Breaking the Wall

August 13, 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: 88.07 Year: 2386.98
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: 1257.89
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Decided to try an experiment. I've done the 3 mile tempo stretch from 10.5 miles in the middle of the 20 mile run over the last three weeks hitting the times of 15:55, 16:05, and 16:06. So I wondered what would happen if I did it fresh. Benjamin and I drove to the Canyon View Park in the Provo Canyon, then he rode along with me on a bike as I did a 2 mile warm-up followed by the tempo run on the same downhill course, about 1-2% grade. I hit the splits of 5:18, 5:24, 5:22 to finish in 16:04.7. Essentially the same result as in the middle of a long run. This provides some food for thought. Obviously there is some limiting factor involved that is not fatigue related as it does not seem to matter if I've run a 2 mile warm-up or a 10 mile warm-up. But I do not know what to make of it. Need some time to think.

Jogged some more, then we dropped off Benjamin's bike at the park, and he ran 4.3 miles with me. He got going at the end and his last mile was 6:13. Got home ran another mile with Julia. She did a total of 1.5 with 0.5 with Jenny. Jenny could only do 0.5 because her leg was hurting. I ended up with a total of  11.5 miles.

P.M. 1.5 with Joseph in 12:59. William insisted on going for a run, so I ran 200 meters with him in 1:17. That was quite remarkable as he does not yet quite talk. He says things here and there, but you can never count on him understanding verbal instructions. And of course, he still wears a diaper. But he can run! Then did 0.25 with Jacob in 2:37. Then I decided to try another experiment. I did a calculation that if you turn over at 180 with a stride length of exactly 6 feet, that is 4:53 mile or 2:08:11 marathon, which is the goal I feel I should set my eyes on, even though it does appear unachievable. But that is what faith is all about. Achieving things that appear achievable is science, it takes no faith. If you want your faith to grow, you need to set your eyes on things that appear unachievable. Ironically, I've helped a lot of bloggers achieve what to them looked unachievable, but for me it was science. With myself, I do not have a mortal to ask advice from to whom what appears unachievable to me would be science. And I do not have the gift of beholding of angels, so all I've got is my faith and quiet whisperings of the Holy Ghost, which I hope I can hear and understand.

Anyway, I figured that 180 stride rate is about the highest sustainable for me in the marathon, also it appears to be a common denominator among the guys that run 2:08. I can sustain 180 stride rate in the marathon, so the missing link therefore is the stride length. The difference is that I do about 5 feet, while a world-class runner does about 6 feet. So I wanted to get a better feel for what its like to run with a 6 foot long stride length. I laid my "magic" squares out 6 feet apart for 102 feet, and did some strides. I wanted to know the highest possible stride rate I could get with this stride length. It was around 210. My fastest time was 4.8, which is around 15.4 for 100 meters. I really liked the feel of the stride. It felt like I was running a good quarter. So in other words, 6 foot stride length is not completely unnatural to me. It just takes something that I cannot quite grasp to extend it from a quarter to a longer distance. I wonder if the critical element is connected to being able to turn over at 240 at that stride length, and if I learned that, I'd be able to relax with 180 stride rate/6 foot stride length. In addition to learning the high turnover, maybe what I should try to do next is try to run with 180 stride length/6 foot stride rate and try to understand why it is not natural to me.

I figure I did about 0.25 in the strides. So about 2 miles for the evening run.


Green Crocs 1 Miles: 13.50
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.50Total Sleep Time: 8.50
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