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: 304.65 Year: 3606.17
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: 806.96
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Black Crocs 2 Miles: 58.41
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Day of rest. Went to church.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2016-07-25 07:22:50
Workout Totals: Distance10.050Time1:22:13.10Pace8:10.86
Today Stephen got a new mile record - finally after many failed attempts - 8:12.3 on the "little boy" course. He started out, but was not going the right pace and complained his leg was hurting. At 0.55 I gave him a choice to jog back home and get nothing, or to stop, jog back to the 0.5 mark, run the time trial with prizes attached for a good performance, then jog 0.5 back home. He chose to try again. His splits were 1:57 (slight down), 1:58 (slight down), 2:16 (slight up), and 2:01 (slight up).

Jacob and Benjamin did 2 miles with Stephen. William ran 1, Joseph 3, Jenny, Julia, and Matthew their usual distances. Benjamin and I did a total of 10. Kids are tapering for the USATF Nationals.
Leg 1:Distance0.550Time4:48.50Pace8:44.55
False start with Stephen.
Leg 2:Distance1.000Time8:12.30Pace8:12.30
Stephen's time trial.
Leg 3:Distance0.500Time5:09.50Pace10:19.00
Stephen's cool down.
Leg 4:Distance1.000Time7:55.30Pace7:55.30
With Benjamin and William.
Leg 5:Distance3.000Time23:31.70Pace7:50.57
With Benjamin and Joseph.
Leg 6:Distance4.000Time32:35.80Pace8:08.95
With Benjamin.

Black Crocs 2 Miles: 10.05
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2016-07-26 08:40:58
Workout Totals: Distance7.340Time56:32.50Pace7:42.19
Drove to Sacramento today. Did some running on the road, the rest of it late in the evening when we got there. The weather during the day was extremely hot - 105F, and at night it was still hot, although runnable.
Leg 1:Distance0.320Time2:58.30Pace9:17.19
In Wells, NV - with Stephen.
Leg 2:Distance0.550Time4:39.00Pace8:27.27
Wells, NV - Joined Benjamin, William, and Jacob for the rest of their run.
Leg 3:Distance0.370Time3:05.60Pace8:21.62
Lovelock, NV - with Benjamin, William, Joseph, and Jacob.
Leg 4:Distance0.500Time4:37.60Pace9:15.20
Lovelock, NV - with Stephen, Benjamin, Joseph and Jacob.
Leg 5:Distance0.500Time4:15.60Pace8:31.20
I think this one was with Stephen in Sacramento.
Leg 6:Distance1.000Time7:45.60Pace7:45.60
With Benjamin in Sacramento.
Leg 7:Distance4.100Time29:10.80Pace7:07.02
Alone in Sacramento.

Black Crocs 2 Miles: 7.34
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2016-07-27 07:24:05
Workout Totals: Distance12.240Time1:37:43.00Pace7:59.00
Today William and Jacob raced the 800 at the USATF JO Nationals. William ran 3:07.96 taking 40th place which is a 4 second PR. He opened with 41, then had an official split of 88.36 at 400, not sure what he had at 600, but his last lap was 1:39.60. The temperature was around 90F. I was concerned he might have problems - both mental and physical, but 1:39 last lap was as bad as it got - I was happy we got away so easy. I do not know why they do hurdles before the 800s.

The video of William's race can be found here .

The slowest final qualifier in William's division (7-8) ran 2:43.49.

Jacob ran 2:38.04 finishing 21st in the 9-10 division. The slowest final qualifier in his division ran 2:29.06. For his race it was even hotter - I think around 98F. Fortunately we developed a good cooling strategy for both Jacob and William - keep them in the van with AC on until the very last moment, then use a pack of ice and a water bottle with ice water while waiting for the race to start at the stadium. Unfortunately they make you wait at the stadium for a long time and they separate the children from coaches and parents while waiting.

Jacob opened with 36, then had an official split of 77.67 at 400, and ran the last lap in 80.37. This was a new race PR - he had run 2:37.7 in a time trial. But considering the heat, this was a PR effort.

Jacob's video is here. There was some drama in that race - he was with Elijah Hughes, who has a 400 PR of 64 seconds and 800 of 2:31 with 100 meters to go. Jacob's 400 PR is 72.7, so you would think he would have no hope in the kick. Somehow he managed a kick and ended up edging Elijah by 16 milliseconds at the finish.

