Breaking the Wall

St. George Half Marathon

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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: 93.66 Year: 93.66
Saucony Type A Lifetime Miles: 627.15
Bare Feet Lifetime Miles: 446.12
Nike Double Stroller Lifetime Miles: 120.59
Camouflage Crocs 2 Lifetime Miles: 938.88
Red Crocs Lifetime Miles: 1168.62
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
69.100.5013.860.7084.16
Brooks T4 Racing Flat Miles: 36.10Saucony Type A Miles: 39.21
Night Sleep Time: 48.00Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 49.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
0.000.000.000.000.00

Day of rest.

Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 9.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
13.000.000.000.1013.10

A.M. 10.1 with Jeff and Mary Ann in 1:17:33. Much better traction. Did short explosive sprints.

A.M-2 2 with Benjamin and Jenny in 18:28.

P.M. 1 with Julia in 10:34.

Brooks T4 Racing Flat Miles: 13.10
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
12.500.500.000.1013.10

A.M. 10.1 with Mary Ann and Jeff in 1:16:29. Did explosive sprints.  Ran 0.5 in 2:54 to measure Mary Ann's HR. It was 176. 5:48 pace felt very good, almost conversationally easy.

P.M. 1 with Julia in 10:02. Benjamin ate something bad and threw up. Nevertheless he managed to run 2 miles in 17:53. Jenny ran 1.5 with us in 13:26. 

Saucony Type A Miles: 10.75
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
12.800.000.350.1013.25

A.M. 10.1 with Jeff and Mary Ann in 1:15:53. Had a post-VPB tempo- 5/16 of a mile in 1:37, that is 5:10 pace. Felt very strong, it felt tempo, not 5 K pace. Experiences like this make me wonder if I am just one loose wire away from being able to race a half at 5:10 pace on a flat course at 4500 feet. But where is that loose wire and how do you connect it?

Did explosive sprints.

A.M-2. Went to Iain's lab to do force plate tests. Benjamin and I ran from the car and back, total of about 0.65. Jeff and Mary Ann did the tests as well.

P.M. 1.5 with Benjamin and Jenny in 13:00. 1 with Julia in 9:41.

Saucony Type A Miles: 10.75
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Comments(3)
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
12.900.000.000.1013.00

A.M. Big group today. Chauncy, Mary Ann, Jeff, and Daniel. First 6 with everybody, then Chauncy and Daniel were done, and the rest of us ran 4 more. 10 miles in 1:19:58. Did explosive sprints.

Did some standing broad jumps and vertical jumps yesterday, and in the process observed something and had an idea. I noticed that how far or how high I was able to jump did not quite correlate with perceived exertion. The best jumps happened not when I tried the hardest, but when somehow I was able to properly channel my force.  That led me to an idea for Quality X. The hypothesis is that a good portion of Quality X comes in how well the firing of individual motor units is synchronized. So with that assumption we want to train this ability in hopes that it will improve the performance of a runner in all distances at the same time.

So here is a rough idea. We start with a standing broad jump. Any jump that provides immediate and precise feedback on the amount of power generated will work. But broad jump is the easiest in terms of practicality - you just need a solid surface to land on, and a measuring tape. Keep jumping for maximum distance. Pay attention to how you felt when you jumped further. Try to duplicate the feeling and measure the success by the length of the jump it produces.

Once you know the feeling, in the ideal world, find timing gates, and do 10 meter sprints from a running start. Try to duplicate the feeling that produced the best jumps. Perfect that feeling in the context of running. Again, measure the success by how fast you are able to run.

Next step. 200-400 meter repetitions. Again we try to experience the same feeling of smooth and focused power, but now over a longer distance. We measure the success by the interval times. Solid aerobic base will help prevent aerobic fatigue from being a factor in the interval performance thus allowing the interval times to become an accurate measure of how we are doing on Quality X.

Next step - take it to 800 meter - 1 mile repeats and try to experience the feeling. Solid aerobic base becomes even more important.

Finally, we take it to the tempo run. Now the aerobic base is even more important, so let's hope it's there. Once we can do it in a tempo run, we are ready to race better.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin and Jenny in 18:00, 1 with Julia in 9:41.

Brooks T4 Racing Flat Miles: 10.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Comments(2)
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
12.300.000.400.3013.00

A.M. 4 with Daniel, Jeff, and Mary Ann. Dropped Mary Ann off, another mile with Daniel, he then turned around. Another 5 with Jeff. We did explosive sprints and a 1 K pickup in 3:15 with 200 splits off 40,41,39,38,38. 5:20 pace felt sustainable, 5:04 felt manageable but not sustainable. Total time was 1:17:35.

