Breaking the Wall

January 28, 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: 252.01 Year: 252.01
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 Jeremy, Benjamin, Gary, and Ryan, a new running partner. Decided to do something different, longer intervals, but still quite intense. The wind was strong blowing out of the canyon. I started with 600 in 2:00 into the canyon. That was hard. Then 800 into the canyon in 2:45. I was headed for maybe a 2:43 but in the last 200 my heart skipped a beat, I got confused, and eased off the pace. I did those alone. Then I did the mile in the opposite direction. The target was 5:00. For some reason (lack of sleep, maybe overdid it a bit in the last few days on speed, although it does not seem like I did too much) I felt sluggish. Dragged myself through the first quarter in 76, that was all I wanted to do. Then gave myself a motivational talk and did the next quarter in 74. It was hard. Started to think that I was going to lose the steam, but I was able to maintain and did the next quarter in 75. Then with 200 to go I found another gear for some semblance of a kick, and Ryan was with me and he also found another gear. So he pulled me through the last 150 meters or so, and we finished in 4:59. Gary ran the first 0.75. Benjamin just did the first quarter, but then coasted fast enough to run the mile in 5:49.

Then we did the usual 400 at the end up the hill. Gary was able to pull away from me by a couple of meters. I ended up with 71.5. Ryan and Benjamin made it to 300. I suppose Ryan was worn out from the mile.

Afterwards I ran a mile with Jenny, and then picked it up to catch up to Sarah. I figured I'd use this as an opportunity to practice running relaxed. I am feeling something different in the hip, I am able to stand on the ground with more firmness. But how to use that advantage when running after having run for at least 25 years with the instability is a different question. It will take some practice. The cage door might indeed be open but the captive bird is in no hurry to fly to freedom.

So I decided to put in about a marathon pace effort and see what happens. There was a strong headwind. Strong enough that I struggled with 6:00 pace on a net downhill. Ended up doing 9:08 for the stretch that I think is 1.5 miles. Then I ran with her and told her I would start going fast again when I needed to run 6:00 pace to the end to hit sub-8:00 average for the last 6 miles, which included an 8:53 mile with Jenny. Sarah was actually able to cut the fast segment to only a little more than 0.5 which I did in 2:51 in spite of the uphill. The quarters were 82, 85. I think on that stretch I hit good form and was letting the captive bird out of the cage some. The change from PT is that I am able to extend the right hip better, but it appears that that extension is not very helpful unless you fix the timings of the stride. I felt like I was slacking a bit, but it actually produced faster pace than when I tried to run hard. So perhaps the trick is to know when you are trying to hard and working against yourself.

P.M. 2 miles with the kids. Jacob did 1, Joseph 1, Julia 2. Neighbor kids as usual. 


Green Crocs 2 Miles: 15.00
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
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