Breaking the Wall

Uneventful Provo River 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: 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
Green Crocs 6 Miles: 81.00Schwinn Double Stroller Miles: 4.50
Night Sleep Time: 47.50Nap Time: 3.50Total Sleep Time: 51.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Day of rest. Went to church as usual. The Sacrament meeting talks were on faith and as I listened I felt I needed to approach my running with more faith. Lately I've been feeling like I had an excuse to not train as well because the focus has been on the children. The children have been doing well, Benjamin has even been beating me, so I felt it was all good - anything I achieve now myself is a bonus. But as I listened to the talks I felt that while the focus on the children and making their running a priority was correct, I could do better in my own training and recovery. So I resolved to do that.

During Sunday School lesson, which was on eternal marriage, somebody made a comment that nowadays it is not realistic to expect a woman to stay home with the children due to the ecomonic challenges of supporting a family off one income. Several people including Sarah and myself, raised an objection to that. Interestingly enough, Saran and I were the only ones under 60 in that group. It is also interesting that there was nobody in that group that had fewer than five children.

I have some thoughts on that subject that I would like to share. It is very challenging to support a family off one income, but with faith it is possible, and I can testify to that. Sarah and I started out in our marriage with a vision - we would have children, a lot if the health permitted, she would stay home to take care of them, and I would do whatever it took to make this possible. In my mind I was ready to work three jobs if that is what it took. The Lord was merciful to us - I never had to. Quite the oppositive - along with Sarah I got to stay home as well. Last time I had to report to an office for a job on a regular basis was December of 1999. Ever since I worked from home.

Even though I have always made more money than the average neighbor, perhaps even a dual-income neighbor, we have always lived what others would have considered below our means. We still do. We have never bought a car much less a toy on credit. For quite some time this meant driving cars that were old enough to date, then vote, then go on a mission. We have lived in small homes and did everything we could to pay them off as fast as possible. We learned how to feed a large family nutritiously at a low cost. We have hardly ever eaten out. We now do this a little more, but still not as much as our average neighbor, and it is always a health-food restaurant. 

Some might say we have been lucky, but I believe it is more than luck. Luck is random - sometimes it is in your favor, sometimes it is bad luck, intergrating luck over a large interval you get a quantity that approaches zero. I believe the reason we managed to pull this off the way we did was having a vision and being consistently true to it no matter what kind of luck we got. The vision came from the Lord. We cheated - we did what someone much wiser than us has has revealed to us through his prophets. Thus we had the advantage of being 90-year-old wise in our 20s, and we are talking 90-year-old that is familiar with the realities of the 21st century and still has his mind intact. We played the chess game with a grandmaser wispering us the moves.

So long story short, I believe you can support a family off one income just fine, but you must have the vision, and you must have the faith to stay true to it. Your faith will be tried. Possibly it will be tried more than ours. But it is all worth it. All of those sacrifices pay off.

When I came home I took a much-needed long nap.


Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 2.00Total Sleep Time: 10.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. 12 total. Benjamin had a sore throat, did only three. I am beginning to suspect that his room might have mold - he's been catching those colds a lot. So I called a mold testing guy to do the test. Jenny also had a sore throat and did only 3. Jacob did 2, Joseph 3, William 1, Julia 3. I did a 3 mile tempo run from the house to the small bridge and back - slow course - in 17:25. Splits were 5:42, 5:51, 5:53. Last mile is uphill. I thoroughly dislike that course for tempo runs, but by the time I was done running with the kids I only had the time for that course.

P.M. Stato-dynamic magic.

Green Crocs 6 Miles: 12.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.50Total Sleep Time: 8.50
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. 12 miles. Benjamin did 3, Jenny 3, Joseph 3, Jacob 2. Pushed the stroller for 3 miles. William did the mile in 9:20.3 on our out and back course without holding the hand. This is a new record for him by 9 seconds. His splits were 2:28, 2:24, 2:19 and 2:09. His attitude also seemed to keep improving as he went along. He started with a loud whine which resulted in a slow opening split. Then he decided on the prize he wanted, and as his belief that the prize would actually something he could get increased, his complaining and excuses reduced and his pace increased. William is our fastest child at this age so far, but he is also one of the most difficult with the exception maybe of Joseph. Well, Benjamin was not easy either - when he was 5 he would start his runs insisting that there was no way in the world he could run faster than 12:00 per mile. Half way through he would realize that there was some kind of a special privillege connected to breaking 10:00 and he would speed up and do it. William is turning 5 in October. Regardless, I suppose speed comes at a cost - although with Jacob we got a free ride - good speed, no complaining at all, perfect child.

Julia did a total of 3.23 with a mile time trial. We discovered a problem. She said she was feeling tired when we got to the track but I thought that with the 3:01 800 PR she would be able to smash her 6:52 record. Not so. She did 1:40, 1:42, 1:49, 1:44 finishing in 6:57.4. We decided to try again the next day.

I did a 600 pickup uphill in 2:00.

