Breaking the Wall

January 26, 2021

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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:

Miles:This week: 0.00 Month: 266.81 Year: 266.81
Saucony Type A Lifetime Miles: 627.15
Bare Feet Lifetime Miles: 446.12
Nike Double Stroller Lifetime Miles: 124.59
Neon Crocs 3 Lifetime Miles: 1657.61
Brown Crocs 3 Lifetime Miles: 1438.17
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Total of 12. Started with 5 with Benjamin. We paced Sarah through 0.75 in 5:32. Then we went further on the trail and shortly before the turnaround saw a girl going about 8:00 that made a good chasing target that ended up about 2:00 ahead of us once we turned around. So I gave Benjamin a challenge to catch her. He did quarters of 86 followed by 83, and there was still no sign of her. Then we had to stop to cross the road as the tunnel was flooded. My watch did not stop. We lost about 20 seconds. We started going and Benjamin was anxious to catch somebody still. Then we saw another girl going about 9:30, and she was quite far away. However, Benjamin hit the gas pedal again, and we ran 600 in 2:04 and actually caught her before it was time to get off the trail. So we ended up with a 5:58 mile that included about a 20 second stop. This would be Benjamin's PR if you took out those 20 seconds, and it also shows about what his race on Tuesday was worth.Definitely quite a bit more than 5:37 1500 for sure. Jenny ran the first 0.75 with us, then turned around and ended up with 1.5.

I ran 1.5 with Joseph, and 0.5 with Julia and Jacob. Then I decided to do an experiment. I wanted to know how much weight is lost at sub-6:00 over 5 miles in 50 F if you are wearing shorts and a T-shirt. So I weighed myself before the start and it was 146.2. Then I ran 5 miles on my nasty course. I really do not like that course, but I do not have anything better that starts and finishes at the house. Total of 14 90 degree turns, one 180 turn, 2 road crossings (flooded tunnel) complemented by dodging a gate each time, 4 tunnels, and 2 wooden bridge crossings.  I did the tempo run with the following splits - 5:56, 5:55, 5:50 (14:50 at the turnaround), 5:38, 5:36 - total 28:55.7. Felt good. When I finished I weighed myself again and it was 145.0. So 1.2 lb went away somewhere. There were no bathroom visits in between the weight measurements. So where did it all go?

 I was probably using up about 4.3 liters of oxygen per minute, and thus emitting about the same volume of carbon dioxide. So that is about 124 liters of CO2 that came out. Enough to fill up a small tank. Now we have to consider that O2 came in to produce CO2 that came out. CO2 density at 32 F and normal atmospheric pressure is 1.977 grams per liter. That should be good enough for this estimate. O2 density under the same conditions is 1.429 grams per liter. So 124 * (1.977 - 1.429) gives us about 68 grams of carbon lost via breathing. That is about 12% of the total weight loss! Through an intricate chemical process you could in theory collect all of this CO2 and make diamonds out of it. The process, of course, would cost more than the value of the diamonds produced. The rest was sweat I suppose.

P.M. 2 miles.

Green Crocs 2 Miles: 14.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
From Chad Robinson on Thu, Oct 13, 2011 at 18:24:05 from

Quick question - I plan on wheeling out and marking my 4 miles course (2 mile out-and-back) tomorrow and I was wondering if I should mark the (8) 400's and tack on the remainder at the end, make the 400's a little longer to pick up the remainder, or ignore the remainder altogether.

From Sasha Pachev on Fri, Oct 14, 2011 at 14:24:03 from

Chad - I'd say mark it every 1320 feet ( exactly quarter mile) - then you do not have to worry about the remainders.

From RAD on Mon, Oct 17, 2011 at 16:36:50 from

What I learned today from Sasha: When I run, I'm making diamonds! awesome.

(okay, I understand that wasn't the whole point of that, but I loved the end result of the computations to figure out the weight loss. Few people would be bright enough to make it that far into a mathematical equation like that without getting lost)

Awesome running Benjamin! Love having a target to conquer.

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