Breaking the Wall

January 25, 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: 151.02 Year: 151.02
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: 1353.22
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with Jeff, Daniel, and Tyler. We warmed up 3.87 miles together with a fat mile in 5:58. Respiratory rate was 14 per 100 meters. Passed an odd looking/acting guy that would prove to be a source of entertainment/annoyance during the tempo.

Then Jeff and I did the Good Rhythm Tempo, while Daniel and Tyler finished their uneventful 8. We started at the turnaround of the Fast Running Blog 5 Miler and ran the course in the opposite direction.

Mile splits: 5:43 - 5:42 - 5:44 (with 180 half way) - 5:27 - 5:25. Total time 28:01.1. Half splits were 14:19 - 13:42.

First mile was uneventful. I felt a slight difficulty breathing and a bit of sluggishness. The Nutty Clown greeted us at the start of the second mile and pretended to attack us. We had to swerve to get around him. HR was at 150 at the end of the first mile, then progressed to 156 and stayed there. On the uphill quarter of the second mile HR dropped to 154, and we slowed down to 87 from 85. Thus 5:42 instead of 5:40. The pre-180 quarter in the third mile was also slow - 88, thus a slow mile split.

Then towards the end of the third mile The Nutty Clown was waiting for us in the bushes, and jumped out to spook us. We had to swerve again. I was spooked, and felt it. Decided to try to use the adrenaline and pushed the pace a bit. It worked somewhat. From that point to the end the quarters were 83, 80, 82, 82, 84, 82, 81, 78. HR got up to 163 for 82, dropped to 161 on 84, climbed to 166 on 81, and to 168 on 78. For the first 10 seconds after finishing felt a bit puky. Jeff's HR maxed out at 183.

On the way back we realized we had to pick it up to get home in time. So we started going around 6:40 pace with 3 miles to go. My HR was hovering around 135, Jeff's at 160. So we reasoned that perhaps Jeff was more dehydrated than me. Normally our difference is no more than 20 beats a minute. Then I wondered what would happen if I got my HR up to 150. Jeff thought his would be 170, and he was dead on. It took about 5:55 pace and a long time too, about 2 minutes, I felt I really had to focus, and once HR got up to 150 it would not go above it, and kept slipping to 149.

 So to revisit the low respiratory rate theory. Today was an interesting data point. It predicted strong neural drive. In reality, the neural drive was not bad, but not exceptional either, and it took some playing around to activate it. Need more data points to refine the theory.

P.M. Wore my oldest shoes (Bare Feet). 2 miles with Benjamin, Jenny, Alan and Lars in 16:32. Jenny was not feeling good and jogged in the last .25 to finish in 17:02. Then 1.5 with Julia in 13:50. Getting used to my new/old shoes.

Brooks T4 Racing Flat Miles: 14.00Bare Feet Miles: 3.50
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
From Carolyn in Colorado on Thu, May 21, 2009 at 14:55:32 from

As interested as I am in the finer points of your low respiratory rate theory, what I really want to ask about is The Nutty Clown. Was this someone you've seen before or some drunk guy or what?

From Sasha Pachev on Thu, May 21, 2009 at 15:47:53 from

The Nutty Clown was a guy in his 30s wearing shorts without a shirt with short dark hair out for a run. Definitely fat for a runner, but possibly on the skinny side for the average American. First time we passed him he was running at around 9:30 pace. He acted strange - turned around, ran backwards facing us for a few steps as we approached, then pretended to attack us, then gave us a friendly pat on the back. On the way back the first time we passed him, he was walking, and the second time he jumped out of the bushes. He did not smell like alcohol. Also, he was able to run along a straight line, and even backwards, so if he was drunk, it would have been minor intoxication. We have never seen him before. Definitely the oddest thing I've seen on the Provo River Trail in the 12 years I've run on it.

From tyler on Thu, May 21, 2009 at 17:01:15 from

Tell you what, in your next marathon I'll hide at a random point on the course and jump out at you. Then we can test the Nutty Clown Adrenaline-boost Hypothesis. Could produce interesting results, especially if costumes are involved.

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