Breaking the Wall

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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
Black Crocs 2 Miles: 86.06
Night Sleep Time: 56.00Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 57.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Day of rest. Went to church.

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

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2016-05-02 08:05:47
Workout Totals: Distance13.000Time1:37:49.00Pace7:31.46
Benjamin and I did 10+3, usual distances for the younger kids. Jenny took the AP Chemistry test and ran only 3 miles in the evening.
Leg 1:Distance6.000Time44:11.80Pace7:21.97
With Benjamin.
Leg 2:Distance4.000Time31:33.80Pace7:53.45
With Benjamin, Joseph, and Jacob.
Leg 3:Distance3.000Time22:03.40Pace7:21.13
With Benjamin in the evening.

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

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2016-05-03 08:07:48
Workout Totals: Distance14.800Time1:56:56.20Pace7:54.07
Today our friend Daniel joined us for our workout. The workout was 2x1.5 miles down the canyon with full rest. Benjamin's target was 71 second quarters/4:44 mile pace/7:06 for 1.5. The purpose of the workout was to bust the fear of the 6th lap. I think the workout was successful. Benjamin ran 7:03 in the first one with the splits of 68,70,70,70,73,72. On the second one I told him to focus on the last half mile. This time he ran 7:01 with the splits of 68,71,69,73,71,69. I was happy about that.

For my workout I paced Daniel running 8:11 and 8:23. Daniel ran 8:15/8:31. Details below.

Kids ran their usual distances except Julia who was sick and ran only 2 miles, and Jenny who ran a bit less for a precaution to avoid getting sick as well as being overexerted before the AP Calculus BC test on Thursday.
Leg 1:Distance3.700Time31:03.10Pace8:23.54
Warm-up with Benjamin and Daniel.
Leg 2:Distance1.500Time8:11.50Pace5:27.67
Paced Daniel through 1.5. He remained in contact until 100 to go, then did not have the juice, but still finished with a good split of 8:15. My splits were 78, 80, 80, 83 (5:22 at the mile), 89, 80.
Leg 3:Distance1.600Time15:34.90Pace9:44.31
Recovery jog.
Leg 4:Distance1.500Time8:31.80Pace5:41.20
Paced Daniel in the second 1.5 interval. He remained in contact up to the mile in 5:35, then started falling back. I tried to encourage him to go over the next quarter running it in 89, then figured he might be better off if I just picked up the pace, and it actually did work. I ran the last quarter in 79, he did something around 82 finishing in 8:31.
Split 1:Distance1.500Time8:23.30Pace5:35.53
My split
Split 2:Distance0.000Time0:08.50Pace0:00.00
Daniel's split.
Leg 5:Distance2.500Time21:59.90Pace8:47.96
Cool-down uphill to the Canyon Glen Park.
Leg 6:Distance4.000Time31:35.00Pace7:53.75
With Joseph and Jacob.

Black Crocs 2 Miles: 14.80
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2016-05-04 08:41:42
Workout Totals: Distance13.120Time1:46:47.90Pace8:08.41
More or less usual runs today, except Julia threw up and had pretty bad stomach problems, so she did not run. Jenny tapered for the AP test tomorrow. William split his run into a mile in the AM and a mile in the PM. Stephen ran in the evening as in the morning he was still recovering from throwing up in the middle of the night. Benjamin and I did 10 + 3. Benjamin finally got his driver's license. He recalled at the DMV what he had to do to get me to sign the form - which was to run the half marathon in under 1:10. He ran the standard in the Haunted Half at the end of October last year with the time of 1:09:11.
Leg 1:Distance6.100Time48:30.20Pace7:57.08
With Benjamin.
Leg 2:Distance4.000Time32:54.80Pace8:13.70
With Benjamin, Joseph, and Jacob.
Leg 3:Distance1.000Time8:01.70Pace8:01.70
With Benjamin and William later in the evening.
Leg 4:Distance1.000Time9:32.20Pace9:32.20
With Benjamin and Stephen.
Leg 5:Distance1.020Time7:49.00Pace7:39.80
With Benjamin.

Black Crocs 2 Miles: 13.12
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2016-05-05 08:09:52
Workout Totals: Distance11.362Time1:33:14.40Pace8:12.38
Today I wanted Benjamin to repeat his 3200 meter practice run in hopes of converting his 2x1.5 mile strength from Tuesday to the track. But something was wrong. It was warm, we ran almost 6 miles before he started, and I think he might have picked up a stomach bug. So after the first 1600 in 5:03, I ran with him for 10 seconds, and decided to stop him as his previous lap was 79 and he was in no mood to speed up. Julia jogged a mile today. Stephen ran 1 mile. Joseph, Jacob, and William ran a bit in the morning and raced a 1500 in the evening at a USATF meet at the Timpanogos High track.

