Breaking the Wall

September 23, 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: 146.13 Year: 2768.94
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: 22.05
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Started the morning with a 1 mile jog. Then went to the temple.

In the temple talked with a fellow temple worker. He is 61 years old. Turned out that back in his young years he was a very good sprinter - 21.0 200. I told him that my best 100 m was 13.9. His response was probably similar to what I would have said if somebody had told me his marathon PR was 3:45 - this can be fixed. His suggestion was to use ankle weights to teach the hamstrings to contract when they ought to. My body says this is worth a try.

In the afternoon drove to the Provo Canyon to do my speed workout. A warm-up to the Canyon Glen Park. 4 100 meter strides. Feeling good, just not speedy. Hamstrings are refusing to engage at first - maybe tired from my form drills in the last two days.

Started my 10x500 with 200 recovery jog. Headwind. 500 is not as weird of an interval as it sounds. Two of them make 1000. 10 make a 5 K. Hitting 1:29s. On a couple, the headwind got strong enough to slow me down to 1:30. Then it weakened, and my nervous system seemed to have gotten a bit snappier. Started seeing 1:28s. Last one in 1:27 without a strong kick to get the 14:48.5 for the 5 K. I wish I could run it like that without having to take 9 200 meter jogging breaks. But as I like to say, do not just wish you could do something or be something - do what it takes to get there instead.

Jogged half a mile, and started feeling very good. My jacket was 1.5 miles up the canyon over by the Canyon Glen Park. It is uphill, but there was a good tailwind. As they say in Russian, it would have been a sin to miss the opportunity for a marathon pace tempo run. 1.5 miles in 8:41. Was only trying to do 6:00-6:05 pace but ended up with 5:48. This could be a bad sign - strong headwind on the way back.

Got the jacked, and continued the tempo run on the way back. My suspicions about the headwind were correct, although it was not as bad as I thought it could have become. 2:51 for the first 0.5 going down. Then something happened. I started thinking about snappy hamstrings, and it seemed like they started snapping better. The wind either weakened, or I was dealing with it better with the snappy hamstrings. The same effort gave me a 1:24 quarter, then three 1:22s in a row. Then I saw that if I ran a 1:20 it would give me 5:40 average for the 3 tempo miles. I ended up with 1:18 to hit 8:17 for the downhill section of the tempo.

Later in the day ran with Benjamin and Jennifer, and added another always on the run mile to make the total 13 miles for the day.

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