Breaking the Wall

Week starting Nov 10, 2013

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Location:

Orem,UT,United States

Member Since:

Jan 27, 1986

Gender:

Male

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.

Personal:

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 nine children: Benjamin, Jenny, Julia, Joseph, Jacob, William, Stephen, Matthew,  Mary, and Bella.  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: 153.57 Year: 3129.18
Saucony Type A Lifetime Miles: 621.04
Bare Feet Lifetime Miles: 446.12
Nike Double Stroller Lifetime Miles: 120.59
Camouflage Crocs 2 Lifetime Miles: 938.88
Red Crocs Lifetime Miles: 897.09
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
66.850.008.752.6078.20
Green Crocs 6 Miles: 79.00
Night Sleep Time: 55.00Nap Time: 1.50Total Sleep Time: 56.50
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
0.000.000.000.000.00

Day of rest. Went to church as usual. A return missionary spoke in the Sacrament Meeting. He shared some of his experienced and talked about the miracle of conversion. I fell asleep in Sunday School class - not that the teacher was boring, I actually listened with interest, but was too tired. Spent some time chasing Matthew around during the Elder's Quorum. Took a nap when I got home.

Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 1.50Total Sleep Time: 8.50
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
9.500.002.500.0012.00

A.M. Total of 12. Benjamin did 8, Jenny 4, Julia 3, Joseph 3.5, Jacob 2, William 1. Joseph said he was feeling energetic and decided he wanted to do a 400 meter time trial on the track. So we  ran to Orem High and he did it there. Benjamin helped me with the pacing. Joseph opened with 18.5, followed by 19.0. Benjamin and I both thought to ourselves until we saw the 100 split - "wow, this feels harder than it should, did I get out of shape or what?". Then Joseph slowed down some, but still was fast enough to get a good PR - 21.5, 21.4 with the total time of 81.4 - a new PR by 2 seconds.

I am quite excited about this PR because Joseph has been struggling this year some with top speed. His endurance has been good - he ran 6:14 mile. I was concerned if maybe there was something wrong. But this run relieved my concerns - his speed development is just fine, he improved his 400 time by 5 seconds from last year, and I suppose now that we know what he is capable of with better pacing we can shave off another 2 seconds to bring him under 80.

He was also feeling academically ambitious today and asked to take a practice ACT. I had him take the math section. He actually had the attention span to sit for an hour and solve math problems. His score was only 13, but I think we can get it up to 20 in a month, which is higher than the average Utah highschool graduate. There were at least 5 problems that he knew how to solve, but he fell into a trap of forgetting important details - check the second graph, pay attention to the sign, etc - not uncommon for an 8 year old.

I did some pickups - 1.5 in 8:24, and 0.75 in 4:16.

 

Green Crocs 6 Miles: 12.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
9.250.000.752.0012.00

A.M. Benjamin got back his ACT scores from Oct 26th test. He made an improvement from 33 to 35. The breakdown was English - 36, Math - 35, Reading - 36, Science - 34. According to ACT report for 2013 there were only 90 students out of 34,514 that took the test that scored either 35 or 36 (76 for 35, 14 for 36) in the state of Utah. So this puts him in the top 0.26%. 

Given that the subject of education is on a lot of people's minds nowadays, I would like to write a paragraph or two on how he got there. I believe in terms of natural aptitude he maybe is in the top 26%, but not in the top of 0.26%. When he was 9 or 10 he failed an IQ test for a special school for gifted kids. We laughed about it when he got 4 on Calculus BC at the age of 13, we laughed harder when he came back with 5 on Calculus BC and 4s on the other three AP tests, and now we are laughing even harder. So how does he do it. Some principles:

  • Learning is centered in the home.
  • Physical exercise with a challenge to overcome is a constant factor in his life.
  • Spiritual education is important - he prays and studies the scriptures every day.
  • Remove what I call "dumb stuff" - video games, low-IQ movies and TV shows, unintelligent texting and social media interactions, etc.
  • He spends only 3 hours a day or so studying but he studies what is essential with the idea that he is to remember this for life as opposed to memorizing a set of disconnected facts and practicing mostly irrelevant skills to be quickly forgotten immediately after the test.
  • We do not believe in artificial limits. 5 year old can be introduced to trigonometry. 8 years old is not too young to learn about differentiation and integration.
  • Challenge and result based approach as opposed to process-based approach. The idea is that you throw a reasonable challenge that cannot be met without some possessing some fundamental knowledge. You let the student experience the frustration of trying to meet the challenge without posessing the necessary skills and knowledge. Then you teach him the skills and knowledge.
  • Self-reliance. I do not know how many times I have told my kids to look it up online. Make the kid struggle and figure it out for at least 15 minutes before you tell him how to do it.

I believe the above principles properly implemented have the ability to mass-produce Benjamin's results. But enough educational philosophy and on to the workout.

