Breaking the Wall

January 17, 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: 146.77 Year: 146.77
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: 1276.97
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. 10 with Jeff in 1:14:59. Benjamin ran the first 2 with us in 15:37. I have transitioned to running on pavement instead of grass. Seems to make no difference for the foot. The dull pain is still there, about the same before or after the run. Day of rest does not do anything for it.

The speed does affect it though. I believe it has to do with the fact that due to more vigorous movement it  becomes difficult to keep the heel from touching the ground hard.  At slower speeds I am able to land on my toes and gently lower the heel later.

Could this be a minor stress fracture?

Airwalk Clogs Miles: 12.50
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
From seeaprilrun on Tue, Nov 03, 2009 at 13:31:50 from

Highly highly doubt it is a stress fracture. It is probably just an injury that will take an annoyingly long time to heal. I have had heel pain for the better part of 5 months now that is just now starting to dissipate. A recent form change has helped me. It will probably not help you since you probably already have good form. I pretend my ankle is loose and my foot is floppy on the end of it, and I just let my foot sort of flop to the ground and pick it up as I run. This makes me hit the ground with more of a midfoot strike rather than a heelstrike or a toestrike, and is very comfortable for my heel. On a side note, it seems to add a bit more umph, or power to my stride.

From Nevels on Tue, Nov 03, 2009 at 13:34:10 from

Your speed analysis of your gait is interesting, because I'm the exact opposite. When I run faster, I rock farther forward on my feet, and my heels touch the ground less and with less force/impact. Granted, I'm not running barefoot, but I've got some relatively minimal shoes, and the more minimalistic I go (even down to the occasional barefoot striders), the less my heels touch the ground, even when running fast.


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