Breaking the Wall

Week starting Aug 23, 2009

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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: 304.65 Year: 3606.17
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: 806.96
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Bare Feet Miles: 45.27Walmart Crocs (No Boundaries) Miles: 10.16
Night Sleep Time: 55.00Nap Time: 4.80Total Sleep Time: 59.80
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Day of rest. Went to Oquirrh Mountain Temple dedication.

Night Sleep Time: 9.00Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 10.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran 2.04 to Grandview in Crocs, then 5.7 with Jeff on grass barefoot, then 2.04 back. Total distance was 9.78, total time 1:18:31. The foot really liked the grass. 

On the way back the foot was feeling tender, so I decided to ride the bike again for Benjamin's run. He ran 2 miles in 16:53.

P.M. Josse came and scraped my foot. It was very effective. The foot really likes the increased blood flow.

Ran 0.5 with Joseph in 5:27, and about 2 with Jenny and Julia in 19:58. 0.5 to the grass field, then 10 minutes around the field, then 0.5 back. Ran barefoot when on grass, in Crocs on pavement.

Bare Feet Miles: 6.70Walmart Crocs (No Boundaries) Miles: 5.58
Night Sleep Time: 7.75Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.75
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Largely a repeat of yesterday. Ran 2.04 to the grass field at Grandview in Crocs, then 5.78 barefoot, including 0.77 in 4:48 (6:12 pace). The foot again liked the grass.  Then 2.04 back. Total time was 1:19:58 for 10.02.

2 miles on a bike with Benjamin running. He did 2 miles in 16:16.

P.M. 0.5 with Joseph in Crocs in 5:26. 2 with Jenny on grass at Grandview in 19:27. Julia ran 1.56 with us in 15:18.

Bare Feet Miles: 7.94Walmart Crocs (No Boundaries) Miles: 4.58
Night Sleep Time: 7.75Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 8.75
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Decided to try a normal shoe for the non-grass running. The foot felt slightly better in it than in a Croc, but it did not seem to make a whole lot of difference.  Ran 2.04 to Grandview, saw Ted and his cadets on the way.  Took the shoes off, Jeff had his on.

Did another lap around the field with Jeff at an easy pace(0.386 miles), and then we started a tempo. We had no definite plan how fast or how long, just stay on the safe side of the hard-retard line. We did the first lap in 2:21 (6:05 pace), then sped up to around 2:15 per lap (5:49 pace), and then started seeing 2:12 laps (5:41 pace). After 10 laps I said one more, which we did in by my watch 2:05 (5:23 pace), 2:07 by Jeff's (5:28) - a matter of looking at it at a different time.

Total time for 11 laps (4.248 miles) was  24:34, 5:47 average. I think this is the fastest I've ever run on grass barefoot for that long.

HR was 154 at 5:50 pace, 157 at 5:40. What's odd is that it did not spike once we sped up to under 5:30 at the end, it was only 158. So I suspect we are dealing with something very interesting. I felt that the faster we went the more efficient I got. I really liked the last lap. It felt very smooth. The form felt perfect, the right glut was engaging like in my best races, and possibly even better. I believe that is why I was able to run so much faster without a significant increase in HR.

Jogged 3 more laps barefoot, put shoes on, and jogged back home. Total distance was 10.26, time 1:14:57.

Then to avoid crossing the notorious hard-retard line rode the bike while Benjamin ran. He did 2 miles in 16:04 with the last 0.75 in 4:48.

Noticed positive symptoms of increased testosterone in the last few days. Increased appetite, muscles feel snappier, etc. Not sure where this came from.

P.M. Ran 2.05 with Jenny in 21:10 at Amelia Earhart's Elementary field during Benjamin's soccer practice. Julia ran 1.54 with us in 16:03. 0.5 with Joseph in 5:18.

