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 Ariel. Paced him through a 2.5 mile time trial down the canyon. The target was 6:00 pace, so 15:00. He did 5:58, 6:00, and 2:56 for the last half - total of 14:54. This time he did not need very much "Da me cinco", and was able to focus on his own and maintain contact. This is great improvement for him. When he was 23 he ran the half in 1:09. He is 49 now. Physiologically there should be a 1:15 half in him still, or at least 1:18. But the problem is that when its been so long you forget how to run fast for a long time and start thinking of 6:00 as a sprint, 7:00 as 5 K pace, etc. Perhaps the reason why someone who used to be fast can return to being fast much easier than someone who has never experienced is that he expects a faster pace to be normal, and does not think of it as something outrageous. The same idea helped me learn Spanish - being fluent in English and in Russian I was just expecting to be able to say whatever I needed to and understand everything said to me regardless of the language, and when that ability was not there it bothered me enough that I would do what it took to fix the problem, while perhaps if I just expected Spanish to be a foreign language I would have just given up and never bothered to learn.

Got home ran with the kids. Benjamin did 2, Jenny, Julia, and Joseph 2, Jacob 1, William 0.3. Visiting cousins ran various distances. Total of 12.5 for me. 

Green Crocs 3 Miles: 12.50
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From TheMr.K on Sun, Jun 03, 2012 at 15:44:45 from

So how does someone that has never been fast get there? If I run a sub 7 mile I'm ecstatic, but I recognize that a sub 7 pace isn't that fast. I would like to run a sub 6 or even faster but I'm not sure how to make that happen.

From Sasha Pachev on Thu, Jun 07, 2012 at 11:04:57 from


Some quick tests. Run time trials in 100 meters, 400, 800, and the mile. What times are you getting?

Based on your mileage data combined with your performances, I am expecting to see relatively very fast 100 meters (under 15), 80 seconds or slower in 400, 3:10 in the 800, and 6:50 in the mile.

If I hit the ballpark more or less correctly, then the fix is two fold. One is you need to be more consistent in your aerobic endurance work without going to extremes. Run 7 miles a day 5 days a week with 14 for the long run, and gradually increase as you get more fit. Do not race marathons until you are able to train at 10 miles a day, 20 for the long run, and your 5 K speed is 20:00 or faster.

The second front to fight the battle on concurrently with the aerobic development is to teach your brain that distance race pace is closer to sprint pace than a jog. For that you pick a pace you think of as unsustainable for more than a mile, find a pacer that can run it comfortably and is willing to yell at you when you slow down, mark out a course so you can have landmark (not GPS) splits every quarter mile, and try to hold it for something significantly longer than a mile - start with 1.5, then increase it gradually to 3.

From TheMr.K on Tue, Jun 12, 2012 at 19:12:13 from

I ran those trials today and your predictions were right on the money. I will proceed with the advice you gave me. I have one other question though. If I don't know anyone that can comfortably run a sub 7 mile will it be damaging to my progress to use GPS and just yell at myself? If so why and do you have any suggestions?

From Chad Robinson on Tue, Jun 12, 2012 at 19:28:42 from

TheMr.K, if you are willing to travel a bit I have the quarters marked out on a two mile stretch of the Jordan river parkway in West Jordan and I would be happy to pace you through 7 minute miles.

From TheMr.K on Tue, Jun 12, 2012 at 20:18:08 from

Thanks for the offer Chad. That's a long drive for me though. If I can't find something that will work closer to home I may take you up on it.

From Sasha Pachev on Tue, Jun 19, 2012 at 18:29:06 from


See if you can get in touch with Andy Browning ( He lives in Woods Cross. Another idea is to enter a few local competitive races and visit with faster runners afterwards to see if any of them are available for such workouts. Or get a job in the Provo/Orem area and move here - then you can do those with me.

I strongly recommend you either do this on the track or buy a measuring wheel and measure out flat (or as flat as possible) courses marking them appropriately rather than using a GPS. It can be as simple as just writing down the distance in feet at visible land marks, and then calculating the splits you are supposed to hit at the target pace.

If the course is hilly or there is a headwind, it becomes particularly helpful to have a human pacer around as he will sense what the appropriate pace should be for the target effort.

From Sasha Pachev on Wed, Jun 20, 2012 at 15:44:02 from


Two more runners in your area you can connect with: Kam (, and Tara (

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