Breaking the Wall

August 14, 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. Usual 20 miler. Benjamin ran the first 2 miles of it with me, then turned back. He ended up doing 5, including 1 mile with Joseph. Jacob did 0.5 with them. Jenny and Julia did 1.5. When I approached the Provo Canyon I realized a race was taking place on the trail. At first I thought it was some small race, but then I remembered that Halloween was approaching, so this must have been the Halloween half marathon. Seeing the spread among the leaders, I figured there were not a lot of people in the race. Turned out I was wrong. There was a huge crowd, and it kept getting bigger and bigger. I saw the 1:30 pacer, that was James Moore, and I think Allie was with him, then 1:40 pacer, then 1:50 pacer, then 2:00, then 2:10. I wondered how I would be able to do my tempo on the way back as the trail was completely blocked by the crowd running somewhere in the 9:00 - 10:00 pace range. I also saw various expressions of idiocy under the guise of a Halloween costume. I was not looking forward to seeing it again on my way back.

My split at 10 miles was 1:11:15 or so.  Then I turned around and started the tempo. My that time I was around the people headed for around 2:15, so for a while the crowd was not too thick, but not for long. As soon as I caught the 2:10 pacers, things became challenging. However, I managed to find a way to deal with the mess and maintain good speed. Most people got out of the way upon request. I had to issue that request every 5-10 seconds. I discovered that a two-syllable exclamation does not interfere with the breathing too bad if you wait to do it until it is time to exhale. Once in a while I had to do a maneuver similar to what we frequently see happening on I-15 during rush hour. I had to step on the dirt only two or three times, and bumped into a runner only once with a few more near misses, but those do not count. Somehow with all of the adventures I pulled off around 5:35 average pace through that section, which lasted around 4 miles, and it did not feel too hard.

Then it was finally over, and I was able to run normally. Not sure what the mile splits were exactly earlier, but I started caring about them only when I got past 6. I did the uphill mile in 5:47, then the next adventure mile in 5:47 again, then one more adventure mile in 5:47, and then I was fed up with it and ran the last mile, which is adventurous as well in 5:38. This gave me 56:31 for the last 10 miles. I was happy to have hit sub-5:40 average again on this course in this workout. At the end I felt strong, no perceived fuel shortage, but at the same time I could not put that strength to use. Nevertheless, I was happy to have felt this way - my weight at the end of the run was a low 141 lb, and I got it up to 147 by the evening. So I must have been quite depleted, and it is good to know that I can run sub-5:40 while at that level of depletion.

P.M. 2 miles

Green Crocs 2 Miles: 22.00
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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