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: 16.05 Year: 1637.99
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: 14.04
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Vibram Five Fingers Miles: 10.10Brooks T4 Racing Flat Miles: 50.30
Night Sleep Time: 41.00Nap Time: 0.50Total Sleep Time: 41.50
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Day of rest. Went to church. Kids are getting older, becoming more self-sufficient.

Had an interesting moment in the Elder's Quorum. A discussion started of which one of us was the oldest. Two elders were trying to figure out which one of them was older, and both were around 31. Then I asked if anybody could beat 35. I got a few surprised looks, and nobody confessed to be older than that.

Also, somehow I lost weight, don't know if it is good or bad. In the morning before breakfast and without going on a run I weighed 140 lb. By the evening I was at 148 lb, yes I do eat a lot. Then Monday morning I was down to 144 and after the run was again back to 140 lb. So that is a loss of about 5 lb on average compared to three months ago. Not sure what happened and not sure if it is good or bad.

Night Sleep Time: 9.00Nap Time: 0.50Total Sleep Time: 9.50
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with Jeff, Mary Ann, Daniel, and Matt. 10.1 in 1:21:27. Mary Ann was having what appeared to be blood sugar problems, so we ran a bit slower. Did explosions.

P.M. We got some surprise snow. Ran 2 miles with Benjamin in 17:28, then 2 with Jenny in 20:19, Julia ran the first mile with us in 10:13.

Vibram Five Fingers Miles: 10.10
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Jeff slept in. Ran first 8 with Daniel and Mary Ann, then the remaining 2 alone. It was very slippery. Mary Ann and I tried doing quarters, but after the first one in 82 decided it was too slippery to get anything out of it, and postponed speed until tomorrow. Was able to do explosions. Did a pickup of 600 meters on a dryer section of the trail in 2:04. Felt a lot stronger than on Saturday. No ear pain from harder breathing, and the will to win, or "the killer instinct" as Mike Kirk calls it, is returning. The ear is still congested, though.

Running without the will to win is hard. I learned something in the last race, I should say I learned it better, because I already knew. The will to win is 90% if not more physical. Spiritually you could be willing to die to win, but if the physical will to win is not there, you will coast through the race, finish not so tired, but for the life of you would not be able to go faster. On the other hand, you can come to a race wanting to just jog it, but if your body is brimming with the physical will to win, you will run yourself into the ground against your spiritual will, and you will run a good time.

On another subject, the infamous Reset Button was recently mentioned in the news. It was given by Hillary Clinton to the Russian foreign minister to symbolize a fresh start in the relationships between Russia and the US. The button had the word Reset written in Russian and in English In the true spirit of American Superficiality (TM) the State Department made two grave errors. One - the Russian word was written with the Latin alphabet. Bad move. Russians are every protective about their alphabet and their language in general. I remember learning a poem as kid in reference to the Second World War: Our people will not allow our sweet-scented Russian bread to be called by a German word brot. The thought of that alone would have been enough to give millions of Russians the strength and the courage to fight the fiercest battles.

As if that were not enough they got the word for Reset wrong by leaving out an important suffix. That changed the meaning of the word signficantly. Instead of Reset, it became Overload. Based on that description I would expect the button to trip the circuit and shut everything down in case of a dire overload emergency. When a Russian kid makes a serious spelling or language error, the teacher or his parents often sarcastically award him the title of a grammar scholar. I remember receiving that title from my mom on numerous occasions. One Russian newspaper very rightfully so called the creators of the infamous button American Grammar Scholars.

The embarrassment could have been easily avoided had the button design been previously shown to one native Russian. But apparently that was too much work for the State Department.

I find the incident symbolic of a lot of things, too many to mention. It reflects a general level of not being on the ball, out of touch with reality, looking for a quick fix, and failing to slow down and understand how something really works. The current recession is a fallout from that mentality. I expect it to last as long as the mentality itself, which will be longer than a couple of years.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 15:58. 2 with Jenny in 19:00, Julia ran the first mile in 9:44 with us.

Brooks T4 Racing Flat Miles: 10.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with the usual gang. We had a late start, and I needed to be back early enough because we were headed to the Draper Temple Open House. So we just ran 10.1 brisk, more of a tempo pace for Mary Ann. We started with a 7:30 mile, then progressed to about 6:30-6:40 pace with occasional bursts to 6:25. Then I took a VPB and caught up hitting a quarter in 81. I was happy about that. Mary Ann started struggling with about 2 miles to go. With 1.5 left she decided to back off and jog in, and Jeff and I went ahead. We picked it up to 6:00 pace, and then did 87 and 80 for the last two quarters, which gave us 5:47 for the last mile. I was happy I was able to do it because I could not do it last Saturday.

Total time for 10.1 was 1:05:56.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 15:06 including explosions. His explosions were my explosions as well because I was pushing William in a stroller. He ran the last mile quick as well - 6:44. So that made it a brisk day for me. Then 2 with Jenny in 18:30, Julia ran the first mile with us in 9:20.

