Breaking the Wall

January 28, 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: 252.01 Year: 252.01
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: 1353.22
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Total of 12. Today finally was the day when Benjamin did not have an AP test. I finally got to run with him for the first time this week. We took it easy because he felt like he was catching a cold last night. I also was aware of the stress of those tests, so we had to adjust the mileage to make sure it did not push him into the red zone from that. This made be appreciate home schooling. We do not have to worry about external academic stress except when it is time to test. This has academic benefits, but it also has general health benefits which translates into running benefits among other things. We give academic stimulus when we feel the child can take it, and in the amount that we feel is beneficial. In running the timing and the amount of stimulus is critical - if you do it wrong you either overtrain or undertrain. I believe the same is true in schooling.

So Benjamin just ran 4 with me and Jenny today, and then 5 more with William. Then I took Jacob for 1 mile, and then Joseph for 2. I learned something about Joseph today, it just came to me. Again, another benefit of home schooling and home coaching at the same time made possible by having a telecommuting job. There is no way I could do those things if I had to be at an office all day - even if the scheduling worked out, the stress would have made it difficult for me to observe those things. We started the run, and around a quarter into it I challenged Joseph to beat Jacob's time of 15:48 from the day before. Eager to prove that he is faster than his younger brother,  Joseph accepted the challenge. About a mile into it he started slowing down complaining about a side-ache. But I could tell that it was more than that. Yes, the side ache was making it difficult, but he was not dealing with it right. I let him stop and do a few squats to stretch things out but also for a mental reboot. He when he started running, he was still having a bad attitude, and going a slower pace. Then something clicked, and he sped up. By that time he was a good 20 seconds behind Jacob's pace. He shaved off the difference down to 4 seconds by the end, but still ended up behind with 15:52.

Then it just dawned on me - Joseph has a hard time doing things that require effort and need to be taught how to do it in a special way. Not uncommon for an 8-year-old boy, but he struggles with it more than our other children have so far. A famous quote from him a couple of years ago. Jacob was telling him that he (Jacob) was feeling lazy. Joseph's response: "You are not feeling lazy, you are feeling tired. Lazy is when you have the energy to work, but you do not want to work". We all laughed because we knew Joseph was intimately familiar with the matter.

So I thought of a remedy. It was a non-running remedy but I felt it would benefit his running among other things. I told him to read Benjamin's physics textbook. Joseph objected saying that he had tried and it made no sense to him. Then I knew that this was exactly what he needed. I told him: "When you find something that does not make sense, do not just lay the book aside or read past it. Find me or Benjamin, and ask us to explain to you what that means. Spend more time than 5 seconds fighting with it before you declare that something does not make sense."

The next day later I found him reading that textbook on his own initiative at 9:00 pm in the van while we were coming back from Jenny's play.

Julia ran 3 miles. I added 2.05 at the end on the same Joseph-Jacob nasty course in 11:46.9.

Green Crocs 5 Miles: 12.00
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
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