:42. Jenny joined for the first 1.5 in 13:10. I have been telling Jenny to make sure she catches the 9:00  mile girl by the end. So with a quarter to go, she was finally ahead, and moving strong. She turned around, looked back, and said out loud: "Bye-bye the 9:00 mile girl!" Then she ran the last quarter at 8:00 pace and put another 15 seconds on her imaginary rival.

Night Sleep Time: 7.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.50
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. 15.1 with minor events in 1:42:09. Events were - ran with Ted for the first 10.1, 11 degrees at the start, good traction on crunch snow, two VPB stops with catch up at 5:55 - 5:35 pace (depending on how much snow was on the ground), and picking it up on the last 0.25 with Ted (1:27) and last 0.5 (2:56) at the very end. Fixed two bugs in the mileage board (I hope) - triathlete swim now will not bump them up into the spaceship mileage category, and the rollover from the lost sheep from the last month/year should not make them leaders for a couple of days in some cases in the current month/year mileage.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 15:51, 1.5 with Jenny in 13:17, 1.05 with Julia in 11:20, and 0.7 in 4:45 alone.

Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Almost uneventful 15.1 in 1:50:18. The events were "balmy" 14 degrees compared to 8-11 yesterday, having Ted around for the first 10.1, nice crunchy snow with good traction, and a tempo pick up on the last 0.6 with the last 0.5 in 2:53. First 10.1 were done in 1:17:14, 7:38.81 avg, we've been so engrossed in the conversation that we did not even bother to chase down the 7:30 guy. On the last 5 I picked it up a bit, total time was 33:04, 6:36.8 avg.

P.M. Cross-country skiing in the Hobblecreek Canyon while the kids were sledding. Today is Joseph's birthday, he turned 3. He loves sledding. So we figured we'd give him a bit of a present. Did not bring The Toy, used landmarks and a regular watch to judge the distance. Took it easier starting out, went up for 14:59, figured it was about 1.5 off the landmarks. 12:11 on the way back. I need to start waxing my skis. I do not know that much about cross-country skiing, but I think there is something wrong if on a certain stretch you run up at 6:00, with the same effort you run at 5:00 down, you ski up at 9:00, and with the same effort you ski down at 8:00. Going down 3% grade I cannot just coast, I would come to a standstill in 5 seconds, and going down 2% I cannot go into pushing off with both poles at the same time. Forget skating, down or up. At first I thought maybe the road was really bad, or maybe my arms were just too weak, but now I am more inclined to think it is the lack of waxing. I found a small patch of ice, and was able to accelerate skating on it, and if felt much different.

1.05 with Julia in 11:07, 2 miles with Benjamin in 17:05, Jenny joined us for the first 1.5 in 13:12. Additionally 0.25 from Benjamin's Boy Scout meeting place home, and from home to church.

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

A.M. A very eventful morning. It started at 12:10 AM. Jacob was teething, and refused to sleep. So I took him downstairs and worked. After a bit over 1 hour he was done crying and fell asleep. Then I was too wound up to sleep, so I read the scriptures. Finally laid down and fell asleep. Another event was forgetting it was Thursday, and that Michelle was going to join us at 6:00 AM. So I arranged with Ted earlier to run at 6:30 AM. Michelle, of course, was on time. So she had some time for a nice warm-up.

We decided we would run fast when we could. I had an unplanned tempo pick-up for about a quarter due to a VPB stop, and then the road was clear, so Michelle kicked into gear and that extended the tempo to 0.5. Then we ran 2.1 stretch in 13:04 with a slightly negative split and a 180 in the middle. The road was mostly clear. On the last mile, I challenged Michelle to break 6:20 knowing that two things would happen. It would be easy and doable, so she would succeed. She would not think it is easy, so she'd kick seriously into gear, and after the first quarter or half at a good pace, she would feel up to a raised bar. It worked out as planned. She hit a quarter in 1:29, the bar was raised to catch the 6:00 girl, then 1:31, then Ted pulled ahead a bit to do his standard Ted-rabbit thing, and we ran 1:28, and 1:27 with a college kick on the last 60 meters at a pace that felt like 5:20. This gave me 1:19:30 for 11.61.

Then it was time for more miles to finish the 15.1. After not sleeping, and not having anybody around to push the pace, I was perfectly happy to trot along at 7:20-7:30 pace wishing for the run to be over, and looking forward to a breakfast and a good nap. Then I met Tyler. He said he was planning to do a 4 mile tempo and invited me to join. Even though at that point I wanted little else other than breakfast followed by bed in that order, I remembered a principle. When you are invited to do something out of your comfort zone, do it! Many times while serving a mission there was a door I did not want to knock on for one reason or another. And I learned that those doors had a very high probability of having somebody who was very interested behind them. So I decided that I'd always knock those doors, on a mission and afterwards. An invitation to do something hard is often an opportunity for a blessing of some kind.

