Breaking the Wall

Week starting Dec 06, 2009

Previous WeekRecent EntriesHomeJoin Fast Running Blog Community!PredictorHealthy RecipesSasha Pachev's RacesFind BlogsMileage BoardTop Ten Excuses for Missing a RunTop Ten Training MistakesDiscussion ForumRace Reports Send A Private MessageMonth ViewYear View
Graph View
Next Week
15% off for Fast Running Blog members at St. George Running Center!


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: 188.26 Year: 188.26
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: 1359.62
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Airwalk Clogs Miles: 64.30
Night Sleep Time: 55.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 55.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Day of rest. Went to church.

What impressed me the most was the sacrament hymn - Reverently And Meekly Now. Whenever I hear it I remember the times I've been at my limit. When I find myself at my limit that hymn often comes to mind bringing a sense of peace, a reminder of the eternal perspective, and sure knowledge that even though I cannot see it with my eyes, the Lord is watching. Somehow it is difficult, perhaps impossible, to get to know the Lord without hitting certain limits. Not the limits of the law or the bounds He has set to protect us and to test our faith, but the limits of strength and natural human frailty. It is when you've hit that limit, when you've seen it with your eyes, touched it with your hands, smelled with your nose, heard with your ears, tasted with your tongue, and experienced it with every other sense of the human body and mind, when you know it inside and out, when you know how impossible it is to cross it that you experience a special feeling and you come one step closer to knowing the One Who Has Overcome All Limits, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Also had a thought on the passage in 2 Nephi 32:2: "Do ye not remember that I said unto you that after ye had received the Holy Ghost ye could speak with the tongue of angels? And now, how could ye speak with the tongue of angels save it were by the Holy Ghost? "

The tongue of angels is a difficult tongue to learn for a mortal. It is not something that comes naturally. Think about learning a foreign language. Big entry level barrier, need patience to plow through. Then you think you've learned something, you speak with a native that expects you to be fluent and gives you no breaks, and you realize you are not as fluent as you thought you were.

Then you spend some time with natives, and now you think you've got it. You can say what you need to say and you think you understand the conversations around you. But the truth of the matter is that you are still an artist that paints in black and white, and your vision is no different. You see black, white, and shades of gray. You have no color vision.

Then if you do not practice the language, you easily lose it.

A price must be paid to achieve and maintain fluency. Appearance of fluency is a lot easier to achieve than true fluency. I can trick people into thinking I am fluent in Spanish. But oh, how I struggle when a natural flow of speech is being thrown at me! I remember those struggles with English, and the fight to move up a notch in comprehension and ability to express myself.

Learning to receive truth from heaven and understand it is very similar. On paper it sounds pretty simple - say a prayer, ask a question, see how you feel. Reminds me of a quote from Bach: "It's easy to play any musical instrument: all you have to do is touch the right key at the right time and the instrument will play itself. " No, there is more work involved. Sometimes answers are quick and plain, but that happens only when the price had already been paid. There is never an answer without adequate preparation.

Night Sleep Time: 9.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 9.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. 11 miles, most of it with Jeff, in 1:30:55. Lots of snow. Jenny ran 2.5 with Sarah.

P.M. More snow. 1 with Benjamin and Julia in 10:33, then 1 more with Benjamin in 9:08. 0.5 with Joseph in 5:18. Jacob's shoes were slipping a lot, so all he could do for 0.25 was 3:52. He needs new shoes.

Airwalk Clogs Miles: 13.50
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Jeff slept in. Ran 10.3 in around 1:23 I believe. The trail was not too bad, but it was cold. Jenny ran 2 miles with Sarah, and Julia ran 1.5.

P.M. Took Benjamin to the indoor track at BYU. We ran a warm-up mile in 9:06, then did the next two laps (0.2 each) in 1:11 and 1:16 (2:27 for 0.4). Benjamin was falling off 6:00 pace, so I stopped him after two laps and had him jog two laps, then we went fast again in the last lap and did it in 1:09 (5:45 pace). That gave us 16:24 for 2 miles.

