Breaking the Wall

Week starting Mar 21, 2010

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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: 266.81 Year: 266.81
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: 1438.17
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Eva Clogs Army Miles: 94.69
Night Sleep Time: 48.50Nap Time: 0.50Total Sleep Time: 49.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Day of rest. Went to church. The talks in the sacrament meeting were on missionary work. Then they asked me to substitute in the Primary for the remainder of the meetings. The lesson was on Abraham and Isaac.

Night Sleep Time: 9.00Nap Time: 0.50Total Sleep Time: 9.50
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Met Jeff on the trail. Ended up with a total of 12 in 1:34:05. Did a couple of pickups. A mile that was supposed to be fat, but ended up a bit quicker in 5:33 with quarters of 85,85,83, and 80. Then we were messing around with the stride rate count. I came up with a new method of counting stride rate, more accurate that what I've used in the past. You time 180 steps then divide 180 by the time in seconds and multiply the result by 60. The reason this is more accurate is if you try to count how many steps you can take in 20 seconds you start your 20 seconds half way through a step and you end it half way as well. The time for 180 steps can be measured much more accurately. So on Saturday at 6:30 pace the stride rate was 177. Today at 8:00 pace it was 166. Then I wanted to know what Jeff's was at 5:00. So we did a pickup. First 200 in 34, but Jeff lost count. Then we used my method and ran for 54 seconds at around 4:40 pace. Jeff's stride rate was 200. I messed up my count, but I really did not care that much as I already know it is around 200-205 at those speeds. However, this was a good illustration as to why Jeff cannot sustain this for a half. It is very very difficult to sustain a stride rate above 190 for the half.

Jenny ran 2.5 with Sarah.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 17:10. Julia ran 1.5 with us in 13:02. 0.5 with Joseph in 4:37. 0.25 with Jacob in 2:52.

Eva Clogs Army Miles: 14.75
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. 10.18 with Jeff in 1:14:41. We did a couple of pickups. First, a mile that was supposed to be "fat", but Jeff accidentally opened with a 75 and I did not stop him even though I knew we were going too fast. So he saw the split and eased off to 78, and then fell asleep to 81 with the help of some mild headwind. Then I realized that it would be nice to crack 5:10, so I told Jeff I wanted to do that. We ran the next 200 in 38, followed by 35 (quarter in 73), and finished the mile in 5:07.3. I was happy with how easy it felt given that last week I struggled with 4x800 in 2:30.

Then Jeff wanted to feel faster pace, so we ran a quarter in 65.6. To put things in perspective. This is on pace for 27:20 10 K. Fast, but Bekele would lap you in his world record run. I wonder how many runners really comprehend that you could be running 4:22 pace for 6 miles and get lapped! And neither one of us can hold this pace for even a mile.

Jenny ran 2.5 with Sarah.

P.M. Sarah and I started a training group for kids. Primarily directed at the home schooled kids, but we take everybody, actually both kids and adults. We had our first run today. About 20 kids ran.  It was a little chaotic as we did not quite know how to deal with so many kids of different ages and abilities, but we managed. Nobody got lost. I ended up running 0.5 with Joseph in 4:27, then 2 in 16:58 shepherding a group that started big, but then thinned out. Benjamin ran 2 in 16:35. Julia ran 1.5 in 12:48. Jacob ran 0.25 with Sarah.

Eva Clogs Army Miles: 12.68
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. 10.48 in 1:16:54. Triggered a deer repelling device while running past a house in the detour section of the trail, and thought about deer, the sunrise, and the length of the run. My mind is very good at associating context, so I started singing "Doe, a deer, a female deer, Ray, a drop of golden sun. Me, a name I call myself, Far, a long long way to run".

P.M. 2 with Benjamin including a workout. We ran 1 mile in a 300-100 fartlek  for the first 0.75, then he gave the best he had for the last quarter. The splits were 67-28-66-30-67-26 with 4:44 at 0.75, and then the last quarter in 91. Total time 6:15.4. I think we've made some progress in overcoming his mental block against sustained 6:00 pace. Later 2 with Jenny in 16:29. Julia ran 1.5 with us in 12:31. 0.5 with Joseph in 4:37. 0.25 with Jacob in 2:28.

Eva Clogs Army Miles: 15.23
Night Sleep Time: 7.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.50
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Met Jeff on the trail. 10.2  in 1:18:59. Did a fat mile in 5:45 with a 180 turn in the middle. Yes, the trail is ripped up at a bad place for us, so we could not do it without a 180 or bridges, and we chose 180. Two geeks as we are, we discussed the effects of a 180 turn for the rest of the run.

Jenny ran 2.5 with Sarah.

