Breaking the Wall

Provo River Half Marathon

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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: 232.17 Year: 3533.69
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: 734.48
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Black Crocs Miles: 14.86
Night Sleep Time: 14.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 14.50
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Day of rest. Went to church. We had a Fast and Testimony meeting.  Benjamin, Jenny, Julia, and Jacob decided to bear their testimonies in addition to Sarah and myself. So our family was well represented.

Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2014-08-04 06:56:03
Workout Totals: Distance12.000Time1:37:20.80Pace8:06.73
Total of 12. Benjamin did 9, Jenny 3, Julia 3, Joseph and Jacob 3, William 1, Stephen 0.5.
Leg 1:Distance1.000Time7:01.30Pace7:01.30
Leg 2:Distance3.000Time25:52.50Pace8:37.50
With Benjamin, Joseph, Jacob, Nathan and his brother Jared.
Leg 3:Distance6.000Time46:03.30Pace7:40.55
With Benjamin.
Leg 4:Distance0.500Time3:40.00Pace7:20.00
Leg 5:Distance0.500Time5:34.30Pace11:08.60
With Stephen.
Leg 6:Distance1.000Time9:09.40Pace9:09.40
With Julia.

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 - 2014-08-05 08:01:08
Workout Totals: Distance12.103Time1:30:43.80Pace7:29.79
The boys did a time trial today. Jacob got a PR of 6:24.1 in the track mile. William ran a PR in the 400 - 1:42.5. Stephen broke 30 in the 100 for the first time - 29.4. Joseph was not having a good day, and had a bit of an attitude, but after a 6:18 bummer in the mile he corrected it, and ran a decent follow-up 2000 in 8:06.
Leg 1:Distance0.400Time4:15.00Pace10:37.50
Warm-up with Benjamin, Joseph, Jacob, William, and Stephen.
Leg 2:Distance1.000Time6:18.30Pace6:18.30
Paced Joseph through a mile time trial. Benjamin paced Jacob. Jacob got his track PR - 6:24.2 - improvement by 5 seconds. Joseph was not having a good day, but was on pace to break 8:00 in 2 K, so I told him in the last lap to run one more, but he refused.
Leg 3:Distance0.200Time1:31.50Pace7:37.50
William's attempt at 800 time trial. About 0.2 into it he said he did not want to get the record, and he is stubborn, I would say the most stubborn of all of our kids. So it took some instruction and negotiation before try 2.
Leg 4:Distance0.248Time1:42.50Pace6:53.31
William's try 2. I knew from his splits in the failed 800 that he could get a PR for the quarter, so I told him to just run a quarter. He ran a PR with the splits 49,53.
Leg 5:Distance0.062Time0:29.30Pace7:52.58
Stephen's 100 meter time trial. All of the kids joined him and cheered him on. He did not hold a hand, and this was his first timed sub-30 100.
Leg 6:Distance1.243Time8:06.40Pace6:31.31
Joseph redemption 2000. I felt it was important to teach him a lesson on obedience and good attitude when things are hard. If he does not learn this in the family, life would have to teach him that, and such life lessons are much more painful.

So I told him he was not getting his RC boat unless he ran a 2000. Adjusting for the fatigue I gave him a time target of 8:10, and I actually was willing to still give him the boat if he was slower but it was truly from fatigue and not attitude. My estimate turned out to be reasonable - beat the target by 4 seconds. He ran the splits of 95,98,98,1:41, and 94. His last 200 was 45.
Leg 7:Distance0.400Time4:30.50Pace11:16.25
To the car with the gang of 5 boys ages varying from 3 to 15.
Leg 8:Distance5.500Time40:16.80Pace7:19.42
With Benjamin. We did a pickup that was supposed to be 5:20, but Benjamin had neighing horses in him.
Split 1:Distance4.300Time33:43.00Pace7:50.47
To the magic spot in the Provo Canyon.
Split 2:Distance1.000Time5:04.70Pace5:04.70
We opened with two quarters in 78, and then Benjamin opened the barn gate and ran a 71. Somehow I managed to hang on. He eased off in the last quarter but still dropped me finishing in 5:01 (74 last quarter), I got 77.
Split 3:Distance0.200Time1:29.10Pace7:25.50
Cool-down to the car.
Leg 9:Distance3.050Time23:33.50Pace7:43.44
First mile with Julia in 8:30, the rest alone.

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 - 2014-08-06 06:40:43
Workout Totals: Distance12.000Time1:33:08.20Pace7:45.68
Total of 12. Benjamin did 9, Jenny 4, Julia 3, Joseph and Jacob 3, William 1, Stephen 0.5.
Leg 1:Distance2.500Time17:32.40Pace7:00.96
Leg 2:Distance3.000Time25:43.40Pace8:34.47
With Benjamin, Joseph, Jacob, Nate, and Jared.
Leg 3:Distance6.000Time44:39.20Pace7:26.53
With Benjamin.
Leg 4:Distance0.500Time5:13.20Pace10:26.40
With Stephen.

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 - 2014-08-07 06:45:39
Workout Totals: Distance12.000Time1:36:39.10Pace8:03.26
Total of 12. Usual distances for the kids.
Leg 1:Distance1.500Time10:21.70Pace6:54.47
Leg 2:Distance3.000Time26:44.40Pace8:54.80
With Benjamin, Joseph, Jacob, Nate, and Jared.
Leg 3:Distance6.000Time45:25.90Pace7:34.32
With Benjamin.
Leg 4:Distance1.000Time9:08.00Pace9:08.00
With William.
Leg 5:Distance0.500Time4:59.10Pace9:58.20
With Stephen.

