Breaking the Wall

August 06, 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: 16.00 Year: 2314.91
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: 1185.83
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Ran with Ted again in the morning in the Provo Canyon. Warmed up to the Nunns park. Then the standard 3 mile tempo down to the bridge in 15:53. An improvement over Thursday by 5 seconds. Mile splits - 5:17 - 5:20 - 5:16. On the last mile let is slide a bit on the next to last quarter (1:22), but then got mad and hit the last quarter in 74.

Overall, the feeling was that 5:20 pace was reasonably comfortable, but an attempt to go faster would produce a familiar toxic feeling in the body. I have always believed the toxic feeling comes from the lactic acid build up, but now I am wondering if this is something else. I remember feeling this at slower speeds at times towards the end of a half-marathon or a marathon when somebody passes me, and I am determined to stay with him or die. So I speed up, run for about a minute at a faster pace, but not necessarily fast enough to make me breath very hard or get the heart rate up to the lactic threshold levels, and boom, the toxic feeling comes, and there is nothing I can do, except slow down. Once I slow down, things are back to normal, other than the fact that my competitor is gone for good. The feeling does correlate with lower blood sugar levels somewhat, at least it is more likely to appear towards the end of a long race.

Ted finish the tempo run in 17:25. That is an improvement by almost a minute for him.

Afterwards, 5x400 on the flatter section of the trail (0.5% net drop, rolling) with 200 recovery. 69.6 - 69.7 - 71.8 - 71.0 - 67.2.

In the afternoon ran with the kids. Benjamin wanted to run in the Payson Onion Days 5 K. I told him he had to qualify. The qualifying standard was to run his half mile with the first quarter in 1:45, and the last one in 1:40. He did 1:44 - 1:39 with the last 100 in 22. This gave him a half-mile PR of 3:23. So he qualified with flying colors.

Afterwards took Benjamin and Jennifer to their soccer practice. Ran around enough to get the total for the day up to 15 miles. Then helped the coach, and played a practice game.

Finalized my plans for the upcoming Saturday. Glen wanted us to shine the store uniform in Park City, where he now lives. So I am doing a half-marathon leg of the relay. Bob Thompson is doing the other half. We are racing another team from the store - Mike Kirk/Darrell Phippen.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From Jim on Wed, Aug 23, 2006 at 11:26:54


Posted a report on my 100k. Not quite the pace you're used too, (14:00 overall) but a good race. Pushed the pace for as long as I could, something I usually don't do in an ultra. Wanted to actually try "racing" instead of just running.

From Mike on Fri, Aug 25, 2006 at 17:28:24

The "toxic" feeling you mention, is it in your legs or do you feel it in your upper body too? With V02 max work I sometimes get that feeling, but in the legs only. For the marathon or half, it can take over the whole body. The former doesn't seem to be a blood sugar issue for me, but the latter might be.

From Sasha Pachev on Fri, Aug 25, 2006 at 20:37:25

Mike - the toxic feeling is mostly in the throat. I feel like the harder I push, the closer I am to throwing up. This happens only in tempo runs and races between 10 K and the marathon. To a certain extent, it might happen in a 5 K, maybe on the last half mile. But a 5 K is too short for this.

In a marathon, I usually do not push hard enough for it to happen, however in my best one, which I consider to be TOU in 2003, I felt it somewhat in the early miles, which I did pretty hard - the first half was 1:10:31.

On a good day, a 73 second quarter (flat) at the end of a tempo run will bring it on in full measure. On a bad day, trying to dip under 80 could have the same effect. What is interesting is that the good day pace will be 81 second quarters, while the bad day pace will be 85. So on a good day at the end I can speed up to 8 seconds above pace, while the bad day gives me only 5 or so. On a bad day the "toxic" feeling caps the maximum speed after running 3 tempo miles more than it does the average pace.

When doing anaerobic speedwork, the limit is the legs feeling like lead. It is very different from the tempo toxic feeling.

It is the same toxic feeling that keeps me from cranking up my top speed at the end of a race. Often I can barely speed up above pace even on the last 50 meters, and that with the utmost mental effort, competition to beat, prize money on the line, etc.

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