Breaking the Wall

Week starting Jul 31, 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: 73.52 Year: 3324.75
Saucony Type A Lifetime Miles: 627.15
Bare Feet Lifetime Miles: 446.12
Nike Double Stroller Lifetime Miles: 120.59
Camouflage Crocs 2 Lifetime Miles: 938.88
Red Crocs Lifetime Miles: 1168.62
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
65.231.001.759.0277.00
Green Crocs 1 Miles: 77.00
Night Sleep Time: 55.00Nap Time: 3.50Total Sleep Time: 58.50
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
0.000.000.000.000.00

Day of rest. Went to church as usual. We had a lesson on charity in Sunday school, then a combined meeting of priesthood and Relief Society where the discussion was on self-reliance. The sacrament meeting talks focused on reverence. Benjamin was the youth speaker. It was his first talk in the sacrament meeting. He did quite well.

Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 9.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
9.381.000.000.3710.75

A.M. Did 5 with Benjamin, then 2 alone with a mile in 5:41.8, then 1.5 with Julia. Jenny had a sore muscle problem, ran only 0.5. Joseph had a cold, ran only 0.7. 0.25 with Jacob in 2:31 - his fasted time since he broke his leg. Then 2 more with 600 in 2:00. Total of 10.75.

Green Crocs 1 Miles: 10.75
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
10.250.000.003.2513.50

A.M. Decided to try an experiment. I've done the 3 mile tempo stretch from 10.5 miles in the middle of the 20 mile run over the last three weeks hitting the times of 15:55, 16:05, and 16:06. So I wondered what would happen if I did it fresh. Benjamin and I drove to the Canyon View Park in the Provo Canyon, then he rode along with me on a bike as I did a 2 mile warm-up followed by the tempo run on the same downhill course, about 1-2% grade. I hit the splits of 5:18, 5:24, 5:22 to finish in 16:04.7. Essentially the same result as in the middle of a long run. This provides some food for thought. Obviously there is some limiting factor involved that is not fatigue related as it does not seem to matter if I've run a 2 mile warm-up or a 10 mile warm-up. But I do not know what to make of it. Need some time to think.

Jogged some more, then we dropped off Benjamin's bike at the park, and he ran 4.3 miles with me. He got going at the end and his last mile was 6:13. Got home ran another mile with Julia. She did a total of 1.5 with 0.5 with Jenny. Jenny could only do 0.5 because her leg was hurting. I ended up with a total of  11.5 miles.

P.M. 1.5 with Joseph in 12:59. William insisted on going for a run, so I ran 200 meters with him in 1:17. That was quite remarkable as he does not yet quite talk. He says things here and there, but you can never count on him understanding verbal instructions. And of course, he still wears a diaper. But he can run! Then did 0.25 with Jacob in 2:37. Then I decided to try another experiment. I did a calculation that if you turn over at 180 with a stride length of exactly 6 feet, that is 4:53 mile or 2:08:11 marathon, which is the goal I feel I should set my eyes on, even though it does appear unachievable. But that is what faith is all about. Achieving things that appear achievable is science, it takes no faith. If you want your faith to grow, you need to set your eyes on things that appear unachievable. Ironically, I've helped a lot of bloggers achieve what to them looked unachievable, but for me it was science. With myself, I do not have a mortal to ask advice from to whom what appears unachievable to me would be science. And I do not have the gift of beholding of angels, so all I've got is my faith and quiet whisperings of the Holy Ghost, which I hope I can hear and understand.

Anyway, I figured that 180 stride rate is about the highest sustainable for me in the marathon, also it appears to be a common denominator among the guys that run 2:08. I can sustain 180 stride rate in the marathon, so the missing link therefore is the stride length. The difference is that I do about 5 feet, while a world-class runner does about 6 feet. So I wanted to get a better feel for what its like to run with a 6 foot long stride length. I laid my "magic" squares out 6 feet apart for 102 feet, and did some strides. I wanted to know the highest possible stride rate I could get with this stride length. It was around 210. My fastest time was 4.8, which is around 15.4 for 100 meters. I really liked the feel of the stride. It felt like I was running a good quarter. So in other words, 6 foot stride length is not completely unnatural to me. It just takes something that I cannot quite grasp to extend it from a quarter to a longer distance. I wonder if the critical element is connected to being able to turn over at 240 at that stride length, and if I learned that, I'd be able to relax with 180 stride rate/6 foot stride length. In addition to learning the high turnover, maybe what I should try to do next is try to run with 180 stride length/6 foot stride rate and try to understand why it is not natural to me.

