Breaking the Wall

Week starting Feb 10, 2008

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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: 36.00Nap Time: 2.33Total Sleep Time: 38.33
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Got good sleep. Went to church. Went with missionaries to help translate for a couple of adopted teenage kids from the Ukraine. They spoke a dialect that was some mix of Russian and Ukrainian that I was able to understand without problems to my great surprise. They understood my Russian as well without problems. What I thought was interesting, though, is that apparently they were not able to speak real Russian. I have talked with Ukrainians before, and they have always spoken the cleanest Russian they knew, maybe with an accent, once they realized that was the only Slavic language I could speak. This was the first time I've ever spoken with a Slavic language speaker in the gift-of-tongues mode - I speak Russian, he does not know it, but understands it, he speaks whatever he speaks that is not Russian, but somehow I understand it as well.

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

A.M. Finally the roads are clear enough to go a more normal pace the entire way. Warm weather, around 32 degrees, ran in shorts. Ran 5 miles with Ted and Jeff at around 7:30 pace, dropped off Ted, then we ran a bit under 7:00 pace, then the devil entered into us and we ran a 6:10 mile. We decided to chase the 7:00 for 10 miles, and closed with a 5:49 mile. I continued for 5 more miles, ran some with Matt Anderson who I found on the trail, ended up with 1:43:54 for 15 miles. 

P.M. 1 mile with Benjamin and Jenny in 9:56, 0.35 with Julia in 3:36, then 4 alone in 29:45. 

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

A.M. Easy 6 with Ted in 46:08, then about 1.5 with the missionaries. They are supposed to exercise 30 minutes a day 6 days a week according to the mission rules, but they have been slacking off. I had a scripture for them ready - Hebrews 5:8, and told them that this morning they were going to learn obedience by the things they suffer. Then ran 3 miles with Sarah, and 4.5 more by myself. Total time for 15 was 2:01:40.

P.M. 3 miles cross-country skiing, 1.5 with Benjamin and Jenny in 14:23, 1 with Julia in 10:45. Had the missionaries over for dinner. They were taken to task for being out of shape by the mission president's wife as well.

Night Sleep Time: 6.75Nap Time: 0.33Total Sleep Time: 7.08
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with Ted and James. Dropped Ted off at 6 miles. Total of 10 miles in 1:17:30.

P.M. 1.5 with Jenny in 14:20, 1 with Julia in 11:18, 4 alone in 29:16, 2 with Benjamin in 16:33, and a small 0.25 mile errand. It snowed a bit, and it was windy, but I enjoyed good traction while I could.

Night Sleep Time: 6.75Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 7.75
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. The morning was off to a bad start. I looked outside and the ground was covered with snow. Ted was running over 10 minutes late. This was very much unlike him - he is usually at least a couple of minutes early. I figured maybe he decided not to risk his knee this morning. I was not looking forward to running 15 miles all alone through several inches of snow. Then suddenly out of nowhere Adam showed up. We had barely run 0.05 out when we saw Ted's car. He lives further up the mountain and it took him a long time to dig himself out of the snow this morning. We turned around, and started the run again with Ted. Ted and Adam ran 6 miles with me. Then I decided to go for 10 more instead of 9 since I did not know where the 9 mile turnaround would be. The pace was very slow, I decided not to fight the snow and enjoy nature. Ended up with 2:14:47 for 16.1, 8:22.3 average,  plus the initial 0.1, which makes it 16.2 for the run.

P.M. Took Benjamin cross-country skiing at Soldier Hollow. Was pleasantly surprised that it takes only 40 minutes to drive there. Benjamin really enjoyed it, he stood on skis much better than the first time  a year ago. This was his second time ever cross-country skiing. I ended up with 3.87 miles in 32:48, some of which included towing Benjamin with a harness. I went out and back to him the rest of the time. Soldier Hollow course was not as flat as I thought it would be. Going up by myself I slowed down to 10:00 in some places, then going down I went 6:15. On a short stretch that was truly flat I was able to go 7:30.

Then ran with the kids later. 0.5 with Benjamin in 4:19, then Jenny joined us and ran 1.5 in 13:25, this gave us 17:44 for 2 miles. Then another mile with Julia in 11:48.

Night Sleep Time: 7.75Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.75
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Discovered that Clyde was in town from his blog. Called him and invited him to run with us. He was without wheels so I picked him up at his hotel. We started early and ran 6 miles before meeting Ted and Jeff. The trail was mostly clear with occasional snow/ice patches.

