Breaking the Wall

Week starting Nov 29, 2009

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: 107.61 Year: 107.61
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: 1276.97
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Airwalk Clogs Miles: 69.90Saucony Type A Miles: 12.50
Night Sleep Time: 55.00Nap Time: 3.00Total Sleep Time: 58.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Day of rest. Went to church.

Update. I was in a hurry this morning and did not elaborate on what happened at church thinking nobody would miss it. I was wrong. At least Kory did. So I will correct the omission.

The Sacrament meeting talks focused on the Atonement of Christ. I later read an article in the Ensign on the same subject as well. Here is one great thing about the Atonement. It covers more than the sins. It covers everything that is wrong and makes it right. And you do not have to wait until the Second Coming either. The Atonement through our faith in Christ can fix things that are wrong even now. It is through that power that we can repent from our sins, are healed from illness or injury, or find the ability to forgive those who have wronged us. It is the power that I depend upon to heal my body from the inherent imperfections that keep me from running at the level that I believe God expects of me. Everything we do to fix the wrongs are works that help develop our faith. But once that faith is sufficient the actual miracle of healing happens through the grace of Christ by the power of his Atonement. Even the process of acquiring the faith involves the Atonement. We may want to have the faith, and we may do the works, but to receive the faith we need the gift of God.

I was also asked to teach Benjamin's Primary class because the regular teacher was out of out. The lesson was on the faith of the Pioneers. As I prepared for the lesson, I was again reminded of two concept. First, the faith itself. It is such a powerful principle, but it is so absent in the world today, so foreign to it. At least in the developed countries. We have gotten too comfortable to think we need it. How stupid! With all of the development we still have no cure against death.Even if we did, that would be even more stupid, to be stuck on earth forever in an infinite loop.

So we die having lived a rather easy life, and then we are up for a big surprise. We are in serious trouble. Our spiritual muscles are not trained, and we are being asked to do spiritual work, lots of it. Imagine yourself in the Olympic Trials but being barely fit to run a 5:00 marathon. That would be embarrassing, wouldn't it? Your ancestors are looking at you wondering what's wrong. Because they've lived hard lives, and they had to develop a lot of faith just to make it from day to day. To them faith is rather natural.

The second concept is the faith of the Pioneers that crossed the plains during the early days of the Church. Those people had to know something special. We read about it, but we have a hard time feeling what they felt. We can walk the Pioneer Trail, or run the Deseret News Marathon, but we still do not come any closer than an American tourist does to understanding the reality of Soviet life. Even if he was there for a couple of years, he was in and out. Russians were stuck there for a long time with no end in sight. So they might have eaten the same food (although usually not), and even lived in the same apartment (again usually not), but even so, the Russian was stuck there to live under the oppression of the regime, while the American was free to go home after he got tired of the experience.

The analogy that came to my mind is rather crude, and I must make something clear. While some points are applicable, there is a big difference between the hardship of the elements and the hardship of spiritual oppression. The Pioneers were free in spirit, and thus had the power to endure the oppression of the elements. The Soviet citizens, in the mean time, lived under a burden of spiritual oppression, and lacked the power to deal even with the modest oppression of the elements. It made many of them seek refuge inside the good old bottle of vodka.

But we have digressed. The Pioneers had faith. They knew that the Gospel of Jesus Christ had been restored to the earth. They saw and acted by the spirit. Thus nothing was an obstacle to them. I hope I can learn from them and use that same power in my life.

Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 9.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Exciting news. I am now passing the thoracic flexibility test. A whole week of foam roller and no progress at all. Then a day of two tennis balls duct-taped together, and I go from almost no improvement to passing the test. My explanation of it - the lack of flexibility was caused by the muscles, and the muscles responded very well to the tennis ball massage. That is actually quite remarkable. Dr. Jex tried to loosen those muscles with his magic tool and it did not do a whole lot. But there was something about doing crunches while laying on the tennis balls.

So I was cautiously excited, if there is such a thing, to see what would happen when I actually ran. What was different is that I was able to lean forward without it feeling unnatural. Jeff noticed that the legs moved with no problems. However, the shoulders were still very tense and there was still a whole lot of shoulder rotation.

To get a better idea of the form change we ran a quarter in 74.5. I liked the feel of it. 1% of the distance covered at the right pace and not feeling too bad, something to get excited about.

Total time for 10.2 was 1:14:25.

Jenny ran with Sarah.

P.M. 1.5 in 13:34 with Benjamin and Julia. Then 0.5 with Joseph and Benjamin in 4:25. That gave Benjamin 17:59 for 2 miles. 0.25 with Jacob in 2:53.

Airwalk Clogs Miles: 12.45
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. 10.2 with Jeff. Had some stomach issues. Did not feel good. Had a short health evaluation tempo planned, so decided to go ahead with it anyway just in case I felt better. After half a mile in 2:53 I realized I was not, so we stopped. Towards the end Jeff was late for work so we ran the last half mile in 3:08. Total time 1:11:42.

This morning I was passing the thoracic flexibility test again. However, the form felt different in a bad way. I did not feel in control of my legs. I felt like the stomach discomfort was distracting me and kept me from running smooth. This experience is making me wonder to what extent the form is controlled by the mechanics of the body (muscular balance, flexibility, etc) and to what extent by the nervous system. I am wondering if it is something like 75% nervous system and only 25% the mechanics. If so that would explain why you could stretch and strengthen on and on, and still run just the same. The brain has to be taught to run smooth. So the question is - can a bear be taught to sing?

