Breaking the Wall

December 04, 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: 304.65 Year: 3606.17
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: 806.96
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. 7F at the start. I think the global warming is like Santa - it happens for you if you believe it.

Ran with Daniel, Jeff, and Mary Ann. Daniel turned around at 3 miles. The rest of us ran full 10.1. My time was 1:19:46, Jeff and Mary Ann were a bit slower due to my VPB. Additionally we did short burts of speed on dry sections.

Afterwards took VanGoGo to Computune and ran back. Turns out my little detour into a snow drift a couple of weeks ago damaged VanGoGo's power steering pump.

Felt very good on the way from Computune. Did some pickups when it was dry. There was even a dry section that was long enough to run a 200, which I did in 39 with a tempo effort. Then I found an even longer section - 300 which I ran in 58 putting in a tempo effort. This was about 0.5-1% downhill, though. However, the temperature was 14F. I was not expecting sub-5:20 pace to feel so easy, natural, and enjoyable. This gives me the confidence that as crazy as my idea of daily micro-bursts of speed may sound, there may be something to it.

P.M. We got some serious snow. 1 with Benjamin and Julia in 13:30. 1.5 with Jenny in 16:37. About 0.4 into the run Jenny said - I bet you and I will be the only ones on the trail. About a minute later we saw Tyler and he joined us for about a mile.

I told Tyler - if dedication played a bigger role in being selected for the BYU team than your 3000 meter speed, you'd be on the team for sure. Unfortunately 3000 meters is short enough for natural Quality X to have quite a bit of the upper hand on dedication.

Brooks T4 Racing Flat Miles: 14.85
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
From Phoenix on Mon, Jan 05, 2009 at 20:49:04


Lest my comment on the other post be misunderstood. I think little accelerations and pick-ups on a frequent basis are great. Where you will run into trouble is maximal, all-out accerations done several times weekly. Initially you'll see improvement and feel good, but then the bottom will drop out and you'll go flat. Good luck with your experiment.

From Lybi W. on Tue, Jan 06, 2009 at 14:16:01

Here's an interesting article on global warming:

Santa is an interesting one. My children brought him up in our family home evening on faith (Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and Santa Claus) and I had to grit my teeth. Being a parent is tricky!

Yikes! And good job getting out in the artic temps! Not that I doubted you...

From Sasha Pachev on Thu, Jan 08, 2009 at 15:05:35


Thanks for the article. I enjoyed reading it. I am surprised how often people take results of computer modeling at face value as the absolute truth. I want to tell them - why don't you spent a week or two watching a computer programmer - you'll know better than that then.

In fact - after hearing on numerous occasions how runners question the distance of a certified course when their Garmin shows different I feel very tempted to add "believing the Garmin" to the top list of training mistakes. Garmin measurement is in essence a computer model of the distance traveled. And our education systems would sure benefit if they taught more actual science and less faith in science.

Eric - I have an intuitive justification of why random 3-5 second sprints at maximum effort could be effective for Quality X. Take your average speedy runner (let's define it as a sub-13.0 100 meters) and ask him what he did growing up as a child. I am fairly certain the answer would be lots of games that involve running such as basketball, soccer, and tag. In those games you hardly ever run all out for 10 seconds or more. Usually 3-5 seconds, but it is all out. And you do it frequently during the game. You also do not wait several days for your creatine-phosphate stores to replenish and your nervous system to rest from the overload before you play again. This type of activity allows the development of speed without overtraining. Why? I think the key is the frequency of top-end speed bursts and their length are naturally controlled.

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