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Fast Running Blog 5 Miler For Strong Families

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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
Vibram Five Fingers Miles: 12.10Bare Feet Miles: 13.00Five Fingers 2 Miles: 67.35
Night Sleep Time: 46.25Nap Time: 1.30Total Sleep Time: 47.55
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Day of rest. Went to church. Came home. Ate dinner. Sat down on the couch and wondered how in the world I could run even 1 mile at 10:00 pace. If somebody erased my memory and told me I could not run a mile I would have believed him. No way I would have even bothered to set an alarm to run  Monday morning without the memory and consequently knowing the potential. Thus the importance of knowing the potential.

Night Sleep Time: 9.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 9.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with Jeff. Woke up with the same feeling from the day before that I could not break 10:00 in a mile. After the first quarter I said maybe I can break 9:30. After the second quarter I believed I could break 9:00. Our mile split was 8:35. After that 8:00 pace felt good. Then 2.5 miles into the run we got caught by a girl. Her name was Lori. She is a former basketball player, has 3 children, and her half PR is 1:31. She was going 6:45.  We used politics and other forms of cunning art to talk her down to 7:30 and reluctantly increased the pace to keep up. She ran with us for another 3 miles. Then we did a fat mile in 5:50. The first quarter of it felt hard, but then towards the end of I felt smooth. A short while later we did another fat mile in 5:54. The start was slow due to the turns, bridges, and Jeff's playing the guessing game of the results of the Provo Freedom Run ( I had looked at them, but he had not). Towards the end we sped up and I started feeling smooth again. We ran the last two quarters in 84 and 83. So much for not being able to break 10:00. Total time was 1:14:52.

Then 2 more with Benjamin in 17:36.

P.M. 0.5 with Jenny and Joseph in 5:34. 2 more with Jenny in 17:12. Joseph hit the Julia in the head with a door the day before, and she had a minor concussion. She was still not feeling that great so she did not run.

Vibram Five Fingers Miles: 12.10Bare Feet Miles: 2.50
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Tempo run with Jeff. Warmed up 1.38 to the start of the Fast Running Blog 5 Miler. Ran the course twice. There were posted speed limits. Minimum speed limit 6:00 mile or 90 second quarter. Maximum speed limit 87 quarter (5:48) in the first 5 miles, and 85 (5:40) in the second. I told Jeff those were the limits, not necessarily the targets to reach or exceed.

The first half went mostly according to the law, no speeding tickets issued. In fact, the trooper was eyeing us in the first 3 quarters and thinking about citing us for going too slow - we were 4:35 at 0.75, but then we saw him, and speed up to an 88 quarter to hit 6:03 at the mile. After that 2.5 split was 14:53, 5 miles in 29:41, no laws broken.

Then Jeff hit an 84 quarter to accelerate after the turnaround. The trooper started following us again, Jeff saw that and slowed down to 85-86. Next 2.5 in 14:23, 44:04 at 7.5. After the turnaround we were still legal for a mile with the exception of one 84 quarter after the turnaround. Then Jeff pulled out his led foot and did 83 and an 84. The trooper was just about to flash his lights, but Jeff quickly backed off to an 87. Then with 0.75 to go the trooper was called to deal with an accident. Jeff saw that and sped up to 84, 82, and 80 to finish 10 miles in 58:05.9 and a very illegal 14:01 last 2.5. Another trooper came out from the bushes and was going to give us a $300 fine for major speeding. We were able to talk our way out of the ticket by showing our Utah Valley Marathon finisher medals.

The pace felt good. In the beginning I felt awkward. But once the pace increased and it started to hurt I rememebred to make a concsious effort to activate the right glut. That seemed to help, I started feeling smoother and was able to handle sub-5:30 pace at the end without feeling I was out of my limits.

Cooled down, then ran 2 with Benjamin in 17:12.

Five Fingers 2 Miles: 14.75
Night Sleep Time: 7.75Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 8.75
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran first 3 miles alone because Jeff was late, the rest with Jeff. We did 2 fat miles. First in 5:56, second 6:00. Also did the explosions. Total time for 10 was 1:14:33.

P.M.  2 with Benjamin in 17:34, 2 with Jenny in 19:31, Julia ran the first 1.5 in 14:37. 0.5 with Joseph in 5:45.

