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: 0.00 Year: 882.94
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
Vibram Five Fingers Miles: 40.30Saucony Type A Miles: 20.20
Night Sleep Time: 49.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 49.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Day of rest. Went to church. 

Started the day at 143 lb, ended at 150 lb. Did not feel bloated at the end of the day, in fact felt like I could have eaten more. I should create a Fast Running Blog Weight Gain Special program to compete with Weight Watchers.

Night Sleep Time: 17.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 17.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran 10.1 in 1:15:07 with Jeff, Mary Ann, and Matt. Had a couple of VPB tempos, probably associated with yesterday's weight gain. Felt good, ran 500 in 1:37, and a quarter in 78. 5:12 pace. Also did explosive sprints. 

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 17:24, 2 with Jenny in 18:41. Julia ran the first mile in 9:37.

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, Daniel, and Mary Ann. Did the speed micro-injection workout. For Jeff, the target was 4:40 pace until failure or the mile. For Mary Ann, 5:20 until failure or the mile. I decided to be a bum and pace Mary Ann, but nevertheless still finish the mile on pace if she did not make it. Jeff fell asleep in the second quarter (72) but otherwise hit perfect 70s and ended up with a 4:42 mile. Mary Ann made it to 1000. My split was 3:21, she was about 1 second behind. Afterwards I did not worry about her and got back up to pace, and a bit faster to make up for the slow down. Last quarter in 78, mile time was 5:19. Incidentally the fastest mile since I got sick. The last quarter felt a bit hard, legs started to feel heavier than I thought they would based on the VPB pickups yesterday. Mary Ann slowed down to a bit sub-6:00 and finished the mile in 5:35.

A few miles later Mary Ann began to wonder if the reason she was struggling was that it was the first interval, and she was not quite in the groove. I did not think it was the case, and suggested a test to prove it. 5:20 pace again until failure. We made it to 600 meters, I hit it right on (2:00), she was about a second or two behind. Then we got down to the root of the problem - asthma. Understanding the problem in this case is a lot easier than fixing it, though.

Total time for 10.1 was 1:22:11.

I like those workouts when you maintain your target pace until failure or reaching a reasonable overload protection distance. They provide more insight into why you cannot run the time you want to run than either racing, regular interval workouts, or tempo runs. They also teach you to run your target pace vs a slower pace, thus you can override a mental block.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 16:11. 2 with Jenny in 17:53. Julia ran the first mile with us in 9:27. 200 with Jacob in 1:26 - new record. This is now fast enough to count for mileage for me.

Vibram Five Fingers 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, Daniel, Mary Ann, and her friend Elana. Elana ran 4 miles with us then we ran 6 more. Daniel turned around 2 miles into it. I did two post-VPB quarters, each in 79. Also, explosive sprints. Total time for 10 miles was 1:22:57.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 16:02. Did explosive sprints with him. They are sprints for me as well because I let him go and then catch him, so I have to run full speed. Besides that, he probably could run a low 17 in an all-out 100 anyway, so if I just stayed with him with no chase it would still be fast for me. Then 2 with Jenny in 18:48, Julia ran the first mile with us in 9:49. Ran into Matt K, he joined us for a half a mile.

Vibram Five Fingers Miles: 10.00
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. Ran with Jeff, Daniel, and Mary Ann. Again, speed micro-injection. Jeff repeated his 4:42 mile with the exact same splits as on Tuesday, but did not feel inclined to go to 1.25. I paced Mary Ann again through the 5:20 until failure or to 1.25. Mary Ann fell back a bit around 0.75, then closed the gap with a kick by around 0.9, then she wanted to kick to the end, but I told her to go to 1.25 instead. She went through the mile in 5:19, and fell back after that. I wasted the second she gained on yelling at her to close the gap, then got back to pace and finished 1.25 in 6:40, 5:20 pace on the dot. She coasted through the last quarter in 87 and finished in 6:46. That is significant progress, though, compared to the last three attempts. Eventual goal is for Jeff to hold even 4:40 pace for 2 miles, and for Mary Ann 5:20 pace for the same distance. 

My thoughts on 5 K training. Once you can run 12 quarters with 90 second rest significantly faster than your dream target 5 K race pace, the traditional VO2 Max training (12x400, 6x800, 3x1600) is not very productive. The only exception would be 3x1600 with 1 minute rest at dream pace. The interval should be at least 2000. Otherwise, you learn to run the first mile of the 5 K at dream pace, but you fade in the second. You can cheat in the first mile by running anaerobically. You cannot cheat the same way in the second. Once you can run a mile at 5 K dream pace and live (400, 800, 1200, and 1600 get you there), the next step is to work on the second mile. So you need to learn to run 2000 at dream pace and live, then 2400, then 2800, then 2 miles. Once you can run 2 miles at dream pace in training and live, the race day magic can carry you to the end of the 5 K on race day at that pace.

