Breaking the Wall

Week starting Oct 26, 2008

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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: 188.26 Year: 188.26
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: 1359.62
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Vibram Five Fingers Miles: 30.20Brooks T4 Racing Flat Miles: 36.68
Night Sleep Time: 54.00Nap Time: 0.50Total Sleep Time: 54.50
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Managed to get the kids ready for church. Not without accidents - got some shampoo into the eyes of Joseph and Jacob at the same time, so they screamed in unison. But we got to church on time. The kids were very good in church. The biggest behavior problem I had to deal with was Joseph flipping pages of the Book of Mormon reader during a prayer.

The highlight of the day was the dinner that Josse and her sister Erica brought us. Whole wheat pasta with sauce, chicken, salad, it was great.

At night Joseph has been getting stories the Daddy Way (TM). I ask him what he wants to see, and then we find it on YouTube. Usually it is some kind of a big machine - dump truck, fire truck, tractor, freight train, garbage truck, etc. I've been learning a lot. For example, I learned what they do to get a tractor out of the mud - attach special poles to the side of the wheels so the tractor in a way walks out of the mud. 

Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.50Total Sleep Time: 7.50
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. 10.1 alone in 1:09:56. Did a mile pickup in the middle in 5:30 from the fishing parking lot in the direction of Geneva road. This has a slight uphill in the last quarter. Did not feel the greatest, but did not feel too bad either.

Afterwards took Jacob for 200 in 1:55, and Joseph for 0.34 in 3:43, which is his record.

Ate leftovers from the dinner Josse made for us last night for lunch. Sarah was having a hard time with William and finally was convinced to try Daddy's (TM) method - alternate 15 minutes off, 5 minutes on if needed, and it worked. He was happy after the first round.

P.M. 1 with Julia in 9:45, 2 with Benjamin in 16:40. His time was 16:42. He started singing BINGO towards the end, and I asked him he would be willing to try daddy BINGO pace for the last 0.1 miles. He was OK for the most of the pickup, but fell back a bit at the end. Jenny ran the first 1.5 in 13:13 with us.

Vibram Five Fingers Miles: 10.10
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with Derek. After 4.12 warm-up ran the standard 2.5 tempo in 13:49.6. The first mile felt very easy, the stride was wide and relaxed, and I did not feel like I was pushing. Got 5:26 vs a very strained 5:31 last week. However, after that I started struggling and slowed down to 5:36 pace. There was a slight uphill in the last mile.

Not sure what was happening. I was slightly overdressed because I was afraid of catching a cold, which would be bad at this time. Derek thinks the jacket was acting like a sail and slowing me down. I also got warm. But at the same time, those things could really be non-issues, and the fatigue might have been natural, or in other words the slow-down would have happened regardless.

Assuming the worst, I would have to conclude that the neurological power is coming back, but the acidic resistance (the term I just made up for the ability of the brain to push the muscle in spite of increased muscle acidity) is still lacking. Which is actually encouraging. Acidic resistance can be improved with anaerobic work (quarters), but improving the power is more difficult. So I'd rather lack the acid resistance.

Nevertheless, I was happy that the overall time was 2 seconds faster than last week. I'll take any improvement I can get.

Derek ran 8, I ran some extra and got 10.13.

P.M. 200 with Jacob 1:50, 1 with Julia in 9:35.

P.M -2: 2 miles with Benjamin in 16:14 with Jenny running the last 1.5 in 11:56. Jenny actually was not planning on getting her Lunch With Daddy qualifier for the week, but then she started feeling good half way and picked up the pace to sub-8:00. She had 8:29 at the mile, and then with 600 to go she asked if she had a shot for  LWDQ. I told her if she floored it she'd have a chance, so she did. Her last two quarters were 1:46, and 1:41, and she made it with 4 seconds to spare.

Took Joseph for a run to set up my home teaching appointment. 0.27 out, 0.27 back with a short break to chat in between - total time 6:50. Following a very established tradition in our church set it for 8:00 PM on the last day of the month. This reminded me of a joke:

Two elders are discussing the subject of home teaching. One says - "We take our responsibility very seriously and always go the first day of the month." The other responds: "We do even better than that - we go one day  before you do!"


Brooks T4 Racing Flat Miles: 10.13
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. 10.1 alone in 1:09:48. Did a 2 mile pickup from 7.1 to 9.1 in 11:55. Considered running all 3 at that pace, but decided to remain on the side of caution. Noticed that at 6:00 pace I am barely breathing, but it does not feel easy because of the muscular strain and the need for focus.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 17:23 with Jenny running the first 1.5 in 13:17. 1 with Julia in 9:28. 

Vibram Five Fingers Miles: 10.10
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. 10 miles in 1:17:04, first 8 with Jeff. It was dark.

