Breaking the Wall

July 04, 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: 291.02 Year: 1935.71
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: 805.63
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Started with 10.7 alone with a 3 mile tempo up the Provo Canyon. I decided I am not running another race until that 3 mile tempo is sub-6:00 in every mile at least on some day. The wind changes from day to day, and is usually a headwind, but it is abnormal for me to not be able to crack 6:00 on every mile at least on some days when the wind is relatively mild. I believe the cause of the latest struggles is that overtime my lower spine gradually caved in due to the overload from malformed L-4 and partially lost its resilience. This year I have never been able to run those 3 miles faster than 18:39, and the last mile of 6:30 was about the best I could do. It is more uphill than the first two, and it does have more headwind, but in the past I have been able to run it under 6:00. The downhill performance has been decent - this year I've run under 16:00 several times, which is comparable to the downhill times from the same period when I was frequently running 17:30-17:45 on the uphill with the last mile under 6:00.

So I started doing things to take care of the spinal resilience. Added more calcium to the diet to keep the bones from falling apart, started doing back muscles strengthening exercises to partially compensate where the spine is failing, and started hanging upside down on the inversion table to encourage some spinal regeneration. Once a week (or twice if motivated) I will be running this uphill tempo to measure the progress and get an idea if I am on the right track. No point in racing until the problem is fixed unless for one reason or another I really want to run 2:36 or slower on a Top of Utah like course in good conditions. 

Today I ran 18:29 with the splits of 5:59, 6:15, 6:15. I was happy that I did not slow down in the third mile - every other time I did this run this year I slowed down a lot - at least 20 seconds per mile. About half way through the run I prayed for some hope. I figured I needed to define hope numerically, and said if I can run a low 6:20 in the last mile, we can call that hope. My prayer was answered with a 6:15, for which I am thankful. I am learning that when you pray you need to be accepting of the Lord's timing, and only ask for things that are expedient in the Lord's schedule which you have earned with your faith. Sometimes we may get arrogant and start thinking that we have earned something with our faith which we have not yet. That is perhaps one of the most common causes for prayers not being answered in the way we expect. 

Got home, ran 2 with Jenny, Julia, Joseph, and Jacob, then 6 more with Benjamin. Total of 18.7 for the run.

P.M. 0.3 with William during our relay practice on the track. I discovered that Stephen can do 200 in 2:06, and William in 1:14. I did the calculations, and am estimating we can do the wedding relay 5000 in under 18:00 if everybody runs like I am expecting them, and Benjamin and I can do alternating quarters with 72 average.

Green Crocs 3 Miles: 19.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
From prestonmadera on Mon, Jun 18, 2012 at 17:33:40 from

Great approach, with your faith and diligence you will get back to where you want to be.

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