Analysed recent Mary Ann's crashes, and then it dawned on me - no fuel, she has not been eating enough. Asked her in detail about what she's been eating, sure enough, I was right. So we had her over for dinner and I used the opportunity to teach her how to eat. I loaded her plate with a large serving of mashed potatoes and told her to eat all of it. She did after some encouragement. Then I realized why girls get injured so much when they try high mileage. At 30 mpw a girl can survive off a mouse/bird diet. At 70 mpw she is going to have all kinds of problems if she does not start eating more - persistent fuel shortage, sore muscles, stress fractures, and who knows what else. Girls are often hesitant to eat like pigs, especially in our culture of slim models and the fear of being called fat, so often they do not even though they very much should.

For a guy it is a bit different. His base metabolism is high enough so he is already eating OK even if he runs only 30 mpw. He can up it to 70 with a lot fewer problems without a change in eating habits. Although, of course, he still should start eating more, it is just not as drastic of a change as it is for a girl. Plus the culture does not tell him he needs to eat less, so there is no pressure that way.

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

A.M. Ran with Jeff, Daniel, Mary Ann, and Steve Ashbaker. We did our speed micro-injection. Jeff did 5x400. Mary Ann's assignment was 5:20 pace until failure. Steve and I paced her. She did OK for the first 0.5 (2:41), then fell off pace, and we stopped at 1000. I missed the mark, so we do not have the time. But it was probably 3:23 for myself and Steve, and about 3:25 for Mary Ann. Then I did 3 quarters with Jeff in 67, 68, and 71. 67 was hard, 68 not so hard, and 71 almost enjoyable. I felt a lot stronger than last week. I was happy that I could run 67 in winter clothes and not feel I was putting my body over the edge.

P.M. 2 with Jenny in 19:20. Julia ran the first mile in 9:50. Then 2 with Benjamin in 17:17. We did a couple of explosions when he'd get a head start and I'd chase him, and then ran 100 in 19.6.

Brooks T4 Racing Flat Miles: 10.10
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. Ran with Jeff, Matt, and Mary Ann. Jeff was in a hurry, so we made sure the pace stayed faster than 7:30. Spent most of the time discussing the merge sort algorithm with Jeff. It was an adjustment for me to focus on the pace so it does not slip to 8:00 while in the middle of deep thoughts. Did explosions. Total time for 10.1 was 1:14:11.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 16:42. Did explosion chases with him. Then 2 more with Jenny in 17:59. Julia ran the first mile with us in 9:27.

Brooks T4 Racing Flat Miles: 10.10
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Long run with Jeff. First long run since Feb 7th, and first since getting sick. Was not sure how I was going to handle it. Was not sure if it would be healthy to go full 20. Was not sure how much of it should be tempo. For Jeff it was supposed to be a relaxing long run if there is such a thing. With those constraints we decided to do a short warm-up, then a 10 mile tempo, if I finished the tempo, then jog the rest of the long run, otherwise, Jeff would jog with me home, and then run the balance of the tempo at the end afterwards.

I did OK during the tempo. I made it through 10 miles. Total time was 57:48. Splits:

miles: 5:47, 5:49, 5:49, 5:50, 5:53, 5:49,5:47,5:48,5:39,5:37

2.5 segments: 14:31,14:37,14:31,14:09

5 mile segments: 29:08 - 28:40

Did not think we'd break 58:00 until about 3 miles to go. Then thought maybe. Then Jeff hit a half mile in 2:47 from 8.5 to 9 and I knew it was a done deal, although done with quite a bit of pain. My legs held better than I thought they would, but in the last quarter 5:20 pace followed by a little bit of an uphill turned out to be too much, they caved, and I slowed down to 5:52 pace in the last 200 meters. In spite of that failure, I still credit leg strength from the explosions and speed micro-injections for surviving this tempo.

I was happy about the progress. I calculated my last 15 K of the tempo was 53:53 compared to 54:39 in a race two weeks ago. Also, last week running 10 miles at an easy pace I had a hard time running 12:00 for the last two miles. This week my last two miles were 11:16 off a tempo pace. Ear still congested, but it was not bothering me nearly as much as it was last week at tempo speeds.

Then we ran the balance of the 20 miler, which was a bit less than 9 miles. We started at a bit slower than 8:00 to rest from the tempo, then picked it up to about 7:20-7:30. At around 16 miles total I started feeling hungry, and also uncertain about my ability to make it to the finish. Low blood sugar sometimes causes panic, and I was feeling a bit of it. I calmed myself down by thinking about how running in the zone is similar to fasting and could be good for cancer prevention. We also picked up the pace to about 7:05. My reasoning was run brisk while you can, you'll be closer to home when you bonk. Then at 18 I noticed that I was not feeling any worse than I was at 16, and decided to pick it up even more. So we speed up to about 6:40, and I did not feel any worse. I told Jeff I wanted to run the last half at 6:00 to prove a point to myself. We ran it at 5:50 pace.

This gave me 2:12:05 for 20.1 for this run, 6:34 average.

P.M. Pushed William in the stroller. 2 with Benjamin in 16:37. 0.5 with Joseph in 5:40. 2 with Jenny in 18:39. Julia ran the first mile with us in 9:30.

Brooks T4 Racing Flat Miles: 20.10
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Vibram Five Fingers Miles: 10.10Brooks T4 Racing Flat Miles: 50.30
Night Sleep Time: 41.00Nap Time: 0.50Total Sleep Time: 41.50
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