The plan was to run our 3 mile tempo course from Nunn's Park to the mouth of the Provo Canyon. Benjamin was quite excited from his score report, so I knew that a sub-5:00 opening mile was in the cards. I warned him against it, but nevertheless still managed to see sub-5;00 pace in the wrong spot. That did not prevent Benjamin from running a decent time, though.

The plan was for him to run 3 miles in 15:30, and for me to make it to 2 miles. Benjamin perfectly executed the first mile running it in 5:07 - that mile should be done a little faster because it has more downhill than the other two. I was still in contact and even contemplating running all 3 with him, or at least making it to 2.5 in contact until he starts his grind. However, my plans were out of the window after the next 300 meters which he did in 54 - 4:48 pace. He knew he needed to up the effort in the second mile to keep the pace, but overdid it lacking the experience with his new level of fitness.

I was quite happy that I was still in contact. He eased off a little after that for the next 300 meters running it in 58 then turned up the heat again hitting an uphill 200 in 38. We ended up with 2:30 for the next 0.5 - 5:00 average done unevenly with some uphill involved. I was able to hang on for another 200 meters before losing contact. Benjamin hit a split of 10:13 at 2 miles (5:06 in mile 2), I finished in 10:16.8, briskly jogged a quarter to recover without stopping my watch, and then started running around 5:30 pace to the 3 mile mark finishing in 16:08.  Benjamin paid for his surges in the second mile with a 5:12 last mile, but that still gave him 15:25 for 3 - a new PR for that course by 17 seconds, and a 29 second improvement since pre-Utah-Valley-Half period this year.

So using a direct pro-rated projection, his UVM half fitness assuming the same endurace as earlier this year comes out to 1:13:03. In reality, adjusting for an increase in endurance judging by his ability to hold pace and be comfortable at the end of longer tempo runs - probably around 1:11:30. I'd say on track for 1:08 next summer.

I ran total of 12, Benjamin 10.6, Jenny 4, Julia 3, Joseph 3, Jacob 2, William 1. William asked me this morning for some violin music. I found a 50 minute YouTube video of a Bach violin concerto. He watched all of it sitting still the entire time completely glued to the monitor. He might have some musical inclinations. He really likes the slow-motion video of Gebreselassie racing Tergat in the Olympic 10000 meter race in 2000 with violin music in the background. 

Green Crocs 6 Miles: 12.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Comments(7)
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
11.000.002.000.0013.00

A.M. Total of 13 miles. Benjamin did 8, Jenny 4, Julia 3, Joseph 3.5, Jacob 2. I did 2 miles total of tempo pickups.

Green Crocs 6 Miles: 13.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
9.100.001.500.6011.20

A.M. Total of 12. Benjamin did 8, Jenny 4, Julia 3, Joseph 3, Jacob 2, William 1. Benjamin and I did a workout. Benjamin's workout was 4x400 with 400 recovery in the Provo Canyon. We increased the recovery to 800 before the last interval - I sensed that he needed it to hit the right speed. His times were 61.8, 63.7, 63.0, and 61.1. I did 200s on all except the third hitting the times of 31.8, 31.6, 47.8, and 31.2.

Green Crocs 6 Miles: 12.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
10.000.002.000.0012.00

A.M. 12 miles total. Did 2 miles of tempo running. Benjamin did 8, Jenny 4, Julia 3, Joseph 3.5, Jacob 2.5, William 1. Sarah ran an 800 time trial in 3:31.4 at Orem High with the splits of 52, 55, 54, and 50. She had some adductor pain, so she was cautious starting out and in the middle, but then she had a kick.

Green Crocs 6 Miles: 12.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
18.000.000.000.0018.00

A.M. Went to the BYU Math club for high school students with Benjamin.

P.M.  Did my long run. Benjamin did the first 12 miles. It was raining and snowing hard and we soaked and froze. We originally were planning on doing a 6 mile tempo, but had to cancel the plans. I saw that we were not even breaking 6:00 but I could not go any faster. Having learned from my experience last year I knew I was on the verge of hypothermia. I figured the tempo was not going to do us any good, and we needed to conserve the energy. I also had a suspicion that the additional cooling from the extra headwind created by a faster pace could push me past the red line. So we slowed down and ran to the heated bathroom in the Canyon View Park. We warmed up there for a few minutes, then continued with the next target being Subway at Riverwoods. I learned that running in Crocs requires an active foot. Around mile 10 of the run my right foot was sufficiently frozen to not be able to keep the Croc on. Fortunately Subway was only a mile a way and the rain/snow also stopped which made things nicer.

We warmed up there some, and then ran the last mile to the house. I warmed up there some, and then ran another total of 6 with the kids. Joseph did 3, Jenny 4, Julia 3, Jacob 2, William 1.

Green Crocs 6 Miles: 18.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
66.850.008.752.6078.20
Green Crocs 6 Miles: 79.00
Night Sleep Time: 55.00Nap Time: 1.50Total Sleep Time: 56.50
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