Breaking the Wall

Phoenix Half Marathon

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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: 77.26 Year: 2379.27
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: 1263.81
Race: Phoenix Half Marathon (13.109 Miles) 01:16:23, Place overall: 20, Place in age division: 6
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2015-02-28 05:46:01
Workout Totals: Distance16.209Time1:41:31.00Pace6:15.78
Phoenix Half, 1:16:23, 20th place, 6th master. Benjamin ran 1:13:11, 9th overall. It was windy, I estimate the wind cost us about a minute. Got chicked - first time since DesNews 10 K in 2010. Details below.
Leg 1:Distance0.550Time4:38.00Pace8:25.45
Warm-up - part 1.
Leg 2:Distance0.550Time4:41.80Pace8:32.36
Warm-up part 2.
Leg 3:Distance13.109Time1:16:23.10Pace5:49.61
Race - splits and comments below.
Split 1:Distance1.000Time5:36.60Pace5:36.60
Found a pack - Michael Anderson, Ricardo Maldonado, Arianna Hilborn (female winner) and a few others. Pace feels OK.
Split 2:Distance1.000Time5:38.30Pace5:38.30
Pace starts feeling fast, but I am hanging in there. I know there is wind and if I drop back it will be worse.
Split 3:Distance1.000Time5:36.90Pace5:36.90
Hanging in there. Motorcycle escort of less preferable kind - means you are running right next to the first woman.
Split 4:Distance1.000Time5:43.00Pace5:43.00
Split 5:Distance1.000Time5:40.90Pace5:40.90
Telling myself just do one more mile with the pack.
Split 6:Distance1.000Time5:41.70Pace5:41.70
One more mile.
Split 7:Distance1.000Time6:04.60Pace6:04.60
Did not have any more miles with the pack. I did not make a conscious decision to drop back. Rather the pack just slipped away from me and there was nothing I could do to say with them. Not surprising. We had just run around 35:15 10 K into a headwind. I raced 35:35, albeit at altitude, only two weeks ago. But the wind probably made up for the altitude.

Shortly after I fell off the original pack, Scott Cale caught me and I tried to latch on, but could last maybe only a quarter mile. So I ended up running alone into a headwind, and I did not do well.
Split 8:Distance2.000Time12:14.20Pace6:07.10
More headwind. Somewhere in the middle of this stretch I was caught by a pack - Brett Bernacchi, Jeff Tissue, and a few others. I was able to latch on.
Split 9:Distance2.000Time11:44.60Pace5:52.30
During this stretch the pack separated, there was some back-and-forth. Brett broke away.
Split 10:Distance1.000Time5:59.30Pace5:59.30
I gapped Jeff, but he caught up and I just latched on. Being alone for part of this mile cost me, I think.
Split 11:Distance1.109Time6:23.00Pace5:45.36
I ran most of this mile with Jeff, but he dropped me near the finish and gapped me by 10 seconds.
Leg 4:Distance2.000Time15:48.10Pace7:54.05
With Joseph - William ran the first mile with us.

White Crocs 1 Miles: 16.21
Night Sleep Time: 6.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 6.50
From Burt on Wed, Mar 04, 2015 at 18:47:58 from


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