Breaking the Wall

January 29, 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: 252.01 Year: 252.01
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. Ran with Derek. After 4.12 warm-up ran the standard 2.5 tempo in 13:49.6. The first mile felt very easy, the stride was wide and relaxed, and I did not feel like I was pushing. Got 5:26 vs a very strained 5:31 last week. However, after that I started struggling and slowed down to 5:36 pace. There was a slight uphill in the last mile.

Not sure what was happening. I was slightly overdressed because I was afraid of catching a cold, which would be bad at this time. Derek thinks the jacket was acting like a sail and slowing me down. I also got warm. But at the same time, those things could really be non-issues, and the fatigue might have been natural, or in other words the slow-down would have happened regardless.

Assuming the worst, I would have to conclude that the neurological power is coming back, but the acidic resistance (the term I just made up for the ability of the brain to push the muscle in spite of increased muscle acidity) is still lacking. Which is actually encouraging. Acidic resistance can be improved with anaerobic work (quarters), but improving the power is more difficult. So I'd rather lack the acid resistance.

Nevertheless, I was happy that the overall time was 2 seconds faster than last week. I'll take any improvement I can get.

Derek ran 8, I ran some extra and got 10.13.

P.M. 200 with Jacob 1:50, 1 with Julia in 9:35.

P.M -2: 2 miles with Benjamin in 16:14 with Jenny running the last 1.5 in 11:56. Jenny actually was not planning on getting her Lunch With Daddy qualifier for the week, but then she started feeling good half way and picked up the pace to sub-8:00. She had 8:29 at the mile, and then with 600 to go she asked if she had a shot for  LWDQ. I told her if she floored it she'd have a chance, so she did. Her last two quarters were 1:46, and 1:41, and she made it with 4 seconds to spare.

Took Joseph for a run to set up my home teaching appointment. 0.27 out, 0.27 back with a short break to chat in between - total time 6:50. Following a very established tradition in our church set it for 8:00 PM on the last day of the month. This reminded me of a joke:

Two elders are discussing the subject of home teaching. One says - "We take our responsibility very seriously and always go the first day of the month." The other responds: "We do even better than that - we go one day  before you do!"


Brooks T4 Racing Flat Miles: 10.13
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
From air darkhorse on Wed, Oct 29, 2008 at 00:24:08

Sasha, Why aren't my two newest entries showing up?

From air darkhorse on Wed, Oct 29, 2008 at 00:32:36

Never mind, it's up now. Thanks.

From Phoenix on Wed, Oct 29, 2008 at 14:10:05

I would be stunned if you are entering even the utmost outer realms of acidosis at those paces.

From Sasha Pachev on Wed, Oct 29, 2008 at 15:57:42


What do you think then triggers the slow down? I run the first mile in 5:26 feeling great. Then I slow down to 5:36, the pace starts to feel like the end of a quarter repeat, and for the life of me cannot go any faster even for 100 meters, and I did try.

Did not have an HRM on me, but since this has happened many times before, I have a good idea of the HR. By the end of the first mile it probably drifted up to about 150-152. Then in the next 0.5 mile it got up to around 158-160 and stayed in that range to the end.

My max HR is 174, it takes running 5:00 pace for a mile to get there, and I reach the RER of 1.06. That's on a good day. On a bad day, I hit normal HR for the pace, maybe only a beat or two per minute higher sometimes, but just cannot stay for very long in the faster range. On a bad day I can run 5:00 pace for a little bit if my starting HR is 130 or below, but if it is already 160 I cannot run even as slow as 5:20 for as short as 100 meters. Max HR test on a bad day will probably give me 163-164, and I have don e a very close emulation a number of times - from a standing start, 5:00 pace until failure, then the best pace until I get to 5 miles. The failure happened between 0.5 and 0.75 with the HR only at 163, and it was the max HR for the whole run.

On a good day - can race a 10 K with HR at 165, half at 162, full marathon at 157. Have been able to close a flat 10 K in SLC with a 5:04 mile and a 69 second quarter.

On a bad day - any time I bring HR over 160 the pace starts to feel unsustainable. On a good day, HR over 160 causes heavy breathing and I feel the legs working, but the pace is sustainable.

In VO2 tests I've reached RER of 1.00 in the 160-163 HR range.

When dehydrated or aerobically unconditioned I can sustain a higher HR for longer while, of course, running a slower than normal pace for that HR. Also, in those circumstances, the effort at the same HR feels a lot easier.

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