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. 12.7 miles total.Jenny, Julia, and Joseph did 1. Benjamin did 3. Cross-country race in the evening. I ran into Cliff Reed, a 56-year-old runner with a 3:07 life time marathon PR, and most recent best 3:42. We ran together, and I talked him into doing a 3 mile tempo run on my standard course - Nunn's Park to the mouth of the canyon. He was planning Yasso 800s the next day. I told him most likely he did not need to do that, but as a cut off to see if there was any chance that he did (he is 56 years old after all), I set a target time of 23:00 for the 3 mile tempo assuming his goal in the marathon was 3:35 in St. George. He smashed it while remaining conversational in the first 2 miles. The splits were 7:11 - 7:11 - 6:51  with 21:13 total time. I told him he had enough speed to run his life time best, but he needed more marathon-specific endurance, which comes mostly from mileage.

P.M. Cross-country race at Kiwani's park. We had all the kids except Stephen participate as it was only 1 K.

Benjamin won overall with 3:07 with a 19 second margin over second place. He looked great. His stride had some turnover today, not just the stride length and he looked like a professional runner - very smooth and gracious. That's the best I've seen him look ever.

Jenny made her come back to racing with the third place in the Midget girls division and the time of  4:05. The winning time was 3:34 - Madison Malmgren. Based on 800 meter PR (3:08) relative to Benjamin (2:23) we should have seen exactly the time she ran.

Joseph won the Sub-Bantam's with 4:28. However, something was wrong with him. He ran faster in the 2 K. I was expecting to see at least 4:10, and possibly under 4:00 based on intuition. Mathematically, prorating off Benjamin and 800 meter track PR (3:07), he should have run 4:04. His time in the 3 K was also rather slow relative to his 2 K, but at least it was decent and you could write it off as struggles from the lack of experience racing 3 K. But he does know how to race for distances 1 mile and shorter - we do time trials frequently, and he successfully raced in the 2 K. I am suspecting something is wrong with his spikes. His best race so far was in Crocs, which I find rather odd - I thought spike would win hands down over Crocs on cross-country. But I suppose little kids have a hard time using the spikes. Benjamin ran great in spikes, though.

Julia won the Bantam girls with 4:29 finishing right behind Joseph. I was expecting her to win, and I was expecting around this time intuitively more or less. Prorating off Benjamin and 800 track PR (3:16) she should have run 4:16, but I was not expecting that because she does not know how to run fast in a race and she has a wide fluctuation in performance from day to day. However, this win should give her a nice confidence booster.

Jacob struggled more than anybody today. His time was 5:07 and his form did not look good - he looked like he was limping. His time should have been at least 4:40 based on the 2 K. Pro-rated off 800 m track PR (3:25) and Benjamin's performance, we get 4:28, but again 4:40 would have been more reasonable as he still does not quite know how to race - he just barely turned 6. But not 5:07. I am suspecting very strongly the problem is in the spikes. This still gave him 4th place in Sub-bantams which is 8 years and younger.

Even though Benjamin's performance was very good, William impressed me the most of everybody. He asked if he could run the race the day before. I was hesitant - he would have had to run around the field unsupervised. He is at the age where he might decide to just wonder off the course, and then good luck finding him. But I prayed and I felt that we should let him run and he would be fine. So we signed him up. He hesitated at the start not quite knowing what to do. Then he started running only to fall down 50 meters into the race. He lay on the grass for 5 seconds or so, then got up without expressing any negative emotions, which was quite remarkable for a child 3 years and 10 months old, and resumed running. He actually ended up beating a 6 year old girl, and finished with the time of 6:28, which is 10:24 per mile pace.  That is actually what I was expecting under the assumption that he would run all the way without stopping or getting lost, which was a very optimistic assumption. But he did it!

Green Crocs 4 Miles: 12.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
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