Breaking the Wall

February 16, 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: 81.04 Year: 418.47
Saucony Type A Lifetime Miles: 627.15
Bare Feet Lifetime Miles: 446.12
Nike Double Stroller Lifetime Miles: 124.59
Navy Crocs 2 Lifetime Miles: 1576.28
Neon Crocs 1 Lifetime Miles: 1353.22
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2014-02-13 07:03:12
Workout Totals
Distance Time Pace
12.020 1:40:49.00 8:23.24

Total of 12. Benjamin did 9, Joseph 4, Jacob 2, William 1, Jenny 4, Julia 3. Benjamin and I had some fun today. We got a letter in the mail from the US Department of Education inviting Benjamin to apply for the Presidential Scholar Program award. He somehow made it to the list of candidates. As to how, is a mystery to us - the only thing he did to make himself known was take the ACT and the AP tests. Otherwise the Department of Education would have no record of even his existence - aside from signing a waiver to home school, we've had zero interaction with the public education system.

So we started filling out the online forms and ran into an issue. The system was asking for his school and instructed home school students to call to make some special arrangements. So we did. The official on the phone had a problem to solve. Benjamin had zero school transcripts. The conversation went like this: "Who taught you?" "Mom and Dad." "Did they give you any grades?" "No" "Hmm...So they never gave you any kind of grade?" "No" "Hmm... let me talk to my supervisor..." 

Eventually all three of us figured out what to do and the requirement to have school transcripts was dropped. But it was very entertaining!

Leg 1
Distance Time Pace Comment
7 55:06.80. 7:52.40 With Benjamin.
Split# Distance Time Pace Comment
1 7.000 55:06.80 7:52.40  
Leg 2
Distance Time Pace Comment
4 35:43.90. 8:55.98 With Joseph.
Split# Distance Time Pace Comment
1 4.000 35:43.90 8:55.98  
Leg 3
Distance Time Pace Comment
1.02 9:58.30. 9:46.57 With William on the big boy course.
Split# Distance Time Pace Comment
1 1.020 9:58.30 9:46.57  

Green Crocs 6 Miles: 12.02
Night Sleep Time: 7.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.50
From Rob Murphy on Sat, Feb 15, 2014 at 16:18:49 from

Sounds to me like it's a very competitive process and they need lots of data to sort out the candidates. Thus the request for grades.

Congrats to Benjamin. That's a big deal.

From Sasha Pachev on Sat, Feb 15, 2014 at 16:51:05 from


I believe that a fundamental flaw in our educational system - both in high school and college - is that the teacher gets to assign the grade to the students he taught and that grade has any weight. So in essence, the teacher to some extent gets to grade his own performance. Instead, the tests that count should always be administered by an independent entity.

To some extent, we are seeing that at the high school level. We have AP tests and ACT/SAT. Not surprisingly, many colleges put more weight on those tests than the grades issued by the high schools. I would like to see more of that at the college level, but I think we are fighting an uphill battle there because there is too much vested interest - if a student could authoritatively prove he knows something without depending on a college to certify it, that would mean reduced revenues for the college.

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