Breaking the Wall

Week starting Jul 24, 2011

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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: 51.55 Year: 2011.51
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: 881.43
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Green Crocs 1 Miles: 66.80
Night Sleep Time: 48.00Nap Time: 2.00Total Sleep Time: 50.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Day of rest. Went to church. The stars aligned again and the same person taught the in the investigator/new member class in Sunday school and in the Elder's quorum, except this time it was not me. I do not know how that happened, but all three ward missionaries also teach in the Elder's Quorum. In any case, the lesson in Sunday School was on the Word of Wisdom. The Elder's Quorum lesson was on a talk by Elder Richards in General Conference on the subject of "What manner of men ought ye to be" with references to the words of Christ in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:48 and in 3 Nephi 12:48 from the same sermon which Christ repeated to the Nephites when He appeared to them after His resurrection.

I have observed in the process of doing missionary work that a likely potential convert really knows his Bible. Not just the quotes here and there from his minister, but somebody who has read it from cover to cover several times and has thought about it in its entirety rather than just the parts that fit into a particular religious doctrine. Such a person will not be going in endless loops with the common concerns and objections such as the relationship between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, polygamy, God speaking to a prophet, our ability to receive revelation including new scripture, and our ability to become like God eventually after returning to His presence. It will be so because in his study of the Bible he has discovered that the unity of the Godhead is in purpose and not in body, the twelve tribes of Israel came as a result of a plural marriage that was sanctioned by God at the time, God has a pattern of speaking to his people through prophets who receive revelation and record it - that is how we got the Bible in the first place, if we want to receive knowledge we are entitled to ask God, and Christ himself told us to be perfect like the Father in the Sermon on the Mount.

When I went on a mission in 1994 I was still a relatively new convert. I decided that I needed to read the Bible from cover to cover. I was amazed at how smoothly the "rough" parts of the Bible fit into the LDS doctrine while at the same time every other religion I encountered had to basically skip over them. There were passages here and there that required explaining and clarifying, but not too many in comparison with every other religion I encountered, and even that fit smoothly because the doctrine explains that while most of the Bible is true some of the truths were lost in translation or due to innocent or sometimes purposeful omissions or alterations  over the long course of the human history. Thus an LDS missionary who did what he was supposed to and learned the Bible is tempted to Bible-bash. He holds his own quite well while defending his religion, which is a position of disadvantage, as it is much easier to attack a religion with the Bible than defend it. There is almost always an obscure passage somewhere in the depths of the Old Testament that throws a curve into almost any religious practice or doctrine. But the reason I said "tempted" is that he is not supposed to because that is not how conversions come. They come through quiet whisperings of the Holy Ghost, and an agitated argument involving the sophistry of men even if it is about the Scriptures does not bring it. However I made an observation that those who have actually read the Bible are more likely to have the Holy Ghost with them, and do not fight the truth, but accept it and live it. So whenever somebody claimed an allegiance to a religion that accepted the Bible (more often than not to get rid of us), I would always challenge them to learn it better and practice its teachings.

Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 9.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran 10.5 including the kids runs. Benjamin did 4, Jenny, Julia, and Joseph did 1.5, Jacob ran 0.25. Did a pickup for 0.75 in 4:21. Legs felt sluggish.

Green Crocs 1 Miles: 10.50
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran 10.75 including kids runs. Benjamin did 4, Jenny, Julia, and Joseph 1.5, Jacob 0.25. Did a pickup for 2 miles in 11:36 (5:53 - 5:43). Legs felt better than the day before.

Green Crocs 1 Miles: 10.75
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. I broke my phone yesterday, and could not sleep because I kept having ideas on how to fix it. So I just kept trying them. I still was not able to fix it, but I learned a lot about how the Android phones, and Samsung Intercept in particular works. What is odd is that by early morning I was not feeling sleepy at all and was ready to run. Maybe if I ever race an overnight relay I should just bring some broken but potentially fixable gadget with me to keep my mind active and I'll race just fine without sleep. Ran 10.25 total including the kids runs. Benjamin did 5, Jenny, Julia and Joseph 1.5, Jacob 0.25. Legs were actually quite snappy.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 1.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Did a warm-up, then 8x400 with 200 recovery. 75.4, 73.3, 71.9, 72.4, 72.8, 73.9, 72.2, 70.0. It took me some time to get going, but I felt strong in the last two repeats. Then ran home and ran with the kids. Benjamin did 4, Jenny, Julia, and Joseph 1.5, Jacob 0.25. I ended up with a total of 14.75.

Green Crocs 1 Miles: 14.75
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran some myself, some with Sarah, and some with the kids. Did a pickup for 1.5 at 6:00 pace. Sarah did 0.5 in 4:11, and then another 0.5 in 3:56. Benjamin did 4 including 3x800 - 2:52.9, 2:45.3, 2:53.2. I did those with him. Then 1.5 with Jenny, Julia, and Joseph. 0.25 with Jacob. Some more by myself. Did the fixed length stride drills at 5 feet. Total mileage was 10.8.

Green Crocs 1 Miles: 10.80
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Long run with Chad Robinson. He went 15, I did 20. He waited for me after we got to 7.5. We did a test pickup. He made it to the mile in 5:53. After that the markers were gone as the new ones have not been painted after the road reconstruction, but we kept going. I tried to maintain the same effort, not sure if I got it quite right, but Chad survived for about another 0.5 miles.This is quite an improvement for Chad in the last two weeks.

After that we jogged some, I dropped Chad off to wait, then ran up, and then did a 3 mile tempo back down. The legs were stale from the combination of quarters on Thursday and drills on Friday, or perhaps stale just because, so I was not quite sure what to expect hoping it would not be as bad as 16:30 or worse. Went through the first mile in 5:15, was happy about that, then Ian interesting event happened. A guy that I passed earlier all of a sudden caught up to me and passed me back. His form looked decent, so I had hopes he was some stray collegiate runner in good shape and could pull me for the rest of the tempo. So I mentally relaxed thinking I would have company. He did OK for the next quarter which I ended up doing in 77. Then he lasted another quarter, but started losing steam. After a 77 I had enough steam to draft at 80, but not enough to sense that we were running slow and to want to take the initiative. He actually did not quite make it to the 1.5 mark, so I was left alone at that point. I felt like somebody had just held a juicy watermelon in front of me, and then took it away. What was I thinking? I should not have held up my hopes. What are the chances that a random runner on the trail would be able to hold 5:20s for a couple of miles mid-run when out of 2000 or so people that came to race the Provo River Half last year only 4 could have done it under such circumstances?

After this disappointment, it took me some time to recover. I hit several goose egg quarters in a row with the worst being 85 and the second mile in 5:27. With about a half mile to go I was finally able to speed up to an 80 quarter when I zeroed in on Chad, followed by a 78 at the end which gave me 16:06.3 for the run and the last mile in 5:24. It was not so much the fatigue, but rather the anticipation of the rest of the run being easy and fast. The lesson to learn from that is you should always expect the target pace to be hard. Be thankful when it is easy, but always be prepared for it to require more effort than what you are currently exerting.

Chad and I jogged some, then sped up some. I challenged him to run the last 3 miles at 6:30 pace, and he accepted - we ended up with 19:32 and the splits of 6:21, 6:39, 6:32.

Benjamin ran 4, Joseph 1, Jenny and Julia 1.5, Jacob 0.25.

Green Crocs 1 Miles: 20.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Green Crocs 1 Miles: 66.80
Night Sleep Time: 48.00Nap Time: 2.00Total Sleep Time: 50.00
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