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

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2016-05-07 09:01:43
Workout Totals: Distance20.405Time2:38:10.20Pace7:45.09
Total of 20.4 today. First I went with Benjamin to Provo High where we did the "bust the 6th lap" workout. Things went well for him ... up until he reached the 6th lap :-). So he ran 71.6, 72.1, 72.8, 75.8, 75.6 - following the plan almost perfectly except the 5th lap was supposed to be 73. And then boom, sixth lap he runs 78.6, then 79.2, and 77.8. He broke down mentally again.

When he finished I suggested he should do 4x400 in 72 with 200 recovery. He vehemently refused, but after some post-interval teenager negative talk, he accepted my challenge to him to say a prayer to know what he should do. I was suggesting 4x400 because I knew he would succeed and it would teach his body that 72 seconds per lap is really not that hard and can be done in a stage of fatigue. But what I really wanted him to do was 2x1000 at that pace. But I would not dare mention it given his mental state.

He finished the prayer, and he says - "I think I should do 2x1000". At this point I knew that something special just happened.

I would have been perfectly happy with something like 3:00, 3:02, but Benjamin found another gear and ran 2:54.8, 2:52.4. So if we cut out his slowest 200 from 3200 and add up this 3000 (9:23 + 2:54.8 + 2:52.4) we obtain 15:10 for the 5000. He is running a track 5000 next week in San Francisco. Can the taper, the drop in elevation, and the competition make up for not having two breaks? I do not have enough experience at this point to tell.

I did 800 in 2:34.2 + 2x400 70.4, 68.9 joining Benjamin for part of his workout.

Then I ran with Matthew - he set a new 0.25 record of 2:05.5 (holding the hand). Then Benjamin and I added a mile, and then ran 5 with Joseph and Jacob. Then I ran 9 more alone with a pickup of 2 miles in 11:17 down the canyon (5:41,5:36). I was surprised - I was only hoping for 5:48 pace given how late into the run it was. I felt like I was able to utilize burning fat better than I normally do - the feeling is you press on the gas pedal, the muscles grumble, but eventually respond, and there is a certain feeling that comes with it. I know it is a good feeling - when it is there you do not hit the wall. I suspect that feeling comes when the body is dipping into fats to save the carbs.

The experience reminded me of the "fat" miles Jeff McClellan and I used to do. He is a natural marathon "crasher", but he has been able to run a couple of good marathons including 2:22 in St. George. So maybe they deserve another visit. I am going to try them on Benjamin - he is planning to run his first marathon in the Top of Utah this September if everything goes well.
Leg 1:Distance1.636Time13:41.20Pace8:21.96
Warm-up with Benjamin.
Split 1:Distance1.000Time8:18.40Pace8:18.40
Split 2:Distance0.062Time0:16.80Pace4:30.97
Split 3:Distance0.062Time0:44.40Pace11:56.13
Split 4:Distance0.062Time0:16.70Pace4:29.35
Split 5:Distance0.450Time4:04.90Pace9:04.22
Leg 2:Distance1.246Time10:03.50Pace8:04.35
Benjamin's attempt to shake the fist at the 6th lap monster.
Split 1:Distance0.125Time1:11.60Pace9:32.80
Split 2:Distance0.125Time1:12.10Pace9:36.80
Split 3:Distance0.125Time1:12.80Pace9:42.40
Split 4:Distance0.125Time1:15.80Pace10:06.40
Split 5:Distance0.248Time1:15.60Pace5:04.84
Split 6:Distance0.248Time1:18.60Pace5:16.94
Split 7:Distance0.125Time1:19.20Pace10:33.60
Split 8:Distance0.125Time1:17.80Pace10:22.40
Leg 3:Distance0.250Time2:54.60Pace11:38.40
Recovery jog - after some discussion and prayer.
Leg 4:Distance0.443Time2:54.80Pace6:34.58
Benjamin's 1000. The monster gets a post-mortem punch, shall we say.
Split 1:Distance0.125Time1:07.90Pace9:03.20
Split 2:Distance0.248Time1:10.40Pace4:43.87
Split 3:Distance0.070Time0:36.50Pace8:41.43
Leg 5:Distance0.620Time7:24.40Pace11:56.77
Recovery jog.
Leg 6:Distance0.460Time2:52.40Pace6:14.78
One more post-mortem punch to the monster over 1000.
Split 1:Distance0.142Time1:08.20Pace8:00.28
Split 2:Distance0.248Time1:08.90Pace4:37.82
Split 3:Distance0.070Time0:35.30Pace8:24.29
Leg 7:Distance0.500Time4:51.90Pace9:43.80
Back to the car.
Leg 8:Distance0.250Time2:05.50Pace8:22.00
With Matthew.
Leg 9:Distance1.000Time8:17.30Pace8:17.30
With Benjamin.
Leg 10:Distance5.000Time40:27.50Pace8:05.50
With Joseph and Jacob.
Leg 11:Distance9.000Time1:02:37.10Pace6:57.46
Split 1:Distance4.720Time34:59.50Pace7:24.81
Split 2:Distance2.000Time11:17.00Pace5:38.50
Split 3:Distance2.280Time16:20.60Pace7:10.09

Black Crocs 2 Miles: 20.40
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
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