Breaking the Wall

Murray Fun Days 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: 291.02 Year: 1935.71
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: 805.63
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Camouflage Crocs 2 Miles: 75.62
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Day of rest. Went to church.

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

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2017-07-03 07:52:10
Workout Totals: Distance8.500Time1:07:18.40Pace7:55.11
Total of 8.5, 8 with Jake Larsen, Allie's brother-in-law. Jenny and Julia ran with William and Stephen. Jake and I ran first with Joseph and Jacob, and then just two of us. Also ran with Matthew on the little boy course, and he did not hold the hand.
Leg 1:Distance4.000Time31:16.00Pace7:49.00
With Joseph, Jacob, and Jake.
Leg 2:Distance4.000Time31:45.20Pace7:56.30
With Jake.
Leg 3:Distance0.500Time4:17.20Pace8:34.40
With Matthew.

Camouflage Crocs 2 Miles: 8.50
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Race: Murray Fun Days 5 K (3.107 Miles) 00:17:45, Place overall: 6, Place in age division: 2
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2017-07-04 07:26:49
Workout Totals: Distance13.557Time1:50:18.80Pace8:08.22
Murray Fun Days 5K, 17:45, 6th overall, 2nd master, $75. First time without Benjamin since 2013, but I brought Joseph (19:22), Jacob (19:41), and William (22:16) instead.

Top 10:

1 Anthony Costales 28 M 15:46
2 Teren Jameson 40 M 16:09
3 Andrew Blackham 17 M 17:17
4 Albert Wint 37 M 17:38
5 Nan Kennard 35 F 17:39
6 Alexander Pachev 44 M 17:45
7 Matthew Wolpert 41 M 17:47
8 Dennis Simonaitis 55 M 17:50
9 Tyler Howland 33 M 18:00
10 Andrew Ross 17 M 18:12

I was happy with my race even though I got chicked. It is rather interesting, though, that in 5 of my last races that offered prize money I got chicked in 4, but got masters money in all. I suppose given a choice - get beat by a woman, or get beat by another master, especially a 55 year old, I would choose getting beat by a woman. What is interesting, though, is that before last year I had never won prize money of any kind - even as a master - in those circumstances. So the explanation is that for 3 out of those last 5 I traveled outside of Utah to a big race with a nice payout. But another part of it is that Utah is also starting to produce/attract top performers.

My first mile was 5:42. I ran it fairly relaxed with Dennis and Mark. I tested them with a couple of surges and could tell that at least at that point I was a bit stronger, but not strong enough to drop them. Plus there was nobody close enough ahead except maybe Albert that I could go to. And even Albert was too far away, and it was just not worth it to even try. So I just ran with Dennis and Mark, trying subtly to egg them on to go just a little bit faster waiting for the "getaway car".

The "getaway car" arrived shortly before mile two in the form of Andrew Blackham (Merrilee and Jason's son). I was able to latch on. He separated me from Dennis and Mark very quickly. The effort felt very hard and miserable, but I knew this was probably my best chance to escape. So I just kept telling myself, make it to the mile marker 2, make to to the starting line marker... I think I made it just a little bit past that. My split at the turnaround was 6:04, 11:18 at 2 miles (5:35 high), and 11:59 at the starting line.

Then the real misery began. I reached my limit and could not go with Andrew anymore. I had to drop back, and now I was alone - a target for the wolves behind me. I was like my son Joseph when he was maybe 3 years old. He liked to sit and watch Benjamin, Jenny, and Julia play, and when the opportune moment arrived he would pounce on a toy they were playing with and run for his life. They would eventually catch him, but he gleefully enjoyed his moment of glory.

I knew if it came to a sprint I would likely outrun Dennis, but not Mark. There was another "secret" wolf - Matt Wolpert. I did not even realize he was in the race - he started it late and ran 17:20 for the actual running time, but only 17:47 officially.

So I hung on hoping for some rescue from the wolves which came in an unexpected form - Nan. She brought only one of the wolves with her - Dennis, but I was running scared and thought Mark was somewhere around as well. When she passed me, she was moving fast, but I knew I had to stick with her or else the wolves would eat me for lunch. So I did the best I could. I was about to drop back when we entered the park, but then told myself - hang on for the downhill. That decision was worth at least $25 if not the whole $75 of my prize. When I got to the top of the last hill I was very much ready for the race to be over. But it still had about 200 meters left. I said a prayer asking the Lord to give me the strength to not get passed, and was able to find another gear to hold my position.

