Breaking the Wall

Week starting Sep 24, 2006

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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
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Legs felt a little sore in the shin muscles from the marathon, otherwise without the memory of running it, I would not have known I had run it. Today, no soreness whatsoever.

Started the day with a 1 mile jog in street clothes in 6:55. Then in the afternoon we went to see a house near the Provo River Trail. Just like it is promised in Malachi 3 in the Old Testament, The Lord has opened the windows of heaven and poured out so many blessing on us that there is not room enough to receive them. Our Fast Running Kids, who are also homeschooled, are starting to feel crowded in 1060 sq. ft. with Daddy working at home on top of it. So we have put our house up for sale by owner, and are shopping for one in the right location - as close to the Provo River Trail as possible.

I liked the neighborhood. I noticed that more than 50% of the houses in the 200 meter radius had a van parked in the driveway - a tell-tale sign of a stay at home mom with enough kids to need a van. The Fast Running Mommy was concerned about the kids having enough friends - I do not think that would be an issue.

After seeing the house, I went for a run to get a feel for things. Also took Benjamin for part of it. Then picked it up to about 6:40-6:45 pace, ran some on the trail, and then through Provo to the soccer practice. Decided to take a slightly different route and ended up running through downtown Provo. Ran past one of the few bars. The Utah County has a reputation of having the highest number of churches per bar, if I remember right it is 72. That is one reason I like to be in the Utah County.

At the practice ran with Abby and her brother Josh. Then ran back home with Benjamin and Jenny, and then took Julia for her standard quarter mile run. Total of 11 miles for the day.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Early morning run with Ted at 5:00 am. Of all people, Ted is really good about getting his run in when it appears nearly impossible.

Warmed up 2 miles. Had a hard time getting going. Then ran a tempo on the Slate Canyon Loop (2.11) one time around. To make things interesting gave Ted a 30 second head start.

Those seconds seemed like eternity as I watched him take off at a very good pace. First mile in 5:45. Closed only 8 seconds. Then closed some more on the big hill. Then once we started going down, I finally got into a good rhythm and passed him at around 1.7. Last quarter was 1:23. On the down I was probably going around 4:45-4:50. Total time for the loop 11:50. Ted got 12:37 - a perfect 6:00 pace, which indicates he can run about 37 minutes in a 10 K right now - I have calculated that whatever pace you can hold on that loop, you will be able to do in a flat 10 K.

Jogged another two miles, and then did 100 m accelerations. 4 with ankle weights - 19.1 - 18.8 - 18.3 - 17.9. Then 4 more regular - 15.9 - 16.1 - 16.0 - 15.5.

Went to see Dr. Jex in the evening. He always runs a massage tool on my back and legs, which will discover hidden tightness and soreness issues. Although I ran a marathon on Saturday, to my surprise there was no tightness or soreness discovered, and I did not bust out into hysteric laughter when he did my hamstrings, which I have been doing in the earlier visits without fail.

Ran with the kids in the evening. Total of 13 miles for the day.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Ran early in the morning before going to the temple. 8 miles in 55:29. Started slow, then chased the 7:00 mile guy. Felt lazy, so took a while to catch him. Came up within 3 seconds with 0.5 to go, and then decided to run the rest at marathon pace. The 7:00 mile guy did not like that. Ran the last 0.5 in 2:56.

In the afternoon, did 2 miles of always on the run in 13:09 with the last 0.5 in 2:53. Also ran with the kids.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Ran early in the morning again with the BYU ROTC Army cadets. Ted took them on a 10x1 minute with 1 minute rest. Again, as usual this early, had to stop to go to the bathroom, and then catch them, so that added some extra tempo running. Afterwards ran some more miles with Ted.

Then drove to the Provo River Trail by Geneva road. Did 4x100 with ankle weights (19.2 - 18.8 - 18.3 - 18.0), and 2 without (16.6 - 16.5). Then did a 5 mile tempo run.

Felt sleepy somewhat on the first 0.75 (4:16), then got going. 1 mile in 5:39. Next one in 5:34 (11:13). Steady 5:36 pace to the turnaround (14:01). Thought I'd break 28:00 no problem. However, the turnaround knocked me out of rhythm a bit, and I started feeling something out of whack. 2:52 on the next 0.5 (16:53, 5:40 mile), then the next mile in 5:47 (22:50). Cardiovascularly, as well as in the muscles I was feeling great, and it felt like I was going 5:34 - 5:36. However, the form was not as smooth for some reason.

On the last mile I regrouped, improved the form, pushed a bit, and managed 5:35 to finish with 28:15.8.

My guess is that after 12 miles of being on my feet I experience some structural deterioration which makes the form less efficient. This is why I think I can never run a good marathon with a negative split. I can run a good marathon, and I can run a negative split, but not in the same race. Negative split means in essence I need to run the first half so slow that it would be possible to run faster than that with the structural deterioration that kicks in later and regardless of how fast I run in the first half.

My feeling is that the deterioration I am speaking about is connected to compression of the disks in the lower back, but I could very well be wrong.

Ran with the kids in the afternoon. A long day, now need to get some rest, and sleep in particular before St. George.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Ran with Ted in the morning. We chased the 7:30 guy for 8 miles and beat him (59:42).

Ran with the kids in the afternoon. Starting an early taper for St. George.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Paced Benjamin to a new PR of 23:18 in a 5 K over by the Rock Canyon - first place in 11 and under, 22nd overall out of about 60 mostly adults. He got a ribbon for his award and a huge clock in a raffle (shouldn't it be the other way around - get a small thing in a raffle, and a big one for the achievement?). But, regardless, the effort ended up being properly rewarded.

The course had a net drop of 150 feet, but included a couple of climbs of 100 feet. Mike Vick won with 16:32. After pacing Benjamin, ran a tempo on the course in 17:27. I felt like I had put about a 17:10 effort into it.

The course was measured with my wheel and using my chart. However, I was not there when it got measured. It suspiciously started exactly where the organizers wanted to start it, and ended exactly where they wanted to end it. gmap-pedometer shows that distance as 3.08. There were no mile marks. I think I'll remeasure it next week to be sure.

In the afternoon, ran with the kids. Benjamin was up for anothe r run and did a mile in 9:01 without breaking a sweat.

Ran some with the Fast Running Mommy at the end of her run. She ran two miles in 22:13 gradually speeding up. Last quarter was 2:27.

Also ran back from the Priesthood Session of the General Confernce. Good messages. Got me thinking deep.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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