I figure I did about 0.25 in the strides. So about 2 miles for the evening run.

 

Green Crocs 1 Miles: 13.50
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.50Total Sleep Time: 8.50
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
10.000.000.000.0010.00

A.M. 10 miles in early AM before going to the temp. Kids ran on their own. Benjamin did 4, Jenny and Julia 1.5, Joseph 1, and Jacob 0.25.

Green Crocs 1 Miles: 10.00
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.50Total Sleep Time: 7.50
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
9.600.000.002.4012.00

A.M.Pondered the issue of stride length. Recalled that one British coach suggested that stride length is affected by the range of motion in the hip extension and the strength of the plantar flexors, particularly the soleus. Remembered that back in 2008 Jeff and I measured the circumference of the calf and the quad with the following results:

Lower shin, thinnest part - Jeff 7.5, me 8.375. Calf, the widest part, flexed - both 14.5 inches. Quad, widest part, flexed - me 21 inches, Jeff - 20 inches. So Jeff was definitely ahead on the flexed calf to shin size, and flexed calf to flexed quad size ratio. In other words, his calf appear to be stronger relative to body size.

Also recalled that in numerous studies running economy was correlated with the ballistic power of the ankle joint.

Combining all of the above - if you want to run efficiently you need to learn how to use your calves. For me that is not easy. My calves do not want to work. But I decided to start focusing on using the calves more.

Ran 4 miles first, did a 0.5 pickup in 2:40 to catch up to Sarah, then ran with her for 1.5 miles. Then took Benjamin and Joseph for a mile, then dropped Joseph off and did a workout with Benjamin. Focused on the calf action. We did 4x100 17.4, 17.4, 16.6, 17.1. Then 3x200 33.4, 34.0, the last one I challenged Benjamin to race me. I got 30.5, he did 31.4. That is the fastest I've gone in a 200 this year, and that is also Benjamin's PR.

Then dropped Benjamin off, and went for some more miles. Did a pickup over an odd distance - 2100 meters, this was the longest good stretch of the trail, in 7:01, one second slower than 5:20 average.

Ran 0.25 with Jacob in 2:30 - new record since the broken leg.

Jenny and Julia did 1.5.  I got total of 12 miles.

Green Crocs 1 Miles: 12.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
10.000.000.750.0010.75

A.M. Ran 4 with Benjamin, then 1.5 with Jenny, Julia, and Joseph, 0.25 with Jacob in 2:17 - his new record since the broken leg. Then did 5 more in 32:55 with the last 0.75 in 4:08. Tried focusing on the calf push off. Seemed to help some, but it is still not a well practiced movement.

Green Crocs 1 Miles: 10.75
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.50Total Sleep Time: 8.50
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
16.000.001.003.0020.00

A.M. Did the long run with Chad Robinson. We ran 3 miles easy, then 1 mile pickup in 5:42, Chad handled it quite well. Then Chad ran with me to 8.5 turnaround. I ran another 1.5 (Bridal Veil Falls), then 0.5 jog and start the usual 3 mile tempo down the canyon. Focused on the calf push off again. I think it made a difference. Not so much in the speed as in the sustainability of the pace. I did 5:19, 5:23, 5:17 high for the total time of 15:59.9. The entire time I felt more in control than in other tempo runs, but I felt that could not go faster without losing the calf push off and overloading the quads. Last quarter was high 76. I caught Chad with about 600 to go, and he stuck with me for a quarter, then he fell back some when I kicked. His last 600 was around 2:00, which is an improvement.

We jogged some, and then ran the last 3 miles in 19:19 with the splits of 6:23, 6:36, 6:20. Chad did better that last week on this part as well improving overall by 13 seconds, 12 of which came from the last mile. What is more important, perhaps, is that he was more responsive to the pace never lagging behind and always maintaining contact.

Total time for 20 was 2:22:07.

Kids ran on their own. Benjamin did 4, Jenny and Julia 1.5, Joseph 1, Jacob 0.25.

Green Crocs 1 Miles: 20.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 9.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
65.231.001.759.0277.00
Green Crocs 1 Miles: 77.00
Night Sleep Time: 55.00Nap Time: 3.50Total Sleep Time: 58.50
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