Breaking the Wall

August 14, 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: 88.07 Year: 2386.98
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: 1257.89
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Total of 17.5. Did a tempo run on the Fast Running Blog 5 miler course. This course has been a stumbling block for me this year. I've had a lot of not so good workouts on it. Part of the reason is that I've been doing them alone and comparing the times to what I not too long ago got when running them with Jeff. Part of the problem is that to get to that part you have to run through construction, and for some reason this drains me mentally. And part of the problem is perpetuation - you have had a couple bad workouts, you subconsciously are expecting the workout to be bad, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. In any case, I felt it was time to break the spell.

So I started the tempo run opening with a 5:41 mile followed by 5:39. I did not like how I was feeling. After doing a quarter in 87 which felt a lot harder than it should have, I did not want to run like that any further and stopped at around 2.3 mark. Jogged a bit as I thought about what I was going to do. I could try another day, but that would mean running through that construction mess again while thinking negative thoughts subconsciously and trying to battle them consciously. There would be more negative thoughts. At the same time, if an 87 quarter after 5:40 pace for the first 2 miles felt hard, this did not predict good things for the rest of the workout. I figured I'd give it another try, this time with a more aggressive start and more mental effort put into the run. If nothing good is happening, at least I will get home faster.

So I started at the 2.5 mark in the opposite (slight uphill) direction and got the first mile in 5:35. Then I laid a goose egg with a 5:44, but it was not too bad as it was there was some minor uphill. But it wore on me mentally, and I lost steam. As I approached the turnaround I wondered if I should call it good, but decided to finish the full 5. It did help to know that on the way back I would have a small downhill. So my half-way split was 14:15, and 3 mile split was 17:08 (5:49). That was quite a goose egg, some of it is mental. I have a hard time with 180 turns. I slow down before one because I feel it is not worth it to give it a good push if you are going to lose the momentum already, and then on top of that it takes me a good half mile to get going again.

In the last two miles I felt better and gave it a good push.At first I thought just not give the 5:40 guy any more ground than he's already got on me. But then my 4th mile was 5:37, and I realized that with a 5:35 I could actually catch him, and 5:35 felt doable. So I went for it and ran the last mile in 5:30 with the last quarter in 79. This gave me 28:15.4 for the whole run, which is my fastest time of the year for this course by a few seconds. More important, though, is that I have made progress in overcoming this mental block.

Ran home, and ran with the kids. Benjamin, Jenny, and Julia did 2 miles. Joseph and Jacob did 0.5.

 After the run we listened to General Conference. There were a lot of good talks. I liked Elder Holland's talk on missionary work in the Priesthood session. I also liked Elder Anderson's talk on children. He quoted the frequently quoted scripture in Moses 1:39 that states that the purpose of God with regards to our existence is "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man". Then Elder Anderson stated the obvious but frequently forgotten - that before immortality there has to be mortality. In other words, before a person can receive the blessings of Heaven he must be born on earth.

Took a nap in between sessions to avoid a forced nap during the afternoon session. You must have a fresh mind when listening to General Conference talks - even though they discuss matters that appear rather simple I find them just a strenuous on the mind as lectures on deep theoretical math.

P.M. 2 miles

Green Crocs 2 Miles: 19.50
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.50Total Sleep Time: 8.50
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