Breaking the Wall

July 22, 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: 217.33 Year: 2189.42
Saucony Type A Lifetime Miles: 627.15
Bare Feet Lifetime Miles: 446.12
Nike Double Stroller Lifetime Miles: 124.59
Navy Crocs Lifetime Miles: 2133.34
Navy Crocs 2 Lifetime Miles: 1034.77
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. 10.2 in 1:07:46. It was cold, 14 F, but I felt good and wanted to run fast. So after about 1.4 warm-up, I decided I would run fast until I was tired, hit too much snow/ice, or until I got to 2.5 miles of fast running. I was going to play it by ear on the pace, but I did want to monitor it.

I ended up doing 87-85-85-86(5:43)-84-84-86-85(5:39,11:22)-85-81 (14:08 for 2.5). All quarters 86 and slower were on the areas with more snow/ice. The road otherwise was decent, and I did not feel a whole lot of traction problems. However, when I pushed into the 84 quarter range (5:36 pace) I started feeling that the air I was breathing in was too cold. So I remembered a recent post on the blog about cold air at

That gave me some food for thought. I do not think it would be too inaccurate to say that for a runner to start feeling breathing problems in 14 F he needs to work as hard as I do at 5:40 pace. While that pace is sustainable for me for a while, it is very stressful. It would be a disaster for me to train at that pace all the time.

There is an adjustment that would need to be made in the comparison, though. The misery at 5:40 for me comes from the nervous system overload, and not so much from the aerobic stress. So perhaps a less aerobically developed runner would not overtrain as quickly breathing as hard as I do at that pace on his runs. But he would still overtrain unless he cuts his mileage a lot. And if he does, his aerobic development would not happen.

Jogged about half a mile to recover from the effort,  then gradually picked up the pace, and was running around 6:40 in about 2 miles without having to force it. That was a positive for me, good indication for the nervous system condition. Normally I want to run no faster than 7:30 for at least 4 miles after a similar effort. 

Was feeling energetic with 0.75 to go and decided to run it fast. Did 86-92-86 to finish the segment in 4:26. The reason for 92 was having to navigate around snow drifts on a slippery road. The last quarter also had some ice. 

Jenny ran 2.5 with Sarah. 

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 17:01. Julia ran 1.5 with us in 12:51. A little dog helped us with the pace early on, and then Julia stayed excited and maintained a faster than normal pace for the rest of the run. 0.5 with Joseph in 4:35. 0.25 with Jacob in 2:45.

Water Clogs Miles: 2.75Airwalk Clogs Miles: 10.20
Night Sleep Time: 8.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.50
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