Joseph won his age division (11-12) with a new PR of 5:16.75. He opened in 81 in third place, the leader (Kayden Chase) had 76. The second lap was 89 during which Joseph somewhat hesitantly moved into second place. At that point I yelled at him to speed up. He shifted gears and by about 1000 caught up to Kayden and passed him. Joseph's third lap was 85. Kayden tried to retake the lead in the last lap, but Joseph kept finding another gear. His last 300 meters was 61 seconds. Kayden finished in 5:18.45.

Jacob threw up the night before, so I did not want him to push too hard. He ran 5:43.67 easily winning the 9-10 division (the official results for some reason put Joseph in it). He opened with 89, then ran 95, 94, and 64 for the last 300.

William ran a PR of 6:19.25. He opened with 96, then I did not catch his other two splits - I have a hard time multi-tasking when watching more than one of my kids in the same race.
Leg 1:Distance4.900Time40:23.40Pace8:14.57
To Canyon Glen Park with Benjamin via a couple of bathroom detours.
Leg 2:Distance0.761Time7:08.50Pace9:23.07
Warm-up at the BYU track, strides - with Benjamin.
Split 1:Distance0.200Time1:54.50Pace9:32.50
Split 2:Distance0.062Time0:17.00Pace4:34.19
Split 3:Distance0.062Time0:46.20Pace12:25.16
Split 4:Distance0.062Time0:17.10Pace4:35.81
Split 5:Distance0.375Time3:53.70Pace10:23.20
Leg 3:Distance0.551Time5:13.40Pace9:28.78
Benjamin's failed attempt to conquer the 6th lap beast.
Split 1:Distance0.130Time1:13.10Pace9:22.31
Split 2:Distance0.130Time1:14.70Pace9:34.62
Split 3:Distance0.130Time1:16.10Pace9:45.38
Split 4:Distance0.130Time1:19.50Pace10:11.54
Split 5:Distance0.031Time0:10.00Pace5:22.58
Leg 4:Distance0.150Time1:24.10Pace9:20.67
Back to the car.
Leg 5:Distance1.000Time9:21.30Pace9:21.30
With Stephen.
Leg 6:Distance1.000Time7:48.10Pace7:48.10
With Joseph and Jacob.
Leg 7:Distance3.000Time21:55.60Pace7:18.53

Black Crocs 2 Miles: 11.36
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2016-05-06 07:53:47
Workout Totals: Distance13.385Time1:45:34.00Pace7:53.21
A.M. 10 with Benjamin, 3 of it with Joseph and Jacob. Other kids ran their usual distances except for Julia who is still recovering and ran only 2 miles. We considering doing the "conquer the 6th lap beast" workout today, but it was too windy, and Benjamin was feeling some kind of fatigue, some of it might have been from the stomach bug in the house. So after the warm-up we decided to postpone it until tomorrow.
Leg 1:Distance2.385Time19:30.50Pace8:10.73
Warm-up, strides with Benjamin.
Split 1:Distance1.100Time9:06.20Pace8:16.55
Split 2:Distance0.061Time0:16.30Pace4:27.21
Split 3:Distance0.062Time0:55.10Pace14:47.28
Split 4:Distance0.062Time0:17.70Pace4:45.02
Split 5:Distance1.100Time8:55.20Pace8:06.55
Leg 2:Distance5.000Time39:03.00Pace7:48.60
Distance with Benjamin.
Leg 3:Distance3.000Time23:41.10Pace7:53.70
With Joseph, Jacob, and Benjamin.
Leg 4:Distance1.500Time11:58.90Pace7:59.27
With Benjamin in the evening.
Leg 5:Distance1.500Time11:20.50Pace7:33.67
On the way back - did a 0.5 pickup.
Split 1:Distance0.500Time2:45.50Pace5:31.00
Split 2:Distance1.000Time8:35.00Pace8:35.00

Black Crocs 2 Miles: 13.38
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2016-05-07 09:01:43
Workout Totals: Distance20.405Time2:38:10.20Pace7:45.09
Total of 20.4 today. First I went with Benjamin to Provo High where we did the "bust the 6th lap" workout. Things went well for him ... up until he reached the 6th lap :-). So he ran 71.6, 72.1, 72.8, 75.8, 75.6 - following the plan almost perfectly except the 5th lap was supposed to be 73. And then boom, sixth lap he runs 78.6, then 79.2, and 77.8. He broke down mentally again.

