Breaking the Wall

February 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: 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

First day of my special one day program to prepare for the Wasatch Back Relay. For those without sense of humor or understanding of the context. I am trying to poke fun at the popular trend to follow cram-style training plans to prepare for races. Aside from the fact that preparation for a long race cannot happen within a short period of time, the magic plan is not what does the job. If you are currently running 20 miles a week or less, if you can threw those plans a way, and just gradually increased the mileage based on how you feel week after week training as frequently as possible (ideally 6 days a week if the time allows) at a comfortable pace, you would get much better results. However, one-sentence plans are not marketable, therefore they are not given in popular running publications.

Ran with Nick McCombs and Jeff McClellan. We did a very leisurely warm-up, and then 6x400 with 400 recovery on the standard 400 meter stretch going towards the lake, which is a faster direction. Either direction is slower than the track because whichever way you go, there are small rises and drops, probably 1 seconds slower than the track towards the lake, and 1.5 slower the other way.

Splits - 72.4 - 68.9 - 69.1 - 68.9 - 67.4 - 64.0. The first one felt hard. The second felt harder. The third felt more relaxed, the fourth more like the third. The fifth felt just like the fourth even though it was faster. And the last one felt the best. Since Nick and Jeff have more speed, I let them do the work and drafted behind them. Then with 200 to go I wanted to pick it up, but there was not enough room on the trail and I was too lazy to do maneuvers to pass them, so I just told them to speed up. I did not feel like I was pushing the limits of my speed until the last 100, and I did not feel the lactic bear attack at all, rather I felt limited by my ability to turnover period when I did feel the limit.

Something magic happened to me from running with Nick and Jeff. At first, I was feeling slow, having them around almost did not make a difference. But then as the workout progressed I felt like I started to learn how to pull my foot off the ground quicker, and all of a sudden the fast pace started feeling a lot more bearable. I remembered a workout I did back in 2001 with the BYU track team. After a 1600 in 4:51, then 800 in 2:23, and 400 in 66 - all with full rest, I tucked myself into a pack to run the last 400 repetition. To my surprise, I ran a PR of 60 seconds, and it did not feel like a 100% all out 400, it felt more like just another repeat! It seems almost like the faster guys set the rhythm, and under the right conditions (not always by all means, this happens under special conditions) I can respond to it and somehow temporarily override my neurological issues with the foot stuck to the ground. This gives me an idea - if I could just keep those fast guys around me for long enough, and get them to cooperate to do the right type of workouts with me, that may fix the problem altogether.

Total of 7.7 for the workout.

Ran with the kids in the evening, total of 2.64. Wasatch Back Relay tomorrow. Nick and I will be on opposing teams - I am on MarathonGIS, and he is on the BYU team. I am running leg 1, he is on leg 10, gets the privilege of Ragnar. He will be racing Clyde on our team.

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