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: 133.06 Year: 1711.68
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
Night Sleep Time: 47.50Nap Time: 5.50Total Sleep Time: 53.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Day of rest. Caught up on sleep. My body really needed it after getting up at 5:00 AM the day before and no nap.

Night Sleep Time: 9.00Nap Time: 2.00Total Sleep Time: 11.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran 6 with Derek, then 6 alone. Total time for 12 was 1:29:48. Did a 0.5 pickup with the splits of 81,78 (2:39) to test neural drive. Got good feedback. The pace felt tempo-natural, I did not feel like I had to force it. The breathing felt energetic, but not out of control.

P.M. 1 with Julia in 11:34, 1 pushing Jacob in 7:57, 2 with Benjamin in 16:40 still pushing Jacob. Jenny joined us for the first 1.5 in 13:13.

Five Fingers - 1298.52 miles.

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. 6 with Tyler and Derek, then 6 more alone. Was originally planning on 6x1 mile but did not get good sleep last night because of itching. Did not want to stress the weakened nervous system, so canceled the workout. But it must have been doing as bad as I thought. Towards the end of the run I started feeling edgy and picked it up to 6:00 pace for about 0.7 to calm down the neighing horses. Then I felt like another pickup and decided to do a tempo quarter. Hit in 82, still felt energetic, did another one in 81. The second one was rather obstructed - I had to go under a bridge, uphill around a corner, then a 90 degree turn and some rough road. Then with about 0.2 to go I was itching to do a stride. Once I started the stride it felt good so I decided to keep that pace to the end. This gave me an 86 quarter in spite of running slow in the beginning. Nevertheless, I still think not doing the mile workout was a good idea. Those neighing horses are often just on the surface. You push for a few miles hard, they stop neighing, and you feel flat. Save the energy for another day.

Total time for 12 was 1:29:26.

While I was itching last night and could not get to sleep I decided to call my dad in Russia. We had a good talk. We talked about many things including the perceptions Russians have of the United States. While talking to him a thought hit me. America has two faces. A beautiful face of service and an ugly face of greed. Our ability to get along with other nations depends on which one of those faces they are able to see. As a teenager I found myself on the side of America because I was able to see that face of service. The time was right and God's blessing was there. However, not everybody will live in that time and will have the same blessing. A sure way to improve our ability to get along is to completely get rid of the ugly face of greed. We must do in on an individual level. We must decide today to control our appetites, serve with all of our hearts, and do so consistently, without exceptions, excuses, or skipping. If we do that, everybody, not just select few, it will have an effect of solving most foreign policy issues naturally without even trying. If we do not, we deserve all of the problems, and it would not be right for us to expect those problems to be solved until we are committed to changing ourselves.

P.M. 1 with Julia in 10:52, 0.5 with Benjamin in 4:09. Then 1.5 with Benjamin and Jenny. We found a potential running partner on the trail - Tyler Carr. He turned out to be a Russian speaker as well, so he and I chatted mostly in Russian. Benjamin needed to go the bathroom towards the end of the run, so he picked it up. This gave him 12:43 for 1.5 and 16:52 for 2 miles total. Jenny and I finished 1.5 in 12:53. Ran another mile with Tyler. Pushed Jacob in the stroller.

Five Fingers - 1314.52 miles

Night Sleep Time: 6.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 6.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with Jeff, Derek, Michelle, and Josse. Michelle did 4K - 3K - 2K - 1K workout with 200 recoveries. We took a longer recovery between 2K and 1K because she was losing steam a bit in the 2 K. Her times were 15:32.1, 11:12.7, 7:34.1, and 3:28.7. That longer recovery helped for 1 K. She still could not get her HR over 180 no matter what she did, and could not hold it consistently over 176. Yet as high as it is when she jogs, she should be able to push it into 185-190 range at least. Josse did a fun workout without a watch joining us for portions of the intervals. Total of 15.5 miles.

P.M. 1 with Julia in 10:47, 2 with Benjamin in 16:22, first 1.5 had Jenny with us, the time was 12:43.

Five Fingers - 1333.02 miles

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

A.M. Ran alone. Jeff and Derek were supposed to come at 5:30 AM, but neither showed up. The plan was to try 6x1 mile but back out if I sensed trouble. Warmed up 4 miles. Ran the first repeat in 5:20.8 and it felt harder than it should have. On the second one (5:22.5) it became clear the nervous system was not up to it. The lungs felt lazy, and the legs felt like cotton. It was still dark at that point. I jogged a couple of miles waiting for the sun to rise, and decided to see if maybe it was just the lack of light - start an interval, finish it if sub-5:20 pace started coming naturally, otherwise stop as soon as it became clear things were not any better. They were not any better - I ran a quarter in 82 and did not feel like going any faster. Ran easy the rest of the way. Total of 12 miles.

