Breaking the Wall

January 25, 2021

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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: 266.81 Year: 266.81
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: 1657.61
Brown Crocs 3 Lifetime Miles: 1438.17
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Usual 20 miler to Bridal Veil Falls and back. Was a bit faster in the "warmup". Noticed that I was hitting 7:00 pace uphill into a headwind without trying too hard. Of course, I can trick myself easily in that speed range, but I was hoping that there was more to it that me merely wanting to believe that I was feeling good. The first half was 1:10:15.

A couple of weeks ago I decided to set a goal of breaking 2:30 in the Top of Utah. This is not a super-goal. I've done it before twice. But I have not done it since 2007. So I figured I needed a humble but challenging goal, and this is a nice round number. So this morning I prayed to have some form of evidence that this goal is in my shooting range. After the prayer, I thought - well, I need to set some kind of a metric to judge my fitness from this workout. Looking back at my past workouts, I said if I run a low 57:00 for the last 10 miles of this 20 miler or faster, sub-2:30 is in the cards.

So I ran with the idea of running 57:00 or at least close. Coming down the Provo Canyon I hit my 3 mile tempo stretch in 16:42 (5:30,5:33,5:39). It felt slightly aggressive, but something that I could survive. Cooler temperatures did help, it was not as bad as two weeks ago, but it started to get warmer somewhat. 5 miles was not clearly marked, but I am estimating it was around 28:04. I was happy to hit 5:49 for mile 7 which has uphill, and roughly corresponds to the slowest mile of the last 6 on the UVM course.

Afterwards it got warmer (67F), and the course started to go through turns, tunnels, and bridges. I did the next mile in 5:44, then 5:54. I was in a state where if you had me run straight on an even terrain I was OK, but I was really getting bothered by turns, little ups and downs, and a bumpy road. In the last mile I decided to give it a push, but the first quarter was a bummer. The tunnel was flooded, so I had to go around through the gate and across 820 N watching out for cars, and this was bad enough of a momentum killer than I ended up with a 92 quarter. After that with 19.25 miles for the run, 9.25 of it at almost 5:40 average I was tired, but found the energy to get angry and say: "I am going to crack 57:00. I do not care if 57:05 is still good enough. I am cracking 57:00!". So I did the next two quarters in 85, and the last one in 83. This gave me 56:58.9 for the last 10 miles, and 2:07:14 for the whole 20.

So I reached my goal, and if my estimates are correct, this predicts being able to dip under 2:30 a bit in the Top of Utah if the weather is as good as it was in 2007.

Benjamin did 5, Joseph 1.5, Julia and Jenny 1.5 as well.

P.M. 0.5 with Jacob.

Green Crocs 2 Miles: 20.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 2.00Total Sleep Time: 10.00
From seeaprilrun on Sun, Sep 04, 2011 at 00:56:07 from

I hope you meet your goal! Perhaps a little of that "anger" will show up at the right time during TOU.

From Jake K on Wed, Sep 07, 2011 at 15:08:20 from

Way to finish the long run strong. I like that you didn't consider 57:0X "good enough." Its really easy a lot of the time to "settle" on a run like that, so sometimes its good to tell your legs that you need to go faster, and its always good when they actually respond.

You will have a great race at TOU!

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