Breaking the Wall

August 11, 2020

Recent 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 MessageWeek ViewMonth ViewYear View
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: 88.07 Year: 2386.98
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: 1257.89
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. 10.1 with Jeff in 1:14:35. Matt Knold joined us for a couple of miles. I did explosions. Then we ran a fat mile in 5:48, and with 1.25 to go we realized Jeff was late for work. So it was a quick 1.25, and the last 0.75 not fat at all with the quarters of 86, 88, 83, 82, and 80 - total time 6:59. 83 was uphill, 82 had two turns, one of them sharp. 80 had two turns as well, but those are not too bad. The pace felt good.

Did a test. 64 feet on one leg as fast as possible. Results, in sequence: right 7.0, left 7.8, right 6.4, left 7.2, right 6.0, left 6.4. The right felt snappy, the left felt like it was bumming it. Those are interesting results. I struggle with stability on the right leg, and have an odd feeling in the right glut. So I was expecting to hop faster on the left leg than on the right. But it was the other way around.

So my tentative explanation. One leg hop (and possibly hopping/bounding in general) is not affected by stability issues as much as running. In running, though, stability is a bigger factor. However, balance and rhythm is a factor as well. So suppose one leg for some reason is more capable than the other. If both legs were to engage equally then the effort of the more capable leg would be getting wasted by the breaking created by the less capable leg. So it is more economical to put top effort into the weak leg, and then match the performance with lesser effort in the more capable leg to equalize the stride length from each leg. 

I say "more capable" rather than "stronger" because it may actually be weaker or of equal muscular strength, but more efficient.

So because of that principle of balance my left leg never fully engages when running because it never has to. When it is time to hop, the right leg is no longer hampered by the stability problem, and its full power begins to shine. The left one on the other hand demonstrates its lack of development.

Assuming this is correct, an idea would be to try hopping on each leg to develop each to its full capacity, and hopefully this will cause a system reboot. But in order for this to work the boot scripts need to be functioning properly, otherwise you keep rebooting into error. But hopping on one leg here and there does not take a whole lot of time, so worth a shot. It would be really cool if the increased strength of the left push-off  rebooted the stability driver on the right so it would start working.

P.M. Spent most of the day preparing for the race. Mostly refining my timing software. Now I have a solution that is completely contained on one system - I do not need separate computers/PDAs to do the timing and the barcode scanning. Flic scanner scans the barcodes, while Nokia 770 Tablet is running the timer and reading the scans in a separate thread. As a bonus I learned threaded programming in Python as well as GTK for the user interface. Next step is to be able to work with the user database on the device rather than just reading the times, scanning the bibs, and then taking it home to post-process and publish. Dreaming along, code up a registration web daemon, bring my wireless router with an EVDO card, and set up a field WLAN so that volunteers could register people through Wi-Fi devices on the spot, and so we could have the results online immediately.

Had a little adventure with the printer for the bibs and the signs, but fairly quickly worked around it with a hack. However, I do need to figure out why it stopped working normally fairly soon.

Ran 1.5 with Jenny and Julia while setting up the course in 13:02. Another 0.5 with Joseph in 5:53.

Five Fingers 2 Miles: 12.10Bare Feet Miles: 2.00
Night Sleep Time: 7.75Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.75
Add Your Comment.
  • Keep it family-safe. No vulgar or profane language. To discourage anonymous comments of cowardly nature, your IP address will be logged and posted next to your comment.
  • Do not respond to another person's comment out of context. If he made the original comment on another page/blog entry, go to that entry and respond there.
  • If all you want to do is contact the blogger and your comment is not connected with this entry and has no relevance to others, send a private message instead.
Only registered users with public blogs are allowed to post comments. Log in with your username and password or create an account and set up a blog.
Debt Reduction Calculator

Featured Announcements
New Kids on the Blog
(need a welcome):
Lone Faithfuls
(need a comment):