Breaking the Wall

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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
Five Fingers 2 Miles: 75.42Bare Feet Miles: 13.00
Night Sleep Time: 55.00Nap Time: 4.00Total Sleep Time: 59.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Day of rest. Went to church. Taught a class in the Elder's Quorum on Wentworth Letter where Joseph Smith recounts his vision, receiving the Golden Plates and translating the Book of Mormon, the history of the Church, and then gives the Thirteen Articles of Faith.

Night Sleep Time: 9.00Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 10.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with Jeff and Daniel. Daniel went with us to 3 then turned around. We did 10.06 in 1:13:27. A little slower for Jeff due to my VPB. I did explosive sprints. Towards the end I suggested if we ran the last half mile at 6:30 pace we would be under 1:14 for the whole run. Jeff said he needed to run 6:00 pace due to my VPB. So we decided to go fast. We started with about 0.4 to go. The quarters were 85, and 77. HR got up to 164 then dropped to 162. Jeff's was steady at 174.

A few days ago I discovered that if I pressed on my pelvic bone on the right side a certain way I was able to feel more control over my right glut. I am able to find the correct angle because when I press a certain way my right pinky toe starts to twitch, so I press it until it is twitching the hardest. Then once I find the magic angle I contract and relax the glut. So I messed around with it a bit, and felt different during the run today, more stability on the right foot, more power coming off the right leg, especially at faster speeds.

2 more with Benjamin in 15:49.

P.M. About 0.4 with Benjamin to get home after helping a neighbor move in Crocs, then 2 barefoot with Jenny in 17:59. Julia ran 1.5 in 13:46. Feet are tougher, felt a whole lot better running barefoot.

Five Fingers 2 Miles: 12.06Bare Feet Miles: 2.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with Jeff. He had a job interview, so we had to run early - 5:00 AM. We also had to be done quick, so we had to hurry through the run a bit. We started out slow as usual, first 0.5 at 9:00 pace, but then feeling the urgency of being done in time picked it up a bit and eventually were going a bit over 6:40. Hit the turnaround (5.03) in 36:14 and then started the mini-tempo. We ran an odd distance - 3.67 because that was the distance from the turnaround to where we had to cross Geneva (the bridge is still flooded). Our time was 21:35 (5:52.8 average). We started out around 6:00 pace, then with 2 miles to go sped up to 5:50,  and ran the last mile in 5:43. Due to the early hour I felt sluggish. At 6:00 I felt like I was pressing against a hard wall. Then as we sped up the wall advanced 10 seconds, and was now at 5:50. And towards the end it advanced to 5:40. Total time for 10.06 was 1:08:15 which is fast for us, Jeff and I are a couple of lazy bums, we rarely break 1:10. In fact, had we not run the tempo we would not have broken 1:10 even with the mid-run briskness. Of course, we could run 1:04 every day, but then Jeff would be injured and I would be neurally fatigued.

Then 2 more with Benjamin. We did 0.5 in 2:59 (89,90) plus a little bit more, about 0.05 at that pace to help him mentally extend himself.

P.M. Ran barefoot. 1.5 with Julia in 13:16. She was conversational even though the pace was sub-9:00. 0.5 with Joseph in 5:45. Jenny had a cut on her foot, could not run.

Five Fingers 2 Miles: 12.06Bare Feet Miles: 2.00
Night Sleep Time: 6.75Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 7.75
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with Jeff. Had to make it relatively brisk because we started late and Jeff had to get to work. So we ran 1:11:13 for 10.1. Did explosive sprints. Jeff said I looked more relaxed. We'll see if there any substance to that tomorrow in the 6x400. 

2 more with Benjamin in 17:26.

P.M. Ran barefoot. 0.5 with Joseph in 6:05. Julia ran with us for about 0.3 then took off, the pace was too slow for her. Then 2 with Jenny in 18:31, Julia ran 1.5 in 13:53.

