Breaking the Wall

January 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: 252.01 Year: 252.01
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. Today was another day of mile records. When you have a large running family you can say that. Somebody is always breaking a record. So today Julia ran the full mile (1609.34 meters) on the track in 7:00.9. That is a PR by 22 seconds. Her splits were 1:42, 1:47, 1:48, 1:40 and 3 seconds for the extra 9.34 meters. So by the high school standards she is a sub-7:00 "miler", as their mile has only 1600 meters. Julia ran total of 3 miles. Jenny did 3, Jacob 1, and Joseph 2.

Benjamin also set a record. To help him mentally prepare for breaking 5:00 mile on the track I thought it would be a good idea to break it on the trail first going down the Provo Canyon, which is about 1% grade. I consider that mile to be roughly equivalent to the ideal track mile. Orem High is not ideal because the track is exposed to the canyon wind, so it is more than honest.

So in the middle of our regular 7 mile run we did a mile time trial. The plan was for Benjamin to lead the first 500, then I take over and take him to 1100, then he passes me and kicks while I keep the pressure from behind.   We executed the plan almost perfectly - the only mistake was he hit the first quarter in 76 instead of 73. But we made up the time later. Our splits were 76, 73, 73, 70 with 4:52.5 for Benjamin and 4:52.7 for me.

Having a son go sub-5:00 I suppose is a milestone, pun intended.  It is quite exciting that his time was only 10 seconds slower than my best time ever on that course while he is only 13. This is to be expected, though. He has my genes, he has been trained from the age of five with me using all of the experience I gained over the years, he was delivered naturally and breastfed for about a year (then Jenny got in the queue and cut off the milk supply), has consumed very little if any junk food in his entire life, and does not have a congenitally defective spine. His drive to win is strong, and he is committed to doing what it takes. So with the above you would expect the son to outperform the father by quite a bit. It is however one thing to reason about why your son should be fast, and it is something else to actually witness him get fast and realize all those hopes. I am well aware that many fathers have reasoned legitimately why their sons should be fast, but only a very small fraction of them have had those hopes come to fruition. So I do not take this blessing for granted.

This mile felt very close to all out for me except for the first quarter, which felt like a jog. But then when I had to lead hitting 73s it was hard. But once Benjamin took over I recovered and felt strong in the kick. I even considered passing Benjamin and trying to outsprint him, but he boxed me to the edge, and I figured if I moved to the other side to pass he might instinctively shift, which would make him slower, plus I was tired enough already. My competitive drive was satisfied by just not getting dropped. I did, however, get my fastest time of the year, and I was happy to have been able to do it with a 6 second negative split. 

We ran home, then I ran one more mile with Julia on a bike. Total of 12. 

Green Crocs 4 Miles: 12.00
Night Sleep Time: 7.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.50
From allie on Fri, Aug 24, 2012 at 16:44:31 from

congratulations on the milestones today. i'm sure it's very exciting and rewarding for you, and this is just the beginning.

From JimmySG on Sat, Aug 25, 2012 at 20:40:15 from

Amazing run for you guys. It must be really rewarding to see your kids achieve such great things. I look forward to seeing where these kids end up.

From Jake K on Mon, Aug 27, 2012 at 08:34:26 from

Benjamin is really making some nice progress this year!

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