Breaking the Wall

Draper 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: 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
Camouflage Crocs 2 Miles: 65.89
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 - 2017-07-10 07:44:35
Workout Totals: Distance11.050Time1:24:24.60Pace7:38.33
Usual runs for everybody, except I went a little longer so I could do Jenny's closing mile pickup. We did it in 6:36. Julia ran with Matthew (0.5 in 4:04), Stephen ran with Mary.
Leg 1:Distance4.000Time31:01.00Pace7:45.25
With Jacob.
Leg 2:Distance4.000Time30:15.30Pace7:33.82
With Joseph.
Leg 3:Distance3.050Time23:08.30Pace7:35.18
With Jenny.
Split 1:Distance2.050Time16:32.20Pace8:04.00
Split 2:Distance1.000Time6:36.10Pace6:36.10

Camouflage Crocs 2 Miles: 11.05
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 - 2017-07-11 07:47:12
Workout Totals: Distance11.854Time1:29:35.20Pace7:33.45
Paced the kids through their time trials. James Leblow helped me.

Joseph and Jacob did 2K (Joseph)/1 mile Jacob. They ran together for the first three laps, then Jacob kicked, I went with Jacob, he ran a PR of 5:35.9. I then continued, but Joseph was lagging behind, so I slowed down to let him catch me, but he had a mental lapse and slowed down to maintain the gap until I really slowed down to the point where he had to catch me on the home stretch. We ended up with 7:07.8 for 2000.

Jacob's splits: 82,83,84,83 high, the balance goes towards the 9.34 meter tax.

William went through the first 800 in 3:06 struggling, but then really lost it. I stopped him at 1200, which was the deal - if he fails to check in with a low five at a checkpoint, he is done with the time trial. I want him and other kids to learn how not to sandbag to finish the distance, but rather run by faith focusing on the next checkpoint which I try to make challenging but reasonable enough so the failure - if it does happen - would have to be mental.

Stephen ran 400 in 91.4, a bit off his record, but with more even splits. I gave William a chance to redeem himself from the mental collapse and gave him a target of 82 400, which he was able to hit.

Then I ran 7 miles with Jenny with a pickup for 1.25 uphill after VPB in 7:11.7. That was a surprise - it felt easier than pacing Joseph and Jacob on the track earlier when it was cooler. Then at the end we did a mile fast finish on the little boy course in 6:35.

I did an experiment yesterday by taking one 65 mg pill of Costco iron supplement. I do not know if it can act this fast, but what I was observing today is that I was sluggish to start, but once I got going I did better holding the effort than I normally do. Not sure what that means. Can iron be absorbed that fast?
Leg 1:Distance1.000Time9:08.80Pace9:08.80
Warm-up to the track.
Leg 2:Distance1.240Time7:07.70Pace5:44.92
Pacing Joseph and Jacob.
Split 1:Distance1.000Time5:35.90Pace5:35.90
Split 2:Distance0.240Time1:31.80Pace6:22.50
Leg 3:Distance0.740Time4:45.20Pace6:25.41
William's failed mile time trial.
Leg 4:Distance0.248Time1:31.40Pace6:08.55
Pacing Stephen.
Leg 5:Distance0.248Time1:22.00Pace5:30.65
Pacing William.
Leg 6:Distance0.248Time2:03.50Pace8:17.98
Jog with Jacob.
Leg 7:Distance1.000Time8:46.80Pace8:46.80
Running back home.
Leg 8:Distance0.120Time1:00.80Pace8:26.67
False start with Jenny.
Leg 9:Distance7.010Time53:49.00Pace7:40.63
With Jenny - mostly.
Split 1:Distance1.680Time14:35.70Pace8:41.25
Split 2:Distance1.250Time7:11.70Pace5:45.36
Uphill interval
Split 3:Distance3.080Time25:26.60Pace8:15.65
Split 4:Distance1.000Time6:35.00Pace6:35.00
Pickup with Jenny.

Camouflage Crocs 2 Miles: 11.85
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2017-07-12 07:35:02
Workout Totals: Distance9.750Time1:11:20.10Pace7:18.98
Paced Sarah through a tempo run - 2 miles in 15:20, then did 2x1.25, one uphill in 7:25, one downhill in 6:37. The uphill was very hard for the muscles, but I was able to run steady 89 with very little variation. On the downhill I think muscle power was the limit as well. This perhaps means that I am low on glycogen.

