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. Started with 2 miles with Benjamin in 16:50 pushing William in the stroller. Then Sarah was all worked up because the kids were awake and took Joseph for a run with her while she pushed William and Jacob before I realized what was up. Sometimes women do not think straight. Once I did realized that Sarah was planning on pushing more weight than she could handle for 2 miles I jogged to rescue her from the streak of wild thinking and found her about 0.1 away from the house already coming back from Joseph's run. I took the stroller and Joseph, and ran back to the house while she did the rest of her run.

Then I went on my regular run. It was nice and cool when I ran with Benjamin, but by the time I started it got warmer. So I mentally adjusted my HR expectations for what was healthy, and was actually curious what it would hit in warmer temperatures at faster speeds. What I have noticed in the past is that when it is warmer or I am dehydrated the HR is signficantly higher at slower speeds, but only a little bit higher once I speed up.

The plan was again 2x2.5 at a brisk pace. I am trying an experiment this week (and will probably do it every other week or so). I need to find an effective neuromuscular stimulus. Obviously the faster you run, the longer you do it for, and the more frequently you do it, the more stimulus you get. The question is how much is too much. The answer is not easy.  I cannot push the heart to its true limit. My muscles are never sore. My bones never hurt. The limit is more subtle. It is somewhere in the nervous system, or maybe neuroendocrinal system, or in other words either the nerves or the glands or both are the limiting factor. How in the world do you train a gland? Especially if you do not know what that gland is. And glands are funny things. They do not hurt like muscles. You push a muscle too hard and it immediately starts whining at you. The gland  has a tendency towards passive-aggressive behavior, it will remember everything you've done wrong at some random time in the future and get you for it when you least expect it.

But going off intuition I decided to try something like this. 2x2.5 at a bit sub-6:00 pace daily for a week. Alternate with week of normal hard/easy sequence. Adjust by feel as necessary. Adjust by feel here is the key. It is like solving an equation using a numerical method. Where you start does not matter that much as long as it is somewhere close to reasonable. What is important is that you evaluate correctly after every iteration where you should go next to approach the solution.

So I warmed up and then ran 2.5 in 14:37. The pace fluctuated some. I would get excited and speed up to 5:45. Then I would space out and slow down to 5:55. HR at the end climbed to 155 with the last two quarters in 86 (5:44 pace). Some mucus but no side ache. Felt more energetic than yesterday. Took it as a sign that the body was healed enough to run one more of those. So I did it on the way back, same stretch. This time I felt more motivated to push, so I did. I had a song going through my head. It was a sacrament hymn. I was not driven by its rhythm, but rather by the depth of the message. I ended up with 14:32. The pace was more steady, but again there were surges and lapses. HR got up to 156 in the last mile, and went up as high as 160 in the last quarter done in 86. That quarter is uphill, though, and usually produces higher heart rates for the same pace.

Jogged home and finished 10.1 in 1:09:48.

P.M. 2 with Jenny pushing William in the stroller in 17:50. Julia ran the first 1.5 in 13;58 with us.

Five Fingers 2 Miles: 12.25Bare Feet Miles: 2.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 9.00
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