Breaking the Wall

January 20, 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: 188.26 Year: 188.26
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: 1359.62
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with Derek, dropped him off, then ran alone, then ran into Justin White and his friend Chris, ran with them a bit, then more alone. Decided to try race pace for 0.5. Hit 2:44 going down about 0.5% grade. Felt good. Carefully listened for the signals of neural fatigue, but heard none. At least over 0.5.

Finished 11 miles, then ran with the kids. First 1 with Julia in 10:30. Then we loaded Julia and Joseph in the double stroller for me to push, and put Jacob in the single stroller for Benjamin to push. After the first 60 meters Benjamin said that Jacob was a lot heavier than he had thought. That sounded suspicious. I checked out the stroller, and sure enough, the break was on. We fixed that, and kept going. Benjamin did better than I thought he would. 12:54 for 1.5. That is 8:36 pace average. The combined weight of Jacob and the stroller was probably closely approaching Benjamin's own weight. Jenny, of course, had to take advantage of the chance to show off and pulled ahead in the last third of a mile finishing in 12:38. I stayed with Benjamin.

Good to know that in case of emergency we could cover a 5 K at 9:00 pace without the aide of a motor with all of the five kids. When William is born, we will need one more seat in the stroller, but hopefully by then Julia will learn to ride a bike.

I have been taking in a lot of Powerade lately, and it has been going in very well, never making me feel like I've had too much. Makes me wonder if the latest neural fatigue struggles were from a very subtle carbodepletion. Or another way to look at that - something happened that increased the brain demands for glucose, and not receiving enough the brain responded by limiting running performance. I've had this happen before. In any case, the practical implication is that the body needs to be fed a lot of carbs.

Five Fingers - 1047.33 miles.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From Paul Petersen on Fri, Aug 22, 2008 at 14:44:04

We can do some testing on Saturday. I haven't eaten any starch for several weeks. I still get carbs from fruit, agave, honey, and a few other sources, but my current diet would definitely qualify as "low carb". Perhaps I will get to finally experience neural fatigue as a result.

From marion on Fri, Aug 22, 2008 at 14:58:47

I know that I am very new to running, but it is amazing to me how the body teaches a runner how to fuel it and really lets you know when it's missing an essential element. I am even more amazed that after years of neglect, the body is happy to give me another chance to take better care of it :D

Sasha- thanks for this blog! It is really an amazing place!!!

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