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: 1930.97
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: 567.20
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Schwinn Double Stroller Miles: 13.00Green Crocs 5 Miles: 51.00
Night Sleep Time: 42.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 42.50
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Day of rest. Stephen was sick, so Sarah and I took turns staying home. I made it to the second half of Sunday school where the discussion was on the Word of Wisdom, and the entire Elder's Quorum lesson which talked about tithing.

With it being the Father's Day I thought about what I wanted for my children as a father. Here is what I came up with - I want them to have the business aptitude of an American, analytic ability of a Russian, running speed of a Kenyan, and faith of a Tongan. 

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. Andrew did a 400 meter time trial. Benjamin and Logan had the following assignment - sense Andrew's starting pace for the first 50-70 meters, then move in front and hold that pace to 200 meters. Then continue at that pace to the finish regardless of whether Andrew could do it or not. So we ended up doing 38 for the first 200, then Benjamin and Logan sped up, I stayed back with Andrew for 100 meters, then surged and caught up to Benjamin and Logan. So we ended up with around 74.5 for 400, Andrew got 77.8. This gives us a starting point for his speed to work from. Andrew and Logan ended up running 5.25 miles total. Benjamin added another mile with William which gave him 6.25 for the day.

Joseph, Jacob, Jenny, and Julia did a workout as well. 2x200 in the middle of 2 miles. First one downhill all the way, second mostly flat but with a downhill in the last 30 meters or so. On the first one we had: Jenny 35.7, Julia and Joseph 42.3, Jacob 45.9. On the second - Jenny 40.7, Joseph 44.3, Julia 45.0, Jacob 47.0. Afterwards Jenny and Julia ran one more mile to make it 3 for them. I pushed the stroller on this part with Matthew and Stephen, and stayed with Jenny. 

I ended up with the total of 12.25 miles. 

P.M. 3 miles with Stephen and Matthew in the stroller. 

Schwinn Double Stroller Miles: 5.00
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. Total of 15 miles. Did a workout with Dave Taylor. The same 3 mile tempo run course down the Provo Canyon except we changed it making it 5:30 all the way except for the last 500 meters, which we did as fast as possible with the target of 1:30. First mile was 5:29, then 5:28, the last mile was 5:15. Last 500 in 1:29.5, total time 16:12.2. Dave handled it very well and was strong in the kick.

Then I ran with the kids. Benjamin did 7, Jenny and Julia 3, Joseph 2, Jacob 1, William 1.

P.M. 3 with Matthew in the stroller. 

Schwinn 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. Did a workout with Benjamin, Jenny, Andrew and Logan. The purpose of the workout was to awaken Benjamin's speed in preparation for the USATF regional championship this Saturday, and for others to test their speed and experience the misery of 2:06:35 marathon pace. For me it did not really have a purpose except observe as a coach, but the best place for a coach to observe, I believe, is right there in the middle of the workout. Good thoughts come when you sense pace variations and feel the pain.

So Benjamin's target was to run 1:48 evenly paced for the first 600, then run the last 200 in 34 or faster. Logan's assignment was to make it to the first 600. Andrew's and Jenny's assignment was to run the pace until they got dropped, then be done. Benjamin did 36 - 72 - 1:49 and finished in 2:23.5. I stayed with him until about 70 meters to go and finished in 2:24.9. Logan made it to about 530 meters, then coasted in to finish the 800 in 2:38.5. Jenny made it to 200, Andrew made it to 250. Benjamin led all the way, which was part of the plan - we want to be prepared to run a good time if he has to do it on Saturday.

I felt that the pace felt more aerobic than I would have expected, but at the same time I did not feel I could go faster which is why I got dropped at the end. I suppose I should expect it from the recent increase in mileage.

Then I ran more with the kids. Joseph and Jacob did their own workout - 2x200 on the road on the standard stretches.  Joseph did 37.6/43.4, Jacob 39.2/45.4.

Benjamin ran 8 miles, Logan 5.5, Andrew a little over 5, Jenny 3, Julia 3, Joseph and Jacob 2, William 1. Julia did the 2x200 workout as well - 42.2/42.7. 

P.M. 3 miles with Matthew in the stroller. 

Green Crocs 5 Miles: 15.00Schwinn 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, Andrew 5, Joseph 2, Jacob 1, William 1, Jenny 3, Julia 3. I did a pickup uphill over 1.02 miles in 5:56.

P.M. Went to the chess tournament with Benjamin. He's been on a roll lately in chess - has not lost a game since February I think - it's been a while since he lost. Of course, we only have the time for two games, and play every other Thursday. But those are tough players - rated as high at 1900+ and rarely below 1400. In any case, he won both games, and his rating now is 1764 - another 36 points and he will move into class A. After that we've got 2000 - expert, 2200 - national master, 2400 (plus tournament performance) - international master, 2500 (plus tournament performance) - grandmaster. The way he is progressing makes it look like he will quite likely be expert as an adult, and possibly national master.

