Breaking the Wall

August 15, 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

Tempo run with Ted in the morning. Short warm up. Good weather, ideal conditions. Little cold maybe, 55 degrees or so, no noticeable wind. Tapering this week. My standard routine is to run short aggressive marathon pace tempo runs at this stage. Ran the standard 5 mile tempo except at a lighter effort. Was lazy out of the blocks, first 200 in 45, first quarter in 1:28. Then started winding it up. 5:42 at the mile, next mile in 5:38. HR hovered around 145 up to 1.5, then gradually made its way to 150 by 2 miles. 14:09 at the turnaround (2:49), next quarter in 1:28, then 1:25, 17:02 at 3 miles (5:42). HR hit 154.Up to this point the pace felt rather relaxed, but now I started feeling some sourness in the legs. In the past this would result in having to apply a greater mental effort to hold the pace, and often even the top mental effort would not be enough - HR would stagnate or even drop, and so would the pace.

So I applied a greater mental effort. Next 0.5 in 2:49, followed by 2:47, 5:36 for the mile. HR gradually progressed to 159. The legs were still feeling sour, but I felt in control. Now I was 2 second ahead of the 5:40 guy, and decided to relax a bit. Not much relaxation on the uphill quarter - 1:26, HR at 160. Next quarter in 1:25, HR dropped to 158, but this was not a forced drop, I just relaxed to make it a more honest marathon pace. This was followed by 1:26. Now the 5:40 guy caught me, time to show him who's the boss. Sped to to 1:23 on the last quarter, HR hit 162. 28:18.6 for the whole run, last mile in 5:38, last 2.5 in 14:09, even split time wise, but really negative 7 seconds in terms of effort.

I was happy that my body responded to the sour legs condition with an increased HR instead of just quitting. I wonder if my cardiovascular training has been lacking somewhat due to the refusal of the nervous system to push harder past the 5:40 barrier. I am going to do a few more of those aggressive marathon pace tempo runs to deal a few more crushing blows to the sour legs syndrome.

Ran with the kids in the afternoon. Jenny ran a mile time trial. She is 6 years old. At the age of 5 one day (shortly before turning 6) she decided to show off her running ability to her babysitter and run him into the ground. He had to hang on for dear life on that run, and so did Benjamin. She ran a 7:41 mile. Since then she had not broken 8:00 until today.  We've tried several times, but she kept having confidence issues not believing that she could hold the pace. Yet once in a while she would do maneuvers during her runs that clearly indicated that she was not any less fit that she was before. We had a talk about faith and confidence, and taking a step in the dark before the light comes. Then I took her to the Provo River Trail. We did the run on an out and back course, first half about 0.5% grade up, then the same grade down on the way back. Not a fast course. I gave her a goal to break 8:00.  She ran 7:40 breaking her record by 1 second. Her splits were 1:56 - 1:59 - 1:55 - 1:50.

I just realized that Ogden Marathon does not do day of race packet pickup. That means I have to find a place to stay. All I need is some floor space at somebody's house. Ideally for three people - Ted, and possibly Steve Ashbaker in addition to myself. The host gets lots of free running advice, personalized training plan, a Russian lesson, a chance to visit with a real military helicopter pilot, and whatever else  we have to offer.

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