Breaking the Wall

July 16, 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: 51.55 Year: 2011.51
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: 881.43
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Ran with Eric and George in the morning. George had already run some, so we dropped him off early. Did a "bio break" acceleration at marathon pace. Then took Eric on his tempo run. He set a record for the Slate Canyon Loop (2.11) (14:28). Dropped him off, put on ankle weights, did 45s slow/15s fast for a mile in 6:57. Cheated and started the fast part early (with 100 to go) to be sub-7:00. Last 100 in 18 seconds.

Took off ankle weights, and ran a tempo Slate Canyon loop in 12:25. The pace felt abnormally good even on the uphill section until I hit some headwind. Afterwards, even after I turned and there was no noticable headwind, the pace stopped feeling abnormally good.

This led me to some thinking. I've had two races this year in which I underperformed relative to competition - Moab half-marathon, and the BYU Robison Invitational 5000 meters. Both had signficant headwind. Of course, you should expect to run slower with headwind, but I slowed down more than the peer group of consistent runners I am tracking. There is clearly a weakness. I do not have any reliable historical data of running into a headwind for myself, so I cannot tell at this point if this problem has been around for a while, or if it something new. My current working theory is that the weakness is in my ability to regain rhythm after a break when fatigue sets in - I have noticed it could take me as long as half a mile to get back to normal speed when I am fatigued after a 180 turn. Sometimes it happens when I am even not that fatigued. This could have something to do with my threshold being very close to my VO2 Max. One thing I know is that takes a lot of mental focus for me to run even a quarter at my threshold pace. I remember feeling very confused about how to run in both of those high wind races.

Later in the morning ran 2 miles with Benjamin and Jennifer. They both are going to race in the Harrington Memorial 5 K in American Fork on the Memorial Day (May 29). This will be Jennifer's first 5 K. Initially, I did not want her to run it, but she has my genes - a persistent red head. With Sarah being pregnant and Jennifer's "monster" speed, Jennifer's participation gave us a challenge to find her a pacer since I'll be tied up with Bejamin. Fortunately, George agreed.

Since Jennifer had never run more than 1.5 miles at once before, I was a little concerned about her ability to run a 5 K, and decided to give her a practice 2 mile run today. She did a lot better than I expected. Her assignment was to run the first mile in 10:00, and then try to accelerate on the second mile if she felt good. She ran the first one in 9:33, and the second in 8:49, with the last 400 in 2:00, and last 200 in 56. With the ankle weights, and pushing Julia in the stroller, I started feeling something during her kick myself.

Wore the ankle weights the whole day, and did always on the run. Total of 13.2 miles for the day.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From sarochka on Tue, May 23, 2006 at 21:34:32

Myshke privet from your secret sweetheart......

From Mike Kirk on Wed, May 24, 2006 at 13:06:44

Good luck to both Benjamin and Jennifer. Are they running in the SLC Kids K?

I signed up for the SLC 1/2 marathon today. It has been put back into the LDR circuit.

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