Breaking the Wall

December 04, 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: 304.65 Year: 3606.17
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: 806.96
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. 12 miles total. Today was the day of time mile trials. We went to the Orem High track. I paced Joseph and Jenny with the target of 6:20, while Benjamin paced Julia and Jacob with the target of 6:40. I hit the first quarter in 92 high. Then around 450 meters Jenny said she did not feel strong and stopped. This is the second time she has done it, but we've been through this before with Benjamin at the 6:00 barrier about three years ago. At least with three tries recently she had two DNFs and one PR. With Benjamin we had a streak of 15 or so of either non-PR or DNF runs. Joseph ran the second lap in a low 95 hitting 3:08 at the 800. Then he remembered what I taught him a few weeks ago - the most important lap in the mile is the third. So he gave it a good push ending up with 94 - 4:42 at 1200, and 4:44 with a lap to go. Then I knew he had 6:20 mostly in the bag, but I also knew that an 8 year old could easily lose concentration - almost as easily as he could drop a piece in an almost won chess game. So I encouraged him to keep the heat and he responded with a 92 last lap finishing in 6:16.1 - new PR by 6 seconds. Quite exciting - he saw the virtual 6:00 guy finish, and sub-6:20 before turning 9 is something that has not happened in our family until now.

Jacob opened with 95, then Benjamin slowed him down to 1:43 which was too much. If a quarter time takes three digits to write, then I use minutes and seconds :-) Then he sped up to 98 and kicked in 97 finishing in 6:36.3 - new PR by 10 seconds. Looks like he is starting to get over his asthma - he only had small problems in the third lap, much better than last time. Sub-6:40 at a low 7 years of age is also a new boundary for us - well the fastest that Joseph ran before turning 8 is 6:52, and at low 7 he ran only 7:09.

Julia was not having a good day - lost contact with Jacob and Benjamin 300 meters into the run and finished in 6:53.8. Jenny and Julia will try again on Monday.

William was not scheduled to do a time trial. Well, with a 4 year old like William you cannot really schedule it, but he decided to do it today from the very start of his road out and back mile course. First half was uphill, around 1% grade. He ran the first quarter in 2:09, then 2:15,  2:09 and 2:04 finishing in 8:33.8 - a new PR improving his "beer mile" on the track from two weeks ago by 6.2 seconds.

Benjamin and I did a mile pickup uphill in 5:43. Benjamin did 8.5, Jenny 4, Julia 3, Joseph 3, Jacob 3, William 1.

Benjamin got his ACT scores back - composite score of 33, math - 33, reading - 35, English - 34, science - 28. We have applied to BYU for the winter semester. He plans to major in applied math with computational emphasis.

A couple of days ago I experienced a bold thought. Benjamin could qualify for the 2016 US Olympic Marathon Trials if he ran a really good half at the end of 2015. He would be around 16.7 and by then will likely have the maturity in terms of power to pull off a sub-1:05 half. And I think we can swindle the endurance part. I do not know if they ever had a 17 year old in the marathon trials - if they have not, though, it would be because 17-year-olds do not train for the half. We have plenty of talent to pull this off - even on our blog (Conner Mantz).

I shared this thought with Benjamin and he did not think I was crazy and actually believed me that he had a shot. I was very happy about that.

Green Crocs 6 Miles: 12.00
Night Sleep Time: 7.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.50
From Jake K on Fri, Oct 18, 2013 at 19:33:42 from

I think Sage Canaday might have been the youngest to qualify (21 yrs old). Before him it was Josh Cox, and he was just out of college. With the half standard now in place, there are probably a bunch of 18-20 year old college runners who could conceivably qualify.

On the women's side, Alana Hadley is probably the youngest making a push towards 2016. She is 16 or 17 now, and running the Indy Monumental Marathon in 2 weeks.

From Rob Murphy on Fri, Oct 18, 2013 at 19:42:22 from

Beth Farmer from the University of Florida ran the 1984 trials at age 18. Finished 18th in 2:36.

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