Breaking the Wall

September 17, 2019

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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: 90.98 Year: 2713.79
Saucony Type A Lifetime Miles: 627.15
Bare Feet Lifetime Miles: 446.12
Nike Double Stroller Lifetime Miles: 124.59
Navy Crocs 2 Lifetime Miles: 1576.28
Neon Crocs 1 Lifetime Miles: 22.05
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Had only time for 12, and had to get up at 6:00 AM to do it. I suppose I could have gotten up earlier, but there is a fine balance between stress and recovery. At some point getting up earlier to run more miles becomes counterproductive, especially if you have a busy day ahead. The weight at the start of the run was 143.2, so even less glycogen apparently than the day before, and it did show. I wanted to get a better understanding of yesterday's 5:42 goose eggs, so I decided to do some moderate fast running in the middle of my run. I did not have a clear plan, just wanted to go at 5:30 pace until I started fading, maybe go some more to understand the pattern better, then jog some and try the same effort again to see what it would yield. 

So I did the first 2.5 of the yesterday's tempo in 13:59. The first mile was 5:32, then I slowed down to 5:39, but did not slow down more after that. After a bit over 2 miles of jogging I was back at the same spot and decided to run some distance of the second half of the tempo. From the start I noticed that I was feeling sluggish but at the same time the pace felt sustainable. It was marathon type "I am at mile 15, and I do not want to dump all of my fuel right there and then quite yet" feeling. Yet the pace was 5:37 for the first mile. Then I struggled in the next mile doing it in 5:46, but it had some uphill, and then was able to shift gears and run 2:45 for the last 0.5 which gave me 14:08 for the 2.5. So adjusting for the terrain difference between going out and going back, I essentially repeated my earlier 13:59 effort, but it felt different, more suitable for the marathon. In the first repetition I felt like I was running a bad half. In the second it felt more like a good marathon.

One thing that I did differently was an attempt to lighten the push while increasing the leg turnover. I do not know if the leg turnover was actually higher, but this was the cue I used. Regardless, I think what was happening is an increased recruitment of the true slow twitch fibers that are less glycogen-hungry as opposed to the intermediate 5K fibers that eat glycogen like there is no tomorrow. It is easier to run 5:40 pace by recruiting the 5 K monsters, as they are strong and this pace for them is a jog. Recruiting the marathon fibers to run 5:40 requires some practice.

On the way back saw that I needed to run the last 0.75 in 5:02 to break 6:40 average for 12. I moved my legs a bit, and ended up running it in 4:37, 6:10 pace. What was odd is that it felt like 6:40, maybe a bit under. I did not expect that at this point of depletion.

Benjamin did 5, Jenny 2, Julia 2, and Jacob 0.5.

P.M. Joseph ran 1.4 around the track at Runner's Corner. We went there to get Benjamin a pair of spikes. We ended up getting a non-spiked version of cross-country shoes for $20.

I ran 3 miles later with the last 1.5 in 8:44.

Green Crocs 2 Miles: 15.00
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
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