Breaking the Wall

July 08, 2020

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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: 51.55 Year: 2011.51
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: 881.43
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Long run. Total of 20.5. Ran with Chad and Ryan. Did the same workout as last week - warm up of 4.75 miles, then 7.5 mile tempo with 2.5 down the canyon, 2.5 up, and 2.5 back down. The wind was less and was blowing into the canyon. I do not know if that helped or hurt. On one hand it produced more even splits, which in theory should result in faster times, although I do not know if that works in this case. On the other hand with the way I was doing it you get the headwind for 5 miles total instead of 2.5. Chad and Ryan made it through about the first mile, then dropped back. But it still helped to have them around in the first mile. Then Chad paced me through a mile on the way back and that helped a lot. On the final 1.5 stretch Chad and Ryan saved the day for me.

 Splits - 5:34, 5:36, 2:50 (14:00). In the first mile I felt comfortable, but then in the second mile I started getting sluggish and really did not want to run any faster than 5:44 pace. But I made myself go faster regardless. On the second 2.5 stretch this sluggishness was magnified. I ran 3:09 half mile, but then Chad came to save me, and made me do a more decent pace. So I ran the next 0.5 in 3:00, then Chad pulled me for another half mile or so, and then I had to pass him and take off. So my next mile was 6:13, followed by 0.5 in 3:08 with 15:30 for 2.5 and 29:30 for 5 miles. Seemed like when left to my own devices 6:15 was all I was willing to do, but with help I could do 6:00. Then I turned around again, and tried to give it a push. But 86 quarters with one in 87 was all that came out finishing that mile in 5:45. I was frustrated, and ready to abandon the workout, but nevertheless I said a prayer to have the strength to run 14:00 for the last 2.5, which by now appeared impossible given how I was feeling and the splits that I was getting. The prayer was more of the type "Lord, have mercy on me, but if not I understand that I need to suffer the consequences of something I did that I should not have done so that I can learn". I've had many of those. Nevertheless, my prayer was answered. Chad and Ryan met me with 1.5 to go, and Chad was able to hit the next 4 quarters in 83, 82, 85, and 82 with the mile being 5:33. I tucked behind him, and the pace actually felt easier than my 5:45 mile earlier.

This is making me think of Matthew 11 verses 28 and 30: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest...For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.". The 5:33 that felt easier than the earlier 5:45 showed me a practical illustration of that scripture in a way that I find difficult to explain, but it speaks to me. Sure it does! Only a runner will understand how much and how well.

This little break allowed me to find a better rhythm, so once Chad was out of juice, I was able to shift gears a bit and run the last 0.5 in 2:42 alone, which gave me exactly 14:00 for the last 2.5, and 43:30 for the tempo. So I ended up 2 seconds faster than last week by a miracle.

Chad finished the last 1.5 in decent time, 8:28, which is sub-5:40 average. 

Then we ran to the house, dropped off Ryan, and took Benjamin for 6 more miles. At first I felt terrible, but then I started to feel better, although still a little fuzzy.

Jenny ran 2, Julia was on the move and ran 4.5, Joseph and Jacob did 1. 

Green Crocs 2 Miles: 20.50
Night Sleep Time: 7.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.50
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