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: 61.00 Year: 2277.53
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: 277.76
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Ran on the Provo River Trail between the Geneva Road and the Utah Lake. Met a new friend - Corey Osborne during warm-up. Then did the same 5 mile tempo as Saturday. The purpose was to build fitness while measuring recovery from the marathon. Got 28:32.7, mile splits - 5:31 - 5:42 - 5:49 - 5:48 - 5:43. Out 14:07, back 14:25. First mile felt very easy, and I thought that I'd be able to keep that pace all the way, and maybe even speed up a bit at the end. My legs felt strong. Then on the second mile they began to lose power, and got essentially back strengh-wise to where they were Saturday. I have observed this phenomenon before. Shortly after one punishing marathon or a set of two or more marathons done back to back, the legs feel normal for a little over a mile, and then all of a sudden just quit. You suddenly slow down about 20 seconds per mile, and then it does not get any worse. Well, at least I was able to do a good mile, something that did not happen Saturday, and the overall time was faster, so the recovery is slowly taking place. Ran with the kids, and jogged some more in the evening to make the total 15 miles. However, I think this drastic slow down sheds some light on my slow downs in 5Ks. I believe the limiting factor is of the same nature, it just happens at a slower pace when the muscles are still partially torn up from the marathon. Interestingly enough, Dallen seems to experience a similar problem.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Ran with George and Danny in the morning. We went on the trails. Danny had served a mission in Russia, so I figure he could use some Russian instruction while we run to keep his Russian up. Right in the middle of that instruction I was so engrossed in explaining the intricacies of the Russian usage that I was not paying attention to the footing, and naturally took a spill. This is not the first time, so thanks to the wealth of my falling experience I got away with just small scrapes on the hands and one on the left knee.

Dropped George and Danny off, and ran some more along the Slate Canyon Loop. With a quarter to go I noticed that if I ran 1:29 I would get 15:00. While in the middle of that quarter, I realized that this would put me whole 50 seconds behind Stuart's record. I was feeling good, still had some miles to go, and remembered my easy pace splits in the early part of the loop, so I figured I'd just keep going at a tempo pace until my time for the loop becomes faster than Stuart's record. This gave me a mile in 5:43 (with the first quarter uphill in 1:29), and the loop time of 13:57. In the process I realized that Stuart's record is pretty good - it took some hard work to catch it.

Ran some more with the kids. Then in the evening Benjamin wanted to do sprints, so we went to our magic hill. This gave me my goal of 15 miles for the day (a bit more, actually).

Did bench press, narrow grip, 3 sets of 3 with 100 pounds.

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

Did two runs today. First one early in the morning before going to the temple. The goal was to cover 10 miles in the minimum amount of time with the minimum possible effort. Two conflicting goals. To meet them, the course had to be flat, and I had to start right from my house. This meant a mile out, and then a mile back five times. Started out at slower than 8:00, then eventually sped up to about 7:10-7:15 pace. Did not feel like going any faster. It might have had something to do with the low quality of sleep last night - Jacob had a fever, and kept waking up. Sarah nursed him all night. Fortunately he nurses very well, and that makes him happy.

Finally got bored with the slow pace, and also got curious about how a faster pace would feel. Ran 0.75 in 4:19. Then with 0.75 to go, I saw that I could break 1:11:00 for the whole run if I did the last 0.75 in under 4:13. So I got going. First quarter in 1:27, no wonder it felt so easy. Then pressed a little harder on the gas pedal - 1:24, and a bit more on the last one - 1:21 - 4:12 for the stretch.

In the evening first ran with the kids. Then put Jenny and Joseph in the stroller, and went to do the remainder of the miles. I discover that Jenny is a great training partner. Her stories entertain me well enough to compensate for the extra 44 pounds of weight. She kept talking non-stop, which might be a bit annoying in the house, but is wonderful during a run.

Ran the Slate Canyon Loop in 15:33. Interestingly enough, on the flat sections I was going about the same pace (7:10) as I did earlier this morning, and it felt the same in spite of pushing 70 pounds of kid weight + the stroller itself. I guess having had a nap in the afternoon made quite a bit of a difference.

After the loop, added another 1.5 miles. Got curious on the last quarter how fast I would go at a tempo effort. Picked it up to an aggressive marathon pace. Got 1:30 for the quarter.

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

Tempo run on the Provo River Trail by Geneva road this morning. Again 2.5 out, 2.5 back. The course looks flat, but I've wondered about that since I've noticed doing mile repeats that the first mile out is always 5 seconds faster than the same mile back. Sure enough, there is a 25 feet elevation drop on the first mile, which makes 25 feet climb (0.5% grade) on the last. Otherwise, it is indeed flat.

