Breaking the Wall

July 03, 2020

Recent EntriesHomeJoin Fast Running Blog Community!PredictorHealthy RecipesSasha Pachev's RacesFind BlogsMileage BoardTop Ten Excuses for Missing a RunTop Ten Training MistakesDiscussion ForumRace Reports Send A Private MessageWeek ViewMonth ViewYear View
15% off for Fast Running Blog members at St. George Running Center!


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: 291.02 Year: 1935.71
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: 805.63
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Ran the warm-up with Ted from my house. Lots of runners on the trail today and yesterday, a lot more than usual. Thanks to the blog I have an idea why - it is the start of the 18 week training program for St. George. It is my hope that we can do enough education and motivation through the blog that there will not be a significant increase in the number of runners at that particular time period in the near future. One's training patterns should not have to drastically change just because a marathon is 18 weeks a way. I find the mentality of cram training particularly annoying. I often get asked which race I am training for when people find out about how I train. I have been perplexed about that question for a while. I think only now am I beginning to realize the significance of the question. It comes from the mentality of not training most of the time and then taking a plan out of a popular running magazine a few weeks before a race and trying to follow it.

This is like creating a farming plan that begins shortly before the harvest time. Weeds is about all you can harvest that way. Can that mentality ever be broken? Rather than training one magic race we should train to be fit, and when we are, find a race to prove it.

After the warm-up 5x400 on the Provo River Trail with 200 very slow recovery alternating directions at the standard location (1 mile marker of the standard tempo run, which starts at Geneva Road and goes towards the Utah Lake). 74.1 - 73.3 - 71.8 - 72.3 - 69.5. Had a hard time getting started, but felt strong on the last one. Actually was not trying to run it in 69. Again, the splits show that the direction towards the Lake is about 0.5 faster.

Jogged a mile back to Geneva road, and ran the 3 mile tempo. I had two conflicting goals - to run faster with every mile, and to keep the last two miles under 5:30. The conflict was that on that road the second mile under 5:30 would make the third one under 5:30 a challenge for me. Splits by quarter - 1:23 - 1:23 - 1:21 - 1:21 (5:28) - 1:21 - 1:20 - 1:21 - 1:22 (5:24) - 1:22 - 1:22 (13:36 at the turnaround) - 1:23 (from a 180 turn) - 1:18 (5:25), total time 16:17.6. Third mile was hard, but I managed to hold on.

Jogged another mile back to the standard location and did the same 5x400 again. 73.3 - 73.8 - 72.0 - 72.7 - 68.4. Pushed hard on the last one.

Then ran the cool down with Ted. It was not much of a cool down. Ted was chasing the 6:30 guy. I decided not to ruin the party. We averaged 6:24 pace for the last 2.36 miles, and finished the quarter in 1:30.

Ran with the kids in the afternoon. 


Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From ashman on Tue, Jun 05, 2007 at 23:39:52

Instant gratification is what this country is all about, something for nothing mentality. That whole pursuit of happiness thing you know.

From wheakory on Wed, Jun 06, 2007 at 00:16:17

I agree with the concept about training. If you train to be fit the whole time then you really don't need to follow a program.

You already know what areas to work on because you've stayed fit. I think training programs are good for beginners until they become aware of what they need to do to maintain their fitness.

Once I started to train to be fit and a stronger runner a program is not what I needed. I needed to against my fitness level and understand how to train my body and work on more intensity in my training.

Very good points you make Sasha.

Cramming a marathon in and not staying fit each year makes your fitness level stay at the same place.

From Ethan on Wed, Jun 06, 2007 at 02:03:42

There is also something to be said for someone who sets their mind to accomplish a goal, such as finishing a marathon. Who goes out there and does it. The last person across the finish line is still a Marathoner after all.

They may not be elite, Many may never be elite. But they have still done something that 95% of Americans would never do.

I absolutely agree that following a plan and nothing more for 18 weeks isn't going to make up for your lack of fitness the rest of the year. But who's to say that's their goal?

There several completely different types of runners. Some are elite, really training to get better and better. To compete, to win. And thats awesome!! I hope that I can someday fit into that category.

There are others that just run for fun. Some run for overall fitness. Some run to accomplish a goal they have set for themselves. Either would approach things very differently, and neither is wrong in my opinion.

But then, hey thats just MY opinion!


Keep up the awesome work. I can't wait to see you accomplish all your goals! As always thank you for your comments and advice on my blog.

From James in Sunny AZ on Wed, Jun 06, 2007 at 15:14:25


I am glad that you have helped me get to a point in my training where I do not have to follow an 18-week program to prepare for St. George (or another marathon). I agree that we should be training to be fit and then find the race to show our fitness. BTW, I just registered for the Provo River 10-miler, so we will be there in two weeks. I am planning on taking it out as a training run, but faster than marathon pace (shooting for 7:30/mile) to gauge my fitness. I think this will also give me a good idea of what I should be able to accomplish at St. George. I appreciate your insightful entries - I like to see things from the perspective of an elite runner.

From Michelle on Wed, Jun 06, 2007 at 15:33:53

Thanks for the input, I sometimes think that when I run tired like that it's counterproductive, but glad to know that it is a bennefit. I guess the moral is just keep going. Be it treadmill when it's boring, or your tired ect. hopefully your body will thank you and you continue to see imrpovement and results!

Add Your Comment.
  • Keep it family-safe. No vulgar or profane language. To discourage anonymous comments of cowardly nature, your IP address will be logged and posted next to your comment.
  • Do not respond to another person's comment out of context. If he made the original comment on another page/blog entry, go to that entry and respond there.
  • If all you want to do is contact the blogger and your comment is not connected with this entry and has no relevance to others, send a private message instead.
Only registered users with public blogs are allowed to post comments. Log in with your username and password or create an account and set up a blog.
Debt Reduction Calculator

Featured Announcements
New Kids on the Blog
(need a welcome):
Lone Faithfuls
(need a comment):