Breaking the Wall

July 09, 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: 51.55 Year: 2011.51
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: 881.43
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Talked to Curt last night and realized we were in big trouble. The course of the Provo River Half would be impossible to follow correctly in the last 3 miles, and barring a disaster or an unexpected super-runner appearance, Jeff would be acting as the "lead vehicle". So he needed to know the course. So we had Curt show us the course this morning (the last 3 "loopy" miles), and then we ran that section again to make sure we knew it. On the second try without Curt we managed to miss a turn and it took us a minute before we realized it.

In any case, I decided to plot out the map - check out Provo River Half 2008. Rather approximate, but reasonable. To avoid a complete disaster I had to code up a couple of features in the Course Tool. The USGS service was down, so I found a new elevation data service called Eathtools.Org which is not as accurate (only 90 meter segments), but at least it is up. So now we have a failover - first try USGS for 3 seconds, if nothing comes back or nothing good comes back, then try Earthtools. In the process I made an oops and incorrectly resolved the missing elevations in a number of existing courses, including a part of the Provo River Half that I was making. To fix this I needed a new feature - Re-lookup Elevations. Coded that up. Then figured a Save button that returns you to the course editing would be nice, since this was essentially a freebee after reworking the code. Then the elevation profile from the low resolution of Earthtools was just terrible and the supposed ups and downs extended the distance by a good 0.6 of a mile compared to the crazy grade adjusted distance. So I figured before I make this map public the crazy grade adjustment needed to happen first. So I coded up adjusting the crazy grade permanently as well. With all said and done the course now shows as 13.27 miles, which is very reasonable considering that I was not 100% sure on the start, the trail in some places is very difficult to follow from aerial view, and Google Maps probably do have a measure of geo-coding drift. Expecting lots of comments from Paul on the subject.

After running the "loopy"section, Jeff and I ran more on the trail to make the total of 12 miles. In the process I did the hyena workout - once every 5 minutes you pretend for 10 seconds that a hyena is out to get out and run as fast as you can to get away. Did that 5 times. Coming back down the Provo Canyon we tried some race pace strides. First we ran a quarter in 82, and then a while later in 74.

P.M. 1 with Julia in 10:20, 2 with Benjamin in 15:25 with Jenny running 1.5 in 11:54, and 1 more alone in 7:40. Pushed Jacob.

Five Fingers - 932.1 miles.

Night Sleep Time: 7.75Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.75
From Adam RW on Fri, Aug 08, 2008 at 17:52:17

Thank you, thank you, and thank you...

From Tom on Fri, Aug 08, 2008 at 17:56:36

Ditto what Adam said.

From Paul Petersen on Fri, Aug 08, 2008 at 18:08:52

Clever failover.

I was not aware of that other service. Yes, all aerial photography, including Google (or especially Google) has some degree of error in the georegistration/orthorectification. But considering you are getting it for free, streaming incredibly fast over the internet, it ain't bad! I think digitizing a route over aerial photos gives similar accuracy as a Garmin 205/305 on a good day. The only way to get super-great accuracy is to use a wheel or a survey-grade GPS ($$,$$$). It's obvious why the USATF still requires wheel measurement; it's cheap, reliable, and repeatable.

Hope that fills my comment quota. :-)

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