Ran it in 28:26.3, 6 seconds faster than Monday. However, unlike Monday, I was feeling lazy and sleepy from the very start through the first half. After that, I was just tired.

The splits were 5:39 - 5:40 - 5:45 (with a U-turn) - 5:43 - 5:39. First half 14:10, second 14:16. Felt strong. but stuck in the 5:40 gear.

During the cooldown saw Steve Roberts and Dan Hinckley. They were doing a fartlek. Ran a bit with them - about 0.1 mile, hit a 100 in 16.

Came home and ran with the kids.

Still had 4 miles left for the evening. Took Jenny and Joseph in the stroller. I think I've figured out the meaning of Thing 1 and Thing 2 in The Cat in The Hat. Julia is Thing 1 and Joseph is Thing 2. You have to catch them with a net! I suppose I could be The Cat In The Hat when I come to somebody's house with them. Anyway, Sarah (The Fast Running Mommy) is very happy when I take one or both of them.

Decided to do some power work while I had a chance. Warm-up, then two 100 meter bounds (no stroller for the bounds). Covered 100 m in 43 steps. Looks like the legs are still a bit weak from the marathon - this should be 41 - 42 steps normally. This is consisent with what I've been seening in tempo runs.

Then jogged some more, and did 4x60 meters uphill (3% grade) with the stroller (70 pounds of kid weight) and ankle weights. 14.5 - 13.8 - 14.1 - 13.9. Jenny and Joseph had a lot of fun.

Then parked the stroller, and did 2x60 up in 10.7 - 10.9, one down in 9.4, and then one up in 10.7.

Some interesting observations - not much speed-up after dropping the weight, and even after changing the direction. This is also consistent with the 5:40 pattern in the tempo run. My intuition tells me I need some downhill work.

I still have no idea why this happens to me, but running uphill for a long time makes me slow. There has to be a way around it, though.

Did bench press also. 3 sets of 3 with 100 pounds, narrow grip.

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

Easy run with George in the morning. Decided to measure the trail course with the wheel. We've already measured it with Steve's GPS, but it lost the signal a couple of times down the road, so I was not sure how reliable the measurement was. The wheel measurement of the stretch out was 3.68. The GPS showed 3.66. Of course, I am not sure how accurate the wheel measurement was either - the wheel kept bouncing and shaking on the rocks as I ran with it. But at least using two different methods gave very similar results.

Dropped off George, jogged a bit more. Got bored, ran 0.5 in 2:49. Had a hard time getting going.

Did 4x100 with ankle weights - 19.7 - 19.6 - 18.8 - 18.3.

Then ran with the kids. In the evening jogged some more with Jennifer and Joseph in the stroller. Jennifer told me a lot of stories again.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Speedwork in the Provo Canyon in the morning. Warmed up. Found somebody to run with - his name is Kevin. His is training for his first marathon.

Did 4x100 strides near Canyon Glen Park - 2 down and 2 up. Then 12x400 down with 200 jog. Averaged 70.7. Last two were 69.5 and 68.3. Felt lazy - this is to be expected at the end of a 90 mile week shortly after a marathon with a difficult recovery. Also was holding back a bit in anticipation of a 2 mile tempo afterwards.

Lots of joggers on the trail. Got some interesting comments during one recovery jog - people are surprised to see me run so slow. Hey, guys, hold your horses - the next interval is coming up.

Ran back to the start of the tempo. Found another partner to run with - his name is Craig, he has run several marathons, and teaches grade school in Orem. Had a good chat with him.

Back at the Canyon Glen Park, and now the 2 mile tempo down. The goal was to run 10:40. I felt like Laman and Lemuel in the Book of Mormon - give the minimum required. Actually, they would not even do that, so I suppose I did a bit better. But I did have a bit of their attitude in the run. So if I saw a 1:21 split I would speed up, but if I saw a 1:19 I'd back off. Hit the first mile in 5:21, then next 0.5 in 2:41, and the last 0.5 in 2:38. This gave me the desired 10:40 right on.

Again the abundance of joggers supplied some interesting comments. With about 30 meters to go I passed three girls that were probably going around 8:00 or so. One of them said something to the effect that seeing me pass them made her feel bad. However, right after she said it I stopped. Then she said she was glad to see me stop because this did not make her feel so bad. I've heard comments like that before, interstingly enough mostly from women. It does make me wonder why seeing a man run fast makes them feel bad. First, men and women race in separate divisions, and for good reason. Second, one should be happy for others when they run well instead of feeling jealous. Maybe second should really be first.

Came home, ran with the kids. In the evening did bench press, narrow grip, 3 sets of 3 with 100 pounds. Jogged some more with various combinations of kids in the double stroller. Total of 15 miles for the day.

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