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: 220.24 Year: 560.35
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: 46.80Walmart Crocs (No Boundaries) Miles: 7.08Saucony Type A Miles: 20.00
Night Sleep Time: 55.57Nap Time: 5.30Total Sleep Time: 60.87
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Day of rest. Went to church.

Night Sleep Time: 9.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 9.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. 10.04 around Grandview with Jeff in 1:14:49 - grass, barefoot. Benjamin ran the first 2 miles with us in 16:48. After that we did not speed up by much until maybe around 7 miles into the run. Then we ran the last 3 laps (total of 1.158) fast. I told Jeff 2:20 - 2:15 - 2:10. He took me through the first lap in 2:07 instead. Then 2:09, and then he sped up to 1:59 for the last one, but I did not go with him because I did not want to visit the red zone and ran that lap in 2:06. Pace conversion:  2:09 - 5:34, 2:07 - 5:29, 2:06 - 5:26, 1:59 - 5:08. So I averaged 5:29.7 in the last 3 laps.

P.M. 2 with Jenny in 18:22. Julia ran the last 1.5 with us in 13:28. 0.5 with Joseph in 4:46.

Bare Feet Miles: 10.04Walmart Crocs (No Boundaries) Miles: 2.50
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. 4x1 mile with Jeff. Wore racing flats. Ran a warmup a little over 3 miles. Then did the repeats on the mile stretch between 1 and 2 of the FRB 5 Miler. The target was 5:20. For Jeff, last half of the last repeat hard so he would get a bit of a workout.

So we did it like this: 5:18.5 (the watch said 5:18.9, but it was dark and I stopped it a bit late, max HR 161) - 5:17.6 (Max HR 163) - 5:17.4 (165) - 5:17.8 (168). The recovery was a very slow 200 meter jog. There was a VPB after the first one, which unintentionally increased the recovery time, but what can you do?

Jeff sped up on the last one half way through and closed with 72 and 67 quarters finishing the repeat in 4:57.

My feet fussed a bit in their usual spots. The left one in the heel  and the right one in the metatarsal area. Not enough to cancel the workout, but I could tell the fuss was making the form sub-optimal. Although obviously not too bad since I could hit sub-5:20 miles 4 times with a short recovery and without a red zone visit. Or, we should say, not worse than usual.  I have been suspecting that I've had this fuss all along, and just got used to dealing with it by running sub-optimally.

Finished the run in around 1:10:50 (total of 10 miles). Then took Benjamin to Grandview and we ran 2 miles on grass (I ran barefoot, Benjamin wore Crocs) in 16:53.

P.M. Ran barefoot at Grandview. 2 with Jenny in 19:14. Julia ran 1.53 with us in 14:44. 0.5 with Joseph in 5:18.

Saucony Type A Miles: 10.00Bare Feet Miles: 4.50
Night Sleep Time: 7.70Nap Time: 1.50Total Sleep Time: 9.20
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with Jeff and Benjamin at Grandview. Benjamin ran the first 2 miles with us in 16:36. Then we gradually sped up. Jeff ran home after 16 laps (17 for him due to my bathroom stop). I did 26 laps (10.04 miles) in 1:13:59. Ran the last lap and a little bit before it quicker. Last lap was 2:11- 5:39 pace.

P.M. 0.5 with Joseph in Crocs in 5:00. 2 with Jenny at Grandview in 18:01. Julia ran the first 1.53 with us in 14:09.

Bare Feet Miles: 12.04Walmart Crocs (No Boundaries) Miles: 0.50
Night Sleep Time: 7.67Nap Time: 1.50Total Sleep Time: 9.17
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Tempo run with Jeff. Wore racing flats. The warm-up was sluggish as usual - felt reluctant to run 8:00 although we eventually got up to that pace. The foot fussed a bit, I considered not running the tempo for a moment. But then figured the minus of losing the fitness was greater than the plus of giving the foot additional rest. It was not any worse off than it was at the start of the 15 mile tempo on Saturday, and I was able to get to the end of a hilly course 15 in 1:29 at 5:56 average. So I figured if I was OK after a hard 15 at the end of 20 it would be OK for 5 at the same pace in the middle of 10.

The plan was to maintain my HR as close to 152 as possible and see what pace that would produce. Jeff predicted that we will be a little bit under 29:00. He ended up being dead right. Our final time was 28:54.1.

I made sure to wet the contacts of the HRM to avoid malfunction. An error as little as 5 bpm would render the device useless. In fact any error would render it useless. Fortunately, HRMs tend to err either a lot or not at all.

The first mile was sluggish. We opened with a quarter in a glorious 94. Then sped up to a normal pace - 87, then fell asleep (90), and kept on sleeping until the 1400 meter mark, and then all of a sudden woke up and sped up to 5:20. Needless to say with this kind of pacing, and with it being the first mile I completely ignored the HR for the purpose of deciding if the pace was too fast or too slow. HR was slowly climbing, but was still below 145 until the surge. First mile was 5:58.

I figured I would not be maintaining 5:20 or even 5:30 at the HR of 152, but decided to just keep going for a bit without fuss to let the HR climb to the target. After a quarter in 83 HR was 154, so I alerted Jeff accordingly. Interestingly enough I was able to run 84-85 quarters to the end of the second mile without sending more alerts. Our second mile was 5:38.

