Breaking the Wall

Week starting Apr 29, 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: 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
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Easy run with Ted in the morning. Standard 10.05. Started out slow, then gradually sped up. Did a pick-up for 0.5 mile in 2:44 in the middle. Ran with the kids in the evening. HR a little higher today probably due to warmer weather. Saw it above 130 at 7:00 pace a few times at the end.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Ted joined me for my speed workout this morning. This workout was meant to be unpleasant. I do not understand the physiology behind it, but I know from experience that it brings great results. Something happens to the mind and body, and I start running better on every distance from 5 K to the marathon. I think running fast enough to make it properly unpleasant is the key.

Due to the lack of time we did not go to the Provo Canyon today, and did it near my house on the Provo River Trail instead. So it was all flat compared to the Provo Canyon, only occasional mild grade. Warm-up, then 5x400 with 200 rest, very nice slow jog, alternating directions. 71.5 - 71.8 - 70.5 - 71.5 - 69.8. HR hit 160 at the end of the interval and was back down to 100 at the end of the recovery at first, then it became 110 on the later intervals. I thought this stretch was a slight downhill the other way, but apparently not - steady 0.5 - 1.0 difference both for me and for Ted as we changed the direction. There was no noticeable wind going either way.

Then a jog to the start of the tempo run. We did not have an official 3 mile mark, and did not feel like doing a 180 at 2.5, so we just went by the GPS for the last 0.5. First mile in 5:25, next 0.5 in 2:42. HR got up to 160. Then started losing it a bit - 2:45, 5:27 for the mile. Next 0.5 in 2:46, 13:38 at 2.5. I would have been slower, but I noticed HR dropped to 158, and pressed harder to bring it back up to 160. I was happy that I could run 5:32 pace keeping HR under 160, but not happy about struggling to hold it. However, there was a positive development. As I put in more effort, the quads tensed up. This usually means I am about to start running slower than 5:40. But this time I was able to just keep running with tense quads and hold the pace. I even sped up on the last 0.5 hitting it in 2:42. 16:20 for the 3 miles.

Some more jogging, and now the final part of the workout. Another 5x400 session. We were running out of time, so we just did it coming back to Geneva Road, which is a subtle uphill most of the way, and there is one quarter where it is not so subtle. 72.3 - 73.8 (through the parking lot) - 72.1 - 73.4 (non-subtle uphill) - 69.0. It felt good to be done.

Did a long cool-down. Total of 14.15 miles for the workout. Ran with the kids in the evening.

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

Easy run with Ted in the early morning. Both of us were tired and were happy to plod along through the first 4 miles at about 8:15 average. My HR sat below 110, but the pace felt fast. Then as usual, I finally woke up. HR started hitting 120, and the pace got up to 7:30. I started feeling strong, and felt like running fast, but I knew better since this was a recovery run. We sped up a bit and finished our 10.04 miles in 1:17:34. The moral of the story - if the run feels hard, do not call it quits until you get to the 4 mile mark, your body may just be taking its time to get going.

Ran with Julia, then took Benjamin and Jenny to the Team Provo track practice. This gave me some more mileage, most of it pushing them in the stroller.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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It was raining this morning and it was fairly cold. Did my regular 5 mile tempo. Ted helped me with the pace on the first and on the last mile. First mile - 5:32, then 5:35 on the next. Next quarter in 1:23, but then hit some headwind plus caution before the 180 turn to not trip. The caution was needed, I slid pretty well trying to stop. The quarter was 1:26, so I got 13:56 at the time I started sliding. When I finally transitioned and changed direction, it was 13:58. Tried to pick it up to get back on pace. 16:47 at 3 miles, 5:40 for the mile with all the adventures. However, then I started getting cold apparently. Next quarter in 1:26. Tried to push it, was only able to get back up to 1:25. HR got to 155 and refused to go any higher.

Hit the next mile in 5:41, 22:28 at 4 miles. Now I need 5:32 to get 28:00, but as cold and wet as I am, it does not look like it is going to happen. But Ted knew how to get me going. He started a bit ahead of me. Now my hunting dog reflex kicked in, I think if I were a dog I would make a good hunting dog. Next quarter uphill in 1:25, then 1:24, and 1:23. HR got up to 157. I kept closing on Ted but he would strategically speed up. With a quarter to go I saw that if I ran 1:20 I would get the "impossible" 28:00. I pushed harder. There was one hunting dog reflex inhibitor. I knew that Ted was running only a mile and with some energy to spare, and that I did not have a chance to outrun him in the kick. I think with that knowledge removed I would have pushed harder. But I did manage 1:20, 28:00 for the run, and 5:32 for the last mile.

Jogged down to make the total of 13 miles for the run. Got home soaking wet and cold. My right knee refused to bend for about 10 minutes, something odd with the circulation from the sudden change of temperature. The shower felt good.

