Breaking the Wall

February 22, 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: 81.04 Year: 418.47
Saucony Type A Lifetime Miles: 627.15
Bare Feet Lifetime Miles: 446.12
Nike Double Stroller Lifetime Miles: 124.59
Navy Crocs 2 Lifetime Miles: 1576.28
Neon Crocs 1 Lifetime Miles: 1353.22
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with Jeff. 2.62 warm-up. Noticed during the warm-up that I was running faster than normal and not as sleepy. Jeff and I speculated if taking a day off work made a difference. I've had this happen before - neural fatigue, then do not work for an extra day, and all of a sudden feeling the power coming back. And the opposite too - lots of work that requires mental focus, then neural fatigue symptoms full blast.

Then 5 mile Vladmir Kuts tempo. Kuts won the Olympic gold in 5000 and 10000 in 1956. In the 10000 he wore out his main competitor Gordon Pirie with a sequence of hard quarter mile long surges. Thus I decided to name this workout in his honor.

The plan was to run 90 seconds for the recovery quarters, and as fast as I could in the fast quarters given the recovery constraints. This workout serves multiple purposes:

Work on race specific speed. Regular 400 meter repeats work on something else - they teach you to run 400 meters essentially fresh. Starting HR for me would be 100-120. In this workout, starting HR is 150-155, and even as high as 160 in the later intervals.

Teach better economy in the marathon pace range. Something happens when you start thinking of 6:00 pace as something you do in between intervals to recover. You run more relaxed, and try to savor every step, and every gasp of breath as if it were your last one.

Reboot the nervous system. We play a trick on it. We say, go fast for just a quarter, then it's break time. Somehow this works. All of a sudden it fires harder than it would have otherwise and does not quit. Yet in the end there is not much of a break. The brain just thinks there is going to be a break. And I think the constant jerking tends to wake it up as well.

I thought the recent struggles maintaining 5:00 pace for as little as a mile would make consistently averaging 80 a challenge. However, I ended up doing much better than expected.

Jeff was in charge of the recovery pace to keep it honest. That helped a lot. He also took charge on the fast quarters, which kept me honest as well.

Splits: 89, 75, 89, 75 (5:28), 91, 74, 91, 76 (5:32), 91, 74 (13:45 at the turnaround), 94, 76 (5:35), 89, 77, 90, 76 (5:32), 91, 78, 90, 75 (5:34) - 27:41.2 for 5 miles. This was the fastest time for this tempo since DesNews. On Saturday all I could do running much more evenly paced was 28:06.

HR - climbed to 163 at the end of most intervals, back down to 150 at the end of each recovery. On the last one Jeff was yelling at me with a very loud voice to give him five. I did all I could, and this drove HR up to 168.

Afterwards ran a cool down with Jeff to 10.5 total, then 1.5 with Jacob in the stroller, then 2 with Benjamin running and Julia in the stroller in 15:44. We were out of soy milk, so we ran to Albertsons.

P.M. 1 with Julia in 11:13, 1.5 with Jenny in 13:48 during Benjamin's soccer game at Wasatch elementary. Benjamin's team won 3-0. Jenny lost her bunny. Although she is fast enough to be an asset on your average high school cross country team, she is still only 8 and does get upset about her lost precious bunny. We have an idea of where it may have been left. When we came to look for it later Phil Olsen's son told us he had seen it, and showed us the approximate location, but it was not anywhere near. I looked for it this morning again, and I found just about everything of greater interest for someone to pick up except for Jenny's bunny. Jenny is very upset. There was a cross-country meet going on around that time as well. If you know anything about Jenny's bunny, send us a note.

T4 Racer - 501.93 miles.

Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 9.00
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