Breaking the Wall

Week starting Feb 11, 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: 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: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Easy run with Ted. Standard time, standard place. Legs still sore from Saturdays race - quads and gluts. Not too bad, probably a bit better than after Alta Peruvian last year. About the same as after the St. George Marathon. I am happy that the gluts are sore. It is a challenge for me to get them to work.

Ran in the afternoon with Benjamin. Total of 11.6 for the day.

Checked the news today and found this.  A body was discovered near the course we ran this morning in the river. I think this is the closest I've been to a murder scene running or otherwise. Nevertheless, I feel at peace that comes through faith in Christ. I have not always felt that peace, so I know the difference.

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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Tempo run with Ted. Legs still a bit sore from the race. Could tell kneeling down for the prayer in the morning, but could not tell walking down the stairs.. On the first 2.5 my plan was to run with Ted until it was about time to catch some guy. I was not sure what guy it was going to be. I wanted to beat my 4 K split in the 5 K race (13:54), but would have been happy just breaking 14:00.

The conditions were good. 30F, dry roads. Ted set a good pace and we hit 0.75 in 4:11. Then he faded a bit, and I decided it was time to catch the guy. From that point, I did every quarter in 1:22 with the exception of the one between 1.25 and 1.5, which was 1:21. Finished in 13:44, caught the 5:30 guy. HR eventually worked its way up to 160.

During the recovery jog I wanted to run slow, and we did.  On the way back I wanted to relax at my marathon race pace, and I sure did. First quarter in 1:29, HR still at 135. Then I took out a whip and hit myself to go faster. Next three quarters in 1:28, 5:53 for the mile, HR not even at 150. More whip. Next mile in 5:46, HR at 152, 154 on the uphill section. More whip. Now the pace is 5:40, and the HR is 157-158. Now we are talking marathon pace business. Finished in 14:29.

The whip was needed for two reasons - one, you need it at 4:45 AM, Ted served as one on the first tempo, but not on the second. And the legs were tired from the race at the very start. They were fresh enough on the first repetition, but tired on the second. They were working way too hard for the HR of only 150.

Ran with the kids in the afternoon. Benjamin is fully recovered from the cold. Jennifer ran for the first time since being hit by the fever on Saturday. 

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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Easy run with Ted in the morning. Was not feeling well. Stomach bloated. After a couple of bio breaks started feeling better. We had some profound conversations and were going about 7:30-7:40 pace, good for recovery. Profound conversations are important, recovery does not happen without them as silence makes you feel bored and you start to push the pace.

Did not follow Ted into town in anticipation of another bio break. Once left on my own, sped up to 6:30 pace, which felt just as good as 7:30. HR was a bit high, though, probably from subtle dehydration - 138-140 at 6:30 pace.

We decided to celebrate the Valentine's day with a mile time trial for Benjamin and  Fast Running Mommy.  Benjamin is sensitive to cold air at high speeds, so we decided to do it indoors at the BYU indoor track. To allow me to pace both, we did it separately. First, Sarah ran a huge post-Jacob PR of 7:33, which is not too far away from her life-time PR of 6:52. It is nice to be married to a woman that is in better shape 6 months after giving birth to her fifth child than she was in high school.

Afterwards, Benjamin ran a PR of 7:09.

Feel like I am catching a cold, a large doze of onions, garlic, and EmergenC. Nice present for Fast Running Mommy for Valentine's day, I am sure glad she is a good sport about it.

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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

My original plan was to run a 5 mile tempo. However, due to feeling a little sick I decided to do whatever Ted would. He wanted to do some shorter repeats. We first thought we were going to do 5x1000 in 3:20. On the first one, we missed the mark on the trail. So we went to 0.75 getting 4:04.9 for the split. Then we did another 0.75 in 4:11.5. Ted was not feeling good. We decided today was not a good day for him to do a hard speed workout. He felt his form had problems. I suggested several 100 meter sprints. We did the first three in 17.7, 16.3, 15.8. On the last one I suggested we should get a bit competitive to see what we can do, but not so competitive that we get injured. I can be up to a whole second faster in 100 meter sprint if I have somebody racing me by my side.

