Breaking the Wall

Week starting Jul 17, 2011

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Location:

Orem,UT,United States

Member Since:

Jan 27, 1986

Gender:

Male

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.

Personal:

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 nine children: Benjamin, Jenny, Julia, Joseph, Jacob, William, Stephen, Matthew,  Mary, and Bella.  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: 148.02 Year: 3163.85
Saucony Type A Lifetime Miles: 627.15
Bare Feet Lifetime Miles: 446.12
Nike Double Stroller Lifetime Miles: 120.59
Brown Crocs 1 Lifetime Miles: 1509.03
Brown Crocs 2 Lifetime Miles: 903.91
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
67.209.003.002.0081.20
Green Crocs 1 Miles: 81.20
Night Sleep Time: 48.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 48.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
0.000.000.000.000.00

Day of rest. Went to church. It was a busy day for me. I got to teach two classes - one in Sunday school, and one in the Elder's Quorum. The lesson in Sunday school was on service. The lesson in the Elder's Quorum was on eternal marriage. I shared the idea that service is to our faith what training is to our muscles.

The Sacrament meeting talks were on pioneers. One thing to learn from the pioneers is the attitude of doing hard things that are right without hesitation or complaint. The power to do that comes from the understanding that right is more important than comfortable. One prerequisite to that, of course, is a strong sense of wrong and right. Without that sense you will inevitably drift towards what is comfortable. I have now lived long enough to be able to see the consequences of many of my decisions in the past, and to deem some of those decisions as bringing joy or regret. The only ones that have brought regret involved choosing what is comfortable or convenient above what was right. The ones where I chose the other way have brought joy.

Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Comments(2)
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
8.501.500.000.0010.00

A.M. Total of 10 including kids runs. Benjamin did 4.5 with 3x800 2:55.8, 2:44.3, 2:55.3. Jenny, Julia and Joseph ran 1.5.

Green Crocs 1 Miles: 10.00
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
8.501.500.000.0010.00

A.M. Total of 10, including kids runs. Benjamin - 4, Jenny - 3, Julia and Joseph1.5. I did a pickup for 1.5 miles in 8:49.

P.M. I did an experiment. I wanted to see how fast I could run with the stride length artificially reduced and how it felt. So Julia and I did a craft project of sorts (she likes craft projects), and cut out 24 9''x9'' squares out of a 27''x72'' rubber mat I bought at Home Depot. Then with the help of a measuring wheel we laid out 14 of those rubber squares on the side walk exactly 5 feet apart creating a segment 65 feet in length with a way to force the stride length to 5 feet by landing on the squares. I was able to run this with a running start in 3.2 which is about 16.2 for 100 meters or about 4:20 mile pace. My natural stride length at that pace is probably around 5-10 inches longer. The stride rate was about 244 steps per minute. I felt that I had to lift my my knees higher to avoid stepping past the squares. I also noticed that I was using a lot more force than I expected to be able to turn over quickly. I figured that since I naturally hit 60 inch long stride length at about 5:50 pace, I would experience the strength effort similar to running at 5:50 except the legs would move quicker, but it was much different. It basically felt like a near all out sprint, except it required extra coordination to hit the squares.

Green Crocs 1 Miles: 10.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
13.200.000.002.0015.20

A.M. Did a warm-up, then a repeat of last weeks 8x400 with 200 recovery workout. Splits: 73.7, 73.6, 72.4, 72.8, 72.0, 72.1, 73.4, 70.6, which comes out to 72.6 average. About 1 second per quarter improvement over the last week. I also counted my strides over one 100 meter stretch - it was 56 strides. So that is a turnover of about 186 steps per minute with the stride length of  1.78 m or about 70 inches. The stride felt good, like I was comfortably floating, but the comfort unfortunately did not last long. This turnover should be sustainable for at least the 5 K, if not 10. I am wondering as to the reason I cannot maintain the adequate stride length. The biggest obstacle to sustaining a fast pace is that you lack the stride length over any distance to keep the turnover from having to be over 200 to produce the speed, which is not sustainable over long distances for most runners. I thought I had that problem, but  apparently I can overcome it at least in a quarter mile repeat. Now the question is how to extend that feeling to longer distances.

The kids did a portion of their runs on their own, and a portion with me. Benjamin did 4, Jenny 3, Julia 2, and Joseph 1.5. I ended up with a total of 15.2 miles.

Green Crocs 1 Miles: 15.20
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
10.000.000.000.0010.00

A.M. Total of 10 including kids' runs. Benjamin did 4, Jenny 3, Julia and Joseph 1.5. Jacob started to do short runs on Tuesday and has been doing 200 meters. His leg is gradually regaining strength and his form is starting to look more and more normal.

Green Crocs 1 Miles: 10.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
9.003.000.000.0012.00

A.M. Had some fun this morning, maybe too much. Sarah left on her 5 mile run about 10 minutes before I did, so I decided it was a perfect opportunity to chase the Hot Chick. I warmed up for about 0.5 and then started going a bit sub-6:00. It took me about 3 miles to catch up. When I did, I found that she had met a new running partner Merylin and they were going a bit sub-9:00 pace. So I ran with them back to the house for the remaining 1.5 miles of the run. With a quarter to go I gave Sarah a challenge to break 2:00 (sub 8:00 pace). She complained at first, then I quoted Elaine Dalton's "I can do hard things", and she accepted the challenge running it in 1:57. That was a major improvement for her to be able to run sub-8:00 after running sub-9:00 for a while at the end of a 5 mile run.

Then I ran with the kids. Benjamin did 4 with the last two in 12:50. Jenny did 3, Julia and Joseph 1.5. I ended up with 12 total.

P.M. Did another stride experiment. Laid out my magic rubber squares 4 feet apart for the distance of 72 feet and tried to cover the distance as quickly as possible. It took me 7 tries starting at 4.7 before I got to 4.3. Then I did it one more time and was done. 4.3 translates to the speed of 5:15 per mile, and turnover of 251 steps per minute. All of that with a 4 foot stride length. I learned that it is possible to run like that, although not for long. The feeling was drastically different from trying to do the same thing with the 5 foot stride length. 5 foot stride length was mostly about power. 4 foot stride length required special coordination, as well as some odd type of power that made my legs feel like I've just done a nice fast downhill run. Not explicitly sore, but what I would call stale. I think I have now formulated the question I am trying to answer with these experiments - is there a drill that can be done using the artificially controlled stride length that can help me improve my speed across the board?

Green Crocs 1 Miles: 12.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Comments(2)
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
18.003.003.000.0024.00

A.M. Benjamin followed me on a bike for my long run. From the start I was feeling some staleness in the legs, possibly the effect of my experiment last night. Ran 10.5 at about 7:10 pace to Bridal Veil Falls and back to Nuns Park, then did 3 miles down the Provo Canyon in 16:05.9. The splits were 5:19 - 5:23 - 5:22 high. I was struggling with the warm weather and the staleness in the legs. Then, I jogged 3.5 miles and ran the last 3 in 17:54. Even though it was only 76 F, I was really feeling the warmth and it was bothering me. The total time for 20 miles was 2:16:35.

Jenny and Julia ran on their own - Jenny 3, Julia 1.5. Jacob ran 200 m with Sarah.

P.M. Ran again with Benjamin and Joseph. By now it was 86 F, but the sun was going down. It was actually much nicer than 76F earlier in the morning with direct sunlight. Benjamin and I did 4, Joseph ran the first 1.5. with us.

Green Crocs 1 Miles: 24.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Comments(1)
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
67.209.003.002.0081.20
Green Crocs 1 Miles: 81.20
Night Sleep Time: 48.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 48.00
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