Breaking the Wall

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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
Khaki Crocs 1 Miles: 40.91
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 - 2016-08-22 07:21:57
Workout Totals: Distance11.150Time1:27:21.20Pace7:50.06
11 total for me, Benjamin did 10, younger kids ran their usual distances.
Leg 1:Distance1.020Time9:01.10Pace8:50.49
With Stephen.
Leg 2:Distance2.040Time14:45.40Pace7:14.02
Alone for 1.75, at the end caught up to Benjamin, William, Joseph, and Jacob.
Leg 3:Distance2.040Time17:06.60Pace8:23.24
With Benjamin, Joseph, and Jacob.
Leg 4:Distance6.050Time46:28.10Pace7:40.84
With Benjamin.

Khaki Crocs 1 Miles: 11.15
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Fast Running Friend Workout - 2016-08-23 07:39:19
Workout Totals: Distance13.300Time1:45:05.10Pace7:54.07
Today I had Benjamin re-do the botched 4 mile tempo down the canyon to see if he could keep sub-5:00 average. Looks like we hit another stumbling stone, similar to his 6:00 mile struggle at the age of 11, and recent 5:20 pace struggle for the half marathon. He ran the first mile in 4:50, second in 5:05, and then just could not move his legs in the last two in a way that I did not think was possible given his fitness. So he ended up with 5:18,5:16 finishing in 20:29. I was originally planning on running a mile or 1.25 starting at Benjamin's 2 mile mark, but due to the slowness of the pace I figured I needed to run at least 2 to get a good workout. I did not feel as strong as I did last week - maybe because I was worried about Benjamin.

Benjamin suggested that the problem might be his imagination. He is able to imagine fatigue and convince himself it is real when the body is actually capable of more. I am willing to believe that as he does have a vivid imagination - at the age of 6 he was imagining that the airplane exhaust tracks in the sky were really from the alien missiles and that all adults around him conspired to hide the fact that the earth is being invaded by the aliens. At the age of 12 he wrote a lengthy futuristic novel. Perhaps this is what kept him from breaking 6:00 mile for so long.

Regardless, one thing we learned from that is that he would not be able to handle a fast start in the half right now - whether because it will trigger a real physical fatigue or just a perception of fatigue. Does not really matter for the purpose of racing - if the brain is fully convinced the body cannot go any faster, it will not let it. So based on that we came up with a plan to start conservatively in the TOU Half.
Leg 1:Distance4.150Time34:09.30Pace8:13.81
Split 1:Distance2.650Time23:14.50Pace8:46.23
With Benjamin.
Split 2:Distance1.500Time10:54.80Pace7:16.53
To the 2 mile mark.
Leg 2:Distance2.000Time10:42.00Pace5:21.00
Tried to get Benjamin to go through the first mile, all he could do was 5:18, then he was able to close with 5:16, but I did not have much juice left and ran 5:24.
Leg 3:Distance3.150Time28:04.20Pace8:54.67
Cool-down with Benjamin.
Leg 4:Distance4.000Time32:09.60Pace8:02.40
With Joseph and Jacob.

Khaki Crocs 1 Miles: 13.30
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 - 2016-08-24 07:44:30
Workout Totals: Distance8.330Time1:04:37.70Pace7:45.51
Today was the day of mile time trials. Results:

Joseph - 5:39 (81,86,?,?) paced by Benjamin. Missed PR by 1 second.

Jacob - 5:42.8 (81,87,87,85 - 9.34 meter tax for the balance) - new PR by 5 seconds. I paced him.

Jenny - 6:11.6 (86,92,96,93) - struggled today, 11 seconds off PR. I paced her.

Julia - 6:18.6 (92,97,96,91 - 9.34 meter tax for the balance) - 10 second PR. I paced her. This is definitely a step in the right direction. She is starting to develop some endurance and confidence.

William - 6:36.1, 9 second PR. Splits - 1:32, 1:41, 1:42, 1:40. Benjamin paced him. I think he is capable of closer to 6:20, but we need to work on the mile specific endurance.

