Breaking the Wall

August 13, 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: 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. Must have eaten something rotten last night. Was not feeling good this morning. Resting HR was 66 instead of the usual 48. Felt nauseous. Went for a run anyway, but kept it short. Ate an apple right before the run, that seemed to help a bit. Ran with Jeff. Hyrum did not make it. We ran the first quarter in 2:21, and I really did not feel like I could go any faster. We finally caught the 8:00 guy around 2.5. Then we hit some headwind, we turned around and it became tailwind. Around 5.5 into the run I thought of Jeremiah 4:19:

My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my very heart; my heart maketh a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace...

There is a good one in Lamentations 1:20 as well, which I found while looking up the reference on the first one:

Behold, O Lord; for I am in distress: my bowels are troubled...

However, a mile later I started feeling better. We picked up the pace to sub-7:00. I ran to Jeff's house, dropped him off, then added the extra distance to make it 10.02. Thought of going a bit longer, but decided to err on the side of caution and finish the distance later tonight if I really felt better. Total time was 1:13:58.

Crocs - 110.68 miles

P.M. Stomach still feeling troubled. I set a dubious PR on this run for the number of different types of foul emissions from both ends of the digestive tract. Started with 0.5 in 3:44 to find Benjamin. Then 2 more with him in 16:14. Evaluated how I felt, and figured I should be able to handle another 4. Started with a 7:36 mile, feeling painful in the stomach, but nothing I cannot run through. Next mile in 7:05. Started feeling weak, like I wanted to walk home, or better, just lay down and not move at all. But the home is now 2 miles a way, so I'd better run, 2 miles of walking would be a long and painful walk with a sick stomach. Stopped for a VPB hoping it would make me feel better. Started running, still feeling weak, focused on a goal - keep it sub-8:00. After about half a mile I did not feel any better, but the pace got faster - started running 7:15 pace. Then about 3.35 into the run all of a sudden I started feeling extremely weak, I do not remember feeling that bad at the end of my worst marathon, and soon I found out why. A few seconds later I threw up, first time in 7 years. When I thought I was done, I started running, but was still feeling very weak, and for a good reason. I had more stuff to throw up. I stopped, finished the job, and all of a sudden felt almost normal. Finished the rest of the run at around 6:50 pace, 29:36 for 4 miles.

I think this experience provides a good case for the brain-governed fatigue model. I did not have any less glycogen in my muscles in the moment of weakness right before throwing up when I probably would not have been able to sustain 8:30 pace than a couple minutes later when I was comfortably running 6:50s. So the most sensible explanation of what happened I can think of is that my brain sensed extreme stomach distress, and started shutting down the muscles in response to facilitate coping with it. When the distress was over, the muscles started receiving normal signal.

Crocs - 117.18 miles.

Night Sleep Time: 7.83Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 8.83
From Tom on Thu, Mar 20, 2008 at 10:16:47

Loved the scripture references, maybe some of those OT prophets were runners too. I couldn't help but think that perhaps the 1st scripture meant to say "...I cannot hold my 'pace'...".

From wheakory on Thu, Mar 20, 2008 at 12:43:16

This is kind of the way James and I were feeling this week. I hope you can too can fight this immune systems attack. Nice way to finish your run.

From josse on Thu, Mar 20, 2008 at 15:46:50

Hope you are feeling better. Is it ok if I join you boys on saturday? Tom you should come too.

From James on Thu, Mar 20, 2008 at 15:52:54

Just don't hold onto it for a month like I did!

From Sasha Pachev on Thu, Mar 20, 2008 at 15:59:25

Josse - that would be great. We'll pace you through the Uneventful Half.

From Sasha Pachev on Thu, Mar 20, 2008 at 16:04:52

P.S - we are meeting at 6:30 AM at my house.

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