Breaking the Wall

SLC Track Club Winter Series 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: 188.26 Year: 188.26
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: 1657.61
Brown Crocs 3 Lifetime Miles: 1359.62
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Night Sleep Time: 15.37Nap Time: 0.03Total Sleep Time: 15.40
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Got good sleep. Did not need a nap in the afternoon. Had an interesting discussion after the missionary correlation meeting in the evening with somebody who served a Russian/Ukrainian speaking mission in the Ukraine. We discussed the use of zhe. It is a Russian word that means nothing, and is randomly inserted into spoken and sometimes written sentences for flavor and emphasis. If you do not use it, your speech sounds dry. If you use it improperly, you sound like a foreigner. There are no rules for the proper use of zhe, you go completely by feel. So very hard for our missionaries to learn. As we spoke, I had a bright idea of how to teach this concept. Imagine J. Golden Kimball speaking. Every time he would insert a certain word for emphasis, that is when you say zhe in Russian!

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

A.M. We got our share of snow. 10.1 with Ted in 1:19:35, form drills, then 2 with Benjamin in 17:47. Then Sarah told me the oats lady called and said our 400lb of oats we were supposed to pick up in Lindon on Saturday was getting snowed on. So she hurried there while I stayed home with the kids. Unloaded the oats after she got back, then ran 1 mile with Jenny and Julia in 11:53. Jenny still had a cough, so she is running less. Then added 2 on my own in 15:56.

P.M. Provo River 5 Mile Tempo on cross-country skis in the dark in 43:58. There was quite a bit of snow to work through. In the first and the last half mile it was clear enough to go 8:00 pace. I went 9:00 pace the rest of the way. For our Family Home Evening activity, packed the oats into buckets.

Night Sleep Time: 0.13Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.13
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Uneventful Half with Ted in 1:41:18. The biggest even was a VPB stop for me followed by 4 miles of catching up. The road was so slippery that 7:45 was all I could do. Then 2.1 with Sarah in 23:41.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 16:36. Then 3 by myself in 22:31. Jenny and Julia ran 1 mile with Sarah. The event of the night was giving Zhu a jump start from VanGoGo for which VanGoGo had to drive through lots of snow front yard - the 4wd has to be good for something after all. Zhu's internal light got accidentally left on after Joseph had been playing in the car and the battery was dead before we noticed it. Jump starts when it is below 20 F outside are always a lot of fun.

Night Sleep Time: 0.11Nap Time: 0.02Total Sleep Time: 0.13
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. 10.1 with Ted and Jeff in 1:21:08. Very slippery still, although better than yesterday. We got beat by the 8:00 guy and we did not care as we were lost in the discussion of performance enhancing drugs and Quality X.

P.M. Had an odd night with lots of happenings, so the run consisted of fragments. 2 miles with Benjamin in 17:18. After we found Jenny's shoes, 1.75 with Jenny  in 17:04. Then 1 mile with Julia to the ice sculpture and back in 11:09. Then dinner and the Daily Dose ESL class at the church (ran there and back with Julia, total of 0.2)  followed by family scripture study. Then 2.5 in 18:45 by myself afterwards.

Night Sleep Time: 6.75Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 6.75
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran 15.1 in 1:58:58. First 10.1 with Ted. Temperature was 15 F. Lots of snow on the trail still, slippery, had a hard time with 8:00 pace. There was one dry stretch where we did a couple of pickups at 5 K race pace or so, around 5:00/mile if Ted's GPS was right. It did feel like it could have been right.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 18:57, Jenny joined for the first 1.5 in 14:48. 3.75 cross-country skiing on the Provo River trail out and back on a 0.625 section in 28:46, 7:40.27 avg, which gives a 23:50 5 K. This would be a 5 K PR for cross-country skiing. The entire time I was in a running-like gait when you move both the arms and the legs as if you were running (as opposed to pushing off with both arms and gliding, or pushing off with both arms and only one leg at a time). I had to because the skis did not glide very well. I wonder what I could do on racing skis that glide optimally and a well-groomed track. Would anybody familiar with cross-country skiing  venture a guess? The effort felt like 6:30 pace running, but if I put any more, it did not seem like I was going any faster. Afterwards ran a mile with Julia in 11:29.

