Breaking the Wall

August 15, 2020

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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: 88.07 Year: 2386.98
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: 1257.89
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2014-12-09 07:52:13
Workout Totals: Distance13.380Time1:49:33.80Pace8:11.32
Today was the day of Benjamin's workout. He did 3x1 mile down the canyon with long rests. The target was 4:48, he did 4:44, 4:45, 4:48. I did 2x0.5 + 1 mile. In the 0.5 s I stayed with Benjamin through the first quarter or so, then fell back a little. In the last interval I stayed with him through the first 300, then eased off and finished the mile. Details below.

Joseph moved up to 4 miles today. William ran 1.5. Julia did 3.5. Other kids ran their usual distances.
Leg 1:Distance3.000Time24:08.50Pace8:02.83
With Joseph and Jacob. Jacob's foot was feeling better, but still hurting so we ran a little slower than normal.
Leg 2:Distance4.640Time38:31.30Pace8:18.13
Warm-up with Benjamin.
Leg 3:Distance4.100Time32:31.80Pace7:56.05
The workout.
Split 1:Distance0.500Time2:24.60Pace4:49.20
Benjamin had 2:21 and finished the mile in 4:44.
Split 2:Distance1.100Time11:36.90Pace10:33.55
Recovery. This was longer than planned due to Benjamin going to the bathroom. I think the longer recovery allowed him to hit 4:45 in the second internval.
Split 3:Distance0.500Time2:26.60Pace4:53.20
Benjamin had 2:21 or 2:22 and finished in 4:45.
Split 4:Distance1.000Time10:43.70Pace10:43.70
This recovery was shorter which made it harder for Benjamin in the third inverval.
Split 5:Distance1.000Time5:20.00Pace5:20.00
Both of us made our targets. I was shooting for 5:20, Benjamin hit 4:48, but he had to kick in 69 to make it as he was tired and lost some steam between 0.25 and 0.75. He also did not have the markers on that stretch to know how fast he was going.
Leg 4:Distance1.640Time14:22.20Pace8:45.73
Cool-down back to the house with Benjamin.

Black Crocs Miles: 13.38
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
From steve ash on Mon, Dec 15, 2014 at 16:06:58 from

Congrats to Benjamin! Sasha, what do you think he could do on a flat 5k right now? My prediction would be 15:42.

From Sasha Pachev on Mon, Dec 15, 2014 at 17:12:16 from


That sounds reasonable. We'll find out if he can really do that in the Salt Lake Track Club Series. The problem right now is that while he may have the fitness his sensors are all messed up - he has wrong cues for telling if the pace is sustainable or not. So we end with stuff like thinking 5:10 is too fast about 1.25 miles into the race, then slowing down to 5:40 and then kicking in 4:56 in the Thanksgiving 4 miler, or gapping second place by more than a minute just over the last mile in the USATF Cross-Country 5 K.

The purpose of this workout was to get a little bit more practice running at 4:48 pace and get the mind to believe it is sustainable.

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