Breaking the Wall

Top of Utah 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: 16.00 Year: 2314.91
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: 1185.83
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Day of rest. Went to church. We had a good lesson in the Elder's Quorum. We discussed faith, obedience, and perfection. Matthew was part of it - he slept in my arms.

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 - 2014-08-18 07:19:41
Workout Totals: Distance12.040Time1:37:30.60Pace8:05.93
Regular 12 mile run. Benjamin did 9, Joseph and Jacob 3, William 1, Jenny 4, Julia 3, Stephen 0.5.
Leg 1:Distance3.000Time26:20.60Pace8:46.87
With Benjamin, Joseph, Jacob, and Jared.
Leg 2:Distance6.000Time47:09.90Pace7:51.65
With Benajamin.
Leg 3:Distance2.040Time15:13.40Pace7:27.75
Leg 4:Distance1.000Time8:46.70Pace8:46.70
With William.

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 - 2014-08-19 07:23:10
Workout Totals: Distance12.798Time1:36:28.60Pace7:32.31
Day of time trials. We went to the BYU track. Joseph did the mile in 6:07.2 - new track PR. Jacob ran the last 1000 with him in 3:47.6. William ran 800 in 3:38.2. Both William and Jacob got their PRs as well. Jared did his first mile time trial and got 7:06.4. He probably could have gone faster if we had not made a mistake. I did not know his ability and thought he might be able to hang with Joseph for at least the first two laps, and maybe even all the way, but he only made it to about 350 meters. So in other words the start was too fast, and then he did not have a pacer.
Leg 1:Distance0.380Time3:38.30Pace9:34.47
Warm up.
Leg 2:Distance1.000Time7:06.50Pace7:06.50
Joseph's time trial with Jacob and Benjamin assisting. Joseph opened with 91 then started to fade. However, when Jacob joined him with 1000 to go he perked up. His next lap was 89, 3:00 at 800. During that lap he passed Jacob, and then we had a problem. Joseph slowed down, but whenever I told Jacob to pass him, Joseph would waste his energy protesting. I joked when he was about 3 that he belonged to the Protestant religion, and he still has some of those roots which come out under stress. Well, he is only 9 years old, and still needs some extensive training in the matter of common sense. His last two laps were 93 and 92, but he still got the record. Jacob finished 1000 in 3:47.6, which I was quite happy with given that Jacob has just barely turned 8.
Split 1:Distance1.000Time6:07.20Pace6:07.20
Split 2:Distance0.000Time0:59.30Pace0:00.00
Waiting for Jared to finish.
Leg 3:Distance0.498Time3:38.20Pace7:18.15
William's time trial. He opened with 51, then 55, 56, and 56. I had a sense he was not quite giving it an honest push, but it is hard to do that for a 5-year-old. Jacob, however, was an exception because he is very obedient.
Leg 4:Distance0.380Time4:00.70Pace10:33.42
Back to the car.
Leg 5:Distance2.300Time18:12.40Pace7:54.96
Warm-up with Benjamin.
Leg 6:Distance2.000Time11:50.90Pace5:55.45
Tempo run with Benjamin up the Provo Canyon. We opened with 5:54, then Benjamin sped up and ran 5:46 finishing in 11:40. I only had a 5:56 in me. It was humid and I had a hard time breathing.
Leg 7:Distance1.700Time14:25.20Pace8:28.94
Cool-down with Benjamin.
Leg 8:Distance1.500Time12:21.40Pace8:14.27
Part of it alone, and part with Jenny.
Leg 9:Distance1.000Time7:14.60Pace7:14.60
With Benjamin.
Leg 10:Distance0.510Time5:08.10Pace10:04.12
With Stephen and Julia running, and Mathew in the stroller.
Leg 11:Distance1.530Time8:52.30Pace5:47.91
Stephen now goes to the stroller, Julia still running.

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 - 2014-08-20 07:15:57
Workout Totals: Distance12.000Time1:30:59.20Pace7:34.93
Regular 12 mile run, kids ran usual distances except for Jenny - she was not feeling well and ran only 2.
Leg 1:Distance3.000Time25:34.60Pace8:31.53
With Benjamin, Joseph, and Jacob.
Leg 2:Distance6.000Time44:31.80Pace7:25.30
With Benjamin.
Leg 3:Distance3.000Time20:52.80Pace6:57.60

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 - 2014-08-21 05:19:04
Workout Totals: Distance12.430Time1:30:55.60Pace7:18.91
Eventful run. Our van was in a shop in West Valley. We had to get it towed there because last Saturday it started acting like it was always in neutral and refused to cooperate. The shop tested it, and of course could not find anything wrong. So now I had to retrieve it from West Valley. So I solved the problem like this:

