Breaking the Wall

August 09, 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

Tempo 5 miles with Nick McCombs on the Provo River 5 Mile Tempo.  This was going to be a test of recovery. A year ago I ran it in 28:26 with a positive split, dying off as I went. 

Splits by 0.5 - 2:49 - 2:47 (5:36) - 2:47 - 2:49 (11:12, 5:36) - 2:48 (14:00) - 2:47 (16:47, 5:35) - 2:49 - 2:48 (22:24, 5:37) - 2:48 (uphill) - 2:42 (quarters of 1:23 and 1:19) - last mile in 5:30, last 2.5 in 13:54 - 6 second negative split - total time 27:54.0.

The pace did not feel super-easy at first, but it just did not get any harder. I kept waiting for a crash to happen, but it never did. This is very encouraging - being able to run 32 seconds faster that last year around the same time away from the marathon with a negative split, which means I had more juice left. 

Nick was being nice to me, did not push the pace, and kept asking me if I was doing OK sympathetic to the post-marathon recovery syndrome.

Total of 10.8 for the run with the warm-up and cool down.

Ran easy 5 miles in the evening, including 2.5 with the kids. Got soaked in the rain.

Went to a church meeting in the evening. In a group of about 10 people there were several Spanish speakers and one Russian. This is actually typical for Provo, even though we are in a small town in the Western United States.


Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From James in Sunny AZ on Fri, Aug 03, 2007 at 01:03:21

Wow, I agree that this sounds encouraging for you. Have you been putting in more miles this year than last year?

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