I did the last one in 14.7, Ted felt his quads getting tight and backed off a bit to 15.0. I am very pleased with this time as it was done in less than ideal conditions for sprinting. The trail was wet, it was dark, I had to watch the road not to miss the mark, too early for the nervous system to be ready to sprint (6:30 AM), chilly (32F), the trail did curve some on that stretch, and I was wearing tights and a jacket. I suspect I would have have broken my PR of 13.9 today in ideal conditions. This gives me some food for thought - my speed work since St. George was limited to a couple of races, a few strides, tempo runs, and very infrequent 1.5 mile repetitions. However, I have been working on my core strength, and doing Pettibon treatment. Back when I set my 100 PR I did 10x60 up a 3% grade once a week for a couple of months. This provides an argument for my hypothesis that for a distance runner, top speed comes more from proper spinal structure than from explosive strength. And if that is true, then for a true distance runner (slow-twitch dominant) an all out 100 meter sprint is a reliable test of biomechanical efficiency.

Ran with the kids in the afternoon.

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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Easy run with Ted in the morning at our usual time. The form felt good. Had a discussion about how effective running doubles is for marathon training. I think the consensus was you need to go at least 10 in one run consistently, and do frequent tempo runs of 10 - 12 miles at marathon pace. However, Ted is more in favor of longer runs than I.

Ran with the kids in the afternoon. Benjamin ran with Sarah and her new training partner Adrianne this morning, so it was just Jenny and Julia.

Have been doing 1 minute sit-up sessions in the last few days. Managed 40 in one minute today, that's a a record. In November, I could only do 37 in two minutes, but I was sick that day. 

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

The throat was still scratchy. Figured I was one really hard workout away from coming down with a cold that will seriously impair me, but could handle a lighter workout. Decided to cruise along through the standard Saturday 10 mile tempo. Warmed up and cooled down with Ted, but we ran the tempos separately.

Road conditions were great. Temperature a little cold, 27F, but not too bad. Went at a steady pace on the standard course. 2.5 out in 14:38, 180 turn and back in 14:40, out again in 14:37. HR was 150 for the first 4 miles, then drifted up to 155 on the 0.5% grade mile, then backed down to 152. On the last one, saw that I was only 9 seconds behind the 5:50 guy. Decided to catch him. Hit 5:46 mile. HR went up to 155. Kept 5:50 pace on the rise, HR up to 157. 0.5 to go, and he is still ahead. Shifted gears to 5:40. Legs are tired, do not want to do it. HR up to 158. Quarter to go, he is still ahead. I really need to get going. Sped up to 5:20, HR at 164. Caught him with 100 to go, then being tired and feeling the job was done eased off and finished with him. Last mile in 5:42, total time 58:20, last 2.5 in 14:26.

Ted set a course PR with a low 1:01. We cooled down for another 4+ miles to make the total 16.

Ran with the kids in the afternoon. Benjamin turned 8 today. He will be getting baptized in 2 weeks.

Worked on the GPX course analyzer. As of this writing, it can read,parse,store,update, delete, and compute the total distance. Probably another 2 hours of work from first release.

I am in the catch 22 with the Fast Running Blog - to be able to make it better, I need to work on it full-time. To work full-time it needs to generate revenue to replace my other full-time work. To generate that much revenue, it need to become better. But, hopefully, one step at a time, we can get into a better cycle. The volume of data , the number of active bloggers, and the amount of search engine traffic (three variables that drive the revenue) has doubled in the last three months. Hopefully the trend will continue.

On the positive side, Marathon And Beyond accepted my proposal to write an article about the progress of runners on Fast Running Blog. 

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