Breaking the Wall

December 03, 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: 304.65 Year: 3606.17
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: 806.96
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Short run today due to the chess tournament. Benjamin wanted to play in one, and I thought since I'd have to be there with him anyway I may play as well to find out what my rating is.

Ran 10.1 with Jeff in 1:13:53 with two fat miles. First one in 5:52, second in 5:59. 

The chess tournament was an interesting experience. Very different from running. They put you in a class based on your rating. Since I did not have a rating, they put me in a class of 1000-1199 plus unrated adults. Benjamin was not rated either, so they put him in 600-799 plus unrated 4th-6th graders. Benjamin won two games and lost two. I won three and lost one. I tied with three others for the division win, which gave me a cash prize of $12. I was happy to win cash in my first tournament and in something other than running.

So I suppose our official ratings now will be around 600 for Benjamin and 1100 for me. One thing that is different about chess. Mistakes are absolutely unforgiveble. You can be better than your opponent in all areas but one, and if he happens to get you on that one mistake early in the game, you are done. In running, if you are better, you can start out too fast, you can surge, you can even stop for a VPB, and you will still be ahead of a weaker opponent.

P.M. 1.5 with Julia in 14:00. 2 with Benjamin and Jenny in 19:20.

Vibram Five Fingers Miles: 10.10Bare Feet Miles: 3.50
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
From wheakory on Sun, May 31, 2009 at 12:41:04 from

I love chess. I'm playing in a chess tournament at work. Right now I lost my first match. Any Tips?

From Sasha Pachev on Mon, Jun 01, 2009 at 12:38:02 from


If you have a Palm, put OpenChess on it, and play it in the opening trainer mode, as well as in the normal mode. When you lose a piece, take a move back and ask for a hint for a better move. If you still end up losing a piece, keep taking moves back and asking for hints until you are out of the woods. Learn from the hints.

You can also go to and follow games from tournaments. You can learn to tell a good move from a bad move because it tells you how many times a game was won when a certain move was made. Another way to tell a move is good is if a 2500+ rated player made it.

Pay particular attention to positions where in every game in that position the same move was made, and try to understand why other moves would have been losing moves.

Eventually you will develop a positional feel of your own that will allow you to tell which moves are good and which are not.

Also, learn your endings. Know how to win a game if you have a queen or a rook and your opponent has nothing except his king. Learn how to push a pawn through and queen it. Know how to checkmate with two bishops against a lone king. Know how to win with a queen against a rook. An easy way to learn that is Edit Board in OpenChess, set up a certain position, and watch the computer mate you. Or, take hints, and mate the computer. Then once you got it figured it do it without hints.

From wheakory on Mon, Jun 01, 2009 at 13:05:39 from

Thanks Sasha! I used to play a lot in High School. I have a really nice glass set of Chess.

I don't want to lose again in our department tournament or I'll be out. Will see you in Provo at the marathon and hopefully I won't embarrass myself with my finish time.

From RivertonPaul on Mon, Jun 01, 2009 at 16:55:36 from

Well done. Does this mean is on the way? :)

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