Breaking the Wall

Week starting Jul 08, 2007

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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: 266.81 Year: 266.81
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: 1438.17
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Ran alone this morning. Decided to be extra-cautious and skip the 2.5 tempo I normally do Monday mornings. When you start getting into a good shape, you are usually just one wrong step away from an injury. Started out at a slower than 9:00 pace. After about half a mile, eased into 8:00. After 2 miles worked my way up to 7:00. When I got to the cow field stretch, the fly were out in full sway. So I picked it up a bit to get through the mess. By the time I got out of it, I got into a nice sub-6:40 rhythm. I figured as long as my HR stayed below 130 on flat parts, this would be OK. It did, so I maintained it to the end. With a quarter to go decided to pick it up to threshold, ran it in 1:23. Ended up with 1:09:38 for 10.04.

A short while later ran to Computune to pick up VanGoGo. This time it was the fuel pump. Fortunately, it was under warranty. We count our blessings. The run was 2.25, I ran it at 6:40 pace.

In the evening ran with the kids to Kiwani's park dropping them off according to their level of ability on the way as Sarah picked them up. Played tag with them there, then ran back, added a bit to make 6 miles exact.

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

I think some runners feel they need to match the air temperature highs with their weekly mileage. I've counted 4 runners who cracked 100 mile barrier last week - Clyde, Dave Holt, Bill Cobler, and myself. Back in our old ward a few years ago our Elder's Quorum President was also a state trooper. He told us about the 100 mile club - any time they write a citation for 100+ mph, they put it up on the board and the person joins the club. In that spirit, I am going to start a new club on the blog. Anytime a runner cracks the 100 miles in a week, he will be inaugurated. A word of caution - do not do it just to join the club, but only if your body is ready for it, and you can do it productively. 

Ran with Jeff this morning. 3x2 miles on the Provo River Trail workout with full rest - jog around until the next repetition starts to sound appealing. Warmed up 1.84. The goal was to run 10:50 for each. Did all of them on the standard 2.5 stretch from 0.5 mark to the turnaround alternating directions with the first one going towards the Utah Lake.

Ran the first one in 10:36.1 with the splits (by 0.5) of 2:41 - 2:36.5 - 2:38.5 - 2:40. That one felt a bit hard for me, and very hard for Jeff, although he made his way through it.

Jogged 600 meters. Found Karl Jarvis on the trail. He decided to join us for however long he could make it. On the next one, just to keep things in check, and to keep myself from working too hard as well, I invited Jeff to lead without feeling the pressure to perform, just run whatever pace felt right to him. He started out with a 1:25 quarter. I really enjoyed it, but knew it would not last. Next two quarters in 1:22, then the fourth in 1:19, 5:28 mile. Karl made it to the mile. Now it looks like we can actually hit this one on target in spite of the early relaxation. Jeff started fading a bit and fell back. I continued at a steady  5:20 pace. Finished it in 10:49.6. Jeff ran 10:57.

Jogged 0.75 before the next one. I wanted to make sure I was fresh for the last one. Karl joined us. I set the pace on this one trying not to drop Karl or Jeff for as long as possible without letting up on the pace. Hit the splits of 2:41 - 2:39 - 2:39 - 2:36 (1:18, 1:18) for the total of 10:35.0. Felt good until I started going 1:18 per quarter pace on the last 0.5, but it was not a near death experience like it used to be. I would call it just uncomfortably hard. 1:20 was almost relaxing. Karl made it a bit past 0.5, Jeff fell back early, but then finished strong with the last 0.5 in 2:33 and 10:43 for the whole thing.

Ran back home from the turnaround where we finished. Total of 12.8 for the run.

Did another 6 miles in the evening, which included kids' runs. Each running child got in his own run. It was not a super easy pace - Benjamin hit his 2 mile run in 15:27 with the last mile in 7:13. Jenny ran 9:00 for the mile. Julia ran 5:36 for 0.5.

