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: 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
Brown Crocs 2 Miles: 67.54
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Day of rest. Went to church.

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 - 2018-08-20 08:17:40
Workout Totals: Distance11.996Time1:32:10.90Pace7:41.06
Stephen was 2 days away from turning 8, so we decided to try to improve his mile record, which is currently 6:29.1. We tried twice. In the first attempt in the morning he ran 6:39.7. In the evening we tried just in case, and it was clear by the 800 that he did not have it, so I stopped him to give him a chance to try tomorrow. Usual runs for everybody otherwise. I did a mile pickup in the canyon uphill into a fairly strong headwind, and could really feel it - all I had in me was 6:04.
Leg 1:Distance1.020Time9:16.60Pace9:05.69
Warm-up with Stephen.
Leg 2:Distance1.000Time6:39.70Pace6:39.70
Stephen's mile time trial.
Leg 3:Distance0.980Time8:45.70Pace8:56.43
Cool-down with Stephen.
Leg 4:Distance5.000Time35:45.50Pace7:09.10
Alone. Did an uphill pickup for a mile in 6:04. It was hard to run into the wind.
Split 1:Distance2.230Time17:24.00Pace7:48.16
Split 2:Distance1.000Time6:04.80Pace6:04.80
Split 3:Distance1.770Time12:16.70Pace6:56.21
Leg 5:Distance0.250Time2:25.70Pace9:42.80
Warm-up with Stephen.
Leg 6:Distance0.496Time3:15.30Pace6:33.75
800 with Stephen.
Leg 7:Distance0.250Time1:44.80Pace6:59.20
I think I ran a lap alone for the distance.
Leg 8:Distance3.000Time24:17.60Pace8:05.87
With Joseph, Jacob, William, and Bonnie.

Brown Crocs 2 Miles: 12.00
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 - 2018-08-21 06:52:43
Workout Totals: Distance11.946Time1:30:07.10Pace7:32.63
Today was another eventful day. Helped Aaron run 6:03.9 mile, then found another friend Vince on the track doing a ladder at around 6:00 pace for the longer ones, and faster on the shorter, and paced him as well. Then Stephen tried to improve his mile PR before turning 8 for one last time, but did not have it today either. However, William ran a small 800 PR of 2:42.6 (79, 83), and Bonnie ran 2:49.7 - also a PR. Joseph, Jacob, and I did 4x100 with 300 recovery - 16.0, 15.9, 15.6, 15.3.
Leg 1:Distance1.020Time8:07.00Pace7:57.45
Warm-up to the track.
Leg 2:Distance1.000Time6:03.90Pace6:03.90
Paced Aaron over the mile on the track.
Leg 3:Distance1.750Time16:09.40Pace9:13.94
Cool-down with Aaron.
Leg 4:Distance0.372Time2:13.10Pace5:57.80
Pacing Vince - 600.
Leg 5:Distance0.248Time1:27.40Pace5:52.42
Pacing Vince - 400.
Leg 6:Distance0.124Time0:40.70Pace5:28.23
Pacing Vince - 200.
Leg 7:Distance0.496Time2:59.40Pace6:01.69
Pacing Vince - 800.
Leg 8:Distance0.372Time2:14.10Pace6:00.48
Pacing Vince - 600.
Leg 9:Distance0.248Time1:28.90Pace5:58.47
Pacing Vince - 400.
Leg 10:Distance0.124Time0:36.20Pace4:51.94
Pacing Vince - 200.
Leg 11:Distance0.950Time8:10.60Pace8:36.42
Back to the house with Vince.
Leg 12:Distance0.500Time4:24.00Pace8:48.00
Warm-up with Stephen.
Leg 13:Distance0.000Time0:02.40Pace0:00.00
False start.
Leg 14:Distance1.000Time6:37.20Pace6:37.20
Stephen's mile time trial.
Leg 15:Distance0.496Time2:42.60Pace5:27.82
William's 800 time trial - PR.
Leg 16:Distance1.000Time7:22.70Pace7:22.70
With Matthew.
Leg 17:Distance0.996Time9:41.40Pace9:43.73
4x100 workout with Joseph and Jacob.
Split 1:Distance0.062Time0:16.00Pace4:18.06
Split 2:Distance0.187Time2:03.80Pace11:02.03
Split 3:Distance0.062Time0:15.90Pace4:16.45
Split 4:Distance0.187Time2:03.40Pace10:59.89
Split 5:Distance0.062Time0:15.60Pace4:11.61
Split 6:Distance0.187Time2:20.50Pace12:31.34
Split 7:Distance0.062Time0:15.30Pace4:06.77
Split 8:Distance0.187Time2:10.90Pace11:40.00
Leg 18:Distance0.250Time2:29.20Pace9:56.80
Warm-up with Stephen in the evening.
Leg 19:Distance1.000Time6:36.90Pace6:36.90
Stephen's last attempt to improve his PR as a 7 year old.