Since there was no good 4 mile stretch anywhere on the trail, we decided to do 6x1000 (actually 0.625 going off the magic triangles to be more precise) on the dry stretch between the Union Pacific and 800 N bridges. It has a fairly steady about 1% grade. To get the tempo effects we kept the rest very short, about 40 seconds, barely enough to lose the momentum, turn around and jog back to the start. There were a couple of snow patches. I did not like them. They broke the rhythm, and at that point, rhythm was very important.

The times were: 3:31 (up) - 3:24 (down) - 3:33 (up) - 3:24 (down) - 3:32 (up) - 3:22 (down). This was good training for the third leg of Del Sol. I was doing OK on fuel, but the neural drive was seriously lacking, as you would expect.

Ended up with 19.23 miles for the run.

P.M. VanGoGo had a coolant leak. Took it to Computune. The manager, Todd, knows his cars like a good shepherd knows his sheep. At least for VanGoGo, he could probably recite 90% of its maintenance history without looking at the record. Turned out the problem was a bad radiator. We are going to get it fixed.

VanGoGo is a GMC Safari 95 van. It got its name partially from Kip Kangogo. Interestingly enough they have actually had a brief meeting on one occasion in the Slate Canyon. We even wrote a song about naming VanGoGo (we name our cars as you can tell):

When Zhu got too crowded we needed a van.
So we bought a Safari to drive our small clan.
When we pressed the gas pedal, it made Zhu seem slow.
So we thought that maybe it could be VanGo.
But then we remembered that Van Gogh was weird.
We thought of his paintings, and the dreadful lost ear.
We thought of a runner, a Kenyan we know.
With this inspiration we said: "VanGoGo!"

It now up to 191K miles. Second engine, third transmission (we did two of those, but one was fortunately under warranty). When we get another kid, it will be time for an upgrade to GMC Savannah. But until then I want to see how far VanGoGo can go.

Ran back with Benjamin and Jenny, 2.25 in 20:12. Benjamin was complaining that Jenny would not let him catch the 9:00 guy. Then Jenny got into a good rhythm on the last mile, closed with a 1:57 quarter, and beat the 9:00 guy by 3 seconds.

Night Sleep Time: 6.00Nap Time: 2.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. The stomach flu that hit our kids finally made its way to me. Fortunately, last night I noticed that there was a problem and did not eat dinner. So I had nothing to throw up, otherwise it would have been messy. Woke up around 1 AM, was not feeling good, drank some raspberry tea, felt better, drank some Powerade. Then had a hard time falling asleep. Decided running 15 would be counterproductive due to starting depleted and the difficulty of post-run carb replenishment, so just ran easy 10.1 with Ted in 1:18:38 to get a breath of fresh air. Nice balmy morning - 37 degrees!

Handled a phone call with a client, then took a nice 2 hour nap to regain strength.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 15:55. Had him guess the splits, no feedback the entire time. He thought he was going 8:40 pace all along, this is a good sign. Then 1.5 with Jenny and Jared. Jared was a bit sick, and struggled. So we had to stop and wait for him a couple of times. Jenny's time was 12:58, not counting the stops. Then 1.05 with Julia in 11:40. Then 2 on my own in 13:59. The stomach is still giving me problems. Was able to eat one light meal, regular breakfast along some with crackers and honey sandwiches. Also was able to drink a fruit smoothie, and Powerade. Held everything down so far, but it was asking to come up during the run when I'd pick it up to 6:40 pace or faster.

Night Sleep Time: 5.00Nap Time: 2.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with Ted and Tyler. Slept fine last night, woke up only once to drink some raspberry tea and go to the bathroom. Was originally planning on going only 15 figuring the carbo-depletion from the stomach flu and eating less would make 20 counterproductive. Ted and Tyler were doing the Uneventful Half. The start was rough, had a hard time getting going. However, felt stronger and stronger as I went along. We kept picking up the pace. With about 2 to go Ted picked it up to about 6:10 - 6:20 pace. I really dislike that pace. It feels like driving through the mud. It is almost as hard as 6:00, and I do not like seeing 6:something splits when working that hard. At sub-6:00, and especially sub-5:45 I start feeling relaxed, like I am flying, and I do not mind working a bit harder to get that feeling. So with a mile to go I picked it up so we'd be sub-6:00. That felt good. Finished with the last mile in 5:44, last quarter in 1:22. Total time for the Uneventful Half was 1:31:41.

Drank some Powerade to refuel. Amazingly I somehow found a way to compensate for the effects of the stomach flu and extract the energy out of something. My body was telling me it could handle the whole 20 productively, so I went for it. It started raining pretty hard. I ran the first 4 in 26:55, 6:43.75 avg, and then my body said it felt good about 6:00 to the end. So I did 5:59, 5:55, and closed with 5:47 feeling progressively stronger. Last 3 in 17:41. Total time for 20.11 was 2:16:17, 6:46.61 avg.

P.M. Lots of snow on the ground, the kids ran slower. 1.5 with Jenny in 14:52, 2 with Benjamin in 17:20, and 1.05 with Julia in 12:05.

Night Sleep Time: 7.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.50
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Night Sleep Time: 41.00Nap Time: 4.00Total Sleep Time: 45.00
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