In the evening went the Benjamin's track meet at Timpangos High School. Ran with Jenny and Julia. Then watched Benjamin race. He first ran 100 meters in 18.7 taking second place in his age group (8 and under). I think the guy that beat him was about 18.2, and the other two were a couple of seconds behind. Not bad speed for a natural distance runner, I was very happy. I told him he could start running 2 miles a day regularly once he broke 19.0 in 100 meters and 7:00 in the mile. My philosophy - measure the biological age by performance in a short distance and a longer distance, and train at the volume appropriate for the biological age. So I said, 2 miles day after you are 8, and you are not 8 until you've run those times.  So this fulfilled the first requirement.

Then he ran 1600. It was an odd race. A bunch of boys and girls of all ages, not a big group, and all significantly older than Benjamin. All kinds of age divisions. Benjamin was running in the 12 and younger. He started out last, then passed a guy, then another. First lap in 1:40. Next lap in 1:48. Passed another guy, I think. Then on the third lap he caught up to an older boy that would not let him pass. First it was in a good way - he would speed up. I've taught Benjamin what to do in that situation. Pull along side, breathe as hard as you can to make your presence very noticeable, pretend you are passing, get him worked up, then draft behind through his surge. When his surge end, do that again. Repeat until he stops doing surges at a good pace, then pass him for good. It works on kids, but it surprisingly works almost as well on some exceptionally competitive adults. So Benjamin did just that. However half way through the lap, his competitor was over his ability to surge, and started blocking Benjamin's way as he was trying to pass. They went like a couple of drunks for the next 200 meters. Finally, Benjamin managed a good surge and took off for good. Next lap in 1:47. Not bad for all the "drunk" maneuvers. He also started closing in on the leaders. Passed another runner on the kick with 25 meters to go and finished 4th overall with 6:55, last lap in 1:40. Won his age group, though. Only 13 seconds behind the overall winner, who happened to be an older girl. This made him officially 8, a sub-7:00 miler, and earned him his own personal Palm Pilot.

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

Easy run with Ted in the morning. Ran out standard 10.04 mile course very relaxed. Then I went for some additional miles. First wanted to do 2 more. Then decided to make it half marathon. Felt good, picked up the pace a bit to sub-6:40. Right before the turnaround saw a runner going in the opposite direction. Turned around, and the same hunting dog instinct kicked in. I started chasing him at about 5:40-5:50 pace. He soon came into view, but then disappeared, probably took another route. However, I was already running at a good pace, and did not feel like slowing down. So I ran at that pace all the way home. Finished the 13.11 miles in 1:35:59.

Ran with the kids in the afternoon. This puts me at 15.46 for the day. 10 mile tempo run tomorrow, hopefully with Steve if he can make it.

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

Tempo run with Ted in the morning. Cold and windy. 6 years ago I liked it colder than warmer. Now I have been running better in the temperatures on the warm side. Lots of bathroom trips. No upset stomach, really, at least nothing felt wrong other than the need to go. Maybe I have been eating more than I could digest efficiently.

Standard 10 mile tempo on the Provo River Trail. After a short warmup, I let Ted go with a 2 minute head start. Felt sluggish and unmotivated, but at the same time strong inside. First mile in 5:56, then 5:53, 14:47 at 2.5 (2:58). Gusts of headwind are not helping. HR at 145 finally. This is really odd. The breathing is almost like in an easy run, but the muscles do not want to go. I decided I was not going to make them until the second half. Coasted along through the next 2 miles. Started feeling better around 4.5, got HR up to 150, hit the uphill mile in 5:49, 29:31 at 5 miles (14:44). Another 180 turn, more gusts of wind. Was on pace for 14:30 for a while for 2.5, but the headwind brought me back down to barely sub-6:00 pace. Passed Ted right before the turnaround. 44:10 at 7.5, 14:39 for 2.5.

Decided to do whatever it takes to keep HR above 155 on the last 2.5. With the cold and the wind it was not easy, had to dig in and push it mentally quite a bit. Next 0.5 in 2:49, tailwind was helpful in getting going. Then it stopped and became cross/head. Battled through the next mile in 5:46, HR did get up to 155. Pressed harder on the last mile, managed it in 5:37, last 0.5 in 2:45, last 0.25 in 1:21. HR hit 163 on the kick. Total time 58:22.8, last 2.5 in 14:12, last 5 in 28:51.

Turned around, met Ted, finished with him. Jogged back to the house, woke up Benjamin, we ran to his Team Provo practice. Ran around the track there with a guy named Steve whose daughter also trains with Team Provo and won the 1600 meter race that Benjamin was in. Then pushed Benjamin back in the stroller after the practice. Total of 20.15 miles for the run.

Ran with Jenny and Julia in the afternoon. Taper time for Ogden, next week will be a bit lighter, but still probably over 80.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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