2 more with Benjamin in 17:34. We were going to do 800 + 400, but after the first quarter in 91 I stopped him because he was struggling with the pace.

P.M. 2 with Jenny in 17:57. Julia ran the first 1.5 in 13:29. 0.5 with Joseph in 5:13. 0.25 with Jacob in 2:50.

Airwalk Clogs Miles: 12.20
Night Sleep Time: 7.50Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 8.50
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Jeff slept in, so I ran alone. Did 8.1 in 1:02:18 with health evaluation pickups. Started with a quarter in 86, then 0.5 in 2:52, 0.75 in 4:19, and ran the last quarter in 86. Felt best in the last one, the form started to get more relaxed.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin. We did 800+400 in the middle of the 2 miler. It went a whole lot better than yesterday. Total time was 15:22. Warm-up mile in 8:40. The 800 was 2:55 (87,88) and the 400 was 88. I was pleased.

2 more with Jenny in 16:32. Same workout, except slower speeds for her. Warm-up mile in 8:48. Her target pace was 6:40, and she started losing it, so I stopped her after 600 in 2:32. Then we jogged, and ran the last quarter in 1:41.

1.5 with Julia in 13:30. 0.5 with Joseph in 4:53. 0.25 with Jacob and Benjamin in 2:55.

Airwalk Clogs Miles: 14.35
Night Sleep Time: 7.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.50
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. 10.2 with Jeff in 1:12:01.The temperature was 14 F.

The plan was to run hard (86 quarter, 5:44 mile) pace in the middle at time until I felt stale, then a refreshing jog, then repeat. However, I ended up feeling better today than I thought I would. So I did not start feeling stale until we were almost at the end of the marked segment (2 miles into the run), and even then I was not feeling too bad, so we went the whole 2.5 in 14:08 (5:39 average). The quarter splits varied from 88 to 83, and there was only one in 88, next to last one. I was able to pick it up to 83 in the last quarter.

Then we jogged some, and on the way back I felt like a quick mile. The first quarter felt easy. Too easy. For a good reason too, as we did it  in 89. Oops. Jeff hit the gas pedal, and I was able to follow OK. We ran the next 0.75 in 4:04 to give us 5:33 for the mile. That felt hard, but at the same time not stale. I was able to relax and coast.

As usual, due to several VPBs and Jeff getting to my house a bit late, he was running late for work. So we picked it up a bit at the end. Our last quarter was 90.

It felt good to be half way back to being myself. In fact, remove the darkness, warm up the air (I vote for the global warming to come to Provo!), take off some clothes, and that 2.5 will be around 13:40 with the same effort. Now heal up the foot ( I am still feeling it, in fact I cannot run at all if I lean against a wall and try to push it because of the pain in the left heel), and that 13:40 will be 13:20. Which is more long the lines of healthy me.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 18:27. Joseph ran the first 0.5 with us in 5:10. Julia ran the last 1.5 in 13:17. 0.25 with Jacob in around 3:00.

Airwalk Clogs Miles: 12.45
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Jeff slept in. I ran 10.2 in 1:13:25. Jenny ran 2 miles with Sarah.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 15:37 with 800+400 in the middle. Warm-up mile in 8:45, 800 in 2:58, 400 in 90. 1.5 with Julia in 13:14. 0.5 with Joseph in 4:45. We could not find his jacket so he wore a lion costume instead. That kept him excited. 0.25 with Jacob in 3:00.

Airwalk Clogs Miles: 14.45
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 9.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. 12.2 with Jeff in 1:35:59. Did 3x800 with 400 recovery on the way out, and 2x800 on the way back. The target was 2:45 with the idea that it could get faster. We did them in 2:41, 2:35, 2:41, 2:39, and 2:37. Originally I wanted to do 6, but after the 5th one in 2:37 I felt that I was on the verge of the red line and decided not to cross it. We ran with a guy named Brian Jessop for about 2 miles on the way back.

When we got to my house we had to solve the problem of Jeff and Kimia locked out of their car. We have a guy in our ward that manages apartments and has a locksmith kit. So we ran to his house to see if he could help us, and then ran back. That gave us about 0.3 miles. Turned out his tools could not open Jeff's car lock, but he was pretty good with a screwdriver and a coat hanger, and was able to do the job in five minutes.

P.M. 2 with Jenny in 16:53. Warm-up mile in 9:12. We did 600 in 2:32 and 400 in 1:43. 1.5 with Benjamin and Julia in 13:25, last quarter in 1:58. 0.5 with Joseph and Benjamin in 4:30, thus 17:55 for 2 miles. Benjamin wanted to break 18:00 for 2 miles, so we motivated Joseph by encouraging him to spank Benjamin's if he could get close. Benjamin made sure Joseph could not get close unless he ran the right pace.

Saucony Type A Miles: 12.50Airwalk Clogs Miles: 4.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Airwalk Clogs Miles: 69.90Saucony Type A Miles: 12.50
Night Sleep Time: 55.00Nap Time: 3.00Total Sleep Time: 58.00
Debt Reduction Calculator

Featured Announcements
Lone Faithfuls
(need a comment):