Breaking the Wall

April 08, 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: 0.00 Year: 916.90
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: 1679.47
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with Jeff, Matt, and Mary Ann. Jeff was in a hurry, so we made sure the pace stayed faster than 7:30. Spent most of the time discussing the merge sort algorithm with Jeff. It was an adjustment for me to focus on the pace so it does not slip to 8:00 while in the middle of deep thoughts. Did explosions. Total time for 10.1 was 1:14:11.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 16:42. Did explosion chases with him. Then 2 more with Jenny in 17:59. Julia ran the first mile with us in 9:27.

Brooks T4 Racing Flat Miles: 10.10
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From britta on Sun, Mar 15, 2009 at 12:32:41 from

Have you ever run the LA Marathon? I am signed up for it and just wondering about the course. I can't find an elevation chart or something that would be helpful to tell me if it is hilly. I have heard that it is. I really don't have many hills to run close to home. I have been doing a bit of running on the sand hoping that it will compensate for not running too many hills. Your thoughts please?

From Sasha Pachev on Mon, Mar 16, 2009 at 17:21:06 from


I have considered running the LA marathon this year but decided not to due to the cost of travel, time away from the family, and a very low probability of finishing in the money. With this year being the first year they are doing it on a non-Sunday I have never run it before.

At this point I would not worry too much about the hills, but more about the overall fitness for the marathon. When racing marathons I noticed a stark contrast between hitting an uphill when your legs still have glycogen and when they do not. A hill that did not affect my pace by more than 5 seconds a mile relative to flat at mile 7 could easily slow me down by as much as 30 seconds a mile relative to flat at 23 if I had hit the wall. To clarify, e.g at 7 I am running 5:30 pace on a flat section. I hit a hill, and I slow down to 5:35. Then at 23 I am approaching the same hill, but now I am running 6:20 pace flat. I am not slowing down to 6:25 on the hill, I am slowing down to 6:50!

Hill-specific training can give you leg power. But in the marathon that power will not help you if there is no fuel to back it up. I would focus on getting out 6 days a week, keeping your mileage high, and running hard (target marathon race pace) for significant parts of your long run, especially towards the end.

From britta on Mon, Mar 16, 2009 at 19:29:12 from

Thanks for you input.

I am not sure I will be as prepared for this marathon as I would like to be but for the same reason you considered running it..... It is on a Monday. I want to have the chance to run it and I fear it will change back to Sun. so I jumped at the chance.

What do I need to consider when adding mileage on and trying to avoid injury?

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