Joseph opened with 6:21, then it is not clear what his splits were. Jacob was with him at the mile, then dropped back. William's splits are unknown. We will see what the kids will do in Draper Days.
Leg 1:Distance1.900Time15:36.00Pace8:12.63
Warm-up with Kenny the Apache.
Leg 2:Distance4.307Time28:49.00Pace6:41.44
The race + waiting/jogging afterwards.
Split 1:Distance1.000Time5:42.80Pace5:42.80
Mile 1 - with Dennis and Mark.
Split 2:Distance1.000Time5:35.50Pace5:35.50
Mile 2 - mostly with Dennis and Mark, Andrew Blackham (Jason's and Merrilee's son) passed us and I latched on for a bit to build a gap.
Split 3:Distance1.000Time5:51.60Pace5:51.60
Mile 3 - full of drama. Got passed by Nan, but held off the old wolves.
Split 4:Distance0.107Time0:34.70Pace5:24.30
Kick - holding off a pack of wolves.
Split 5:Distance0.000Time1:37.30Pace0:00.00
Joseph's time.
Split 6:Distance0.000Time0:19.00Pace0:00.00
Jacob's time.
Split 7:Distance1.200Time9:08.10Pace7:36.75
Went to find William, but missed him. Searched far enough to exclude all even semi-plausible contingencies before returning to the finish. He actually finished in 22:16.
Leg 3:Distance2.600Time22:19.90Pace8:35.35
Cool-down with Kenny the Apache.
Leg 4:Distance0.500Time4:20.10Pace8:40.20
With Matthew on the little boy course. He insisted on going even though it was 100F. I figured half mile is short enough that this would not be dangerous, but long enough for him to learn to not insist on running in such conditions. It was tough for him - I think he learned.
Leg 5:Distance2.000Time17:46.20Pace8:53.10
At night with Stephen on the little boy course watching fireworks.
Leg 6:Distance2.250Time21:27.60Pace9:32.27
At night with Sarah to the park, 2 loops, and back - also watching fireworks.

Camouflage Crocs 2 Miles: 13.55
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2017-07-05 07:53:59
Workout Totals: Distance10.000Time1:19:43.70Pace7:58.37
Ran with Jake Larsen today. Kids ran their usual distances on their own. We first paced Sarah through 2 miles down the canyon in 15:23 (7:44, 7:39). She learned that she can still do a tempo run at a decent pace even if she had had only 2.5 hours of sleep. This is a big deal - if Bella gives her trouble the night before Draper Days, she will still be able to race with confidence.

Then Jake and I did 2 miles on the same course. The original plan was to go a little under 6:00, but I told Jake if he felt energetic and wanted to go faster I would respond. He took me at my word, and we ended up running 5:27/5:12. This is one of my fastest time of the season on that course. Definitely the split was good. The last mile might also be the fastest mile this year as well. I was surprised I had that much juice left after yesterday.
Leg 1:Distance1.000Time9:04.20Pace9:04.20
Warm-up with Sarah and Jake.
Leg 2:Distance2.000Time15:23.80Pace7:41.90
Paced Sarah.
Leg 3:Distance2.000Time16:45.60Pace8:22.80
Back to the start of the tempo.
Leg 4:Distance2.000Time10:39.60Pace5:19.80
Leg 5:Distance3.000Time27:50.50Pace9:16.83
Cool-down with Jake.

Camouflage Crocs 2 Miles: 10.00
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2017-07-06 07:47:49
Workout Totals: Distance11.057Time1:29:07.00Pace8:03.59
Sprint time trials today. Joseph ran 100 in 15.0, Jacob 200 in 31.7, William 100 in 17.5, Mary (holding the hand) 100 in 38.4 - all PRs. Stephen's 20.3 might actually be a PR as well, if not, at least close. Matthew ran 0.5 on the little boy course in 4:02.8 - new record for not holding the hand.

Jenny and Julia ran at the Girl's Camp.

James Leblow (Ted's son) joined us for part of the run and help with pacing. He got back from a mission in St. Petersburg a year ago and is Russian is very decent. We spoke it most of the time. I did not have to correct him very much.

My legs are tired from the last three days, today's sprinting was tough on them, they need some rest. On the positive side of things, at the age of 44 I could still sprint after two days of hard running prior - this is not something to take for granted.
Leg 1:Distance1.000Time9:07.30Pace9:07.30
Leg 2:Distance0.062Time0:20.80Pace5:35.48
Stephen's 100.
Leg 3:Distance0.062Time0:17.50Pace4:42.26
William's 100
Leg 4:Distance0.062Time0:15.00Pace4:01.94
Joseph's 100.
Leg 5:Distance0.062Time0:20.30Pace5:27.42
Stephen's try 2.
Leg 6:Distance0.062Time0:15.40Pace4:08.39
Joseph's try 2.
Leg 7:Distance0.062Time0:38.40Pace10:19.35
Mary's 100.
Leg 8:Distance0.062Time0:20.30Pace5:27.42
Stephen's try 3.
Leg 9:Distance1.000Time9:22.10Pace9:22.10
Back to the house.
Leg 10:Distance1.000Time8:20.50Pace8:20.50
Warm-up with Jacob.
Leg 11:Distance0.124Time0:31.70Pace4:15.65
Jacob's 200 try 1.
Leg 12:Distance0.375Time3:51.60Pace10:17.60
Recovery jog.
Leg 13:Distance0.124Time0:32.00Pace4:18.06
Jacob's 200 try 2.
Leg 14:Distance1.500Time11:52.10Pace7:54.73
Distance with Jacob.
Leg 15:Distance0.500Time4:02.80Pace8:05.60
Matthew's record 0.5.
Leg 16:Distance5.000Time38:59.20Pace7:47.84
First mile with Joseph, the rest alone.

