Breaking the Wall

May 27, 2019

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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: 243.09 Year: 1554.45
Saucony Type A Lifetime Miles: 627.15
Bare Feet Lifetime Miles: 446.12
Nike Double Stroller Lifetime Miles: 120.59
Brown Crocs 1 Lifetime Miles: 1509.03
Brown Crocs 2 Lifetime Miles: 987.95
Navy Crocs Lifetime Miles: 2133.34
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Breakthrough workout this morning. Finally it is starting to smell like the Trials. I would not say a Trials Qualifier is in the bag, but using a soccer analogy, before I had to pass a couple of very good defenders and then trick the goalee, while now it is just the goalee.

Ran with Nick and Jeff. Standard 5 mile tempo. Was not expecting much starting the day with 64 miles on the odometer for the week already. Last night I felt sluggish. So the plan was to run all of it at 5:40, slower is OK if 5:40 feels too hard. Then a kick with 400 to go. This would measure how hard the tempo really was and give a very reliable indicator of fitness without actually pushing it over the top.

Felt sluggish in the warmup. Then we started the tempo. First quarter did not look promising - 1:27, did not feel particularly easy. Next quarter in 1:25, felt harder than the first, but sustainable. Again nothing special. Then 1:22, and another in 1:22, 5:37 for the mile. Nick and Jeff were setting the pace, and I was just following them. The pace did not feel hard, but I've had so many days like that where 5:30 pace early on felt easy, and then after 2 miles I could not sustain it. So I was not getting too optimistic.

Next 0.5 in 2:43, and it feels OK, still like a marathon pace. This is encouraging. Nick saw were ahead of the pace and eased off a bit. Next 0.5 in 2:47, 5:30 for the mile, 11:07 at 2. That felt way too comfortable. HR still hovering around 150. 2:49 for the next 0.5, 13:56 at the turnaround. Still feels comfortable, but I am crossing my fingers. Jeff started to struggle and fell back. Oddly enough, we traded places from last week when it was I who struggled exactly the same way - the breathing is fine, but you just cannot go any faster.

Nick picked it up a bit. 2:46 for the next 0.5, 16:43 at 3 miles, 5:36 mile. Still feels like marathon pace, maybe a tiny bit too aggressive, HR  made its way to 157. Steady pace for the next mile, 5:33, 22:16 with a mile to go. The uphill quarter in 1:23, that brought HR up to 163, but it did not feel 163-miserable. Next quarter in 1:24, feels more threshold like, but still not quite there, then 1:23.

Finally the last quarter. The moment of truth. Was I just fooling myself telling myself the pace was easy, was this a mental game, or a real gain in fitness? Ran 69 seconds - this removes all doubt. The fastest I've ever been able to do off anywhere close to that pace before has been 76. This gave us 5:19 for the last mile, 27:35 for the 5 miles, which is a course PR for me, and the last 2.5 in 13:39.

Ran 0.1 during the day to find Joseph who escaped from the house on his toy motorcycle. He did not get very far, but this is our family escape distance record for all ages, not just 2 and under. In the evening ran to Reams to get Jacob some diapers, then a mile with the kids, and then 4.04 with a stroller and Jacob in it. Met Scott Hillman and his wife Esther. Scott is going to join us tomorrow.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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