Breaking the Wall

February 23, 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: 155.37 Year: 492.80
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: 1353.22
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M, Ran with Jeff. Because of his calf strain we had a change of plans. We went out 3 miles so we would not be too far away from the house, then turned around, and on the way back kept going and went the other way on the trail to avoid a 180. We also kept the pace slow to avoid stirring the pot - a bit sub-8:00. We went a bit too far, and ended up with 10.43 in 1:20:39. Then Jeff stopped, and I ran the standard 10.18 course in 58:39 with a slight negative split (29:22, 29:17). So that gave me 2:19:18 for 20.63. The average pace for the last 10.18 was 5:46.

I was happy that I was able to sustain the pace.  It felt not so sustainable early on, and I thought I would be slowing down in the second half, especially given that it has some uphill. Turns slow you down more when fatigued as well. But I was able to stay relaxed which allowed me to maintain power in the second half and run a negative split. I found that offering a prayer to clear your mind, and thinking about a peaceful church hymn helps a lot. I like this one:

Lord, accept our true devotion.
Let thy Spirit whisper peace.
Swell our hearts with fond emotion,
And our joy in thee increase.
Never leave us, never leave us.
Help us, Lord, to win the race.

because of "whisper peace" and "win the race".  Idle thoughts fatigue the nervous system. When peace is whispered, and the idle thoughts are gone, the neural output to the legs in the critical phase of the running stride increases and helps in the cause of winning the race.

I also noticed that I was not breathing very hard. My lungs definitely felt underworked. The limit was neuromuscular.

Jenny ran 2.5 with Sarah.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 16:13. Julia ran 1.5 with us in 12:45. 0.5 with Joseph. 0.25 with Jacob.


Eva Clogs Black Miles: 23.36
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
From Burt on Sat, May 08, 2010 at 19:32:05 from

I'll have to sing a hymn next time. But that's the advice my stake president gave me before I left on mission for when I saw attractive girls.

From Sasha Pachev on Sat, May 08, 2010 at 20:10:54 from

I have a missionary story about that. It happened to one of my companions in Salt Lake City. He and his companion at that time were riding bikes and stopped at an intersection. Right next to them was a police officer in a car. At the same time two immodestly dressed girls were crossing the street. The police officer announced through his loud speaker: "Elders, sing a hymn!"

Unchaste thoughts belong to the idle group, but definitely not the only kind of idle thought. When you are running hard, you need to purge your mind of all forms of garbage so that you can focus 100% on running well. Running at your limit is a great way to learn to understand how damaging those idle thoughts are and how much power can come from pure thought.

From Burt on Sat, May 08, 2010 at 20:56:52 from

Sounds like unrighteous dominion of the police loud speaker.

You're right about clearing your mind of the garbage. I also remember not being able to run well shortly after my dad died. Whenever my thoughts were turned to him I was done.

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