Get up early in the morning. Run to Orem Frontrunner Station - 4.33 miles. Then ride Frontrunner to Murray and run 7.6 miles to the shop. Drive home, and run 0.5 with Stephen.
Leg 1:Distance4.330Time30:00.50Pace6:55.82
To the FrontRunner
Leg 2:Distance7.600Time55:46.60Pace7:20.34
From Murray station to the car shop.
Leg 3:Distance0.500Time5:08.50Pace10:17.00
At home 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 - 2014-08-22 08:02:48
Workout Totals: Distance8.290Time1:05:10.60Pace7:51.72
Leg 1:Distance4.000Time34:08.70Pace8:32.17
With Benjamin and Joseph. Jacob ran the first 3 with us.
Leg 2:Distance1.000Time8:09.70Pace8:09.70
With Benjamin and William.
Leg 3:Distance3.290Time22:52.20Pace6:57.08
Alone, did a tempo pickup up the canyon.
Split 1:Distance1.690Time11:52.10Pace7:01.36
Split 2:Distance1.000Time5:58.70Pace5:58.70
Felt harder than it should have.
Split 3:Distance0.600Time5:01.40Pace8:22.33

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Race: Top of Utah Half Marathon (13.109 Miles) 01:14:46, Place overall: 13, Place in age division: 1
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2014-08-23 05:48:00
Workout Totals: Distance20.009Time2:12:41.50Pace6:37.90
Top of Utah Half, 1:14:46, 13th overall, 1st master, $100. Benjamin ran 1:12:55, 10th overall, new PR by 1:01.

We stayed with Steve Anderson. The day started with a misadventure of sorts. I could not find my car keys and we were cutting it close to the last bus. Steve had already left, so I woke up his son Bentley and asked him for a ride, but at the last moment I found my keys.

I was happy with my performance, although I would have been happier if I had gotten my masters PR (missed it by 4 seconds), I knew I was cutting it close, I pushed as hard as I could, but I only had so much. But at least I paid another visit to the sub-1:15 range, and I ran 3 seconds faster than last year.

I was happier with Benjamin's performance. He held it together very well racing from start to finish and overcoming the darkness of doubt. I think he and I might have set some kind of a record. Our average time was 1:13:50. I am pretty sure this is the Utah record for father and son half-marathon performance in the same race. It has a remote, or maybe not so remote shot at being a national record, if not, then probably in the top 10. Need to do some research.

Race details below.
Leg 1:Distance1.800Time14:18.60Pace7:57.00
Leg 2:Distance13.109Time1:14:46.30Pace5:42.23
The race.
Split 1:Distance1.000Time5:30.20Pace5:30.20
With Benjamin, Jacob Stone (new blogger), Noah, Steve Anderson, and our blogger Josh E. I guided the pacing of the young bucks to make sure they were even, and that they did their tangents right. I think calculus was mentioned by Jacob and Benjamin, but not delved in due to the quickness of the pace.
Split 2:Distance1.000Time5:36.50Pace5:36.50
Same group, except Josh - he was not having a good day.
Split 3:Distance1.000Time5:32.50Pace5:32.50
One more mile with the group. It is starting to hurt more than it should this early.
Split 4:Distance1.000Time5:46.20Pace5:46.20
Backed off and took a break of sorts.
Split 5:Distance1.000Time5:33.80Pace5:33.80
More downhill/tailwind/motivation. I saw that Steve fell off the pack, I also passed Albert.
Split 6:Distance1.000Time5:29.90Pace5:29.90
Caught up to Steve, drafting.
Split 7:Distance1.000Time5:32.50Pace5:32.50
One more mile with Steve. Told myself if we hit a mile slower than 5:45 I'll take the lead.
Split 8:Distance1.000Time5:52.20Pace5:52.20
Sensed the pace slowing and passed Steve. However, I should have done this earlier.
Split 9:Distance1.000Time5:53.80Pace5:53.80
Now I cannot get back to pace. Maybe a sign of old age - harder to accelerate.
Split 10:Distance1.000Time5:39.90Pace5:39.90
Taylor Monson comes to rescue. He passed me and I was able to latch on.
Split 11:Distance1.000Time5:44.80Pace5:44.80
One more mile with Taylor. End of downhill, start of uphill.
Split 12:Distance1.000Time6:15.20Pace6:15.20
The infamous TOU Half Goose Egg TM uphill mile. Could not run with Taylor anymore.
Split 13:Distance1.000Time5:45.90Pace5:45.90
I knew I had a chance of a master's PR and gave it all I had. But I did not have much. Maybe if somebody had come up and challenged me I would have found something.
Split 14:Distance0.109Time0:32.90Pace5:01.83
Leg 3:Distance2.050Time19:14.20Pace9:23.02
Cool-down with Benjamin and Jacob Stone.
Leg 4:Distance3.050Time24:22.40Pace7:59.48
Cool-down with Jason and Merrilee Blackham, and Mark Payne.

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