It is very important to keep the pace even on those long survival intervals, not die in the last quarter, not buy yourself a cushion in the first, and not rely on the kick to catch up to pace in the last quarter after fading in the one before it. The reason is we need to maximize aerobic involvement and minimize anaerobic cheating, because we cannot use much anaerobic power after the first mile.

On the way back I ran a post-VPB 79 second quarter. Total time for 10.1 was 1:19:37.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 16:02. 2 with Jenny in 17:58. Julia ran the first mile in 9:27.

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. Easy run with Jeff, Matt, and Mary Ann. 10.1 in 1:15:47.Did explosive sprints. Also ran my unplanned tempo - 600 meters in 2:00.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 17:53. 2 with Jenny in 17:58. Julia ran with Sarah.

Vibram Five Fingers Miles: 10.10
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. Long run with Jeff. He was not feeling fully recovered, so we did a mild version of the workout. Well, mild for him, not so mild for me, especially still not being 100% recovered from the ear infection.

We ran our 10.1 course twice. Started with a short warm-up that quickly progressed into the brisk pace (6:25). We kept winding it up but were careful not to break 6:10 by much, and sub-6:00 was the forbidden zone for a while. It was still conversational, at least Jeff was trying to carry a conversation, and I provided two sentence answers when motivated. Our first 10.1 was 1:03:54, 6:19.6 average. Then we ran the next mile in 6:07, followed by 6:02, and I said, let's just run 6:00 to the end. Jeff is an overachiever, so I knew it ment we'd be doing some 5:50s, but I felt good enough, and I wanted to test the trouble waters anyway. I tucked behind him and tried to relax.

We cruised at around 5:53-5:58 pace up until mile 16, and then Jeff pushed it to 5:47. That felt like it was too much, even though we had only 3 miles left. My legs started caving a bit. So we took it easy in the next 3 quarters (90,91,91) and it did not feel easy at all. I started wondering how much more I was going to slow down. Then Jeff saw a biker in front of us and got excited about passing her. That gave us an 88 quarter up a slight grade, and I survived it. This gave me confidence that I could do 90s to the end, at least on flat quarters. The exhilaration of passing somebody on a bike that did not seem to be totally out of shape or loafing gave me some energy.

From that point we were doing 89 second quarters, and I felt thankful for every one of them. Then with a mile to go with hit some rollers under the bridges, and that was too much. I told Jeff to go ahead. Nevertheless, I made it through the next two quarters without an exceptional embarrassment - 93, and a 92. That is about what I did a couple of months ago before I got sick in a similar run, except we loafed through the first half in 1:15, and then ran a bit faster in the second half than today. Then once it flattened out I was able to pick it up to 90, and saw that an 86 would give me 2:04:00 for 20.2, and an 85 would give me 6:00 for the last mile, which will be 6 seconds faster than 2 months ago, and will allow me to say that I stayed true to the 6:00 or faster split goal for the last 8 miles. So I worked as hard as I could, and managed to squeeze an 85 quarter out of my tired legs.

Total time for 20.2 was 2:03:59, 6:08 average. Last 10.1 was 1:00:05,  5:57 average.

A.M-2. Set up Mary Ann's course, did about 0.6 of running with Benjamin, and then paced Jenny through the mile in 7:30. Julia ran 8:23. Benjamin missed the start of his 5 K and threw a fit. We put him in the mile, but he was still upset after the quarter and threw another fit, and refused to run further. He will be doing some attitude adjustment work for the next while. Thanks to Benjamin Jenny ended up chicking the field. Small field, but it still feels good.

P.M. Benjamin's attitude adjustment run. After his fit he was in major trouble. He lost his friend's playing privileges and had to gradually earn them back. Step one was to run 1 mile hard without fits, complaining, or any other form of negative talk. He ran splits of 1:46, 1:41, 1:39, 1:38 for the total of 6:44. No complaining, good attitude. This earned most of his privileges back, but not playing with Jared, his most wanted privilege. I felt he needed an experience that would teach him the consequences of bad decisions last longer than a day.

Saucony Type A Miles: 20.20
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Vibram Five Fingers Miles: 40.30Saucony Type A Miles: 20.20
Night Sleep Time: 49.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 49.00
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