We started slow, 8:47 for the first mile. Then gradually sped up to 8:00. Half way through I realized we were not going to make it on time unless we sped up to 6:00 pace, so we did. Clyde was cold at first, then he got feisty, and hit a quarter in 1:23. That hurt. I missed the time on the next one, but it was probably just as fast. But it hurt less. On the last quarter before my house Clyde pushed the pace again, and we ran a quarter in 1:21 with three 90 degree turns, one on ice. That hurt as well.

We waited for Jeff then decided he was not going to make it and started without him. Clyde and Ted mostly chatted about wrestling, and I just listened. Which was just fine as the pace quickly progressed into the low 7:00 range. Even though I can race a marathon at 1:20 per mile faster than that on the same terrain, I do not enjoy conversations at 7:00 pace, I cannot maintain it without focus, and it is hard to focus on the pace and the conversation at the same time. Then about 2.5 miles away from my house I hit a VPB, and this gave Jeff a chance to catch up. Turned out he had a hard time clearing off his car windows.

Dropped Ted off 12 miles into the run at his 6 mile mark. Went for another 4 with Clyde and Jeff. Clyde needed to be back by 8:00. So we gradually picked up the pace to around 6:20 range. It took just as much effort at 7:00 earlier - both felt hard. Then I noticed we were on track to catch the 7:00 guy for the whole run. With 0.25 to go I announced that we needed to close 9 seconds. I did not realize that Clyde was bad at math. All we needed to do was continue at 6:20 pace. Clyde picked it up to 5:20 instead. Then with 100 to go he shifted gears again. We ended up running the last 100 in 18 seconds, which included a 90 degree turn on ice. Our last quarter was 1:18.5, and we beat the 7:00 guy by 17 seconds. Our time for 16 miles was 1:51:43.

P.M. 2 miles with Benjamin in 15:25, 1.5 with Jenny in 13:20, 1 with Julia to her friend's house via a scenic route in 11:01, 0.35 from the friend's house alone, back to the friends house later (0.25) to pick Julia up. 

Night Sleep Time: 6.75Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 7.75
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Long run. Cold morning. The temperature was 12F at the start at 6:00 AM. Wore racing flats for a change. My feel felt like they have missed the feel of the ground.

Started with Ted, Jeff, and Tyler. Tyler's ankle started hurting, so he turned around after 0.2 to be safe. Talked about politics the first 6 miles. Averaged barely under 7:30 - 44:38. The road conditions were good - very little ice or snow, mostly dry ground.

Dropped Ted off, continued with Jeff. We gradually progressed from 7:30 pace to sub-6:30. Passed a large group of runners. One of them acted liked he wanted to challenge us. I encouraged him, but he was only kidding. This got my adrenaline flowing a bit, and the pace dipped under 6:20. It felt good. We gradually closed on the 7:00 guy, and passed him about 11.52 into the run. Jeff pressed the pace a bit afterwards. I needed to go to the bathroom bad, but figured the quicker we ran the quicker I'd get there, so I just toughed it out. Our last two quarters were 1:29 and 1:25, the 6 mile stretch in 38:47, and 1:23:25 at 12 miles.

Dropped Jeff off, went to the bathroom, prayed with the family, talked to Logan on the phone, then went for the remaining 8 at a tempo pace. I figured with all the clothes, the cold, the bridges, and being at the end of a 20 mile run, anything under 6:00 would be good. Hard to get going after a stop. First two quarters in 1:33 and I felt like I was pushing it. Then I got into a groove and started hitting 1:27 - 1:28 quarters when the road was good. A few 1:30 - 1:33s with slippage, micro-hills, and sharp turns. A couple of 1:29s when I let my mind drift. Somehow a song from Кавказская Пленница movie came to mind:

Где-то на белом свете,
Там, где всегда мороз,
Трутся спиной медведи
О земную ось.

"Somewhere in the world where it is always freezing the bears are rubbing their backs against the rotational axis of the earth."

I felt I was in that place with the bears, and maybe even helping them rotate the axis with my legs.

Ended up with 47:28 for the last 8 miles, 5:56 average. Total time for 20 miles was 2:10:53, 6:32.65 average. Felt strong but not fast at the end, probably due to the cold and the clothes. Interestingly enough, it took me almost 4 minutes less to run 20 today than it did to run 16.1 on Thursday.

P.M. It was much warmer. I ran in shorts. 2 with Benjamin in 17:02, continued on to finish 5, threw in a couple of tempo pickups to test the nervous system. Ran 0.5 in 2:54 up 1% grade with a bit of a roll, and then 1 mile in 5:35 down 1% grade again with a roll. Total time for 5 was 36:47.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Night Sleep Time: 36.00Nap Time: 2.33Total Sleep Time: 38.33
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