Breaking the Wall

August 06, 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: 16.00 Year: 2314.91
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: 1185.83
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. My last pair of Crocs made it to 2147 miles before the strap broke. So I put on a new pair today. Ran total of 12. Benjamin did 8, Jenny and Julia 3, Joseph 2, Jacob 1, William 0.5. Benjamin and I did a pickup for 0.5.

P.M. Plowed snow. The ATV died and would not start in the middle. I called Brock for support, which ended up being more of an emotional that technical support because it is difficult to troubleshot a vehicle not starting without being there. However, knowing what not to worry about helped me start it eventually and it all ended well. I felt a sense of accomplishment in having subjected a wild man thing such as a 4-wheeler and having done with it something useful. If anything, learning something new at an older age protects you from Alzheimer's disease.  

Also got another gadget, this one is also out of character somewhat but not as much. It is a GPS/Footpod watch. I generally despise common market devices that tell you how far you've gone and how fast you are running because their accuracy is frequently worse than my own sense of pace. So when I am wearing I fluctuate between being frustrated when the numbers are obviously wrong and wondering if they are really correct when they are reasonable. However, this one is different. It is a MotoACTV (8 GB variant). For the average user it appears no different than a multitude of Garmin-like watches. However, for someone with technical skill there is a world of difference. MotoACTV has an ARM v7 processor with Android and an easy way to replace the boot image. So I put it in the Fastboot mode, replaced the boot image with a custom one I found already prepared by a hacker that had ADB daemon, connected to it with ADB, installed the HoneyComb launcher, removed the default one, installed a couple of my own Android apps to see how they would behave, loaded strace, and started researching the running processes. My goal is to write an app that would use GPS, foot pod, and HRM at the same time along with some knowledge about the runner. E.g if GPS says he was going 12:00 mile, but his HR, his leg turnover, and his ground contact time are following the pattern of 8:00 mile, adjust or even throw away the GPS data and just assume that he was going 8:00 for that period. Or if the GPS pace is fluctuating, but the ground contact time, the leg turnover and the HR are steady, do not trust the GPS. I am wondering if we can throw away the GPS altogether assuming we can get good data on leg turnover and ground contact time. Will have to play with it.

The good news is that once it is ready, the app will run on any Android with ANT+. 


Green Crocs 5 Miles: 12.00
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
From Scott Sandberg on Sat, Jan 12, 2013 at 13:39:49 from

I have a Motoactv too that I have rooted and put HoneyComb on it. If you do write that app for it could you post a link to it on here? It sounds interesting.

From jeffmc on Sat, Jan 12, 2013 at 16:18:32 from

I have actually had some similar thoughts to the ones you posted. In addition to what you mentioned, I have thought about how the use of accelerometers attached to the torso might increase accuracy. The key with that would be cost as multi-axial accelerometers can get rather pricey.

From Sasha Pachev on Thu, Jan 24, 2013 at 07:47:51 from


I have something for you to try. Go to for instructions.

From Rob on Thu, Jan 24, 2013 at 07:56:27 from

Bad news is it's Android. I'm not a programmer, but I really dislike Android.

I'm holding out for this.

From Rob on Thu, Jan 24, 2013 at 08:22:15 from

Sasha, I think you should contact those guys at Leikr, with some of your ideas. Sounds like they are small enough that they would love input and advice.

From Sasha Pachev on Thu, Jan 24, 2013 at 10:20:09 from


I took a look at Leikr. Hardware-wise it has everything I need, with Android it should work fine (hopefully they do not lock it), however the retail price tag of around $500 puts it out of range of what I would like to have.

My ideas are not commercially viable as they target a different type of runner - the one that finishes in the top 1% or about. In order to monetize the operation whoever makes something like this has to do stupid things like automatic workout upload to their website with fancy graphs that show not much more than a pattern GPS elevation errors, interactive maps, music, pretend-to-know-what-he-is-doing "coach", try to sit on all chairs at once by supporting swimming and biking, etc. I do not care about that. I want accurate distance with some honest feedback on how accurate it was, accurate HR with the same type of feedback, stride rate, ground contact time, maybe some form analysis if we can get that from footpod. Maybe even some limited EKG analysis once the HRMs can do it. Maybe as we progress, have the device tell you reliably - I think you are about to overtrain, I think if you were to race a half today on this course it would be 1:13, or tell you after the first mile of the marathon - your fitness today is for 2:37 on this course, let me pace you, and be right. Yes, and I want something I can take with me on a run that does not crash!

So I am quite happy doing my own thing with a rooted MotoACTV at least for now.

From Rob on Thu, Jan 24, 2013 at 11:06:36 from

I thought I read somewhere that it would be $300. I don't think anyone will buy it for $500.

I think your ideas are great, and commercial, go with the Steve Job's philosophy. Don't build something people want, build something people don't even know they want yet.

Seriously, and don't take this the wrong way, if you would have started FastRunningblog with that philosophy (years before facebook, or twitter, or any of the other fitness websites) instead of just making it for the .1% you'd be a multi-millionaire right now. I know that's not what you want, but you have the ideas to do it.

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