Otherwise, Benjamin and I did 8 total, usual distances for everybody else.
Leg 1:Distance1.050Time9:26.10Pace8:59.14
Warm-up to the track with the crew - pushed Mary and Matthew in stroller.
Leg 2:Distance1.000Time5:42.80Pace5:42.80
Jacob's mile.
Leg 3:Distance1.000Time6:36.10Pace6:36.10
William and Julia's mile.
Split 1:Distance1.000Time6:18.60Pace6:18.60
Julia's time.
Split 2:Distance0.000Time0:17.50Pace0:00.00
Waiting for William.
Leg 4:Distance1.000Time6:11.60Pace6:11.60
Jenny's mile.
Leg 5:Distance1.000Time9:10.10Pace9:10.10
Back to the house. Benjamin pushed Mary and Matthew in the stroller.
Leg 6:Distance3.280Time27:31.00Pace8:23.35
I think this was with Benjamin.

Khaki Crocs 1 Miles: 8.33
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Fast Running Friend Workout - 2016-08-25 07:58:04
Workout Totals: Distance8.130Time1:03:28.50Pace7:48.45
8 total for me, Benjamin did 6, everybody else their usual distances.
Leg 1:Distance1.020Time8:50.80Pace8:40.39
With Stephen.
Leg 2:Distance1.020Time7:51.00Pace7:41.76
Leg 3:Distance2.040Time16:49.60Pace8:14.90
With Benjamin, Joseph and Jacob.
Leg 4:Distance4.050Time29:57.10Pace7:23.73

Khaki Crocs 1 Miles: 8.13
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Fast Running Friend Workout - 2016-08-26 08:10:01
Workout Totals: Distance6.020Time47:58.50Pace7:58.16
Tapering for the Top of Utah Half, only 6 miles for me, 4 for Benjamin. Younger kids ran their usual distances.
Leg 1:Distance1.020Time9:14.10Pace9:03.24
With William and Stephen.
Leg 2:Distance1.000Time7:12.20Pace7:12.20
With William.
Leg 3:Distance4.000Time31:32.20Pace7:53.05
I think I started with Julia, and then finished alone.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Fast Running Friend Workout - 2016-08-27 05:17:57
Workout Totals: Distance19.359Time2:09:05.90Pace6:40.12
TOU Half, 1:14:49, 11th overall, 2nd master, $75. Benjamin got 1:09:21 (on his watch 1:09:19), 6th overall. Top finishers ahead of me:

Riley Cook 1:06:41, Bryant Jensen 1:07:29, Ben VanBeekum 1:07:40, Nate Krah 1:07:55, Fritz Van De Kamp 1:07:58, Benjamin 1:09:21, Jason Holt 1:09:41, Eric Strand 1:10:52, Jon Gauthier 1:14:04, Matt Wolpert 1:14:43.

This was a good race for both of us. Benjamin missed his PR from the Haunted Half by 10 seconds, but this was really a better effort given that Haunted Half course is probably 30 seconds faster. He finished 2:40 behind the winner (Riley), and a little over 4 minutes slower than the course record. This race was a step in the right direction for him.

He and I improved our father/son performance in the same race to 2:24:10. This is one record that we can have for the next little bit while it lasts. Eventually I will be running slower than 1:26, so my fastest son will have to run a world record to make up for my slack. But hopefully I can hold it off for some time - I improved from the last year in spite of getting a year older.

From the workout on Tuesday we knew that Benjamin should start conservatively and run his own pace rather than try to hang with the "lions". This strategy worked. He ran at a consistent pace never faster than 5:07 or slower than 5:18 through the first 9 miles mostly by himself. Then he ran 5:22, 5:30 (hill),5:47(hill), and 5:17. His time for about the 5 K distance from 10 to the finish was 17:13 during which he passed Jason Holt and did not get passed by anybody. In the last 100 meters he started throwing up, but was able to make it to the finish creating some excitement in the medical tent. This is actually the first time that anybody in our family threw up during a race. So he gets the Bob Kempainen award.

