Breaking the Wall

June 20, 2021

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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: 154.81 Year: 1799.09
Saucony Type A Lifetime Miles: 627.15
Bare Feet Lifetime Miles: 446.12
Nike Double Stroller Lifetime Miles: 124.59
Brown Crocs 3 Lifetime Miles: 2191.97
Brown Crocs 4 Lifetime Miles: 595.71
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2016-05-14 06:40:16
Workout Totals: Distance20.000Time2:39:56.50Pace7:59.82
Did 17+3, total of 20. Did a tempo 6.25 down the canyon in 36:13 after running the first 8 easy. Felt sluggish at the start, but was able to speed up to around 5:45 pace, and close in 5:38 for the last mile.

Kids raced the 1500 at the USATF track meet at the Timpanogos High. Joseph ran 5:12 (78,87,85,62) - new PR, Jacob 5:18 (79,88,87,64) - new PR as well, William 6:21 (1:35,1:44,?,?) - missed his PR by 2 seconds, and Stephen ran 7:21 (1:46,2:02,?,?) - worth a sub-8:00 mile which we have been trying to get him to do for a while.

Benjamin ran 5000 in the West Coast Last Chance Meet in San Francisco. His time was 15:28.54. This was his first track 5000 at sea level. Sarah showed me the race via Skype, while her friend recorded it via another phone camera.

I have the splits from Skype below, which are pretty accurate. The recording, which is more accurate shows slight variation. His splits by kilometer were 3:01,3:02,3:05,3:13, and 3:07. I reviewed the footage of the race with Benjamin (will post the footage shortly). Some quick takeaways:

- He needs to learn how to run in a pack. I thought 75/69 for the first two laps was from a Skype lag. Then reviewing the footage I realized this was actually what happened. He ran the first lap towards the end of the pack, then once he saw 75, he went around them on the curve and ran 69 to move to the front.
- He needs to have a better idea of what is going on around him and how to take advantage of it. At 3200 he was only 6 seconds back from the heat leader, who ended up running 15:05, but due to his vision problems and not wearing glasses he thought he was hopelessly behind.
- When things get hard, he needs to do a better job hanging with whoever is passing him. I explained to him that if somebody is behind him at 3200, the most likely cause is the lack of fitness. They are not super-runners, it is not easy for them to drop you. If somebody passes, fetch a ride. Whoever passes you is hurting just as much. Hang on for at least a lap. Go into kick mode to hang on if you have to. When you start fading a bit, you emit a scent of blood for the greyhounds and they follow it. Once the greyhounds have caught up, they will have the motivation to run for maybe a lap. Then they will likely be paying for the overexertion it took to catch you. During the first lap after they pass you they will still have the adrenaline. After that the adrenaline will end, and they will slow down making the pace manageable. If you can live for a lap, there is a good chance the greyhound will be taking you to the finish, and that you may outkick it. The greyhound knows it and tries to lose you for about a lap - then it is out of juice. If this is a super-greyhound, things are still good. It will either pull you up to the weaker struggling runner in front that you can run with, or it will pull you away from the slower greyhounds giving you more time to rest once you get dropped before another "ride" comes.
- Be more aware of your splits. Set goals for each lap, adjust as necessary.
- I noticed from stepping frame by frame that Benjamin has a significantly longer stride than his competition. Some of it is natural, I think, some from how he trains. Most of his running is quite easy. Long stride in and of itself is not a problem, actually can be a strength. The problem was quite apparent, though, when he started to falter in the 4th kilometer. The fatigue comes making his natural stride length unsustainable. Instead of upping his stride rate, he is desperately trying to maintain the stride length for about a lap before giving up on the pace. We need to do some kind of training to fix this. I told him - move your arms quicker when you feel the pace is slipping.
- When things get hard, run with good cheer, do not become a martyr. On laps 9-12 his face expression resembled that of a Gulag prisoner. He has always had a natural tendency towards negative thinking which he has tried to overcome, but it still comes out in the third mile of a 5 K. With that it needs to be noted that there is a difference between showing signs of pain from extreme effort (good) and showing signs of resignation to your fate (bad) - his right now appears to be the latter.
Leg 1:Distance8.150Time1:01:41.10Pace7:34.12
Warm-up to Vivian Park.
Leg 2:Distance6.250Time36:13.80Pace5:47.81
Tempo run down the canyon.
Leg 3:Distance1.600Time13:17.80Pace8:18.62
Back to the house.
Leg 4:Distance1.000Time7:26.10Pace7:26.10
With Jenny.
Leg 5:Distance0.000Time15:28.50Pace0:00.00
Skype splits from Benjamin's 5000.
Split 1:Distance0.000Time1:15.90Pace0:00.00
Split 2:Distance0.000Time1:09.20Pace0:00.00
Split 3:Distance0.000Time1:12.10Pace0:00.00
Split 4:Distance0.000Time1:14.20Pace0:00.00
Split 5:Distance0.000Time1:12.80Pace0:00.00
Split 6:Distance0.000Time1:14.70Pace0:00.00
Split 7:Distance0.000Time1:13.20Pace0:00.00
Split 8:Distance0.000Time1:14.00Pace0:00.00
Split 9:Distance0.000Time2:35.20Pace0:00.00
Split 10:Distance0.000Time2:34.70Pace0:00.00
Split 11:Distance0.000Time0:32.50Pace0:00.00
Leg 6:Distance3.000Time25:49.20Pace8:36.40
With Joseph and Jacob.

Black Crocs 2 Miles: 20.00
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
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