Even though my HRM has the alert option, we still use verbal alerts. It would be very annoying if the HRM started to malfunction half way through. Or perhaps if it got a little warmer and the HR range would need to be adjusted. Or if for some reason we decided half way through that the target HR was wrong.

It would be nice if the HRMs had a lock/unlock low HR button and lock/unlock high HR button for alerts. You look at it, see a certain HR, decide you do not want to be below or above it, and lock it with one button press! Then the HRM bugs out or it gets hot, or you decide you want to work a bit harder, and you do not want to be beeped at, so you unlock it.  With no dumb "Are you sure?" confirmation screens! Some of those gadgets, like Garmin 305, have a delusion of grandeur. They think the information they are collecting is so important that we can absolutely not train without it. So when losing a signal, for example, it of course needs to flash a huge error message screen that covers everything else until you confirm that you've noticed it!

Things settled down by the third mile. I used the following alert rule. 151 - pull alongside Jeff and push the pace a bit. This did not happen often. 153 - no fuss. 154 - see if it is going to drop to 153 or rise to 155. If stable for too long, verbal alert. 155 - immediate verbal alert. This is one reason I would like to have an HRM with an open development platform. With a development kit I could program it to do the lock/unlock magic as well as the fuzzy alerts myself.

With that our third mile was 5:44, and the fourth 5:45. At the end of the fourth mile the HRM did a trick. I noticed that HR fairly quickly climbed from 152 to 157 with no increase in perceived effort or pace. Then it quickly dropped to 152. I did not issue alerts figuring either the HRM was probably malfunctioning for a second, or possibly we hit a packet of warm air, or something weird like that.

No alerts on the uphill quarter even though HR hit 155. But once we were done and Jeff tried to maintain the effort and I saw HR staying at 155 I gave an alert. So the rest of the last mile was at 152, and the time was 5:49.

The right foot fussed during the tempo and I could tell it was interfering with the economy. It was difficult to relax, although not unbearably difficult. I'll do most of my miles before TOU on grass with hopes of a more complete healing. But I am not getting my hopes too high. I feel confident that in good conditions I can get to 15 in 1:25 or faster, but what is going to happen after that I have no clue.

Cooled down to 10, then took Benjamin, Jenny, and Julia to Grandview. Jenny and Benjamin ran ahead, I stayed with Julia. She took me to 1.53 in 14:14, then I picked it up and chased down the older kids. Passed Jenny, went after Benjamin. The chase lap was 2:18 (5:57 pace), but I caught Benjamin a little bit before the end, so the actual fast pace was a bit faster. They know better than to try to run away from Dad when they are in trouble!  Finished 2 with Benjamin in 17:14. Jenny finished 2 in 17:41.

Saucony Type A Miles: 10.00Bare Feet Miles: 2.00
Night Sleep Time: 7.70Nap Time: 1.30Total Sleep Time: 9.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran to 2.04 to Grandview in Crocs, then 6.18 barefoot on grass, and 2.04 back. Total of 10.26 in 1:16:59. Jeff saw me from a distance and at first did not recognize my form. I take that as a compliment. Picked it up a bit in the last 1.5 in Crocs and ran the last mile in 6:34. The foot almost did not fuss.

P.M. Took the kids to Grandview. Ran 2 miles with Jenny in 17:41. Julia ran 1.53 in 14:01. Benjamin ran 2 in 16:33.

Bare Feet Miles: 8.18Walmart Crocs (No Boundaries) Miles: 4.08
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. Green grass. Remembering a popular Russian song from the time I was a teenager about the astronauts that dream of green grass by their house instead of the rumbling noise of the space center or the icy cold of the blue colors of the outer space.

10.04 miles on grass today.  Barefoot as usual. 26 laps around Grandview. Some of it with Jeff. Ran a tempo for 11 laps (4.248).  First 8 laps (3.089) kept HR under control around 152. Except this time I did not have to send verbal alerts to Jeff at all. And a few times I did have to pull alongside to push the pace when HR dropped to 149. First 8 laps in 18:13 - 5:53.8 average.

Then I told Jeff I wanted to pick it up. He asked how much. I said 2:12 per lap. I really wanted  2:10, but Jeff is an overachiever so you have to tell him a bit slower. We did the last 3 laps in 6:27 (2:10 - 2:10 - 2:07), 5:34 average, and that felt good. HR was 157-158 at 2:10 (5:36 pace), and 161 at 2:07 (5:29). The good news is that it did not feel unbearable - I felt like if I were in a race I would have a while at that effort before getting dropped, or even might not get dropped at all.

Total time for 11 laps was 24:40, 5:48 average. Total time for 26 laps (10.04) was 1:07:21. I was happy that I was able to get this time without working too hard. It was only 6 seconds slower than a couple of weeks ago but it took a whole lot less effort. I was really enjoying it for the first 8 laps,and then it was comfortably hard when we picked it up.

P.M. Sarah and I went to the temple while Kimia (Jeff's wife) watched our kids. They did their runs on the trail under Benjamin's supervision. Benjamin ran 2 in 16:45. Jenny ran 2 around 18:00. Julia got confused and ended up with only 0.4. Joseph ran 0.5 in 5:11.

Bare Feet Miles: 10.04
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Bare Feet Miles: 46.80Walmart Crocs (No Boundaries) Miles: 7.08Saucony Type A Miles: 20.00
Night Sleep Time: 55.57Nap Time: 5.30Total Sleep Time: 60.87
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