Breaking the Wall

Week starting Oct 29, 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: 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
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Provo Canyon. Tempo run - standard 3 miles. Odd thing happened in the warm-up. It was cold, resting HR while driving was 48. However, as soon as I started running it jumped to 130, and I felt like I could run fast right away. Ran uphill at about 7:10 pace for 2.25 miles to the Nunns Park.

The tempo run went rather odd. First 1000 fairly relaxed in 3:22, HR still climbing to where it is supposed to be. Then I felt good and started pushing. Hit the mile in 5:17, which was about 5:09 pace for the next 600. HR climbed to 160. However, on the next mile, instead of climbing to 163 it stalled at 160, even dropped to 159 occasionally, and I felt like if I went any faster the pace would not be sustainable. Next mile in 5:23. On the last mile I managed to shift gears a bit and get back up to 5:20. It was flatter (0.5% grade down), so this required HR of 162. Kicked on the last 300 in 57 to dip under 16:00. HR climbed to 168 during the kick, but then dropped to 167. Total time 15:58.

It is tempting to explain the struggle on the second mile as a consequence of going anaerobic during the second half of the first. Perhaps this is true to a certain extent, but with a twist. A normal anaerobic backlash for me (as observed during and after Veyo in St. George) should see HR climbing to 166 or higher and staying high while I recover at a slower pace, then dropping back to the pace-appropriate HR. In this case, I believe I did go anaerobic, but not so much because of the pace (5:09 down 1.5% grade should not throw me severely anaerobic), but because the heart could not respond quickly enough to the change of pace. So it was anaerobic after all because I ran that fast with the HR only at 160, and I was paying for it later for the rest of the run. The lesson to learn from that is when it is cold, or if the heart is struggling to get going, hold the legs back until the heart is ready.

During the cooldown met a guy named Reed. We chatted a bit. I dropped him off and decided to run another mini-tempo uphill. Started at the mouth of the Provo Canyon and ran 1.5 miles up in 8:28 at a fairly steady pace. HR hovered around 162 once I warmed into the pace, and briefly maxed at 166 on a steeper grade towards the end, then went back to 163. I felt a lot better this time, even thought of going the entire 3 miles, but unfortunately did not have the time.

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

Ran 8 miles at 5:00 am with Ted. He was fairly fresh, so we started out at a good pace, just a bit behind the 7:00 guy. Ran the last two miles as a mild tempo in 11:54. HR hovered around 125 at 7:00 pace, and 146 at 6:00 pace - normal readings. 54:19 for 8 miles.

Ran with the kids in the afternoon. Was pleased with Benjamin's form. It is starting to look very good. Also very good pacing. I told him to run 9:20 pace during his warm-up, and he hit 9:16 on his own (I ran behind with Jenny) going off his watch. Then I paced him during his tempo mile. His assignment was to be a bit sub-8:00. He ran 7:39 at a steady pace with the last 100 in 24.

Needed to upgrade a software package on my computer, which happened to have a few dependencies, and that triggered a flood of upgrades. Upgrades = often things are broken for a while, and they were. Finally came out clean.

On the positive side, I finally got around to figuring out how to read the data from The Toy with Linux. The pluses of Linux are that you never have to worry about a virus, the software is usually free, you can customize it if you have the time and knowledge, and you gain a better understanding of how computers work in general because it does not try to hide it from you. The disadvantages are that things often do not work out of the box as hardware and software vendors often do not acknowledge the need to support it. So often things have to be accomplished through a set of creative maneuvers. In any case, while reading the data from The Toy, I got several ideas of how to integrate it with the Fast Running Blog. Now I just need to find the time to code them up.

And finally, a computer joke: "Who is this General Failure, and why is he reading my hard disk?"

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

BYU Campus - Provo River Trail towards the Utah Lake with Ted in the morning. A bit over 8 miles. Hit 8 miles in 54:37. Very cold. Did not bring the gloves. Pace varied from 7:20 at the start to 6:20 at the end. Ted pushed the pace at the end, I followed along but without exceptional enthusiasm. HR in the pace-appropriate range.

Ran with the kids in the evening, and also ran to a neighbors house and back to do the Elder's Quormum move. Noticed that my fingers did not have a very good grip.

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

Provo Canyon Tempo Run with Ted. Standard 3 miles down from Nunns to the mouth of the canyon. Feeling a bit of a cold. Woke up a couple of times at night to perform the flush routine - bathroom, and then replensh the fluids and electrolytes with EmergenC. However, the damage so far seems to be isolated to the throat and the nose, the rest of the body is performing fine. The HRM on The Toy was not cooperating today. I think the air was too dry, and it was too cold for me to work up a good sweat. Ted suggested a special gel. I might give it a try in the future.