Got home, and then ran 2 more with Benjamin in 15:47. He ran his standard 0.5 in 3:02.

My normal approach in the past when I had a speed workout planned has been to force my way through it regardless of how I felt. I decided to make a change to that. I will reserve the heroic effort for races. If a workout is not going well, I will give it some time to make sure it is not a lack of warm-up, and once it becomes clear there is a problem, then bag it. My thinking is that if the body does not want to run hard it will not become stronger from running hard.

T4 Racer - 543.53 miles

P.M. 1 with Julia in 9:59, and then 1.5 with Jenny in 13:03 during Benjamin's soccer practice. 

Night Sleep Time: 7.25Nap Time: 0.50Total Sleep Time: 7.75
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran 12 miles total, 6 miles with Tyler. Decided to test the neural drive and run a control mile. Ran the last mile of the standard 5 mile tempo course in 5:19.8. That one is a slow mile - direction difference is 7 seconds and I ran it in the slow direction. Felt decent. The breathing was energetic, but not bothersome. Legs felt some initiative. So I decided to do a 3 mile tempo towards the end of my run once I dropped off Tyler.

Ran 3 mile tempo from 7.62 to 10.62 into the run. Out and back course - to 1.5 of the 5 mile tempo, and then back. So about 8 second terrain difference between first and second half, second half slower. Splits: 81, 81, 81, 81 (5:24), 82, 83 (pre-180 turn, 8:09 first half), 84, 82 (5:31), 82, 83, 82, 79 (5:26). Total time 16:21.9.

HR: after the first mile hovered around 157. Then climbed up to 160. On the last quarter hit 168.

Subjective: felt very controlled up until 1.5. The turnaround knocked me out of rhythm, but I recovered OK. Felt energetic, but could run a faster pace. Fast pace made the legs feel sour (cannot kick, but can hold the pace for a while) vs led (like at the end of an all out 800 meters).

Thoughts: I think the problem today was the muscles were not relaxing in time. Which made it hard to run 80 second quarters or faster. The power aspect of the neural drive was OK, I think. I could push HR to 168. However, that HR should have produced a 76 second quarter, not a 79, based on being able to hit 82s at HR below 163. Around 80 second pace I was hitting the limit of how fast the muscle could relax, which is why it was so hard.

 T4 Racer - 555.53 miles

P.M. 1 with Julia in 10:22, 2 with Benjamin in 16:50, first 1.5 had Jenny with us (13:07), then 1.05 alone in 7:08.

 Five Fingers - 1337.07 miles

Night Sleep Time: 7.75Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.75
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Went to our ward camp-out in the Hobble Creek Canyon. Did not get good sleep. My nose was cold. Decided to cut the run short and not push to hard to avoid putting the body over the edge and getting sick. Ran to the start of the Hobble Creek Half Marathon, then to mile 8, then back to the Cherry Campground. Total of 16 miles in 1:47:56. Picked up to about 5:45 pace from mile 1 of the half to 8. Then when I turned around and did not have the downhill anymore I did not feel motivated to push and just jogged at about 7:30 pace. Not surprising given only 3 hours of sleep in spite of 7 hours of attempted sleep.

Saw a few runners, more runners than cars, that is a good sign. I think I even saw Michelle and Josse, they were going the other way with two other runners who I did not recognize in the dark. I would not have recognized Michelle and Josse either except by their voices.

Afterwards had to hustle to Benjamin's soccer game. Little did I realize how long it could take to take a tent down, especially if you've never done it before. Fortunately I was wise enough to ask a more experienced fellow ward member for help early enough, so we were able to make it to the game on time. Benjamin's team played the team from our old neighborhood, and lost 1-3.

 T4 Racer - 571.53 miles

P.M. Special occasion. Jenny got baptized. Sarah and I gave talks, and then I baptized and confirmed her. Remembered my own  baptism in 1992. Interestingly enough it happened that I was baptized in a pond in Moscow that I used to circle during my runs.  I did not choose the location, though.

Later in the evening, ran 1 mile with Julia in 9:42, and 2 with Benjamin in 15:32 with Jenny running first 1.5 in 11:51. Considered running a few more, but decided to play it safe and not fatigue the body excessively. I do not want to get sick.

Five Fingers - 1340.07 miles

Night Sleep Time: 3.00Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 4.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Night Sleep Time: 47.50Nap Time: 5.50Total Sleep Time: 53.00
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