Breaking the Wall

February 26, 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: 155.37 Year: 492.80
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, Tyler, and Brandon. We did a 2.62 warm-up, then a tempo run. I went 10, Jeff and Brandon did 5, and Tyler did 3 because he was concerned about the shin. The plan was to go not slower than 6:00 but not much faster. I put the not-much-faster clause in it because I knew from how I felt this week that much faster would be difficult.

The course was the standard 5 mile tempo twice, so the same 2.5 mile stretch 4 times, 3 180 turns.

Total time: 58:59.7

Splits by the mile: 5:56 - 6:00 - 5:46 - 5:54 - 5:57 - 6:01 - 5:49 - 5:56 - 5:57 - 5:47

Splits by 2.5 - 14:49 - 14:44 - 14:47 - 14:38.

I felt OK, though not great in the first 5 miles. When Jeff pushed the pace a bit, it felt harder, but not miserable. When Brandon started struggling I was able to cheer him in Russian. Russian is better suited for getting somebody to go faster when he is in pain. There is a rich variety of powerful two-word phrases that can motivate a struggling runner. To communicate the same idea in English you would need four or five words, and your sentences are at least twice as long. Most of those phrases start with the word nado which is often translated as "you must" or "you need", but the original word has no "you" in it. It just means there exists an abstract need or requirement that is above you or anybody else. You are not a part of it, it is above you, and you'd better meet it or else...

Felt OK for another 2 miles, about the same as earlier, but then all of a sudden 88 quarters started feeling very difficult. I was not breathing very hard, but I felt like I had a tongue in my quads and it was tasting concentrated lemon juice the entire time. That feeling is not there when everything is normal until I start hitting 82 second quarters. So 5:55 felt like 5:30, except for the breathing.

At 5 miles I thought that going under 59:00 would be easy. At 7.5 I thought it would be difficult but doable. With a mile to go I was not so sure. With a quarter to go I thought it would be a miracle. So I gave it all I had. My mom used to say "I see Paris" when she tasted something very sour. Well, the last quarter was only 82, but I still saw Paris. The "Paris" effort got me a little bit under 59:00, so a small victory.

Ran 1.38 cool down, got home and took the kids to do the trail cleanup. I noticed that the most common type of trash was cigarette butts.

Then ran with Jacob and Joseph. Jacob ran 200 in 1:54. Joseph did his 0.34 loop in 4:08.

P.M. 1 mile with Julia in 10:48. 2 with Benjamin in 17:20. Jenny ran the first 1.5 with us in 13:20.

T4 Racer - 711.27 miles

Night Sleep Time: 8.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.50
From wheakory on Sat, Oct 18, 2008 at 23:52:27

Great run. I did some faster miles myself today. Just two though. How's the quads feeling now after SGM?

From Sasha Pachev on Mon, Oct 20, 2008 at 12:58:38

The quads have felt fine after 3 days. The problem is somewhere else.

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