Breaking the Wall

August 09, 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: 16.00 Year: 2314.91
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: 1185.83
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Did some sort of a redemption run after the Saturdays fiasco. Yes, I know I had every reason not to run well on Saturday, but I wanted to make sure it was a true neural fatigue no-warm up cocktail bummer rather than an indication of a more serious problem. So I told Jeff to pace me at 79 per quarter (5:16 pace) to failure, do not try to make up with a 78 if he accidentally hit an 80, do not hit any 78s. Jeff has to be given explicit instructions just like the Lamanites in Alma 23:2 regarding Nephite missionaries: "he sent a decree among them, that they should not lay their hands on them to bind them, or to cast them into prison; neither should they spit upon them, nor smite them, nor cast them out of their synagogues, nor scourge them; neither should they cast stones at them" - everything that he could be tempted to do to run me into the ground needs to be spelled out to him or else I am in deep trouble. But once he receives the instructions he follows them with the exactness of the sons of Helaman.

After failure the plan was to run my best to the finish and still try to get Five Fingers PR for the 5 mile tempo of 27:25.

So it went like this (yes I am a geek and I remember every quarter): 79, 81, 79, 78.5 (5:18.5), 78.5, 79, 79, 80 (5:16.5, 10:35), 79, 83 (13:17), 84, 84 (5:30,16:05), 86, 88, 85, 83.5 (5:42.5), 83.5, 83, 82, 80 (5:29). Total time 27:16.7, new Five Finger PR for the course, and only 28 seconds slower than shod best. 5K split around 16:41, 19 seconds faster than in Saturday race. Average HR 161, max 169 reached in the last quarter. After prior to 79 pace failure it was 165. Then it dropped to 162 as I slowed down to 84s. Did not see what it was at 88, but once we were doing 83s it got up to around 164. Around 3 miles legs started caving badly However, 86/88 quarter combination was enough to allow me to regroup and pick it back up to a respectable pace.

This workout eliminated some creeping doubts about getting old and worn down, etc. Nevertheless, the sensitivity of the nervous system to stress is still a concern. I really did not do that much before the race to stress it, most people would have handled that type of "stress" just fine. Part of the problem is that just about the only symptom of stress is that I run badly. So I just have to say - I know this is stress - I do not really feel it otherwise until I start to run hard.

Finished 10 miles with Jeff, and then added 2 more with Benjamin in 16:. He ran a quarter PR in 81 with the splits of 22 - 21 - 19 - 19. Due to the fatigue from the tempo I mispaced him again, but he recovered with a strong kick.

P.M. 2 with Jenny in 17:23. Julia was not feeling well today, so we put her in the stroller after the first mile in 9:48. Jenny at that point was 8 seconds ahead with Jeff. Jeff ran with us to 1.5, helped me push the stroller, then went on grass for 2 miles and ran to our house. Jenny's closing mile was 7:43, she wanted to earn a prize. 0.5 with Joseph in 5:17.

Five Fingers 2 Miles: 12.00Bare Feet Miles: 2.50
Night Sleep Time: 7.75Nap Time: 1.50Total Sleep Time: 9.25
From paul on Tue, Aug 04, 2009 at 19:47:14 from

People tell me that when you get old, the nervous system is the first thing to go.

From Nevels on Wed, Aug 05, 2009 at 14:36:10 from

Solid workout.

I've done similar workouts after bad races/bad workouts to eliminate the possibility of any underlying problems before they rear their ugly heads in the form of injuries.

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