Breaking the Wall

Heart of Holladay 5 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: 188.26 Year: 188.26
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: 45.00Nap Time: 3.83Total Sleep Time: 48.83
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Eventful Sunday. Sore quads from yesterday, but that was to be expected. In fact, the level of soreness exactly according to the plan. Still makes chasing kids difficult.

Jacob was being fussy in the sacrament meeting, so Sarah told me to take him out. He calmed down while I was carrying him, so I just sat down on a back row. I tried to pay attention to the talks, they were good, but I missed the second talk almost entirely due to a special spiritual experience with the code name of Lehi's dream. The problem is that I cannot sleep past 6 AM any more. But I do very well later in the morning :-)

Taught a class in Sunday school, and then Sarah reminded me that Benjamin had a talk in Primary, and we totally spaced it out, and he was not prepared. So I went to fix that. His talk went OK aside from the fact that he did not think so and hid behind a chair after he finished it. Some interesting behavior from a guy that can average 6:50 pace in a 5 K. He also can boast being spoon fed at breakfast the day after he broke the 8:00 mile (he was a month away from his 6th birthday then). I suppose we all progress at different rates in different areas.

Got a good nap in the afternoon.

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

A.M. Quads still sore. Worse than after any marathon except DesNews. Which was exactly the purpose of the workout on Saturday, so no complaints about that.

Ran 8 with Jeff and Daniel. Matt joined us en route for a portion. Then did 2.1 around the block with Jeff, and 5 more alone. Total time was 1:56:45. A little faster at the end than normal, last 5 miles in 36:33. I think I am getting used to Five Fingers, faster pace is not as painful on the feet as it used to be (which was the reason for running 8:00 pace on most of the runs in the last three weeks). I am excited about this. I figured running in the Five Fingers will either injure something or correct something. I was not sure which direction it was going for a while, as the right foot sometimes would hurt, but it never got worse, and I could not feel anything in racing flats, so I figured keep trying. I think the right foot is starting to straighten out.

Measured the sizes of various parts of the leg with Jeff. Measurements in inches. Lower shin, thinnest part - Jeff 7.5, me 8.375. Calf, the widest part, flexed - both 14.5 inches. Quad, widest part, flexed - me 21 inches, Jeff - 20 inches. Wrist - both 6.5 inches.

P.M. 1 with Julia in 9:58. Then pushed Jacob in the single stroller for the rest of the run. 1.5 with Benjamin and Jenny in 12:59, then another 0.5 with Benjamin in 3:58, and 2 with no running kids in 15:43. 

Five Fingers - 312.52 miles.

Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.33Total Sleep Time: 8.33
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with Jeff, Josse, and Matt. Total distance was 15.1 in 1:55:57. Did a VPB pickup - 0.5 in 2:41. It felt easier than it ever has in Five Fingers. I also noticed that the balls of my feet are developing pretty thick callouses. Some natural padding.

P.M. 1 with Julia in 9:48. 1.5 with Benjamin and Jenny in 12:50, then 0.5 with Benjamin in 3:36, then pushed Jacob and Joseph in the double stroller for two miles - 15:43.

Five Fingers - 332.62 miles.

Night Sleep Time: 7.25Nap Time: 0.50Total Sleep Time: 7.75
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with Jeff and Matt. We did some sprints. 2x100 15.3, 15.2. Then 200 in 31.3, and 2x100 14.6, 15.3. Because we jogged so slowly in between, and because of how much we got into a conversation, our time at 10.1 was 1:24:08, I think we earned the title of boltuny, which would be the masculine plural of boltushka. Then I ran 5.05 alone in 34:47 with a 0.5 pickup in the middle at 5:20 pace. The magic mark 0.5 into the pickup was erased, but I hit the first quarter in 1:21, and was 2:20 with 1/16th to go. It felt very good. The reason I did this pickup was that for some reason 7:00 pace felt hard. I wanted to see if there was a real problem or if I was just being lazy. 5:20 felt nice and relaxed, I felt like I could hold it forever.

T4 Racer - 160.98 miles.

P.M. 1 with Julia in 9:56, 1.5 with Benjamin and Jenny in 11:57, 0.5 more with Benjamin in 3:48, 2 alone in 13:43.

