Breaking the Wall

Week starting Apr 20, 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: 225.16 Year: 225.16
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: 35.83Nap Time: 2.50Total Sleep Time: 38.33
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Had to pick up my mom at the airport very late at night, so did not get a lot of sleep. My mom will be with us for the next month. She brought my training logs from 1986-87, I was 12 at the start and 14 at the end. They are all in Russian. I noticed a pattern. Good runs and races are recorded in very neat penmanship, while the entries for the bad ones look like chicken paw or physician's writing. I will enter the info a bit at a time in the next few months.

Conversation in the Primary after they announced Cub Scout Olympics. Scott (Benjamin's friend): Last year I won. Benjamin: That's because I was not there to beat you! Scott: I challenge you to a 50 yard dash! Benjamin: I challenge you to a 10 K! 

Night Sleep Time: 5.75Nap Time: 1.50Total Sleep Time: 7.25
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Started from my house with Daniel and Adam. Picked up Jeff at his house. Then ran on the trail. Daniel turned around half-way through, then Adam a couple of miles later. Jeff and I ran to the end of the trail and then back to my house. Then Jeff ran some more, I was done. 11.6 in 1:33:11. Got beat by the 8:00 guy, but I could not care less. Nice recovery run, had a good chat.

P.M. 1 mile with Julia in 10:28, 1.5 with Jenny in 13:24, 2 with Benjamin in 15:50.

Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 9.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. 12.1 with Jeff and Josse in 1:34:57. Chatted the whole way and did not particularly care about the pace.

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

A.M. 10.1 alone at 5:10 AM in 1:13:23. Started out slow, did not feel like breaking 8:00 by much for a while. Then sped up to around 7:20, with three miles to go to 6:40, and to 5:50 on the last 0.6.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 17:23. He had an assignment not to break 17:00 today and he somewhat reluctantly complied. Then did some bounds and sprints while my mom and the kids took pictures. I'll post those in a bit. Then 1 with Julia in 11:16, 1.5 with Jenny in 12:28 pushing Jacob (she closed with a 7:56 mile on a whim), and another mile on my own with Jacob in the stroller. Did a 100 meter bound, covered it in 44 steps. 

Night Sleep Time: 6.75Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 6.75
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Eventful run. Started out with Hyrum and Daniel. Ran to Jeff's house. Ran back to my house to drop Hyrum off. Saw cops on the trail, police car driving on the trail as well. Saw a truck parked on the 820 N bridge. Something was going on.

Then ran with Jeff and Daniel to BYU Smith's Fieldhouse to do a leg extension test. I did 200 on the left leg and 180 on the right. Jeff did 160 on the right and 180 on the left. Then we ran back in the direction of my house, dropped Daniel off and did 4x100 on the trail with full jogging rest. I wanted to do this workout because I noticed that I am able to push my top end speed a lot more when following somebody. So my reasoning was - whatever it is that keeps me from running fast is partially overcome when I follow somebody running fast. Not sure why, but it works, so I should try it.

On the first one I got 15.3 (standing start, 0.5-1% downhill grade), then another 15.3 from a standing start slightly rolling and into a mild headwind. Then 14.7 jogging start, rolling and into a slight headwind. The last one was 14.3 from a jogging start, slightly rolling and with a slight tailwind. Jeff put about a second on me on the last one in the last 50 meters or so.

After doing this I think I've figured out what is going on and I am very excited about it. Suppose I am following somebody at 5:00 pace until I can't. Well, I can run with bad form and by the time I know it I am too tired to do anything about it. I just cannot hold the pace anymore. I can even do the same all the way up to 4:00 pace. But if you make me go 3:50 pace, I can do it for a little bit, but not unless I fix the form. If I am running with bad form, I know immediately because I start falling behind. This critical training speed needs to be fast enough that it is impossible to run with bad form but slow enough that I can do it within my ability to auto-correct. The only way I can keep up the pace at all at that speed is by running with a better form. I do not need to know what it is that I am doing wrong as in not lifting up knee, not extending the leg, running too tight, etc. Nor do I need to worry about it. The desperation of being left behind and the lightening fast immediate feedback makes me intuitively find it and fix it.

A bird decided to make our run more eventful and did number two on Jeff. I asked him if he knew if birds did number one as well. He said yes, and he happened to know it from personal experience as well.

P.M. 1 with Julia in 10:49, 1.5 with Jenny in 13:16, 2 with Benjamin in 16:00 with 2x100 in the middle, first in 19.4, second in 17.8. This was Benjamin's PR in 100 meters. He also decided to run the last quarter fast, we did it in 1:33.

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

A.M. Easy run, started out with Hyrum, ran to Jeff's house, then we all ran together to my house and dropped Hyrum off. Then ran 7.5 more with Jeff and finished the last half mile by myself. A devil got into me with a quarter to go and I picked up the pace, the last quarter was 1:25, total time for 10.3 was 1:19;58.

P.M. Drove to St. George to go to Zion's Park. Stayed with Steve and Kendra. Did my second run there. 1.1 with Julia in 11:57, Isabel joined us for the second 0.55, Julia was a  great pacer: "Come on you can do it. Just say I think I can I think I can like the little engine. If you get a side ache hit yourself on the side and breathe in deep and out." Then 1.65 with Jenny and Steve in 13:02, and 2.2 with Benjamin in 15:43. Then 6.7 with Steve in 52:00.

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. Had an interesting dream. Was racing Dave Holt in a marathon. We got to mile 18. I wanted to drop him. Decided the only way I'll be able to push myself to achieve this would be if I started screaming. So I started screaming, in the dream and in real life as well. This woke Sarah up, she punched me and told me to be quiet.

Ran 20.1 with the St. George Running Club in 2:13:38. Started at the St. George Running Center. Crew: Steve Hooper, Wild Bull, Dustin, and Ken Carlson. Clyde was not there to push the pace, but Wild Bull did it for him instead. So the whole run was somewhat of a fartlek. Wild Bull pulls away, then Steve tells me where the next turn is, I catch Wild Bull to make sure he does not get lost. Add a post VPB catch-up to it as well. Then around 10.6 or so Steve started to push the pace. We moved into sub-6:00 zone, eased off out of it, then moved in it again. Then we saw a sign "reduced speed ahead", and I asked Steve if he wanted me to take the wind. He said sure, so I did. Instead of reducing the speed with the help of some downhill we increased it first to 5:30, then 5:20, and then 5:00. Hoped to find a bathroom at the Hamblin's house during Steve/Ken's water break, but it was locked. Decided to go another mile and a half. At that point Steve stayed behind, and I ran with Ken. Then it was Ken's turn to push the pace and he briefly went into sub-6:00 zone, but then eased off. After my bathroom stop which this time provided some real rather than virtual privacy, Steve caught up to us and we ran together again. Then we saw Marcie. Ken and I just gave her a Brezhnev's wave (this reveals my age, I remember seeing it on TV quite a bit), while Steve stopped to talk. With about 1.5 to go I challenged Ken to pick up to sub-6:00 and he did, and was able to hold it until we got to Steve's hill where he slowed down to around 6:15-6:20, but effort-wise it was probably worth 5:50. Finished at the St. George Running Center.

Went to Zion's afterwards.

P.M. 1.5 with Benjamin and Jenny in 13:08, then another mile with Benjamin in 8:04.

Night Sleep Time: 7.33Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.33
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Night Sleep Time: 35.83Nap Time: 2.50Total Sleep Time: 38.33
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