Breaking the Wall

January 23, 2021

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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: 188.26 Year: 188.26
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: 1657.61
Brown Crocs 3 Lifetime Miles: 1359.62
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. 2.25 with Benjamin from Computune in 17:42.

P.M. Ran with Jeff. Joined him for a part of his control tempo run. His target was to run at 173 HR for 4 miles, then run the last mile hard. The purpose was to get an idea if he was fit enough to have a shot at prize money in Richmond half.

I ran the first and the fourth mile. 5:15 and 5:25 respectively. Also coasted through one more mile in 6:13 immediately following the 5:25. The foot did not like the 76 quarter at the opening of the first mile. I thought about stopping at 0.5, but decided to tough it out a bit more. Not sure if it was a good idea, but well, I did it. In the second mile it was not as drastic since the pace never was faster than 5:20, but the foot was already irritated from the previous mile.  So my conclusion from this and my Saturday's run is that I should not run faster than 5:40 for some time. Not that I would be particularly anxious anyway - I do not look forward to anything faster than 7:30 in this kind of condition.

Jeff ran 21:27 for the first 4 miles, and then once the HR speed limit was removed, closed with a 4:54 mile. I think 173 HR is way below his half race effort, which is a good sign. So I am doing the following math - half race pace on the trail 5:20, take off 5 seconds for the weirdness of the trail (that's the difference I see between running on the trail and running on a street/highway), take off 10 second for going to see level. That gives us 5:05 pace, or in other words 1:06:38 for the half. With that he should be in the money in Richmond. Also, it would be nice to covert this math from theory to practice, and if we succeed, that's only 1:38 from OTQ through the half - close enough to see a flickering beam of hope.

Now it is the matter of logistics - time off work, finding a place to stay (they do not give hotel to anybody in the half, only the marathon), and getting a good airplane ticket.

0.5 with Joseph in 4:27. Jenny and Julia ran with Sarah on a bike.

Saucony Type A Miles: 10.00Airwalk Clogs Miles: 2.75
Night Sleep Time: 8.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.50
From Mike Kirk on Sat, Oct 31, 2009 at 08:24:19 from

I grew up in Richmond and know that area well. If Jeff has any course questions let me know. My high school practiced in Bryan Park all summer long.

There is an overpass at mile 2.5 which does not show up on the course profile. Also some of the roads are very cambered especially N Blvd/Hermitage Rd. Bryan Park is down hill for the first part then climbs from 6.75 until 7.5. The hill is steepest in the first 0.25 mile then flattens past the soccer fields with a final short sharp hill (50 yds) before exiting the park. I'm guessing that from miles 9 to 11 the crowds will be thin. From 11 (Grace St.) to the finish he should fly; good roads, good support, slightly down hill.

Good luck to Jeff.

Take care of you foot.


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