Ted's calves were tight, and he was not sure if he'd be able to finish the tempo run, but he decided to give it a shot. To make things interesting, we gave him a 30 second head start. I watched him take off wondering how in the world I'd ever catch him.

Decided to learn from my Monday experience, and run the first two miles without forcing it. Just use the intuitive feeling of what pace was appropriate for the cardiovascular performance limit imposed by the cold conditions, and patiently wait for the cardio system to become fully engaged before trying to push it.

First mile in 5:21. Ted's calf tightened up, he backed off, I caught him right after 1.5. As I was passing him, two deer crossed the road right in front of us. Second mile in 5:18. Now I think I am ready. Pushed it a bit harder, ran 1:18 - 1:18 - 1:19 - 1:17 for 5:12 on the last mile. HRM started working at the end, showed 163-164 peaking at 166 at the end. The last 100 meters is actually about 0.5% grade up, so you have to push it just to keep the pace.

Ted finished in 17:10 without working too hard.

Ran with the kids in the evening. Also worked out with weights - bench press 3x5x105lb.

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

My body was trying to hard to get rid of the cold releasing a lot of muscus, and other forms of waste. So I woke up once every two hours or so at night to relieve myself and to drink some more EmergenC to stay hydrated and in mineral balance. Might have had a bit of a fever, as I kept having exact same dream over and over which mixed two happenings in my current life. I kept telling the ROTC cadets how to write a custom storage engine for the MySQL database.

Met Ted at 5:00 am at the Smith's Field House at BYU. The building was locked, and that was a problem for me, as I needed to go bad. So Ted drove me over to Macey's and we started our run from there.

Ran easy 8 miles, very slow. 31 minutes through the first half, then woke up a bit and caught the 7:30 with a mile to go. To rub it in, opened up another 40 seconds finishing in 59:20.

The Toy somehow got knocked out of the cradle, and was discharged when it was time for me to leave, so no HR data today.

The body kept cleansing itself through the run, which required 3 additional stops, but no diarrhea.

After the run, did a 2 minute push-up test, got 56. Then the sit-up test, 2 minutes, got 37. According to Ted, the push-ups were average, but the sit-ups were below average. Something to think about. Of course, I have been doing bench-press in the last few months, so that is probably why push-ups are better than sit-ups.

Ran with the kids in the evening. Needed some more mileage later. Put Jenny in the stroller, ran 0.5 in 3:34 with the last 200 in 45 just for fun.

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

The sickness has advanced, and I was able to measure the toll today. Not too bad, but some rest and relaxation is needed. Ran with Ted at 5:20 AM on the Provo River Trail starting at Macey's and going towards the Utah Lake. We both had to be at the State Youth Championship, so we had to do our run early and get it done fast. The plan was to warm up to Geneva Road, then run a 5 mile tempo 2.5 out 2.5 back at 6:00 pace, then cooldown.

Got better sleep than the night before. At least the dreams were more versatile, and I woke up only once.

Noticed the HR was about 5 bpm higher than normal for the pace during the warmup. Ted was moving briskly going sub-6:40 pace at times, and I felt no initiative to help him go any faster. Not a surprise considering the health condition.

Went through the first 2.5 in 15:17 with Ted at a failry steady pace. HR gradually drifted up to 150-151, again 5-6 bpm too high for the pace. Subjectively, I also felt I was working too hard for the pace.

Nevertheless, the temptation to catch the 6:00 mile guy was more than what I could resist even in this condition. So after the turnaround I went after him. Not a lot of go in the system, only 5:55 pace with HR climbing up to 157. Still thought I'd get him eventually. Could not quite see the splits in the dark. Finally, with a quarter to go I realized I was still way behind and needed to kick hard to get him. I pushed it, but it was not enough - got 30:03. HR climbed to 166 at the end at about 5:30 pace.

Ted had a calf problem, backed off, finished in 32 minutes.

Took Benjamin to the State Championship. Jenny and Julia went along to watch. Benjamin was sick too, so I was not expecting much. At the meet he got recruited to run for Team Provo.

He did the best he could under the circumstances, and finished 13th in 15:24 in the 3000 meter run. I told him before the start that since he was running for a team, every place position mattered, and he should fight to advance as high as he could. He followed my advice. Unfortunately, Team Provo did not have enough Batnam boys, and he was not scored.

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):