Breaking the Wall

December 01, 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: 304.65 Year: 3606.17
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: 806.96
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with Tyler, Matt, and Nick McCombs. Total of 12 miles in 1:32:47. Picked up in the last half mile for a neural drive test. Ran 84,81 (2:45) flat terrain, HR got up to 152. Felt energized in the second quarter and felt like I could hold that pace forever. The breathing was deep and vigorous, but at the same time pleasant and sustainable.

Did an experiment with Nick and Tyler. Tyler weighs about 140-145 lb, so essentially my weight. Nick weighs 115-120 lb. I arm wrestled both, and lost within 5 seconds both times. Asked both about their arm training activity. Tyler does push-ups once a week, Nick does not do anything. To add more data to this - last spring I arm wrestled Jeff (125 lb, no consistent arm training either) and lost in about 20-30 seconds.

The results confirm my suspicion that there is something more going on than just untrained arms.

Some more food for thought. Around the age of 9 and up until 11 I was tied with another kid in a group of 20 boys in the tennis ball throw. This was not just a one time thing - we threw the tennis ball about once a month in our PE classes. What is interesting is that while I was a skinny kid, the other was not that skinny. And he found himself at the rear in all forms of fitness tests. The average kid of my build would out-throw me by 50%, while there was one in that group that out-threw me by 100%. That same kid was number one in all fitness tests including distance running and cross-country skiing.

So in short, the hypothesis is that Quality X correlates with the ability to produce a lot of coordinated quick force per muscle mass in any muscle in the body without having to train it. So you could predict somebody's distance running potential fairly accurately with the following tests: make sure they have enough slow-twitch fibers, then make sure they do not have any inherent cardiovascular weaknesses or defects, and then have them throw a tennis ball and prorate the throw distance for body weight. Crazy idea - yes. But I think one day it will be proven right.

Another twist on it. If you stipulate slow twitch fiber dominance among the competitors, and prorate the throw distance for body weight and arm size, my predictions is that guys like Wanjiru and Bekele would have a shot at winning the world competition in the tennis ball throw. You can run low 2:20s in the marathon off pure aerobic power with a below average neurological explosiveness, but to run under 2:06 you need to be explosive.

P.M. 1 with Julia in 10:48, 1.5 alone in 11:53, 1.5 with Benjamin and Jenny in 13:16.

Five Fingers - 1278.52 miles

Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
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