Breaking the Wall

July 12, 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: 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
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Total of 13. 3 mile tempo after a 2 mile warmup. Got 16:57.9 with the splits of 5:36 - 5:42 - 5:39. This marks poking my head out of the zone of desperation - not being able to crack 17:00 in a 3 mile tempo. Granted, the course is not the fastest, it is on the Provo River Trail which tends to be slower than most race courses, and it has a 180 turn, and I am doing it alone, but still struggling to break 5:40 average over 3 miles and failing does not feel good. I am finally past that, I still struggled, but at least it was 5:39 average, not 5:4x. Some positives: I was only 3 seconds slower in the last mile than in the first, and only 6 seconds slower in the second in spite of a 180 turn. There was an odd quarter at the start of the second mile that somehow ended up being 82, and there was a slight uphill quarter at the start of the third mile that ended up being 84. Those surges did not last, and did have a negative effect of slowing me down later, but at the same time I did not realize I was surging, I just put in a little bit of effort to prevent a slowdown. The last quarter was 83, not very good, but what I liked about it is that I smelled the barn with about 100 meters to go and started moving my legs. I was not able to do that in the previous runs.

Then I ran home and ran with the kids. Benjamin did 3, Jenny and Julia 2, Joseph 1, and Jacob 0.5. I did 2x400 in the last 1.5 miles - 72.2 rolling and 70.3 down. Benjamin did the last one and ended up with around 70.5 which is his PR. He now boasts being able to run for a quarter at a pace that is a little bit faster than the world record marathon pace. He said to me - "And some people run full marathon like this?" I think it is a good idea for every runner to practice running world record marathon pace for as long as he can, even if it is only 100 meters, so that 4:44 per mile marathon will mean to him more than just words and a superficial wow.

Gold Crocs 2 Miles: 13.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
From steve ash on Tue, Mar 08, 2011 at 21:35:01 from

I have noticed that the trail section is about 10 seconds per mile slower than a typical flat course. Probably because of all the slight elevation changes? Still a good run.

From Sasha Pachev on Tue, Mar 08, 2011 at 22:55:01 from

Steve, I would say more like 5 seconds a mile, and yes, I believe it is due to constant slight ups and downs that break the rhythm.

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