Breaking the Wall

July 07, 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: 51.55 Year: 2011.51
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: 881.43
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Ran with Scott Hillman this morning. Very easy pace most of the way, just a bit faster than 8:00. Chatted in Russian, told him some Brezhnev jokes. It is hard to believe that I am old enough to remember Brezhnev speaking on TV. There were 4 channels available in Moscow back in the early 80s, and he would be on 3 of them at the same time. I am not sure if the 4th had him too. One of the jokes goes like this - a man is watching TV in Moscow. First channel - Brezhnev. He tries another - Brezhnev. Third one - same luck. Forth - a KGB man with a fist saying:'"If you keep switching channels, I'll show you where lobsters spend their winter!"

After about 6 miles were were done with the jokes and the Russian instruction, and got down to a bit of business - 2.5 tempo on the standard stretch from Utah Lake to Geneva road, so a slight net uphill. Ran the first 200 in 44, and it felt hard. Then ran the next 200 in 42 and it felt a lot easier. Settled into a nice a little slower than 5:30 pace. First mile in 5:35. After that Scott started struggling, so we backed off to 5:40. Went like that until the last quarter. Then picked it up a bit, and even more on the last 100 - ran in it in 16 seconds. Total time 13:56, last mile in 5:30 thanks to the kick.

Scott was really out of it afterwards for a bit - he laid on the ground and said he was dead. The Russian word for Sunday literally translates as Resurrection. So I told him in Russian that there was a reason for the day  after Saturday to be called the day of the Resurrection. That got him up and we finished the rest of the run. Ended up with a 13.16 total in 1:37:10, incidentally, just a bit over the half marathon.

Middle distance runners (Scott being one of them) are interesting creatures. On Thursday, after a warm-up of 2.84 Scott was able to do 2x1.5 at sub-5:20 pace with hardly any apparent struggle. So I thought 2.5 at 5:35-5:40 pace would be anywhere between relaxing and comfortably hard for him. But this time the warm-up was 6.2 miles! So apparently his slow twitch muscles tired out some, and he had to use more of his faster twitch ones more. Today after running 1.5 in 8:26 (5:38 pace) he felt like throwing up. And yet, he still had a kick of 16 seconds on the last 100 meters! Granted, he has more speed than me, probably 1.5 seconds faster in an all out 100. But still, adjusted for that, if I feel like throwing up with a mile to go, I will not run 17.5 on the last 100 meters, maybe 19 with a super-human effort. The difference is that he has some super-fast twitch fibers that do not work at all in a long race or interval. So no matter how badly he is hurting, they are going to be available for the kick. Whereas my fast-twitch fibers are really mid-grade - if I am pushing it even in a very long race, they are working their tail off. So come the finish, I have no kick, I've been kicking the entire race already. However, give me a slightly easier pace to where my mid-grade fibers do not have to work, and I'll run the last 100 almost as fast as I would if I were fresh.

Ran with the kids in the evening, and added some more - total of 5 for the evening run.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From adam on Mon, Jul 16, 2007 at 15:44:57

I thought it was you guys out on that stretch running. Seeing you all out there made me pick it up a bit- I got paranoid because I figured you were doing a 5 mile tempo and would catch me on the return to Utah lake, and I didn't want to get passed! I had these images of you two running me down the being chased mentality kicked in.

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