Breaking the Wall

August 08, 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: 16.00 Year: 2314.91
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: 1185.83
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. 10.1 with Jeff and Mary Ann in 1:17:05. Daniel ran the first 3 with us, then turned around. Did explosive sprints, felt smooth.

P.M. 1 with Julia in 9:23, 2 with Benjamin in 16:42, Jenny ran 1.5 with us in 13:03. Standing broad jump - 83 inches. Improvement from Monday.

I have a "crazy" idea. I love shocking ideas that challenge stereotypes, and make the crowd want to mock them. The reason I do is often when the crowds gets too worked up in the mockery they are proved wrong and you experience the exhilaration of a bull fighter that just stepped out of the way of a speeding bull to see the irate beast slam into a fence with full force.

So here is the "crazy" idea. If you run 90 miles a week, and marathon is your best distance, standing broad jump can very accurately predict your performance on every distance up to half-marathon, and barring fuel disasters can predict your marathon as well. In case of a fuel disaster add 10 minutes to the marathon time. But up to the half I expect the margin of error to be no more than 3%. Again, in case somebody missed it - this applies to athletes whose best event is the marathon and who run 90 miles a week or more. We are not predicting a 1:55 marathon for a thrower or power-lifter that jumps 10 feet, nor are we predicting a 2:05 marathon for a 20 miles a week high school runner that jumps 9 feet. But we might predict a sub-4:00 mile for the high schooler, though.

If the above is true, there are some interesting implications. Once you get to 90 miles a week, you should continue to run the miles, but otherwise focus on whatever it takes to improve your jump. You might have to do weights, hill sprints, intervals, or just get whipped with a twig, but the way to tell if it is effective is if it improves your jump under those conditions.

Brooks T4 Racing Flat Miles: 10.10
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
From Cheryl on Thu, Jan 22, 2009 at 20:05:13

A lot of times in running magazines they suggest doing broad jumps to become a stronger and/or more powerful runner. Even if you don't run 90 miles a week, do you think working on jumping would improve your running?

From crockett on Fri, Jan 23, 2009 at 12:06:18

I'm skeptical because age isn't being factored in. With age, jumping is greatly reduced, and certainly speed is too, but endurance fades more slowly. At 50, I often have 90 miles per week but I can't jump with beans. In my 20s I could dunk, but now jumping as high as phone book is a challenge. But climbing hills, I'm up there with the best.

From air darkhorse on Fri, Jan 23, 2009 at 14:40:49

It's not about jumping per say.. It's about muscle force contraction in a given pattern of movement. As you age, muscle mass decreases as well as recruitment. Very specific motion related training is better I believe. Lots and lots of rolling hill training over the course of a training macrocycle. Resistance while in motion, hills come closer to that thyan any other form of strength training.

From Sasha Pachev on Fri, Jan 23, 2009 at 17:45:57

Davy - a world-class marathoner will run 90 miles a week AND will be a decent jumper. I am fairly certain that if they added a requirement to have a standing broad jump over 7 feet and 5 inches to the marathon OTQ standard it would produce no exclusions.

You may feel you are OK relative to the competition on hills in spite of a poor jump, but think about who you are racing. Mostly aerobically underdeveloped people. Those are aberrant creatures - they mess up the curve and disguise the truth from plain view. They make aerobically developed but neurologically deficient runners look too good. Aerobically developed slow-switch fiber dominant runners that outjump you are far ahead, you never get a chance to compare yourself with them.

Cheryl - I do not know how much broad-jumping improves the broad jump. But I am fairly certain that assuming a perfected broad-jumping technique, and assuming maximized aerobic and fuel storage development, it is not possible to improve your marathon without improving your broad jump, and it is not possible to improve your broad jump without improving the marathon.

Broad jump is an easy and fairly reliable home test of leg power. For a fast-twitch dominant person it does not mean much as far as long distance running is concerned. For a slow-twitch dominant but aerobically underdeveloped runner it means mostly potential. But for a slow-twitch aerobically developed runner with no fuel problems it means everything - it should predict his marathon.

There is a reason Russian coaches use it in fitness evaluation of distance runners.

From kelsey on Mon, Jan 26, 2009 at 14:58:49

This would be a great thesis for an exercise science major. I wish I knew one here to pass it along to!

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