Breaking the Wall

August 08, 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 in the morning at 4:45. It was a cold and early morning. My bed felt good, and I missed it. Ted started from BYU and I met him on the trail. We ran to his turnaround, and then back to BYU. There we did a strength test for a mini-experiment - max leg extension on a weight machine with one leg. Ted was my guinea-pig to establish a comparison base. The test measures your raw quad strength. My expectation was that I would outperform Ted by a lot more than you would expect from our running difference. My expectation turned out to be correct. I was able to lift 200 lb and failed at 220 lb, while Ted lifted 140 lb, and failed at 160 lb.

Then we did a vertical jump. We did not have any way to measure it, so we just did a basic visual evaluation by the number of blocks on the wall. Our vertical jump was essentially the same.

I think the preliminary results confirm my suspicion that I have very much below average spinal resilience. And also, that the spinal resilience is critical in the running economy, and just as important as the raw leg strength for sprinting. That is why you can see a guy with skinny legs run 100 in sub-12 quite often, while somebody with bigger legs may not be as fast. The skinny legged guy has to be very well coordinated and has the back of a cat.

However, I would like to do more of those tests. Ideally, it would be nice to find a graduate or P.H.D. student who wants to do a study for his paper/dissertation and do it with him. But at least doing some informal measurements is a good start. If anybody wants to participate, let me know. The catch is that the leg extension test needs to be done on the same machine and with the same starting angle, so you'd have to come down to Provo for it.

On the way back caught the 7:00 mile guy. Ran a bit of a tempo on the last 0.5 at sub-6:00 pace. Total of 11 miles in the morning.

Ran with the kids in the afternoon. 13 miles for the day.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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