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
Black Crocs 2 Miles: 81.15
Night Sleep Time: 39.00Nap Time: 2.00Total Sleep Time: 41.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Day of rest. Went to church.

Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 2.00Total Sleep Time: 9.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2016-05-16 08:07:34
Workout Totals: Distance10.000Time1:17:20.50Pace7:44.05
Total of 10. Benjamin did 10 as well. Otherwise usual runs for the kids. Benjamin started feeling like he was getting a cold in the evening.
Leg 1:Distance6.000Time46:44.00Pace7:47.33
With Benjamin, did a "fat" 0.5 in 2:53 down the canyon.
Leg 2:Distance4.000Time30:36.50Pace7:39.12
With Benjamin, Joseph and Jacob.

Black Crocs 2 Miles: 10.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2016-05-17 08:00:29
Workout Totals: Distance11.780Time1:29:02.70Pace7:33.54
We found out that we are having a baby girl. We named her Bella. She is expected to be born on October 8th.

In the AM the kids ran less than normal, including Benjamin, because they had a USATF track meet in the evening at Mountain View High. Benjamin got a cold, but I wanted him to run the 3000 anyway, although not 100%. I told him just run something under 9:58, which I believe is the standard for him to qualify for Junior Nationals without having to go to Bozeman. He got a bit too excited and decided that he wanted to make sure everybody in the field got lapped. So he ran 9:19 with the splits of 3:00, 3:09, 3:10. He said he felt the cold effects towards the end of the race.

Joseph ran 11:19 with the splits of 3:45, 3:53, 3:42. I was not sure how well he was going to hold up with his leg growing pains. He did better than my worst fears, but we need to improve this to 10:58 to qualify by the mark.

Joseph had someone to run with - Simon Mitchell that gapped him by about 10 seconds in the first 800 and then stayed at that distance for the remainder of the race, but for some reason Joseph did not close that gap in the second kilometer - perhaps the fear of the distance.

Jenny ran 12:17 with the splits of 3:56, 4:11, 4:10. Julia got 12:50 (4:05, 4:24, 4:21).

Jacob nearly got chicked by Nadia Medina in the 800 running very strange splits 76,85 (2:41). She took the lead from the gun, he passed her after the first 100, they got into a race and went through the first 200 in 36. I think both were paying for that for the remainder of the race.

William ran 3:12 (1:32,1:40), Stephen got 3:48 (1:50, 1:58).
Leg 1:Distance5.780Time46:15.90Pace8:00.26
With Benjamin.
Leg 2:Distance1.000Time7:55.50Pace7:55.50
With Joseph, Jacob, and William.
Leg 3:Distance1.000Time8:01.20Pace8:01.20
With Jacob.
Leg 4:Distance2.000Time15:20.80Pace7:40.40
More distance alone.
Leg 5:Distance2.000Time11:29.30Pace5:44.65
2 mile tempo run from the 800 N bridge to the house.

Black Crocs 2 Miles: 11.78
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2016-05-18 09:10:13
Workout Totals: Distance11.730Time1:32:12.60Pace7:51.66
Benjamin was recovering from a cold today, ran only 6 miles. Otherwise usual distances for the kids, except Stephen wanted to do a mile time trial in the evening in addition to his regular run. He was on pace for a record, but hit a panic attack in the last quarter, and ended up missing it by 1 second running 8:22. Then William insisted on going to the track. But once we got there he had an attitude. The plan was to run an 800 and try to get a PR, but we ended up doing some sporadic running at around his 800 pace.
Leg 1:Distance5.700Time45:04.00Pace7:54.39
With Benjamin.
Leg 2:Distance4.000Time31:18.30Pace7:49.57
With Joseph and Jacob.
Leg 3:Distance1.000Time8:22.70Pace8:22.70
With William, Stephen, Joseph, and Jacob.
Leg 4:Distance0.248Time1:32.40Pace6:12.58
With William.
Leg 5:Distance0.160Time1:05.00Pace6:46.25
With William.
Leg 6:Distance0.124Time0:45.20Pace6:04.52
With William.
Leg 7:Distance0.248Time1:36.40Pace6:28.71
With William.
Leg 8:Distance0.250Time2:28.60Pace9:54.40
With Matthew.

Black Crocs 2 Miles: 11.73
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2016-05-19 09:00:18
Workout Totals: Distance12.000Time1:34:29.00Pace7:52.42
Usual runs today for the most part. Benjamin is recovering from the cold, ran 8 miles. I got 12 total.
Leg 1:Distance4.690Time38:12.20Pace8:08.74
With Benjamin, Joseph, and Jacob.
Leg 2:Distance0.310Time2:30.60Pace8:05.81
A bit of extra distance with Benjamin.
Leg 3:Distance3.000Time24:00.40Pace8:00.13
With Benjamin.
Leg 4:Distance4.000Time29:45.80Pace7:26.45

Black Crocs 2 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

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2016-05-20 07:31:53
Workout Totals: Distance14.396Time1:43:06.70Pace7:09.75
Today the kids ran several PRs. Jenny ran 2000 in 7:56.6, splits 93,94,97,99,93. She is working on breaking 20:00 in the 5 K - the target I gave her for getting her driver's license. Next target is to make it to 3000 at that pace.

William ran 800 in 3:11.9, new PR by a bit less than 1 second. Splits 92/99. He still has a lot of fear. He ran 27 seconds from 400 to 500, then 24 second 100s to the finish. So he can hold it in the second lap if he puts his mind to it.

