Breaking the Wall

August 12, 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: 88.07 Year: 2386.98
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: 1257.89
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. 12 total. Benjamin did 8, Jenny 4, Julia 2, Jacob 2, Joseph 3, William 1. 

Jenny did a little workout. My intuition told me she needed scheduled fast running in the middle of her regular run. She's had a rough couple of years, actually more than a couple, when she hit her growth spurt. Growth spurt is good for boys, but often wreaks havoc for girls, and it did for her. There has not been a day in the last three years when we did not have to solve some kind of a problem - chronically sore muscles, back pain, fatigue, being unusually out of breath at relatively slow speeds, quick dehydration, and others. The side effect of that is that her training has been at a very slow pace - around 8:30 - 9:00. Some of the mileage at her fitness level can be done in that zone, but not all of it. The challenge in getting her to go faster has been her perception that that pace was all she could do. So I had a thought - she needs to spice things up in the middle of her run, and had her run a quicker 0.5 mile stretch from 2 to 2.5 which is a slight downhill with nice tailwind. Even though I knew that she was capable of more, to remove the psychological pressure I told her I only expected 7:30 pace, but hoped to see something slightly quicker. I did see something quite a bit quicker - 3:17 for 0.5, or in other words 6:34 mile pace. Her cooldown after that confirmed my intuition - she was running 8:20 pace and thought she was resting.

After Benjamin's 3 K experience I wanted to know what was up with his fitness. So I had him do our 2 mile uphill course from 800 N bridge to the house. To remove unnecessary psychological pressure I did not give him any specific pace guidelines except that it had to be  faster than 6:00 which was more or less a no-brainer. I also told him that if he did not feel good we were not going to finish the interval. I let him set the pace and just followed trying to be not much of a factor. I divide the course into splits of 0.5, but they are not exact as in wheel-certified, and I know the last one is actually 0.51 from a wheel measurement. His splits were 2:51, 2:45, 2:45, and 2:52 for the uphill one that I know to be 0.51, total of 11:13.9.  He said he felt quite a bit stronger than in the 3 K, and was not sure if he felt stronger or not than in the 2 K. All in all, this is a good indication that his fitness is returning. It was also good to get a reliable fitness measure on a course I trust.

On the positive side of things for me I did not get dropped this time and ran faster (although I probably still would have been dropped had Benjamin been 100%), and actually felt much better than when we did it on Aug 22. So hopefully that means I am in better shape. We'll see in the Big Cottonwood Canyon Half Saturday and in the TOU a week later.

William started the run a little bit faster than normal, so we decided to encourage him to try to break 9:00. He had permission to spank Benjamin (I was pushing the stroller which made it diffucult to approach me), which greatly helped the cause. His first quarter was 2:20, then 2:18, 2:09 and 2:05 - 8:52.9. Again, the same wheeled out-and-back course, no hand holding. So William is now a sub-9:00 miler - first time we've had a kid that went sub-9:00 before turning 5. Now we can say that in our family if you cannot break 9:00 in the mile we make you wear a diaper - the only people that have not done it yet are Stephen (age 3) and Matthew (8.5 months).

Now I suppose the "wear a diaper if you are not sub-9:00" is not that big of a deal if mom and dad are reasonably fit, you have a kid or two that are little, or if they are spread enough apart that they are either wearing diapers or are old enough that sub-9:00 is no big deal for them. But for a family with 8 kids with the oldest being 14 I imagine that is rare.

P.M. 5 miles.

Schwinn Double Stroller Miles: 2.00Green Crocs 6 Miles: 17.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.50
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