Breaking the Wall

January 22, 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: 188.26 Year: 188.26
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: 1359.62
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Did 12 total with Steve Ashbaker and Chad. We ran out 6, then on the way back did the 3 mile tempo course from Nunn's Park to the mouth of the canyon. On the positive side of things, I woke up without the feeling of "the hole" in the heart. One difference between this night and others was that when Matthew woke up Sarah did not wake me up to get him. I have been getting up and bringing him to her to nurse because if she gets out of bed, she has a hard time falling asleep. I have been falling asleep after getting him right away, but I think he has been timing his wakefulness just when my sleep was in the middle of doing heart repair. 

In any case, because I ran hard yesterday, my plan for the tempo was to just keep company to Chad and Steve. I was hoping the pace would not be much faster than 5:40, but I was wrong. We went through the first mile in 5:19. Then I knew that the heart repair was good because this pace felt very manageable in spite of the 16 miler with an 8 mile tempo the day before.  Shortly after 2000 Steve dropped back, but Chad was still pushing it. We hit 1.5 in 7:59. I was sitting behind Chad for two reasons. One is that I was lazy and I did not want the pace to be any faster than it already was. The other was that I felt that if I had approached the run taking responsibility for the pace, I might go too fast for both of us because I was not sure that Chad could hold 5:20 pace all the way. But when Chad's pace started to slip I decided to step forward and help him - I felt that 5:30 was good for my health, and that it would also help Chad get a really good time and a confidence builder for the Ogden marathon. So we ran like that to the end. We hit 2 miles in 10:45 (5:26), 2.5 in 13:31, and then finished in 16:16 (5:31 for the last mile).

Jenny ran 3 miles including 1 with William.

P.M. Took Benjamin, Julia, Joseph, and Jacob to the USATF track meet in Park City at the Park City High track. The reason we were there was to practice competing, and get some official times for the track meet in Eugine on July 13 which requires qualifiers. Jenny could not do it because she was in a play - she would have to get her qualifier in the next meet. The meet qualifying standards are here. So Joseph and Jacob had to run 3:30 for the 800, Julia had to run 3:20 because even though she is still only 10, she counts as a Midget because her birth year is 2002, and Benjamin had to run 11:30 for 3000.

With Benjamin we had several plans - plan A was to break 10:00, plan A+ was to take down Josh Rohatinsky's Youth state record of 9:49, plan A- was to run a little slower than 10:00, and plan C was to hit the qualifier of 11:30 for the Eugine meet.

There were some things against him - the track is located at the altitude of 6770 feet, his race started at 1:30 pm with the sun shining brightly, there were only 3 other runners in the race, which was better than the worst we were afraid of, but none of them could help with the pace even for a lap, Benjamin had done no speed for two weeks - the first week due to the injured piriformis and the second due to the AP tests and a minor cold, and he did take three AP tests this week which took quite a bit out of him. So I held the A+ and the A plans out there, but I knew that it would be difficult to get them. However, trying to get them he would do the best that he could under the circumstances, so I told him to pace for 10:00, and if things were good, go for the record, and if not, hang in there and just do his best.

He ran 10:10.3 with the following splits: 78.9, 79.2, 79.6, 83.0, 84.9, 85.1, 85.1, 34.6. The altitude got to him on the fourth lap. This was a good learning experience and it reveals something we need to work on - aerobic conditioning. Well, his conditioning is OK, but he is aerobically underdeveloped, which is not a surprise - he is in the middle of maturation, which creates an imbalance with the body being too big for the cardiovascular system, but I've seen it worse. In fact, I think because of his training this growth-related aerobic capacity lapse has been mitigated so well that you have to take him to 6700 feet or have him run a fast pace past 3 miles to notice the problem. But it is good to know the problem exists. I was very happy with this performance, and particularly with his ability to muster a 34.6 kick with no competitor in sight unless you count the ones being lapped after struggling with several 85 second laps.

For a comparison, Josh ran 9:49 at 5782 feet when he set his record. So now I think we can say for sure that Benjamin is honestly within 21 seconds of that performance by all counts.

A well-meaning coach suggested that next time Benjamin should run in "real shoes", which Benjamin wisely and politely corrected explaining that he has run all of his PRs in Crocs including a 200 in 29.

Joseph and Jacob were in the same heat and they dominated it. Joseph went through the first lap in 95. I yelled at him to speed up, and he did hitting the next lap in 91 high finishing in 3:06.97. Jacob was second with the first lap in 97 and the second lap in 99 finishing in 3:16.15, which is his new PR. Both qualified for the meet.

Julia ran the first lap in 92, but then on the second lap her low iron came into play at the higher altitude and she struggled. But she still held it together and finished in 3:11.8 (still do not have her official time) in third place in the Midget girls and hitting the meet qualifier of 3:20 with room to spare.

I ended up jogging about 0.5 going back and forth. Joseph and Jacob ran about 1 each total, Julia around 1.5.

Green Crocs 5 Miles: 12.50
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From Teena Marie on Sat, May 11, 2013 at 22:38:19 from

Just wanted to congratulate your kids today. They did an excellent job. I was able to see all of them race. It was very impressive and quite exciting!

However, you should probably be aware that several people read your blog and may find some of your comments hurtful. For example, it was my boy who took second place in Benjamin's race. You are absolutely correct in that he could not offer Benjamin any sort of competition. He only ran today because his siblings were going to race. This was his first time competing in the 3000 m. In fact, we bought him running shoes this morning at Smith's Marketplace (he usually sticks to basketball and so when he does occasionally run he has done so in high tops). Needless to say, I thought for zero training he did AMAZING! However, I am a bit dissapointed in some of the sportsmanship today. The boy's father who took third place was running along side his boy screaming to him to catch my son stating that my son "was nothing and didn't know how to run" and so forth.

I think it is extremely important to remember that these track meets offer very talented runners, like your son, a chance to do amazing things. They also offer those who aren't "official runners" the chance to experience what a track meet is like, build character, and perhaps spark something inside of them that will lead them to pursue running more seriously.

In short, all of my children had a fantastic time today. Some of them are more polished than the others (for example, my daughter, Sophia, took second in the 800 that she ran with Julia -- she did so after placing first in the 1500 in just over 6 minutes as well as placing first in the 400 today). Regardless, I really hope that these meets will continue to be a postive environment for young runners at all levels.

Congrats again to your kids. They did amazing!

From Sasha Pachev on Sat, May 11, 2013 at 23:33:55 from

Teena - thanks. Sophia has quite a kick - especially after running 1500 already, and 400 shortly prior to the 800 at 6700 feet. I thought that kick was really good - she has natural endurance along with speed. Now the key is not to lose it as she matures - this is a big challenge for a girl.

Tell your son it is not the shoe that makes the runner.

Note that it is against USATF rules for a parent or anybody to run alongside the runner even for a few steps. In a serious competition this could result in a DQ. So you need to be very careful to not create any "appearance of evil".

It bodes well for your son to run under 13:00 with no training at this altitude. It would be interesting to see what he can do with training.

It is rather unfortunate, though, that you do not see a lot of competition, or a lot of participation, for that matter in a USATF 3000 in Utah. I told Benjamin before the meet that there was a high chance of him being the only participant. So things turned out not as bad as they could have - at least he had somebody to lap, which helps a little bit as it stimulates the subconscious competitive instinct as you forget somewhat that you are actually ahead.

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