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: 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
Red Crocs Miles: 54.56Saucony Type A Miles: 2.19
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. We had a regional conference broadcast at the stake center.

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 - 2017-09-18 07:24:55
Workout Totals: Distance6.000Time46:12.20Pace7:42.03
6 total. Usual distances for the kids.
Leg 1:Distance1.000Time8:58.30Pace8:58.30
With Matthew, Jacob, William, and Stephen.
Leg 2:Distance1.000Time7:23.30Pace7:23.30
With Stephen, William, and Jacob.
Leg 3:Distance1.000Time6:45.90Pace6:45.90
With William and Jacob.
Leg 4:Distance3.000Time23:04.70Pace7:41.57
This may have been with Joseph.

Red Crocs Miles: 6.00
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 - 2017-09-19 08:08:00
Workout Totals: Distance8.192Time1:10:42.30Pace8:37.86
Ran 6 in the morning, then the cross-country race in the evening. Times:

myself 3:34
Joseph 3:36
Jacob 3:44
Jenny 4:11
William 4:13
Julia 4:23
Stephen 4:41
Sarah 5:28
Matthew 6:00

I felt OK but not super-great though I think better than I expected to feel. It is hard to tell what that time meant on that course given dubious accuracy and difficult terrain.
Leg 1:Distance1.000Time7:46.50Pace7:46.50
I think this was with William, Jacob, and Stephen.
Leg 2:Distance5.000Time39:40.00Pace7:56.00
I believe this was with Jenny.
Leg 3:Distance0.950Time7:33.30Pace7:57.16
Warm-up before cross-country race.
Leg 4:Distance0.621Time5:28.60Pace8:49.15
Cross-country 1 K.
Split 1:Distance0.621Time3:34.20Pace5:44.93
My time.
Split 2:Distance0.000Time0:27.20Pace0:00.00
Split 3:Distance0.000Time0:10.10Pace0:00.00
Split 4:Distance0.000Time0:11.50Pace0:00.00
Split 5:Distance0.000Time1:05.60Pace0:00.00
Leg 5:Distance0.000Time4:13.70Pace0:00.00
Timing the second heat.
Split 1:Distance0.000Time3:36.90Pace0:00.00
Split 2:Distance0.000Time0:07.90Pace0:00.00
Split 3:Distance0.000Time0:28.90Pace0:00.00
Leg 6:Distance0.621Time6:00.20Pace9:40.03
1 K with Matthew

Saucony Type A Miles: 2.19Red Crocs Miles: 6.00
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 - 2017-09-20 08:21:01
Workout Totals: Distance9.050Time1:08:37.10Pace7:34.93
Today was an interesting day. I ran 9 total with an uphill quarter sprint at the end. The result surprised me. I ran 83 the week before the marathon, and tried two more times under different circumstances getting 81 and 80 (80 was not at the end of anything long). I thought was feeling a bit more energetic today, so I told Joseph I was expecting 79. Somehow I ran 75.1. Joseph did 76.9.

Kids ran more or less their usual distances. I was finally able to convince Matthew to go back to the old 0.5 on the little boy course routine.

During the fast quarter I felt that the speed gain came mostly from the increased stride length, though I did not count the turnover to verify that.
Leg 1:Distance0.500Time4:13.90Pace8:27.80
With Matthew, Stephen, and Jacob.
Leg 2:Distance1.500Time12:05.50Pace8:03.67
With the above crew minus Matthew plus William.
Leg 3:Distance2.040Time14:25.00Pace7:04.02
With William and Jacob.
Leg 4:Distance5.010Time37:52.70Pace7:33.63
With Joseph.
Split 1:Distance4.760Time36:35.80Pace7:41.30
Split 2:Distance0.250Time1:15.10Pace5:00.40
Uphill pickup at the end - my time.
Split 3:Distance0.000Time0:01.80Pace0:00.00
Joseph's finish.

Red Crocs Miles: 9.05
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 - 2017-09-21 08:41:27
Workout Totals: Distance8.000Time1:00:10.30Pace7:31.29
8 total, usual distances for the kids, easy pace, felt somewhat energetic.
Leg 1:Distance0.500Time4:18.20Pace8:36.40
With Matthew, Jacob, William, and Stephen.
Leg 2:Distance1.500Time11:54.10Pace7:56.07
With Jacob, William, and Stephen.
Leg 3:Distance6.000Time43:58.00Pace7:19.67
Part with William and Jacob, part with Joseph, part alone.

Red Crocs Miles: 8.00
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 - 2017-09-22 08:39:21
Workout Totals: Distance8.498Time1:02:44.70Pace7:23.01
Jacob suggested we should do a mile time trial today, so I took the little boys to the track. I was excited to test what that 75.1 uphill quarter at the end of 8 would show on the track. I was planning to pace Joseph (and Jacob if he could keep up) for the first three quarters, and then kick to see what I had in the last lap.

So I took Joseph through the first 400 in 77 high which did not feel as easy as it should have been based on the uphill run on Wednesday, and then lost power. He had to step forward and help me with the pace. Our next two laps were 83 and 85. He kicked in the last lap running it in 82 and nearly dropped me. We finished side by side in 5:30.0 missing his record by 2 seconds.

Jacob struggled, ran the first lap in 84, then got discouraged and finished the mile in 5:54.

