Breaking the Wall

Week starting Dec 02, 2007

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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: 304.65 Year: 3606.17
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: 806.96
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

A.M. Easy 10.1 with Ted this morning in 1:14:29. Trail covered with snow and ice for the most part. Hamstrings felt stale in the first mile, and it took me a while to figure out why they would be. Then I remembered I'd run a marathon two days earlier. Towards the end the hamstring staleness was gone, and I felt completely normal.

Funny story from yesterday. Sarah left my only pair of dress shoes (I own only one specifically for the purpose of going to church) in SLC, and we discovered that about 20 minutes before our church meetings. Sarah suggested I should wear a pair of my dark blue racing flats since they looked the closest to church-appropriate shoes in my wardrobe. So I figured better go to church in racing flats than not at all.

Also, I have finally finished my race report from Saturday. Added some history of rams in the thicket for those interested.

P.M. 2 miles with Benjamin in 15:44. Then 1.05 with Julia in 11:38, and 1.5 with Jenny in 14:29. Another 0.3 to pick up church keys.

As I watched Benjamin lope along at 7:30 pace in the second half of his run, and contemplated the implications of the recent change in the OTQ marathon standard, I began to appreciate the value of pushing yourself really really hard to see what your true best is in the sport. It really does not matter that much where you actually end up as long as you really dug deep and did not quit by calling your best something that really was not. I can teach Benjamin what I learned from what I've tried. I can also teach him to work hard by working hard myself. He has more of what we call natural talent. His form is smooth, he has good natural speed. Many top runners of today are there because they saw their dad run. Their dad may have been only a 2:40 marathoner. But that was good enough to get them going, and they were able to do better. As I pointed out earlier on several occasions, if we want to see US dominate in the marathon, we need to nourish those 2:40 guys. We need to have thousands of them, and we need to give them a reason and an opportunity to try to fully develop their talent, even if it is limited, even if they are never going to get much faster than 2:40.   Then their children, other relatives, neighbors, friends, etc will be inspired to run to the best of their ability, and some of those will have the talent to dominate in the world scene.

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

A.M. Easy 10.1 with Ted and Adam. Slippery in place, but the trail was a lot better than yesterday. With a mile to go I suggested we should chase the 1:15:00 guy. It took us a while to get up to speed through the tunnels and slipping, so once we got out into the clear we really had to book it. Ran the last three quarters in 1:32, 1:25, and 1:17. Total time was 1:14:29, same as yesterday to the second! Ted decided to test my kick with 60 meters to go, it passed the test.

P.M. Was originally planning on just running with the kids and Stu. Stu could not come, but Ted, James, and Jared came instead. I had an excuse to run a bit longer, and I used it. 1.5 with Benjamin, Jenny, Ted, James, and Jared, plus Jacob and Joseph in the double stroller in 13:29. Jenny was lagging behind a bit, she has those moods sometimes, so I stayed with her. Everybody else ran 13:13. Then 0.5 with Benjamin, Ted, and James in 3:26, still pushing the double stroller.  Then left the stroller at home, and ran a 4 mile fartlek with James and Ted in 27:34. Then 1.05 with Julia in 11:30. 

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

A.M. Easy 10.1 with Ted in 1:14:53. Spent most of the run discussing the new OTQ marathon standards.

P.M. 1.05 with Julia in 11:13, 1.5 with Jenny in 13:56, 2 with Benjamin in 17:37. Pushed the double stroller with Jacob in it. 

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

A.M. Easy 10.1 with Ted in 1:12:23. 8x100 strides in the middle. Talked about the FRB Del Sol Team. Looks like we've got some muscle. If things pan out with a couple of undecided big guns, the slowest guy on the team will be a 2:33 marathoner. The goal is to humble Google, and to demonstrate to them that if they want to be competitive in those relays, they need to start giving their runners time to train. Hopefully that will start the thought process in the direction of sponsoring a real running team Japan-style.

P.M. 2 miles with Benjamin in 17:22, 1.5 with Jenny in 13:31,  1.05 with Julia in 11:10, and 0.2 errand. 

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

A.M. Ted is in Kansas, so ran alone. The weather was warm, 38 degrees, but it was raining. I wanted to do something entertainment-fast, so to keep the entertaining value of the workout I needed a good knee lift. Sarah took the only pair of tights that would have had a good knee lift in the rain. She cannot wear the others, they are too big on her. The others don't, even when it is not raining. I decided it was warm enough for shorts.

After a 10 minute warmup, decided to do a fartlek of 1 minute on 1 minute off, the on minute around 5:20 pace, the off minute around 7:30 until I was tired. Figured it would happen after 16 on minutes. The on minutes gradually progressed from 5:20 to 5:10 pace. I did not track the off pace very thoroughly, but the average pace in the fartlek motion was around 6:00.  Tracked the pace by the dots on the trail. The breathing was elevated but there was no significant muscular fatigue. That made the workout very enjoyable. I was done with 16 on minutes before I knew it. With the clothes being fully soaked the rain started to feel colder, and I wanted to get home fast. So I figured I'd do a few more. Did 4 more on minutes. The pace progressed to 5:00.

Ran a brisk cool down. Total time for 10.1 was 1:02:41, avg. 6:12.38. The  form felt very good - good knee lift, good feeling at the end of the hip extension and push-off phase. I even experienced minor fatigue in the abdominal muscles, which I probably do not use very much normally - they never get tired from running, they are weak unless I work them out with sit-ups and other non-running exercises, and I do not run any better when I make them strong.

P.M. 1.05 with Julia in 10:57, 1.5 with Jenny and Jared running, Benjamin in the double stroller, in 13:09. Jared fell back a bit and finished in 13:25. Then put Jenny and Jared in the stroller, and let Benjamin loose. Another 2 miles in 16:14.

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

A.M. Started with 2.1 around the block with Sarah in 21:09. Pushed Jacob in the single stroller. It was snowing. Then ran the Uneventful Half alone in 1:29:36, 6:50.07 avg. Parts of the trail were good, but the last 3 miles were covered with slick snow. Will run with the kids later in the afternoon, hope to catch a snow-less window.

I am thinking to survive the winter using the slacker mode (90 miles a week, strides, fartleks) when the weather is bad, and normal mode (120 a week with Big Workouts) otherwise. This would hopefully provide protection against overtraining and let the immune system stay strong to fight off traveling bugs. Last week I was in the slacker mode, and now am feeling rejuvenated.

P.M. Lots of snow. So the kid's training paces were slow, but not the effort. 1.05 with Julia in 13:29, 1.75 with Jenny in 18:36, and 2 with Benjamin in 19:02. Took advantage of the snow on the ground to check out my stride. Ran on the snow at a steady pace for a little bit, then measured the distance between the footprints with a measuring tape. Discovered that when I push off my right foot my stride is consistently 2 inches shorter than when I push off with my left ( the right foot push off produced 60 inch strides, while the left push off produced 62 inch strides, 3% difference). This is in spite of the fact that I would kick a soccer ball, or push off taking a hurdle or in a long jump with my right leg. I do feel weird when I land on my right foot - I would describe it as awkward and underpowered.

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
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