Breaking the Wall

January 18, 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: 188.26 Year: 188.26
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: 1359.62
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with the BYU ROTC Army Ranger Challenge cadets. Could not find shoes/shorts, had a late start, took a shortcut to BYU, 1.85 miles, 12:47 6:54.5 avg (used the new calculator feature I coded up yesterday to compute that) fairly brisk for 5:15 AM, but being late gave me the extra adrenaline. The cadets were doing 1-2-3-4-4-3-2-1 minute fartlek with equal rest. During the warm-up I discovered that at least two cadets spoke Russian, and it sounded good to me. With the temperature being 39 degrees, I spoke to them in a burly Russian man mumble rather than like a newscaster, making no allowance for it being the second language for them, and noticed no trouble on their part. I was actually expecting to find some Russian speakers since we had a group of about 30 and mentioned it to them. They suggested I should try Spanish. I did. Nearly half the group started chattering away simultaneously in Spanish telling their mission stories and jokes. Mind you, this is a group of white guys most of whom grew up in Utah in a family where English was the only language spoken.

Back in Moscow in the 90s as Russia opened up to all variety of missionaries I had a chance to meet with a number of representatives of different religions. None of the ones I met had more Russian fluency that a couple of phrase book sentences except for the young LDS missionaries who ranged anywhere from accented functional to virtually native fluency. Even some of the older missionaries, including the mission president and his wife were fluent. Some of them were really good. I remember talking to Elder Jamie Codee, who incidentally happens to be Kendra Hooper's brother, and Steve Hooper's brother in law, small world. We spoke for half an hour, with him doing a lot of talking, and I had not caught anything that did not sound even the tiniest bit wrong in spite of staying on alert the entire time waiting like a vulture to correct him.

That meant a great deal to me. The ability to communicate was not an issue. I was already fluent in English, and in fact, I preferred to have religious discussions in English. Religious terms in Russian just did not quite mean their dictionary translations to me, and when put together produced awkward and confusing sentences. 70 years of state-sponsored atheism had subtly corrupted the language. Those same sentences in English flowed naturally and carried a lot of meaning. I was able to get away from my background and think with a different perspective.

What did matter to me, though, is the thorough wide-scale effort to learn the Russian language, which is not the easiest for an English speaker. It represented preparation, solid work ethic, determination, and commitment. I figured a church that had the ability to instill what it takes to learn Russian in their English-speaking youth was up to something worthwhile.

The Spanish chatter ended with Ted announcing it was time to start the speed portion of the workout. That is when the group split, and we eventually ended up with 2.5 cadets. Ted ran the repetitions somewhere in the 5:30-6:00 range. 2.5 cadets were able to hang on until the 3 minute one. Ted wanted to run at least his marathon pace effort, so we would drop our precious 2.5, and then come back to them during recovery. 10 seconds before the first 4 minute one I had to make a VPB stop. Ran a 3:17 1000 (off Hawks marks) up 0.5% grade (the stretch of the Provo River Trail from Wills to Riverwoods), that felt like threshold-comfortable, caught up to/passed everybody, Ted was the hardest to catch, and I think he picked it up when he heard me coming because all of a sudden he started coming to me a lot slower while I was running a steady pace, then ran about 50 more meters with him, and the repetition was over.

Got back to Smith's Fieldhouse at BYU, then ran home without the shortcut. Total of 12.07 in 1:25:42. Sarah had a mile left when I got back, so we ran 1.05 together around the block in 10:00.

P.M. 0.5 with Jenny and Julia in 5:30, Jenny is still sick, but can run a bit, so her little sister Julia decided to be a nice sister and keep the pace moderate. Jenny did struggle, though, but that is better than yesterday when she could not run at all. Benjamin is feeling good today, is planning on running the cross country 3 K at Kiwani's Park tonight.

Benjamin thought he was feeling good, but really the sickness was still there. He suffered his way through 16:31. I think from now on we will have a rule that if 8:00 pace the day before feels hard or impossible, we do not race. Ran some errands to the church and back afterwards, total of 0.5. 

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From Dustin on Thu, Sep 27, 2007 at 18:38:05

I've heard Russian is a hard language to learn, my brother in-law served there and my sister took some classes recently at BYU.

Sasha, Steve Hooper and I were talking and wondering if 1:18 is too fast for us to go out for the first half. I know last year Clyde, Logan, and Dave all hit right around 1:20 for the half and then Logan ran the second half about a 1:30 slower than the first half, Dave was 2 minutes slower, and Clyde was about 4 minutes faster.

I don't really feel any of the half marathons I've done lately are reflective of the shape I'm in. I did ran a pretty strong 5K the other day and finished about 26 second behind Dave.

I feel like the last few 20 mile training runs I've done on the course have been good 6:36 average.

I would just like some Sasha Science on if you think I'm good to go with the 1:16-1:18 pace group or should I and any others be looking to hit 1:20, then take it from there?

From Sasha Pachev on Thu, Sep 27, 2007 at 19:36:00

Dustin - Sasha Science says 2:45 with the possibility of a bad crash and running much worse. Strictly from the predictor, assuming the 5 K you ran to be equivalent to perfectly flat in SLC and 50 miles a week sustained average, you do get 2:45, and after looking at your mileage in July, August, and September last year, and this year, as well as other race performances, I would have to say it would be unlikely to be able to run faster than 2:45. If 1:21 feels good in the first half, do it, but I would be hesitant to go out faster than 1:21.

Another thing you can try is serve as a pacer for Katie Danner - she needs to go under 2:47 to qualify for the Trials. Assuming she does not have a major breakthrough and make you run yourself into the ground to keep up, you will have a fast recovery and will be able to start training right away to be ready to PR in Ogden. You should probably take her through the half around 1:23 - 1:24.

From adam on Thu, Sep 27, 2007 at 23:34:34


I've been unable to reach my friend by phone to schedule you for a VO2 max test. I'll find somebody who can do it. It may have to wait until early next week though.

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