Kids ran on their own.

Afterwards I went to OpenWest conference, presented on MyISAM tables in MySQL, then played CTF (capture the flag) - a hacking challenge. A three day adventure that you could probably write a book about. Maybe one day I will, and maybe even before the kids are grown. Joseph and Jacob helped me earn some points by picking locks.
Leg 1:Distance1.000Time7:53.20Pace7:53.20
With Stephen. I think somebody else ran with us as well.
Leg 2:Distance1.000Time8:17.40Pace8:17.40
Warm-up with Sarah - for a portion.
Leg 3:Distance2.000Time15:20.60Pace7:40.30
Sarah's tempo run.
Leg 4:Distance1.250Time7:25.60Pace5:56.48
Uphill interval.
Leg 5:Distance2.750Time21:49.40Pace7:56.15
Leg 6:Distance1.250Time6:37.60Pace5:18.08
Downhill interval.
Leg 7:Distance0.500Time3:56.30Pace7:52.60

Camouflage Crocs 2 Miles: 9.75
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 - 2017-07-13 07:40:03
Workout Totals: Distance10.590Time1:24:18.40Pace7:57.66
Did not sleep well, Capture The Flag challenges were bugging me. Went to bed at 12:30, then got up at 5:30. Solved a few, earned some points. Then usual runs with the kids over reduced distances (taper for Draper Days), did a pickup on the little boy course for 600 to catch up.

Solved a wicked Capture the Flag binary executable problem that I believe was more difficult than anything I ever dealt with code-wise. Was the second person to solve it. For the geeks - the code that printed the flag was inside a hacked pre-main setup routine with the flag-printing branch being unreachable code. I solved it by replacing the relevant conditional branch with NOOP instruction (machine code 0x90) using a hex editor. After this I felt could go to bed and sleep peacefully. Managed to get to bed at a decent time.
Leg 1:Distance1.000Time8:18.80Pace8:18.80
With James Leblow, William, and Stephen.
Leg 2:Distance1.000Time7:19.80Pace7:19.80
With James, Stephen, William, and maybe somebody else as well.
Split 1:Distance0.375Time2:04.20Pace5:31.20
Pickup to catch up.
Split 2:Distance0.625Time5:15.60Pace8:24.96
Leg 3:Distance3.000Time24:41.20Pace8:13.73
With James, and Jacob - I think.
Leg 4:Distance2.040Time16:20.90Pace8:00.83
With Joseph.
Leg 5:Distance3.050Time23:10.80Pace7:36.00
With Julia - mile pickup.
Split 1:Distance2.050Time16:29.20Pace8:02.54
Split 2:Distance1.000Time6:41.60Pace6:41.60
fast finish
Leg 6:Distance0.500Time4:26.90Pace8:53.80
With Matthew in the evening.

Camouflage Crocs 2 Miles: 10.59
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 - 2017-07-14 07:51:41
Workout Totals: Distance8.540Time1:05:54.50Pace7:43.06
Only 8.5 today to be fresher for Draper Days tomorrow. Reduced distances for the kids. Another day of Capture the Flag. One funny problem - Cow's Secrets. You hit a URL, it tells you to upgrade from Edge 5. You Google and figure out than the next one from Edge 5 was SymbianOS, so they want you to spoof a user agent for SymbianOS. You do that, now you see a cow that is asking for an oatmeal cookie. You fudge a cookie header that mentions oatmeal in the way the cow likes - took me a few tries. Then it complains the cookie has no raisins. You give it the raisins as well. Now it gives you a silly question, there is a most annoying Captcha that takes 5 minutes to get past each time. The questions keep changing. When you answer wrong, it insults you with something along the lines of "You are nothing, if you were in my toilet, I would not flush it!" You finally figure out the questions come out of the Linux command-line utility fortune, and next time look up the answer and paste it straight into the box. Then the cow finally gives you the flag.
Leg 1:Distance1.000Time8:17.60Pace8:17.60
With James, Jacob, William, and Stephen.
Leg 2:Distance1.000Time7:51.20Pace7:51.20
With James and Jacob.
Leg 3:Distance2.040Time16:40.10Pace8:10.25
With James.
Leg 4:Distance4.000Time28:59.00Pace7:14.75
Leg 5:Distance0.500Time4:06.60Pace8:13.20
With Matthew.

