Breaking the Wall

Week starting Dec 23, 2007

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: 16.33Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 16.33
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran 3.85 around the block with Sarah, actually one lap of it to catch up at 6:40 pace, and also accelerated a couple of times for misc. errands, 34:30, avg. 8:57.66. Then finished the rest of the 15.2 by myself. Eventually eased into sub-6:40 pace and maintained it. The roads were much better than Saturday, although there was still plenty of snow and ice. Total time was 1:50:40, avg. 7:16.84. While running on my own, the average pace was 6:42.64.

A.M -2 : 3 miles cross-country skiing in the Hobblecreek Canyon. Decent trail. Amazing how not being conditioned for a different sport can wear you out from so little effort.

P.M. 1.05 with Julia in 11:09, 1.5 with Benjamin and Jenny in 13:21, then another 0.5 with Benjamin, total of 17:21 for 2 miles. 

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

A.M. Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way. Oh, what fun it is to run through the snow some miles today! Ran 15.1 alone in 1:44:22, 6:54.7 avg. There was about an inch or two of snow on the ground everywhere. Fortunately, the temperature was 10 degrees at the start, which made the snow crunchy for most of the run and gave me good traction. Towards the end, it warmed up to 18 degrees, and the snow became slippery. I was going around 6:45-6:50 pace, but then slowed down to 7:12 on the last two miles.

Merry Christmas to all!

P.M. Got a Dual Resistance Harness as a Christmas present from Sarah's mom. Tried it out, the kids had a blast, especially in the sled mode, although not without a couple of falls in the running mode when I pulled too quick and too hard. Total of about 0.25 of threshold effort. Tried it on Sarah as well. We were at Sarah's parents house in West Valley. Her neighbors across the street got outside to see the show. The man explained with lots of profanity  that he needed one of those to get his wife in shape. 

The harness was getting a lot of attention and comments from the neighbors. I think it is a great way to break the ice, start a conversation, and introduce the idea of aerobic exercise to the masses. 

Then ran with Benjamin when we got home (Jenny and Julia ran with Sarah earlier). We tried the harness on better parts of the trail. Benjamin liked being able to go fast without much effort, although he did fall once on black ice. Our total time for 2 miles was 15:37. 

Then added another 3 in 19:43. Lots of slippage on the trail where I ran, much worse than the direction I ran with Benjamin. 

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

A.M. Started the run with 5.15 around the block with Sarah in 45:00. Towed her with a harness. This way, I worked at about 7:00-7:30 effort to get 8:00 - 9:00 pace depending on what Sarah was doing on her end. This was the first time we used it, and the roads were slippery, so I was being very cautious. I imagine we could do a tempo run at about 6:20 pace in good conditions especially once Sarah gets used to relaxing more when being pulled at higher speeds.

The harness is a pretty simple gadget. A strong belt with loops on each end that go around your waist. No buckling provided or needed. When you start pulling, the tension of the belt prevents it from sliding on either end. A great device for couples where the husband is much faster than the wife. Allows them to train together with both getting an honest workout at the same time. Power training for the husband, overspeed training for the wife. A good object lesson on the concept of eternal family as well. Would be better, of course, if you could harness the kids at the same time.

Then ran another 10.1 on the trail. Started out at 7:40 pace, thought that was slow, then the snow started getting wetter as it got warmer, and I gradually digressed to 8:00, and then even 9:00 pace, this time not towing anybody. Fortunately, there were occasional dry patches where I could go 6:40. So I ended up averaging slightly sub-8:00 for 10.1 with the total time of 2:03:56 for 15.25.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 16:51, 0.15 to get Jenny and Julia from a friend's house, 0.35 with Julia in 4:15,  her knee was hurting, 1.5 with Jenny in 14:26, and 1.05 alone in 7:59.

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

A.M. Towed Sarah for 0.35 in 2:58, then her legs were sore from being towed yesterday, so she went slow untowed, and I went to the trail. Ran a total of 16.1 in 2:02:41, 7:37.2 avg. Much better than yesterday, the 13 degree cold make the snow crunchier. Had a partner for a couple of miles. His name is Kirk. He is 47 years old, and teaches Arabic at BYU. I see him on the trail quite a bit.

P.M. Took Julia sledding in the Hobblecreek Canyon. She was sledding. I was cross-country skiing. We used the infamous harness to connect us.

Dashing through the snow
On a one-horse open sleigh,
Over the fields we go,
Laughing all the way;

Did 2 miles in 22:15, first one uphill in 12:20, then downhill in 9:55. Was faster than I expected I'd be able to do on the rough snow, pulling a sled, and not being conditioned for the sport - this was my second cross-country skiing experience this year, and third time since coming to the US.

My cross-country skiing does lag behind my running. I was number one cross-country skier in my school thanks to the running endurance, but I got beat badly by the real cross-country skiers. My best 3 K at the age of 11.7 was around 16 minutes, which I did in the Moscow championship. The fastest kids my age did it around 13 minutes on the same course. At the same time, I could have run the same distance in around 11:30. What I find odd is the size of the gaps in cross-country skiing vs running. Although they did not have a 3000 meter race for 11 year olds in Moscow, I would estimate that if I lost a 3000 meter race to anybody my age at that time, it would not have been by more than 30 seconds. During a PE class I would gap my classmates running by about the same margin as I would cross-country skiing. Yet cross-country skiing against a real cross-country skier I'd get gapped by as much as I would gap my untrained classmates.

Another thing I found interesting is that I've never seen a cross-country skier that could not just jump in a running race and be competitive. On the other hand, it is not quite the same with runners trying to cross-country ski. I also noticed that it seemed like my running went better when I supplemented it with cross-country skiing a couple of times a week. Which is why I am trying this now.

Got home, ran 0.5 with Benjamin in 4:12, then Jenny joined us for the last 1.5 in 13:05, Benjamin got 17:17 for 2 miles. Ran 0.35 with Julia in 4:05, her knee is better, but still hurting.

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

A.M. Uneventful 15.1 alone in 1:42:58, 6:49.14 avg. The roads were a lot better, although still slippery. But the colder temperatures made the snow crunchier. Ted should be in town tomorrow, looking forward to running with somebody.

P.M. 1.05 with Julia in 11:44, 1.5 with Jenny in 13:13, 2 with Benjamin in 15:33, 0.7 by myself in 4:50.

Night Sleep Time: 8.33Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.33
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Uneventful 20 in 2:27:54. Actually a couple of events. Deposited a check via a run-through method (for lack of a better word when the lobby is closed, the drive through is open, and you run through it because you did not drive to the bank). And was fairly thoroughly slipping on snow pretty much the entire way.

P.M. 2 miles with Benjamin in 16:45. Jenny joined for the first 1.5 in 13:04. Julia ran 1 mile with Sarah. Went cross-country skiing in the Hobblecreek Canyon as well. 1.5 out uphill up about 2-3% grade in 14:11, then 1.5 back downhill in  11:43. Avg. 8:38 pace. The snow was falling pretty hard, and the road was fairly rough. Was pleased with the time, and the way I felt. The arms are starting to remember how to ski, and I felt more power in the push-off with the poles. I also felt better balance. 

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Night Sleep Time: 16.33Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 16.33
Debt Reduction Calculator

Featured Announcements
Lone Faithfuls
(need a comment):