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
Airwalk Clogs Miles: 46.57Saucony Type A Miles: 22.20Water Clogs Miles: 2.00
Night Sleep Time: 40.50Nap Time: 0.50Total Sleep Time: 41.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Day of rest. We had a Stake Conference. The stake,is a group of several wards (in reference to the stakes of Zion supporting the tent in Isaiah).  When I first heard the term in English I did not have any issues, but when I realized that its official Russian translation was кол I was greatly entertained. Aside from a regular stake that you pound into the ground the word is a slang term for the lowest grade you can get in school - one, because number one looks like a stake. You do not get that great just for not knowing the subject matter, it is usually given for being a bad sport - e.g. if you get caught cheating on a test.

In any case, the word has acquired a new meaning for me since I joined the LDS church, both in English and in Russian. It represents a unit of strength in the Lord, something the Lord depends on to build his kingdom.

At the conference our stake was reorganized. Our ward is now much bigger, almost twice as big. The English population of our area is shrinking, and is being replaced by the Latinos. Most of the Latinos are not LDS. Even though many join our church, and the Latino branch is now big enough to be a ward, it does not make up for the exodus of the English speakers, and even if it did, the English wards would still be getting smaller.

My conclusion from the above is that we need to do two things to prepare for the future. Have children and learn Spanish.

Night Sleep Time: 9.00Nap Time: 0.50Total Sleep Time: 9.50
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with Jeff. Benjamin ran the first 2 miles with us in 17:15. We ran 8 more and finished 10 in 1:18:06. Did a quarter in 77 in the middle to test the waters, and it felt good. Jeff made an observation that my back did not look as stiff and that I was leaning forward more. I was not trying to lean forward. I attributed the change to doing my Upper Cross Syndrome correction exercise throughout the weekend.

The foot pain is a whole lot better but still not 100%. With cautious optimism I anticipate to be 100% healthy in that area in two weeks.

P.M. 2 with Jenny in 17:38. Julia ran 1.5 in 13:23. Joseph ran 0.5 with Sarah.

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. 10.1 with Jeff in 1:12:25. Then 2 with Benjamin, one mile in 6:35. We attempted to break 6:00 but after the first quarter Benjamin did not have it, but still finished at a respectable pace. Now this sheds more light on what's going on, and shows that what happened at the state meet was not just a bad day. We also measured him and discovered that he had grown an inch and gained a pound since August. However, if the accelerated growth was the problem he would have been out of breath, and he said that was not the problem - he felt he lacked the leg power. He also did not sound like he was out of breath. When James Leblow was having accelerated growth problems he sounded like a steam locomotive.

Just to be sure I told Benjamin to run with Jenny on his easy runs, and really fast (sub-6:00) twice a week. He's been doing a lot of those easy-not-easy runs at 8:00 pace. I let him figuring if he was choosing that pace naturally it was OK, but maybe not.

P.M. 0.5 with Joseph in 4:56. 2 with Jenny in 17:33. Julia ran 1.5 in 13:10.

Airwalk Clogs Miles: 14.50
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. 10.1 with Jeff in 1:14:47. Last 0.45 at 5:50 pace. 3.62 with Sarah in 37:51.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin and Jenny in 19:24. Julia ran the first 1.5 with us in 14:34. We stopped in the middle and Benjamin did a 100 meter speed test. First time 17.5, second 16.8.  That is a new PR. So his speed is OK, actually really good. So maybe he indeed has just been growing too fast. We'll see how he does in the mile after a couple of weeks of slower aerobic runs and race pace running a couple of times a week before reaching any conclusions, though.

Airwalk Clogs Miles: 15.72
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

P.M. Ran with Jeff. We ran in the afternoon to have some light because we wanted to go a bit faster. Total of 10.1 with 2 + 1 in the middle. The plan was to run 5:40 pace, no faster to avoid aggravating my foot, and also since Jeff was still recovering from swine flu.

During the 2 miler we had a hard time with pacing in the first mile. 89 - 79 - 81 - 86 (5:35). Then much more even and on target - 85 - 85 - 85 - 86 for the total of 11:16. I did not feel great but not to terrible either. I was happy that I survived the 79 - 81.

We jogged to the turnaround and then I felt good enough for another mile at a good pace. By that time it started to get dark, but we were able to run 5:35, and it did not feel terrible.

