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: 870.94
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
Bare Feet Miles: 22.68Walmart Crocs (No Boundaries) Miles: 31.04Saucony Type A Miles: 40.00
Night Sleep Time: 55.25Nap Time: 6.50Total Sleep Time: 61.75
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Day of rest. Went to church.

Night Sleep Time: 9.00Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 10.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Did an odd workout. On Saturday during Benjamin's soccer game I noticed that the Foot Printers Field was not aerated. So that gave me an idea to run there. Jeff, Benjamin, and I drove out there. Then we measured a loop. On the first measurement it was 1626 feet. On the second measurement after the run, when we followed the path that we actually ran, it was 1633 feet. So I'll go with 1633 feet.

Benjamin ran the first 2.5 laps with us, then we sped up. He ended up doing 7 laps (2.15 miles) in 18:50 (8:42 average). We gradually kept speeding up until I saw my HR was 145 and our laps were in the 2:05 range (6:45 pace). I figured it was time for a mini-tempo, so I conservatively told Jeff to get my HR to 152 knowing that he has an overachiever tendencies. We ran the next 8 laps (2.47 miles) in 14:42 (5:56 pace). It felt hard. HR quickly made its way to 158, then spent a good portion of the second half of the tempo at 161, and hit 164 in the last lap, which we did in 1:46 (5:43 pace). Jeff's HR was also high - 176 when mine was 161, and 181 when mine was 164. 

So something was odd today. I asked Jeff how hard he was working, he thought about 5:20-5:25 effort. Slower pace also felt noticeably harder, and the HR showed. So either both of us got out of shape fast, or there is something about that grass that we do not quite understand.

Ran the cool down. Total of 33 laps (10.2) in 1:14:14.

P.M. Wore Crocs. 2 with Jenny in 17:59. Julia ran the first 1.5 with us in 14:21. Then 0.5 with Joseph in 5:01. The foot felt good enough to try running 10 miles on pavement.

Bare Feet Miles: 10.20Walmart Crocs (No Boundaries) Miles: 2.50
Night Sleep Time: 8.75Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.75
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with Jeff. Gave the foot and the fitness a mild test. Wore racing flats. We warmed up 3.62 which took us to the start of the Fast Running Blog 5 Miler course. The plan was to run comfortably hard (for me) until I felt we've run enough, but no more than 5 miles. I told Jeff to start at 5:50 - 5:55 pace.He  ended up going a whole lot faster from the gun, but I did not mind as I wanted to have a good fitness test and I was feeling good. About 2 miles into the tempo I felt like I could keep the pace all the way to 5, but wanted to avoid unnecessary stress on the foot and on the nervous system, so I made the decision to go to 3. So we ended up with the following quarter splits:

85 - 84 - 83 - 84 (5:36) - 83.5 - 84.5 - 85.5 - 83.5 (5:37, 11:13) - 83 - 86 (180 turn) - 81 - 79 (5:29, 16:42.7).

Total time for 3 was 16:42.7, 5:34 average.

The form felt good with the exception that the right foot was not allowing me to power quite as hard as I wanted. There was also some minor soreness at the insertion point of the achilles tendon on the left foot. In the past I would not have even mentioned this, but I am trying a new approach. The idea is to attack those minor aches to allow me to pound the ground as hard as I want rather than adjust the form to work around the aches. So I am going to continue to ice those spots and run some of the mileage on grass until I can put full force into the steps at any good form running angle.

I was also pleased with the leg power response. No trouble picking up the pace to 5:20 in the last 0.5, legs felt snappy. HR was 156 at 5:36 pace, and maxed out at 162 at the end at 5:20 pace. Compared to yesterday, the effort perception was also very much in line with HR patterns. Jeff's HR also behaved normally. So I suppose we did not get out of shape after all, something was indeed really odd about the Footprinter's field. Which is what I suspected.

Finished 10, then drove to a nearby grass field with Benjamin (It was not far but I did not want to run with the wheel), measured out a 1260 foot loop (0.238), and ran 9 of them with him barefoot in 18:52. That is 2.15 at 8:47 pace.

