Breaking the Wall

November 24, 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: 232.17 Year: 3533.69
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: 734.48
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Heart of Holladay 5 K. 16:29, 11th place. Very competitive race today, and on top of that I did not run a good one.

Decided to try an experiment - go out slower. In the past, this has unfailingly resulted in slowing down even further at the end, but I wanted to see if anything has changed. It has not. First two miles - 5:06 (slight up), 5:09 (down) with Nate Hornok. Felt like a tempo, almost. Then the hill came. I made to to 12:20 into the race with Nate - about the middle of the hill. Then the muscles just refused to go. Third mile in 5:38. Adjusted for the hill, it was worth about 5:23. No kick on the last 0.1, although I tried. Got passed by Steve Ashbaker, Tim Stringfellow, and Josh Steffen.

Finished, and immediately ran back to meet Benjamin. The hill that killed me killed him too. Both of us need to work on hills. He finished in 25:11 - would have been 20 second faster without the fits. We are going to work on it.

Then went back on the course with Steve Ashbaker and did a tempo. We ran it in 18:08 at marathon pace effort, and it felt very comfortable. I am indeed suffering from the Mike Kirk syndrome - not much difference between 5 K and marathon pace. Afterwards, a long cooldown.

Ran with the kids at home, and then a mile with ankle weights at night.

So this race along with the other two 5 Ks. show that I have about a 7-10 minute anaerobic window at the start of a 5 K to run fast. If do not use then, I cannot use it later for some odd reason. Weird - would not expect that in a marathoner. The question is what to do about it.

I decided to try a new approach. The true reason I want my 5 K to be faster is so my marathon would go up with it. That means I should try to raise my aerobic capability, and not worry too much about anaerobic. So I decided to try something that Lydiard suggest, and that has actually worked for me on a couple of occasions in the past (December/January 2002, and summer of 1985) - daily tempo runs of about 6 miles at marathon pace for aerobic conditioning. I'll try it for the next two weeks to see if it does me any good.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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