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 - 2014-08-08 07:54:00
Workout Totals: Distance10.040Time1:17:04.30Pace7:40.59
Total of 10. A little bit of rest before the Provo River Half. Benjamin also took it easy running only 5. Other kids ran their usual distances.

On another front, Benjamin made the BYU Dean's List for the Spring semester.
Leg 1:Distance3.000Time22:39.90Pace7:33.30
With Joseph, Jacob, Benjamin, and their cousin Nicholas. Julia started with us, but could not keep the pace. Nicholas decided to push it, but lasted only a little over one mile. Joseph and Jacob kept it. Joseph kicked at the end and finished a little faster in 22:32.
Leg 2:Distance2.040Time16:18.50Pace7:59.66
Benjamin and I were being bums.
Leg 3:Distance0.500Time5:14.40Pace10:28.80
With Stephen.
Leg 4:Distance4.500Time32:51.50Pace7:18.11

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Race: Provo River Half Marathon (13.109 Miles) 01:14:54, Place overall: 3, Place in age division: 1
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2014-08-09 06:24:14
Workout Totals: Distance14.860Time1:31:12.50Pace6:08.27
Provo River Half Marathon, 1:14:54, 3rd place. Benjamin was second with 1:13:56, new PR. The winner was a mystery runner I did not recognize . He got 1:09:47. Unfortunately we had to leave right away, so I did not have the time to talk to him or find out who he was otherwise.
Later I learned his name was Nate Clayson, and I had actually raced him before.
The children other than Benjamin ran their usual distances except Julia who had a stomach ache and ran only 2. Details below.
Leg 1:Distance0.650Time5:36.30Pace8:37.38
Warm up with Benjamin.
Leg 2:Distance13.110Time1:14:54.50Pace5:42.83
The race. Details below.
Split 1:Distance1.950Time10:22.50Pace5:19.23
In the first mile Nate took off. We kept contact for about half mile but then realized the pace was too fast. Our first mile was 5:08, but I did not hit the lap button. Then I hit it too early before we were at the painted 2 mile marker.
Split 2:Distance1.050Time5:58.30Pace5:41.24
Hit this one right. Benjamin is pulling me.
Split 3:Distance1.000Time5:48.90Pace5:48.90
Ran this one too slow. Benjamin was perhaps remembering his nightmare on this very course on July 24th and was getting ready for the worst.
Split 4:Distance1.000Time5:36.50Pace5:36.50
Benjamin saw the split and started to crank up the motor. I am hanging on.
Split 5:Distance1.450Time8:16.50Pace5:42.41
Benjamin dropped me shortly before 6. I did catch the split at mile 6 - it was 33:21, so another 5:36. Benjamin has around 20 seconds on me at the end of this interval, which was the start of the old highway climb (letter S on the road).
Split 6:Distance1.000Time6:32.80Pace6:32.80
The uphill mile. Benjamin gapped me by another 20 seconds here. The mark had painted number 16.
Split 7:Distance0.210Time1:13.00Pace5:47.62
Through the turnaround loop and back to the 16 mark. Estimated that Nate had around 3 minute gap on me now, so he would finish around 5 minutes ahead. That estimate proved right.
Split 8:Distance1.000Time5:48.40Pace5:48.40
Downhill, but had a VPB that was about 10-15 seconds - in spite of several bathroom visits before the start. This probably cost me my master's PR. In Russian you can use one word to express the idea that you have lost something wastefully because you did something else and you can construct it pretty much regardless of that something else was by adding a special prefix to that something else . But at least I cracked 1:15 for the first time in almost a year.
Split 9:Distance0.200Time1:08.30Pace5:41.50
From the S mark to the start of the 3 mile tempo (Vivian Park gate by the bathroom).
Split 10:Distance3.000Time17:03.60Pace5:41.20
The 3 mile tempo stretch. I think breaking it down it was 5:37, 5:40, 5:46. Saw that the gap with Benjamin suddenly decreased about 1 mile into it, but then rapidly increased and he was out of sight before I knew it. Turned out he had his own VPB which cost him 30 seconds.
Split 11:Distance0.760Time4:22.80Pace5:45.79
From the end of the 3 mile tempo (the one triangle mark near the power plant bridge) to the start of the Riverwoods trail (green electric box after the bridge over the Provo River).
Split 12:Distance0.490Time2:42.90Pace5:32.45
The final stretch. I gave it all I had to go under 1:15 knowing that I am getting older, my spine is scheduled to fall apart quicker than average, and this very well might be my last chance to see a sub-1:15 half.

Sarah happened to be on the course doing her run and got to see first Benjamin and then me run by. She explained to the policeman directing traffic who we were. The policeman said he knew who I was from seeing me run around town all the time. We have a family joke that I am like a homeless guy who everybody recognized because he is out there so much.
Leg 3:Distance1.100Time10:41.70Pace9:43.36
Cool down with Benjamin. Sarah joined us for a little bit.

Black Crocs Miles: 14.86
Night Sleep Time: 6.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 6.50
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Black Crocs Miles: 14.86
Night Sleep Time: 14.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 14.50
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