Breaking the Wall

April 02, 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: 211.63 Year: 851.13
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: 1679.47
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Steve Ashbaker (the Dark Horse) joined me this morning. For some reason I woke up at around 3 AM, and just felt too excited about life to sleep. So I read the scriptures, then still could not fall asleep, so I worked some. Then I was able to fall asleep. Got up at 8, Steve was running a bit late, which was nice because I had slept in. During our warm-up we literally ran into the Domestic Violence Awareness 5 K - the crowd at the start of the race was blocking our path. They told us it was going to start in 2 minutes, Tom Lee was there, we decided to pace him. We went out at around 6:10 pace. After the first mile, the leaders looked temptingly close although they must have had about 40 seconds on us. The temptation was more than Steve could bear. He went after them like a young stallion released from a corral and running through a wide field. I figured I could finish pacing Tom, this would give him a faster time, and leave me more energy for our planned tempo run later. Tom did OK until around 3 K mark, then he started running out of steam. Probably a neurological issue, I've experienced the symptoms myself many times. He hung on to finish in a respectable 19:40 for this course which had a significant amount of turns and uphill, and no elevation drop. This gave him first place in the masters. Steve almost got the winner, but ran out of road finishing in 17:42, 12 seconds behind. He also ended up running some extra distance because of missing a 180 turn over by DI.

Then we jogged to the start of the Provo River 5 Mile Tempo. The plan was to go at whatever pace, based on how we felt, somewhere in the area of marathon pace. For me, this would be a test of recovery from the marathon, and general fitness and health. If I could run sub-28:00 without busting my gut or a bit slower feeling like it is a jog, that would be good, I can start training more or less normally next week with 3 tempo days. If breaking 28:00 required a heroic effort, or I could not do it at all, then something is seriously wrong and I need to take it easy another week, get more sleep, eat more carbs, and more garlic.

We went through the first mile in 5:38 trading quarters. Steve was feeling the effects of his stallion run in the 5 K earlier, on top of the fatigue of the marathon. He wanted to back off. I said, let's at least try to keep the 5:40 guy in check. We did the next mile in 5:40. Steve started to drop back a bit. Got 14:06 at 2.5, the pace felt very comfortable, good sign. Watching the 28:00/5:36 guy from behind like a vulture getting ready to strike. Steve stopped at 2.5, not feeling too good, but then he decided he did not want to run the remaining 2.5 slow as it started raining harder, so he just coasted through it at a milder tempo pace. Next quarter after the 180 turn was 1:26, oops, my lunch (the 28:00 guy) is running away, got to get him. Kicked into gear, decided to do the remainder of the run at threshold pace. Next quarter in 1:21, 5:35 mile. Next mile was 5:30, but the quarters gradually digressed to 1:22, and then down to 1:23. Not sure if this was fatigue from the marathon, the left over from the mini stomach flu on Thursday, or just the shoes getting heavier, the legs getting colder, and the puddles getting deeper from the rain. Now one second ahead of my lunch, but I do not get to eat it if he passes me back. Next uphill quarter in 1:25. Not good, the lunch has caught up. Next two quarters in 1:24, just trying to keep my lunch at bay, staying right with him. Picked it up on the last one, ran 1:20, 4 seconds ahead of lunch, total time 27:56, last mile 5:33. I think I passed the health/fitness test, OK to train with tempos next week.

Ran 2 miles with Benjamin in 16:45. Jared ran the first one with us in 9:14. Then 1.05 with Julia in 10:01. Jenny ran with Sarah.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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