Breaking the Wall

January 17, 2021

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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: 146.77 Year: 146.77
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

A.M. Long run with Jeff. First long run since Feb 7th, and first since getting sick. Was not sure how I was going to handle it. Was not sure if it would be healthy to go full 20. Was not sure how much of it should be tempo. For Jeff it was supposed to be a relaxing long run if there is such a thing. With those constraints we decided to do a short warm-up, then a 10 mile tempo, if I finished the tempo, then jog the rest of the long run, otherwise, Jeff would jog with me home, and then run the balance of the tempo at the end afterwards.

I did OK during the tempo. I made it through 10 miles. Total time was 57:48. Splits:

miles: 5:47, 5:49, 5:49, 5:50, 5:53, 5:49,5:47,5:48,5:39,5:37

2.5 segments: 14:31,14:37,14:31,14:09

5 mile segments: 29:08 - 28:40

Did not think we'd break 58:00 until about 3 miles to go. Then thought maybe. Then Jeff hit a half mile in 2:47 from 8.5 to 9 and I knew it was a done deal, although done with quite a bit of pain. My legs held better than I thought they would, but in the last quarter 5:20 pace followed by a little bit of an uphill turned out to be too much, they caved, and I slowed down to 5:52 pace in the last 200 meters. In spite of that failure, I still credit leg strength from the explosions and speed micro-injections for surviving this tempo.

I was happy about the progress. I calculated my last 15 K of the tempo was 53:53 compared to 54:39 in a race two weeks ago. Also, last week running 10 miles at an easy pace I had a hard time running 12:00 for the last two miles. This week my last two miles were 11:16 off a tempo pace. Ear still congested, but it was not bothering me nearly as much as it was last week at tempo speeds.

Then we ran the balance of the 20 miler, which was a bit less than 9 miles. We started at a bit slower than 8:00 to rest from the tempo, then picked it up to about 7:20-7:30. At around 16 miles total I started feeling hungry, and also uncertain about my ability to make it to the finish. Low blood sugar sometimes causes panic, and I was feeling a bit of it. I calmed myself down by thinking about how running in the zone is similar to fasting and could be good for cancer prevention. We also picked up the pace to about 7:05. My reasoning was run brisk while you can, you'll be closer to home when you bonk. Then at 18 I noticed that I was not feeling any worse than I was at 16, and decided to pick it up even more. So we speed up to about 6:40, and I did not feel any worse. I told Jeff I wanted to run the last half at 6:00 to prove a point to myself. We ran it at 5:50 pace.

This gave me 2:12:05 for 20.1 for this run, 6:34 average.

P.M. Pushed William in the stroller. 2 with Benjamin in 16:37. 0.5 with Joseph in 5:40. 2 with Jenny in 18:39. Julia ran the first mile with us in 9:30.

Brooks T4 Racing Flat Miles: 20.10
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
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