Five Fingers - 337.62 miles. 

Night Sleep Time: 7.50Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 8.50
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with Jeff and Tyler. Jeff was running easy because is running in Sound to Narrows and wants to be reasonably fresh. Tyler and I did a tempo run. The plan was to measure how long Tyler can handle 5:40 pace going up to 7.5 miles but no more. I wore Five Fingers, which made 5:40 pace a challenge for me as well.

We warmed up 3.88. The warmup was brisk. We put over a minute on the 8:00 guy. This is brisk by our new boltun standards. I think Tyler was the pace pushing element. If you leave Jeff and me alone, and we are talking, the pace can be easily slower than 8:00 until we realize we need to get home in time.

Went through the first 200 in 43, it felt brisk, and I said to myself - done with 1/60th of the run. Then after a quarter I said, done with 1/30th, and that felt better. First mile in 5:38, then 5:39. Felt hard. Lost concentration before the turnaround, and lost all of the lead on the 5:40 guy. 14:10 at 2.5. OK, done with 1/3, that sounds a lot better. Pushed the gas pedal to get back on pace, overdid it a bit, started hitting 1:23 quarters. Tyler seemed to be OK, so I figured we'd just keep the pace. 16:58 at 3 miles (5:41), 22:31 at 4 (5:33). Wow, almost done, and I am feeling stronger than I was earlier. I think the increasing proximity of the finish was progressively cheering me up. Noticed that if I tense the ankle and the glut I get a very good push off without making the feet hurt.

At 4.5 Tyler started feeling tired and said he only wanted to do 5. I said more. He said 6. I said 6.25. He said OK. We hit 5 in 28:13 (5:42), then did a 180 and were 33:57 at 6 (5:44), and finished 6.25 in 35:22, that would be 35:09 for the 10 K, which is a PR for Tyler. I set all kinds of Five Finger PRs as well - I think all distances 1 mile through 10 K.

Found Jeff on the trail afterwards, cooled down together. Dropped Tyler off 12.75 into the run, he threw up shortly after stopping, first time he threw up after a run. He is now a proud member of the elite Clyde/Logan vomit on the run club. Jeff and I ran loops around the block to add extra distance. I ended up with 15.2 for the run.

P.M - 1 with Julia in 9:52, 1.5 with Benjamin and Jenny in 12:54, 2.5 alone in 18:39. 

Five Fingers - 357.47 miles.

Night Sleep Time: 7.25Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 8.25
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. 15.02 in 1:50:56, first three with Tyler, the rest alone. Jeff is flying to Washington to see his family and to run Sound to Narrows 12 K.

P. M. 5 in 40:59, including first 1.32 to the library with Benjamin, Jenny, Julia, and Jared. Jared is not our kid, he is Ted's son, he is with us for a sleepover. Ran into Daniel and ran with him some as well.

Five Fingers - 377.49 miles.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Race: Heart of Holladay 5 K (3.107 Miles) 00:16:38, Place overall: 9
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran Heart of Holladay 5 K in 16:38, 9th place. The race was very competitive as expected. The whole family came. It does not happen very often anymore due to the difficulty of bringing everybody at an early hour. But Benjamin and Jenny were racing, and Sarah wanted to go to a special discount grocery store (NPS) in Salt Lake, so we all came.

Warmed up 2 miles. The gun went off, and I really did not like being in a 5 K. I wanted it to be a 10 K. But you cannot place high in the circuit without running 5 Ks, and we were also doing a campaign for Kim to get into St. George, so I was there. Plus a little push and a kick in the pants a hard 5 K gives you is good once in a while. A fairly sizeable pack pulled away. I considered going with them, but then I saw that Nate Hornok and Matt Harmer were going out a little slower, and I fell for the temptation to run with them. The slow start was right for them but wrong for me. They would later be strong on the uphill if they started slow, but I would run it at the same pace regardless of how I started. I knew that, but I erred on the side of laziness anyway. First mile in 5:14 instead of a more appropriate 5:08 on a slight rolling uphill.

