Breaking the Wall

November 26, 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: 232.17 Year: 3533.69
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: 734.48
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Total of 15.5. Ran with Chad and the kids. Benjamin did 8.5, Jenny 3, Julia 0.5, Joseph 2, Jacob 1, William 0.5. 

Fast Running Friend had a chance to prove itself against Chad's Garmin 210. The course was of known length with marks. In the first 5.04 miles Fast Running Friend said 5.03, Garmin said 4.99. Garmin got off track on the distance over about a half mile stretch, then maintained the difference. Fast Running Friend was within 0.01 on all intermediate splits. Then over the next 2.04 miles Fast Running Friend added 2.02, while the Garmin added 2.05, so now the Garmin was closer to the truth that it was before. Then Chad accidentally disabled the GPS, so we were testing just the Fast Running Friend. Over the next 4.00 it reported 4.03, then after that it stayed on track until it ran out of battery with the total running time of around 1:53, but we started at 80% battery charge.

Fast Running Friend was without question more accurate on the immediate pace. This one is difficult to verify exactly, but both Chad and I agreed whenever we sampled it that Fast Running Friend was reasonable every single time, while Garmin made sense only 60% of the time or so.

Fast Running Friend also showed some resilience in a situation that I did not explicitly think through in my code. At around 1.4 mark I made a VPB stop and did not press the Stop button. When I was done and started running, the Fast Running Friend extrapolated my distance to be about where Chad was at the time. Then once it noticed that I've gone 0.15 from the last trusted point it corrected the distance moving me backwards, and eliminating the detour because the turn angles in the path were too high and disruptive. By the time I caught up to Chad the Fast Running Friend was showing the correct distance. It is a good sign when your code does the right thing when used in a way that you did not explicitly program for.

I do need to do something about the battery life. From the tests I've done so far, things look ugly. If I tell Android to give me GPS updates at a higher interval, it does give them to me at a higher interval so the accuracy is lost, but the GPS driver (/system/bin/SiRFDrv) is still reading the GPS device (/dev/ttyS0) once a second no matter what and the battery drains just as fast. So I might need to bypass the Android GPS notification system, and read the GPS device myself. This is going to be an adventure, but it has some payback potential - first, improvement in the battery life. Second, quicker acquisition of the GPS signal - I suspect somewhere in the convoluted communication process that takes the signal for the device to the application there is a bug that withholds the legitimate signal. There are times when the app is not getting the signal, the GPS driver logs says it is waiting for signal, yet I catch SiRFDrv red-handed reading the correct GPS coordinate in plain text from /dev/ttyS0. Third, this can give me the flexibility of varying the read interval quickly which could allow better battery life without sacrificing accuracy. I just need to learn more about how the GPS works on a lower level.

Green Crocs 5 Miles: 15.50
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From Tara on Tue, Feb 26, 2013 at 16:26:14 from

It's sounding pretty cool!

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