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: 151.06 Year: 782.84
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: 216.09
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Vibram Five Fingers Miles: 30.20Brooks T4 Racing Flat Miles: 37.20
Night Sleep Time: 59.25Nap Time: 2.00Total Sleep Time: 61.25
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Day of  rest. Slept nearly 11 hours. This shows the severity of the neural fatigue yesterday.

Went to church. Had a meeting afterwards. Went to a baptism in the Spanish branch in the evening. 

Night Sleep Time: 10.75Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 10.75
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. 10.1 alone in 1:09:58. Yes, I like to beat the 1:10 guy when it is close. The sleep and a day of rest yesterday seemed to help. Felt energized from the start. Decided to measure the depth of it. Ran 1 K in 3:22 over a fairly thick layer of leaves in the middle.

Ran 200 with Jacob in 1:44. 

For some odd reason I got interested in the demographics of Denmark. I think if I had the patience to deal with the academic bureaucracy and our cost of living relative to income had not been so high I might have even become a sociologist. But I am somewhat satisfied with programming for a living and studying sociology as an amateur. In any case, I found this link:

And the following statements:

The last 30 years of the 20th century showed a far-reaching change in the demographical characteristics of the Danish population. The decline in fertility accelerated from 1967, and the lowest level so far was reached in 1983 when the average number of children born per woman was 1.4.

As c. 2.1 births per woman are necessary to avoid a fall in the size of the population, fertility rates are thus below the level needed for reproduction. Corresponding declines have been noted in most western European countries, in North America, Australia and Japan.


It has become more difficult for both practical and financial reasons to have many children...

As a father of 6, I can sure tell you about financial difficulty. I make quite a bit more than the average, and we still have to pinch every penny to live without debt.

The big question I have is why in the world has it become so difficult for a family to have the needed 2.1 children to maintain the population size when we have experienced such huge advances in technology and can do just about everything a lot more efficiently that we used to. With everything we have now the average family should be able to afford 10.5 children, not 2.1. Something somewhere has gone fundamentally wrong, something somewhere is being dumped into a huge black hole.

P.M. 1 with Julia in 9:52, 2 with Benjamin in 17:00, Jenny ran the first 1.5 in 13:14. Jacob wanted to do a double today so we did another 200 in 1:58.

Vibram Five Fingers Miles: 10.10
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Tempo run with Derek and Tyler. During the 4.12 warm-up talked about the economy, what affects the cost of living, and to what extent is the government regulation of the free market necessary. My thoughts. Comparing free market to a race. No individual competitor should be unfairly aided or hampered by the race officials. However, strict rules are needed to make sure nobody cheats. If you trip or punch somebody, cut the course, ride part of the race on a bike or in a car, use roller blades, poison a competitor before the start, or do something of that nature you are disqualified. If a famous runner is struggling and falls behind we do not give him a ride to catch up to the leaders or to be back on pace.

Then we ran the 2.5 in 13:42.1. The rough plan was 5:30 pace and we beat him by 3 seconds. I drafted behind Derek and Tyler most of the way. The splits were mostly unavailable due to the trail being heavily covered with leaves. We got our first split at 0.435 - 2:28. About 4 seconds off pace, no wonder it felt too manageable. I told Derek to speed up. He took us through the rest of the mile at 5:20 pace on the dot, so we had 5:28 at the mile. At this point my HR was 165, and I started to feel uncomfortable. So I asked Derek to back off a bit, and he did hitting the next two quarters in 81 each like a clock, 8:10 at 1.5. My HR was 163, and I felt balanced but very tenderly - a slight surge could do me in and the pace, even slower pace, would become unsustainable. This stretch had the fewest leaves, which I think is why 81 quarters felt more sustainable than at any other point in the tempo.

The last mile was uphill and covered with leaves. The next split was at "3000" - 10:16, so the uphill "600" at 5:36 pace. It felt hard but not miserable. Next "600" in 2:03, 5:28 pace, not noticeably uphill, but still uphill, I know because I had cross-country skied it several times timing it in both directions. On the last quarter it felt like we picked up the pace, HR got up to 168, but we only got 83 for the quarter. I wonder if it had to do with the increased amount of leaves while on a slightly higher upper grade. My HR never spikes that high unless I am running a sub-80 quarter. If I am too tired to run a sub-80 quarter, I just cannot push it that high.

Total time for the last mile was 5:32. Average HR 160, max 168.

I was pleased with the run. The time was the fastest for that stretch since St. George. But I was more pleased with the following: HR could get to 165 in 5 minutes of running, life seemed bearable at HR of 163, and I felt like I still had a little bit to give when it was as high as 168.

Cooled down with Derek and Tyler for 1.38 discussing no state income tax in Washington, then 2 more by myself to make the total of 10.

Sarah and I voted today. It felt good to vote for neither McCain nor Obama. I felt relieved that there was a candidate that represented my values much better even though he could not win.

