Breaking the Wall

August 12, 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. Wanted to get a better understanding of the fading on Wednesday, so did the same workout at the start of the long run after the last 3 days of more eating and somewhat better sleep. A MySQL upgrade job for a client last night did not help with sleep, but there was really no better time to do it as we had to avoid disruptions during peek hours, but it was not too bad, I still got over 7 hours of sleep.

This time the 3 mile tempo run went better, although still with problems. Splits but quarter: 79 - 80 - 80 - 81 (5:20) - 79 - 81 - 86 - 82 (5:28) - 85 - 84 - 84 - 84 (5:37) - total time 16:25. Mike pulled away from me in the last quarter and finished in 16:22.

Then we jogged for about 7 miles, during which time we caught up to Kirk and he gave us a lesson on Arabic culture. He teaches Arabic at BYU. Then we did a 5 mile tempo. The target was 6:00 pace, but we picked it up after 2 K mark, and ended up almost a minute ahead of pace with 29:09. The splits were 6:02 - 5:48 - 5:50 - 5:50 - 5:39. Last two quarters were 85 and 79.

Here is what's interesting. The last half mile of the 5 mile tempo (from 12 to 17, so you would expect lower glycogen) run over the exact same stretch as the 3 mile tempo was 5 seconds faster than the last half mile of the three mile tempo which was done from 2 to 5, so essentially primed for racing a 5 K. It also felt easier. The difference, of course, was that I had not run 1.5 miles shortly prior at 5:20 pace, but what I find surprising is that was enough to negate the difference you would expect from not being in the out-of-fuel zone.

So one thing is clear at this point. 5:20 pace temporarily puts me in a state of misery more that it should. The mechanism of that is debatable. If VO2 max tests I've done in the past are any indication, the lactic acid levels would be quite low at that effort - maybe 1.02 RER (respiratory exchange ratio), which is a good way to estimate lactic acid buildup without stopping to poke yourself, in other words not a whole lot. There is some unknown villain at work. If somebody with a lab wants to track him down, I'll be happy to participate.

The antidote to the villain, however, is to do intervals that are longer than a mile, or possibly shorter ones with very little rest at 5:20 pace. I'll give that a try.

My Crocs are over 1000 miles, and still no holes, although one is about to develop.

Gold Crocs 1 Miles: 20.00
Night Sleep Time: 7.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.50
From allie on Sat, Oct 23, 2010 at 17:41:38 from

1,000 miles. very nice. i thought i was doing well with 150 on mine. good to know i can expect a long life out of them.

interesting analysis of your workout today -- thanks for sharing.

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