Brown Crocs 2 Miles: 11.95
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 - 2018-08-22 08:50:19
Workout Totals: Distance12.000Time1:32:17.90Pace7:41.49
Jenny did an uphill mile pickup in 6:49, I did that with her, then I ran 1.5 tempo down the canyon in 8:07.9. Usual distances for everybody today except Jenny ran only 6 tapering for the TOU Half.
Leg 1:Distance8.000Time1:00:51.00Pace7:36.38
Most of this with Jenny.
Split 1:Distance2.230Time19:04.00Pace8:33.00
Split 2:Distance1.000Time6:49.50Pace6:49.50
Jenny's uphill pickup.
Split 3:Distance3.040Time25:04.00Pace8:14.74
Split 4:Distance1.500Time8:07.90Pace5:25.27
My downhill 1.5 tempo.
Split 5:Distance0.230Time1:45.60Pace7:39.13
Leg 2:Distance1.000Time7:35.20Pace7:35.20
With Joseph, Jacob, Stephen, and Bonnie.
Leg 3:Distance3.000Time23:51.70Pace7:57.23
With Joseph, Jacob, William, and Bonnie.

Brown Crocs 2 Miles: 12.00
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 - 2018-08-23 09:02:32
Workout Totals: Distance8.992Time1:06:37.80Pace7:24.60
Track workout today. Paced Julia through 6:45.9 mile, then did 4x400 pacing William and Bonnie. Joseph and Jacob joined to help pace as well. William started out with a negative attitude and ran the first one in 84 dragging Bonnie back to 81.9 as well - the target was 80. Afterwards, I had a talk with him about fear. He was still having a bad attitude and tried to kick Joseph for pointing it out, so that required 5 attitude adjustment push-ups. The adjustment seemed to help - he did the rest of the workout without problems. Bonnie kept up on the second interval, but started falling back on the third and fourth.

Afterwards, Joseph and Jacob did 4x100 starting closer to 16, and finishing around 15.5 - 15.3. I skipped it due to racing TOU half in 2 days.

Usual mileage for everybody except me and Jenny - she ran only 4, and I ran only 9. I did a mile in 5:57 uphill in the canyon as well.
Leg 1:Distance1.000Time7:36.80Pace7:36.80
With Matthew.
Leg 2:Distance1.000Time6:45.90Pace6:45.90
With Julia.
Leg 3:Distance1.992Time16:33.40Pace8:18.69
4x400 workout with William, Bonnie, Joseph, and Jacob.
Split 1:Distance0.248Time1:21.90Pace5:30.24
Split 2:Distance0.250Time2:28.80Pace9:55.20
Split 3:Distance0.248Time1:20.00Pace5:22.58
Split 4:Distance0.250Time2:53.60Pace11:34.40
Split 5:Distance0.248Time1:19.80Pace5:21.77
Split 6:Distance0.250Time2:55.70Pace11:42.80
Split 7:Distance0.248Time1:20.40Pace5:24.19
Split 8:Distance0.250Time2:53.20Pace11:32.80
Leg 4:Distance5.000Time35:41.70Pace7:08.34
Alone, tempo pickup uphill for a mile in 5:57.4.
Split 1:Distance2.230Time17:22.20Pace7:47.35
Split 2:Distance1.000Time5:57.40Pace5:57.40
Split 3:Distance1.770Time12:22.10Pace6:59.27
Leg 5:Distance0.000Time0:00.00Pace0:00.00
Wrong button press.
Leg 6:Distance0.000Time0:00.00Pace0:00.00
Wrong button press.

