Breaking the Wall

Week starting Feb 27, 2011

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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: 238.56 Year: 1577.43
Saucony Type A Lifetime Miles: 627.15
Bare Feet Lifetime Miles: 446.12
Nike Double Stroller Lifetime Miles: 120.59
Red Crocs Lifetime Miles: 1909.35
Brown Crocs 1 Lifetime Miles: 1119.99
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
67.900.508.003.5079.90
Gold Crocs 2 Miles: 79.90
Night Sleep Time: 55.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 55.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
0.000.000.000.000.00

Much needed day of rest. Went to church. Today was a special day. Benjamin received the Priesthood. He is becoming more of a man in a number of ways. 

The lesson in Sunday school was on scriptures. The Elder's quorum lesson was on service. The talks in Sacrament were on using faith to handle adversity. 

Night Sleep Time: 9.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 9.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
11.500.500.000.0012.00

A.M. My regular 12 mile run. Some of it with the kids. Benjamin did 3, Jenny and Julia 2, Joseph 1, and Jacob 0.5. I did a pickup for the last 0.5 in 2:54.

Gold Crocs 2 Miles: 12.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
9.500.003.000.5013.00

A.M. Repeat of last week more or less, except I ran 13 miles total and did 2x400 towards the end of the run. The 3 mile tempo went like this: 5:37 - 5:44 - 5:44 -  total 17:05.8. Last quarter was 84. Pretty much an identical repeat of last week except it was 3 seconds per mile faster. I'll take those 3 seconds. It also felt more manageable, even though I still slowed down after the first mile. The legs still were feeling weak in the last mile. The problem likely was low glycogen from the long run on Saturday. I ran with the kids - Benjamin did 3, Jenny and Julia 2, Joseph 1, and Jacob 0.5. In the last 1.5 I did 2x400 - 75.2 (rolling), 74.5 (down). I could really tell in those quarter that the legs were fatiguing fast and were in slow motion. A quick quarter surprisingly is a great test of fuel levels. Even though you theoretically have plenty of glycogen to run a fast quarter at almost any time, when the levels dip below a critical threshold there is some negative feedback mechanism that reduces the muscle activity to protect the supplies. So if we know the runner well enough we can check the muscle glycogen quite reliably without muscle biopsy by just running a quick quarter. If anybody has doubts about that, try this - warm up, do a few strides, and run a quick quarter. Then go out at the pace you optimistically hope to be able to finish the marathon in. After about 90 minutes it will become unsustainable. As soon as that happens, run a quarter all out and be done. Compare the times of the quarters. The second one will probably be about 10 seconds slower than the first. Now, rest a week, and try the same pace, except run your all out quarter after 45 minutes. It will probably be only 5 seconds slower than the first. You will see that the quarter speed very much correlates with the fuel levels.

Gold Crocs 2 Miles: 13.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
12.700.000.000.5013.20

A.M. 8 miles early before going to the temple. Jenny and Julia did 2, Joseph 1, and Jacob 0.5. Benjamin waited to run with me in the afternoon.

P.M. Total of 5.2, 3.2 of it with Benjamin. Did 2x400 - 75.7 up and 70.8 down. Benjamin was about 0.5 s back in the first one, but stayed with me and got a new 400 PR on the second one. The purpose of those 400s for me was to test the glycogen levels. Looks like some rest and frequent snacking on dates helped. Unlike yesterday, I felt strong in the second half of those quarters even at the very end of the day.

Gold Crocs 2 Miles: 13.20
Night Sleep Time: 6.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 6.50
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
10.700.000.001.5012.20

A.M. Did 6x400 spread throughout the run. I timed it so that I would be doing two of them in the last 1.5 miles. Again, the idea was to test the glycogen level as well as to train the nervous system to override the low fuel negative feedback. I believe a quarter is long enough for that particular purpose. The reasoning is this:

a) In a low fuel situation I cannot run a fast quarter,  and pain/slowdown is felt particularly in the second half of it 

b) In the past I have been able to correct the symptoms of low fuel shutdown by doing a few fast quarters a couple of times a week.

c)  There was a study a few years ago that demonstrated that a 3 minute bout of maximum effort greatly enhances the ability of the body to absorb glycogen over the next 24-28 hours. I do not remember all of the science behind it, but I believe the basic idea is that if you squeeze the toothpaste tube very hard for a brief moment the vacuum creates a momentum for the new toothpaste to come in if a source is available.

From this I intuitively conclude that a couple of quick quarters at the end of any run will stimulate glycogen absorption and teach the nervous system to work with less fear in a low fuel situation. A good marathoner must learn how not to panic when low fuel signals are being received, and it must happen on both the conscious and subconscious levels. After having run 50+ marathons I am OK on the conscious level, but the subconscious is much harder to train.

So anyway, the theory aside, I did this; 74.5 up - 71.1 down - 74.4 up - 70.8 down - 72.3 rolling and 69.7 down. Total run was 12.2 mile. Benjamin did 3.2, Jenny and Julia 2, Joseph 1, and Jacob 0.5. Joseph asked me during the family scripture study what "endure to the end" meant. I explained the idea using examples from running. He has been remembering it during his runs.

Gold Crocs 2 Miles: 12.20
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
11.500.000.000.5012.00

A.M. 12 miles as usual. Benjamin did 3, Jenny and Julia 2, Joseph 1, and Jacob 0.5. Did 2x400 towards the end. 72.2 rolling and 70.4 rolling down. Both had minor headwind. I felt strong.

Gold Crocs 2 Miles: 12.00
Night Sleep Time: 7.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.50
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
12.000.005.000.5017.50

A.M. Did my 5 mile tempo on the Fast Running Blog course after a 2 mile warmup. It started well, but deteriorated after two miles. The splits were 5:36 - 5:40 - 5:49 - 5:48 - 5:51 - total time 28:44, 8 seconds faster than last week, in spite of the positive split. I felt strong in the first 2 miles, but then the legs were tired and had no zip. HR refused to rise above 160, and preferred 156 with a slower pace as a consequence. So I finished the tempo, jogged home, (11 miles at that point), ate some dates and waited for them to assimilate while I did some computer work. Then I ran with the kids. 2 with Jenny and Julia, 1 with Joseph, 0.5 with Jacob, and 3 with Benjamin. In the last 1.5 I did 2x400 - 73.4 rolling and 70.9 down. Benjamin kept up with me on both. Due to the fatigue earlier I cut the long run to 17.5 total to be on the safe side and also as an experiment to see how I would feel on Tuesday.

I have always thought that cardio weakness would only manifest itself by HR going through the roof, but something is making me wonder if it could also manifest itself by HR refusing to go above a certain threshold. After all, tired legs do that - your leg turnover goes down along with your stride length when you are tired. So I went to Good Earth and got some hawthorn berry pills just in case as well.

Gold Crocs 2 Miles: 17.50
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
67.900.508.003.5079.90
Gold Crocs 2 Miles: 79.90
Night Sleep Time: 55.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 55.00
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