Breaking the Wall

July 04, 2020

Recent EntriesHomeJoin Fast Running Blog Community!PredictorHealthy RecipesSasha Pachev's RacesFind BlogsMileage BoardTop Ten Excuses for Missing a RunTop Ten Training MistakesDiscussion ForumRace Reports Send A Private MessageWeek ViewMonth ViewYear View
15% off for Fast Running Blog members at St. George Running Center!


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: 291.02 Year: 1935.71
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: 805.63
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Woke up, the calf felt significantly better walking, but still quite a bit of pain. Nevertheless, good enough to run 10 miles on. Was originally planning on running in my old Nike shoes to get more cushioning, but then had a crazy thought - try Five Fingers. Somehow in spite of all logic against it the feedback from my body was that Five Fingers would be a better option. So I put them on.

Was able to run with only minor pain right from the start. As the run progressed, kept adjusting the form to minimize the calf strain. Eventually I figured out how to turn the calf slam into a calf stretch. Amazing! All you do is dorsi-flex the ankle (pull the foot towards yourself to make it look like you are duck) prior to landing, and it does not hurt. You are just getting a pleasant calf stretch from the impact. I kept speeding up from 9:30 pace at the start to 7:00 pace at the finish. My total time for 10.1 was 1:16:58. The calf felt the same when I was done.

Jogged another 0.1 to meet Sarah and jogged with her some more, but will not count is as running mileage since she was going around 15:00 pace. My rough standard for running mileage is sub-12:00 unless recovering after a hard interval.

The quads were only very slightly sore, but so were the gluts and the hamstrings, and I am not sure if it is from the marathon or yesterdays bike ride. So the calf problem perhaps was a blessing in disguise. It forced me to run slower, and not hammer the rest of the body so much. This is actually the first time I came out of DesNews with quads that I can run on the next day without wanting to scream. So I guess now I know the secret, or at least one way to do it. Run race pace for the first 2 miles, a little slower later on, get to the half in 1:13, then gradually taper off to 6:20-6:30 pace in the last 8 miles. I have always wondered if I could avoid soreness by running it slower, now I know.

Recalled a conversation after DesNews. I could barely walk afterwards. As I limped towards Matt's car, I wondered out loud: "How in the world did I manage to run 6:45 pace in the last mile on a calf that now would not even let me walk without a serious limp?!" One runner overhead it and answered: "By the grace of God!"

I contemplated the depth of the answer and agreed with his assessment. Of course, there is a physiological explanation. I was already running at mile 25, my HR was higher, there was more blood flow to the damaged area, the muscle was warm, the endorphines were helping me dull the pain, and being in a mental state of racing helped my brain disregard pain signals as well. But I wonder how often we provide those technical explanations that in essence say something to the effect "it worked because it worked", "the car was moving because its wheels were spinning while in contact with the ground", and in the process having filled our minds with enough non-essential detail and thus satisfied our curiosity, or at least having satiated our ability to receive knowledge, we fail to understand the more profound force behind the event. We acknowledge the creation and its mechanics, but fail to give credit to the Creator. Why? Because He does not reveal Himself unless we have faith. With faith, we gain the ability to see past the fact that the spinning wheels make the car move and are able to recognize that the car is moving because somebody is driving it, and that it will go where the driver wants it to be.

P.M. 1 with Julia in 10:48, 2 with Benjamin in 16:34, Jenny ran the first 1.5 in 12:43.

Five Fingers - 800.55 miles.

Night Sleep Time: 7.75Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.75
From JeffC on Sat, Jul 26, 2008 at 13:59:34

I enjoyed your comments for the past couple of days. Thanks for sharing. It lets me know that even the elites are human and suffer many of the same aches and pains as the rest of us, they just have a god given talent to run and recover much faster. Due in no small part to their incredible training, drive and dedication. Thanks.

From marion on Sun, Jul 27, 2008 at 19:34:49

Thanks for the last paragraph. It's is SO true! I really needed it today! :)

Add Your Comment.
  • Keep it family-safe. No vulgar or profane language. To discourage anonymous comments of cowardly nature, your IP address will be logged and posted next to your comment.
  • Do not respond to another person's comment out of context. If he made the original comment on another page/blog entry, go to that entry and respond there.
  • If all you want to do is contact the blogger and your comment is not connected with this entry and has no relevance to others, send a private message instead.
Only registered users with public blogs are allowed to post comments. Log in with your username and password or create an account and set up a blog.
Debt Reduction Calculator

Featured Announcements
New Kids on the Blog
(need a welcome):
Lone Faithfuls
(need a comment):