Five Fingers 2 Miles: 12.10Bare Feet Miles: 2.50
Night Sleep Time: 7.75Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 8.75
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with Jeff. I did the quarters. He did two fat miles just to be safe. I did his last fat mile, although it was not so fat for me as the quarters put me in the carb burning mode. Total mileage for the run was 10.1.

I did 5 quarters with 200 recovery, then ran out of road, and did not want to go backwards as not to delay Jeff as he needed to get to work on time. So I decided to take a longer break, about 2.5 miles or so until we got back to the trail marks. The longer break did not matter since I could not do the quarters fast enough to benefit from more than 200 recovery.

The quarters went like this: pressed the stop button too early on the first, with the adjustment the time was around 73, on the second one the watch did not start because I am still getting used to the idea of starting the timer with one button and stopping it with another. After than I finally got the hang of those buttons: 71.4, 72.0 (lost concentration looking for the marker as it was covered with fluff), 71.2, 71.5.

The feeling was interesting. In some ways I felt smooth. But in other ways I felt weak and awkward. In restrospect I said no wonder many people run this pace for a 10 K, it is not that fast, does not take a whole lot of power to sustain it if you can run smooth. But it does take a whole lot of Quality X to be sufficiently smooth to run this pace off low power. And for fairness, we need to say that a sub-28:00 sea-level track Kenyan would not break 29:00 on the Provo River trail. I raced a few of them in 2005 in Wasatch Run The Front, the winner was around 29:20, he had a sub-28:00 track 10 K to his credit, and he was racing 4 other guys his caliber. I ran 34:10, and, interestingly enough, my 10 K PR on the Provo River Trail was 34:09, so we can say the courses were comparable. So perhaps 71 quarters there are not that slow after all.

And since I remembered Wasatch Run the Front. It was a great race, but unfortunately not well appreciated by the community. We had some of the best runners the world, a good number, and I mean really the best, sub-28:00 10 K runners in men, Constantina Dita, the Beijing Olympics Marathon Champion in the women's race, and she did not win easy, there was a Kenyan lady that gave her a run for her money. The good news is that I got to watch it. The bad news is that I got to watch it from far behind. I ran a decent race and got triple (!) chicked.  We did not have to go anywhere to race them, they came to us. They were all right there, no special coral or anything. You could warm-up, cool down, and chat with a bunch of world-class runners. And guess how many people showed up? Only 300. Well, that was the end of Wasatch Run The Front.

2 with Benjamin afterwards in 17:41.

P.M. 2 with Jenny in 18:11. Julia ran the first 1.5 in 13:51. 0.5 with Joseph in 5:55.


Five Fingers 2 Miles: 12.10Bare Feet Miles: 2.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with Jeff. After the first half mile we met a guy named Tyler. He joined us for about 3.5 miles. In less than a mile we discovered he had served a Spanish speaking mission in New Jersey. Jeff and I speaking Spanish to each other is rather odd for some reason, but with another person it happens more naturally. So we spoke Spanish for almost 3 miles.

On the way back we ran a fat mile in 5:59, and then another fat 1.25 in 7:26.

We have a reason to celebrate. The tunnel under Geneva Road is finally dry. Learning to be thankful for small blessings.

Afterwards 2 more with Benjamin in 15:54. It would have been slower, but he decided to practice his race pace in the last 0.4.

P.M. 2 with Jenny in 17:47. Julia ran the first 1.5 in 13:26. Then 0.5 with Joseph, Jeff, and Kimia. Joseph and I finished in 5:21, which is Joseph's record, Jeff and Kimia pulled ahead in the second quarter and finished in 5:14.

Five Fingers 2 Miles: 12.10Bare Feet Miles: 2.50
Night Sleep Time: 7.75Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 8.75
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Eventful morning. Started with a tempo run with Jeff. We warmed up 3.62, then started our 10 mile tempo. Fast Running Blog 5 Miler course twice. While I am at it, I'll put a plug for the race on July 11th. This is a great opportunity to accurately test your fitness. I know that course very very well. With the race still small I can afford to offer every blogger that comes to run it an analysis of his performance. I hope this means more to you than purchasing a shirt, some food and a chance to win an age division award, which we unlike other races do not offer. Take that back, we actually do offer the option of purchasing a shirt for $8, but it is still an option, shirt purchase is not required to enter the race.  And in case somebody still does not know, there is no charge to enter the race.