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

Easy run on the 10.04 course in the morning. I came up with a new standard easy run plan. First 2-4 miles just warm up, go whatever pace the body wants. It usually starts out at 9:00 pace and warms up to 7:00 by the end of this stage, which it did today. Then on the second stage, run the fastest pace possible with the heart rate not exceeding 130. This usually results in about 6:35-6:40 pace. Then with 0.5 to go run threshold pace if I feel like it, no HR limit. So that is what I did today. Hit the first half in 36:52, came back in 33:02, 1:09:54 for the run. Timed the last quarter, it was 1:23.

A little bit of motivational bragging about the evening run. Sarah went with Julia to help a friend paint her house, so I was in charge of everybody else, that is Benjamin (8), Jenny (6), Joseph (2), and Jacob (almost 1). No treadmill. How to get in a decent run, get the kids runs done, and keep everyone reasonably happy?

Solution: Put Joseph and Jacob in the double stroller. Benjamin gets on a bike, Jenny runs a mile. She did it in 9:08. Then Benjamin and Jenny trade places. Benjamin runs 1.48 at about 8:20 pace. Then we stop at a park, Benjamin, Jenny, and Joseph play, Jacob watches from a stroller, I go back and forth on a 200 meter stretch nearby for 2.25 miles at about 7:00 average, and catch the 8:00 mile guy for the whole run. Then I tell Benjamin to stay ahead of the 8:00 guy for me on the way back home, and he averages 7:00 on the way home for the remaining 0.52, and almost catches his 8:00 mile guy finishing the run in 16:10. I get 41:06 for 5.25, 54 seconds ahead of the 8:00 pace.

Before that adventure, I ran with Julia, and a little bit more to the church and back. So that gives me 16.04 for the day.

I got started on the top Fast Running Blog performance list - so far just men in the marathon. To make it more meaningful, I adjusted the performances for the course quality and weather conditions on the day of the race when ranking different runners. This, of course, to an extent is a matter of opinion. If somebody has a reason to challenge my adjustments, or if you discover a factual error, feel free to send me a note.

I also got started on  the live top mileage list, but there is nothing to show yet.


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

Ran with Scott Hillman this morning. I figured it was about time to show the 5:30 guy who's the boss over my standard 5 mile tempo. Scott paced me through the first and the last 1.5 of it. It was very helpful.

Splits by 0.5 - 2:43 - 2:38 (5:21) - 2:38 (7:59, alone after that) - 2:44 (5:22, 10:43) - 2:44 (13:27 at the turnaround) - 2:45 (5:29, 16:12) - 2:45 - now Scott joins me again - 2:41 (5:26,21:38) - 2:42 (uphill) - 2:35 (5:17,  26:55.7 for the whole tempo, last quarter in 76).

This is not only my PR for the course by 40 seconds, but it is my loop course 5 mile PR period, including splits from 10 Ks and adjusted 8 Ks. If you add up my first 2.5 K and my last 2.5 K this comes out to about 16:31 5 K, which is the fastest loop course  5 K  I've run this year. Right before Ogden and after a back off week, I ran the out and back  3 mile tempo in 16:11. Today the sum of those 1.5 segments was 15:57.

HR hovered around 159 for a while, then made its way into 163 area around 3.2, then climbed to 168 on the last mile and peaked at 171 on the kick. The best results from high mileage I've seen so far in my running.

Ran a longer cool down - 11.18 for the run.

Ran with the kids in the evening plus some more. Total of 6.25 in the evening. 

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

Easy 10.04 with Jeff in the morning. Followed the easy run protocol - warm up, then fastest possible pace with HR 130 or under, then threshold pace at the end. Took a while to warm up. Hit the first quarter in 2:26, and it felt fast. At around 0.4 mark my HR was still hovering between 95 and 98. Then I gradually woke up. After two miles we finally started cracking 7:00 pace. Hit the turnaround (5.02) in 37:16. On the way back settled into a steady 6:40 pace. It was tempting to go faster, but I was very strict on the 130 HR rule and backed off whenever I saw it going overboard. With about 0.64 to go Jeff asked me if it was time to speed up. I was originally planning on doing it at 0.5, but I was getting bored with the pace a bit, and tired of the HR restriction, so we decided to pick it up a bit earlier. Timed a 200 up 0.5% grade on the trail - 42, and also the last quarter (flat) - 1:21. Total time 1:10:13.

