Breaking the Wall

Week starting Feb 25, 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: 51.55 Year: 2011.51
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: 881.43
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

Ted called the night before and said he would be doing a fitness test with his cadets. I figured I join them. As usual, it took me a bit longer to get ready in the morning than I anticipated due to misplaced clothing items. So I got to the start of the test late. Due to the slippery road conditions, they were running their 2 mile time trial indoors. I took off the jacket and gloves, but still had my tights and T-shirt. Too hot for indoors.

Knowing that decided to run at a good tempo pace that would not overheat me. Was planning on about 11:00 - 11:05. Figured I would slow down on the second mile due to overheating. To my surprise, I managed a steady pace at a fairly comfortable effort. Most of the 0.2 laps in 1:05, occasionally 1:04, and there were a couple in 1:06 when I could not pass slower runners in time before hitting a congestion. On the last lap, I sped up a bit and ran 1:01, this would be 5:05 pace. Total time 10:45, with the splits of 5:23.5 and 5:21.5. HR was 163 at the mile, but then crept up to 168 before the last lap, and maxed out at 172 when I picked it up. 168 HR feels a lot more miserable outdoors. Ted ran 11:01, also a surprise considering his race, overall fatigue, and doing 101 sit-ups in 2 minutes + 83 push-ups in 2 minute prior to the run. I suppose Sunday rest did him some good.

Afterwards he and I ran a few more miles to make it 10 for me for the day.

Ran with the kids in the afternoon.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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An easy run with Ted in the morning on the Provo River Trail towards the Utah Lake. Towards the end, did some accelerations, all at about 5:05-5:10 pace. First 6x100. Then I felt 100 was too short, I did 200 in 39. Then 400 in 76. Decided to do another 400 for a round number of speed - 75.5.

Ran with the kids in the afternoon. Benjamin earned his Bobcat badge in Cub scouts. This is the first time any of my children earned a scouting award. I got to hold him upside down while the award was being attached to his uniform according to the custom.

Made some improvements to the course tool. You can now add course description, and share courses with others. Feel free it give it a try. You can map out any course in the world as long as you can follow it on a GMap. Right now you have to go to GMap Pedometer to do it. I plan to fix it in the next couple of weeks so you can do your courses right here on the Fast Running Blog, depending on when I can find a coding time window.

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

Tempo run on the standard 5 mile course on the Provo River Trail at 4:45 AM. Warmed up with Ted - he started from BYU. He was feeling tired, so I ran the tempo alone. Due to the early hour and the lack of sleep I had a hard time warming into pace and pushing myself. It is a strange feeling when it happens. Subjectively, you feel like you are working and cannot go any faster. But HR readings are low, and the pace matches it. With that in mind, I adjusted my expectations. My goal was to hit somewhere between 28:20 and 29:00 minutes.

First quarter was 1:28, and I felt lazy. Then sped up to 1:27, still sleepy and lazy. Then did 1:25, and settled into a steady 1:25 per quarter pace. Mile in 5:43, next mile in 5:41, 14:15 at the turnaround(2:51). I felt like I was working hard, but HR was around 148-149. For a while, I thought The Toy was wrong, but it was too consistent to be wrong. Plus the early hour effect should have been contributing something.

A bit of a struggle with the rhythm after the 180 turn, then recovered. To test the measurements, I decided to pick up the pace to see what happens. 17:05 at 2 miles (5:41,2:50). I settled into a steady 1:23 per quarter pace. HR got up to 157. Unfortunately, as soon as I did, I had an urgent need for a bio-break. Trying not to break the rhythm I did it as quick as I could, HR dropped to 143. When I got going again, I had a hard time finding that magic rhythm. 22:42 at 4 miles, 5:37. Uphill quarter in 1:26, the next one in 1:25. Now it is time to get down to business and catch the 5:40 guy. But I am too sleepy to deal with as much pain as it takes, next quarter in 1:25 again. Now it is really time to get serious. Ran the last quarter in 1:20, had to dodge a construction cone at the end - they are building a new bridge around Geneva road and things are quite a mess right now. HR went up to 162.  Last mile in 5:37, total time 28:18, last 2.5 in 14:03, good negative split.

Ran with the kids in the afternoon.


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

Easy run with Ted on the Provo River Trail. Yesterday Julia wanted to skip after her run, so I did it with her. Then I thought I'd show her some other plyometrics.  I tried a bum kick and it felt really good for the form. So today I decided to try some bum kick and high knee in the middle of the run. Ted remembered doing those with Bill Dellinger , his coach at Oregon State who took bronze in the 1964 Olympics in 5000, where Bob Schul won the gold. With some instruction from Ted I finally got the hang of the bum kick more or less to where it was effective. My goal was to learn how to lean forward without bending at the waist. Ted remembered a secret - if you think lean forward, you will bend at the waist. If you think run tall, you will still lean, but you will not bend at the waist. We ran 10 miles at an easy pace.

Ran with the kids in the afternoon. 

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

Another run with Ted in the morning. He started at BYU, I met him on the trail. He wanted to go a bit longer than normal. We went faster than usual, the pace was under 6:40 once we got going. On the way back, we kept picking up the pace. I suggested we run a tempo on the standard 2.5 stretch and try to beat the 6:00 mile guy since we were almost going that pace already, and then run easy. Ted said he'd try. 

We hit the first half of the tempo in 3:04. Ted did not seem to want to go any faster, but the scent of the 6:00 guy ahead was too tempting for me to resist. I went after him. Next two miles in 5:53 and 5:52. HR stayed between 150 and 152 once it stabilized. Finished the tempo in 14:49. Ted ran it in 15:24.

Did bum kick plyometrics after the run. Also started working on the back in addition to my standard Pettibon routine and abdominal strength work.

Saw Dr. Jex. He had me stand on a vibration machine with the head weights, shoulder weights, shoulder harness, and hip weights on. Afterwards he took a couple of X-rays. He'll have the results next week.  

Ran with the kids in the afternoon. Planning to run early with Clyde tomorrow. Need to be back early - Benjamin is getting baptized.

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

Ran in the Provo Canyon with Clyde  . It was 10F and 7 mph wind blowing out of the canyon. Did a short warm-up, then ran the standard 12 mile tempo (4 stretches of the standard Mouth to Nuns Park 3 mile tempo). There was some snow on the ground, not too much, but enough to knock you out of rhytm when going up.  Kept  6:25 pace on the good parts of the up, slowed down to 7:00 on the bad parts, on the way down went a bit sub-6:00 once we got going. HR was low, probably because of the cold conditions - hovered between 135 and 145 depending on the effort. Ran the last mile in 5:35 to catch the 6:15 guy. Total time 1:14:41. I told Clyde he were to race today he was ready to run about 2:40 in Boston, maybe faster. The cold seemed to affect his nervous system - he would push the pace at times, and then all of a sudden lose the momentum, then repeat. Cooled down, total of 14.8 miles for the run.

Came home, and as they say in Russian, from the ship to the ball. Benjamin was getting baptized. I have performed many baptisms before, but this is the first time I got to baptize my own child. I have waited for this for a long time. When a person is baptized, he makes a promise to God to be faithful for the rest of his life. In our church we often talk about enduring to the end. Baptism is the starting line. Then it is all about enduring to the end. Very much like distance running.

Ran with the kids in the afternoon. Afterwards, Sarah and I went to the temple for our date. When I came home, there was still work left to do. Got it done. Now is the end of a long busy day, I am looking forward to hitting the sack.

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