Breaking the Wall

November 22, 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: 118.81 Year: 3380.28
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: 33.72
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Day of rest. Went to church. We had a fast and testimony meeting. The lesson in Sunday school was on the Word of Wisdom. I taught it. At the end a thought came to me that I shared with the class, and I believe it is worth being mentioned here. I said, to run and not be weary is good, but to know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet is better. The Word of Wisdom is a principle in the LDS religion that teaches us to take good care of our bodies. Part of that is staying away from alcohol, tobacco, coffee, caffeinated tea, and harmful drugs. We also believe in eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and grains, while eating meat in moderation (yes we do, even if you might find it hard to believe if you go to a typical LDS activity). We also believe in a lifestyle that involves going to bed early and arising early (again, might be hard to believe that we do if you look at your typical BYU student schedule, but it is in the Doctrine and Covenants 88, and it was specifically mentioned in the lesson manual), as well as regular exercise. Among the blessings promised for obedience to the Word of Wisdom is "run and not be weary" and "treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures".  In particular, one of those hidden treasures is to be able to recognize and see plainly that the Lord has called a prophet in the last days, just like he did in the times of the Bible.

Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 9.00
From fly on the Wall on Thu, Aug 05, 2010 at 18:11:08 from

I have wondered why some of the principles of the Word of Wisdom seem to be so dogmatically adhered to while others are virtually ignored? At least these are my observations, as a gentile, of my most reverent in-laws.

From Sasha Pachev on Fri, Aug 06, 2010 at 14:16:41 from

Because those principles are not understood.

From Rob Murphy on Fri, Aug 06, 2010 at 16:18:48 from

Also, because people in all faiths tend to pick and choose which doctrines, principles, and rules they want to adhere to. Kind of like going through a cafeteria line - it's all there, but that doesn't mean I'm putting it on my plate.

From fly on the Wall on Fri, Aug 06, 2010 at 19:16:43 from

The question then becomes, why aren't those principals understood?

I like the cafeteria analogy. I suppose this is a form of "free agency?"

From AZDesertmonsoon on Fri, Aug 06, 2010 at 19:25:20 from

The older I get the less I see things as black and white. It says to only eat fruit in season, but now we are told that was because of lack of adequate preserving methods and since now we have them it is acceptable to eat fruit out of season. The WoW says that meat should only be eaten "in times of winter, or of cold, or famine" That comes immediately after the advice to eat meat sparingly and acts as an explanation of what sparingly means. Why is it acceptable to eat meat in times of winter, but not summer? A reasonable explanation is because meat was subject to spoilage. So if better preservation methods allow us to eat fruit out of season, do improved refrigeration methods also allow us to eat meat more frequently than the lord wanted the early saints to?

I am not sure I agree with the statement that it is doctrine that saints today should eat meat sparingly. I think red meat should probably be limited, but think the most people don't eat enough fish which is a type of meat. Some people interpret the WoW so literally that they won't eat oats as those are for horses. Wheat is for man.

Beyond the 5 prohibitions I won't judge other individuals as being out of compliance with the WoW.

From fly on the Wall on Fri, Aug 06, 2010 at 19:59:37 from

Meat can be preserved by salting or drying. Beyond that, chicken, other fowl, and many fish are small enough so as not to need preservation after death (just cook and eat it all).... So I'm not sure AZD's logic holds? Perhaps in winter there were just fewer alternatives to meat in times past? If so then now that we can eat like it is summer year round, shouldn't less meat be eaten year round? IS this just second guessing the LDS WoW?

From AZDesertmonsoon on Sat, Aug 07, 2010 at 02:47:39 from

"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy: having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer." ( l Timothy 4:1-5)

Here is a quote from the D&C student manual 2001 edition put out by the church.

"Also, before fruits and vegetables could be preserved, people often did not have enough other food to eat in winter. Spoiled meat can be fatal if eaten, and in former times meat spoiled more readily in summer than winter. Modern methods of refrigeration now make it possible to preserve meat in any season"

My point isn't to argue anyone else's position is incorrect. My point is that these issues aren't black and white. Individuals are given discretion on how to apply some of the principles in their own lives. It is not meet that we should be commanded in all things. It is possible these arguments are rationalizations, but I don't see how they are any more of a rationalization than eating an apple in the summer. If the cold temperature wasn't the reason that eating meat was acceptable and only a shortage of other vegetables it seems the lord could have simply said in time of scarcity or something. I think my argument hinges on whether you believe the second sentence relates to the first sentence or whether they are independent. Church leaders have disagreed over interpretations over the years. One church publication said refined flour was against the WoW. Many of these questions aren't that settled.

From fly on the Wall on Sat, Aug 07, 2010 at 14:22:07 from

Thanks AZD. To me almost nothing is black and white. I most certainly do not know how anyone should apply the WoW. I am just curious as to why people around me apply it as they do. (I hesitate to ask them directly as they can become defensive or mistake it as an open door for proselytization.) I wonder why I am frowned upon for an occasional single beer by those who to me seem to eat a diet rich in meat and processed/junk food, and stay up and arise late. This statement is not meant to sound bitter, just to explain my perspective.

From Rye on Sat, Aug 07, 2010 at 16:43:09 from

In priest quorum the instructor, who is a great teacher, talked about charity and virtue to the young men....then spoke of the WOW.. He stated that you get exactly what you put into it. Sounds simple. I think that's what the Lord had in mind. Simplicity. If we adhere to those great concepts of diet and exersize which we know to be true, we will be blessed. You reap what you sow.

From Sasha Pachev on Sat, Aug 07, 2010 at 17:07:45 from

One example of misapplication of the Word of Wisdom. An individual stays away from alcohol, tobacco, coffee, tea, and drugs, but fails to exercise, goes to bed late and gets up late, eats three meals a day at a fast food restaurant that include large amounts of meat, consumes as much caffeine as a coffee addict via "cold" drinks, and wonders why he is not blessed with health while still technically worthy of a temple recommend.

Unfortunately there is an implicit understanding in the church that as long as you qualify for a temple recommend you are OK. Yet there are some important Gospel principles that can be absent from your life that are not explicitly tested in the interview. For example, service, charity, clean language, regular prayer and scripture study, regular temple attendance, diligence in performing your calling including home teaching. A "saint" that is in the habit of telling dirty jokes and watching R-rated moves that are rated so for promoting unchaste behavior, for example, will usually answer Yes to the question on whether he keeps the law of chastity without hesitation, and the bishop will usually not question him further.

The above is understandable as the temple recommend interview cannot be comprehensive. But the hope is that those who want to be in the temple want to feel the Spirit of the temple in their lives. And that cannot be felt without going beyond the letter of the law, and sincerely trying to apply the principles of that law in your life, not just the letter. Which, if it happened more than it does, would result in people like Fly On The Wall having greater interest in the Church, or at least greater respect for it.

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