Breaking the Wall

Top of Utah 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: 266.81 Year: 266.81
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: 1438.17
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Nike Double Stroller Miles: 8.06White Crocs 2 Miles: 72.53Saucony Type A Miles: 1.80
Night Sleep Time: 49.50Nap Time: 2.00Total Sleep Time: 51.50
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Day of rest. We had a regional conference broadcast for church. Elder Ballard spoke, talked about how trees die when their roots are not able to get water.

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

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2015-09-14 06:55:49
Workout Totals: Distance12.000Time1:31:12.30Pace7:36.03
Usual run today. Kids ran their usual distances.
Leg 1:Distance8.000Time59:52.60Pace7:29.07
With Benjamin.
Leg 2:Distance4.000Time31:19.70Pace7:49.93
With Jenny, Joseph, and Jacob. Julia ran 3 miles turning around at 1.5.

Nike Double Stroller Miles: 4.00White Crocs 2 Miles: 12.00
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2015-09-15 07:01:13
Workout Totals: Distance11.869Time1:31:59.00Pace7:44.99
Today we ran easy and a little less in the morning, and then did the Kiwani's Park cross-country race in the evening. The race was 1 K, and I think the course was reasonably accurate. It rained, so the traction was not very good and the times were slow.


Benjamin 3:00
myself 3:20
Joseph 3:36
Jacob 3:40 (he timed himself at 3:38)
Jenny 3:56
Julia 4:08 (official results are wrong putting her at 7:08)
William 4:23
Sarah 4:50
Stephen 5:28 (officially 5:20, but that is wrong, I ran with him and timed him - little kids ran in the second heat)

I am figuring the times were about 20 seconds off compared to a track 1000.
Leg 1:Distance8.000Time59:31.80Pace7:26.48
With Benjamin.
Leg 2:Distance2.040Time16:30.70Pace8:05.64
With Joseph and Jacob.
Leg 3:Distance0.500Time4:19.00Pace8:38.00
Leg 4:Distance0.621Time5:27.80Pace8:47.86
The race, then timing people.
Split 1:Distance0.621Time3:20.40Pace5:22.71
My time.
Split 2:Distance0.000Time0:35.90Pace0:00.00
Split 3:Distance0.000Time0:12.40Pace0:00.00
Split 4:Distance0.000Time0:42.20Pace0:00.00
Split 5:Distance0.000Time0:36.90Pace0:00.00
Leg 5:Distance0.087Time0:41.70Pace7:59.31
Jog to the start of the race.
Leg 6:Distance0.621Time5:28.00Pace8:48.18
With Stephen.

Saucony Type A Miles: 1.80Nike Double Stroller Miles: 2.04White Crocs 2 Miles: 10.04
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2015-09-16 06:57:35
Workout Totals: Distance10.020Time1:18:26.10Pace7:49.67
Usual run. Kids ran usual distances.
Leg 1:Distance8.000Time1:01:58.70Pace7:44.84
With Benjamin.
Leg 2:Distance1.000Time8:47.20Pace8:47.20
With Stephen, Jenny, Julia, Joseph, and Jacob, and Matthew and Mary in the stroller.
Leg 3:Distance1.020Time7:40.20Pace7:31.18
Same company minus Stephen, big boy course.

Nike Double Stroller Miles: 2.02White Crocs 2 Miles: 10.02
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2015-09-17 07:06:02
Workout Totals: Distance7.250Time55:24.00Pace7:38.48
Benjamin was feeling like he might be getting a cold today, so he slept in a bit and ran only 7. I ran only 7 because I was tapering for the marathon. Other kids ran their usual distances on their own.
Leg 1:Distance7.250Time55:24.00Pace7:38.48
With Benjamin.

White Crocs 2 Miles: 7.25
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2015-09-18 06:55:17
Workout Totals: Distance6.000Time45:47.80Pace7:37.97
Tapering. Only 6 today. Did a mile pickup in 5:35 down the canyon - felt good. Kids ran their usual distances.
Leg 1:Distance6.000Time45:47.80Pace7:37.97
With Benjamin.
Split 1:Distance3.080Time24:39.10Pace8:00.23
Split 2:Distance1.000Time5:35.50Pace5:35.50
Split 3:Distance1.920Time15:33.20Pace8:06.04

White Crocs 2 Miles: 6.00
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
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Race: Top of Utah Marathon (26.219 Miles) 02:40:28, Place overall: 2
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2015-09-19 05:19:21
Workout Totals: Distance27.220Time2:48:51.00Pace6:12.19
Top of Utah Marathon, 2:40:28, 2nd overall, $1000 - first master, but they did not double-dip. Weaker competition than normal today. Splits below, full report later...

Full report. This was my 17th time running Top of Utah out of the 17 times they've had it. Stayed with Steve Anderson. At the start met an older runner from South Carolina named Jon Johnson if I remember right. Showed him the city of Oz (nice hidden bathroom at the start) - he was impressed.

For some reason the competition this year was not as strong as in the past years. Even Riley originally came to do a tempo run for 20 miles, but when he saw that running the remaining 6 was worth $1500 he decided to go for it.

Top finishers:

Riley 2:32:08
myself 2:40:28
Jason Howe 2:40:40
James Fisher (from Boise, I might not have gotten his name right) 2:41:54
Bryce Carr 2:42:54 (I think)

I placed bottles with EmergenC and dextrose at 7, 13, 17, and 21. The bottle at 21 ended up having $250 value - kept me from losing the second place.

