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:

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Miles:This week: 0.00 Month: 12.00 Year: 1590.62
Saucony Type A Lifetime Miles: 640.15
Bare Feet Lifetime Miles: 450.37
Nike Double Stroller Lifetime Miles: 124.59
Brown Crocs 4 Lifetime Miles: 1334.06
Amoji 1 Lifetime Miles: 732.60
Amoji 2 Lifetime Miles: 436.69
Amoji 3 Lifetime Miles: 380.67
Lopsie Sports Sandals Lifetime Miles: 818.02
Lopsie Sports Sandals 2 Lifetime Miles: 637.27
Iprome Garden Clogs Lifetime Miles: 346.18
Beslip Garden Clogs Lifetime Miles: 488.26
Joybees 1 Lifetime Miles: 1035.60
Madctoc Clogs Lifetime Miles: 698.29
Blue Crocs Lifetime Miles: 1164.32
Kimisant Black Clogs Lifetime Miles: 720.62
Black Crocs 2023 Lifetime Miles: 1312.70
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Green Crocs 5 Miles: 77.00
Night Sleep Time: 44.50Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 45.50
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Day of rest. Went to church. We had a blessing of Matthew. He is now official. A child is not put on the records of the Church until he has been blessed. Then we had a Fast and Testimony meeting. I bore my testimony of tithing. When I first joined the Church I did not understand the principle but I decided to obey it on faith figuring if I promised something to the Lord I'd better do it. After the first year I knew the promises in Malachi 3 of the windows of heaven opening and blessings poured so that there shall not be room enough to receive them were true and I never struggled with the idea since. I have my weaknesses, but I do have a good memory when it comes to matters of importance. I could never forget those blessings.  Over the course of my life I have literally seen the windows of heaven open. We had to move twice because the Lord has blessed us with so many children that there was no room for them. But he also has blessed us with the ability to feed them off one income, no debt, and for a bonus with me working at home and being able to participate in the home schooling. All that through thick and thin of the bad economy. But those are the material blessings to help remember the more important ones which are less tangible.

Then we had Sunday School and the Elder's Quorum. Benjamin played the piano in the opening exercises. This was the first time he ever played the piano in public with others singing along. Amazingly aside from tempo change issues there were no other noticeable problems and we sang all three verses of God Speed the Right. Perfect hymn for running, and some even appear to be singing it while driving as well. Benjamin impressed me, though. He has many talents, but not all. Playing the piano is not one of them. Neither is performing in public - he gets shy. But he has faith and he uses it to reach beyond what appears to be his natural limit.

Got home, took a much needed nap. It filled me with strength. 

Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 9.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. 12 miles total. Benjamin did 8, Jenny 4, Julia 2, Joseph 2, Jacob 1, William 0.5. Sarah ran 1.5 on our hilly course in 14:11, this is significant progress for her with Matthew being only 2 months.

Green Crocs 5 Miles: 12.00
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. Benjamin was not feeling well today and ran only 2 miles. I did a total of 12 including a 2 mile tempo down the Provo Canyon in 10:51 with the splits of 5:26 and 5:25. Felt like the effort was healthy and would lead to improvement.

Julia did 2, Jenny 3, Joseph 2, Jacob 1, William 0.5.

Green Crocs 5 Miles: 12.00
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran total of 12. Benjamin did 3.5, Jenny 3, Julia 2, Joseph 2, Jacob 2, William 0.5. I did a pickup in the canyon going down but into headwind for 1 mile in 5:27. It felt too hard, I thought. Not sure if I was just tired from not sleeping or if it was just the headwind. Probably a combination of both.

The Fast Running Friend did the biggest oops in the distance department since I've added the new algorithm. As I was passing the big rock in the Provo Canyon it reported immediate pace of 5:22 while the actual pace was only around 7:30. When I got to 3 miles it reported 3.03 for total distance. On the way back it measured the return distance as 3.07 but most of the displacement happened again in the area of that rock. During the mile pickup, though, it reported the immediate pace reasonably when I looked, but it must have gotten confused when I was not looking.

I probably should investigate the matter, but I am not particularly motivated to dig through the data dump as I have a pretty good idea of what is going on as I already know that the Motorola GPS driver is of less than stellar quality and I need to write my own if I want the GPS part of the Fast Running Friend to be trustworthy.

Green Crocs 5 Miles: 12.00
Night Sleep Time: 6.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 6.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Did 12.5 total. Benjamin did 5, Jenny 4, Julia 2, Joseph 3, Jacob 1, William 0.5. I repeated yesterday's pickup to see how much of a difference one night of good sleep would make. The difference was 9 seconds per mile - I ran 5:18 instead of 5:27 and it was more of a positive experience - feeling strong all the way as opposed to the struggles in the second half.  There was still about the same headwind coming out of the canyon.

