Breaking the Wall

January 22, 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

The day of growth today. 5x400 + 3 mile tempo + 5x400 in the Provo Canyon. This workout used to be unpleasant. It did not feel particularly unpleasant today. Having Ted around helped quite a bit.

Warm-up, then the anaerobics. Exact opposite of aerobics. Usual morning headwind out of the canyon. Slower on the way up. 70.0 down - 76.4 up - 70.5 down - 75.9 up - 69.8 down. So far so good. Felt strong but not fast.

Jogged up to Nunn's Park. I decided to call the barrel that we start the tempo from Vladimir Kutz in honor of the Russian runner who won the Olympics in 5000 and 10000 in 1956. Before he started running he was a pudgy kid which earned him a nickname of bochka or barrel in English. He is also known for a special coaching method - drop a group of runners 20 K from the training base in the middle of nowhere, and tell them that lunch starts in an hour, whoever is late does not get to eat.

We gave Ted a 30 second head start to make things interesting. After the first 900 he actually increased it to 31 seconds. I noticed that along with the 3:21 split at 1000 and decided to get down to business. 5:18 at the mile. 10:34 at 2 (5:16). I've closed the gap, but Ted is still 16 seconds ahead. Now I'd better really get down to business. The greyhound instinct is starting to kick in, and Ted sure knows how to exploit it. I cannot believe it - I am now running 5:10 pace, and Ted is edging towards me very slowly, this means big trouble if and when I catch him, he'll give me a run for my money on the kick. With a quarter to go I figured if match or beat his fastest quarter in the interval session, I should be safe. Easier said than done, that would have to be 71. I managed 71.5, last mile 5:04, total time 15:38, passed Ted with 50 meters to go. Ted ran a great time - 16:08, a 30 second PR for the course for him.

The tempo felt hard, but it seemed whenever I needed a boost of speed, I could reach deep down and find it. That is a very good sign. Also, I was not mentally fighting the idea of doing 400s afterwards, another good sign.

Ted's hip was hurting, so he decided to do 200s to make it a bit easier on it. That helped me a lot - he paced me through the first 200 on every one of the intervals. Ran a bit faster overall - 69.0 down -  77.1 up - 69.6 down - 75.1 up - 66.3 down.

Cooled down, got 13.2 for the workout.

Ran with Julia in the afternoon. Benjamin heard about the meet in Payson and wanted to go. So we all went. Ran with Jenny, then watched the meet. Benjamin ran 50 meters in 9.3, long-jumped 7 feet ( new record), and then there was the 1600 meters. They announced that the parents were invited to join. That was very good as there was a fairly strong headwind on the back stretch. I gave Benjamin a goal of running no laps slower than 1:45.

This was a 440 yard track. After the meet I realized  that due to a mistake we had actually run about 1607 meters instead of 1600. Not a big difference, but still nice to know we've run more.

Benjamin ran a PR of 6:48 with the laps of 1:43, 1:43, 1:42, and 1:40. I was very impressed. He said he started hurting at 525 meters, and it kept getting worse with each lap. Unusual mental toughness for a kid so young. He took third place overall.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From Diddy on Fri, Jun 01, 2007 at 12:41:19 for the running impaired...

What's the difference between

Easy, Marathon Pace, Threshold, and VO2 Max miles?

I get the gist of it (obviously easy and marathon make sense, though I don't know what qualifies as marathon pace) but feel free to expand for those of us who don't run as a hobby, though we are in the minority here.

From Sasha Pachev on Sat, Jun 02, 2007 at 16:56:05

Easy pace - conversational and relaxing.

Marathon pace - the pace that approaches your marathon race pace. Comfortably hard. For a fit runner it is not conversational - he can comfortably say about one short sentence every 2 minutes or so.

Threshold pace - physiologically, the fastest pace when the lactic acid level can stabilize. A fit runner will be able to sustain it for an hour in a race. For a fit runner it requires a lot of concentration to sustain it.

VO2 Max - physiologically, the pace such that if you go any faster, you are not using any more oxygen. A fit runner can sustain it for 10-15 minutes in a race. This pace sustained for more than 2 minutes hurts a lot regardless of the level of fitness.

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