Breaking the Wall

February 26, 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: 155.37 Year: 492.80
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. Tempo run with Jeff. Warmed up 1.37, then started. The plan was normal tempo for the first 6.5 then Jeff runs the last mile as fast as he can while I try to hang on as long as I can, then once I cannot keep contact, tempo in to the finish.

Our first quarter was sluggish, 93, after that we got into a good rhythm. We ran 1.25 out then back, then the Fast Running Blog 5 Miler course. First 2.5 in 14:52, 29:23 at 5 miles. First 5 miles my HR was very low - did not crack 145. Normally I would expect it to be visiting the 150 range at that point. Then the pace got a little quicker, and I also started getting nervous about the last mile. That seemed to help. HR climbed first to 148 and then crossed over 150, and the pace felt easier and easier even though it was gradually getting faster. Our next mile was 5:46, and then we did a half in 2:51, 5:42 pace with the last 100 in 20 (5:20 pace). 

And then Jeff hit the gas. Fortunately not too hard. He was nice enough to do the first 200 in 37. This bought me some distance. Next 200 not so nice, 36, so 73 at the quarter. Not bad for the uphill, and I am still alive. At 500 it started to hurt. I made it to 600 hanging on to dear life, and 680 meters into the pickup I lost contact. Made it to 700 (or 7/16th, more accurately) in 2:09, and then eased off. Legs felt like I had just been carrying a car on my shoulders. Ran the next 100 in 23, so 2:32 at the half. Not bad. Next quarter felt a little better, ran 88, then another 200 in 44, and was able to pick it up to 41 in the last 200. So 5:25 for the last mile, 43:25.0 for 7.5. 2:29 for the 0.5 from 100 before mile to go, not bad, sub-5:00 average for 0.5 mile. Happy to run 5:25 with this kind of pacing at the end of a tempo. HR maxed out at 166.

Jeff closed with a 4:59 mile to finish the tempo in 42:59. We ran a cool down, and then I ran another 2 miles with Benjamin in 17:23.

HR maxing out at 166 instead of 172 combined with the "I have a car on my shoulders" feeling combined with a relative ease of breathing tell me the limiting factor is leg power. One more argument for one leg hops.

P.M. 1.5 with Jenny and Julia in 13:38. 0.5 with Joseph in 5:58.

Five Fingers 2 Miles: 12.00Bare Feet Miles: 2.00
Night Sleep Time: 7.75Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 8.75
From Brooke13 on Tue, Jul 14, 2009 at 22:43:01 from

I agree with you that leg hops can give you I find the most effective resistance training is not done on machines at the gym (this is just my feeling but I am not arrogant enough to apply it to the entire population). I also ran the two time trials you suggested to see if it would be possible to run a 5 minute mile after my workout today. I timed myself with my watch so who knows how accurate these are, but my 100 was 13.12 and my 400 was 1:10.

From Brooke13 on Wed, Jul 15, 2009 at 22:36:02 from

Thank you for your advice. I will start adding miles to build the base. I will also keep doing some of the speed workouts because I enjoy them alot. WIth nutrition I am trying to eat less processed foods, but do you have any advice about what to eat when I am running like this? I have never run this much or had nutritional advice given and want to eat to stay healthy. Sorry for all these questions, I feel like I am pestering you a little bit but it is because you seem like a very reliable source of running information.

From Sasha Pachev on Thu, Jul 16, 2009 at 14:49:56 from


Nutrition - eat lots of unprocessed fruits, vegetables, and grains. A little bit of light meat, like chicken or fish. No alcohol, caffeine, unnatural sweets, or junk food.

Speed workouts. Do not do them yet. They take a lot of time, wear out the body, and do not give you a whole lot of benefit. The main concern is that it will affect your ability to increase the mileage without injuries or overtraining. Instead, do pickups during your base mileage runs when you get bored. E.g. run 8:00 pace, then pick it up to 6:00 for a mile, then ease off back to 8:00. Or sprint for 10-15 seconds. But make those informal. Do not go to the track. However, make sure to race every three weeks or so to monitor your progress.

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