Breaking the Wall

Huntsville 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
White Crocs 2 Miles: 70.41
Night Sleep Time: 43.00Nap Time: 9.00Total Sleep Time: 52.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Day of rest. Went to church. We were late as usual so we had to run. Legs felt OK, a little stale, no major pain.

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 - 2015-09-21 06:57:52
Workout Totals: Distance10.165Time1:20:05.50Pace7:52.75
Usual day, mostly, except I ran only 10 to recover from the marathon. Kids ran their usual distances. Today was Matthew's first "official" training run - he ran 200 meters in 1:26. Matthew is now on 6 days a week schedule. He is turning 3 at the end of December.
Leg 1:Distance8.000Time1:01:40.50Pace7:42.56
Leg 2:Distance1.020Time9:11.40Pace9:00.59
Leg 3:Distance1.020Time7:47.30Pace7:38.14
Leg 4:Distance0.125Time1:26.30Pace11:30.40

White Crocs 2 Miles: 10.16
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 - 2015-09-22 06:58:40
Workout Totals: Distance14.680Time1:51:58.40Pace7:37.66
Today we ran the 4 K cross-country race. Times:

Benjamin 13:41
myself 15:14
Joseph 18:12 (losing about 15 seconds on a detour)
Jacob 18:16, same detour as Joseph
Jenny 19:05
Julia 20:01
William 20:29
Sarah 22:10

In the morning Benjamin and I ran 7. I was happy to be able to move, somewhat, after the marathon. No soreness, but no power either.
Leg 1:Distance7.000Time53:31.90Pace7:38.84
With Benjamin.
Leg 2:Distance1.000Time8:55.80Pace8:55.80
With Stephen.
Leg 3:Distance0.700Time5:49.10Pace8:18.71
Leg 4:Distance3.350Time22:10.40Pace6:37.13
The race.
Split 1:Distance2.500Time15:14.20Pace6:05.68
My time.
Split 2:Distance0.500Time3:51.70Pace7:43.40
Jenny's time. I ran to meet Julia, and ran with her some, then cut over to time Jenny.
Split 3:Distance0.100Time0:55.80Pace9:18.00
Julia's time. Ran to meet her, then ran with her.
Split 4:Distance0.250Time2:08.70Pace8:34.80
Sarah's time. Ran to meet her, then ran with her.
Leg 5:Distance0.130Time1:01.80Pace7:55.38
To the start of the little kids heat.
Leg 6:Distance2.500Time20:29.40Pace8:11.76
Ran with William.

White Crocs 2 Miles: 14.68
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 - 2015-09-23 07:06:57
Workout Totals: Distance10.375Time1:19:14.80Pace7:38.29
Just 10.25 - tapering for Huntsville Half. Benjamin ran only 8. Other kids ran their usual distances.
Leg 1:Distance6.250Time48:15.40Pace7:43.26
With Benjamin.
Leg 2:Distance4.000Time29:39.00Pace7:24.75
With Joseph, and Jacob.
Leg 3:Distance0.125Time1:20.40Pace10:43.20
With Matthew.

White Crocs 2 Miles: 10.38
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 7.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2015-09-24 07:10:33
Workout Totals: Distance10.375Time1:21:23.70Pace7:50.72
Tapering for Huntsville Half. Benjamin ran 8, I did 10, everybody else their usual distances.
Leg 1:Distance6.250Time49:17.80Pace7:53.25
With Benjamin.
Leg 2:Distance4.000Time30:47.80Pace7:41.95
With Jenny, Julia, Joseph, and Jacob.
Leg 3:Distance0.125Time1:18.10Pace10:24.80
With Matthew.

White Crocs 2 Miles: 10.38
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 - 2015-09-25 07:22:52
Workout Totals: Distance10.339Time1:23:25.60Pace8:04.15
Taper day for me, and the day of failed 800 meter time trials for the kids. Joseph ran 2:40, and Jacob did 2:46 earlier in the morning at Orem High - the wind was bad. Then I took Jenny, Julia, and William to the track at Provo High hoping to avoid the wind, but by that time it got too warm. So William ran 3:18, which is technically his track PR, but he should have been somewhere around 3:10. Jenny did 2:56, Julia 3:02.

Benjamin ran 4 miles (he paced Joseph in the 800), I did more, almost 10.
Leg 1:Distance1.050Time8:48.80Pace8:23.62
To the track with Benjamin, Joseph, and Jacob.
Leg 2:Distance0.498Time2:46.30Pace5:33.94
Pacing Jacob - 41,41,44,40. Joseph had 38,39,42,41.
Leg 3:Distance1.450Time12:40.80Pace8:44.69
Back to the house.
Leg 4:Distance1.000Time8:42.20Pace8:42.20
With Stephen, Joseph, Jacob, and Benjamin.
Leg 5:Distance3.700Time28:33.80Pace7:43.19
To the car shop to pick up our old van.
Leg 6:Distance0.125Time1:17.90Pace10:23.20
With Matthew.
Leg 7:Distance1.050Time9:18.30Pace8:51.71
Warm-up with Jenny, Julia, and William.
Leg 8:Distance0.498Time3:18.20Pace6:37.99
William's time trial. Splits - 47,51,51,49
Leg 9:Distance0.368Time2:56.60Pace7:59.89
Jenny's time trial. Splits - 42,45,45,44.
Leg 10:Distance0.380Time3:02.20Pace7:59.47
Julia - splits 44,46,46,46
Leg 11:Distance0.220Time2:00.50Pace9:07.73

White Crocs 2 Miles: 10.43
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
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Race: Huntsville Half Marathon (13.109 Miles) 01:16:53, Place overall: 4, Place in age division: 1
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2015-09-26 08:03:25
Workout Totals: Distance14.381Time1:27:00.40Pace6:03.01
Huntsville Half, 1:16:53, 4th overall, 1st master. Benjamin had some stomach issues after the first 5 in 26:02, spent some time in the bathroom, then had some struggles, and finished 3rd in 1:14:00.

