Breaking the Wall

November 19, 2019

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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: 118.81 Year: 3380.28
Saucony Type A Lifetime Miles: 627.15
Bare Feet Lifetime Miles: 446.12
Nike Double Stroller Lifetime Miles: 124.59
Navy Crocs 2 Lifetime Miles: 1576.28
Neon Crocs 1 Lifetime Miles: 33.72
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Did a workout. 2x3 miles. First one up on the usual course, the second one down. On the up one I thought for sure I would be over 6:00 on the last mile after running the first one in 5:54 with significant effort followed by 5:59, and two less than spectacular quarters in 92. But then I stopped the bleeding somewhat with a 91 quarter, and then shifted gears and ran the last one which gives you a short break from the uphill in 85, so 6:00 for the last mile and 17:53.9 for 3. Then I had a rather long break - about 1.4 miles of jogging + a bathroom visit, this was not a VPB, there is an actual bathroom at Nunn's, and I headed for the last one. I set a goal to beat Benjamin's record of 16:26, which is easy for me fresh, but after running the first one uphill hard this was going to be a challenge. My first mile was 5:24, then 5:28, and in the last mile I shifted gears and ran 5:16,which gave me 16:08 for 3 miles. Total mileage was 12. Benjamin ran 3. Everybody else rested for the cross-country race in the evening.

P.M. Cross-country meet. It was windy so the times were slower. Not sure exactly how much, but I am estimating somewhere around 15-20 seconds. Maybe more. Benjamin ran 10:55 taking second place after Thomas Heaps who ran 10:45. Good for him to learn humility and also for us to discover something to work on. He got gapped early in the race, but then the gap did not grow. We had a conversation about it. He said he just could not go with the pace. I argued that he could. My argument was that Thomas did not run 9:50, or even 10:20 if we gave him a generous allowance for the wind. So Benjamin given his 4:55 1500 performance could have stayed with him at least to half-way if he just ran without thinking how much longer he had left. We are going to work more on faith running. I am thinking a 3 mile tempo run down the canyon where I hit 5:20 as close as I can, and his job is to run with the pace "till the standard bearer fainteth".

Joseph got beat in Sub-bantams for the first time this year as well.  I told him to attach himself to John Hunter, Iain Hunter's son. John is a Bantam, but still I wanted Joseph to be in contact with him so he would be safe from his Sub-Bantam competition which I suspected might be closer to Joseph that he thought. But Joseph was doing his own thing running most of the race alone a few seconds behind John. All of that after a lengthy pre-race instruction about the benefits of drafting in windy conditions. Well, kids sometimes do their own thing, and then find out why it was a bad idea, which is what happened to Joseph. He got caught in the final stretch by Ammon Blackburn, his nemesis from the last year, who Joseph has been beating this year without problems, but Ammon got into better shape for this race. Joseph fought, but he turned on his kick too late, and even though he leaned, Ammon ended up winning the visual pseudo-photofinish. They both got 14:27, but Ammon was declared the winner. I told Joseph we were going to work on learning to main contact regardless of how fast he thinks his competitor is running.

 Jenny and Julia had good races. Jenny got 14:51, and Julia broke 15:00 in cross-country 3 K for the first time with 14:53. Jacob, the obedient child, reaped the fruit of his obedience. I told him to go with Joseph and stay in contact until he absolutely could not. The idea was to knock him out of the rut of just running a somewhat comfortable pace regardless of the distance. He was rewarded with a fast time - 15:11, and third place in the sub-Bantam's only 45 seconds behind the winner in spite of being 2 years younger. His official time was 15:16, but it is a mistake - I timed him at 15:11.

Later I ran 0.5 with William. 

Green Crocs 4 Miles: 12.50
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
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