Breaking the Wall

January 20, 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. Ran with Jenny and Julia - 2 miles, also with Jacob 0.5. Then did the rest of my long run. Benjamin and Joseph did not run because they were running in the Utah State Cross-Country Championship later. I did the flat 10 mile tempo on the 5 miler course. At the start of the run I weighed 141.8. This was caused to some extent by some stomach problems I experienced in the last few days. I was not feeling bad, but for some reason I kept having liquid stool, which means, likely, that the nutrients were not going in. At least two weeks ago that weight meant near depletion, I had it at the end of the 20 mile run.

So I did another 2 miles of warm-up and then started the tempo. The pace did not feel easy, but I could hold it. The splits by 2.5 were 14:26 - 14:33 - 14:28 - 14:31. All miles fell in the range of 5:46 to 5:50. Total time was 57:58. I think I lost some time on the leaves. There were a lot of leaves on the ground. Last mile was 5:48. So I did not have a whole lot of juice left, but I had enough to maintain the pace at least.

After the tempo I felt sluggish, but I still had 5.5 miles left to go. At first I did not feel like going faster than 9:00. I eventually coaxed myself into 7:20 pace after a couple of miles. In the last 0.5 I decided to measure how much fuel I had left. It turned out that I did not have a whole lot. I struggled through two 93 second quarters. They did have a lot of turns, but still I usually can crack 6:00 pace even after all the adventures. I weighed myself after the run and measured 138.6 lb. Still, 6:12 pace means I had some glycogen in the muscles. When it is completely gone, the pace becomes more like 6:30. Either that, or I learned to run 6:12 off blood sugar and fat, which would be very nice because that would mean that I would never crash beyond that in a marathon as long as my stomach can still process the sports drinks.

P.M. Went to the State Cross Country Meet. Benjamin ran 3 K in 11:35 finishing second after Aiden Troutner. He was in contact through the first half of the race, actually leading most of the time, but then Aiden made a move and Benjamin could not respond. Aiden won with 11:07. Afterwards we had a discussion on learning how to draft without feeling that you are not in control, and also how to avoid the temptation of thinking - I've made it far enough, the work is done. Benjamin had never been able to make this far with Aiden, so mentally he was not ready to race him even though I think fitness wise he could have at least made it to the kick.

Joseph ran in the Pre-Bantam 2 K and finished second in 10:21 after Ammon Blackburn whose time was 9:56.

Later in the evening ran 2 miles. Decided to test how well the fuel levels have recovered and ran the last mile in 6:00. I forgot after the turnaround to turn on the engine right away, so I ended up with the first quarter in 95. Then I did 89 ,88, and 88. Food did help. 


Green Crocs 2 Miles: 22.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
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