Camouflage Crocs 2 Miles: 11.06
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2017-07-07 08:35:08
Workout Totals: Distance12.100Time1:45:12.00Pace8:41.65
Easy run today, in the morning with Jake and the kids (usual distances for them). Jenny and Julia ran at the Girls Camp. Ran with Matthew in the evening. He set a record in the mile without holding the hand on the little boy course - 9:03.6. That included stopping once because he thought he was too tired for which I did not stop the watch. Otherwise he would have broken 9:00, which he will probably do next time he tries.

Also ran with Sarah's relatives Thomas and his mother Erika for a mile. She could only do it increments of about 30 seconds but covered the distance in 9:48.
Leg 1:Distance1.000Time8:32.60Pace8:32.60
With Jake and Stephen.
Leg 2:Distance1.000Time8:40.10Pace8:40.10
With William, Stephen, Jake + Bella and Mary in the stroller.
Leg 3:Distance2.040Time16:53.40Pace8:16.76
With Jake, William, and Joseph + Mary and Bella in the stroller.
Leg 4:Distance2.040Time17:36.90Pace8:38.09
With Joseph and Jake.
Leg 5:Distance4.000Time34:28.60Pace8:37.15
With Jake and Jacob.
Leg 6:Distance0.020Time0:08.60Pace7:10.00
With Matthew - false start, he forgot to go to the bathroom.
Leg 7:Distance1.000Time9:03.60Pace9:03.60
Matthew's record mile run on the little boy course.
Leg 8:Distance1.000Time9:48.20Pace9:48.20
With Thomas and Erika.

Camouflage Crocs 2 Miles: 12.10
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Fast Running Friend Workout - 2017-07-08 07:41:58
Workout Totals: Distance20.410Time2:41:35.10Pace7:55.02
Did a long run today with a 3 mile tempo in the canyon on the Draper Days preparation course (0.75 up, 1.5 down, 0.75 up).

James Leblow joined me for part of the run, and did Joseph, and Jacob. I also did the follow-up evening run with William and Stephen (Jenny and Julia joined for part) because there was nobody to run with them earlier.

I felt tired today. Probably the combination of the race on Tuesday, hard tempo run on Wednesday, and then sprints on Thursday. At the age of 44 I do not recover as fast from the sprints as I did 10 years ago, but I am thankful that sprinting still does not completely incapacitate me.

Splits in the tempo run: 4:27, 8:32, 4:35. James pulled me for most of the last 0.75, but even with that help I did not have enough juice to average sub-6:00 pace on that stretch.

Joseph and Jacob ran 6.69 miles with a tempo down the canyon - 5:50 for Joseph, 5:53 for Jacob. I stayed with Jacob. It was hot by the time we got out, around 85 F, so they both struggled.

Jenny and Julia came back from the girl's camp. Julia ran 3.7, Jenny 4, in the evening.
Leg 1:Distance1.000Time8:40.60Pace8:40.60
With Thomas, James, William and Stephen.
Leg 2:Distance1.000Time8:31.20Pace8:31.20
With James and Sarah.
Leg 3:Distance2.000Time15:06.90Pace7:33.45
Paced Sarah through her tempo run along with James.
Leg 4:Distance1.000Time9:12.30Pace9:12.30
A jog with James up the canyon.
Leg 5:Distance3.000Time17:34.40Pace5:51.47
0.75 up, 1.5 down, 0.75 tempo. James helped me in the last 0.75.
Leg 6:Distance3.020Time26:35.00Pace8:48.15
Back to the house with James.
Leg 7:Distance4.620Time38:46.00Pace8:23.46
With Joseph and Jacob to get the car up the canyon.
Leg 8:Distance1.000Time5:53.70Pace5:53.70
With Jacob down the canyon - Joseph got 5:50.
Leg 9:Distance1.070Time9:35.00Pace8:57.38
Up the canyon with Joseph and Jacob to the car.
Leg 10:Distance2.700Time21:40.00Pace8:01.48
With William and Stephen later in the evening to the bank and back. Part with Jenny and Julia.

Camouflage Crocs 2 Miles: 20.41
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Camouflage Crocs 2 Miles: 75.62
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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