Brown Crocs 2 Miles: 8.99
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 - 2018-08-24 21:48:18
Workout Totals: Distance6.000Time46:54.60Pace7:49.10
Tapering for the TOU half. Usual distances for everybody except Jenny (tapering, only 3 miles).
Leg 1:Distance1.000Time7:52.20Pace7:52.20
With Matthew, Joseph, Jacob, and Bonnie.
Leg 2:Distance5.000Time39:02.40Pace7:48.48
With William, Joseph, Jacob, and Bonnie.

Brown Crocs 2 Miles: 6.00
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) 01:15:32, Place overall: 14, Place in age division: 3
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2018-08-25 05:21:53
Workout Totals: Distance16.610Time1:44:33.50Pace6:17.69
Top of Utah Half, 1:15:32, 14th overall, 3rd master, $50. Jenny did 1:29:24, 9th overall.

I ran the first two miles with Justin Ricks from Moab. Then I thought the pace was too slow and pulled away from him. But I did not really have the juice to run good pace alone. So he caught up to me around 4 miles. Then the grade got steeper, and we picked up the pace for the next three miles. In the meantime Nate Hornok caught up to us. Nate was doing a training run of sorts. Around 6 we also passed Albert who was having heart problems. It is quite remarkable how he can run, as he is missing a flap in one of his heart valves. Once in a while his heart begins to complain and starts racing - so he has to stop for a minute or two to regain the normal heart beat. Justin and I started running out of juice around 8 miles, and Nate took over in front to push, or rather, help us maintain the pace. Justin fell back rather quickly, but ran within striking distance. I was able to keep up with Nate to about 10.2 or so. Fortunately, shortly after losing contact with Nate, I got passed by Albert who was able to regain his normal heart rhythm somewhat, and now was running slightly faster than my pace. At first I let him gap me, but then I focused and with some concentration was able to regain contact towards the top of the hill at around 11.3-11.4 mark. I was able to stay in contact until Albert shifted gears a bit shortly after the 12 mile mark.

At that point I was struggling with motivation. I knew I would run under 1:16, which was my goal for today. I also felt quite secure about 3rd master, and Nate was out of reach. Then I heard Justin from behind maybe 10-20 seconds back. I thought - maybe Justin is a master also (later I learned he still had 2 years). All of a sudden I was full of adrenal fear, which was just what I needed. I started catching up to Albert, and even made an effort to run him down over the last 0.1, but just did not have the speed and finished 2 seconds behind him. This kept me safe from Justin, though.
Leg 1:Distance1.800Time14:37.00Pace8:07.22
Leg 2:Distance14.810Time1:29:56.50Pace6:04.38
Race + cool-down.
Split 1:Distance1.000Time5:32.60Pace5:32.60
Split 2:Distance1.000Time5:40.90Pace5:40.90
Split 3:Distance1.000Time5:46.80Pace5:46.80
Split 4:Distance1.000Time5:50.30Pace5:50.30
Split 5:Distance1.000Time5:36.30Pace5:36.30
Split 6:Distance1.000Time5:32.50Pace5:32.50
Split 7:Distance1.000Time5:34.70Pace5:34.70
Split 8:Distance0.930Time5:25.80Pace5:50.32
Split 9:Distance1.070Time6:11.00Pace5:46.73
Split 10:Distance1.000Time5:47.00Pace5:47.00
Split 11:Distance1.000Time6:04.00Pace6:04.00
Split 12:Distance1.020Time6:21.40Pace6:13.92
Split 13:Distance0.990Time5:36.90Pace5:40.30
Split 14:Distance0.100Time0:31.50Pace5:15.00
Split 15:Distance0.000Time0:54.80Pace0:00.00
Recovery before I started jogging.
Split 16:Distance1.700Time13:30.00Pace7:56.47

Brown Crocs 2 Miles: 16.61
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Brown Crocs 2 Miles: 67.54
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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