Breaking the Wall

February 28, 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: 155.37 Year: 492.80
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. Eventful run. Started out with Hyrum and Daniel. Ran to Jeff's house. Ran back to my house to drop Hyrum off. Saw cops on the trail, police car driving on the trail as well. Saw a truck parked on the 820 N bridge. Something was going on.

Then ran with Jeff and Daniel to BYU Smith's Fieldhouse to do a leg extension test. I did 200 on the left leg and 180 on the right. Jeff did 160 on the right and 180 on the left. Then we ran back in the direction of my house, dropped Daniel off and did 4x100 on the trail with full jogging rest. I wanted to do this workout because I noticed that I am able to push my top end speed a lot more when following somebody. So my reasoning was - whatever it is that keeps me from running fast is partially overcome when I follow somebody running fast. Not sure why, but it works, so I should try it.

On the first one I got 15.3 (standing start, 0.5-1% downhill grade), then another 15.3 from a standing start slightly rolling and into a mild headwind. Then 14.7 jogging start, rolling and into a slight headwind. The last one was 14.3 from a jogging start, slightly rolling and with a slight tailwind. Jeff put about a second on me on the last one in the last 50 meters or so.

After doing this I think I've figured out what is going on and I am very excited about it. Suppose I am following somebody at 5:00 pace until I can't. Well, I can run with bad form and by the time I know it I am too tired to do anything about it. I just cannot hold the pace anymore. I can even do the same all the way up to 4:00 pace. But if you make me go 3:50 pace, I can do it for a little bit, but not unless I fix the form. If I am running with bad form, I know immediately because I start falling behind. This critical training speed needs to be fast enough that it is impossible to run with bad form but slow enough that I can do it within my ability to auto-correct. The only way I can keep up the pace at all at that speed is by running with a better form. I do not need to know what it is that I am doing wrong as in not lifting up knee, not extending the leg, running too tight, etc. Nor do I need to worry about it. The desperation of being left behind and the lightening fast immediate feedback makes me intuitively find it and fix it.

A bird decided to make our run more eventful and did number two on Jeff. I asked him if he knew if birds did number one as well. He said yes, and he happened to know it from personal experience as well.

P.M. 1 with Julia in 10:49, 1.5 with Jenny in 13:16, 2 with Benjamin in 16:00 with 2x100 in the middle, first in 19.4, second in 17.8. This was Benjamin's PR in 100 meters. He also decided to run the last quarter fast, we did it in 1:33.

Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
From tyler on Thu, Apr 24, 2008 at 15:37:05

Sorry, I was up late studying and slept through the alarm.

From James W on Thu, Apr 24, 2008 at 16:43:46

I thought the birds mixed the two together . . .

Interesting observation about the form - this makes sense that as you speed up, your form will become more and more efficient. It sounds like what might be helpful is to videotape yourself running at the faster pace so that you can consciously correct at a slower speed what is done intuitively at the higher speed. I am not sure that form corrections made at critical speeds will automatically carry over to slower speeds.

From Sasha Pachev on Thu, Apr 24, 2008 at 17:35:09

I am currently of the opinion that conscious form correction is ineffective. Reasons:

a) I have never heard of anybody who has produced a data-backed claim to have gotten faster via conscious form correction.

b) In my own experience, whenever I tried to correct it consciously I could convince myself I was running with a better form but never saw any measurable results in terms of speed or economy.

c) It is next to impossible to know what you need to correct. Some defects are of purely visual nature. Others are affecting the speed but are invisible at least to a naked eye. Some of those might even be invisible to an instrumented eye as well.

I think for slower speeds I just need to learn to be more sensitive to the level of discomfort and have somebody pull me at the slower critical speed for longer.

From Cody on Thu, Apr 24, 2008 at 18:59:04

The only "form correction" I have been able to do is to focus on wasted up-down movement. Focus on a distant point and don't let it go up and down. Smooth form = more efficient = less wasted energy.

From Lulu on Thu, Apr 24, 2008 at 21:40:54


Birds only have one opening for expelling their wastes. Usually, the bird mixes #1 (white because of the uric acid) and #2 (black) in the same elimination through the cloaca or vent. If someone thinks a bird peed on them, probably they just got a "watery" dropping. Bird droppings are bird droppings. Those are my words of wisdom for today.

From Steve Hooper on Fri, Apr 25, 2008 at 13:30:18

Group Run 15- 20 from the store at 6am Sat.

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