Breaking the Wall

January 25, 2021

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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: 266.81 Year: 266.81
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: 1438.17
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Easy run with Ted in the morning. Had a new running partner - his name is Ken. He joined us for the first three. I stopped to go to the bathroom, then did 4x100 strides, two in 18, and two in 17 to catch up. Felt good, speedy, the form felt good, slowed down to 7:12 pace in between for recovery. Saw Sarah (the Fast Running Mommy) on the way back. Got to the house, and ran back with Ted to meet Sarah, but she went another way. So we ended up doing 13.05, I got 1:37:08, Ted was about a minute slower due to my bathroom break.

No ill effects felt from the Saturday adventure. Lydiard said you could run a marathon once a week if you did it slow enough. I suppose he was right after all. Not that it is necessary to do it to train for a marathon, but if a crazy urge strikes you one week, and you slow down sufficiently, it can work.

P.M. Paul was driving through town, so I went for run with him. It was hot, but not as hot as it used to be - only 90. We started at Jiffy Lube where he was getting his oil changed. Ran on the Provo River Trail, crossed Geneva Road, then turned around and came back to my house. This was 5.75 in 42:37. Took Benjamin and Jenny with us, hit the next mile in 8:47, then Paul went on to Jiffy Lube, while we turned around and ran back. Jenny ran the next half mile in 3:49, which gave her 12:36 for 1.5. Put her in the stroller, Benjamin hit the next 0.5 in 3:23, which gave him 15:59 for the 2 miles. Then ran 0.5 with Julia. She hit the first quarter in 2:22, on pace for a PR, so I told her she would get a special prize if she would keep the pace. She picked it up, and hit 2:07 on the next quarter, which gave her 4:29 for 0.5. Afterwards we went to Reams and got her a toy pony, a chess set, and some balloons. She was very happy. Interestingly enough, she did it wearing Crocs - she actually rans better in Crocs than in regular running shoes.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From Lulu on Mon, Aug 20, 2007 at 22:02:47


I've had a question I've wanted to run by you for a while. In your articles on this site and in your posts I read that you stress mileage as being extremely important for marathon performance. Because of this, I am considering doing two-a-days for my next marathon training. Currently, I am running a maximum of ~40 miles a week which is high for me. My longest weeks will be about 44-46 miles. I've done many other marathons on less mileage. I am still trying to get in shape after the baby - not to lose weight but rebuild lost muscle etc. However, in considering increasing my mileage for the next marathon (possibly in January), I am concerned about whether my body will "hold up" to that kind of mileage. I wear two pairs of shoes (alternating) and replace them often. My somatotype is mesomorph (muscular), while most marathoners are ectomorphs (thin). I am by no means thin, but am not fat. I look like I spend more time lifting weights than running, and I do not! So I am wondering how your advice translates to someone who is probably "heavier" than most marathoners. Will my joints, bones, and muscles take more mileage? In the past, I have felt like I am riding the line of overtraining and ironically now I do not feel like that.

Sorry this is so long. I was hoping with this information you would give me your opinion.

From Sasha Pachev on Mon, Aug 20, 2007 at 23:44:51

Lulu - appropriate daily mileage is critical to improvement in longer distances, and especially the marathon. Running twice a day is a good idea, if you can find the time. Increasing the length of the runs is a good idea if your body can handle it. What you should do is increase the mileage a tiny bit at a time, and then wait a few weeks to see how you adapt to it. It may take years to get used to the kind of mileage that will allow you to reach your potential in the marathon. You are focused on Chicago right now, perhaps even too focused. What I recommend to all runners regardless of their current level is to never train for a race, but rather for long-term fitness. There will always be a race to prove it once that is achieved. This view allows you to train more consistently throughout the whole year, and overtime reach the point where you are not getting injured while training at much higher volume and intensity than you could not even think of in the past.

From Paul Ivory on Tue, Aug 21, 2007 at 09:12:42

Sasha, I love the advice you have given in your above comment. I'm going to copy/paste it to my running gems. I just completed the Pikes Peak Marathon this past Sunday. If you get a chance to read my report I would like your recommendation regarding my comments about blood test iron levels and testosterone levels.

From Jon on Tue, Aug 21, 2007 at 17:05:36


I gave my opinion on your blog for 2-a-days, as well.


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