Mile-by-mile details to follow.

Overall take from the race - I need to start doing my staple 10 mile tempos at the end of 20 to deal with the fuel problem. I suppose I learned today the difference between jogging 20 miles maybe with a short tempo at the start vs running 20 miles with a long tempo at the finish.

On the positive side I was stronger on the hills, and felt much better than I ever have after finishing a marathon since I became a master. Afterwards on my way to Jamba Juice I got stuck in traffic, so I just parked and ran. I felt that the heart was a little bit tired, but I did not feel that deadly heart fatigue or sore legs. I am very excited about this improvement. Now I just need to do something to covert it into a better marathon performance.
Leg 1:Distance1.000Time8:22.40Pace8:22.40
Leg 2:Distance26.220Time2:40:28.60Pace6:07.22
The race.
Split 1:Distance1.000Time6:06.50Pace6:06.50
Riley wanted to warm-up, I did not feel like taking the lead and pushing the pace, so we had a slow mile.
Split 2:Distance1.000Time5:50.90Pace5:50.90
Riley picked it up. This dropped everybody except myself and Bryce.
Split 3:Distance1.000Time5:45.20Pace5:45.20
Now the pace is where I want it to be.
Split 4:Distance1.000Time5:37.80Pace5:37.80
Now it is too fast, but I do not want to run alone yet, and I want to make up some time for the slow warm-up.
Split 5:Distance1.000Time5:39.80Pace5:39.80
Too fast.
Split 6:Distance1.000Time5:41.80Pace5:41.80
Too fast.
Split 7:Distance1.000Time5:49.90Pace5:49.90
This mile was naturally a bit slower, I think, so more effort to run the same pace. Decided I've had enough of red zone running, and it is time to drop back and run my own pace. Riley and Bryce went ahead.
Split 8:Distance1.000Time5:50.10Pace5:50.10
Grabbed the bottle at the start of mile 7, but did not feel like drinking much of it - felt like the water was sloshing in the stomach which is the sign that it is not being properly absorbed.
Split 9:Distance1.000Time5:48.20Pace5:48.20
Good mile, feeling strong, relatively.
Split 10:Distance1.000Time5:55.60Pace5:55.60
I think the grade got less steep here.
Split 11:Distance1.000Time6:01.10Pace6:01.10
I am starting to get concerned.
Split 12:Distance1.000Time5:50.80Pace5:50.80
Maybe things are OK after all.
Split 13:Distance1.000Time5:51.40Pace5:51.40
Still OK. 1:16:24 at the half. Grabbed a bottle, drank some, but not a whole lot.
Split 14:Distance1.000Time5:50.30Pace5:50.30
No magic tailwind today, but still was able to run reasonably well.
Split 15:Distance1.000Time5:54.20Pace5:54.20
Happy to be sub-6:00 at the point. Saw Steve Anderson somewhere around here. He was not in the race, just cheering.
Split 16:Distance1.000Time6:00.30Pace6:00.30
Still not slower than 6:00.
Split 17:Distance1.000Time6:04.20Pace6:04.20
A bit slower than 6:00, but still respectable. Grabbed a bottle, drank a bit, but did not feel like finishing it.
Split 18:Distance1.000Time6:12.10Pace6:12.10
Happy with this one.
Split 19:Distance1.000Time6:27.60Pace6:27.60
Uphill mile. Starting to close on Bryce, happy with the split.
Split 20:Distance1.000Time6:23.80Pace6:23.80
Another uphill mile. Really happy with how I felt here. Passed Bryce.
Split 21:Distance1.000Time6:16.20Pace6:16.20
Cause for concern. This should have been 6:08 if everything was normal. I knew at this point that I should be running with the bottle until it was empty.
Split 22:Distance1.000Time6:57.80Pace6:57.80
OK, no fuel. The absence of 10 mile tempos at the end of 20 is showing. Attacking the bottle, trying to salvage the remaining miles.
Split 23:Distance1.000Time7:01.20Pace7:01.20
Starting to get really worried. If the stomach malfunctions and the dextrose does not absorb I could quickly go down to 8:00.
Split 24:Distance1.000Time6:29.80Pace6:29.80
Wew... Uphill ended on this mile and it has a little drop. But it was still a better effort that the previous miles. Dextrose is going in. I'll make it to the finish in some respectable time.
Split 25:Distance1.000Time6:58.10Pace6:58.10
Uphill mile. Decent result. Unfortunately my bottle was empty by now. I consumed 700 ml of my magic drink over the course of 4 miles. I tried to grab Powerade at the aid station, but missed. Hopefully the dextrose I consumed can get me to the finish.
Split 26:Distance1.050Time6:57.00Pace6:37.14
This mile starts with the uphill, then starts going down. And mile marker 26 was again in the wrong place. Fortunately I was prepared for it.
Split 27:Distance0.170Time1:06.90Pace6:33.53
Kick. Not too bad. Happy to have held on to second - thanks to the bottle.

White Crocs 2 Miles: 27.22
Night Sleep Time: 6.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 6.50
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Nike Double Stroller Miles: 8.06White Crocs 2 Miles: 72.53Saucony Type A Miles: 1.80
Night Sleep Time: 49.50Nap Time: 2.00Total Sleep Time: 51.50
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