Breaking the Wall

January 26, 2021

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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: 266.81 Year: 266.81
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: 1657.61
Brown Crocs 3 Lifetime Miles: 1438.17
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Easy run with Ted. I've done so many of those that my blog now ranks number 2 on Google for the search term "easy run with Ted". Feeling better. Ran the last mile in 5:48, felt strong, but did not like my form.

Ran with the kids in the afternoon. Jenny impressed me with an 8:02 mile after 0.5 warm-up. It's been a while since she's run this fast. Benjamin was playing rather crazy in the back yard and fell on a rock. He could run, but his form did not look good. I told him to take a day of rest.

We went swimming in the evening. I timed myself over 50 yards - 55 seconds. That is the fastest I've swam 50 yards since 1994 when I took Intermediate Swimming at BYU from Tim Powers, the BYU swim team coach. He tried hard to teach me good form, and made enough progress to where I improved from 60 seconds to 51 seconds in the 50 yard distance. But even with the improvement I was still significantly slower than everybody else in the class including all of the girls. Since then, whenever I would occasionally time myself I was consistently between 58 and 60 seconds. I think this improvement shows that the recent addition of shoulder weights in my Pettibon routine has been effective. I also felt more power in the right arm in the water.

I am very excited about this development. This is the first time something changed measurably in my athletic performance since the start of Pettibon if you do not count my informal vertical jump test earlier. This one is a lot more significant - with the vertical jump it could have easily been a measurement fluke, and I am thinking it was. I did not have standard measurement procedures, and the improvement was not recorded on the same type of test. A small thing, but I am excited. For the first time something improved. This small development strengthens my faith that running can also improve. 

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From Maria on Tue, Mar 20, 2007 at 16:59:55

Isn't it amazing how little running translates to swimming? Both use aerobic system extensively, but upper body involvement and swimming economy make the difference, I guess. I was swimming for couple of years before I started running, in 5-6 grades, and the best I managed was 57 sec. for 50 meters. Then in 9th grade because of my running I was selected to be on the regional team for a rather weird thing that was called "mnogobor'e GTO" (it had 3 events: 50m swim, pneumatic gun shooting and 60m sprint). Was it still around when you were growing up? In the swim, I was hugely embarassed, as I was far, far behind all the girls who covered 50m in about 32 seconds. By the time I emerged from under water after my horrible jump from the blocks, they were at least half way down the lane. It was awful, there were lots of spectators in the pool. I didn't do much better in the shooting, but I destroyed them all in 60m. sprint. That was my revenge - of course there was no spectators then :).

Somehow, other sports relate to running more, for example x-c skiing. I can ski very decently and for a long time, even though skiing also requires upper body strength, of which i have none.

Anyway, given my total incompetence, I'm amazed how my daughter now can swim 50m in 34 seconds and in practice does sets like 30x50m on 50 seconds. Of course, she specializes in swimming and has strong upper body, but it's still mind boggling for me. I'm curious as to what she can do in running, but I have yet to convince her to enter a mile race. All I know is that she beat everyone in her class (including boys) in 400m in PE class, but she didn't get the time from the teacher!

From Sasha Pachev on Wed, Mar 21, 2007 at 13:01:50

Maria - I never got a chance to do Mnogobor'ye GTO. However, I've done my share of interesting activities - throwing a hand grenade for distance, taking apart, cleaning and putting back together an AK-47, even got to shoot from one once. I ran in a relay race on the Garden ring representing the vocational school team (PTU). The director of the local PTU figured the way to get his team to look good was to put distance runners from our track school on the longer legs. We only lost to the Pervomayski district, and I suppose you would know why - the boarding school (sport-internat) was in that region. Then I also got to be the young pioneer the friend of police in the police relay race, ran it wearing the young pioneer uniform. Afterwards, they even gave me 3 roubles, which was a lot of money to a kid back then. Got to run in a few races representing a factory.

I raced in cross-country skiing, was the best in my school, and one time even won the district championship. However, on the city level I was not competitive at all. At a smaller level I was racing against the people with bad technique and could beat them with my running endurance. When I raced against the people with good technique and good endurance, they would beat me by 3 minutes in a 3 K.

I am not surprised your daughter is a great swimmer, and seems to have a potential to be a good runner. I have a suspicion that genetically you have a lot of athletic talent, but something got messed up in your childhood. You still do well in spite of everything, but I do not believe you've yet seen your true genetic potential.

From Maria on Thu, Mar 22, 2007 at 06:39:44

It's funny how many activities were common for runners and students in Russian schools back in the day! I did AK-47 drill too, assembling and disassembling it by time. Never shot from it though, but we were shooting from small caliber and pneumatic rifles. All part of the NVP class in high school :). And I also ran the Garden Ring relay, twice. Once in high school, representing my district, and the other time in college, representing my university (MISI, Civil Engineering Institute). I wasn't fast enough to get on Znamenskie team. Relays were a lot of fun!

As for my daughter, she may be a good swimmer, but she is one the slowest in her age (14). She did not qualify for county championships, and Nationals are completely out of reach. It's unbelievable how tough the competition is, the counties qualifying times are very fast - she needs 32.2sec. in 50m freestyle!! Even in her best event, 100m backstroke, she is 5sec. outside of qualifying time (she swam 1:22.2, but needed 1:16.8 to get to counties). So I don't think there is any genetic talent there. But she works extremely hard, and this is her first year of serious training, her team in US wasn't very serious. She complains that life is unfair, that she has to work so hard for every second of improvement, while other kids are so much faster, but all I can tell her is "welcome to the club!". I'm telling her that for us, hard work is the only way to go, and she can still get very good no matter her inherent abilities. She learned one important lesson over the holidays when we went to US for 2 weeks and she didn't swim - she lost a lot of fitness and it took her 1.5 months to get it back. Now she doesn't want to take any vacations and go anywhere for fear of missing practice!

On an unrelated topic, on that Russian forum I mentioned before (, there is one forum where Leonid Shvetsov is answering questions, don't know if you saw it, - I find it rather interesting, he has some solid advice for marathon runners.

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