Contemplated the matter of who to vote for in the presidential elections. I have always voted Republican. Not so much because I like the Republican party but I did not feel it was right to vote for a candidate that supports abortion. In 2004, I liked the Republican presidential candidate for other reasons. This year I do not like either one. The two major party are giving me a choice between a guy that supports gay marriage and abortion, and a guy that has an number of extra-marital affairs on his record and left his wife to marry his lover. Both candidates are engaged in bad mouthing each other. I am sick and tired of this farce. What kind of choice is that? This is almost like the Soviet Union where you had only one candidate.

Fortunately, in the US we can do a little better than that. So I looked at others. I like Chuck Baldwin the best. Clean record in the extra-marital affair department, rarity nowadays. Firmly against abortion and gay marriage. Also rarity nowadays. Interestingly enough, up until 1980 he was a Democrat. Then he became a Republican. In 2000 he left the Republican party. I do not believe his positions have changed much since he was a Democrat. He did not move, the major political parties did. This does tell us something about the times. One major plus - he is the only politician I've heard of that suggested some form of compensation for home schooling families. I have written about the subject to a local Republican state senator, but received no response. I read in a DesNews article a few years ago that public education costs the government at least $8K per year per child. Three of my children are school age. We make some significant sacrifices to home school. This currently saves the government $24K a year. In 5 years when William becomes school age it will be $48K a year. We do not even get a note of thanks from anybody, much less a financial incentive.

So while I do not 100% agree with all of his views, and realistically he cannot win this time, I'll cast my vote for him anyway at the very least to send a message to the two major parties that I want a real candidate, not a TV show character. I did not become an American citizen to vote like you did in the Soviet Union.

P.M. 1 with Julia in 9:52, 2 with Benjamin in 17:16, Jenny ran the first 1.5 with us in 13:06. Julia for the first time was able to ride her bike for a short distance - about 100 meters or so. She still cannot ride straight, but give her a week and she'll be bike-fluent. This is big help because once she can I'll be able to take as many as 5 kids on a run - three on bikes, and two in the stroller.

Vibram Five Fingers Miles: 10.00
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran alone. Did a warmup of 3.62 miles, 5x400 with 200 recovery, then a long cool down to make the total of 10.5.

The quarters went better than last week. I did them on the standard stretch this time alternating directions. 75.1 - 72.1 - 72.3 - 70.0 - 69.8.

All of them felt rather odd. On one hand I felt like I was slacking off, on the other hand I felt like I could not go any faster. However towards the end I was able to force my way through the sour feeling in the quads and get myself to breathe harder.

During the cool down ran with John Borget, the brother of Rich Borget, and his friend Dixon Holmes.

P.M. 1 with Julia in 10:25, 2 with Benjamin in 17:26, Jenny ran the first 1.5 with us in 12:54. 0.34 with Joseph in 4:09. Took Jacob on the same loop as well, he did it in 5:51.

Brooks T4 Racing Flat Miles: 10.50
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Took Benjamin to the Utah State Cross Country championship. He started out conservatively, moved into 3rd by around 2 K mark, and look like he was going to hold on to it, but then took a wrong turn on the course, lost about 32 seconds just on the extra distance + whatever from the mental aspect, and ended up in 6th place with 13:51.

P.M. Tempo run with Jeff. Ran a warm-up of 2.67. Then the standard 10 mile tempo. Splits:

Total time: 58:53

5:43 - 5:56 - 5:53 - 5:52 - 6:05 - 5:53 - 5:53 - 5:56- 5:52 - 5:48

Splits by 2.5: 14:35 - 14:55 - 14:45 - 14:38

HR: average 152, observed median 153, max 164 at the very end when I tried to push.

Subjective: Felt acceptable in the first mile, worse later, and terrible from mile 3 to the end. At 5 I seriously considered just stopping. But then I weighed the alternatives - next 5 miles in about 30 minutes in a trance, or next 5 miles in 40 minutes with full ability to reason. 30 minutes in a trance appeared to be a better alternative. Plus Jeff needed full 10 at tempo pace to build his gas tank, and I did not want to make him either cut it or do it all alone.

After 3 miles any time we ran faster than 5:52 even for a quarter, it would put me in a very miserable state. However, I was able to zone out drafting off Jeff, and as long as he was not breaking 88 on a quarter I could keep plodding along. He yelled at me in the last mile, and that helped with a faster split. Last quarter was 84, and it was one miserable quarter. I gave it all I had.

Jogged down with Jeff and another guy named Scott who we found on the trail, split ways with 0.46 to go, finished off 14.05 at the house. Lay on the cough for about 10 minutes, then felt good enough to run with Jenny and Julia. 14:33 for 1.5 miles with Julia running the first mile in 10:15.

The time was 6 seconds faster than two weeks ago. The effort was very hard. I'll blame it on the worn out nervous system.

Brooks T4 Racing Flat Miles: 16.05
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Vibram Five Fingers Miles: 30.20Brooks T4 Racing Flat Miles: 36.68
Night Sleep Time: 54.00Nap Time: 0.50Total Sleep Time: 54.50
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