Breaking the Wall

SLC Track Club 5 K

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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: 51.55 Year: 2011.51
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: 881.43
Race: SLC Track Club 5 K (3.107 Miles) 00:19:21, Place overall: 18, Place in age division: 4
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2016-01-30 09:18:51
Workout Totals: Distance11.789Time1:35:26.50Pace8:05.75
Today our family ran the Winter Series 5 K. The road was convered with snow. We made the mistake of bringing only Crocs to the race hoping that the road will be plowed or that there will be a dry patch. We learned our lesson - all of run slower than we should have.

Benjamin got 17:31 (8th place), I got 19:21 (18th overall, double-chicked), Joseph 21:32 (46th), Jacob 21:48 (50th), Jenny 22:51 (15th woman), Julia 24:01 (20th woman), William 25:37 (96th), and Sarah 28:38 (48th woman).

Here is the top 20 overall (using my awk skills):

1 BIELACZYC, GAREK 00:15:21.9 M
2 COOK, RILEY 00:15:30.5 M
3 PETERS, NATHAN 00:16:10.1 M
4 VAN DE 10:00:54.1 00:16:42.2
5 BLOUIN, NATE 00:16:57.8 M
6 HAMMER, CHRIS 00:17:09.3 M
7 GAUTHIER, JON 00:17:20.6 M
8 PACHEV, BENJAMIN 00:17:31.0 M
9 TRAVER, SCOTT 00:17:44.0 M
10 CROOKER, DAN 00:17:48.0 M
11 WOLPERT, MATTHEW 00:18:19.0 M
12 SANTO, EVAN 00:18:24.9 M
13 DANIEL, HUNTER 00:18:39.6 M
14 LONG, SARIAH 00:18:45.4 F
15 RUEBUSH, JASON 00:19:01.0 M
16 PERRY, CHRISTINA 00:19:11.7 F
17 ALLEN, STEVE 00:19:16.9 M
18 PACHEV, SASHA 00:19:21.8 M
19 FOLEY, MEGAN 00:19:24.1 F
20 DARLINGTON, TODD 00:19:32.7 M
21 MURPHY, ROB 00:19:34.4 M

As we can see from Garekm Riley's and others times, with the right kind of shoe the conditions were quite runnable, as in 10 seconds per mile slower than normal road. Just not in Crocs.

I opened with 5:53 mile during which I was able to find spots with some reasonable traction. But as the race progressed, the traction got worse. I had 9:25 at the turnaround still heading for 18:50 if I could keep the pace. Then I got passed by Sariah, Cristina and a few men. I was able to run with Cristina for a while, but then all of a sudden the traction was worse for a brief moment and she was gone. I ran with Steve Allen up until the kick, but then he could kick and I was already going as fast as the traction would let me. My split at 2 miles was 12:16 (6:23), and then 18:43 at 3 (6:27), and 38 seconds to the finish.

Benjamin had a similar experience, except he slowed down less. His first mile was 5:24, then 8:38 at the turnaround, 11:10 at 2 (5:46), and 6:21 from there to the finish (5:44 pace). So I am guessing he and I had the same problems with traction, except he was more evenly paced effort-wise.

When Benjamin and I finished we ran back. Benjamin met William and finished with him. I met Sarah. She struggled a lot today as she does not run well with low traction.

From the point of view of physics a bouncy runner should do better on ice than a low-hovering one. Forward force comes from friction, and the maximum attainable force of friction is proportional to the ground reaction force, which would be higher for a bouncy runner. Of course, there is another variable - friction coefficient. It is actually not too hard to measure without any special equipment. All you need is some flat surface that you can lean at an arbitrary angle and a level which can be replaced with a smartphone with a functional level app. Put the shoe on the surface, lean it until it starts sliding, when it does, note the grade percent reading of the level or the app. Divide the number by 100, that is your friction coefficient for the shoe against the tested surface. At some point for a physics lesson we should measure the friction coefficient of our shoe collection.

As a side note, the friction coefficient of the shoe affects your running performance only when the forward push is limited by slipping rather than just the muscle power.

When we got home, I ran 5 more miles with Benjamin, 1 with Stephen, and 0.125 with Matthew. It was a snowy slippery run as evidenced by the times.
Leg 1:Distance1.457Time11:22.50Pace7:48.43
Split 1:Distance1.000Time7:49.70Pace7:49.70
Split 2:Distance0.107Time0:31.50Pace4:54.39
Split 3:Distance0.350Time3:01.30Pace8:38.00
Leg 2:Distance4.207Time28:36.80Pace6:48.08
Split 1:Distance3.107Time19:21.40Pace6:13.80
Split 2:Distance1.100Time9:15.40Pace8:24.91
Leg 3:Distance0.125Time1:27.40Pace11:39.20
Leg 4:Distance5.000Time44:12.00Pace8:50.40
Leg 5:Distance1.000Time9:47.80Pace9:47.80

Black Crocs 2 Miles: 11.79
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
From Glory in the long run on Sat, Feb 06, 2016 at 17:31:49 from

Definitely not a croc day. But other than the traction, what about the wetness factor?

So what's your verdict on the speed, would there be 15 seconds better per mile without Crocs?

From Sasha Pachev on Sat, Feb 06, 2016 at 18:12:09 from

15 seconds is a reasonable estimate. We will have a better idea next Saturday after the 10 K.

From RileyCook on Sat, Feb 06, 2016 at 18:50:27 from

I think 15 is too much. I don't think I ran a 14:45 equivalent. 10 seconds maybe. I think 8 is most likely though.

From Sasha Pachev on Sat, Feb 06, 2016 at 19:11:38 from


We are talking Crocs vs racing flats on that course, in which case 15 seconds per mile is reasonable. For racing flats on that course vs normal I agree that it should be 10 seconds per mile.

From Sasha Pachev on Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 06:33:40 from


I have an answer to your question in my 10 K race report.

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