When he finished I suggested he should do 4x400 in 72 with 200 recovery. He vehemently refused, but after some post-interval teenager negative talk, he accepted my challenge to him to say a prayer to know what he should do. I was suggesting 4x400 because I knew he would succeed and it would teach his body that 72 seconds per lap is really not that hard and can be done in a stage of fatigue. But what I really wanted him to do was 2x1000 at that pace. But I would not dare mention it given his mental state.

He finished the prayer, and he says - "I think I should do 2x1000". At this point I knew that something special just happened.

I would have been perfectly happy with something like 3:00, 3:02, but Benjamin found another gear and ran 2:54.8, 2:52.4. So if we cut out his slowest 200 from 3200 and add up this 3000 (9:23 + 2:54.8 + 2:52.4) we obtain 15:10 for the 5000. He is running a track 5000 next week in San Francisco. Can the taper, the drop in elevation, and the competition make up for not having two breaks? I do not have enough experience at this point to tell.

I did 800 in 2:34.2 + 2x400 70.4, 68.9 joining Benjamin for part of his workout.

Then I ran with Matthew - he set a new 0.25 record of 2:05.5 (holding the hand). Then Benjamin and I added a mile, and then ran 5 with Joseph and Jacob. Then I ran 9 more alone with a pickup of 2 miles in 11:17 down the canyon (5:41,5:36). I was surprised - I was only hoping for 5:48 pace given how late into the run it was. I felt like I was able to utilize burning fat better than I normally do - the feeling is you press on the gas pedal, the muscles grumble, but eventually respond, and there is a certain feeling that comes with it. I know it is a good feeling - when it is there you do not hit the wall. I suspect that feeling comes when the body is dipping into fats to save the carbs.

The experience reminded me of the "fat" miles Jeff McClellan and I used to do. He is a natural marathon "crasher", but he has been able to run a couple of good marathons including 2:22 in St. George. So maybe they deserve another visit. I am going to try them on Benjamin - he is planning to run his first marathon in the Top of Utah this September if everything goes well.
Leg 1:Distance1.636Time13:41.20Pace8:21.96
Warm-up with Benjamin.
Split 1:Distance1.000Time8:18.40Pace8:18.40
Split 2:Distance0.062Time0:16.80Pace4:30.97
Split 3:Distance0.062Time0:44.40Pace11:56.13
Split 4:Distance0.062Time0:16.70Pace4:29.35
Split 5:Distance0.450Time4:04.90Pace9:04.22
Leg 2:Distance1.246Time10:03.50Pace8:04.35
Benjamin's attempt to shake the fist at the 6th lap monster.
Split 1:Distance0.125Time1:11.60Pace9:32.80
Split 2:Distance0.125Time1:12.10Pace9:36.80
Split 3:Distance0.125Time1:12.80Pace9:42.40
Split 4:Distance0.125Time1:15.80Pace10:06.40
Split 5:Distance0.248Time1:15.60Pace5:04.84
Split 6:Distance0.248Time1:18.60Pace5:16.94
Split 7:Distance0.125Time1:19.20Pace10:33.60
Split 8:Distance0.125Time1:17.80Pace10:22.40
Leg 3:Distance0.250Time2:54.60Pace11:38.40
Recovery jog - after some discussion and prayer.
Leg 4:Distance0.443Time2:54.80Pace6:34.58
Benjamin's 1000. The monster gets a post-mortem punch, shall we say.
Split 1:Distance0.125Time1:07.90Pace9:03.20
Split 2:Distance0.248Time1:10.40Pace4:43.87
Split 3:Distance0.070Time0:36.50Pace8:41.43
Leg 5:Distance0.620Time7:24.40Pace11:56.77
Recovery jog.
Leg 6:Distance0.460Time2:52.40Pace6:14.78
One more post-mortem punch to the monster over 1000.
Split 1:Distance0.142Time1:08.20Pace8:00.28
Split 2:Distance0.248Time1:08.90Pace4:37.82
Split 3:Distance0.070Time0:35.30Pace8:24.29
Leg 7:Distance0.500Time4:51.90Pace9:43.80
Back to the car.
Leg 8:Distance0.250Time2:05.50Pace8:22.00
With Matthew.
Leg 9:Distance1.000Time8:17.30Pace8:17.30
With Benjamin.
Leg 10:Distance5.000Time40:27.50Pace8:05.50
With Joseph and Jacob.
Leg 11:Distance9.000Time1:02:37.10Pace6:57.46
Split 1:Distance4.720Time34:59.50Pace7:24.81
Split 2:Distance2.000Time11:17.00Pace5:38.50
Split 3:Distance2.280Time16:20.60Pace7:10.09

Black Crocs 2 Miles: 20.40
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Black Crocs 2 Miles: 86.06
Night Sleep Time: 56.00Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 57.00
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