Breaking the Wall

February 22, 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

A.M. 8 F at the start. 10.1 with Ted in 1:19:05. Ted helped me jump-start Zhu afterwards. Zhu had not been driven in a while, so the battery lost the charge. We had to drive VanGoGo through the front yard which was covered with snow to get to Zhu. Zhu was parked in the other unpaved and not shoveled driveway, and it was not possible to push it out from there on the road. Fortunately VanGoGo has a 4-wheel drive. The jump start was the biggest event of the morning.

P.M. Ran 1 mile with Jenny and Julia in 10:26. Jenny had a cough so she ran shorter and slower. Then drove VanGoGo to Jiffy Lube for the oil change and other scheduled maintenance. Ran home with Benjamin, 2.25 in 20:04. Then ran back to get VanGoGo in 16:56. Drove it to the parking lot on Geneva Road. Ran 0.5 to check out the trail to see if you could cross-country ski on it. Looked good. Cross-country skied on the 0.625 stretch out and back twice, 2.5 miles in 19:29, 7:47.6 avg. I did stop the watch on the turnarounds, as those take quite a while on skis. The trail is mildly rolling, and had hard-packed snow with a a couple of asphalt patches that you could avoid by skiing through the snow on the side, only a small loss of momentum. I tried to skate, but there was not enough glide in the skis for that, and pushing off with both arms did not work well either. So I just did a regular running-like stride. Nevertheless, averaging out my time, this is 14:31.7 for 3 K which is a 2 minute PR. Of course, the old PR was set at the age of 11.8, but on a well groomed course, and at low elevation (Moscow, Russia). On the other hand, I suspect the skis I have now (even though I got them for $20 from Paul) are quite a bit better than the wooden skis I had then.

I did really enjoy being able to just put my skis in the van, drive, take them out, put them on, then take them off, put them back in the van, and drive straight home. In Moscow I had to drag the skis down 4 flights of stairs, then walk with them 0.1 miles to the bus stop, wait 20 minutes for the bus, ride the cold bus for 30 minutes often standing up and holding the skis the whole way, then walk some more from the bus stop. Then repeat everything backwards when done, except now sweaty.

Added another .25 to teach the ESL class at the church and back. Again had to run because it was cold. Teaching ESL can be a lot of fun, especially in settings when you are not allowed to use the student's native language. My student was having a hard time with the Z sound, they do not have it in Spanish. After a demonstration that did not seem to work I finally decided to explain how to say it - do it like a bee, bzzzz, not like a snake - sssss. Turned out she did not know what a bee was or a snake for that matter. So I showed her the snake, explained about different types of snakes with hand demonstrations and snake noises, she got that one. The bee was harder. I explained how bees make honey, she did not know what honey was. I explained that a bear likes to eat honey, and showed her the bear. Still not much progress. Then I decided to cheat a bit, knowing that the Spanish words for insect and flower sound very similar to those in English, and explained that bees are insects that land on flowers and then make honey, which is sweet stuff that you can put on bread. That worked. Then we got the Z sound down.

Did the magic stretches later in the evening.

Night Sleep Time: 0.11Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.11
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