After all the adventures the foot felt the same as it did before the start. This is encouraging.

P.M. 2 with Jenny in 18:34. Julia ran the first 1.5 in 14:23. 0.5 with Joseph in 5:01. Measure a part of the course for the Spring Creek Elementary 5 K with Sarah. Then it got late, so I ran 1.357 to the car in 11:35. Thanks to the wheel I knew exactly how far it was.

Saucony Type A Miles: 10.00Bare Feet Miles: 2.15Walmart Crocs (No Boundaries) Miles: 3.86
Night Sleep Time: 7.75Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 8.75
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Temple day - so ran in the early morning run with Jeff. 10.1 in 1:18:43 in Crocs on the usual course. The right foot felt almost 100%. The achilles irritation on the left was OK as well.

Stopped by at the BYU Bookstore. They thought I was young enough and skinny enough to be a starving student and tried to sell me the Starving Student Card for $30. I looked at it and decided that I had an idea why those students were starving. Eating according to the card will produce very little nutritional value per dollar spent even with all the discounts. Plus you have to pay $30 for the card. So I said no, I have better food at home.

P.M.  Wore Crocs. 1.5 with Julia pushing William and Jacob in 14:06. Jenny and Benjamin ran ahead and did 2 in 17:30. 0.5 with Joseph in 5:20.

Walmart Crocs (No Boundaries) Miles: 12.10
Night Sleep Time: 6.50Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 7.50
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with Jeff in racing flats. Felt good. Neural drive was there, even though it did not quite shine in the warm-up - 8:00 pace felt fast. The feet felt decent, both the achilles on the left and the top on the right. So decided 2x2 miles at 5:30 pace would be good. In the past I would have said 3x2 miles at 5:25 pace. But I am suspecting that the training effect is better if you take what you can do all out and cut it some. The effectiveness of the stimulus is not in how much it brings you down, but in the net difference between the loss of fitness from the stress and the gain of fitness in the recovery. And I am suspecting that this effectiveness is maximized at a respectable distance away from the start of the red zone.

So we warmed up our usual 3.62. I gave Jeff the instructions. 10:58 is good, but 10:57 is bad - too fast. If you hit 81 do not slow down to 84 to make up, make it 83. The first one (first 2 miles of the FRB 5 Miler) went like this:

81.5 - 85.5 - 82 - 83 (5:32) - 79 - 83 - 82 - 82 (5:26, 10:58.2).

Now you can say with 10:58 that Jeff was a sly fox and got everyout out of me that I was willing to give, but the truth of the matter is that I did pull alongside him in the last 0.5 to communicate that I did not want the pace to drop. The fifth quarter was interesting. I said - wow, I wonder why 5:30 feels like miles 6-8 of this years SLC half when I was trying to hang on to BJ. Then I saw the split - the pace was 5:16, not 5:30, no wonder it felt so hard. HR was 156 after the first mile, then 158 after the fifth quarter, and then it gradually drifted to 160 maxing out at 162.

We jogged 0.5 with a VPB in the middle, and then started the next one from the turnaround of the FRB 5 Miler. It went like this:

81 - 82 - 83 - 82 (5:28) - 82 - 81 - 83 - 79 (5:25, 10:53.8).

I felt strong and communicated by pulling alonside Jeff in a few places that I wanted the fast pace to stay fast. So it was a bit faster than the 10:58 too fast cut off, but I felt a little faster was OK on the second one. The last two quarters were up a small grade and are usually about 1-2 second slower than the others with the same effort in our tempo runs. HR was at 160 by 1.5, got to 162 with a quarter to go, and then peaked at 167 in the last quarter.

Cooled down to 10 miles. Total time was around 1:10:43 if I remember right.

Then 2.15 with Benjamin barefoot at Footprinter's field in 18:48. To my disappointment it got aerated.

P.M. 2 with Jenny in 17:29. Julia ran the first 1.5 with us in 13:32. 0.5 with Joseph in 5:12. Wore Crocs.