We are not going to the indoor track again. The air is too dusty. Plus I am really suspicious of the curves. Maybe too suspicious, but better safe than sorry. The suspicion is that the curves run too frequently are particularly harmful to a growing youth causing structural imbalances and messing up the form. So we'll just run at whatever speed the roads permit us when we have a lot of snow.

0.5 with Joseph in 5:11. 0.25 with Jacob in 4:15. He really needs different shoes.

Night Sleep Time: 7.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.50
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with Jeff, met him on the trail. After we split ways ran into Sarah, and ran about 2 miles with her. Then another 1.5. Total of 10.3 in 1:24:54. Jenny ran 2 with Sarah.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 18:49. Julia ran the first 1.5 with us in 14:59. 0.5 with Joseph in 5:08. Jacob ran with Sarah.

Airwalk Clogs Miles: 12.80
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. 10.3 alone in 1:16:43. Still cold, but I am starting to get used to it. Glad to see that my Clogs can handle the snow. Benjamin, Julia, and Jenny ran with Sarah.

P.M. 0.5 with Joseph in 5:15. 0.25 with Jacob in 3:25. He ran in Crocs this time. They had better traction than his other shoes.

Airwalk Clogs Miles: 10.80
Night Sleep Time: 7.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.50
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Met Jeff on the trail. 10 miles in 1:19:45. Noticed a few things in the last couple of days. It appears that my body needed less sleep. Usually if I get up early I need a nap in the afternoon, and I have been able to do without one. I've been getting out of bed with less struggle. Another sign of change to go along with it - I volunteer a faster starting pace. Today I opened with a 1:54 quarter which is very unusual for me for 6:00 AM, 7.5 hours of sleep, snow covered road, and 0F temperature. The rest of the run was slower because Jeff and I were engaged in a discussion of how to prevent underage tobacco use and other sources of poverty. We agreed that a kid that gets caught should be put in small room and not let out until he's written a paper on the harmful effects of the drug and then presented it to his peers without giggles and other funny noises showing his disdain for the subject. I also think he should work on the paper until it not only contains the facts but is also solid in the aspect of English. This would make the ACT/SAT average scores shoot through the roof!

On the note of change, thoracic flexibility has improved a lot. However, the shoulders are still tense. At least they look tense to Jeff. They do not feel tense to me, which is part of the problem, because I do not know what to do about it. If I could run a mile in 4:20 I would not care that they are tense, but I cannot, and I do suspect this tension to be one of the culprits. Or at least, maybe not the tension itself, but the underlying cause of the tension.

Sarah also has been telling me last night about an ancient martial art that is based on a principle of relaxation. It originated from somebody who observed that no animal is ever tense in its motion. Now think about that. Have you ever seen an animal run like the average participant in a non-elite road race? Every animal I've ever seen has been smooth and natural. Almost every human that I've seen, with the exception of very few, is tense and unnatural. Why is that? Maybe some kind of mental baggage that we accumulate throughout the years that animals cannot? If so, how do you get rid of that baggage?

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 18:11. Julia ran the first 1.5 with us in 14:26. 0.5 with Joseph in 5:11. 0.25 with Jacob in 3:08. Jenny ran with Sarah in the morning.

Airwalk Clogs Miles: 12.50
Night Sleep Time: 7.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.50
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. 12.2 with Jeff plodding through snow. Glorious time of 1:46:24, which is 8:43 average. My clogs handled it OK.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 18:16. Julia ran the first 1.5 with us in 14:28. Jenny ran the whole 2, but fell back in the last quarter when Benjamin really went for it. I stayed with Jenny some, then decided to chase Benjamin down. It was not easy. A little kid takes turns really fast on a slippery road. I finally caught up with 30 meters to go. Jenny finished in 18:48. 0.5 with Joseph in 5:35. 0.25 with Jacob in 3:26.

Airwalk Clogs Miles: 14.70
Night Sleep Time: 8.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.50
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Airwalk Clogs Miles: 64.30
Night Sleep Time: 55.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 55.00
Debt Reduction Calculator

Featured Announcements