Breaking the Wall

August 08, 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: 16.00 Year: 2314.91
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: 1185.83
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Ted joined me for my speed workout this morning. This workout was meant to be unpleasant. I do not understand the physiology behind it, but I know from experience that it brings great results. Something happens to the mind and body, and I start running better on every distance from 5 K to the marathon. I think running fast enough to make it properly unpleasant is the key.

Due to the lack of time we did not go to the Provo Canyon today, and did it near my house on the Provo River Trail instead. So it was all flat compared to the Provo Canyon, only occasional mild grade. Warm-up, then 5x400 with 200 rest, very nice slow jog, alternating directions. 71.5 - 71.8 - 70.5 - 71.5 - 69.8. HR hit 160 at the end of the interval and was back down to 100 at the end of the recovery at first, then it became 110 on the later intervals. I thought this stretch was a slight downhill the other way, but apparently not - steady 0.5 - 1.0 difference both for me and for Ted as we changed the direction. There was no noticeable wind going either way.

Then a jog to the start of the tempo run. We did not have an official 3 mile mark, and did not feel like doing a 180 at 2.5, so we just went by the GPS for the last 0.5. First mile in 5:25, next 0.5 in 2:42. HR got up to 160. Then started losing it a bit - 2:45, 5:27 for the mile. Next 0.5 in 2:46, 13:38 at 2.5. I would have been slower, but I noticed HR dropped to 158, and pressed harder to bring it back up to 160. I was happy that I could run 5:32 pace keeping HR under 160, but not happy about struggling to hold it. However, there was a positive development. As I put in more effort, the quads tensed up. This usually means I am about to start running slower than 5:40. But this time I was able to just keep running with tense quads and hold the pace. I even sped up on the last 0.5 hitting it in 2:42. 16:20 for the 3 miles.

Some more jogging, and now the final part of the workout. Another 5x400 session. We were running out of time, so we just did it coming back to Geneva Road, which is a subtle uphill most of the way, and there is one quarter where it is not so subtle. 72.3 - 73.8 (through the parking lot) - 72.1 - 73.4 (non-subtle uphill) - 69.0. It felt good to be done.

Did a long cool-down. Total of 14.15 miles for the workout. Ran with the kids in the evening.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From Lybi on Tue, May 01, 2007 at 23:10:50

Good job on piano! And what a workout.

From JohnK on Wed, May 02, 2007 at 09:04:47

That is a super tough workout and you ran great. What distance/time was there between the first set of 400s and the tempo run, and between the tempo and 2nd set of 400s? Nice job!

From Sasha Pachev on Wed, May 02, 2007 at 16:29:14

John - we jogged a mile between the first interval set and the tempo run, and another mile between the tempo run and the interval set.

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