Breaking the Wall

August 10, 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. Total of 13. Benjamin and I did a workout. We ran to Nunn's Park and did my favorite 3 mile tempo down the Provo Canyon. The target was 5:20 with the understanding that with 0.5 to go Benjamin had free reign and could go faster if he felt good to get his course PR of 15:54. My goal B was to survive up to that point, goal A was to partially survive his pattented long kick, and  goal A+ was to survive all of it. Unlike last time when we did it in the spring when I pulled Benjamin for about 1.8, this time I sat on him the entire time. We opened with 5:16 at a fairly even effort, but the first quarter was a bit slower (81) due to a rhyhm-breaking bump. The second mile had some pace variation. After seeing 5:16 Benjamin, I suppose wanting to be nice to his aging dad, eased off to 5:30 pace for 300 meters. His aging dad told him to pick it up. Then he picked it up to something like 5:10 before settling into 5:20 pace. The mile was 5:19. The next two quarters were 79 and 80, and then the grind began. He fed me a 75 quarter, but I managed to survive it. Not for long. With 300 to go he shifted gears and dropped me. His closing quarter was 73, I could only manage 78. So he ended up with 15:42, last mile in 5:07, I got 15:47, last mile in 5:12. For Benjamin this was a course PR, but I still have him by 27 seconds over lifetime. I did get my master's course PR though. 

Afterwards Benjamin went home and ended up with 10.6 miles for the day. I turned around, jogged 0.75 and ran a 2 mile "cool-down" tempo in 11:16 down the canyon. Ran another mile with William, Jenny, and Joseph when I got home.

Jenny did 4, Julia 3, Joseph 3, Jacob 2, William 1.

Over the last year somehow I managed to gain about 3-4 lb. I did not realize it for some time because my weight fluctuates a lot and I have a hard time telling if I just ate or drank too much, or if it is real weight. But a few weeks ago I realized it was just extra weight. Upping the mileage at 6:00 pace did not get rid of it. However, recuding the animal fats in the diet on top of the training made it go away, which resulted in a faster time today that in the previous weeks.

So one take from that is that with aging my ability to process animal fats has diminished. I can eat carbs to satiation, and it is all good - I use a lot of carbs. However, fats are a different story, particularly animal fats. They just go and sit there as dead weight for some time, and are very reluctant to burn.

Another take is that my spinal defect (spina bifida occulta) is perhaps extremely weight sensitive. That is perhaps the reason I was able to run 1000 in 3:03.8 at the age of 12.9 but the fastest I ever ran the distance is 2:49 achieved at the age of around 17.9 - 5 years later. I believe what happened was as I began to mature I started growing muscle, but that came at a  high cost - the spine could not properly support it. At 12 when I ran I felt like antelope. At 17 I felt like an elephant, and have felt like that ever since. This might have an implication for those with real spina bifida (manifesta as opposed to occulta), perhaps even a greater one - keeping the weight just a few pounds lower with the same muscle mass, or maybe even with lesser muscle mass as long as you stay away from the extremes, in some cases could make a difference between being able to walk and being bed-ridden.


Green Crocs 6 Miles: 13.00
Night Sleep Time: 7.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.50
From Jason D on Fri, Oct 25, 2013 at 23:39:30 from

I don't have any hard evidence, but since I stopped eating meat (primarily) I feel like when I do it as you say, "sits there for some time as dead weight." Plant-based food do not (for obvious reasons it would seem). I think time of year matters for weight, but recently I have found I am lighter in the winter, which is against expectations.

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