Breaking the Wall

November 24, 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: 232.17 Year: 3533.69
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: 1657.61
Brown Crocs 3 Lifetime Miles: 734.48
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Tempo run with Ted in the morning. Sleep in day - we ran at 7:15 AM. Warmed up to Geneva Road, and did the standard 10 mile tempo. I had too goals - stay with Ted as much as possible, and catch the 6:00 mile guy eventually. The trail was partially covered with snow, but a good part of it was dry. However, you did have to swerve from side to side to catch the good parts. Also, it was around 1F, so I had my standard 2.5 layers.

We ran together for the first 1.5 miles at 6:15 pace. Then stopped for a bio break, while Ted kept going. I started chasing him, and sped up to 5:45. It felt easier than I expected, and I felt some extra bounce in my stride. There are a couple of things I did different last week. Ted brought me some Synflex to try. It is a glucosamine-based supplement that is supposed to promote the growth of cartrilage. My hope is that it will improve the quality of my spinal disks and thus increase the resilience of the spine. I also changed my Pettibon exercise routine to walk around carrying a medicine ball above my head while wearing the headweights.

Hit 2.5 in 15:08, then caught Ted 0.5 miles later, along with the 6:00 guy. Decided to stay with Ted until we were 30 seconds behind the 6:00 guy. Ted was not feeling good - a bit sick, and a bit overtrained. We ran at 6:20 - 6:25 pace, and then slowed down to a 1:38 quarter. We were 28 seconds behind the 6:00 guy, and I decided it was time to take off. The road was covered with snow, so I fell behind even further - 30:32 (15:14) at 5 miles. That was bad news. So I pressed it a bit harder, and managed to not fall behind any further on the way back through the snowy section. Then with the same effort, I started closing the gap when the road was dry. 45:17 at the turnaround, 14:45 for 2.5. Now I was fully aware of the conditions of the trail and the difficulty of running 5:50 pace on it with all the clothes on, so I got down to business. Still 7 seconds to close with a mile to go, and it is uphill and covered with snow. Barely made it - 59:59.7, 14:42 on the last 2.5. 

Ran back to Ted, finished with him, then we ran to my house. 13.7 for the run. Ran with the kids a short while later, and then went cross-country skiing with Benjamin at Sundance. This was his first time cross-country skiing, and my first time in 20 years. I did a few tempo stretches, all I could do was 9:00 mile pace putting in 6:00 mile running effort. However, I believe, cross-country skiing is exactly what I need for my back. It bends it and stretches it in a way that feels just right when I lean forward and push off with both arms. I remember that in the past I felt cross-country skiing made me run with better form. I need to find a time and cost-effective way to do it as often as possible. If anybody knows of a good place to buy a pair of boots and skis, please post a comment or send me an e-mail. 

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From Paul Petersen on Mon, Jan 22, 2007 at 13:39:30

What size shoe do you wear? What is your weight? I might have some gear to sell...

Also, try ebay. It usually has a lot of XC stuff for cheap.

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