Breaking the Wall

Week starting May 14, 2006

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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: 16.00 Year: 2314.91
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: 1185.83
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Drove to the Canyon View Park. Warmed up a 1 mile, a mile with ankle weights. Then jogged to the start of the Squaw Peak road. Ran hard up (about 4.3 miles) to the parking lot at the top in 33:56. Rested a bit admiring the scenery, just barely enough to find BYU, and then down moving my legs as fast as I could in 21:31. According to the G-Map Pedometer, this is 1700 feet elevation gain, which makes it about 7% grade. G-Map pedometer gave me 4.13 for the distance, but Hawk's "holy" marks that got paved over and the unknown hero's marks on the road that are still present indicate it is closer to 4.3. I need to measure that route some day, unless somebody has already and is willing to post the results. In any case, I want to put quarter marks on it. Running uphill felt very strange. I was not breathing very hard except for the last quarter mile, and even then, only moderately hard, but I could not go any faster. It actually felt very similar to the 5 K I ran on the track two weeks ago. This is showing something, not sure exactly what, but it appears that it takes the same type of strength for me to run a good 5 K as it does to run uphill for a long time - I did those Squaw Peak runs before Draper Days in 2004, when I ran my best 5 K. On the way down, it took me a while to get used to moving my feet so fast. I think I finally got it on the last mile. Ran with Benjamin and Jennifer later in the morning. Going to Idaho Falls tonight to see a client.

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Idaho Falls. Ran easy 10 miles in the morning on the trail by the Snake River exploring the neighborhood. Found a relatively bad part of town. My client later told me that while Idaho Falls does not really have a really bad part of town, the part I found is what keeps the focus of the anti-gang unit in Idaho Falls.

While in the "bad part of town", got approached by a dog. I challenged it to a boxing match. It got scared and backed off. Then it started chasing another dog, and I departed in peace.

Ran around the neighborhood by the office for my always on the run during lunch break. Then in the evening ran with Benjamin and Jennifer.

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Another day in Idaho Falls. Did a marathon pace tempo run. Had to do a lot of guessing on distance. Decided to start out after a short warm-up, go to the Freeman Park where there is a loop that is 0.99 miles according to this map, then loop around to calibrate, and then return in time to make it 10 miles of tempo running when I got back to the hotel. Did 6 laps of calibration with the pace varying between 5:49 and 5:57. Total time for the run was 59:30 - assumed a slower pace just to be safe. The loop is just like the reservoir miles of Ogden - rolls up and down all the time. Ran about 1.3 outside the office during lunch break. In the evening ran with ankle weights and the kids. Benjamin and Jennifer on foot, Julia and Joseph in the stroller.

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Last day in Idaho Falls. No office work, just a trip to Yellowstone. Not sure what wears you out more. Ran 10.5 miles in the morning on the same course as yesterday, except this time did a tempo for only 5 miles in the middle. Running alone is starting to get tedious, so I did the tempo not only for fitness, but just to get the run over with quicker, and keep my mind occupied. Idle mind gets busy analyzing the pace during recovery runs, and if you let it go for too long the pace gets faster and hits what Jack Daniel's calls the no-mans land - the pace that is to fast to allow your body to rest, but at the same time too slow to train you for anything. So I figured, I could handle a couple of miles of warmup, then do a short light tempo, then I have the rest of the run to analyze my feeling on the tempo, and will be able to run slow. Ran 5 miles on the loop (5 laps + a little bit) in 29:30. Starting to feel the trip wear-down. There is a good reason why I really, really, really do not like to travel, and it is precisely this feeling of being overtravelled.

Then we checked out (a workout in and of itself with 4 small kids) and drove to Yellowstone. I put on ankle weights to wear for the day. I suppose that literally gave me a lead foot. So now you've got a guy with a lead foot driving a van with the license plate VANGOGO.

In Yellowstone, ran a lap with Benjamin and Jennifer around the Old Faithful. Right when we were done it errupted.

Got home at 9:00 pm. Unloaded the van and ran another mile to make it 13 total for the day.

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I forgot to mention in my earlier entries that my wife Sarah has started her blog. She is 7-months pregnant, and has been running consistently 2 miles a day througout her pregnancy. She can still go at 11 minute mile pace on a good day. I had a couple of dreams that Sarah would call boring because they are so real. In the first I was running a steeplechase and got lapped by Henry Marsh right when he was finishing. I've never run steeplechase, but if I had tried it against Henry Marsh in his best shape, this is about where I would expect to finish after some steeplechase training. In another dream, I was running a marathon in a tactical race. I still had three tired runners with me on the last mile. The marathon was rather peculiar - you had to run up a few flights of stairs at the end and touch the door of an appartment to mark your finish. That is where I made my move and broke away from them. My time was 2:33. Well, a month and a half go I did win a marathon in 2:35, and I ended up getting lost on the last 400 meters and crawling under a barbed wire to get to the finish. About the same level of weirdness as the dream. Also, in a marathon, I would definitely have quite a bit of a competitive advantage on the stairs - I may run out of fuel, but my legs usually are not sore, often so fresh I would not be able to tell you I had run a marathon if I had not had the memory of passing 26 mile markers. The morning started with a diarrhea. No wonder I kept feeling thirsty last night. Apparently the water was not being absorbed properly. To make things worse, Eric and George were not around. So I jogged making a couple of urgent stops for about 4.7 miles, then put on ankle weights and ran for a mile 45 seconds slow, 15 seconds as fast as the ankle weights would let me. 7:04 for the mile. Then a marathon pace tempo run to get the misery over with quicker. Two Slate Canyon Loops (4.22) in 24:54. It felt like a start of a marathon knowing that I was going to have some serious problems later on no matter how conservative I started, so might just as well push it so I'll be further along when the trouble comes. However, I did not feel puky toxic, only sluggish. The hills did not feel right, and it took way too much mental effort for this slow of a pace. I could shift gears without feeling too miserable, though, when I caught myself off-pace. Later in the morning ran with Benjamin and Jennifer. In the afternoon, ran with Joseph in the stroller and the ankle weights. Wore the ankle weights all day. In the evening after dinner and scripture study, I felt lazy, did not feel like running at all. Brigham Young says when you do not feel like praying is when you need to pray the most. With some adjustments for true overtraining syndromes, this can be applied to running - when you do not feel like running, you need to run the most. So I went, with ankle weights and Joseph in the stroller. Sure enough, I felt a lot more like running towards the end of my always on the run mile. 14 miles for the day. Speedwork tomorrow.

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Last night I began to wonder if my dreams perhaps were a stumbling block. In the top of my mind I believe I can run faster, but deep down perhaps I doubt, which makes me dream only of things I have done before. This morning it seems I have made a breakthrough on the dream front - I dreamt about warming up before a marathon having full confidence that I was going to qualify for the trials. I was as sure I could do it as if the qualifying standard were 2:35 and not 2:22.

Drove to the Provo Canyon, jogged a mile, a mile with ankle weights, a few strides, then the running by faith workout. 2x1.5 miles downhill (about 1% grade) with 0.5 miles recovery. Hold 5:00/pace until I can't, then survive for the rest of the interval. This time there was no survival stage - I was able to stay sub-5:00 average on both of them all the way.

First one, 73-74-74-75-74-75 - 7:25.3. Second - 75-74-74-76-76-73 - 7:28.7. Unlike last week, started breathing hard right away, but was not as miserable at the end.

Total of 10 miles for the workout.

Came home, ran with Benjamin and Jennifer. Did some jogging later on with ankle weights. Wore them all day. Total of 15 miles for the day.

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