Breaking the Wall

Week starting Oct 08, 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: 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
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Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Ran on the Provo River Trail. Took our car (Ford Escort Wagon 93 nicknamed Zhu) to Jiffy Lube over by Deseret Industries in Provo, and ran 5 miles out from their towards the Utah Lake and back. Had The Toy (Garmin 305) with me. Started out at 7:00 pace, then sped up to 6:50, then to 6:40. Ran the first 5 miles in 34:20. HR was a bit high, probably due to some residual stiffness from the marathon, which made the economy worse - 130 at 7:00 pace, 133 at 6:50, 135-138 at 6:40. But I felt good nevertheless.

On the way back, decided to run a tempo mile, the last mile of my standard 5 mile tempo, which rolls a bit and gains 25 feet. Got 5:41 with the HR climbing to 159 at the end as I sped up to 5:36 pace. This put me within about 15 seconds of the imaginary 6:40 guy, and I just could not resist the temptation. So I coasted at about 6:40 pace until the last mile, and then gradually sped up to a sub-6:00 paace and went past him with vengence. Total time was 1:06:24, last quarter in 1:28, and HR on the last quarter at 1:50.

Came home and ran with the kids. Benjamin ran ahead while I ran with Jenny and Hannah. He looked great from a distance loping along very relaxed at 8:45 pace.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Ran 8 miles with Ted early in the morning. After the first 4 miles, 57 seconds behind the 7:00 mile guy. Then we gave him a chase, caught him, then picked up to 6:12 pace on the last 0.75 to rub it it finishing in 55:27. HR at all speeds was just right - 127 at 7:00 pace, 130 at 6:40, and 140 at 6:12. Legs are feeling a little bit stiff but otherwise, aside from the memory of doing it, I cannot tell I ran a marathon on Saturday. No unusual stiffness during the massage at Dr. Jex's office. Muscles were a lot more intact after St. George as well as after the Top of Utah than they were after the Alta Perivian 8 K.

Ran a total of 2 miles in the evening with the kids, total of 10 for the day.

Also lifted weights - bench 3x[5x105lb].

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Ran with the kids in the afternoon. Then ran with Ted in the evening from the Kiwani's park to the Provo River Trail, then on the trail towards the Utah Lake until we reached the 4 mile mark, and then back. Did some running while waiting for Ted - 0.4 miles. Including my warm-up, we hit 5 miles in 34:00. Then at 7 miles I saw that the 6:40 guy was only 32 seconds ahead and suggested we catch him. Ted was not super-excited about the idea - he had already 4 miles at sub 6:40 pace earlier in the morning, and he is still getting used to the mileage. But in any case, with 3 quarters in 1:30 (flat), 1:27 (slight down), and 1:28 we got him hitting 53:16 for 8 miles. A little bit more to the car - 8.36 miles in 55:27. Avg. HR 131, max 158 (when doing 1:28 quarter uphill, about 1% grade). HR overall was correct at all paces during the run.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Ran very early in the morning with the BYU ROTC Army cadets training for the Ranger Challenge. They were doing a fartlek with the fast pace being a bit faster than 6:00 pace. It was fairly cold, so my HR on those hovered between 135 and 140. That is about 5-10 bpm lower than normal. The Toy (Garmin 305) gave me splits every quarter, and auto-magically turned on the light for me to see it. It was very nice to get those splits in the dark with no fuss.

The lighting during the early hour provided very long shadows to look at, which is great for discovering hidden problems in the form. I observed my form, and compared it do that of Ted and the two faster cadets in our pace group. The cadets looked great. Ted looked better than me but not as good as the cadets. I am still sitting on a bucket. But the cardio endurance, muscle strength, and good glycogen storage saves me against the average Joe with good form. However, if the Joe's last name is Wilson, I am in big trouble unless it is the marathon and he has not been training well.

Ran with the kids in the evening. Benjamin pushed a stroller with Jacob and quite easily covered the mile in 9:50 with the last 100 in 28. This was the first time he was able to push another kid in a stroller at a decent pace for the whole mile. Afterwards, he ran a fast 0.5 in 3:37.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Ran with the kids in the afternoon before going to see Dr. Jex. Then on the way back Sarah dropped me off at the press building by the mouth of the Provo Canyon and I headed back on the trail home taking a long route.

After about 2 miles ran into Mike West. We ran together further on the trail all the way to west Provo, past the house we are buying, then got to 300 N and University intersection, and then went our separate ways. That was a bit after the 7 mile mark. I noticed I was 1:20 behind the 6:40 guy. So I decided to chase him. I knew would have to push it, as it is uphill from their to our house. First quarter was 1:32, including the easy pace for the small part of it. After that, I was hitting between 1:25 and 1:27 while it was flat or 0.5% uphill with the HR of 150. Then the grade got steeper (probably 1%), and I hit a couple of 1:29 quarters with the HR of 158-160. Last quarter (2.3% grade) in 1:31. Blew past the 6:40 with vengenance and told him he was making me work. HR climbed to 163. 59:46 for 9 miles, last 2 miles in 11:46, but I was home yet, another 0.05 to go, 1:00:05 for 9.05.

Then Abby came by and wanted to run. She missed her run earlier in the afternoon. I took her and also pushed Julia and Joseph in the stroller for another easy mile.

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

Decided to test The Toy(Garmin 305) in the Provo Canyon. Ran from the Canyon View Park to Vivian and back. First 5 miles easy, about 7:00 pace, HR hovering around 130 due to the 1-1.5% grade. The Toy agreed with the Hawk's Holy Marks perfectly. The fun started when the marks ended. When I went under the bridge by the Nunns park, The Toy reported a 1:36 quarter, with no perceivable increase in the effort, or HR. Otherwise, the remaining quarters made perfect sense. Got to 5.00 reading on the Toy at 35:10, turned around, and started a tempo on the way back. The goal was to push HR past 155.

It took a while. Mile splits were 5:49 - 5:32 - 5:31 - 5:25 - 5:27. I had to run 0.04 past the car to hit 10.00 on The Toy. HR hovered at 152 until I started running 5:25 pace. Then it went up to 157. This is down 1-1.5% grade, with the grade being steeper in the earlier miles. The Toy handled the bridge a lot better the second time around - no weird quarters at all.

In the afternoon ran with the kids.

As you may have noticed, I coded up the bare bones of the race reports. It uses my new paging code and Smarty templates. I will soon be converting the blog viewer to use this code to - it is about time, we have 49 public blogs.

I also set up an affiliate with Amazon, and added some code to detect product references in the blog comments and auto-magically hyperlink them to the appropriate product page at Amazon. So far, my product table has only Garmin 305. I will be expanding it gradually. E-mail me, or post in the comments your favorite products to be included in the database.

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