Interestingly enough, in 3:40 of running at that effort my HR gained only 20 bpm from 130 to 150. But I still felt like I was working. I think most of the work went into overcoming the inertia. Also, it started to get a bit warmer. When it gets warm, I first start feeling lazy with the HR dropping a bit for a while, and then after a while dehydration sets it which brings back and HR over the limit.

Ran with the kids in the evening. We ran/rode in the stroller/rode a bike taking turns to the swing on a tree and back. Added some more to make the total 5 miles for the run afterwards.

Starting a taper for Deseret News Marathon/Draper Days 5 K. The long run tomorrow will be shorter - 13 miles, and easier - no serious speed scheduled in the middle.

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

Ran with Scott Hillman this morning. Very easy pace most of the way, just a bit faster than 8:00. Chatted in Russian, told him some Brezhnev jokes. It is hard to believe that I am old enough to remember Brezhnev speaking on TV. There were 4 channels available in Moscow back in the early 80s, and he would be on 3 of them at the same time. I am not sure if the 4th had him too. One of the jokes goes like this - a man is watching TV in Moscow. First channel - Brezhnev. He tries another - Brezhnev. Third one - same luck. Forth - a KGB man with a fist saying:'"If you keep switching channels, I'll show you where lobsters spend their winter!"

After about 6 miles were were done with the jokes and the Russian instruction, and got down to a bit of business - 2.5 tempo on the standard stretch from Utah Lake to Geneva road, so a slight net uphill. Ran the first 200 in 44, and it felt hard. Then ran the next 200 in 42 and it felt a lot easier. Settled into a nice a little slower than 5:30 pace. First mile in 5:35. After that Scott started struggling, so we backed off to 5:40. Went like that until the last quarter. Then picked it up a bit, and even more on the last 100 - ran in it in 16 seconds. Total time 13:56, last mile in 5:30 thanks to the kick.

Scott was really out of it afterwards for a bit - he laid on the ground and said he was dead. The Russian word for Sunday literally translates as Resurrection. So I told him in Russian that there was a reason for the day  after Saturday to be called the day of the Resurrection. That got him up and we finished the rest of the run. Ended up with a 13.16 total in 1:37:10, incidentally, just a bit over the half marathon.

Middle distance runners (Scott being one of them) are interesting creatures. On Thursday, after a warm-up of 2.84 Scott was able to do 2x1.5 at sub-5:20 pace with hardly any apparent struggle. So I thought 2.5 at 5:35-5:40 pace would be anywhere between relaxing and comfortably hard for him. But this time the warm-up was 6.2 miles! So apparently his slow twitch muscles tired out some, and he had to use more of his faster twitch ones more. Today after running 1.5 in 8:26 (5:38 pace) he felt like throwing up. And yet, he still had a kick of 16 seconds on the last 100 meters! Granted, he has more speed than me, probably 1.5 seconds faster in an all out 100. But still, adjusted for that, if I feel like throwing up with a mile to go, I will not run 17.5 on the last 100 meters, maybe 19 with a super-human effort. The difference is that he has some super-fast twitch fibers that do not work at all in a long race or interval. So no matter how badly he is hurting, they are going to be available for the kick. Whereas my fast-twitch fibers are really mid-grade - if I am pushing it even in a very long race, they are working their tail off. So come the finish, I have no kick, I've been kicking the entire race already. However, give me a slightly easier pace to where my mid-grade fibers do not have to work, and I'll run the last 100 almost as fast as I would if I were fresh.

Ran with the kids in the evening, and added some more - total of 5 for the evening run.

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