Bare Feet Miles: 8.22
Night Sleep Time: 7.50Nap Time: 1.20Total Sleep Time: 8.70
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran 2.04 to Grandview in shoes, then 6.3 there barefoot, part of it with Jeff, then back 2.04 in shoes. The foot liked the cold grass and was feeling progressively better. It also felt decent on the way back on pavement, best ever since the start of the week.I was able to speed up to 6:49 in the last mile, which is super-sonic speed for pavement for this week.Total time for 10.38 was 1:21:46.

Nevertheless, I decided to stay on the side of caution and ride the bike for Benjamin's run. He ran 2 miles in 17:34.

P.M. 20 minutes with Jenny on grass during Benjamin's soccer game. Julia ran the first 15 minutes with us. Will approximate this as 2 miles. The game ended in a draw - 2-2. Later 0.5 with Joseph in 5:16.

Bare Feet Miles: 8.30
Night Sleep Time: 7.50Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 8.50
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. 2.04 to Grandview, 6 miles on grass barefoot, 2.04 back. Jeff must have slept in, he was not there. To my dismay they aerated the field, every single bit of it. So it took me a while to get used to it. I started out at 10:00 pace, then finally figured out how to maneuver past the little pieces of dirt, and was able to speed up to 7:00. On the way back wearing shoes on pavement felt better than yesterday. Ran the last mile in 6:41. Total time for 10.08 was 1:20:51.

Then rode 2 miles alongside Benjamin to avoid unnecessary risks. He ran 17:34, exact same time as yesterday.

P.M. Ran 0.5 with Jenny then Julia joined us for the next 1.5. Julia's time for 1.5 was 13:28. Jenny pulled ahead a bit at the end and finished 2 miles in 17:56. I stayed with Julia. 0.5 with Joseph in 5:20.

Bare Feet Miles: 6.00
Night Sleep Time: 7.75Nap Time: 0.60Total Sleep Time: 8.35
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran 2.04 to Grandview, met Jeff there. We ran 21 laps around the field (8.11 miles). Last 8 laps (3.09) fast - 18:24 for me (5:57 average), 17;49 for Jeff. Then jogged back to the house. Total time for 12.19 was 1:32:46. For some reason the pace felt harder than on Wednesday. Possibly because I had a hard time with the aerated chunks of dirt in the way that were not there Wednesday.

The foot did not like the fast pace. Running home on pavement did not feel good afterwards.

P.M. Still had some energy left from the short run in the morning, and also felt the legs were getting a bit flabby. So decided to give them a non-impact workout. Rode the bike about 3 miles to our old house at 551 S 1350 E. Averaged around 15 mph through traffic including stops. Then did 6 loops about 670 meters (0.42 miles) long. The first half of the loop was a 5% climb, and the rest of it 5% drop. There was a yield sign and a turn at the bottom of the hill, so you had to brake before you got going again. I did this loop the following way: 20 seconds or so maximum effort up the hill. Then honest but not maximum effort to make it to the top of this hill without slowing down to a crawl and falling off the bike. Then pedal a little bit on the downhill until pedalling did no good, which did not require a whole lot of pedalling since my bike cannot shift into the higher gears. Then brake at the yield sign, turn, moderately try to gain some momentum before the hill, turn, and go full power up the hill again.

So it took me 10:01 to do 6 of those loops this way, which averages about 15 mph. The bike weights 30 lb, the gears do not shift well. In fact I would not dare shift them at any point on the loop. Now, I am quite clueless when it comes to biking, so I do not know what that effort was worth exactly. But I have a feeling it was respectable and this is making me wonder if perhaps Ted is right when he says I could be a better biker than a runner if I focused on biking.

Then 3 miles back to the house.

Ran 2 with Jenny in 18:40. Julia ran 1.5 with us in 14:01. Benjamin ran 2 going ahead and then trying to catch us in 15:31. Added 0.5 more with Joseph in 5:18. The foot was almost 100% - for the first time since last week I felt it was not affecting the form on pavement.

Bare Feet Miles: 8.11
Night Sleep Time: 7.75Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.75
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Bare Feet Miles: 45.27Walmart Crocs (No Boundaries) Miles: 10.16
Night Sleep Time: 55.00Nap Time: 4.80Total Sleep Time: 59.80
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