In another bit of drama, Tillman Bartholomew, who beat Jacob in the regionals, was in the same heat. Tillman used the same strategy that worked in the regional race - sit behind in the first lap, then move forward and try to pull away. Except this time it did not work. Jacob kicked with 300 to go and pulled ahead. Ironically, they pretty much traded times - Tillman ran 2:43, just like Jacob in the regionals, and Jacob was a second and a half faster than Tillman's time at the regionals.

Benjamin did 6, Jenny ran 5 at home, Julia 3, Joseph 2, Jacob around 4 and William around 3, I think.
Leg 1:Distance2.000Time14:15.00Pace7:07.50
Leg 2:Distance2.000Time16:51.80Pace8:25.90
With Benjamin and Joseph.
Leg 3:Distance4.250Time32:56.20Pace7:44.99
With Benjamin.
Leg 4:Distance1.140Time8:46.50Pace7:41.84
With Julia.
Leg 5:Distance0.700Time5:29.90Pace7:51.29
Errands at the race venue.
Leg 6:Distance1.140Time10:52.00Pace9:31.93
With Stephen, Julia, Jacob, and William.
Leg 7:Distance0.260Time2:34.50Pace9:54.23
With Matthew.
Leg 8:Distance0.750Time5:57.10Pace7:56.13
I think this was with Jacob and Julia.

Black Crocs 2 Miles: 12.24
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2016-07-28 08:55:00
Workout Totals: Distance10.090Time1:18:14.20Pace7:45.23
10 for me, Benjamin did 6, Joseph 2, Jacob 4, Julia 3, William 2, Stephen 1, Matthew 0.25. Benjamin and I did 2x0.21 pickups. Benjamin was concerned that it felt harder than it should have. I validated the length of the stretch by running it several times back and forth and comparing the splits to the pace over a longer stretch using Google Maps. From that I estimated the stretch to be around 0.21. My take from that as well as his recent races and workouts was that he needs to be more aggressive at the start.
Leg 1:Distance2.000Time17:34.60Pace8:47.30
With Benjamin, Joseph, Jacob, and William. Julia and Stephen joined us for the first 0.57.
Leg 2:Distance2.000Time15:45.90Pace7:52.95
With Benjamin, Julia, and Jacob.
Leg 3:Distance2.000Time15:43.00Pace7:51.50
With Benjamin - we did 2x0.21 pickups.
Split 1:Distance0.790Time6:28.50Pace8:11.77
Split 2:Distance0.210Time1:04.10Pace5:05.24
Split 3:Distance0.220Time2:04.10Pace9:24.09
Split 4:Distance0.210Time1:01.00Pace4:50.48
Split 5:Distance0.570Time5:05.30Pace8:55.61
Leg 4:Distance4.090Time29:10.70Pace7:08.04

Black Crocs 2 Miles: 10.09
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2016-07-29 08:35:44
Workout Totals: Distance10.450Time1:34:07.00Pace9:00.38
Today Benjamin raced in the 3000. He got 3rd place in 17-18 division with 8:53.73. This was a significant moment in our family history. I have wanted to break 9:00 in 3000 on the track, but never could. As a teenager I thought of 9:00 as a standard of excellence. While I could not achieve that, Benjamin did today.

The video of the race is available here.

I recorded his splits by the quarter with the Fast Running Friend - they are below. His official splits by the quarter starting at the 200 mark:

33.409 (33.409) 1:42.667 (1:09.258) 2:53.676 (1:11.009)
4:07.395 (1:13.719) 5:18.178 (1:10.783) 6:31.922 (1:13.744)
7:44.940 (1:13.019) 8:53.730 (1:08.790)

By 1 K - 2:53, 3:01, 2:59, so quite solid.

From the start Benjamin let Hunter Lucas go, which perhaps was correct, as I do not think he would have lived through a 4:31 opening 1600, and battled back and forth with Alexander Hirsch with Patrick Sicurello on their tail a couple of seconds back for most of the race.

Alexander passed Benjamin shortly before 400 to go and gapped him a bit. Patrick passed him with 200 to go, but Benjamin shifted gears in the last 100 and regained his position as third. He did not catch Alexander, though.