P.M. Ran with the kids running group. Ran to and back from the park with William in the stroller, that gave me 0.75. Then did 0.5 with Joseph and others in 4:42, and 2 in 16:23 with Julia running 1.5 in 12:33. Benjamin did 2 miles in 15:41 with the last quarter in 89. Then he ran 100 in 17.7, two older kids did in in 15.4 and 15.7. Then I took two older kids for a world record marathon pace demonstration, and we ran 100 in 17.9 (4:46.4 pace) which is slightly slower (would give you 2:05:09), but close enough. I think our society in general would do better in a number of ways if more people knew exactly how fast the world record marathon pace is, not just looking at the numbers and saying "Wow!", but actually trying it for as long as they can hold it while thinking that somebody runs all 26 miles like that.

I ended up with 3.35 for the run.

Eva Clogs Army Miles: 13.55
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Both Jeff and I slept in. So I ran alone. 10.18 in 1:12:39 with 1.5 in the middle in 8:42. It felt harder than it should have.

P.M. 3.2 with Benjamin, Jenny, and Julia in 27:06 to Walgreens to get them new clogs and back. 0.5 with Joseph in 4:38. 0.25 with Jacob in 2:35.

Sarah had the ultrasound today. This is going to be a boy. We decided to name him Stephen.  There were two Stephens in my family who died at the age of 3 back in the 1920s in the Soviet Union. A disciple of Christ by the same name was one of the few people in the recorded history of mankind to have seen God the Father and the Son (the story is Acts 7 in the New Testament). We also hope that our Steve will have the talent and the work ethic of three great British Steves: Steve Cram, Steve Ovett, and Steve Jones. If you run and do not know how they are, I would encourage some search-engine aided enlightenment. And of course, we are not forgetting our long time family friend Steve Ashbaker.  

Sarah went to the Pennies by the Inch dinner yesterday and heard a story about a blind man who worked menial jobs all his life, saved $1 million and donated all of it to Pennies by the Inch in his will. I found that story fascinating and did a bit of math. Suppose somebody with low income wants to do a similar feat. Let's say he is able to save $200 a month over 40 years. Let's say he does not want to play any games with the stock market and risky investments and just uses CDs and money market. With the current economy he will be lucky to get 3% interest this way. At 3% interest he will have about $185,000 when he retires. He will not be donating $1 million to any causes when he dies. At 10% interest he will have about $1.2 million.

The question I have is why we clamor for lower interest rates. What do we accomplish with that? We in essence rob the folks that have been working hard and saving their entire life to enable those who currently have a source of income to buy a house that is two times the size they need for four times its worth. Do we really understand that?

Eva Clogs Army Miles: 14.13
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. When my alarm went off this morning at 6:20 I seriously was annoyed because I thought it was Sunday. I was looking forward to a day of rest. Yet, when I woke up more fully I realized I had a 20 mile run ahead of me. I thought it was not a good sign that I felt this way, and wondered if maybe there some some lingering fatigue, but from the way the run went I have to say it was more in the area of imagination. Sometimes I feel tired for no other reason than having too many memories.

We did 20.1 in 2:19:48 with 3x3 miles in the middle on our much valued 1.5 mile stretch of the trail from the bridge construction to the end. The target was 5:40 pace. I admonished Jeff not to overachieve and he tried as hard as he could. We started after a 4 mile warm up and did 1.5 recovery jog in between at a bit slower than 8:00 pace. The first one was 16:44.0 with the splits of 5:38, 5:33, 5:33. Second, 16:41.3 (5:33, 5:35, 5:33). On the last one I told Jeff to pace perfectly at 84 per quarter, time every 100 if he had to, then after 2 miles 81, 81, 80, in the last one pace me for 78 but then with 200 to go hit the gas and try to run 30. We ended up doing 5:34, 5:36 (I did have to verbally adjust the pace a few times), then 78, 81, 80, 79 (5:18, 16:28) for me. Jeff dropped me with 500 to go and ended up running 37,30 in the last quarter with the last mile in 5:06 and total time of 16:16.

Overall I was pleased with the workout. I thought 5:40 pace would challenging enough but I was able to average 5:32.6. In spite of going faster than planned I was able to run relaxed and I proved that it was true relaxation, not an illusion of relaxation, with the last mile in 5:18. I was able to maintain the pace after losing contact with Jeff. Before the last repeat I admonished Jeff not to do a 78 quarter immediately after the 2 mile mark thinking it would ruin my last mile and I would fade to 5:25.  He did it anyway. If I had not reigned him in after the first 0.1 it would have been  74. But I did not fade, and instead was able to find a relaxed groove around 5:20 pace that I was able to maintain to the finish. And it felt good to be headed for a very low 17:00 5 K in the last repeat in the middle of a long run off a conservative start.

Jenny ran 2.5 with Sarah.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 16:41. 1.5 with Julia in 12:58. 0.5 with Joseph in 4:47. 0.25 with Jacob in 2:46.


Eva Clogs Army Miles: 24.35
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Eva Clogs Army Miles: 94.69
Night Sleep Time: 48.50Nap Time: 0.50Total Sleep Time: 49.00
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