Breaking the Wall

January 27, 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

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2014-12-17 07:18:50
Workout Totals: Distance14.100Time1:39:26.30Pace7:03.14
Benjamin has outgrown my pacing ability by quite a bit. When he was little and I was in my prime I could pace him easily. Then it got harder. Then it became impossible. Then more impossible. Things got to the point where all I would be able to offer in a 2 mile time trial is the first half mile - on a good day for me. I figured it was time for him to have a faster pacer. So I invited Tommy Gruenwald to join us. I asked Tommy to pull Benjamin with the target of 4:48 per mile down the Provo Canyon. I consider that grade (1-2%) equivalent to flat sea level.

The weather was perfect - well as perfect as it can be in the middle of December. About 40 F, no wind, no precipitation. Tommy pulled Benjamin through the distance in a new PR of 9:42 with a negative split - 4:52, 4:50. I was able to stay with them for the first 800 (72,75 - 2:27), then yelled at them to speed up, and that took the wind out of me so I fell off the pace immediately. I put in another 200 meters of hard effort hitting a little more than 1 K (0.625) in 3:06.9, and then coasted to the finish fast enough to dip a little under 11:00.

This was a great confidence builder for Benjamin. Now he is not scared of 4:50 pace like he was before.

Benjamin said after he finished and throughout the day he felt an overall feeling of muscular weakness while during the run he felt like he was working at his limit on the muscular level, but the breathing was actually more or less OK. I was pleased to see this development - means he has enough endurance to challenge his muscles and the nervous system. At least over 2 miles.
Leg 1:Distance4.400Time34:41.80Pace7:53.14
Leg 2:Distance2.000Time10:59.90Pace5:29.95
Split 1:Distance0.625Time3:06.90Pace4:59.04
Split 2:Distance1.375Time7:53.00Pace5:44.00
Leg 3:Distance2.700Time21:41.80Pace8:02.15
Leg 4:Distance4.000Time23:15.40Pace5:48.85
With Joseph, Jacob, and Julia. Joseph and Jacob pulled ahead and finished in 23:04/23:05.
Leg 5:Distance1.000Time8:47.40Pace8:47.40
With Sarah on the little boy course. Pushed Matthew and Mary in the stroller.

Black Crocs Miles: 14.10
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
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