Five Fingers 2 Miles: 10.00Bare Feet Miles: 4.50
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Jeff was not feeling well, said he'd run in the evening. So I ran alone. Did 6x400 in the middle of 10.1 mile run. 72.6, 69.7, 70.4, 70.7, 69.9, 69.5. The recovery was a very slow 200 meter jog except for the last one. Jogged 2+ miles before the last one. Was happy with how I was able to close the last repeat - fell asleep at the start, first 200 in 36, then was able to shift gears and get going.

Then 2 more with Benjamin in 17:44.

P.M. 2 with Jenny in 19:04. Julia ran the first 1.5 in 14:30. 0.5 with Joseph in 5:56.

Five Fingers 2 Miles: 12.10Bare Feet Miles: 2.50
Night Sleep Time: 7.75Nap Time: 0.30Total Sleep Time: 8.05
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. 10.1 with Jeff in 1:14:35. Matt Knold joined us for a couple of miles. I did explosions. Then we ran a fat mile in 5:48, and with 1.25 to go we realized Jeff was late for work. So it was a quick 1.25, and the last 0.75 not fat at all with the quarters of 86, 88, 83, 82, and 80 - total time 6:59. 83 was uphill, 82 had two turns, one of them sharp. 80 had two turns as well, but those are not too bad. The pace felt good.

Did a test. 64 feet on one leg as fast as possible. Results, in sequence: right 7.0, left 7.8, right 6.4, left 7.2, right 6.0, left 6.4. The right felt snappy, the left felt like it was bumming it. Those are interesting results. I struggle with stability on the right leg, and have an odd feeling in the right glut. So I was expecting to hop faster on the left leg than on the right. But it was the other way around.

So my tentative explanation. One leg hop (and possibly hopping/bounding in general) is not affected by stability issues as much as running. In running, though, stability is a bigger factor. However, balance and rhythm is a factor as well. So suppose one leg for some reason is more capable than the other. If both legs were to engage equally then the effort of the more capable leg would be getting wasted by the breaking created by the less capable leg. So it is more economical to put top effort into the weak leg, and then match the performance with lesser effort in the more capable leg to equalize the stride length from each leg. 

I say "more capable" rather than "stronger" because it may actually be weaker or of equal muscular strength, but more efficient.

So because of that principle of balance my left leg never fully engages when running because it never has to. When it is time to hop, the right leg is no longer hampered by the stability problem, and its full power begins to shine. The left one on the other hand demonstrates its lack of development.

Assuming this is correct, an idea would be to try hopping on each leg to develop each to its full capacity, and hopefully this will cause a system reboot. But in order for this to work the boot scripts need to be functioning properly, otherwise you keep rebooting into error. But hopping on one leg here and there does not take a whole lot of time, so worth a shot. It would be really cool if the increased strength of the left push-off  rebooted the stability driver on the right so it would start working.

P.M. Spent most of the day preparing for the race. Mostly refining my timing software. Now I have a solution that is completely contained on one system - I do not need separate computers/PDAs to do the timing and the barcode scanning. Flic scanner scans the barcodes, while Nokia 770 Tablet is running the timer and reading the scans in a separate thread. As a bonus I learned threaded programming in Python as well as GTK for the user interface. Next step is to be able to work with the user database on the device rather than just reading the times, scanning the bibs, and then taking it home to post-process and publish. Dreaming along, code up a registration web daemon, bring my wireless router with an EVDO card, and set up a field WLAN so that volunteers could register people through Wi-Fi devices on the spot, and so we could have the results online immediately.

Had a little adventure with the printer for the bibs and the signs, but fairly quickly worked around it with a hack. However, I do need to figure out why it stopped working normally fairly soon.

Ran 1.5 with Jenny and Julia while setting up the course in 13:02. Another 0.5 with Joseph in 5:53.

Five Fingers 2 Miles: 12.10Bare Feet Miles: 2.00
Night Sleep Time: 7.75Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.75
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Race: Fast Running Blog 5 Miler For Strong Families (5 Miles) 00:27:25, Place overall: 2
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Fast Running Blog 5 Miler For Strong Families, 27:25, 2nd place. Did not run great, but at least set a Five Finger PR for the distance. I am learning that a few extra things I decided to do organizing this race while not appearing too stressful can increase the load on the nervous system and can cause it to fail mid-race.

