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

Woke up from an interesting running dream. My dreams have become very close to reality when it comes to running. When I run in a dream, I feel the pain, my splits and times are very realistic. In the dream I was running against Paul Petersen in a 5 mile road race. The race started out flat, then had a downhill section, then flattened out again. It was a fairly fast course. In the beginning Paul pulled away. Then gathering all of my strength I closed the gap on the downhill right before we got to the final flat section. We had a mile to go.  Paul put in a surge to get rid of me. I first thought of letting him go, but then decided no way, I worked way too hard to catch him, and I have nothing to lose. There was another short runner with us I did not quite recognize. I tucked in behind Paul and tried to hang on. It felt very painful. The short runner dropped back a few seconds but was still within striking distance. Then we approached the finish and the kick started. I moved out into the passing position, and tried to turn on top speed. My legs felt like I was at the end of a mile race, they felt like lead, I could not pick it up any more. Neither could Paul, but he managed to stay ahead no matter how hard I tried. We ended up finishing with 25:03.1 for him, and 25:03.3 for me.

Now reality that followed the dream. Tempo run with Steve on the standard 10 mile tempo run course. We did it using Weldon Johnson's method of hit the split do not look at it until you are done. Went through the first 2.5 in 14:42. Heart rate eventually climbed to 150. Then as we turned around Steve started pushing it. I started feeling uncomfortable and asked him to back off. Next 2.5 in 14:24 with the pace fluctuating between 5:40 and 5:55. I would get the heart rate of 155 at 5:40 and 153 at 5:50. Not a big difference in numbers, but 5:40 required a lot more effort. It was probably mental - I was expecting to coast through the run at my marathon pace effort and did not want to push it. I should not be hurting that bad with the heart rate of only 155.

We turned around and in the same pattern continued to another 2.5 in 14:28. Then another turnaround. I decided this time I would not hold Steve back, let him run whatever he feels like, and just grind my teeth and hang in there. But I did tell him I wanted it closer to marathon pace than threshold. The pace eventually became 5:40, the heart rate this time climbed to 158, and this time it felt more comfortable. Perhaps now my mind came to terms with the idea that it was going to be hard. Then on the last mile Steve picked it up. I tucked in behind him hanging on for dear life. Without a watch and the split times to look at to soothe the pain, I began counting 100s - 1500 to go - still alive, 1400 to go, still alive ... 300 to go, can't believe I am still alive. Finish, I made it! 57:43 for 10 miles, 14:09 on the last 2.5, 5:30 on the last mile, probably about 5:23 flat mile equivalent. We even split the last mile. The heart rate climbed to 163 in the first half, and then to 165 in the second for split average, maxing out at 166.

Ran with the kids in the evening. 

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From Paul Petersen on Fri, Mar 23, 2007 at 12:36:11

That's a fast 5-mile time for me, close to a PR. In my running dreams, my feet are usually made of lead and I have to run on really confusing courses that go through buildings, playgrounds, and other weird places.

I think your sickness was a blessing in disguise. It forced you to back off and take it easy. Now you are healthy and rested, and will come back stronger than ever. Think of it as a training cycle.

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