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: 112.39 Year: 1403.52
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: 67.10Schwinn Double Stroller Miles: 14.00
Night Sleep Time: 43.50Nap Time: 1.50Total Sleep Time: 45.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Day of rest. Went to church. Heard some goods talks in Sacrament. They were on joy. There is temporary joy, and then there is lasting joy. One speaker mentioned that there are only two days that a boat owner is happy - the day he buys it, and the day he sells it. The same speaker mentioned that the oldest user of Facebook is 105 years old, followed by a quote from somebody else that no matter how old you are you can always find a way to waste the little bit you have left.

Took a much needed nap in the afternoon. Then we visited Sarah's parents. Maybe it was just bad luck today, but it appears to me that drivers in West Valley do not like 15-passenger vans or at least do not appreciate what it takes to maneuver one through traffic. I had trouble changing lanes from left to right every single time - I turned on my blinker, let it run for long enough, watched the mirrors waiting for other drivers to make room, then eventually I just had to gradually move over in one case, and another time I lucked out with another car in the right lane in front slowing down to make a turn which blocked the pursuing lane-change obstructor in the right lane and gave us enough room to do it safely.

Night Sleep Time: 7.50Nap Time: 1.50Total Sleep Time: 9.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran total of 12 - all with the kids. Benjamin did 8, Jenny 4, Julia 3, Joseph and Jacob 2, William 1. Benjamin is recovering well from the 10 mile tempo on Saturday - the damage appears to be only a little bit of fatigue noticeable in the last 2 miles of the run today and some soreness in the calves. This is perfect, better than I expected. This Saturday he plans to attack the 1500 meter Utah State Youth record (13-14 years age division) in the UVU USATF track meet. The record is 4:29 and belongs to Josh Rohatinsky.  Benjamin ran 5:03.7 in the 1609.34 (full mile) on the track last year in a time trial, which is on pace for 4:43.1 1500, and Mt. Sac Relay conversion chart gives 4:41.3 1500 for that performance. This year I can tell from workouts and races that his speed is better, but will this be enough to improve by 12 seconds in who knows what kind of conditions - the UVU track tends to be windy? We'll see.

Green Crocs 5 Miles: 12.00
Night Sleep Time: 7.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.50
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Total of 14.6. Ran 10.6 with Dave Taylor. We repeated our workout from last week except this time the goal was to hold an even 5:20 pace for the whole thing, and I was setting the pace. Matthew is teething, so he did not go to sleep right a way, and woke up in the middle of the night more than usual - I recall getting him twice. So during the warm-up I felt a little sluggish and reluctant to run anything faster than 8:00, and was concerned about my ability to even just run 5:20 even being paced, much less pace it myself, but it turned out OK.

Dave came wearing a shirt from a fundraiser 5 K for a bathroom in a Kenyan village. In honor of his shirt I went to the bathroom twice before the run, and three times during our 5.3 mile warm-up. This is not an upset stomach for me - upset stomach will make me stop every mile. This was just slightly higher than normal. Paul would have called this a five star performance.

We opened with 81 quarter which was actually OK because that quarter is a little slower due to a nasty rhythm-breaking uphill bump half way through it. But I hit the gas to make up, and overdid it a little with 77 on a nice downhill quarter. Then I eased off a little and we did 79, and 79 high, which gave us 5:16 high for the first mile. I proceeded with caution and we did 80 high, 81, 80, and 81, which brought us to 2 miles in 10:39 (5:23 for the mile). Dave was quite edgy in the first mile, but towards the end of the second seemed to struggle some. At the start of the third mile he got right on my shoulder and I figured he was ready for a good push, so I hit 78 in the next quarter. But then I sensed that he was struggling and eased off to 81. He struggled more - I did my best to keep the pace fast enough to hold off the 5:20 guy, but slow enough to keep Dave in contact. It was difficult because it was close enough to my limit that I did not have the granularity of pacing, yet I could not just go for misery and give it a good push because it would have been too fast. However, having a mark every 330 feet really helped. Next quarter was 82. In the last quarter Dave gave a push, and managed an 80, which was exactly what we needed to hit our goal.  The total time was 16:00.4 with the last mile in 5:21. I suppose now that I am a master I should record this as my master's record for this course.

During the cool down Dave started pushing the pace immediately. Then I realized that he has a problem controlling his adrenal glands - he has a hard time turning them off when they should be turned off, and revving them up when they should be revved up. So I think the next workout he should do is the same 3 mile tempo run, except with the splits of 5:30, 5:23, and 5:15. 

When I got home I ran 1 mile with William. Benjamin ran with Joseph and Jacob and then 4 more miles alone, total of 8. Joseph did 3, while Jacob did 1. I ran 3 more with Julia, and the stroller which had Matthew and Elsie - Sarah's training partner's daughter. Total kid weight in the stroller was 46 lb. 

Green Crocs 5 Miles: 14.60Schwinn Double Stroller Miles: 3.00
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with the kids for most of the run. Total of 12.5. Benjamin did 8, Julia 3, Joseph and Jacob 2, William 1.