Set up the start, including the cool new clock from Microframe, nice 5.5 LED digits, remote control, battery power option, available to be used free of charge for races within reasonable distance of Provo that comply with the Promotion Rules. Executive summary of the rules is that you need to have an accurate course, give elite comps, generously (according to your abilities) reward quality performance, and your top raffle prize cannot exceed the lowest performance or accomplishment prize. E.g. if your winner gets only $50, but you are raffling away a treadmill that is not cool. But if you give a cancer survivor that finished the race a treadmill while giving the winner only $50 that is cool.

We had 10 people in the race, 7 pre-registered, 3 showed up day off. Jeff paced me through the first half very evenly with 5:20 and 5:21, then 13:21 at the turnaround. I knew it would be a stretch to hold 5:20 the whole way, but I wanted to know where I would fail and how. At first 5:20 felt very reasonable, half-marathon like. But after the turnaround I could only hold it for another quarter.  Then my legs gave out, and told Jeff to go. I did an 84 quarter, and then it was 86, 85, 86, 85. Legs felt weak. Well, it was not the legs, legs were just fine. The neural drive was not there due to the organizational stress. But I was thankful anyway that it was at least 86 and not 88.

Mile 3 was 5:25, then 5:42 in the 4th. I gave myself a cheer that even though I was dragging at slower than 5:40, at least I hit 4 miles in 21:48, which is a decent time on that course. With half a mile to go I found a droplet of a kick and was able to speed up to 84-83 quarters and finish with 5:37 mile and 27:25 for the whole distance. Jeff closed with a 5:19, 5:17, 5:06, 4:50 pace the last half, and finished with 26:22, new course record, and $50 richer. Not a lot, but better than nothing.

Then I jogged back and ran with Sarah. Found her at around 4.1 into the race. She pushed herself hard and finished with 45:54, a great time, it's been a while since she's been able to run that pace, before the start she was not even sure if she'd be able to break 50:00. She said afterwards that the pain of the effort was greater than in William's labor, but less than in others.

Afterwards drove to the Youth Regional Track Meet at BYU. Jenny ran 1500 in 6:31.22. Benjamin was registered as well, since one of the runners that beat him in State did not run. But he got cold feet and refused to run. He is still a kid, but he needs to learn to deal with those kinds of fears and moods, you need to learn it right at a young age, or your adult life will not be happy. We had a conversation afterwards and he agreed to do a redemption mile time trial on Monday.

Ran 1.5 with Benjamin and Julia to pick up the signs and cones from the race course in 13:40. One of the signs got damaged when somebody apparently rammed into it on a bike or a scateboard. Lesson learned - make sturdier signs.

Will run another 10 with Sarah on a bike tonight.

P.M. Ran 10.1 in 1:09:36 as Sarah followed me on a bike. It was nice to have her around and it's been a while since we've had the opportunity. About 3 miles into the run I told her in Russian that we were following the 7:00 guy with the intent to strike and pass him at some point. Except it was not quite what I said:  Мы пасём семиминутного товарища. Which literally translated is - We are shepherding the seven minute comrade. Sometimes my mouth produces interesting Russian phrases that sound completely normal to a non-English speaking Russian but nevertheless surprise me because I think about how the difficulty of properly translating them into English, and the amusing value of the literal translation. How about this one - "The car was operated by a citizen in a  non-sober condition."

We did the last 2.5 of the race course fast - 14:24, 5:45.6 average. Sarah sang me BINGO the entire time to get me going.  Not surprisingly, the pace felt very hard at the end of the day, but I was surprised at how low the heart rate was - even in the last mile it was 152, and briefly hit 155 at the end when I sped up to 5:36. I think it was a PR for pain at this heart rate with the conditions as warm as they were and the low level of hydration. I never thought I would have to work so hard on a warm July evening after running for 45 minutes to get that low of an HR.

My Five Fingers developed a hole. It is in the right shoe. Less than 500 miles. The other pair took 1000 miles. I suppose that is the difference between doing speed work and tempos and just jogging.

Five Fingers 2 Miles: 18.40Bare Feet Miles: 1.50
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Vibram Five Fingers Miles: 12.10Bare Feet Miles: 13.00Five Fingers 2 Miles: 67.35
Night Sleep Time: 46.25Nap Time: 1.30Total Sleep Time: 47.55
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