Matthew struggled as well in the 800, some of it was mental. He ran the first lap in 1:55, then he had 3:26 with 100 to go, but then just let his guard down and missed his not very strong record of 3:58.7 by a little over a second in the last 30 meters. He tried again, but only could run 4:16.

William also struggled in the mile - opened with 87, then it all went down to pot and he finished in 6:15.

Stephen did a bit better, but still missed his record in the 800 running 3:20.8. Splits - 47, 52, 53, 48.

I went for more distance after this and noticed that I was very sluggish choosing about 8:00 pace. Yesterday the same level of effort was giving me 7:10. I tried the uphill sprint at the end to get another data point and ran 83.4. I felt the stride length was too short but just did not have the power.

We did have a weather change - temperature dropped about 10F to 44F, there was a light drizzle, and 96% humidity. This should make things a bit harder, but not that hard. There was something else at play. What is odd is that it affected everybody.
Leg 1:Distance0.496Time4:00.10Pace8:04.07
With the crew pacing Matthew.
Leg 2:Distance1.000Time5:54.00Pace5:54.00
Pacing Joseph.
Split 1:Distance1.000Time5:30.00Pace5:30.00
Joseph's time and mine as well.
Split 2:Distance0.000Time0:24.00Pace0:00.00
Jacob's time.
Leg 3:Distance0.496Time4:16.30Pace8:36.73
Crew pacing Matthew for try 2.
Leg 4:Distance0.496Time3:20.80Pace6:44.84
Pacing Stephen - alone.
Leg 5:Distance1.000Time6:15.90Pace6:15.90
Pacing William - alone again.
Leg 6:Distance5.010Time38:57.60Pace7:46.59
More distance alone.
Split 1:Distance4.760Time37:34.20Pace7:53.57
Split 2:Distance0.250Time1:23.40Pace5:33.60

Red Crocs Miles: 8.50
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 - 2017-09-23 08:19:08
Workout Totals: Distance17.015Time2:01:33.40Pace7:08.65
Ran with Chad, then with the kids. Paced Sarah with Chad through 3 miles down the canyon in 23:40 (7:50, 7:56, 7:54). Then did a tempo run with Chad - 0.75 up, 1.5 down, 0.75 up. First two with Chad, then the last one hard. Expected Chad to run 95s uphill and 88s downhill. He ended up going faster - 4:34 (91 average) for the first 0.75, then 7:09 (86 average) for the next 1.25. Once I sped up I ran 82, then turned around, 93, 90, 88. Finished in 17:36. Chad got around 18:00. Felt stronger than expected.

Finished 10 with Chad then ran 6 more with the kids. They ran their usual Saturday distances today. Decided to do the quarter test up the hill at the end. The results were fascinating - 76.3 compared to 83 yesterday. Joseph ran 76.7, Jacob 80.5.

Now how in the world does it happen? Wednesday I run 75 four days after a marathon and 14 hours after running a hard 1 K at the end of 8 miles. Then I run 8 easy miles on Thursday, run 1 mile on the track in 5:30 struggling, then at then end of 8 run 83. Then on Saturday I do 16 total with a 3 mile tempo run in the middle, and I am able to run that same quarter in 76!

Two more data points - two weeks ago after racing Layton Classic, a drive home, breakfast, and a short nap, I ran the quarter in 81 at the end of 4 more miles (racing Joseph). Then on Monday I ran the same quarter alone at the end of 10 in 83.

We can allow for one factor - racing Joseph. That make a difference of maybe a second or two. But not 7 or 8! Something very interesting is going on. Fatigue from running appears to be rather irrelevant - I was able to run 76 at the end of the longest and hardest day with some hard running done the day before.

I have been going to bed consistently before 10:30 pm this week which would explain the improvement from pre-marathon 83 to post-marathon 75. But why the regression to 83 on Friday? This does not look like something was just tired, this looks like the entire subsystem was completely shut off, but then the next day it turns back on. Need more data to understand this.
Leg 1:Distance0.360Time3:33.80Pace9:53.89
Warm-up with Chad and Sarah.
Leg 2:Distance3.000Time23:40.10Pace7:53.37
Sarah's tempo run.
Leg 3:Distance1.375Time10:24.20Pace7:33.96
A little jog with Chad to get to the start of the tempo.
Leg 4:Distance3.000Time17:36.50Pace5:52.17
Out-and-back tempo in the canyon.
Split 1:Distance2.000Time11:43.60Pace5:51.80
With Chad.
Split 2:Distance1.000Time5:52.90Pace5:52.90
Picked it up.
Leg 5:Distance3.270Time17:54.40Pace5:28.56
With Chad to the car.
Leg 6:Distance0.500Time4:16.30Pace8:32.60
With Matthew, Joseph, Jacob, William, and Stephen.
Leg 7:Distance2.500Time21:05.70Pace8:26.28
Same crew minus Matthew.
Leg 8:Distance3.010Time23:02.40Pace7:39.27
With Joseph and Jacob, first mile with William.
Split 1:Distance2.760Time21:41.10Pace7:51.41
Split 2:Distance0.250Time1:16.30Pace5:05.20
Kick on the uphill.
Split 3:Distance0.000Time0:00.40Pace0:00.00
Joseph's time.
Split 4:Distance0.000Time0:04.60Pace0:00.00
Jacob's time.

Red Crocs Miles: 17.02
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Red Crocs Miles: 54.56Saucony Type A Miles: 2.19
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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