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. Total of 12. Benjamin did 8, Jenny 3.5, Julia 3, Joseph 3, Jacob 2, William 1. I did a tempo run for 2 miles from the canyon bridge to the house in 11:33.0. It started getting warm by then, but did not seem to bother me too much.

P.M. Did the strength work magic on my legs. I've been doing it for a while, but not recording it. In the last 4 months or so I've been doing one-leg vertical leg press 3 times a week with 165 lb  with 3x10 repetitions on each leg. I saw an improvement of about 7 seconds per mile in the tempo runs in the first couple of weeks, and then it plateaued. So I decided to try something different. I stumbled upon an interview with Victor Seluyanov, a Russian exercise physiologist with connection to the Russian national teams in various sports, who proposes that it is possible to cause myofibrillar hypertrophy in a slow-twitch fiber by filling it up with a moderate amount of hydrogen ions. This is not easy to achieve by just running because the moment you relax the muscle the mitochondria will neutralize the hydrogen ions. With a fast-twitch fiber achieving this is much easier because it does not have enough mitochondria to do the cleanup. However, the cleanup cannot happen when the muscle is contracted. So if you do an exercises that never lets the muscle relax, you achieve the effect.

He recommends performing very slow repetitions with a moderate weight never achieving the full range of either flexion or extension until you start experiencing a good amount of discomfort. His term for this type of exercise is "stato-dynamic" - an odd hybrid of static and dynamic in other words.

So I decided to try this - 90 lb on one leg of vertical leg press very slowing going back and forth between the knee angle of maybe 90 degrees and 150 degrees. The angle really does not matter as long as the knee is never fully extended or flexed or close. What matters is that towards the end you experience a certain type of burning pain. I've always associated it with the taste of lemon in the muscle - as if there were a taste receptor inside. For me doing it this way it took 15 repetitions to start feeling a significant amount of pain, and the last 5 require some mental toughness to get through properly. I could, of course, just push faster recruiting the fast twitch fibers and it would make it easier, but it would defeat the purpose of the exercise.

I did 3x20 on each leg. 

Schwinn Double Stroller Miles: 3.00Green Crocs 6 Miles: 12.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
From Bob on Thu, Aug 15, 2013 at 20:22:51 from

I use to do these all the time, but moved to the standard half squat instead because I needed to hit the groin and hams more, but one leg squats are great for the quads. Feel the burn they say!

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