Breaking the Wall

January 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: 252.01 Year: 252.01
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. Ran with Daniel and Jeff. After the warm-up Jeff joined me for a portion of The Interval Tempo, while Daniel went on at an easy pace. I was still tired from the chess tournament on Saturday, so I adjusted the target pace accordingly. The plan was to warm up in 5:45, then 5:30 in the next mile, then hard in the last. Overall the tempo went better than I expected, but not quite according to plan.

Jeff went only 2 miles to be cautious as his calfs were feeling tight. First 0.5 was 2:55, then Jeff pushed it and we hit the mile in 5:41 (84, 82 quarters). Then we ran the next mile in 5:23 (80.5, 80.5, 81,81). That was faster than planned, but it did not feel too bad. However, without Jeff I knew it would be hard to speed up or even maintain in the third mile.

Third mile was difficult. 82,83,81,79 - 5:25, total time 5:25. In the first half HR was 162, then hit 166 in the third quarter, and all the way up to 169 in the last quarter. Slightly higher than normal at all paces, probably due to warmer weather.

Cooled down with Jeff, got to 11.47 miles. Then we picked up Benjamin and ran 2 more miles in 15:28 with the last mile in 6:47. I ran that portion barefoot. Noticed that my HR was matching Jeff's when running barefoot. Normally mine is 15-20 bpm lower. Now I am remembering that Jack Daniels noticed the same things in his studies - barefoot economy is not very good. At least for runners with tender feet. In Five Fingers I hit normal HR for the pace. So my suspect is that when running barefoot you have to reduce friction forces until your feet get tough. And those friction forces are probably an important component of running economy. Again, for runners that are used to shoes. Long-time barefoot runners might not be relying on the friction as much.

Another piece on info in the friction forces department. I noticed I have a very hard time running barefoot up a steep grade (going north under the 800 North bridge), and the problem is the friction becomes more than I can handle.

Changing subjects, I found out that my performance in the chess tournament earned me a rating of 1288. Thanks to the emphasis on sports in the Russian culture there is a fairly decent way to compare performances in different sports. They have a system of rankings in each sport, including chess and running. So my chess performance is equivalent to about an 18 minute 5 K.

P.M. 2 barefoot with Jenny in 17:48. Julia ran the first 1.5 in 13:31.

Vibram Five Fingers Miles: 11.47Bare Feet Miles: 2.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 9.00
From Maurine/Tarzan on Wed, Jun 03, 2009 at 17:36:23 from

Chess is a sport?

From Sasha Pachev on Wed, Jun 03, 2009 at 17:42:43 from

In Russia it is considered a sport. Which perhaps is why you find a lot of Russian names in the world's top player lists.

From Phoenix on Sun, Jul 05, 2009 at 18:35:48 from

That was me that passed you and Jeff heading the other way on the bike trail yesterday.

Nice job in the tournement. My boys and I almost played in that one, but I had a grant deadline that demanded all my mental firepower and extra time. The tournements are great. We have enjoyed them and it has made me realize why I like chess to so much and start to re-sharpen my game.

From Sasha Pachev on Tue, Jul 07, 2009 at 13:46:32 from


It was nice to see you on the trail. I did recognize you in spite of the mustache. I did read your report about Michael's 53:00 10 K. That is very good for a natural sprinter, and show that he might be like Iain Hunter when he grows up - very good in the 800, but enough endurance for a respectable marathon as well. If you are ever in town, bring him to play chess.

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