Additionally, in order to be third, he had to beat Nic Caruso's time from the second heat. Nic had a slow mark of 9:31 due to bronchitis and was thus put in a slower second heat, but he is an 8:46 guy. He was still not 100% at the race, but he managed to run 8:54 solo. Benjamin did beat that thanks to the final push and ended up third after Hunter Lucas (8:45), and Alexander Hirsch (8:52).

Running wise, we did what we could - Benjamin and I got in 10 miles, other kids expect Joseph ran their usual distances. Joseph did only 2 as he was racing the next day.
Leg 1:Distance2.000Time17:01.00Pace8:30.50
With Joseph, Jacob, and William at the Hornet Stadium.
Leg 2:Distance0.500Time4:29.30Pace8:58.60
With Jacob at the Hornet Stadium.
Leg 3:Distance0.000Time8:53.90Pace0:00.00
Benjamin's 3000 - quarter splits
Split 1:Distance0.000Time1:07.30Pace0:00.00
Split 2:Distance0.000Time1:10.10Pace0:00.00
Split 3:Distance0.000Time1:13.30Pace0:00.00
Split 4:Distance0.000Time1:11.10Pace0:00.00
Split 5:Distance0.000Time1:12.40Pace0:00.00
Split 6:Distance0.000Time1:13.90Pace0:00.00
Split 7:Distance0.000Time1:12.50Pace0:00.00
Split 8:Distance0.000Time0:33.30Pace0:00.00
Leg 4:Distance1.140Time10:09.40Pace8:54.56
With Julia, Jacob, Benjamin, and Stephen.
Leg 5:Distance0.500Time4:00.50Pace8:01.00
With Benjamin, Julia, and Jacob.
Leg 6:Distance1.560Time13:09.80Pace8:26.28
With Julia and Benjamin.
Leg 7:Distance2.000Time15:34.20Pace7:47.10
With Benjamin.
Leg 8:Distance0.250Time2:29.20Pace9:56.80
With Matthew.
Leg 9:Distance2.500Time18:19.70Pace7:19.88

Black Crocs 2 Miles: 10.45
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2016-07-30 06:55:39
Workout Totals: Distance8.240Time1:20:26.00Pace9:45.68
Today Joseph raced 3000 meters. He got 10:55.76 finishing 27th overall and 5th in his heat(there were two, he was in the slow one). I recorded his splits with Fast Running Friend, see below. By 1 K his splits were 3:37, 3:41, 3:37.

The race video is here

Running wise we ran whenever we could. Benjamin and I ran 3 in the morning, then added some more at the track with Jacob and William, then ran while travelling around gas stations, and ran some more once we got home.
Leg 1:Distance3.140Time25:01.20Pace7:58.09
With Benjamin in Sacramento at our rented house.
Leg 2:Distance1.300Time11:37.70Pace8:56.69
With Benjamin, Jacob, and William.
Leg 3:Distance0.000Time10:55.70Pace0:00.00
Joseph's splits by 400.
Split 1:Distance0.000Time1:23.70Pace0:00.00
Split 2:Distance0.000Time1:29.90Pace0:00.00
Split 3:Distance0.000Time1:27.30Pace0:00.00
Split 4:Distance0.000Time1:28.80Pace0:00.00
Split 5:Distance0.000Time1:29.00Pace0:00.00
Split 6:Distance0.000Time1:27.50Pace0:00.00
Split 7:Distance0.000Time1:27.40Pace0:00.00
Split 8:Distance0.000Time0:42.10Pace0:00.00
Leg 4:Distance0.350Time3:09.60Pace9:01.71
Jogging around at the track to find Joseph.
Leg 5:Distance0.200Time1:41.80Pace8:29.00
Some extra errand distance.
Leg 6:Distance1.000Time9:19.30Pace9:19.30
On the road with the kids - Stephen, William, Joseph, Jacob, and Benjamin.
Leg 7:Distance0.250Time2:23.00Pace9:32.00
With Matthew.
Leg 8:Distance1.000Time7:51.90Pace7:51.90
With Benjamin, Jacob, Joseph, and Julia.
Leg 9:Distance1.000Time8:25.80Pace8:25.80
With Benjamin and Julia.

Black Crocs 2 Miles: 8.24
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Black Crocs 2 Miles: 58.41
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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