A little later 2 with Benjamin in 17:23 - Jenny ran 1.5 with us in 13:07. 1 with Julia in 9:37.

P.M. Drive to St. George.

Brooks T4 Racing Flat Miles: 13.00
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Race: St. George Half Marathon (13.11 Miles) 01:14:26, Place overall: 5
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
5.600.0013.110.0018.71

A.M. St. George Half Marathon. 1:14:26 officially, 1:14:29 on my watch. 5th place.

The course was great. It was measured properly for the first time in the history of the race since I can remember. The race director sent an email out saying it was certified. It was marked like a certified course as well - every mile and every 5 K, and every one of my splits made sense. From that I learned exactly how short the course was last year, and now everything falls into place. I thought it was rather odd that people ran so fast on the last year's course with as much as it rolls. I figure it was about 2:30 shorter last year, not 55 seconds we assumed from GPS readings. GPS consensus is not a substitute for course certification.

The race was a good opportunity to do a hard long tempo run in warmer weather on dry roads (although Hayden managed to take a spill on the icy bridge).

Splits by the mile according to the race mile markers except the first, which I got off Dave's GPS because we were on the wrong side of the road at mile 1:

5:40, 5:35, 5:20, 5:20, 5:44, 5:34,5:41,5:37,5:55,5:41,5:55,5:57, 6:30 for the last 1.11, 5:51 pace.

By 5 K: 17:10, 17:14, 17:51,18:16, last 1.0975 K in 3:58, on pace for 18:04 5 K.

By 10 K: 34:24, 36:07

Warmed up with Jeff.

Good group at the start. Pretty soon the group dwindled to Jeff, Dave, Hayden, Paul, Kyle Moffet, and a guy I did not recongize. Jeff controlled the pace start to finish, the rest of us hoped for mercy. We got lots in the first mile, less in the second, even less with each subsequent mile, and none after 8.

Interestingly enough, the contact with Jeff was being lost in the reverse order of placing with the exception of Hayden who lost it for reasons not related to fitness. And he fixed the order quickly, in less than a mile. Which was another confirmation of my hypothesis - for distances up to the half marathon if runner A and runner B have equal aerobic conditioning and both are racing anywhere close to 100%, both are running without a pack, and if runner A gaps runner B as early as 30% of the race distance, runner A will beat runner B. This might be true for the marathon as well if both runners are fit to run 2:09 or faster.

Or in other words, at a high level of aerobic fitness it becomes physically next to impossible to run the first 30% of your race too fast.

I lost contact with the pack around 4.5 on an uphill. But I was happy about my 5 K split, and a mid-race 2 miler in 10:40. I was also happy about 5 miles in 27:39, and 10 K in 34:24 on rolling hills. I did pay for it later with neural fatigue. Not very severe at first, but it kept getting worse, and the Bloomington loop set the seal on it to the point that I ran a 5:57 mile honestly trying.

I saw that Dave Holt was struggling and tried to reel him it. The problem was I was struggling just as much. His stride looked like he and I had the exact same problem - loss of zip in the legs. Which I explain as the brain being weaker than the lungs and heart. Not to be confused with the lack of willpower.

I made it to the finish saved by the chute from Kyle's powerful kick. Final times (official): Jeff 1:10:59, Paul 1:11:31, Hayden 1:12:41, Kyle 1:14:34 (I think).

Found Jeff, and we went to pace Mary Ann. She surprised me. I was expecting 1:24 at the very best. She ended up with 1:20:41 - a 3 minute PR with the last PR being from Hobble Creek. This is more like an 8 minute PR for her. Living up to her last name she showered her competition with a load of hammers. I think she is beginning to realize that 2:34 marathon for her is not as crazy as it sounds. Another confirmation of my hypothesis - a runner with initial world-class Quality X, even aerobically underdeveloped, is much more easily shaped into a world-class marathoner than a runner without initial world-class Quality X.

Then took Benjamin and Jenny and ran a mile out with them in the opposite direction of the racing skipping the final loop of the course. Found a runner named Jill from Spanish Fork, and pace her to the finish including the loop. Benjamin and Jenny were having so much fun with pacing that they agreed to run the loop even though it was beyond their call-of-duty mileage. Jill finished in 1:53:04.

P.M. 1 mile with Julia in 10:08.

Saucony Type A Miles: 17.71
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Comments(9)
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
69.100.5013.860.7084.16
Brooks T4 Racing Flat Miles: 36.10Saucony Type A Miles: 39.21
Night Sleep Time: 48.00Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 49.00
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