Breaking the Wall

February 17, 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: 81.04 Year: 418.47
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. 20 mile run from my house up to Bridal Veil and back on the trail. Same as last week. Ran with Ted and Jeff. Jeff went only 16 turning around at 8. We started out with a leisurely warm up, then moved into the area of brisk (sub-7:00 and occasionally sub-6:40) after about 3 miles. There was a headwind in the canyon. Nevertheless, 6:40 uphill and into the wind felt relaxing once I warmed into it. I think the wind was gusty. Gusty winds feel bad, but do not slow you down much. Our first 10 miles was 1:10:12.

On the way back we picked it up. I wanted to slack off and go barely sub-6:00. But Ted would not let me. He did one of his quarters in 1:24. Then I was wound up, and did not want to go any slower. So I was doing my quarters in 1:22-1:24 as well. I offered Ted to sit on me, but he was smarter than that knowing that he would not see a quarter slower than 1:24 for a while in that case. So we traded quarters. Next 5 miles in 27:55. Ted started getting tired, and we did the next mile in 5:42. Then on the next mile we ran a slow quarter uphill in 1:30. I started getting concerned that the 5:40 guy might catch us, and picked it up a bit, but Ted did not respond. I was feeling good, and wound up enough to not want to run slower. So I figured I'd just run the last 3 miles alone. Next mile was 5:45, after that, 5:37, 5:35, and 5:30. Last 5 in 28:12, last 10 in 56:07,  5:36.7 average, total time 2:06:19, 6:18.95 avg. No quarters slower than 1:26. I was very happy with that since the last 5 miles have a lot of turns and going down under the bridges and through dark tunnels. Ted held on very well and finished about a minute behind me. In my estimate this shows if he were to start his taper today, he would run St. George somewhere between 2:25 and 2:27.

Felt very strong at the end, much better than a week ago. Afterwards, the legs felt fresh, and there was no serious fatigue. If I did not have the memory of running 20, you could have tricked me into thinking I've just run easy 10. I should be very thankful for this. It has not always been this way. I remember coming home from a 20 miler many times and feeling completely dead. But eventually God has blessed me with the ability and knowledge of what I need to do to recover fast. I've had nothing to complain about in this respect in the last couple of years, but I feel things have progressed beyond that in the last couple of weeks, and especially today. I still do not quite know exactly what I did to make it happen. I am suspecting my latest garlic adventures might have had something to do with it. I have been concerned about the possibility of getting sick, so I have been religiously sucking on garlic like candy a couple times a day in an attempt to kill any hiding germs. I am so glad that Sarah has gotten used to the smell of garlic over 10 years of our marriage.

Went to Benjamin's cross-country meet at Kiwani's park afterwards. He ran 3 K in 14:02 winning pre-Bantums, only 1 second off his PR for that course. Not bad for cold weather and not being tapered. James ran 11:17, a new PR for him.

P.M. Ran 1.05 with Jenny and Julia in 11:05, Julia had a side ache and was struggling. I need to make sure she gets to drink enough during the day. Then 0.5 with Jenny in 4:27. Pushed the double stroller with Jacob. Then 3.5 by myself with Jacob in the single stroller in 26:54 (7:41:14 pace) . Caught up to 3 guys during the last stage of the run on the trail and ran with them for about a mile. As usual (for Provo), discovered a high degree of foreign language fluency. One was fluent in Spanish, another in Portuguese, and the other in Thai - all from serving LDS missions. Speaking of which, we have a lot of language fluency here on the blog, native as well as acquired. I am aware of the following: Russian, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, and German. Any others?

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From Daniel Allen on Sun, Oct 28, 2007 at 01:11:46

I speak French from serving in Switzerland and France.

From Ryan on Sun, Oct 28, 2007 at 16:38:18

Amazing how 20 miles is like a stroll in the park for you. Yo sevi la mision en Peru y de acuerdo hablo Espanol.

From Dustin on Sun, Oct 28, 2007 at 18:31:18

Learned Portuguese served two years in Sao Paulo Brazil!

From Paul Petersen on Sun, Oct 28, 2007 at 18:34:27

Latin, from high school and college. Useless, utterly useless. I also know a little bit of Visual Basic and Python.

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