Saucony Type A Miles: 10.00Bare Feet Miles: 2.15Walmart Crocs (No Boundaries) Miles: 2.50
Night Sleep Time: 7.75Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 8.75
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Had interesting dreams. In one I was discussing the Book of Mormon with Paul on the blog. I told him I knew it was true, but he said he did not believe it was true. In the other dream a guy from Magadan (very cold and very remote part of Russian north-east) survived the Second World War eating very small amounts of food. After the war he did not increase his food intake by much and was eating only beets. In spite of that he was in perfect health. I wondered how it was possible to maintain good health with a diet that was so out of balance. But my questions were not answered - the alarm went off and it was time to run.

I ran 2.04 to Grandview, 6.18 there, most of it with Jeff, and then 2.04 back. Total time was 1:19:14. Noticed that HR was consistently lower, about 5 bpm, at the same places and speeds as a week ago. Also noticed that I was very sluggish starting out, more sluggish than normal, but then got into good rhythm faster than normal in spite of the early sluggishness.

Then 2 more with Benjamin at Grandview in 16:44.

P.M. Finished measuring the Spring Creek Elementary 5 K course. Ended up running 1.5 while measuring. Then 2 with Jenny in 17:42. Julia ran the first 1.5 with us in 13:30. 0.5 with Joseph in 4:57.

Bare Feet Miles: 8.18Walmart Crocs (No Boundaries) Miles: 8.08
Night Sleep Time: 7.50Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 8.50
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Started with Ted and Jeff. The plan was 20 miles with the last 15 hard. Ran to Bridal Veil and back. We met a guy named Tyler and he joined us from 3 to 5. Ted ran the first 5 then turned around.

The first 5 were slow (39:11), HR was not getting up, and the pace felt fast. I told Jeff to keep my HR at 152 no matter how slow of a pace this produced. It ended up not producing that slow of a pace after all. But it was hard. I think the problem was that I was out of fuel. Maybe those guys at the BYU that were selling Starving Student cards noticed something real after all.

So we did the first 5 of the tempo up the Provo Canyon (from about Orem Center street to about  Bridal Veil) in 31:03 (1:10:14 at the turnaround). I had to tell Jeff my HR was 154-155 a few times, but he was pretty good at pacing otherwise. It did help that he had his HRM on as well. It felt hard.

Then we turned around, and discovered that for my HR to hit 152 we needed to go 5:36-5:40 pace on the downhill. So we did. This was for some reason harder than maintaining the same HR uphill. What is interesting is that both Jeff and I felt the same way about the effort. Next 5 miles in 28:04.

Then it was time for Jeff to run fast. Yes, I know, he had just run 5 miles at 5:37 average with 15 on the odometer, and I am saying it was time for him to run fast. But he has progressed a lot in the last two years and 5:37 down Provo Canyon in a long run is not fast for him any more. So he took off and averaged 5:20 pace for the last 5. I was starting to feel the fuel issues and all I could manage was 6:00 pace. I could tell in particular during the turns - had a hard time accelerating when I lost the momentum. Legs were feeling shaky. So normal pace was a bit faster than 6:00, but I was losing more than normal on the turns. HR was often at 151 and I had to focus to bring it up to 152. However, in the last mile I was able to focus and bring it to as high as 160 in the last quarter. Last mile was 5:51.

So I ended up with 2:08:17 for 20 miles, 6:24.85 average, last 15 in 1:29:06, 5:56.4 average. I was happy to average sub-6:00 for 15 with the Provo Canyon uphill. Last 10 in 58:03, 5:48.3 average. Was happy about that as well - three weeks ago I could not break 1 hour on the same stretch even though I did not tempo for 5 miles uphill prior.

P.M. 1.5 with Julia in 14:00. Benjamin and Jenny ran 2 miles ahead of us in 17:16. 0.5 with Joseph in 5:12. Wore Crocs.

Saucony Type A Miles: 20.00Walmart Crocs (No Boundaries) Miles: 2.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 1.50Total Sleep Time: 9.50
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Bare Feet Miles: 22.68Walmart Crocs (No Boundaries) Miles: 31.04Saucony Type A Miles: 40.00
Night Sleep Time: 55.25Nap Time: 6.50Total Sleep Time: 61.75
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