The second mile starts with a slight up, then goes down, and flattens out. Matt dropped back a bit, we passed James Moore (Fiddy), Nate pulled me up closer to Steve Ashbaker, John Coles, and Dave Spence. Josh Steffen was a bit ahead of them, then Dennis Simonaitis and Alexander Thomas together, and Teren Jameson ahead of everyone. I caught a 3 K split - 9:41. By that time Nate was starting to press the pace, and I was barely hanging on. The feeling was odd, though previously experienced and expected. I felt like if I eased off by as little as 5 seconds a mile I could race a 15 K or maybe even a half. But I could not find 5 seconds a mile within me to run one more mile 5 seconds faster. In theory you should be able to address that with speed work. In practice, what has happened in the past is that speed work does help me keep the gap between the half and the 5 K pace bigger, but mostly because the half is slower. I gain 10-15 seconds in a 5 K and lose a minute in the half compared to high mileage, and no speed work other than occasional tempos and races.

2 miles in 10:25 (5:11). That is encouraging. Not 10:25, but 5:11 after 5:14. Maybe the momentum would help be get up the hill at a good pace. Well, we hit the uphill. I did not feel too miserable. But I could not go any faster. Nate pulled away like there was no tomorrow. But that time I had passed Steve, but everybody else was still ahead. Matt Harmer went by, and I could not latch on him. I closed the gap on John Cole a bit. Once it flattened out I pulled up to him, he pressed harder and dropped me, I pulled up again, he pressed again and dropped me, I reeled him in, 3 miles in 16:04 (uphill mile in 5:39, unspectacular but not exceptionally horrible). I was about to pass him, and thought for a moment the deal was done and was planning a forward lean at the finish line, but then he found another gear and beat me by a second. My time on the watch was 16:36, officially 16:38. Others:

Teren 15:18, Dennis 15:44, Alexander 15:56, Nate 16:02 (his last 1.1 split was 5:38, same as Teren's), Josh 16:07, Dave 16:19, Matt 16:25, John 16:37, Steve 16:48, James 16:52.

Went back to pace Benjamin (9 years old). His back and muscles all over the body have been hurting lately (growth pains?) so I was not expecting much. He toughed it out and finished in 22:09, 2nd place in his age division (1-11) after Alexander Berry who got 21:23. Jenny goofed off today. I think she is still too little to run well without a pacer. When I found her, she was jogging along (without much effort) with a 6 year old girl at around 8:30 pace. I suppose Jenny was feeling overwhelmed by the adult crowd and decided to just run alongside a little kid. I told her to speed up, which she did, but not enough to drop her. They both started flying by the adult crowd. Jenny's 6 year old competitor was quite a speedy girl. At the end Jenny pulled ahead of her competitor, which gave her third place in her age division (1-11) and 26:19 for the time, which is quite a bit slower than what she was capable of. We'll try again in another race, this time I'll be there start to finish. Nevertheless, it is interesting to note that even with this level of effort Jenny (7 years old) would have gotten an age division award in a number of non-master adult age divisions.

On the positive side, our blogger Kim Lee who we put on the forms got into St. George. This is good not only for Kim but also for the blog. Will make it easier to convince race directors to advertise their races with us.

Passed out the FRB/St. George Running Center cards. Benjamin, Jenny, and especially Julia helped. Then ran a short cool down. Will run more tonight.

T4 Racer - 168.59 miles.

P.M. 1.1 with Julia in 11:14, then 11.5 with Daniel in 1:19:32. We kept it brisker than normal, but still within an acceptable range. The temperatures were in the 80s. The asphalt was warm and soft and I could feel it in Five Fingers. So sub-7:00 happened more naturally than it normally does when it is only 50-60 degrees and the asphalt is hard. Interestingly enough, I was not the only creature that liked warm asphalt today. We saw a short green snake warming itself on the trail and I jumped over it. Ran at 5:30 pm, had no food or drink since about 1:30 pm, but I was not feeling either hungry or thirsty, so I decided to see how well I will do in the heat off blood volume. Did OK, could not feel the heat very much.

Five Fingers - 390.19 miles.

Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Night Sleep Time: 45.00Nap Time: 3.83Total Sleep Time: 48.83
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