Night Sleep Time: 0.13Nap Time: 0.02Total Sleep Time: 0.15
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Uneventful 15.1 in 2:00:00. First 10.1 with Ted and Jeff. The events were the heat wave of 29 degrees, and a very slippery trail on the last 5 miles which slowed me down to 8:40 pace in a lot of places.

P.M. A heat wave has come - 39 F! 1.5 with Benjamin, Jenny, and Jared in 13:20. Jared was a bit behind with 13:37. Had an adventure with a couple of feisty dogs that got off their leashes. Told the kids to run ahead. Stopped and chased one dog until it started running away from us, but then it resumed the bad behavior once I started going in the planned direction. Finally decided to stop and throw a snowball at it. Being able to hit the dog with a snowball gave me a boost of confidence in my throwing skills (I've always been a very much below average thrower), and it also convinced the dog that I meant business, and it ran back to its owner. On the way back, I armed the kids with snowballs just in case, but both dogs were very timidly hiding behind their owners this time. Added another 0.5 with Benjamin and Jared in 4:29.

Then 1.05 with Sarah around the block in 11:27. Pushed Jacob and Joseph in the double stroller up to this point. Left the stroller at home, and added 2 more in 15:28. Julia ran 1.05 with Sarah.

Night Sleep Time: 0.11Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.11
Race: SLC Track Club Winter Series 5 K (3.107 Miles) 00:16:25, Place overall: 4
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Raced the SLC Track Club Winter Series 5 K in 16:25.1 taking 4th place after B.J. Christensen (15:44.0), Aleksander Thomas (16:02.1), and Steve Ashbaker (16:24.2). Adam Wende was 6th with 16:54.0, Ted was 8th with 17:16.6, and James Barnes was 13th with 17:46.3.

When we got to the start, Ted's car read 19 degrees. Fortunately there was no wind. Unfortunately there was still some snow and ice on the race course. Did some jogging around, then Rebeca Walter after realizing that the race was starting at 10:00 AM and her work was starting at 10:30 AM decided to just run hard on the course by herself and asked us if we wanted to pace her. So Steve and I paced her through a 20:25 5 K for our brisk warm-up. Did some more jogging around, realized it was now warm enough to run in shorts (24F), got dressed appropriately, and jogged to the start.

The race started at Saltair and went east on the frontage road along I-80 for 2.5 K out, then back the same way to the finish. Essentially flat course with some very insignificant rises and drops, nothing greater than 0.75% grade.

Went through the first mile in 5:08. B.J, Aleksander, Albert Wint and Steve Ashbaker were ahead of me. By the mile mark, I finally caught up to Steve. That 5:08 mile felt hard. No surprise - it is the fastest mile I've run since Thanksgiving. We worked together to close the gap on Albert. 8:07 at the turnaround, we had to come to a complete stop, and then accelerate back to pace through some slush. B.J had 7:47, Aleksander 7:51. We passed Albert, he saw our FRB commercial, and we kept on moving. 10:34 at 2 miles, that was a 5:26 mile. Wow! I did not think it would be that slow. But Steve was still with me, and B.J and Aleksander were within the correct amount of distance ahead, so I figured this was just a slow mile, nothing to worry about.

Now we started seeing oncoming traffic of runners. This made it harder to run in the clear grooves, and we've been hitting slush and ice more often. Steve pressed the pace. At first, I said to myself just make it through a minute of this, then back off. I made it through a minute, it was painful, painful enough to where I would have been forced to back off in the past. But something has changed. I did not have to back off, and just kept moving along. We made it to 3 miles in 15:54, 5:20 mile, not bad at all for the third mile through all the slush and snow. Then it was time to kick. Steve picked it up, I hung on most of the way. He had a little bit more umph in the last 30 meters or so and ended up beating me by 0.9 seconds.

Ran the course again for a cool down, plus some distance to Saltair. Got some food in, then drove back with Ted and Steve.

P.M. It was pleasantly warm in Provo, 40F. 2 miles with Benjamin in 15:00, Jacob woke up and I had him in the stroller the rest of the run, 1.5 with Jenny in 13:02, 1 with Julia in 10:44, and 6 through more snow than I hoped for still pushing Jacob in 47:35.

Night Sleep Time: 0.13Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.13
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Night Sleep Time: 15.37Nap Time: 0.03Total Sleep Time: 15.40
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