P.M. 1 with Julia in 8:59. 2 with Benjamin in 17:10, Jenny did the first 1.5 in 13:08. Julia rode the bike during Jenny's run. This is a big breakthrough for Julia - she learned to ride less than a week ago. 200 with Jacob in 1:54, and 0.34 with Joseph in 4:09.

Brooks T4 Racing Flat Miles: 10.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.50
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. We got our first snow. However, it started during the run, and I was wearing Five Fingers. Got to experience the snow. It was rather cold, but not as bad as I anticipated. Ran the first 6 miles with Jeff, the rest on my own. Discussed politics. 1:25:12 for 10 miles, got beat by a boltushka, I suppose we deserve that since we've been talking the whole time.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 17:05, Jenny ran the first 1.5 in 13:09. Took the Fast Running Van to get the the tail blinker fixed, they found literally a hornet's nest under the light cover. Wasps made a nest there.

P.M-2. 1 with Julia in 10:03. 200 with Jacob in 2:08.

Vibram Five Fingers Miles: 10.00
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. Ran with Derek. Learned from him that M-16/AK-47 effective range is 500 meters, but a stray bullet can kill you from as far away as 800 meters. This made me remember some dark Russian humor: The optimist is studying English, the pessimist is studying Chinese, but a realist is studying AK-47.

We did 5x400 with 200 jog rest. Splits: 71.8, 69.9, 69.3, 69.1, 71.1. Derek hit around 67 in the last 3.  I was happy with how it went. Even though it was cold, and we had some leaves on the ground, this is the fastest I've done this workout since St. George.

Dropped Derek off at 8 miles, ran 2 more to make it 10. Then ran/walked with Jacob - 200 meters in 2:01.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin and Jenny in 17:50. 0.34 with Joseph in 3:39. 1 with Julia in 10:29. 

Brooks T4 Racing Flat Miles: 10.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.50Total Sleep Time: 8.50
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. 10.1 alone in 1:14:32. Did a 0.5 pickup in the middle in 2:42 (82,80). Felt decent.

P.M. 200 with Jacob in 1:56, 0.34 with Joseph in 3:44. 1 with Julia in 9:49. 2 with Benjamin in 17:19, Jenny ran 1.5 in 13:09 with us.

Vibram Five Fingers Miles: 10.10
Night Sleep Time: 8.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.50
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with Jeff, Tyler, Michelle, and Julie Esplin. Jeff and I did the standard 10 mile tempo. Tyler and Julie ran easy. Michelle did some mile repeats with us during the tempo.

The tempo went better than I expected. 56:38.9 for the whole thing, which is actually a 3 second course/workout PR. Splits:

5:47 - 5:42 - 5:40 - 5:46 - 5:44 - 5:37 - 5:40 - 5:31 - 5:37 - 5:34

By 2.5: 14:20 - 14:19 - 14:04 - 13:55

By half: 28:39 - 27:59


Started out slow on purpose to not kill Michelle. Too slow - 91 the first quarter. I warned Jeff about overcorrection, so the next one was 87. After that Jeff just let it loose, but Michelle made it with us to 1.25 in 7:13.

After the first 2.5 I thought I'd be lucky to keep the pace. But then 4 miles into it things did not get any worse. During the second half of the tempo Jeff pressed harder, but I was not too miserable at first. I just tucked in behind him and tried to zone out. He had an non-gentleman-like moment by serving Michelle an 83 quarter after 5.5 when she tried to join us for a mile, followed by another in 85. Michelle was still hanging on, after that she fell back.

From 7 to 8 it was my turn to suffer. Jeff served me a 5:31 mile with a 180 turn in the middle. I asked him to back off, and was hanging on to dear life. Michelle saw us go by and decided it was hopeless to try to hang on. Perhaps not without a reason as we still hit a 5:37 for the next mile.

At the end, all I wanted to do was catch the 5:40 guy, but Jeff had higher ambitions. So he dropped me on the last quarter and finished 8 seconds faster in 76 vs mine in 84. I did not have much more than 84 left in me at that point.

Felt like I could push through fatigue better. The breathing was harder. Did not wear an HRM. I think my quarters have helped. I've seen this effect before - quarters at mile race pace or faster helping all distances up to the marathon.

Felt much better after the tempo that a week ago. Ran a long cool down. Total of 17 miles.

200 with Jacob in 1:53 afterwards. 

P.M. 1 with Julia in 8:56. 2 with Benjamin and Jenny in 17:07.

Brooks T4 Racing Flat Miles: 17.20
Night Sleep Time: 8.50Nap Time: 1.50Total Sleep Time: 10.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Vibram Five Fingers Miles: 30.20Brooks T4 Racing Flat Miles: 37.20
Night Sleep Time: 59.25Nap Time: 2.00Total Sleep Time: 61.25
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