Breaking the Wall

Week starting Oct 22, 2006

Previous WeekRecent EntriesHomeJoin Fast Running Blog Community!PredictorHealthy RecipesSasha Pachev's RacesFind BlogsMileage BoardTop Ten Excuses for Missing a RunTop Ten Training MistakesDiscussion ForumRace Reports Send A Private MessageMonth ViewYear View
Graph View
Next Week
15% off for Fast Running Blog members at St. George Running Center!


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

Tempo run in the Provo Canyon. Standard 3 miles downhill from Nunns Park to the mouth of the Provo Canyon. I do those for a dual purpose. To maintain a level of fitness while taking a break, and to monitor the effects of the break as well as the Pettibon spinal correction. Reduced digestion/appetite loss issues were mitigated but still present, so I thought 16:15 would be a good goal. I went through the first 1000 meters in 3:26 feeling unmotivated partially due to the headwind. HR was 150,I was not breathing hard, but felt mentally sluggish. I decided to push hard enough to get the HR past 160 and see what pace that will bring. Hit the mile in 5:24, then 2 miles in 10:44. HR climbed to 162, right where I wanted it to be. With the looming possibility of sub-16:00, I pushed a little harder. Got HR to a steady 166 with the peak of 168 on the last half mile. Last mile was 5:14 with the total time of 15:58. Felt some small improvements in the form. Could be just a natural fluctuation, but my hope is that is more of a step towards a permanent improvement. Cooled down to make the total 10 miles. As expected, HR was elevated by about 5 bpm at any pace during the cooldown. Came home and ran with the kids. Benjamin took a nice spill at the end, took too long to get up feeling sorry for himself, got passed by Jenny, and missed catching her finishing 2 seconds behind. I reminded him to learn from Lasse Viren. Also, recognized our donors on the Fast Running Blog Fund Page. Thanks to them and everybody else for contributing to the growth of the Fast Running Blog!

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

Easy 8 miles with Ted in the morning. Both of us were sleepy. Tried to start chasing the 7:30 guy at 4 miles, but did not gain much on him because we were too sleepy and chatty at the same time - how is that possible? Finally, at 6 miles got serious. Caught him, then went after the 7:25 guy, got him too. 59:11 for 8 miles. HR was normal, even too low perhaps. Stayed under 120 until the chase began, maxed at 140 during the chase going about 6:15.

Ran with the kids in the afternoon. Put on ankle weights while pushing Jenny in the single stroller. First ran 0.5 with Benjamin in 3:45. Then another 0.5, and of course this time around I had to beat Benjamin's time, and every one of his splits. Ran 3:32.

Went to see Dr. Jex. My neck has made some progress - the curvature angle increased from 16 degrees to 23 ( ideal 45), while the head tilt decreased from 18 mm to 8 mm (ideal 0). However, according to Dr. Jex, the changes in the lower spine do not start happening until the neck curvature angle is at least 27 degrees. And, according to my expectations, there will be no signficant improvements in running until the lower spine starts to re-shape. So there is quite a bit more work left to do before I can say anything about the effectiveness of the Pettibon system in improving running speed and economy.

If anybody reading this is or knows a graduate or PHD exercise physiology student that needs a research topic, here is something I would really like to seriously get researched. The relationship between the shape of the spine, the maximum running speed, and the running economy in aerobically well-developed distance runners with the dominance of slow-twitch fiber types. My hypothesis is that given the same fast-slow twitch ratio, running economy, top speed, and the spinal shape will correlate to a high degree.

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

Ranger Challenge run early in the morning. The cadets were doing a 5 K tempo on the track. I decided to run with them until there were 3 laps left, and then do a max HR test. Their target was about 6:00 pace. I figured to avoid a mess I'd let Ted do the pacing and hid away in the pack. Stayed on the outside of the first lane, but not quite in the second. We were asleep on the first two laps, surged a bit on the third to make up, then settled into a good pace - 1:28 per lap. The two faster cadets (it is about time for me to learn their names) were handling it well. Once we settled into pace, HR stayed steady around 150. There was a headwind on the home stretch. It was nice to have Ted and a big cadet deal with it. With three and a half laps to go, moved out to get ready for the max HR test. The surge, the anticipation, and the headwind combined brought HR up to 157.

Then the last 3 laps fast trying to push HR to the max. 5 K pace or a bit faster sustained for long enough is sufficient for the task, and in fact will do a better job than an all out push. First two laps in 2:35.4 at about even pace. Messed up on the split after the first fast lap, hit the button about 1 second early (got 1:16.4), but still good enough to take average HR. On the first fast lap average HR was 162, on the second 166. Pushed a bit harder on the last lap, got 1:15.4. HR maxed at 170, and averaged at 169 on the last lap. 3:50.8 for the last 1200, and 17:58.9 for the 5 K.

Did not like the headwind on the home stretch. It messed with my concentration. Also did not like running alone and hard. I liked running easy and in the pack a lot better.

