Breaking the Wall

March 31, 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: 211.63 Year: 851.13
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: 1679.47
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Day of rest. Went to church. The Sacrament meeting talks were on the birth of the United States and its role in the Restoration of the Gospel. One of the hymns was My Country 'Tis of Thee. I remembered some things. 2 Nephi 1:6 "there shall none come into this land save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord". At the age of 16 while still living in the Soviet Union I had a strong feeling that I needed to learn English fast - my future would depend on it. Over the next three years I would study for 8 hours a day if I could find this much time. I practiced it at every opportunity. The entire time I never felt that I was learning a foreign language, but rather was learning a native language that was technically not native because I never learned it as a child. But it was nevertheless somehow native regardless. Later when I joined the LDS church and started reading the Book of Mormon, I began to understand why it was so. Our country is different in a special way. I wish we understood it better. It is not a reason to be arrogant, rather it is a reason to feel a strong sense of responsibility to keep the commandments of God, and to serve others.

Along with that I remembered my adventures in getting a US Visa. What a mess! And what an eye opener! An African American in the 50s was more privileged and less discriminated than a young man with a dream from a country with less developed economy and unstable political situation applying for a US student visa. "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free" on the Statue of Liberty  not surprisingly is viewed in a way that is more or less similar to "we all need to eat healthy and exercise". A principle we theoretically admire and are anxious to preach from the pulpit but lack the grit to practice when initiative and sacrifice are required.

I also remembered the feeling of disappointment I experienced when I observed some people getting drunk on the 4th of July. I understand some people will take issue with this, and argue that there is nothing wrong with celebrating the American freedom this way. I used to argue back, including on this blog, but I think I am going to take a different approach. If you feel this way, go to the Lord in prayer and asking to show you why it is wrong, and if you really care to know, He will. If not, well, there is not much else I can say. I will quote a scripture, however - Isaiah 28:7 "But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment."

Somebody in my ward asked Sarah if I felt excluded on the 4th of July due to my non-US upbringing. I do not feel excluded. I feel thankful to be in a country that the Lord has prepared and freed for a special purpose. I do feel sad, however, particularly on the 4th of July, when I contemplate the degree of ignorance among Americans to that special purpose.  


Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
From jeffmc on Thu, Jul 12, 2012 at 19:28:04 from

I have an old pair of track spikes that no longer fit me. Does Benjamin need a pair? They are a mens size 8.5, but they run small so it is probably more like a 7 or 7.5.

From Sasha Pachev on Mon, Jul 16, 2012 at 18:56:19 from


Benjamin actually could use a pair of spikes. Bring them by when you come. I am sure if they do not fit Benjamin, there will eventually be a kid in our family that will find them perfect at some stage in his running career.

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