Breaking the Wall

December 01, 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: 304.65 Year: 3606.17
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: 1657.61
Brown Crocs 3 Lifetime Miles: 806.96
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Kids did not run in anticipation of the cross-country race tonight except Benjamin who ran 3 miles. I did a 6 mile tempo run out and back on my usual Provo Canyon course. I felt like I usually do in such workouts, but I think finally have found the right words to describe it. I felt like a captive bird that has never been free but yet somehow knows freedom and yearns for it. More than that. It is more than just I wish I could be free. The bird knows that it does belong in that cage. I would compare it to a feeling I had while living in the Soviet Union. I had never been free, but somehow I knew the leash was too short and I should not have been on it. Most of my friends did not seem to be aware of the leash, and if they were they did not seem to mind. At least perhaps they thought that it was not practical to think about breaking away from the leash because it was next to impossible.

Now it seems I am going through this theme again trying to break away or break through what is impossible to break through - defective vertebrae. With every step it screams at me. No, there is no physical pain. But it is like a broken musical instrument. If I could just believe this instrument is not a musical instrument and was never supposed to be one I would treat it like the noise of a car engine - it is OK that it is not musical because it was never supposed to be. But something deep inside is telling me I am not dealing with some odd noisy mechanism, but a musical instrument of fine work that is out of tune due to a relatively small but difficult to fix problem.

So I spent 34 minutes 29.4 seconds fighting the trap today. Better said, shaking my fist at it and keeping the body and the spirit from giving up the fight. Mile splits: first three uphill 5:49, 5:58, 6:09 (17:55), then turnaround and then downhill 5:37, 5:34, 5:23 (16:34). 

P.M. Cross-country race for kids at Kiwani's park. The distance was 4 K. Benjamin won in 14:54 with his patented long kick. The race turned tactical. Benjamin was running with Casey Clinger, Grant Gardner, and another kid, I think his name was Madison,  at a pedestrian pace for the first 1.5 miles which they covered in around 9:22. Then Benjamin and Casey turned up the heat, which dropped Madison. With more heat Grant dropped back. And once Benjamin turned it on he was left alone and ended up beating Casey by 5 seconds. After the 6:15 pedestrian jog for the first 1.5 his last mile was 5:32.

Joseph ran a solid race winning the Sub-Bantams in 19:01. Jacob was second in the Sub-Bantams with 20:35. Both of them did better than in the last two races. We took the spikes off Joseph's shoes, and Jacob ran in Crocs. For Jacob I think it was a very solid time. This is 8:17 per mile average on grass with hills over the longest distance he's ever run, and he just recently turned 6. 

Jenny struggled today and finished 4th in the Midget girls with 21:08. Julia also struggled with 21:44, but other Bantam girls struggled more so she ended up winning her division.

I ran 0.5 with William later in the evening. 

Green Crocs 4 Miles: 12.50
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
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