I had one draw and one win, and recovered some of the points I lost recently - I am now at 1643. It is interesting that Benjamin is pulling away from me in chess and in running at around the same time. 

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. Total of 12. Took Benjamin, Logan, and Jenny to the track. Looking at Benjamin's 800 on Wednesday, splits and how he felt, there were two possibilities - his was either asleep, or still not recovered from the half-marathon and the cold afterwards. It was no use analyzing the latter, so we assumed the former. We did a mini-workout to try to wake him up. 600 meters roughly targeting 1:45. Logan joined us for the first 400, Jenny for the last 100. So I paced him through the first 200 in 35, then he took over and I almost ran into him. Then he sped up as I tried to pass him on the home stretch, and we made it to 400 in 71 - Logan stayed with us. Then he fell asleep on the curve and we were 1:30 at 500, but with Jenny's help he was able to shift gears and hit a 16 - total 1:46.4. Jenny stayed with him which pleased me - she has more speed than I realized. They both dropped me - I got 1:47.9. In the last two workouts I felt reasonable at speeds 72 per lap and slower, but as soon as it got faster I just could not find that extra gear.

Benjamin did total of 5, Logan 5 as well. Joseph and Jacob did 1, Jenny 2, Julia 2, William 1. Julia did 300 pickup in 1:09.4. I did total of 12. While running with Julia the stroller broke - the swivel brace got bent and the front wheel fell off. 


Green Crocs 5 Miles: 12.00Schwinn Double Stroller Miles: 2.00
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. Ran 12 miles with Chad. Had to cut it short due to Benjamin's 1500 meter race in the USATF regional championship. We did a mini-workout. First 1 mile up the Provo Canyon starting from the little bridge over the Provo River at the mouth near the power plant. The goal was to break 6:00. We did it in 5:47.7. Then on the way back our favorite 3 mile tempo run with the target of 5:40 - 5:33 - 5:25. We ended up with 5:39 - 5:32 - 5:30 - 16:41. Chad struggled in the last mile. I think the fact that it was late into the run on top of running a hard mile uphill earlier played a factor. 

Then Chad ran 8 more while I got dressed and took Benjamin to his race. Chad showed up later as well to watch. We hoped Benjamin would run under 4:29.36 taking the state record in the 13-14 age division, but he did not have it in him. He apparently was still suffering the effects of post-half marathon fatigue and the cold. 

The conditions were as good as they could be. Hardly any wind (by UVU track standards that is), not too warm. Still early in the day - sunlight not too direct. Good competition - they put all youth 13 and older in one heat. Benjamin went through the first lap in 72.2. By the end of it he moved into second place in the heat with the first being a boy in an older age division. He stayed in that position for the rest of the race. His second lap was slow - 74.0, and I knew something was not right. I told Benjamin to do his best to run 2:23 for the first 800. I could tell he was trying, but just did not have it. His next lap was 78, and his last 300 was 56 - official finish time 4:41.23. He still won his age division by 11 seconds - second place was his friend Grant Gardner who ran 4:52. I do not think it would be too bold to assume that this is the first time a USATF Regional race was won in Crocs.

It is good to have races like that. This is a chance to learn resilience. It also allowed us to document the pattern of how Benjamin runs in workouts when his adrenal glands are worn out. He will have another chance at the state record - Utah Summer Games in a week. I do not know if we have enough time to rebuild before then but we will do our best. 

More races to follow this afternoon - Jenny, Julia, Joseph, and Jacob are running the 800.

P.M. 800 meter race for the younger kids in the USATF regionals. Jenny ran a PR of 2:55.23 - her splits were 86/89. Julia ran a decent race as well - 3:12.04 - not quite a PR, but close. Joseph won the 8 and under division with 3:08.99 - this more than 8 seconds off his time trial PR, and 3 seconds off his official race PR, but it not only won, but set a regional meet record. His splits were 92/96. He said he felt like his legs were not moving. Probably still some leftovers from the sickness.

We discovered that Jacob has a mild form of exercise-induced asthma. He has had some trouble breathing in workouts before, but never to the extent that he did after this race. He was wheezing for about 7 minutes after he finished and we were seriously concerned. Our blogger Teena was there and ran to get her inhaler, but he recovered before she got back . He still managed to run 3:21.00 which was good enough for 4th, and was less than 5 seconds off his PR. Apparently the try air in combination with the dust coming off I-15 was too much when combined with race effort - and Jacob can push himself very hard. We are going to take him to the doctor and get an inhaler just in case for things like this.

Later I ran 4.25 with Benjamin. 

Green Crocs 5 Miles: 12.00
Night Sleep Time: 6.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 6.50
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Schwinn Double Stroller Miles: 13.00Green Crocs 5 Miles: 51.00
Night Sleep Time: 42.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 42.50
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