Got back, ran 2 with Benjamin and Jenny in 18:27, Joseph ran first 0.5 with us in 4:43, Julia last 1.5 in 13:44. Jeff joined us.

Saucony Type A Miles: 12.10
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. 10.1 with Jeff in 1:14:55. Started out slow, then sped up when we realized Jeff was going to be late for work. Last 3 miles at a little under 6:40 pace. Then 2 more Benjamin in 16:47.  We did a mini-speed workout. It was very revealing. I gave Benjamin a target of 6:00 pace for half mile. We did it mid-run without stopping off 9:07 first mile. After a 1:35 first quarter I stopped him, had him jog 200 in 1:12 and then he ran 200 in 41 with the splits of 19 and 22. Then after about 450 meters I had him run 300 to the finish as fast as he could, and he could only do 1:12. I also noticed that he was breathing hard at the end of the quarter.

On Tuesday he could run 1:29 quarter from a standing HR with the idea that he was going the whole mile, but at 9:00 pace after a mile his HR is high enough to not be able to run faster than 1:35 with the idea that he was running only 0.5. This is not normal. Just in August he was able to run 1:16 quarter  in the middle off 9:00 pace.

So that is more evidence for growth-related cardio/aerobic failure. His leg power is fine, more than fine, very good. He can also run 8:00, even 7:30 for a long time without much discomfort. But somewhere around 6:40 is where the problems start. At first I thought it was training related because he did not run a whole lot in the fast range for the last couple of months, but after today's run I am thinking it is more than training. I do not think that it is merely an increase in bone mass without a corresponding increase in heart power. His weight increased by only 4 lb. I think there is something going on the hormonal level, and for reasons we perhaps do not quite understand (if somebody does, I'd like to hear from you) aerobic capacity has to drop quite a bit while the body is growing.

P.M. 2 with Jenny in 16:55. Julia ran 1.5 in 12:58. 0.25 with Jacob in 2:29. This is a new PR. He impressed me with the consistency of the splits. 37-38-38-36. This is our family record for the 3 year old division.

Jacob's splits go along with his personality. He is very thorough, balanced, and consistent. When he has a temper tantrum, interestingly enough it is almost always about not being able to fulfill a certain responsibility or perform a certain task that he set his mind on. For example, during our family scripture study he insists on having his scriptures open while he "reads" (really repeating after a reader) his verse.

Ran 0.5 with Joseph in 4:38. Joseph is the goofiest of our kids. He likes pranks and jokes more than others. Unlike Jacob he can be defiant and play power struggles. But he is learning that it is useless and only yields trouble. He seems to have improved a lot in his behavior after he started running consistently. When he runs it is more of a form of play, so we play chasing a guy. 5:00 guy for half a mile, sometimes 4:30.

Later practiced with William. He cannot walk yet, but he can push a walker toy quite well, and seems to like it a lot.

Airwalk Clogs Miles: 14.85
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with Jeff. We did 10.1 with 3x1 mile in the middle with essentially full rest. The target was 5:30, but Jeff overachieved and I mostly did not complain. We ended up with 5:26.4 (79-85-81-81), 5:23.2 (81-83-78-81), and 5:19.0 (81 - 80 - 80 - 78).

Was generally happy with the workout. It was snowing some, there were leaves on the ground, which made me really feel the turns, and we were wearing pants and a jacket. I asked Jeff what he thought it compared to ideal conditions. He thought maybe 5 seconds a mile. I would probably give it 7, which actually goes along well with Jeff's estimate because he is very good with turns and I am not.

The foot mostly behaved but I could still feel it. But definitely better than two weeks ago. The form felt better. I had Jeff visually evaluate it and he did notice a difference as well. I have been doing the magic Upper Cross Correction exercise since last Saturday.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin and Jenny in 18:24. Julia ran the first 1.5 with us in 13:57. 0.5 with Joseph in 4:59. 1 mile passing out fliers to our ward members notifying about the boundary and schedule changes.

Saucony Type A Miles: 10.10Water Clogs Miles: 2.00Airwalk Clogs Miles: 1.50
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Airwalk Clogs Miles: 46.57Saucony Type A Miles: 22.20Water Clogs Miles: 2.00
Night Sleep Time: 40.50Nap Time: 0.50Total Sleep Time: 41.00
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