Breaking the Wall

March 24, 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 nine children: Benjamin, Jenny, Julia, Joseph, Jacob, William, Stephen, Matthew,  Mary, and Bella.  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: 164.85 Year: 786.02
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: 1529.15
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Did my strength test again. See how long I can hold 5:20 without having to sprint. So I did 79, 80, 80, 82 (5:21). Not good. Jogged some, decided to try again to see if the failure comes sooner. 80, 80,80, 80 (5:20), 83, 82 (8:05 for 1.5). Hmm... That is the oddest pattern. How does that work? You would expect that after getting to the point of not being able to run another 80s quarter without a significant effort I would not be able to return to the same condition after only 10 minutes of jogging. A possible explanation is that my slow twitch fibers cannot go faster than 5:30. So if I want to run 5:20 I have to recruit fast twitch, and they fatigue after about a mile. Fast twitch recover pretty fast, and are ready to go again after 10 minutes of jogging. Slow twitch are not fatigued, in the meantime, they just cannot go fast enough.

The feeling is also rather odd. At 80 the stride feels relaxed, like I am only recruiting a fraction of power. Then when I slow down, all of a sudden it feels like I am recruiting every fiber there is to recruit, like I am trying to squat with maximum weight. That does go along with the fast twitch fatigue explanation. It takes only a fraction of fast twitch power to run 5:20 pace. But it does take all of the slow twitch power to run 5:30 if the fast twitch are not helping.

Ran with the kids Benjamin did 4, Jenny did 3, Julia and Joseph did 1.5.

P.M. Nap.

Green Crocs 1 Miles: 13.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.50Total Sleep Time: 8.50
From Rob on Wed, Jun 29, 2011 at 15:46:09 from

So Sasha, how do I determine when I switch over to Fast twitch from Slow twitch. I realize the difference between running a solid pace and sprinting but where exactly does that cross over point occur?

From Sasha Pachev on Wed, Jun 29, 2011 at 16:09:08 from

Rob - this is a grey area. Because there are a lot of fibers all over the spectrum. But a rough test could be this. Works only if you are well-developed aerobically. Go out at a pace that is a bit faster than what you can race a 5 K. After about a mile you will experience a sudden slow down, and then you will not be slowing down more for a while. The pace you end up with is probably the fastest pace that the slow twitch fibers can do. If your aerobic development is lacking, the bleeding does not stop, so the test does not work.

From Rob on Wed, Jun 29, 2011 at 16:14:31 from

So in optimal aerobic condition fast twitch muscles are only good for about 1 mile?

From Sasha Pachev on Wed, Jun 29, 2011 at 18:25:24 from

Yes, and in less optimal, good only for about a quarter if that, while the slow twitch act like fast twitch in terms of endurance but not in terms of power.

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