Breaking the Wall

January 19, 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: 188.26 Year: 188.26
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: 1359.62
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Long run with Mike and Ethan. Due to post marathon recovery I did only 15. Mike went full 20. Ethan ran about 15. Mike and I did a couple of pickups. First a mile in 5:27. Then Mike ran a tempo - 7.5, I did the first 2.5 with him, and then turned around and ran 600 meters back to Ethan, so 2.875 of tempo in 16:25 (5:42.6 average). Jenny and Julia ran 2, including 0.5 with Jacob. 

P.M. 2 with Benjamin, 0.5 with Benjamin and Joseph.

Gold Crocs 1 Miles: 17.50
Night Sleep Time: 7.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.50
From Colby Park on Mon, Sep 27, 2010 at 10:46:11 from

Sasha, time for another timely question. I am getting ready for the Rome Marathon in March and had a few questions about winter running. What is the best way to stay motivated and run in the winter, especially if it is raining or snowing? Are there certain types of shoes that are better or some kind of clothing? Also, I am able now to hit about a 10k 6 days a week as far as mileage goes. I should have about 4 1/2 months from when I get back from Afghanistan before the marathon. Do you have any suggestions on what I should do during that time? Thanks Sasha and sorry for all of the questions.

From Sasha Pachev on Sat, Oct 09, 2010 at 18:57:12 from


To stay motivated you go out and do it. You need to develop the same hunger for fitness as you do for food. This should solve the motivation problem.

You are asking the wrong guy about shoes. I know very little about them. Last year I did all of my mileage in Crocs, and never spent more than $10 on a pair.

Note that the Rome marathon is on a Sunday. There are Saturday marathons in Europe - Dublin, Stockholm, Helsinki, and Oslo right off the top of my head. Dubai is on a Friday I believe, although not quite in Europe.

My advice, however, is to never run a marathon when there is time crunch for training. 4.5 months are enough to prepare for a jog that they hand you the medal after, but not enough to prepare to run the distance anywhere close to your potential.

You must realize that due to the long established tradition of running the marathon unprepared we have a culture of very low expectations for performance in that distance. Many people on the blog experienced a good measure of shock the first time they ran a marathon near their potential as it was a 30+ minute PR.

If you have only 4.5 months to train I would recommend a half marathon. Focus on building your aerobic base, throw in a little bit of impromptu speed, but never force it. Remember that diligence and consistency will beat ambition and heroics.

From Colby Park on Sun, Oct 10, 2010 at 08:43:22 from

Sasha, thank you for the advice and tips. Currently I am in Afghanistan and have been running roughly 40 miles a week, although the blog doesn't show it. So the 4.5 months I will have when I get back will hopefully be just slowing working that mileage up to hopefully somewhere near 60 miles a week consistently. I know that I won't be in my "peak" shape by that point, but I am still hoping to finish strong and get a good idea at what the Marathon race is. My real goal will come in October when I will run the Athens marathon. I am hoping to gain some experience with the Rome run, and then continue to carry over my training and lessons learned for Athens. Do you still think a half-marathon is better suited for me at this point?

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