Breaking the Wall

January 28, 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: 252.01 Year: 252.01
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. Ironically, or maybe symbolically, ended up doing my run pretty much exactly as the Trial's were progressing. As much fun as Paul, Sean, and Logan were having at the Trials, I just realized that I was perfectly happy to experience it vicariously by reading their blogs, and run my sea-level record eligible course race in Memphis later with more time for recovery and preparation, less expensive trip, and a realistic chance to recover the costs. The knowledge that although I did not make it, the blog was still well represented at the Trials gave me a sense of peace, satisfaction, and accomplished purpose.

Had a big day in front of me, so I figured since I was not going to get much recovery, should take it easy. Decided to do a mile easy/mile at marathon pace fartlek for 20 miles on my standard course from my house to Bridal Veil and back. Yes, I know calling a 20 mile fartlek with half of it at marathon pace easy may sound funny, but doing a fartlek like this is a lot easier than straight 10 with the last 5 brisk, and then the last 10 hard with no breaks in between.

Most of the run was done in the dark. The easy miles varied between 7:10 and 7:35. The fast miles were: 6:00 (rolling up, two tunnels), 5:48 (a quarter down, the rest slight up), 5:54 (slight up, slippery bridge, VPB stop, could not find anything else, so used fir tree needles for TP), 5:56 (now into the canyon, more uphill, headwind), 6:20 (even more uphill and stiff headwind), 5:38 (down, tail wind), 5:35 (down), 5:36 (less down), 5:45 (rolling down, six turns, two tunnels, icy bridge), 5:35 (rolling, slight down, one tunnel, five turns). Total time was 2:11:57, 6:35.85 avg.

Came home and jumped on the web to find out what happened at the Trials. Thanks to Adam, found the best coverage on the Fast Running Blog message forum. The results need to be pondered. Great performances marred by a tragedy. Was surprised to see the report of Ryan Shay's death. Have some thoughts on what happened that I will share on the forum later.

Then went to the State Youth Cross-Country meet. Benjamin lost his shoe during the race at around 1200 meters, but still finished in one shoe in 9th place, top scorer for Team Provo, with the time of 14:37.5. No surprises in his race, Eli won with 11:56, Alexander Berry second about 40 seconds behind. Ted's son James won the Midgets with 11:26 holding off second place by 3 seconds.

P.M. Ran 1.05 with Jenny and Julia in 11:14, then another 0.5 with Jenny in 4:29, then 3.55 by myself. Pushed Jacob in the stroller the entire run.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From JamesL on Sat, Nov 03, 2007 at 16:46:10

Umm I thought I beat second by 7. Stop making me look bad. LOL JK

From Michelle on Sat, Nov 03, 2007 at 18:02:30


I finally figured out the other day where the time calculator was. The reason that it was so hard to find is because it hasn't been there for me. So today I decided to use it and it's gone again. Any ideas?

From James on Sun, Nov 04, 2007 at 21:22:04


I think someone is playing tricks on my blog. Check out my Oct. 11 entry. A lady that I don't really even know keeps leaving comments on my blog and then says they are not from her. They have to be from her because no one else I know would know that info. My blog is not the easiest to find and I have never told anyone outside the blog my address, so I don't know how she found it, unless she just got lucky. Do you have a way of seeing where the comments came from?

From James on Sun, Nov 04, 2007 at 21:28:54

Email me and let me know. The blog is not safe!

From josse on Sun, Nov 04, 2007 at 21:36:54

I have had similar things happen. People leaving comment and using my name.

From James on Sun, Nov 04, 2007 at 22:00:39

People could accidentally punch in your name, but these are from people that are not on the blog with no forwarding info. I have left comments for people before and punched in their name, and then it looks like they left themself a comment. Jon leaves me comments from Marci all of the time because her name might already be on there from previous comments. Josse, in you case people might just be "being stupid".

Maybe an option to delete comments that we don't know who they from or that we do not want on our blog would be a good solution.

What do you think Sasha? Or should I just not worry about it. It kind of weirds me out though!

From Sasha Pachev on Mon, Nov 05, 2007 at 08:40:28

James - all I can do about this is track down her IP address, and then geo-track it to a location with about 50 mile radius accuracy. With a court subpoena it would be possible to go to the ISP and have them identify the house from that info. Anybody can post a comment under any identification, so it is definitely possible for somebody to misrepresent himself and play a trick. So poster identities should always be taken with a grain of salt when there is a reason to doubt them. Amazingly, with this amount of freedom to do wrong, we've had very few cases of inappropriate comments, so I have not bothered to add a feature to allow the blog owner to remove unwanted comments. However, with the growth of the blog it will eventually become necessary, so I'll add it in the next couple of months.

Any blog can be discovered via a search engine or an external link. So it is not surprising to have people you know nothing about leave comments in any blog.

Regarding the comment you are talking about. I suggest you contact Alydia and find out what happened. Looks like she is saying the same thing in both comments. She may have just forgotten that she posted on your blog earlier.

From James on Mon, Nov 05, 2007 at 13:55:19

Thanks Sasha! I will just not worry about it.

From James on Mon, Nov 05, 2007 at 14:00:36

I can't contact this Alydia Barton because I don't even really know who she is or how she found my blog. I met her once but never knew her name, and I don't really care that much anyways. I don't know why it was bugging me so bad yesterday. Thanks again.

Nice week of running, you are looking good for your marathon next month.

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