Breaking the Wall

May 25, 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: 149.44 Year: 1460.80
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

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2016-09-30 08:25:24
Workout Totals: Distance8.847Time1:15:16.30Pace8:30.49
Benjamin did 6 + campus running, usual distance for everybody else. Joseph, Jacob, and William did mile time trials. Jacob and William got PRs - 5:41.0 and 6:31.7. Joseph missed it by a second - 5:39.7.

I gave Joseph and Jacob the rules of the game. I would let them set the pace in the first lap unless it got way too slow. Then would take over and run the second lap in 82. If they were lagging significantly by the end of the second lap, I would have them stop and the time trial would be over. The purpose of this was to teach them to run fast without the fear of fatigue. If you are slowing down in the third lap, it could very well be due legitimate fatigue. But if you are still a good 10 seconds slower than your 800 PR and you are slowing down in the second lap on a normal day, it is nothing other than fear.

So we had a good start in the first 200 with Joseph leading the way, then around 300 I saw the pace dropping, and took over. Joseph had an attitude and immediately stopped. I ignored him and just continued with Jacob. Our first lap was 83. I ran the second lap in 82 as promised, Jacob faithfully followed up to 600, then he started to doubt and let the gap develop, but he was only 1 second behind at 800, so 83 - 2:46. With 600 to go I had 3:31, Jacob 3:33, then I had 3:53 with 500 to go, he was 3:54. Do not recall exactly what we had at 1200 and with a lap to go, but I would estimate Jacob had 4:14 high (88 lap), and 4:17. He ran the last lap in 84 (43,41) and got his record by over 1 second, but barely missed the 5:40 barrier. We will try again next Friday.

Then I paced William. We opened in 1:33, then 1:38, and a plop to 1:44 with a kick in 1:33 (48,45), the balance going to the 9.34 meter tax. A very good PR, improvement by almost 5 seconds. However, still issues with fear in the third lap as evidenced by the fourth. With William, though, I am happy he is where he is - he has had some mental challenges, a doctor would probably diagnose him with something if we wanted to get a diagnosis. Leg-wise very talented, but will need some special nurturing to become mentally focused. He is only 7, though, so we have plenty of time.

Then I paced Joseph, though I was not happy that he made me run another fast mile. He opened in 83. I tried to take over at the start of the second lap, but he sped up and would not let me pass. I decided to not get into a sprinting match with him, and waited until we hit the headwind at 500. At that point I took over and blocked it, but Joseph now was worn out from his surge, so he could not follow. I hit 800 in 2:46 (83), Joseph had 2:47. At that point I considered just stopping him, but figured he is tough and might be able to recover enough to get the record. He almost made it, but was too late to respond and follow. 4:13 high at 1200 (85), 4:16 with a lap to go, 83 for the last lap.

Afterwards he was very upset, once he calmed down, we had a discussion about how Steve Prefontaine ended up without a medal in the 1972 5000 final. I explained to Joseph that running directly behind within an arms reach of your competitor is a position of strength that allows you to maintain the pace while expending less effort, and that runners who lead obsessively rather than only when they have to end up underperforming. I think this was a good lesson for Joseph.
Leg 1:Distance1.050Time9:43.80Pace9:16.00
Warm-up: Joseph, Jacob, William, and Stephen running, Matthew in the stroller.
Leg 2:Distance0.250Time2:24.60Pace9:38.40
With Matthew - no hand.
Leg 3:Distance0.250Time2:32.40Pace10:09.60
With Matthew - no hand.
Leg 4:Distance0.711Time5:41.00Pace7:59.61
Jacob's mile time trial.
Leg 5:Distance0.816Time6:31.70Pace8:00.02
William's mile time trial.
Leg 6:Distance0.708Time5:39.70Pace7:59.80
Joseph's mile time trial.
Leg 7:Distance0.062Time0:22.10Pace5:56.45
Stephen's 100.
Leg 8:Distance1.000Time9:36.40Pace9:36.40
Back to the house. Everybody running, Matthew in the stroller.
Leg 9:Distance1.000Time8:28.00Pace8:28.00
With Joseph and Jenny.
Leg 10:Distance3.000Time24:16.60Pace8:05.53
With Jenny.

Khaki Crocs 1 Miles: 8.85
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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