Breaking the Wall

October 22, 2019

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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: 163.70 Year: 3089.36
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: 33.72
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Standard 20 miler from my house to Bridal Veil and back. Ran the first half on the border line of true easy and brisk easy in 1:08:56. Once warmed up and out of the tunnel maze, was going 6:40 when the headwind was mild to none, 6:50-6:55 with moderately hard headwind, and on the last mile slowed down to 7:10 with the headwind becoming stronger and the uphill steeper.

On the way back kicked into gear right away, hit the first mile in 5:38, then 5:32, 5:35, 5:31, 5:36. This gave me 27:52 for the first 5 of the tempo portion - 310 feet steady elevation drop. Then I let the horses loose with the intention to negative split the 10 mile stretch. This would be tough - only 240 feet of net drop, and it is rolling with 2 miles of tunnel maze. Next two miles were 5:29, and 5:30. The 5:30 one had the uphill near the cross-country club, I hit that uphill quarter in 1:25. Another half in 2:45, and then I was stuck in the tunnel maze with the leaves on the ground to make things worse. I think the biggest problem, though, was the broken rhythm, and I realized how much I rely on rhythm when fatigued. Next half in 2:53, 5:38 for the mile. Another half in 2:52, and now one more tunnel to go. Was able to shift gears and get going again. Next half in 2:44, 5:36 mile. The last mile had a tunnel and leaves afterwards. So the tunnel broke my rhythm, and then the leaves made it hard to find it again, but I eventually did. Managed 5:33 on the last mile. 55:38 for the last 10 (avg. 5:33.8), 27:46 for the last 5 (negative split, avg. 5:33.2), 2:04:34 for 20, avg. 6:13.7.

Then we went to Sarah's 5 K race. It was a stake 5 K supposedly organized by Amanda's stake. At least it was on the program. But nobody, including the person in charge who was unknown, showed up except Sarah, Amanda, Amanda's husband Derek, Benjamin, and another guy in their ward who we actually happen to know - his name is Todd. Fortunately enough, we were right next to the Provo River Trail, and I know all the marks on it well enough to create on the spur of the moment an out and back 5 K course that would pass USATF certification. So that is what we did. Todd went ahead and walked it on his own. Derek, Amanda, Sarah, and Benjamin ran a race starting together, and timing themselves with Derek being the back-up timer as well. I watched the rest of the kids.

Derek won with 20:01. Benjamin was second in 24:03. He originally was supposed to pace Sarah and Amanda, but after the first mile decided the pace was too slow for him, and took off. He hit the turnaround in 11:30. On the way back he managed to take a wrong turn and run on the alternative part of the trail, which is supposedly 0.1 longer. On top of that, when he exited the detour, he made a turn in the wrong direction and ran until he met Amanda. She told him to turn around, which he did. In about 0.5 he managed to move away from her by almost a minute although she finished in 25:02 and was probably running around 8:10-8:20 pace on that stretch. Sarah had a cold, and started extra conservative, but then started feeling better and sped up to 8:10 pace finishing in 26:17 with the splits of 13:40 for the first half and 12:39 on the way back.

Did a little bit of random running - some with Derek for his warm up, then from their house to the church to get the van - total of about 0.6. 

P.M. Ted and James came to run with me. Pushed Jacob in the single stroller the entire time. Ran 1.05 with Julia in 10:43, while Jenny, Ted, and James ran ahead. Then added another 0.35 untimed. Jenny ran 1.55 in 12:48 with the last 0.5 in 3:48. Ted said her form was good, she looked like a miniature female elite runner, and she was not breathing very hard.

Then joined Ted and James for a portion of James' speed workout. He was doing 2x1 mile in the middle of 9.5 run. I just ran 2.5 out and back. This section included the first mile repeat. Ted gave me a funny look and a comment about running a sub-6:00 mile with a stroller after having done a hard 20 miler earlier this morning. However, a single stroller with a 16 month old child slows you down only by 15 seconds per mile, so no big deal. But it sure created some motivational element of James. Ted and I kept rubbing in the fact that if I could do my 24th mile for the day with a stroller at a given pace, James had no excuse. At one point Ted said - James, say hi to the baby. I got the clue, and made sure saying hi to the baby would not be too easy. I can only imagine what is going to happen when James has a kid of his own and pushes him in the stroller while running with Ted - Dad, say hi to the baby. Come on, this is your grandson, say hi to him!

We ran the mile in 5:50. It felt very good. Then I turned around and jogged back at a slightly sub-8:00 pace. My total time for the 5 miles was 36:51.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From James on Sun, Nov 11, 2007 at 00:18:23

I haven't noticed that you do many long runs so that caught my attention. I ran that same 20 miler myself when I was single and living in Provo.

Way to pull out a 5k course and save a fun run messed up by slackers!

From Dennis on Sun, Nov 11, 2007 at 01:11:00

Thanks for the welcome!

I ran my 2:32 at Chicago in 2006. Was fairly pleased with the race because I had been a bit bothered by injuries in the build-up. I'm very ready for sub-2:30 at St. Louis this spring.

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