Breaking the Wall

January 18, 2021

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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: 188.26 Year: 188.26
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: 1657.61
Brown Crocs 3 Lifetime Miles: 1359.62
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Easy run with Ted in the morning. Tapering, so only 8 miles. Ran one tempo mile. Ted set the pace. He did not look at the watch, and I did not tell him the splits. I was surprised at how hard he pushed it. Then after we finished I asked him how fast he thought it was. He said it was slow, about 5:38. I enjoyed watching his amazement as I announced that our actual time was 5:17. This is his record since he returned from Iraq. Our quarter splits were 1:19, 1:18.5, 1:19.5, 1:20. I could feel a big difference between 1:19 and 1:20. 1:20 was a lot easier. This is a very good sign. It means my threshold is very close to 5:20. If a certain pace is way faster than your threshold, slowing down by 5 seconds per mile still keeps it in the zone of pain. If it is way slower than your threshold, slowing down by 5 seconds per mile still keeps it the zone of comfort. But when you get right to it, within no more than 5 seconds per mile, that is when slowing down by very little makes a huge difference in perceived effort. HR got up to 160 at the end of the mile. Another good sign - after 0.5 of brisk jogging it went back down to 121. This is another indicator that the effort was to a large extent aerobic. When it is more severely anaerobic, HR hovers at 130 for a few miles unless I slow down to 9:00 pace.

I noticed that we were 30 seconds behind the 7:00 mile guy with 0.5 to go, and initiated the chase. We got him. Clocked the last 0.25 - 1:26. The first one by the GPS was 1:23, but I am not 100% sure it was accurate. I did feel that we eased off a bit on the second one, though, so it could have been right after all. Total time was 55:48.

Ran with the kids in the evening. Benjamin surprised me with a powerful surge on the last quarter. I looked at him and thought that if  his legs were a bit longer I'd be in serious trouble, especially pushing a double stroller. He hit the last quarter in 1:39.

Last Saturday the Fast Running Bloggers had quite a sweep in various road races. Steve Ashbaker, Ruth, Cody, Bill Cobler, Breanna, Dave Holt, and myself won. John Kissane, Cheston, and James Barnes took second. Bill Campbell (the Wild Bull) and Chris Rogers took third. So that is 7 first  places, 3 seconds, and 2 thirds - 12 top three finishes overall in just one day. Add to that Ryan Woods who ran 1500 meters taking 10th in a very competitive meet with the time of 3:47 - something that would have won with a large gap in almost any other race. We are starting to show some muscle. Keep up the good work, guys!

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From ashman on Wed, May 16, 2007 at 20:27:19

Thanks for emailing that video to me. That meant a lot.

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