The plan was to go out at around 5:50 pace, and then speed up by feel. My splits: 5:49 - 5:48 - 5:46 - 5:43 - 5:43 - 5:40 - 5:35 -  5:32 - 5:32 - 5:38.  We tried to do quarters, but eventually the pace got fast enough to where I was not very helpful at the front. With 1.5 to go Jeff sped up to an 81 quarter, I survived it, but was done for the rest of the run and lost contact. My quarters after that were 83, 85, 85, 84, 84. The last mile is a slight uphill, so the effort was worth a flat 5:32-5:34. Total time was 56:46. Jeff finished with 56:34. Splits by 2.5: 14:33 - 14:16 - 14:03 - 13:54. By 5: 28:49 - 27:57. I was happy to break 28:00 in the second half.

First 5 miles felt sluggish, I was even wondering if I could hold that pace at all, much less speed up. Then we sped up to 5:40 and I found a good rhythm.

I felt very good during mile 7. HR was 154. I do not think I ever had it that low going 5:35 that late in a tempo or a race. I found a good rhythm during that mile. Then I lost it during a 180 and the pace felt painful, but then I found the rhythm again. However, 81 was too much for my nervous system. I still had good rhythm in the last mile, but Jeff was gone, and my neural drive was in overload. So 5:38 was all I could do.

Cooled down to make the total of 15.

The took Benjamin and Jenny to the Utah Track State Championship. They both ran 1500 meters in the Bantam division. This was Jenny's first track race, so naturally she made some mistakes. She spent a good portion of the race in the second or third lanes while there was no competitor around her. This ended up costing her the win. Her time was 6:40.00, while the Olivia Tait ran 6:39.64.  Olivia was on pace for about 6:20, but then with about 170 meters to go she started throwing up. So she stopped, then started running, stopped again, pushed as hard as she could, and ended up holding off Jenny at the end. Jenny's splits were 1:41, 1:52, 1:50, and 1:17 for the last 300. She advanced to the regionals, an since they are going to be held here at BYU she is going to run in them. Not a bad showing, though, given that she is 8 and she was racing girls 10 and under.  But we need to work on holding a steady pace all the way through, and on staying in the first lane.

If somebody had told me that Benjamin would not advance to the regionals with a 5:43 I would have said impossible. Last year he won with 6:06. But it did happen. Bantum Boys ended up being the deepest race in all age categories. Benjamin ran a 22 second PR, and still missed top 3 getting outkicked by Jakob Bates in the last 200. He would have advanced with his time in every other age division. Sometimes life pretends to be not fair. But it always is. There is no such thing as unfair. Luck is random, preparation is not.

Amadeus Peterson won with 5:21.91, then Aiden Troutner 5:25.80, Jakob 5:41.44, and Benjamin 5;43.77.

Benjamin's splits were 1:26 (quarter PR), 1:34, 1:36, and 1:07 for the last 300. I was happy with how he ran the race. He did slow down after the first lap, but he was able to maintain a respectable pace in spite of running a very aggressive first quarter. Our 6:00 pace to failure training did have some positive results. 5:46 pace in the first lap did not completely kill him, his kick was respectable, and his average pace for the whole run was 6:08.8.  We will continue to work on making 6:00 pace comfortable enough to make it to the mile.

P.M. Ran barefoot. 1.5 with Julia in 14:38, 0.5 with Joseph in 5:55.

Five Fingers 2 Miles: 15.00Bare Feet Miles: 2.00
Night Sleep Time: 7.75Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.75
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Five Fingers 2 Miles: 75.42Bare Feet Miles: 13.00
Night Sleep Time: 55.00Nap Time: 4.00Total Sleep Time: 59.00
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