Breaking the Wall

Bridal Veil 10 K

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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: 304.65 Year: 3606.17
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: 806.96
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Easy run with Ted in the morning. Ran 10.04 in 1:09:50 - chased down the 7:00 mile guy. Picked it up on the last 0.5, last quarter in 1:28. HR was normal - in the first half hovered between 122 and 126 at 7:00 pace, on the second half hovered around 130 at 6:45 pace. Got up to 148 at 5:50 pace at the end. Ran with the kids in the evening.

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Tempo run with Ted in the morning. Short warm up. Good weather, ideal conditions. Little cold maybe, 55 degrees or so, no noticeable wind. Tapering this week. My standard routine is to run short aggressive marathon pace tempo runs at this stage. Ran the standard 5 mile tempo except at a lighter effort. Was lazy out of the blocks, first 200 in 45, first quarter in 1:28. Then started winding it up. 5:42 at the mile, next mile in 5:38. HR hovered around 145 up to 1.5, then gradually made its way to 150 by 2 miles. 14:09 at the turnaround (2:49), next quarter in 1:28, then 1:25, 17:02 at 3 miles (5:42). HR hit 154.Up to this point the pace felt rather relaxed, but now I started feeling some sourness in the legs. In the past this would result in having to apply a greater mental effort to hold the pace, and often even the top mental effort would not be enough - HR would stagnate or even drop, and so would the pace.

So I applied a greater mental effort. Next 0.5 in 2:49, followed by 2:47, 5:36 for the mile. HR gradually progressed to 159. The legs were still feeling sour, but I felt in control. Now I was 2 second ahead of the 5:40 guy, and decided to relax a bit. Not much relaxation on the uphill quarter - 1:26, HR at 160. Next quarter in 1:25, HR dropped to 158, but this was not a forced drop, I just relaxed to make it a more honest marathon pace. This was followed by 1:26. Now the 5:40 guy caught me, time to show him who's the boss. Sped to to 1:23 on the last quarter, HR hit 162. 28:18.6 for the whole run, last mile in 5:38, last 2.5 in 14:09, even split time wise, but really negative 7 seconds in terms of effort.

I was happy that my body responded to the sour legs condition with an increased HR instead of just quitting. I wonder if my cardiovascular training has been lacking somewhat due to the refusal of the nervous system to push harder past the 5:40 barrier. I am going to do a few more of those aggressive marathon pace tempo runs to deal a few more crushing blows to the sour legs syndrome.

Ran with the kids in the afternoon. Jenny ran a mile time trial. She is 6 years old. At the age of 5 one day (shortly before turning 6) she decided to show off her running ability to her babysitter and run him into the ground. He had to hang on for dear life on that run, and so did Benjamin. She ran a 7:41 mile. Since then she had not broken 8:00 until today.  We've tried several times, but she kept having confidence issues not believing that she could hold the pace. Yet once in a while she would do maneuvers during her runs that clearly indicated that she was not any less fit that she was before. We had a talk about faith and confidence, and taking a step in the dark before the light comes. Then I took her to the Provo River Trail. We did the run on an out and back course, first half about 0.5% grade up, then the same grade down on the way back. Not a fast course. I gave her a goal to break 8:00.  She ran 7:40 breaking her record by 1 second. Her splits were 1:56 - 1:59 - 1:55 - 1:50.

I just realized that Ogden Marathon does not do day of race packet pickup. That means I have to find a place to stay. All I need is some floor space at somebody's house. Ideally for three people - Ted, and possibly Steve Ashbaker in addition to myself. The host gets lots of free running advice, personalized training plan, a Russian lesson, a chance to visit with a real military helicopter pilot, and whatever else  we have to offer.

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Easy run with Ted early in the morning. Ran 8 miles at about 7:30 average. It seems that our pace depends on whether we can find a good conversational topic. If we do, it is 7:30, otherwise it is 7:00. We found one today - discussed high school training, the importance of base mileage before doing speed work, how most high schoolers have it backwards, what would happen if fast black kids of West African (as opposed to East African) decent trained for distances, etc. Then we saw a skunk. Stopped to let him disappear. His tail was up and he was ready to strike. Finally the skunk was gone. We discussed the skunk for a little while, after that there was nothing to talk about.

To create a conversation topic we did a half mile pick-up. We ran the first quarter in 1;25, then Ted decided to get me going, and we ran the last quarter in 1:15. Legs felt strong. This gave us something to talk about for the rest of the run.

Ran with the kids in the evening. Took Benjamin to his Team Provo Practice. On the way back stopped at the grocery store (Maceys) to get some food. I figured the last 1.8 miles I was carrying about 150lb of weight in the stroller. Fortunately most of the way home was either flat or 0.5% grade down. Was able to go about 7:10 pace on the way down comfortably. Scared an oversized lady under a bridge - got going, could not stop, and there was not a lot of room to pass her.

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Aggressive marathon pace tempo run again. Trying to attack the sour legs syndrome and also keep up the intensity while tapering. Ted joined me in the warm up and cool down. He was feeling sore from building a tree house yesterday and decided to keep things safe.

