Breaking the Wall

February 26, 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. I did my long run today because of the kids' track meet the next day, except I kept it medium long because I had to work immediately afterwards, and I knew I was not going to get adequate recovery if I made it full 20.  So I ran 8 out uphill in about 59 minutes, and then 8 back down in 46:20- 5:47.5 average. I struggled in the last 2 miles, and especially in the last mile. It did not feel like fuel, I think it was the heart. In fact, for the last two weeks I've felt like I've had a hole in my heart. Well, I do not think there is really a hole, otherwise I would be dead, or at least would not be able to run at all. It is probably just the thinning out of the muscle and it is probably very minor, but to me it is not because all of a sudden my pace drops by 10 seconds per mile terrain adjusted in the last two miles of an 8 mile tempo at the end of a long run, so I call it "a hole".

I have actually considered the idea of training runners to recognize what is going on with their heart by performing the tests at the times they felt there was something different. The idea is this - a trained runner with some HRM experience knows his HR without having to measure it. He knows his pace by feel. With some training he could be taught to identify his stride rate. By the same token he could be trained to identify his lactate concentration and blood glucose level by feel. What else? How about the thickness of the heart muscle in different parts of his heart? Probably a good number of important parameters. Why is this important? A runner with some scientific training paying close attention to his body overtime would be able to formulate a hypothesis about some process that a scientist would never think of because the runner has 24x7 access to a multitude of sensors and can processes their input subconsciously - a luxury not available to a scientist even in the best equipped lab. Then the scientist could test it and prove it in a lab.

I wrote to a couple of researchers about it. They agreed with me that it was a good idea, but as far as I know it never progressed beyond the status of a good idea. I suppose if I really wanted to push this beyond it I could get a degree in cardiology, get my hands on the equipment, and start doing it. Or maybe there is a better way - I need to become good friends with a cardiologist that has access to the equipment, is a bit of an unconventional thinker, and is interested in exercise. If you know anybody, give them a reference to this post.

Benjamin did 6, Jenny 4, Julia 2, Jacob 1, Joseph 2, William 1.

Green Crocs 5 Miles: 16.00
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
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