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

A.M. Total of 10. Did 6 alone and 4 with Joseph. Benjamin did 2 with Jacob. Jenny did 2, Julia 3, William 1. Then I took Benjamin and Jenny to the remaining three rounds of the Utah Junior High Chess Championship.

Benjamin ended up winning the whole thing with a perfect score - he won his last three games and was the only player with the score of 6. The way the system works is that with each round you usually get a tougher opponent if you keep winning. If you enter the turnament with a high rating, you start with relatively tough ones, but not the strongest, and you play the best ones towards the end. Benjamin calls the earlier rounds devouring meat. If you are lower-rated, you are considered meat, otherwise the meat-eater. Benjamin was the meat eater in this tournament. Sometimes the meat is feisty and will fight really hard. In fact, the last years champion choked on his meat in the first round today hanging his queen which effectively put him out of contention for the win. This did help Benjamin, but of course he needed to consume his meat without choking to make it which he managed successfully.

In the second round of the day (fifth total) he was paired against another lion that beat him last year, and that  had been served Jenny as meat the day before which he consumed successfully. So Benjamin had two strong reasons to win - to avenge for himself, and to avenge for his little sister. Benjamin succeeded, and afterwards I teased him with a Russian poem that roughly translates as this: "I will not let anyone hurt my little sister, I love her very much. But when I need to, I will beat her up".

The last round was quite exciting. His opponent was rated 1960, only 40 points short of the expert rank, and had won the Utah High School championship this year already - a 9th grader is allowed to play in both junior high and high school. A tough player, but he botched his attack and hung a knight on a tactic. Benjamin saw the tactic, made the needed exclamation mark move and picked up the piece. After that his opponent's position fell apart, although his opponent tried a good number of game-saving stalemating tricks, but Benjamin saw through that.

Jenny won two more games losing one, and finished 19th overall with the score of 4. She was the second girl. I was telling my mother about that later as we talked on Skype and she asked why girls competed directly against boys. I explained that Americans believe in gender equality :-)

If you look at the ethnicity of Benjamin's opponents you would think he was playing in New York or some other place with a lot of immigrants. His first opponent was Vietnamese, then Chinese, again Chinese, then Latino, then Indian (from India), and finally Chinese in the last round. There was a significant number of white players, about half maybe, but the reason for this apparent distribution anomality is that Benjamin played on the second board in the first five rounds, and on the top one in the last one. To make the second board in the first round you need to either have a high rating or have the honor of being selected as meat. After that, usually you have to have won all of your previous games to be there.

When we got home I ran 4 miles with Benjamin.

Green Crocs 7 Miles: 14.00
Night Sleep Time: 6.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 6.00
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