It seems like once HR goes past 160 every extra beat per minute takes me to a whole new level of pain. 160 is comfortable enough to hold for 15 miles. 163 can be sustained for 10 miles. 166 hurts bad enough to be a 10 K pace. And 170 is so painful that I do not think I can sustain it for the entire 5 K. I wonder if practicing sustaining max HR for longer (3x2000 with the goal of maxing it out after 800 and holding it, but avoiding anaerobic running as much as possible) could either push max HR up a bit, or at least make it possible to hold it for the whole 5 K. I do not to expect to gain very much from this, maybe 20 seconds. But that means extra circuit points, plus a few bucks of prize money, which does add up. It could also make surging easier in longer races, and maybe even improve the overall pace a bit too.

Ran with the kids in the evening.

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

Provo Canyon with Ted in the morning. Ted was not feeling well. So we decided to 5 miles up until our toys said to turn around, and then 5 miles back a little bit faster. Ran from the Canyon View Park to the Vivian Park and a little bit past in 37:22 (uphill). HR stayed around 125. On the way back did 31:05 with the HR around 133-135 maxing out at 140 on the last half mile. It was cold, so HR was low. Total time 1:08:27 for 10 miles. My toy (Garmin 305) behaved and showed consistent splits every quarter and the same distance out and back. Ted's toy (Garmin 205) showed 5.00 at the turnaround, but was off (4.94 or 4.97) on the way back. This is rather strange since we were never separated by more than 5 feet the entire way, and both gadgets have the same GPS-receiving hardware and probably identical or at least very similar software. This makes me think the Garmin firmware is at fault, and can bug out at times even when the signal is good. Being a programmer, I can see all kind of potential for odd concurrency bugs that would be very difficult to detect in a device like this.

Ran with the kids in the afternoon. Participated in the Elder's Quorum clean-up in our ward. For those not familiar, this means we drive around the neighborhood, collect the big-sized trash, and take it to the dumpster that the city places near a church building. I did not feel like riding in the back of the truck with trash all over me, so I ended up running from place to place, and put in about 1.4 miles.

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

Ran easy with Ted in the morning for 8 miles. Felt sleepy, but still caught the 7:30 guy at the end - 59:48 for 8 miles.

Ran with the kids in the evening.

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

Helped All One People with their annual 5 K this morning. This time it was in Riverton on the Jordan River Trail. In the past, Karl Jarvis handled measuring the course, so things went smoothly. This year Karl could not do it, and this caused a bit of confusion. I showed up one hour before the race was supposed to start, and the course had not yet been prepared. So I took my wheel and started measuring out the course. Ran 2.5 K out. The trail ended after a bit over a mile, but it was too late to make any changes. So I went into the neighborhood. I had no choice but take that course up a couple of nasty hills. I said to myself: "What are you doing to your 7 year old son?". To make things worse, the connecting plate on the wheel broke, but it was still functional enough to finish course measurement. I double-checked the segment and the mile marks with The Toy, found them in agreement, and called it good. Not ideal, but that was the best I could do in 30 minutes under the circumstances. Set up the laptop to do the timing, recruited a volunteer to run the laptop, recruited another to collect tags at the end, and headed to the start to pace Benjamin. It was a cold morning. Not good for him. Cold air gives him breathing problems at sub-8:15 pace. However, it was a small (30 people), and very non-competitive race. Most of the field had breathing problems at that pace too, though probably for a different reason. Benjamin ran 25:06 finishing 5th. It was the first time in his life he finished that high in an adult race. The winning time was 23:11. I think he would have had a good shot at the overall win with warmer air. I finished timing the race, and then we went home. Still had some miles to do. Warmed up 2 miles, then ran a tempo on the Slate Canyon Loop (2.11). Did not have high expectations - not a lot of sleep this week, and felt more like taking a nap than running before the start. Figured anything sub-12 would be good. Started out with 1:23 quarter , then 1:21, 1:21 (all slightly rolling). HR now got to 159. Up the hill quarter in 1:28. The Toy was off at first, but got auto-fixed by the mile, almost (real mile 5:33, toy 5:34). HR at 162 on the climb (3% grade). Then the next quarter is 5% grade, I do not have a mark, The Toy said 1:35, HR at 165. A little more, and over the hill, now down. HR dropped to 149. It is very hard to shift gears when you are done climbing and start going down. I need to account for this effect when I work on the profile -based predictor. So I trusted the reading and pressed extra hard. With 0.5 to go (9:01) I saw that I could get 11:40 with a decent effort. So I kept a steady pressure. HR back up to 157. Next quarter (real) in 1:13. Then I realized that I had a good shot at my PR for the loop. I needed a 1:18, which is not too big of a deal, except it is up a 2.5% grade. Shifted gears, got HR to 174, got 1:18, and 11:32.8 for the loop, new PR. Also, new record for max HR in the last 3 years. Cooled down 0.5, also ran with Jenny and Julia in the evening. The new HR PR is some food for thought. After all, there is a way I could get my HR above 170, and who knows if 174 is really my true max. Then why is it so hard to run in 163-165 range? Now this actually correlates quite well with my observation that doing 20x400 once a week for a month breaks me out of a 5:40 pace tempo run rut. Seems like pushing the heart to the limit breaks a wall of some kind. Any cardio experts out there to explain what is going on? Another observation. I felt very strong running the hill in both directions, although I have been only running fast downhill in the last two months. Last year, I have been training uphill quite a bit around this time, and was not running well uphill or downhill afterwards.

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
Debt Reduction Calculator

Featured Announcements
Lone Faithfuls
(need a comment):