Breaking the Wall

August 05, 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

Felt better than the day before, but still not 100%. Still yellow stuff coming out of my nose, some sinus pain, cough, and a bit of overall weakness. Ted wanted to do 15 miles. I was not quite up to the distance. However, I figured a few miles at marathon pace would be helpful as a health test. We went up the Provo Canyon. Almost hit a gate over by Bridal Veil Falls, good thing it was white and Ted has good eyes, we stopped soon enough. Then we hit a few patches of ice. Then we turned around and ran back to the start of the standard 3 mile tempo at Nunn's park.

For a change, I decided to try Weldon Johnson's idea of not looking at the watch during the run. We ran 3 miles down, immediate 180 turn, and then 1 mile back up. My splits were 5:42 (HR 142), 5:42 (HR 151), 5:29 (HR 154) and 6:20 (HR 155). The effort felt harder than the HR feedback, but the breathing was appropriate for the level of HR. I think the respiratory congestion created a false perception of difficulty. I think I really like the idea of looking at the watch afterwards. Total of 11 miles of for the run.

Ran with the kids in the afternoon. 

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From ArmyRunner on Sun, Mar 18, 2007 at 17:11:24

New 1/2 Marathon World Record today. Same as previous owner .lst month. Wanjuri runs a 58:35. He is still a very young up and coming Kenyan who has not run the marathon yet. He plans on debuting in DEC in Japan. He actually lives and trains in Japan full time. As a junior he ran 26:41 int he 10K setting the junior world record. Today he ran with the following splits establishing a 20K world record as well.

5K = 13:40

10K = 27:27 (13:47)

15K = 41:30 (14:03)

20K = 55:31 (14:01)

1/2 = 58:35

More amazing is that he ran solo from the 3k mark on because the paid pacers could not run fast enough! He said he plans on breaking his own record again in SEP. He seems very confident and it would not surprise me to see him be the next Marathon World Record holder. In fact I say he will own the Marathon World Record by the end of 2008 and will be the first person to ever run a sub 2:04!

From steve ashbaker on Sun, Mar 18, 2007 at 22:53:58

I tell you what I find even more impressive is that Lee Bong Ju of South Korea won the Seoul Marathon this week in 2:08:04 at age 37. He surged past two Kenyans in the last mile to grab victory. My Man!!

From steve ashbaker on Sun, Mar 18, 2007 at 23:00:07

I just turned 36 and so I guess I can relate to this performance more. But you're entry about Wanjuri leaves me going huh?.... Wo.

From Mike on Mon, Mar 19, 2007 at 07:30:35

Wanjuri is 20 and Lee Bong is 37. It is amazing the range of ages that can thrive in this sport. Steve, don't forget that Carlos Lopes won gold at 37 and set the WR at 38. Salazar went on to win Comrades after his marathon career was over. There is hope for us old guys.

Wanjuri will probably run a good marathon but the marathon is such a different beast than a 10 or 21 k. Geb would be the WR holder in the marathon instead of Tergat if their 21 k times translated to the fastest marathon.

From Nick on Mon, Mar 19, 2007 at 23:02:33

Hey Sasha,

The course was in a very new section of town, with many of the paths not even updated on the g-map pedometer. I found the general area, however, and the elevation change is about 120 ft. I guess this isn't that much, but I was operating under some bad conditions and I honestly could not run very well at all. I had thoughts of stopping and walking, but I figured that I entered a race and I might as well make it count. I was unsure of what to expect from a race while doing extensive training, and now I know.

From Sasha Pachev on Wed, Mar 21, 2007 at 12:44:30

Nick - do you mean the course had a flat first mile and then 120 feet of elevation gain in the last 2 miles? If yes, you would lose a total of about 40 seconds, or your performance equals 15:55 on a flat course.

In any case, I noticed you have a tendency to not run well when you put pressure on yourself. Your nervous system seems to give out. This race was a good practice in overcoming it. And a win is always a win.

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