Breaking the Wall

January 26, 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

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2019-11-09 05:02:50
Workout Totals: Distance27.719Time3:05:51.40Pace6:42.30
Paced the 2:55 group in the Monumental Marathon. Ended up with 2:54:26.

Benjamin ran 2:31:53, 44th place. I suppose we can call this Crocs world record since I do not know of any times that were faster than that. I was impressed with how in tune he was with his body given that he is only 20 years old and that it was only his second marathon. Our original plan was 5:30 pace. He knew from the start that his body would not be able to take that much impact, so he dialed it down, and went through the first half in 1:14:45. He was right about the impact, in the second half he felt he had the fuel, but his legs could not go due to being beat up. His second half was 1:17:08. Both halves were not without an incident. In the first one he had to stop to go to the bathroom, probably lost 30 seconds. In the second half, he felt his pants were bothering him (as the weather got warmer), so he stopped to take them off losing maybe another 20 seconds + rhythm.

This was my first formal pacing job. While I have paced people before lots of times, it was never in the marathon, and I have never held a sign while doing it, so I felt a bit nervous. I prepared for it as if it were a race - marathon is a long way to go, and lots can happen even at a slower pace. Plus I am getting older, and what used to be comfortable, could all of a sudden stop being comfortable any day.

I was amazed at how easy 6:40 pace felt at a lower elevation. I was chatting comfortably the entire time without any strain on my ability to breathe, and it was not just a sentence once in a while. I was telling stories, giving encouragement - we had a pack of about 20 people, reporting on the pace, commenting on the terrain and the wind, etc. I do not think I was silent for more than a minute if that for the entire marathon. I expected the pace to be hard enough that I would be able to say a few things here and there, but would not want to talk much. At least here going down the Provo Canyon at 6:40 I am not inclined to tell long stories, or talk at all for that matter.

Fuel-wise I noticed that Gatorade started tasting better around mile 12, which I interpreted as a drop in the fuel level couple with the stomach working properly and being able to absorb. But otherwise, I had no fuel issues. Legs felt good aside from a bit of stiffness accumulation due to being on my feet for a long time.

I led the group slightly ahead of pace, which was mostly on accident - my attempts to run 6:40 resulted in something like 6:37 for most miles. Once in a while I would make a purposeful effort to ease off the pace to give the group - especially the tail end of it - a break, but I did not do it enough for for the 6:40 guy to catch us. In the last three miles, I sent the stronger part of the group to chase sub-2:54, which most of them got, while I stayed back with the weaker runners that could not keep the pace but were still headed for a bit under 2:55. Eventually only one was left in that bracket - Rebecca Weinand from Tennessee, who I ended up pacing over the last mile and a half. She got a 3 minute PR if I recall correctly.
Leg 1:Distance1.500Time11:24.10Pace7:36.07
Leg 2:Distance26.219Time2:54:27.30Pace6:39.23
Pacing the marathon.
Split 1:Distance1.000Time6:35.50Pace6:35.50
Split 2:Distance1.000Time6:25.40Pace6:25.40
Split 3:Distance1.000Time6:43.60Pace6:43.60
Split 4:Distance1.000Time6:42.50Pace6:42.50
Split 5:Distance2.000Time13:12.50Pace6:36.25
Split 6:Distance1.000Time6:31.20Pace6:31.20
Split 7:Distance1.000Time6:40.30Pace6:40.30
Split 8:Distance2.000Time13:17.00Pace6:38.50
Split 9:Distance1.000Time6:36.50Pace6:36.50
Split 10:Distance1.000Time6:45.90Pace6:45.90
Split 11:Distance1.000Time6:44.20Pace6:44.20
Split 12:Distance1.000Time6:37.50Pace6:37.50
Split 13:Distance1.000Time6:37.00Pace6:37.00
Split 14:Distance1.000Time6:42.80Pace6:42.80
Split 15:Distance1.000Time6:32.60Pace6:32.60
Split 16:Distance1.000Time6:34.80Pace6:34.80
Split 17:Distance1.000Time6:32.70Pace6:32.70
Split 18:Distance1.000Time6:35.50Pace6:35.50
Split 19:Distance2.000Time13:11.50Pace6:35.75
Split 20:Distance1.000Time6:37.20Pace6:37.20
Split 21:Distance1.000Time6:55.60Pace6:55.60
Split 22:Distance1.000Time6:49.80Pace6:49.80
Split 23:Distance1.000Time6:58.50Pace6:58.50
Split 24:Distance0.219Time1:27.20Pace6:38.17

Neon Crocs 1 Miles: 27.72
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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