Breaking the Wall

November 12, 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: 25.33 Year: 3286.80
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: 33.72
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Tempo run on the Provo River Trail. Warmed up. Then ran 2.5 out in 13:46. Did not look at the watch until I was done. I was anticipating 13:55 and thought I had slowed down on the last 0.5. It turned out that quite the opposite happened - my splits by 0.5 were 2:49 - 2:44 - 2:44 - 2:44   - 2:43. The heart rate eventually made its way up to 162. On the way back, which is always slower due being a slight uphill, I had quite the opposite experience. I thought I was running 13:52. It turned out to be 14:04. The splits were 2:52 - 2:50 - 2:46 - 2:50 - 2:46. The heart rate was much higher - it climbed to 165 on the last 0.5 for average, and maxed out at 167. Nevertheless, I did feel strong and in control through the run.

Ran with the kids in the afternoon. 

Need to do more of those runs to get used to the pain of running at threshold. I wonder about the whole physiological model of threshold, how accurate it is. There have been some recent studies that showed the concept of threshold is rather artificial. I define it as the pace you can sustain for an hour in a race situation. Physiologically, it is defined as the point where you break down lactic acid at the same rate you are producing it. When I reach the threshold pace, my quads start feeling funny. It feels like I am eating a lemon, but the feeling is coming from the muscles. It is as if I could actually taste the acid that is building up. When I was a teenager, I never felt it in the muscle, my breathing would just become uncomfortable to the point of feeing like I was about to vomit. Now I still breathe pretty hard, but I could breathe harder if my muscles would let me. Although I can hold that effort for an hour in a race, when I am in good shape it becomes very uncomfortable and requires a lot of concentration. When I get out of shape or if I am just having a bad day, I feel like I am not working very hard, but just cannot go any faster. 
So I have a strong suspicion that the threshold for me is not so much about the lactate level in the blood or muscle, as it is in the ability of the nervous system to deal with it, and still keep firing at the muscle even if the muscle is fussing and trying to inhibit it. I have had quite a bit of experience where an anaerobic workout once a week in combination with tempo runs would raise my threshold pace past the level that I was reaching with tempo runs alone.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From wheakory on Mon, Mar 26, 2007 at 10:06:52

That's very interesting research, and thank your for sharing yor insight.

Very nice tempo run. I'm kind of the same way I never really feel it in my breathing when I reach threshold, but rather in the muscles, but more so my calves not quads.

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