Breaking the Wall

February 27, 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: 155.37 Year: 492.80
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: 1353.22
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Big Workout. Ran with Ted and Jeff at 5:00 AM. Warmed up a bit over 6 miles. Made two VPB stops, catching up gave me a mile of marathon pace running. Good warm up for the tempo.

Then ran 7.5 tempo. Did not have a time goal, just went by feel. Did not check my splits as often as I normally do, at times going for as long as 1.5 without checking a split, that is not normal for me. I get bored when I cannot check my splits often, and lose concentration. I think for some people it is a good idea to run watchless and splitless. For me it is not, my mind starts to wonder and I lose concentration. Even with the splits every quarter I still cannot push myself hard enough in a marathon to make me sore afterwards, which I take as a sign that the muscles have more to give, but the nervous system quits early. Without the splits I go into a complete slack off mode, especially in the dark. First 2.5 (slight net up) was 14:23. On the second one, which is a slight net down, I fell asleep, and ran 14:30, 28:53 at 5 miles. Woke up a bit on the last 2.5 and ran it in 14:21. Total time for 7.5 was 43:14, average of 5:45.87.

Cooled down to the house, total time for 15.1 was 1:39:40, 6:36.03 average (computed precisely using the new feature in the calculator on the Add Entry page).

Does anybody have ideas on what to do when the nervous system lags behind the rest of the body? I found that sleep, lack of stress, and frequent carbo-rich meals are helpful. Any other ideas?

Sarah did a 2 mile tempo run in 15:51. This is a good time for her. However Benjamin was quick to give a very humble response - this is still far away from my 13:57!

P.M. 1.05 with Julia in 9:14. This converts to an 8:48 mile en-route, new mile PR for her. Benjamin and Jenny could not crack 9:00 until they were almost 5.5. Julia is not even a month over 5, and mentally she is much younger than Benjamin and Jenny were at her age - both were reading by that age, Julia is still probably at least couple of months from being able to read. Which means, from what I have observed in my kids, that she would have a harder time getting what her true fitness would give her. She has shown the most talent out of our running kids so far.

Then ran 0.99 to pick up Jenny from her tumbling class in 7:45. Took a scenic route with Jenny, 1.74 in 14:57, 8:34 average pace. Then it was Benjamin's turn. I told him he had to beat Mommy's tempo run time of 15:51 for 2 miles to validate his bragging rights. He warmed up the first 0.5 in 4:13, then cranked it up a bit and hit the mile in 8:05 vs 7:55 Mommy split. However, he passed Mommy on the next quarter hitting it in 1:50. This was followed by 1:47, and 1:50. Now his bragging rights were secure, except I told him he could not close slower than Mommy (1:52). So he ran the last quarter in 1:46, finishing 2 miles in 15:19 with the last mile in 7:14.

Pushed Jacob in the single stroller throughout the entire evening run adventure. Total of 5.78 miles.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From Scott Zincone on Tue, Oct 16, 2007 at 15:36:09

On my workout calendar the calculator looked the same as usual. Is that correct, or was it a software upgrade. I enjoy having it "right there" to calculate splits and such. Especially when I was swimming more and took splits every 100 yards.

From Sasha Pachev on Tue, Oct 16, 2007 at 15:55:07


Try entering something like 49:30/6.8, this will give you the mile pace if you run 6.8 miles in 49:30. You can also do hours, e.g 3:00:00/26.22 will give you mile pace for a 3 hour marathon.

From Scott Zincone on Tue, Oct 16, 2007 at 16:03:51

Great! The free time calculator I downloaded a few years ago can not do this. This will come in handy. Any other tricks or tips to the calculator? Maybe you could post in the forum for all to see. Of course most everyone reads your blog anyway I suspect so you could just do it here as well.

From Shauna on Tue, Oct 16, 2007 at 23:17:47

Regarding the nervous system lagging behind the body, I've seen a new book called "Brain Training for Runners," or something like that. I read the first chapter. Is that what you're talking about: training the brain to make the body go faster?

I think it's so cool that you and your children run together.

From Paul Petersen on Tue, Oct 16, 2007 at 23:21:52

I saw that book as well, but didn't have time to leaf through it.

Have you been able to find anything about the nervous system and peak performance in the running and exercise physiology literature? That might be a good place to start - the BYU research library will surely access to all the good journal databases.

From Mike B on Wed, Oct 17, 2007 at 21:26:05

Sasha, I haven't forgotten about you. We are still trying to finalize plans for the holidays. I am more than sure it will work out though. I will keep you posted or feel free to e-mail me. I also intend to post/blog my mileage here, but it gets soooo disappointing putting in such meager mileage following the injuries.

From Sasha Pachev on Wed, Oct 17, 2007 at 23:16:41

Mike - thanks for your help. Do not worry about meager mileage. Our blogger Paul Petersen struggled through 2006 with injuries, and his training on many days consisted of 3 miles on the elliptical or less. Nevertheless, he kept posting what he did regardless of how small or insignificant it was rejoicing in small progress and success. The perseverance bore fruit eventually. This year he improved his marathon PR from his pre-blog and pre-injury life by over 8 minutes on the same course and qualified for the Olympic Trials with Standard A.

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