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

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2017-09-29 09:04:00
Workout Totals: Distance10.042Time1:10:34.80Pace7:01.71
Today we did some time trials on the track, and they went better than last week.

Matthew got a PR in the 800 with 3:49.3 - splits 24,27(51),28,30(58,1:49),31,30(1:01),30,29(59,2:00). I think he actually has even more speed than that, but the challenge is getting it to come out on the track. Family record in the 4 and under division.

One lesson I learned is that a motivated four-year-old can run himself into the ground if you let him. Matthew insisted for about a week and a half on running one mile a day on the "big boy" course which is very hilly. I though if he is volunteering he should be able to handle the stress - thinking (incorrectly) that four-year-olds always choose to run way below what they can handle. On the first day he ran 8:07, which shocked me. But then with each day he started getting slower and slower. Finally when he slowed down to 8:58 I told him he had to go back to the little boy course which is mostly flat and run only half a mile. After a week of running only half mile his speed came back.

William broke 6:00 for the first time running 5:59.3. Jacob helped pace him. He opened with 87. I was a bit concerned that we were going to have the repeat of last week as I sensed some signs of struggle. But then in the second lap he held it together better than I though he would running 91, and then continued to hold it together in the third lap with 92. In the last lap he was able to kick in 87 which brought him his first sub-6:00. And he managed to do it before turning 9 - our second child to achieve this (Benjamin broke 6:00 at 11, Joseph at 9).

Stephen ran an 800 PR as well - 3:13.3 improving by 4 seconds. Knowing that he likes to sandbag I told him to start out fast. He opened in 22, then settled to 24 (46), then dragged through the next 200 in 50 hitting 400 in 1:36. At this point I got on his case, but it did not really click for another 200 - 2:27 split at 600 (51). Then I told him - kick like you did in the mile, and he did - 24, 22 (46) and that got him the new record.

I did not have Joseph and Jacob run time trials today. Joseph was recovering from a cold and ran only 4 miles. Jacob I think is just overtrained from running 5 miles a day too often.

Jacob and Matthew are the two of our children that we need to watch out for in the matters of overtraining. They are both very much goal oriented. In fact, both had a similar problem at the age of 3 - when asked to say a family prayer they both tried very hard and got very upset if they could not do it. Both are hard workers and like to push the envelope in training - even though Matthew is only 4.

After the time trials, I did the rest of my run (total of 10 today). 2 with Joseph, the rest alone. I repeated the 2 mile tempo run down the canyon from Tuesday. In fact, I hit pretty much every split in the exact same time with the total at any point up to 1.75 varying by no more than 2 seconds. I had 5:33 at the mile. Somehow I splipped to 85 between 1.5 and 1.75. But then I kicked and it was a surprise. I was not feeling super-energetic, so I though maybe I'll run 75. But it was 71.6 with the total time 10:56.6, last mile 5:23. I felt I reached a good balanced between stride length and turnover on this one.

Then at the very end of the run I did my usual uphill quarter kick. This time the scientific experiment was being obstructed by mild headwind. I ended up with 77.6, 0.5 slower than under similar circumstances on Tuesday - with the difference of small headwind, slightly more running total, more running fast, and faster kick in the tempo run.

All these numbers are good for tracking down what different things do to me.
Leg 1:Distance0.496Time3:49.30Pace7:42.30
Matthew's time trial.
Leg 2:Distance1.000Time5:59.30Pace5:59.30
William's time trial.
Leg 3:Distance0.496Time3:13.30Pace6:29.72
Stephen's time trial.
Leg 4:Distance4.020Time31:31.10Pace7:50.42
Leg 5:Distance2.000Time10:56.60Pace5:28.30
Tempo down the canyon.
Split 1:Distance1.750Time9:45.00Pace5:34.29
Split 2:Distance0.250Time1:11.60Pace4:46.40
Leg 6:Distance2.030Time15:05.20Pace7:25.91
Cool-down with a kick.
Split 1:Distance1.780Time13:47.60Pace7:44.94
Split 2:Distance0.250Time1:17.60Pace5:10.40

Red Crocs Miles: 10.04
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From Donald Davis on Sun, Oct 01, 2017 at 13:35:36 from

Wow, those new milestones must be exciting for your kids. Kudos!

From Rob Murphy on Wed, Oct 04, 2017 at 15:24:37 from

Do your kids play soccer, baseball, or any other sports beside running?

From Sasha Pachev on Wed, Oct 04, 2017 at 15:39:22 from

Nothing other than back yard games sometimes involving a soccer ball or some other kind of ball. All other issues aside, we simply do not have the time to do a sports taxi service.

From Tom Slick on Wed, Oct 04, 2017 at 16:40:08 from

Busy hands are happy hands!

From Rob Murphy on Wed, Oct 04, 2017 at 19:25:46 from

I hear you on the time. I have two kids and it's a commitment. Makes me long for the days when a kid could learn a sport in the neighborhood on the sandlot!

From Sasha Pachev on Wed, Oct 04, 2017 at 20:28:21 from

Now try that with ten :-) So we have to simplify: family and anybody around who cares to join is the team, Dad is the coach for what he knows (running mostly), otherwise the kids are self-coached.

I am trying to find a time/cost effective way to get them to have meaningful racing experiences, though. USATF cross-country/track has been the place holder of sorts but not ideal, road races are limited and expensive, junior/high school running has too many strings attached and is awfully time consuming. I would like to see something like this - once or twice a month on a Saturday morning or maybe a weekday night 50 or so kids of various ages and maybe a few adults including their parents/relatives gather on some kid-safe measured road/paved trail course not far away from home and race each other over 1 or 2 miles. Free entry for all. A timer at the end that yells out the finish times and records a finish video. The video gets posted later. If a volunteer wants to extract the times and places out of that and post it, he can. If some sponsor wants to donate prizes, then have prizes, otherwise, the prize is that the world gets to see the video of you finishing ahead of your friend. Always do it on the same course, or at least periodically repeat the same courses so you can keep track of the progress.

My challenges are that I am not that great at organizing things, and also it is hard to get people to think out of the box and focus on what really matters. People seem to gravitate towards large organizations. But maybe I can figure something out.

From Himself on Thu, Oct 05, 2017 at 03:30:19 from

I think this would work well in Utah: It's great for kids/families.

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