Breaking the Wall

February 20, 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: 81.04 Year: 418.47
Saucony Type A Lifetime Miles: 627.15
Bare Feet Lifetime Miles: 446.12
Nike Double Stroller Lifetime Miles: 124.59
Navy Crocs 2 Lifetime Miles: 1576.28
Neon Crocs 1 Lifetime Miles: 1353.22
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Ran 13.5 with Ted in the morning. Warmed up 2 miles. Then did the standard 10 mile tempo on the 2.5 stretch between Geneva Road and the Utah Lake parking lot. The roads were mostly covered with snow with occasional dry patches. It was also cold - probably 15 degrees at the start. Ran with Ted the first 7 miles. He was tired. We did the first 2.5 in 16:09, then 16:04 coming back. Then at 7 miles I decided to go ahead and push it a bit to measure the conditions of the road more accunrately. Hit the next 2.5 split in 16:03. On the way back, decided to chase down the 6:20 guy, but it was difficult - had to slow down on ice for safety reasons. Made up only 8 seconds on the next mile. A song I heard a few times on a BBC English learning program back in 1990 in Russia came to my mind - "have to catch an early train, got to be at work by 9, but even if I had an airplane I still would not make it on time". The dry strethes were not long enough to get going, and then you have to ease off early enough before an ice patch. Pushed it on the last mile, managed 5:55, half of it was solid snow, put in a valiant effort, but ended up a second behind - 1:03:21.

I like to re-write popular songs sometimes when I am working hard, usually when things are going well. One of my favorites when drafting behind a tough competitor in a race - "and I swear, like a shadow that's by your side, I'll be there. For better or worse, till kick do us part, I'll hang on with every beat of my heart..."

Cooled down 1.5 to the house. Ran with the kids in the evening.

Tested my vertical jump. It was 18 inches. An improvement from 1.5 years ago when Ian Hunter tested it on the force plates (he says it gives you a very accurate estimate), and it was only 13 inches back then. The reason I decided to test it was that the whole body was feeling jumpy. I attribute this to the improvements in the lower back. Today I felt more like a pouncy cat than I can ever remember.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From sammack on Mon, Jan 08, 2007 at 19:02:13

Thanks for the comments. The 800 was definitely a slow one but I'm almost using it as validation that my week was a good one in terms of quality. The big test for me will come on the 20th at the New Balance Mile held at the Armory. After that, it's time to think about popping a fast 1500 in the spring/summer.

Keep up the good work with the training. 2:22 doesn't seem too far off for you. (That's the B standard, correct?)

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