Fixed the HTTP daemon in the Fast Running Friend so that when you go to its URL  you see the configuration menu with the current settings instead of just Hello, world. The next step is to make those settings actually change when the user clicks "Update Configuration". While the technology is not any kind of rocket science, there is something intriguing about interacting with a watch that is not connected to anything and is just sitting on your wrist through a regular web browser without having to install any kind of special communication software.

Green Crocs 5 Miles: 12.50
Night Sleep Time: 9.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 9.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Did a 14 mile run figuring I would not be able to run much on Saturday due to the Utah Elementary Chess Championship. After the first 6 did a 6 mile tempo down the canyon and back to the house.  The time was 35:27, and I felt I could not go any faster. I definitely got out of shape over the winter with all of the adventures. The lack of sleep and speed training showed itself. Will work on correcting the problems.

Benjamin was in charge of running with the kids today. He did 5, Jenny did 3, Julia 2, Joseph 2, Jacob 2, William 0.5.

Green Crocs 5 Miles: 14.00
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Got up early and ran 10 miles in the dark. Then took the whole family to the Utah Elementary Chess Championship. Jenny, Julia, Joseph, Jacob, and William played. Benjamin helped as a volunteer official. Stephen and Matthew did the best they could to not cause trouble. Sarah and I with the help of Benjamin, Jenny, and Julia did the best we could to keep them out of trouble. 

Jenny got 4 points out 6 placing 24th out of 83 6th graders. I think she was the second highest placing girl. She said she felt bad checkmating the boys - she had not played one single girl. I told her she was doing them a service by teaching them how to win against somebody their level.

Julia got 4.5 points out 6 placing 12th out of 123 4th graders. Again playing no girls. I think she was the highest placing girl.

Joseph got 3 points out of 6 placing 41st out of 99 2nd graders. This was better than his performance in the last tournament, He is a little stubborn and is reluctant to play strong players because he does not like to lose, but he learned his lesson watching his siblings score higher than him. I think he is beginning to understand that when a stronger player beats you he teaches you how to win against your peers. Ironically, if you do not like to lose, you should seek opportunities to lose, and then you will stop losing. Chess is a great way to teach that principle, Benjamin eventually learned it.

Jacob got 4 points out of 6 placing 13th out of 45 kindergartners. In practice he was getting brutally beat up by Joseph on a regular basis, but then what Joseph did to him he did to his opponents when it mattered. I was quite impressed with his performance.

We were not certain if we should sign William up as his knowledge of the chess rules was fuzzy and his attention span rather low, but he wanted to play and we could not say no. Being only four years old he was the youngest participant in the kindergarten division. He lost his first game, then in the second game he found his match - a five year old girl named Sarah that also barely new the rules. The game was fun to watch. Sarah took William's queen illegally with her queen jumping over pieces to capture to which William did not object, then William pushed his pawn two squares forward on the move that was not first for the pawn and she did not object to that either. Then William put Sarah in check, but she could not figure out how to get out of it. The rules of the tournament are that if you cannot figure out how to get out of check, your opponent wins, so that earned William his only point for the tournament. In his third game he got tired and stopped playing which gave his opponent the win. After that we withdrew him from the tournament figuring he's done enough already. But he did manage to come back with no emotional outbreaks and more than zero points, which was about the best we hoped for at his stage of development.

The tournament also had a team competition among schools, but we were allowed to enter as a family. The rules are that your top four players score. We ended up scoring 15.5 points taking 22nd place out of 64 teams. It felt good to outdo more than 2/3 of the field with most of them  being schools. To rub this in, if we spent as much per child on education as does the government, it would have sent our family into bankruptcy a long time ago. Can we have some of our taxes back?

Benjamin told us some interesting stories from observing the games. The most notable one was where the players managed to get out of stalemate (which would require moving the king into check or allowing him to stay in check) three times. He was not allowed to say anything - the player were supposed to figure out on their own if the moves were legal or not, and the volunteer official could say something only if asked.

P.M. I ended up doing 4.5 miles running with the kids. William did 0.5, Jacob and Joseph 1, Jenny and Julia 0.5 - they both were very tired, Benjamin 3.5.

Green Crocs 5 Miles: 14.50
Night Sleep Time: 6.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 6.50
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Green Crocs 5 Miles: 77.00
Night Sleep Time: 44.50Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 45.50
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