Breaking the Wall

August 11, 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: 88.07 Year: 2386.98
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: 1257.89
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. 10.1 with Jeff in 1:20:38. James, Matt, and Daniel ran with us at some points. Then 2 with Benjamin in 16:49. Jenny joined us for 1.5 in 12:40. Jared ran with us for the first 0.75, but then fell back. He finished 2 miles in 17:57.

Had a thought about modern day scientific understanding of running, the dark ages, and the printing press. Back in the dark ages only select few knew how to read and had access to books. The two were connected. If you do not get to read, there is little motivation to learn how to read. If you do not know how to read, books present little value to you. You can only learn by talking to those who know how to read and have access to books. You have no choice but accept their word, that is the best you can do. Vicious cycle of ignorance.

I think our understanding of running (and many other things as well) is still in that cycle to a great extent. The average runner has no way of measuring much - distance, time, heart rate, body weight and stride rate are about the only things that a middle class home budget runner is able to measure on a daily basis. Maybe blood glucose and cholesterol if you are willing to poke yourself every day. Lactate levels if you are willing to poke yourself and pay $900 for the device. You could measure pH of your body fluids, and electric properties of the body. There are a number of smart alec devices that think they know how much body fat is on you from the electric properties of your body. But I would not call this a body fat measurement. This an electric current measurement that is being used for an almost wild guess estimate. Maybe I missed a few more measurement opportunities, but the point is, there are lots of things we can measure in a lab compared to what we can measure at home.

Because lab equipment is so expensive, most people do not have access to it. Because they have no access to it, even those who can study how that equipment works have only a superficial knowledge of the meaning of those measurements. Even those who have access to it who we consider experts are still at the level of a dark age scholar compared to what it could be if those measurements were affordable enough to be done by the general public in their own homes. There is little motivation for the general public to learn what that equipment can do and how to read the results. Thus we have the same vicious cycle of ignorance. On a different level than in the middle ages, but still the same pattern.

The vicious cycle of ignorance was broken by the invention of the printing press. All of a sudden your average Joe had a reason to learn to read! It is starting to happen a bit in the way we understand how our body works, but there are obstacles. I believe we would see a lot more affordable scientific equipment if the public was more interested in practicing science than in watching a TV show about science. But a TV show about science is about as scientific as we get in our pursuit, for most people that is a pinnacle of their mind training for the day. If we could make it the very low point instead of the very high point, eliminating the mind-numbing, aptitude decreasing, and time wasting entertainment from the lower spectrum we might see more sub-2:10 marathoners among with many other positive developments from this change. If, only if. If mushrooms grew in a mouth, it would not be a mouth, it would be a garden!

P.M. 1.07 with Julia in 11:05.

Five Fingers - 812.65 miles.

Night Sleep Time: 7.75Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.75
From haynes on Mon, Jul 28, 2008 at 18:52:42

Interesting post. I don't have much to add. But how many miles are you planning on putting into those five fingers? I guess that the rubber doesn't wear down the same way that most shoes' foam parts do. They seem a little risky at least for a high mileage runner like you. Stress fractures take 6 months to heal.

From luzylew on Tue, Jul 29, 2008 at 11:45:28

Sorry I couldn't run with you guys on Monday. It looked like a good running party. Everyone recovering from the Marathon and such. I hope the calf is healing. It's not a stress fracture is it (per Haynes's comment)? I hope not.

From Sasha Pachev on Tue, Jul 29, 2008 at 13:38:58

Luz - no, it is basically a taper Charlie horse problem. Similar to what Logan experienced during the Ogden marathon, except not so drastic. I woke up with a tight calf a couple of days before the race, and it never fully healed before I started. Today it was still a bit tended but good enough to run 6:00 pace to pace Michelle. It has been getting better ever since Josse scraped it.

Haynes - my goal for Five Fingers is to see if they will still be runnable by 5000 miles. I have been taking my shoes routinely to at least 2000 miles in the last 23 years. One time I took a pair to 5600 and was upset because I had to replace them. I thought, this is not some Soviet made piece of junk, those are good American shoes. I've only had them for a couple of years, why is there such a huge hole in the sole?

Never had a stress fracture or any other injury that would make it impossible to run for more than 3 days the entire time. I documented my life time injury history at,465.0.html

From haynes on Tue, Jul 29, 2008 at 14:26:29

Well, if stress fractures aren't a problem, the vibram rubber used in five fingers is about the toughest stuff I know of. I just worry that the non-vibram material which I think includes elastic might break down especially if exposed to heat. Do you wear socks with the five fingers? If so are they socks with individual toes? And what surfaces do you run on? Is it mostly pavement or do you get a fair amount of dirt? I am impressed that you get 2k miles out of shoes regularly. When I don't turn them over on purpose they tend to get holes around 1000 miles. What kind do you buy?

From Sasha Pachev on Tue, Jul 29, 2008 at 18:46:39

Haynes: I wear no socks, run on asphalt, and use the classic version of Five Fingers.

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