Camouflage Crocs 2 Miles: 8.54
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Race: Draper Days 5 K (3.107 Miles) 00:17:26, Place overall: 13, Place in age division: 4
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2017-07-15 06:14:37
Workout Totals: Distance7.107Time50:14.50Pace7:04.16
Draper Days 5 K, 17:26 official chip time, the official gun time as we stand is 17:29, but it should be 17:27. 13th overall, 4th master.

There were a couple of issues with gun times. First, for reasons that are clear to Greg (the race director) but not as clear to me even after he sent me a fairly long explanatory email, the timer was knowingly started about 2 seconds before the gun actually fired and not properly adjusted afterwards to account for the discrepancy (to be clear - I understood the need for the early timer start, just not the failure to account for it in the official results). I proposed a technical solution that would correct the gun times to within 0.3s of the true gun time and volunteered to execute it, but Greg has not yet gotten back to me on this.

Another issue with the gun times is that very few runners were able to get to the true starting within 1s of the gun actually being fired due to the wheelchair start confusing. There were some runners pushing handicapped participants in a wheelchair. For some odd reason they did not have a separate start, and started at the front together with everybody else.

So at this point we should probably throw away the gun times, and use chip times. Except for people whose chip did not register, for those we should just subtract two seconds. So I will report the times in this manner.

So based on chip times our family got the following: Dad(44) 17:26, Joseph (12) 18:30 PR, Jacob (10) 19:00 PR, Jenny(16) 20:00 altitude PR, William (8) 21:37 PR, Julia (14) 21:45 PR, Stephen(6) 24:32 Debut, Mom(41) 24:33 second-fastest time ever with the PR (24:19) being set in 2002 when she had given only two births prior.

I consider Sarah's 24:33 after ten kids my most significant coaching accomplishment. The kids have run some good times, they work hard, but I really do not have to do much thinking. They are young and fairly quick naturally, so just any reasonable consistent routine that does not overtrain them at this point will produce decent results. However, with Sarah both of us had to do a lot of learning. Her top 100 m speed is 19 seconds. She does not come from an athletic family and never did any kind of competitive sport in her youth, so pushing herself in a sport to her is a skill she learned after we got married. She started running consistently in 1999 shortly after Benjamin was born, and never stopped with the exception of near-delivery times in the earlier pregnancies, and the first few weeks of recovery after each. Now she runs to the day she delivers.

Sarah and I have been through a lot trying to figure out how to keep her healthy and fit as she kept having children. We could probably write a book about it, and maybe some day we will.

We were 5 seconds short of our 20:50 record. Though all of the kids have gotten faster and run PRs, Mom ran faster, and Dad was only a few seconds slower, replacing Benjamin who is now on a mission with 6 year old Stephen who suffered from a side stitch starting early in the race ended up having too much impact. So maybe next year, I would say barring something unusual definitely next year unless Sarah gets pregnant.

As far as my race goes, I felt some fatigue from OpenWest Capture the Flag which I think cost me 10-15 seconds, most of it in the last mile. That is when I let go of James Moore, and Nan, and then Dennis (with a $20 bill figuratively attached to his back) passed me. Somehow I was able to hold off Sariah (17:29) and Jocelyn (17:31). I think just like me they were also suffering from a hard effort in the first two miles. Nan ran a very strong last mile finishing in 17:04 and even passed Matt Wolpert (17:05) as well as James Moore (17:05). I think Matt and I had similar problems today. He was trying to keep Brad Barton (16:17) in striking distance. I was trying to keep Matt in striking distance.
Leg 1:Distance1.600Time13:14.50Pace8:16.56
Leg 2:Distance4.007Time24:40.30Pace6:09.43
Split 1:Distance3.107Time17:27.40Pace5:37.11
Split 2:Distance0.900Time7:10.30Pace7:58.11
Split 3:Distance0.000Time0:02.60Pace0:00.00
Leg 3:Distance1.500Time12:19.70Pace8:13.13

Camouflage Crocs 2 Miles: 14.11
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Camouflage Crocs 2 Miles: 65.89
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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