I ran alone for most of the race. My plan was to go with Matt Wolpert and try to hang on, but he started slower and was behind while I felt I was running well within myself, so I figured I would make him work to catch up instead. I caught up to Michael Peters at 2 miles and ran with him to 3, but he was slowing down fast, so I had to pass him and go alone again. Matt caught me at 10.5 and I was able to latch on and stay there until the last 400. Then he found another gear, while I did not. Details mile by mile below.
Leg 1:Distance1.250Time10:51.00Pace8:40.80
Leg 2:Distance13.109Time1:14:48.70Pace5:42.41
My race.
Split 1:Distance1.000Time5:33.20Pace5:33.20
Alone. Feeling the pace is right.
Split 2:Distance1.000Time5:38.70Pace5:38.70
Pushed this one a bit to catch up to Michael.
Split 3:Distance1.000Time5:46.30Pace5:46.30
Took a break drafting behind Michael, but he started losing steam, so I had to pass him at the end of this mile.
Split 4:Distance1.000Time5:49.00Pace5:49.00
Alone, lost rhythm. Began to be concerned that I just did not have the fitness to maintain the pace and 1:16 was the best I could get. Prayed for the strength to keep up a decent pace.
Split 5:Distance1.000Time5:33.40Pace5:33.40
I think this is where the tail wind started. I prayed just for 5:40, this was quite a bit better.
Split 6:Distance1.000Time5:32.30Pace5:32.30
The mile before that was not a fluke.
Split 7:Distance1.000Time5:33.40Pace5:33.40
Good, still holding it. Prayed for the strength to hold it. Heard Matt behind, saw him out of the corner of my eye on the turn. At this point based on the 6.87 mark mat split he was 21 seconds back.
Split 8:Distance1.000Time5:36.40Pace5:36.40
Very happy with this one. Trying to make it difficult for Matt to catch me.
Split 9:Distance1.000Time5:44.90Pace5:44.90
Slower, but still decent.
Split 10:Distance1.000Time5:48.70Pace5:48.70
Two years ago with the help of Tyler Monson I ran this mile in 5:39. A year ago alone I ran it in 5:53. Interestingly enough, the 10 mile split now was the same as last year, but with some important differences - the last two miles last year were 5:49/5:53 vs 5:44/5:48 today, and last year I was pulled by a pack for 6 miles while today I got here running 9 out of 10 alone. And for the remaining 5 K, last year I ran it alone (although scared by the chase pack), today Matt was coming up and I knew there would be some contact for at least a mile, so at the point I knew I would likely run faster than last year.
Split 11:Distance1.000Time5:56.10Pace5:56.10
Uphill mile. Matt caught me half-way though this mile, but I was able to latch on without too much difficulty. I was surprised - I thought I would have to make a heroic effort, but I guess I was going fast enough earlier to wear him out enough where he would want to take a break once he caught up. Not as fast as with Taylor Monson two years ago (5:44), but faster than last year (6:02).
Split 12:Distance1.000Time6:04.00Pace6:04.00
The mile with the most uphill in the race. Still with Matt. Two years ago I ran 6:15 - worn out from the surge with Taylor and finally losing contact. A year ago I ran 6:09. Three years ago I had 12:33 split for two miles, so likely this one was around 6:20. So this is probably my masters PR for this mile.
Split 13:Distance1.000Time5:40.30Pace5:40.30
Downhill. Keeping up with Matt. Felt good enough that I even briefly considered taking the lead, but as I moved to the side to pass I felt a mild headwind, and knew that I would be better off drafting. With about 400 to go Matt shifted gears, but I could not respond.
Split 14:Distance0.109Time0:32.00Pace4:53.58
Kick. I am quite sure that this is actually not 0.109 - not sure if the finish is slightly off, or if mile 13 is slightly off, but this split is about 2 seconds or so faster than what I should have been.
Leg 3:Distance5.000Time43:26.20Pace8:41.24
Long cool-down, partially with Benjamin.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Khaki Crocs 1 Miles: 40.91
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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