Breaking the Wall

January 19, 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 Jeff. He is mostly over the swine flu. He monitored my form and compared it to what he saw in the footage of the Berlin marathon. He was able to see elite men, and the slower group that was running with the women. He noticed that almost every one of the slower men had a stiff looking spine, while none of the elite men did. Then he noticed that not surprisingly I had a stiff back. We spent some time trying to figure out the cause of it.  The only way I could make it look not too bad was to lean forward excessively. Did some experimentation to see how hard it would be to run with that kind of lean at faster paces. So we ran 0.5 in 2:43, and then 0.25 in 81. It was not too bad, but there were no miracles either aside from the top of the quads feeling the strain instead of the lower portion.

10.1 in 1:14:41.

Then took Benjamin and Jenny in to the State Cross Country Championship. Benjamin ran 13:17 finishing fourth behind Aiden Troutner (12:08), Joshua Blackburn (12:47), and Lucas Norman (13:02). During the race Benjamin looked like he did not know how to run fast. His stride was long, but his turnover was very low. This should not have been a surprise as we have not done anything fast in the last couple of months due to my foot problems. More than anything, it was my oversight - I got too busy with other things and forgot to pay attention to make sure we were prepared for the meet. But on the other hand, no big deal, it is just a Bantam championship. Just get out and practice racing, who cares where you place at the age of 10.

Jenny ran a decent race finishing 7th in 14:28. Iain Hunter's daughter (I am pretty sure that's who it was, her last name was Hunter and she almost chicked Benjamin) won with 13:23.

Later in the afternoon I was pondering the forward lean matter, and remembered a detail. Some time ago Iain measured Jeff and I at his lab. One of the measurements was standing on the force plate for 2 seconds to determine the weight. But the force plate is a smart gadget. It does not just measure your weight. It gives you XYZ components of the ground reaction force. And I remembered that my X component was quite a bit bigger than Jeff's. Yes, when you stand upright there is a fluctuating X component in the ground reaction force because it is next to impossible to find such a balance that your center of gravity would be in the perfect position.

So I decided to integrate that component, or more precisely the acceleration from it over time. Turned out that over 2 seconds of standing I generated a velocity change of 0.1 m/s. Jeff did only 0.02 m/s. In other words, I had to work with my legs to pull my body forward quite significantly, or else my center of masses would have gone backwards and I would have landed on my rear at the end of those 2 seconds. Which means that my center of gravity when standing up is shifted towards the back with the feet ending up in front of it. I wondered if anybody has ever written anything about how the natural position of the center of gravity would affect running economy and found this article.

I tried the exercise suggested in it for correcting the Upper Cross Syndrome, and I like the feel of it. I also liked that it is easy to remember and do spontaneously during the day. We'll see what happens in a month or two.

P.M. Julia, Joseph, and Sarah ran 0.5 together, then I ran 1 mile with Julia in 7:52. That is her new mile PR. Her splits were 2:04 - 2:00 - 1:55 - 1:53. She was not planning on setting a record, just started out a little quicker, and I was able to talk her into trying to break it. Her previous record was 7:57.

Airwalk Clogs Miles: 11.00
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
From allie on Mon, Nov 09, 2009 at 17:15:28 from

Interesting article. I am curious as to what you have found on your gluten free diet experiment. Any noticeable changes or insights?

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