Breaking the Wall

May 20, 2019

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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: 149.44 Year: 1460.80
Saucony Type A Lifetime Miles: 627.15
Bare Feet Lifetime Miles: 446.12
Nike Double Stroller Lifetime Miles: 120.59
Brown Crocs 1 Lifetime Miles: 1509.03
Brown Crocs 2 Lifetime Miles: 987.95
Navy Crocs Lifetime Miles: 2133.34
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Started with 2.1 around the block with Sarah in 21:09. Pushed Jacob in the single stroller. It was snowing. Then ran the Uneventful Half alone in 1:29:36, 6:50.07 avg. Parts of the trail were good, but the last 3 miles were covered with slick snow. Will run with the kids later in the afternoon, hope to catch a snow-less window.

I am thinking to survive the winter using the slacker mode (90 miles a week, strides, fartleks) when the weather is bad, and normal mode (120 a week with Big Workouts) otherwise. This would hopefully provide protection against overtraining and let the immune system stay strong to fight off traveling bugs. Last week I was in the slacker mode, and now am feeling rejuvenated.

P.M. Lots of snow. So the kid's training paces were slow, but not the effort. 1.05 with Julia in 13:29, 1.75 with Jenny in 18:36, and 2 with Benjamin in 19:02. Took advantage of the snow on the ground to check out my stride. Ran on the snow at a steady pace for a little bit, then measured the distance between the footprints with a measuring tape. Discovered that when I push off my right foot my stride is consistently 2 inches shorter than when I push off with my left ( the right foot push off produced 60 inch strides, while the left push off produced 62 inch strides, 3% difference). This is in spite of the fact that I would kick a soccer ball, or push off taking a hurdle or in a long jump with my right leg. I do feel weird when I land on my right foot - I would describe it as awkward and underpowered.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From Brent on Sat, Dec 08, 2007 at 14:47:39

Wow, slacker mode 90 miles a week? I agree, winter can be tough to get the miles in and also the tough workouts. By the way, took your advice, about 6 weeks in a row now with mileage over 60.

From Lybi on Sat, Dec 08, 2007 at 22:35:02

Good job, Brent! Ya, Sasha, that is a pretty impressive slacker who would do that.

Really interesting about the stride length difference. The awkward feeling you describe on impact reminds me of what happens to my legs when my back is badly out, and some of the nerves are being slightly pinched. It's like the full electrical pulse doesn't reach the muscle--only a part of it. Have you ever noticed this stride length difference before? It could just be a fluke thing with your back.

From Sasha Pachev on Sat, Dec 08, 2007 at 22:50:33

I've had that feeling since the age of 15. I've suspected I was getting different stride lengths, just never had a chance to measure it. X-rays do show a pelvic/lower spine tilt which is more pronounced when sitting down that when standing up. My friend who teaches PT at the University of Nevada suggested that a hip bone asymmetry could be involved. I am thinking about doing a hip bone X-ray to check this out. If you have any recommendations on a good place to do it in the Utah County or close, I'd be interested.

From Jon on Sun, Dec 09, 2007 at 22:38:41

90 mile slacker is difficult for my beginner brain to wrap itself around. I will celebrate when I can do 30 mile weeks without hurting myself.

Anyway, thanks for the advice earlier this week. I decided to move most of my work outs outside. There are not many days in St. George that I will have to run on snow.

By the way I love the blog. It is a fun way to stay motivated and to track progress toward my goals.

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