I gave Joseph and Jacob a target of 86 for the first lap, then 88s until failure, then if the failure was so bad they could not run a decent 3000 I would stop them, otherwise, we would go to 3000. After the first lap in 86 Joseph started screaming due to leg pain. I told him to stop, and continued with Jacob. He continued with 89,90,89,93,93,90,44 finishing 3000 in 11:14.2 - faster than Joseph's 3000 performance in the race on Tuesday.

Joseph felt some serious quad pain, appears to be what is called growing pains. It is very strange - symmetrical, somewhat responsive to massage, comes out after about a mile or two of easy running, is aggravated by emotional stressors, but has never bothered him in a race. When he competes he is able to forget about it.

So seeing his brother beat his 3000 record made him want to try. I was thinking - well, he'll be done after 3 laps - there is no way he will be able to run through this. I was actually hoping he'd stop because I am getting old, and 11:14 3000 is not an easy effort for me anymore. But he did not. I opened in 87, he is still there. 88, still there, started screaming. I am thinking - OK a couple more laps, he will start running 95s or slower, I'll stop him. 89, still there, 90, still there - screaming in pain the entire time. With 3 laps to go it became clear to me that he was going to finish the whole thing. I told him he was 2 second behind Jacob. Loud scream of pain and frustration, I wondered if maybe I should not have told him, but then he speeds up and closes that gap by 2000. So 92 for this lap. Then 93, 89, and 43 for the last 200 to finish in 11:12.2 - improving his PR by 7 seconds.

I was beyond speech. How can an 11-year-old boy be so tough? The entire time I was recalling Derek Clayton's marathon world record where he was showing signs of pain as early as the 5 K mark. Maybe he can run 10:58 qualifier at altitude after all.
Leg 1:Distance1.100Time9:45.10Pace8:51.91
Warm-up with Benjamin and Jenny.
Leg 2:Distance1.240Time7:56.70Pace6:24.44
Paced Jenny through 2000.
Leg 3:Distance1.000Time8:40.60Pace8:40.60
Back to the house.
Leg 4:Distance0.190Time1:50.50Pace9:41.58
Warm-up with William, Joseph, and Jacob.
Leg 5:Distance0.496Time3:11.90Pace6:26.90
William's 800.
Leg 6:Distance1.860Time11:14.20Pace6:02.47
Jacob's 3000.
Leg 7:Distance1.860Time11:12.20Pace6:01.40
Joseph's 3000.
Leg 8:Distance0.650Time5:23.70Pace8:18.00
Leg 9:Distance6.000Time43:51.80Pace7:18.63
With Benjamin.

Black Crocs 2 Miles: 14.39
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2016-05-21 08:35:32
Workout Totals: Distance21.250Time2:41:25.10Pace7:35.77
Total of 21 - 20 in the AM, and 1.25 in the PM. Benjamin did 12, Jenny 6, Julia 4, Joseph and Jacob 5, William 2, Stephen 1, Matthew 0.25.

Benjamin paced me through a 3 mile tempo run down the canyon. It was raining hard although not as hard as it could have been. Nevertheless by the time we got to the start I was feeling unmotivated to run fast. I made it through the first mile in 5:29, and then just could not push myself. My next mile was 5:38. Then we ran a quarter in 87, and Benjamin shifted gears and pulled me through the next one in 81. I do not know how I survived it. Somehow I managed to run 2:46 for the next 0.5 and finish the whole thing in 16:41.9, last mile in 5:34.

I noticed that in the last few years I have been struggling with the inner drive. Even 4 years ago it did not take as much out of me to tell myself to go. Now I have to dig really deep to find the extra gears. That is all good, though, I think. It will help me develop stronger faith.

I am beginning to understand that there are two types of toughness. The first kind is hormonal/biochemical. When available it activates with relative ease. You have it more or less regardless of your character or spiritual strength. As you get older you have less of it. The second kind comes from the strength of your character/spirit. This one is hard to activate. In terms of performance for the unit of suffering it is not very rewarding. But it is much more rewarding in other ways.

In the past I have often mistook the first for the second. Now that I have less of the first, the distinction is easier to make. And I realized that in the eternal perspective the second one is much more important than the first. The experience with the first could prepare you to understand the second, but the second is what really matters.
Leg 1:Distance5.400Time41:28.80Pace7:40.89
With Benjamin.
Leg 2:Distance3.000Time16:41.90Pace5:33.97
Tempo run.
Leg 3:Distance3.600Time29:59.10Pace8:19.75
Distance afterwards.
Leg 4:Distance5.000Time39:40.10Pace7:56.02
With Joseph and Jacob.
Leg 5:Distance3.000Time21:29.10Pace7:09.70
Extra distance with a mile pickup in the middle. Practiced quick leg turnover when tired.
Split 1:Distance1.500Time11:35.40Pace7:43.60
Split 2:Distance1.000Time5:54.50Pace5:54.50
Split 3:Distance0.500Time3:59.20Pace7:58.40
Leg 6:Distance1.000Time9:39.20Pace9:39.20
With Stephen.
Leg 7:Distance0.250Time2:26.90Pace9:47.60
With Matthew.

Black Crocs 2 Miles: 21.25
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Black Crocs 2 Miles: 81.15
Night Sleep Time: 39.00Nap Time: 2.00Total Sleep Time: 41.00
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