Short warmup, then the tempo starts. Standard 5 miles on the Provo River Trail starting at Geneva road. First mile in 5:41, followed by 5:37. HR was 146 at the mile, and 152 at 2 miles. 14:08 at the turnaround (2:50), then 16:57 at 3 miles (2:49, 5:39). HR at 154. Moving along at a steady effort trying to keep the 5:40 guy at bay, and getting ready for the last mile. Next mile in 5:39, 22:36. HR at 158, the effort feels hard but not miserable, like if I had a pack with somebody doing the work up front in the marathon, I'd run in it, at least for the first half. Good news - no sour legs! And the effort feels easier than Tuesday.

Now the last mile, the moment of truth. Was I just tricking myself into thinking the pace was not hard, or am I really more fit. To test, I decided to put myself mentally into threshold gear and see what happens. The first two quarters are 1:22 each. That is very good, as the first one is steady uphill, and the second rolls. HR hit 164, the mind gets a little fuzzy, but that is normal for me when I am in shape. When I run my best halves/10 milers/15 Ks I am able to go into a trance to where it hurts like a 10 K, maybe even a 5 K when I am not ready for a good 5 K, but I can tolerate it for an hour with proper mental focus. Again, no sour legs! The heart just picks up the work and pumps the oxygen like it should instead of quitting like it used to.

Feeling that I've proved my point I eased off a bit and hit the next quarter in 1:24, that's too much, I want to be sub-5:30 on the last mile. Picked it up on the last and finished it in 1:20. HR hit 167, it felt hard but sustainable with proper mental focus. 28:04.8, last mile in 5:28.

Cooled down with Ted, 8.7 for the run. Ran with the kids in the evening, total of 10 for the day. Now this is starting to look like a taper. 

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Ran with Ted in the morning. Tapering, so did only 8. Ran one mile fast. First quarter in 1:26, the rest in 1:22, total time 5:32. Ted was driving, I was following. Felt very good at 1:22 pace, so I could I first thought I had made a mistake in calculating the split.

Ran with the kids in the afternoon.  

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Race: Bridal Veil 10 K (6.21 Miles) 00:35:35, Place overall: 1
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Bridal Veil 10 K. 35:35, first place. This was one of Curt's races. Which means I am in charge of the timing system, so I'd better get to the finish line first. Last night I decided to write some code to automate the timing system setup before a race. Of course, I started too late and was not done by bed time. So I had to get up at 5:10 AM to finish the job. Hopefully the effort will pay for itself later on in other races - now I can do in 5 minutes what used to take me an hour manually.

Took the lead from the start. Had company for the first quarter. Tried to run a threshold effort. The course goes from Timpanogos Park in the Provo Canyon uphill past Nunn's, under the bridge, up the old highway, over the bridge, past Bridal Veil Falls on the trail, then over the bridge back to the old highway further up, then turn around and come back, expect this time just straight, no bridges. Finish a bit further back from the start in the park, a slight uphill.

Splits by the GPS, which worked very well today. First mile was decent, not a lot of headwind - 5:43. On the second mile the headwind picked up and the grade increased. Caught up to some bikers, asked them to speed up and pull me, they did, that helped. Next mile in 5:58.  HR was 162 until the bikers, then with them 166 and we hit a quarter in 1:26. Third mile had more uphill grade, and even more headwind - 6:23. However HR dropped to 158, not surprising. With all the timing system stress the nervous system was not in top shape. Plus not having the competition did not help either.

Checked the lead after the turn around - it was more than I thought - about 2:00. Had a hard time shifting gears - saw HR stuck at 155 for a while, then it eventually progressed to 158. Next mile in 5:30, followed by 5:26. Started getting into the rhythm on the last mile. The pace started feeling easier, HR got up to 162, ran the mile in 5:24 although the grade became less steep. Got to the finish, 1:11 for the last 0.21 uphill, and went straight to the timing system. Won the race by 4:50. Estimate ran an equivalent of about 34:10-34:20 flat 10 K.

Ted paced his son James to a very good time for this course - 46:52, 10th place overall out of 125 people. Benjamin came in shortly thereafter in 50:36 in 24th place. Not bad for a eight year old kid in his first 10 K. I was amazed at how well he had kept the pace, and how strong he finished off only 12 miles a week. And this course was a beast, not quite as bad as the Strider's but not too far away. It does climb 250 feet in the first half. Sarah's training partner Adrianne ran a PR of 51:10. Sarah ran about a PR equivalent (adjusting for the course difficulty) of 55:28.

Curt somehow managed to drop the bib tags, and that lost the finishing order. So we have the finishing times records, but matching them up with runners is going to be a challenge. Oh, well, life is not without adventures.

Ran a long cooldown with Ted while James, his brother Jared, and Benjamin played. I was surprised to see Benjamin running without difficulty when we got back, but still suggested we walk back to the car from the playground. Benjamin wanted to run, so we did. He ran so fast that Jared and James could not keep up. Afterwards at home I checked his muscle condition by having him walk up and down the stairs. He did it with no problems. Wow!

Ran with Jenny and Julia in the afternoon.

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