Decided to study more about Einstein's mass-energy formula (E = m*C^2). Found what I needed, then followed a few links, studied alpha decay, then found a list of incidents of radioactive poisoning. On that list there was the case of Nicholay Khokhlov with the date of 1957. Read more about it. He was KGB agent that defected after refusing to carry out an assassination order. In retaliation the KGB attempted to poison him with a radioactive element claimed to be thalium, but according to some KGB sources it was actually polonium-210, the same substance used in a more recent radioactive poisoning case of another KGB agent that defected (Litvinenko). But Khokhlov miraculously survived, and lived another 50 years after that. In 1957 he wrote a book in Russian, which was later translated into English. This is quite a story - he talks about how he was recruited by NKVD in 1941, his training in secret methods, his mission as a supposed German officer implanted in the midst of a German army, other activities, and how overtime he realizes that the Communist system is fundamentally corrupt. Great read if you know Russian - this was one time I was very thankful to have it as my native language.

P.M. 3 with Jenny and Matthew in the stroller. 

Schwinn Double Stroller Miles: 3.00
Night Sleep Time: 7.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.50
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. 12 miles total. Benjamin did 8, Jenny 3, Julia 3, Joseph 3, Jacob 1, William 1. I did a pickup with Benjamin for a quarter uphill in 80.5, the way Benjamin felt gave us a concern that he might have forgotten how to run middle distances, so we are going to do a little reminder tomorrow. I did our 2.05 or so course in 11:45 at the end. 4 miles with the stroller and Matthew and Stephen in it. I realized starting the run with Jacob that it was going to get interesting and was quite concerned about Jacob's tendency to pick it up to 6:40 when we reach the 6% uphill grade at the end. This was exactly what he did - barely survived it, it felt like 5:00 - %6 uphill grade with the stroller weighing around 50 lb takes a lot out of me. We ended up doing 7:52 for this slightly longer than the mile course.

Green Crocs 5 Miles: 12.00Schwinn Double Stroller Miles: 4.00
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. Total of 12. Did a middle distance running reminder with Benjamin to be ready for the 1500 tomorrow - 600 pickup down the canyon in 1:46.9. Benjamin did a total of 5. Jenny and Julia did 3, Joseph and Jacob 2, William 1. 4 miles with the stroller and Matthew and Stephen in it.

Green Crocs 5 Miles: 12.00Schwinn Double Stroller Miles: 4.00
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. Did a short version of the long run before the track meet today. Ran into Jeff Gagen, and he joined me. I paced him through an 8 mile tempo run on the way back in 48:28, around 6:03.5 average. About half way through I told him about Lasse Viren, Be Still My Soul/Finlandia, the Finnish word "sisu", Ether 12 in the Book of Mormon, and then combining all of the above persuaded him to run all of the 8 miles to my house at that pace. He found some "sisu" and made it.

Late A.M/Ealry P.M: Track meet at UVU. Benjamin ran the 1500 in 4:35.0 with the splits of 72.7, 74.1, 75.1, and 52.7 for the last 300, which is 70.3 400 pace. No state record today, missed it by 5.6 seconds. Combination of wind and running alone. Nevertheless, he got an official 1500 meter PR and won the race by more than a minute. I am happy that he won the race, but I am not happy that again he had nobody to run with for any duration of the race. That is the nature of racing in his age group at least in Utah. Kids start running for a high school or a junior high and stop coming to USATF track meets. Unfortunate, but not unfortunate enough for us to just surrender to the system. There is competition at the national level in such meets, and there are adults to race in road races. And once in a while we fight windmills by trying to set a record in what ends up essentially being a time trial under adverse conditions. This is a good way to learn mental toughness, and if we actually get the record, there will be an extra bonus.

Benjamin's performance today, however, gives me hope that given some oxygen and somebody to follow in Eugine he could tuck in behind the guys that are running a low-9:00 in 3000 and make it to 2000 or so. Then if he could just hold on and run something respectable like a 3:20 for the last 1000, and finish in 9:30 low or even a little under, I would be quite happy. And it would be an official Utah State Youth record, although Josh recalls running 9:20 at the age of 13 in Florida in the national USATF championship, but for some reason that performance was not registered as the Utah record and I cannot find anything official online.

Joseph ran 3:05 with the splits of 89 - 96. He was running well until a Bantam boy in the same heat passed him. Then I think he mentally just could not deal with it. Jacob opened courageously in 94, but it might have been too fast - he faded and finished in 3:16. Julia and Jenny I think were both affected by the heat - the temperature got to 82 degrees. Julia could not get going and opened with a 98. She held the pace, finishing in 97 for the second lap with 3:15.8. Jenny started ok - 44 seconds, but then I think she was just not handling the heat and the competition emotionally and slowed down to 51 with 95 for the first lap. Then she sped up a little with 48, and finished with a 45 200 - 3:08.9, and missed the qualifying mark which I though she had pretty much in the bag after her 2:57 time trial. Well, she'll try again.

I jogged around 0.5 warming up with Joseph and Jacob. 

Green Crocs 5 Miles: 16.50
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Green Crocs 5 Miles: 67.10Schwinn Double Stroller Miles: 14.00
Night Sleep Time: 43.50Nap Time: 1.50Total Sleep Time: 45.00
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