Micky Wilson won in 1:09:56, Mike Hardy second in 1:10:40.

Details to follow...

Now details. We came to the race hoping the course would be fast. It looked fast on the computer screen. The Course Tool did not detect any uphill climbs that were longer than 200 meters and had a grade steeper than 1%. But apparently something was up. The times were slow. I wonder if the course got certified on the true shortest path, but because they would not let us take the full road we ended up running extra. Or maybe it was the wind or extra sun exposure due to 9:30 start. For some reason nobody delivered the time I would have expected based on the course profile. One exception was Jason Howe in the marathon, but no exceptions in the half. What a bummer for Jason - at the TOU half he missed $250 by 12 seconds (though not quite a bummer as he got $750), then a week later he runs 2:35:59, but a Kenyan Richard Chelimo just had to come, jog with him until the last moment, then pull away by 9 seconds to get the only cash prize - $1000. Sometimes the luck has it that an average performance yields a big payday, and for those you have to have the days when an exceptional performance ends up being a "cash miss".

My benchmarks for the half were Mike Hardy - he was 2:46 slower than at TOU, Cynthia Fowler - with only a minute back from me at the Layton Classic 10 K I would have expected her to run maybe 1:17:30 at TOU half, and at least as fast at Huntsville, but she could only do 1:19:30. Nan is a wild card due to being out of shape, but still being 1:17 back from me at the Layton 10 K I would have expected no slower than 1:19 at TOU half, and a comparable time here while she broke 1:21 barely.

The highlight of the day was when the announcer called me Benjamin's brother as I was coming through the finish line.

Mile-by-mile, or whatever those markers were, I went by the painted marks, but the splits made no sense, so I am guessing the distances on each stretch.
Leg 1:Distance1.081Time8:39.10Pace8:00.20
Leg 2:Distance13.150Time1:16:53.40Pace5:50.83
The race.
Split 1:Distance1.000Time5:21.70Pace5:21.70
Benjamin, Mike, and Mickey took off, I was running alone.
Split 2:Distance1.000Time5:32.70Pace5:32.70
Split 3:Distance1.000Time5:39.30Pace5:39.30
Split 4:Distance1.000Time5:51.60Pace5:51.60
Hmm..was not expecting it to get that slow that fast.
Split 5:Distance1.000Time5:55.70Pace5:55.70
Wow, something is up
Split 6:Distance1.020Time6:10.00Pace6:02.75
I think this was a long mile.
Split 7:Distance0.990Time5:46.90Pace5:50.40
I think it was during this mile that Tracy Fifield caught to me. I was able to latch on quite easily even though he was moving at a good speed. That was rather interesting.
Split 8:Distance0.990Time5:47.00Pace5:50.51
Tracy does not like me on his tail, trying to get rid of me, but I am able to speed up when he surges without any problems. This told me we have wind. It may not be easy to feel, but otherwise one of the two things would have happened by now - either he would have dropped me, or I would have dropped him. Running behind him feels like a complete jog, but the moment I move to the side to pass I cannot accelerate.
Split 9:Distance1.000Time5:53.80Pace5:53.80
Tracy got more competitive, swerving, slowing down on purpose.
Split 10:Distance1.020Time6:08.70Pace6:01.47
Tracy keeps being competitive. Finally I told him he was hurting his time by about 30 seconds and that seemed to calm him down some. At this point his earlier competitive moves had worn him down to the point where he could not pull me at my drafting speed anymore, so I moved forward, but for some reason he did not want to draft, so we just ran side by side, sort of, but I felt I was controlling the pace. I think this mile was long.
Split 11:Distance0.980Time5:43.00Pace5:50.00
Not sure what to think of this mile. It was probably short. Still with Tracy.
Split 12:Distance1.030Time6:22.20Pace6:11.07
This mile was probably long. Still with Tracy.
Split 13:Distance0.970Time5:45.40Pace5:56.08
I was expecting a sprint finish, but Tracy started losing steam with about 1 K to go. I was not trying to do anything competitive, just running a steady pace, but he could not keep it. However, once a gap developed, I instinctively started running scared and gave it a good push. The splits were all wrong, do not even know what to think. This mile could have been indeed 5:45, but then the last 0.109 in 55 seconds does not make sense. On the other hand, if we were to assume 1.109 from marker 12 to the finish, that gives me slower than 6:00 average for the last mile, and that is wrong as well.
Split 14:Distance0.150Time0:55.40Pace6:09.33
Kick - who knows how long this was. Tracy finished 10 seconds back in 1:17:03.
Leg 3:Distance0.150Time1:27.90Pace9:46.00
A little jogging around.

White Crocs 2 Miles: 14.38
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
White Crocs 2 Miles: 70.41
Night Sleep Time: 43.00Nap Time: 9.00Total Sleep Time: 52.00
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