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

A.M. Long run. Cold morning. The temperature was 12F at the start at 6:00 AM. Wore racing flats for a change. My feel felt like they have missed the feel of the ground.

Started with Ted, Jeff, and Tyler. Tyler's ankle started hurting, so he turned around after 0.2 to be safe. Talked about politics the first 6 miles. Averaged barely under 7:30 - 44:38. The road conditions were good - very little ice or snow, mostly dry ground.

Dropped Ted off, continued with Jeff. We gradually progressed from 7:30 pace to sub-6:30. Passed a large group of runners. One of them acted liked he wanted to challenge us. I encouraged him, but he was only kidding. This got my adrenaline flowing a bit, and the pace dipped under 6:20. It felt good. We gradually closed on the 7:00 guy, and passed him about 11.52 into the run. Jeff pressed the pace a bit afterwards. I needed to go to the bathroom bad, but figured the quicker we ran the quicker I'd get there, so I just toughed it out. Our last two quarters were 1:29 and 1:25, the 6 mile stretch in 38:47, and 1:23:25 at 12 miles.

Dropped Jeff off, went to the bathroom, prayed with the family, talked to Logan on the phone, then went for the remaining 8 at a tempo pace. I figured with all the clothes, the cold, the bridges, and being at the end of a 20 mile run, anything under 6:00 would be good. Hard to get going after a stop. First two quarters in 1:33 and I felt like I was pushing it. Then I got into a groove and started hitting 1:27 - 1:28 quarters when the road was good. A few 1:30 - 1:33s with slippage, micro-hills, and sharp turns. A couple of 1:29s when I let my mind drift. Somehow a song from Кавказская Пленница movie came to mind:

Где-то на белом свете,
Там, где всегда мороз,
Трутся спиной медведи
О земную ось.

"Somewhere in the world where it is always freezing the bears are rubbing their backs against the rotational axis of the earth."

I felt I was in that place with the bears, and maybe even helping them rotate the axis with my legs.

Ended up with 47:28 for the last 8 miles, 5:56 average. Total time for 20 miles was 2:10:53, 6:32.65 average. Felt strong but not fast at the end, probably due to the cold and the clothes. Interestingly enough, it took me almost 4 minutes less to run 20 today than it did to run 16.1 on Thursday.

P.M. It was much warmer. I ran in shorts. 2 with Benjamin in 17:02, continued on to finish 5, threw in a couple of tempo pickups to test the nervous system. Ran 0.5 in 2:54 up 1% grade with a bit of a roll, and then 1 mile in 5:35 down 1% grade again with a roll. Total time for 5 was 36:47.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From Maria on Sat, Feb 16, 2008 at 17:34:32

"Кавказская пленница" is one of the great Soviet comedies. I watched it last time just couple of years ago, and it is still funny, no matter how outdated the setting or camera work. I think I even bought it on DVD last time I was in Moscow. Unfortunately, my daughter doesn't get a lot of it, even if she understands the language... Also, Sasha, speaking of Russian memories, I don't know if you are aware, but there is this relatively new website,, where you are likely to find your school and college classmates. I found most of my high school class, some of my college class, and even some of my track teammates from college! Too bad, I didn't find anyone from Znamenskie group. It is very amusing to see some people 18 years later or find out how their lives have turned out! It was also amusing to me that so many still remember me. I bet no one in your class could predict where you will end up, your story is more unusual than others :).

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