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

Speed workout in the Provo Canyon. Same as last week. Warm up, then 5x400 alternating up and down. 72.0 down - 76.7 up - 72.3 down - 74.4 up - 73.3 down. Cross wind the entire time, became more of a headwind for going down on the last two. Then jogged up to Nunn's Park and started the standard 3 mile tempo down to the mouth of the Canyon. Head/cross wind almost all the way. First mile 5:26, HR jumps up to 158 quickly. That is a good sign. If HR is slow to respond, you are running anaerobically for too long. Next mile in 5:23, HR makes it to 161. It is interesting that gusts of wind make it drop to 158, and one strong gust managed to drop it to 156. You would think the extra resistance should raise it, but I think what happens is that a gust knocks you out of rhythm, you lose concentration and stop pushing as hard.

Finally a clear spot on the first quarter on the last mile. No headwind for the whole quarter for the first time. Hit it in 1:18. Heart rate goes up to 163! I feel like I am getting into good rhythm, setting my sights on showing the 5:20 guy who's the boss.  However, more headwind followed, I barely manged 5:20 for the last mile. Total time 16:09. Although it was 8 seconds slower than last week, there was quite a bit more headwind this time. I felt more in control, though, and was consistently speeding up in spite of having the gusts of headwind periodically knock me out of rhythm. The effort also felt easier.

Then jogged back and did 5x400 one more time. Unlike last week when I seriously considered not doing the last set, I did not have such thoughts. 73.3 down - 77.4 up - 73.7 down - 76.0 up - 66.9 down. Pushed the last one.

Running at 4:50 pace or faster feels like I am riding a bike with a bent wheel. I do not feel it as much at slower speeds, but at faster speeds there is a wheel feeling, and you get to feel the quality of your wheel more acutely. For me that wheel is not as bad as it is for some people, probably average for a 2:40 marathoner, which is much better than what it is for the average runner, but the deformities make a difference between being a good local runner and being able to run professionally. This needs to be fixed.

13.5 for the workout with the cool down. Ran some more with the kids in the evening. 

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From Tim on Wed, Apr 11, 2007 at 12:45:13

Thanks for the oportunity to get some support and help. Here's my story and I'll try to keep it brief:

I did not run long distance in high school. I was not serious about it at all. My interest was peaked in college when a friend of mine was talking about running and I acted like it was no big deal. I remember saying, "Running is easy- you just run until you want to stop." He challanged me to run 10 miles with him and I asked if that was as far as he wanted to go. He knew I wouldn't be able to do it but wanted to teach me a lesson. At 5 miles I was hurting pretty bad. I got to about 8 miles and my legs shut down. I had never experienced anything like it. We both worked for UPS at the time and I was a load trainer. I had to call in sick for the next two nights because I could hardly move. Every muscle in my body was sore. That's when I gained a healthy respect for long distance running and I made it my goal to one day finish 8 miles and be able to walk away from it feeling fine- not sore. I did that and decided that that wasn't enough. About 3 and a half years ago I decided to run a marathon- I had never trined or run in a race before. I looked online and got a training scheldule and did it. I trained by myself and ran it in 4:36. I've run the country music marathon the next two years basically going about it the same way with around the same results. Somewhere in the journey I thought that I would love to make it my goal to run a marathon in a qualifying time for Boston but at this pace I can't see it happening before I'm 75. I thought I would try to network a bit and get some training tips that could help me start to improve my time and get rid of the 22 mile cramps under my knees that compleetley destroy my time in every marathon I've run in.

I average about 9 min miles when I'm running 15 or more miles. Shorter distances I can maintain around 8:00 min mile (give or take). I know I need to get to 7:30 min miles for the durration to qualify- just not sure how to get there.

Well- thanks for reading and I'll look forward to any help.

From Tim on Wed, Apr 11, 2007 at 14:31:53

I'll definitely try that. Have you found a good system for replacing fluids and nutrients durring the longer runs? I'm not sure but I think that may have something to do with the 20 mile cramps I get.

From Sasha Pachev on Wed, Apr 11, 2007 at 14:57:57

I think just improving your fitness will go a long way. Right now your marathon is really an ultra. As your aerobic base improves, your marathon pace will be significantly faster and you'll be able to outrun the starvation/dehydration demon. Aside from that, eating a healthy diet can make a big difference. It did for me - replacing white flour with whole wheat and red meat with poultry and fish greatly improved the quality of my running in the last 6 miles of the marathon.

From James on Wed, Apr 11, 2007 at 20:33:13


I was just wondering if you go by the 400s that Hawk has marked on the trail or if you just go by your Garim?

Also, I wondered if you still help Curt with his river runs? I might come down for one of them, if they are still any good.

From Sasha Pachev on Wed, Apr 11, 2007 at 22:14:09

James - I go by Hawk's marks. They are accurate - I have verified them with a wheel. They are actually 1/16th of a mile apart, so a bit more than 100 meters. I am still helping Curt with race timing and registration system. His races are growing and I feel it in particular when I have to manually scan 1500+ bar codes after racing a half-marathon.

From wheakory on Wed, Apr 11, 2007 at 23:28:34

Nice hard workout Sasha. Definitely increasing the speed work overtime is going to help with the faster pace.

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