Schwinn Double Stroller Miles: 3.00Green Crocs 6 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

A.M. Total of 12. Did 1.5 mile tempo uphill in 8:19.6, and some time later 800 uphill in 2:41. Benjamin did 4, Jenny 3, Joseph 3, Jacob 2, William 1, Julia 3. Julia did another mile time trial. This time she was able to take down her record, but not by as much as she should have - only 5 seconds. She ran 6:47.7 on the track with the splits of 1:38, 1:44, 1:43, and 1:39. I am suspecting a return of the low iron - she has had it diagnosed before, took the iron supplement for a while, her iron normalized, and she stopped taking the supplement.

Schwinn Double Stroller Miles: 1.50Green Crocs 6 Miles: 12.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.50
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Total of 12. Did an 800 time trial with Jacob. Joseph assisted. Jacob started out very fast - 20 for the first 100. Then I slowed him down, and he shortly also had a second round slowing down himself. First 200 in 44, then 93 (49) at 400. Then he sped up a little - 2:21(48) at 600, and kicked in 47 finishing in 3:08.7 - new PR by 9.5 seconds and reaching the goal of sub-3:10. Joseph finished a little bit ahead with 3:06.

Now of all the kids only William, Stephen, and Matthew  have not yet broken 3:10 in the 800. For the oldest five the approximate average age is 10.8 (rounding the age of each child to 0.5 year precision), their average 800 PR is 2:52.38, and their average mile PR is 6:17.90. For the three oldest boys, the average age is 10.0,  the average mile PR is 6:04.53, and the average 800 PR is 2:48.45. For the girls, the average age is 12, the average mile PR is 6:38.00, and the average 800 PR is 2:58.27.

Benjamin was still not feeling quite well from his sore throat, so he ran only 3 miles. Jenny did 3 as well, as so did Julia and Joseph.  William did a mile without the hand or stopping in 9:40 - not a record, but decent - with some resistance he is developing a habit of sub-10:00 training pace.

Green Crocs 6 Miles: 12.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Total of 12. Benjamin did 4, Jenny 3, Julia 3, Joseph 3, Jacob 2, William 1. I did a workout. First 2x500 on my hilly course in the faster but still slow direction - 1:36.7 and 1:31.8. Then 400 and 600 down the Provo Canyon in 70.3 and 1:45.1 respectively. Starting to feel some power in the legs.

P.M. Stato-dynamic magic. 

Green Crocs 6 Miles: 12.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
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Race: Uneventful Provo River Half Marathon (13.109 Miles) 01:15:04, Place overall: 1
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with Chad and George - total of 21 miles. Chad and I did the Provo River Half course uneventfully, meaning we raced it while there was no official race organized. Well, Chad raced it all out from the gun. I ran the first 4 miles with him, then raced it after that. My time was 1:15:04, he got 1:17:55 - a new half PR for him. I was expecting around 1:16, but Chad opened quicker than I expected, which helped with the overall time.

We warmed up 1 mile with George, and then started the Uneventful.

Splits by Curt's mile markers along with some other points of signficance - 5:21, 5:31 (10:52), 5:51 (16:41), 5:41 (22:22). At about 4.1 I had to stop to go to the bathroom, while Chad continued. If this was a real race I would have done a VPB without stopping the watch, but since this was Uneventful I just stopped my watch. Afterwards I continued at a true race effort. Next mile was 5:39 (28:01), do not remember mile marker splits after that point, but the pace was around 5:40 until the start of the climb. 36:28 at the letter S (start of the climb on the old highway). At this point I observed that I was 1:28 behind my Provo River Half split, and decided to try to make as much ground as I could. Uphill mile in 6:26 - 42:52 at the end of it - I passed Chad half way through it gaining 21 seconds on my Provo River Half time. At this point I thought that I might be able to actually beat the race time, but I ended up not quite having as much downhill speed. Next mile was 5:33 - 49:39 at the bottom by the letter S, then 50:47 at the start of the three mile tempo course at Nunn's Park. The 3 mile stretch in 17:05 with the splits of 5:37, 5:46, 5:42 - 1:07:52 at the end of it. 1:12:01 at the little bridge that is 1.5 miles away from my house, 1:14:32 at the official 13 mile marker.

Afterwards, Chad and I had a death march cooldown of 7 miles up the Provo Canyon to my car which was parked at the Vivian Park. I learned something. I noticed that 8:00 pace was awfully hard. Doing the math I also realized that we had one mile longer to the car than I hoped for. In desparation I stopped at the water fountain and drank some water. I never do that normally. I did not think it would help much because I believed the problem was fuel, but as it turned out there must have been quite a bit of dehydration. The water made quite a bit of a difference - 8:00 pace still felt harder than what it should, but at least I wanted to go faster. However, 8:00 on less steep grade, and 8:30 on steeper grade was all that Chad could do, so that is what we did.

Kids ran on their own. Benjamin did 5, Jenny 3, Julia 3, Joseph 3, Jacob 2, William 1.

Green Crocs 6 Miles: 21.00
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Green Crocs 6 Miles: 81.00Schwinn Double Stroller Miles: 4.50
Night Sleep Time: 47.50Nap Time: 3.50Total Sleep Time: 51.00
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