Breaking the Wall

August 07, 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: 16.00 Year: 2314.91
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: 1185.83
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Tempo run with Jeff. Warmed up 1.38 to the start of the Fast Running Blog 5 Miler. Ran the course twice. There were posted speed limits. Minimum speed limit 6:00 mile or 90 second quarter. Maximum speed limit 87 quarter (5:48) in the first 5 miles, and 85 (5:40) in the second. I told Jeff those were the limits, not necessarily the targets to reach or exceed.

The first half went mostly according to the law, no speeding tickets issued. In fact, the trooper was eyeing us in the first 3 quarters and thinking about citing us for going too slow - we were 4:35 at 0.75, but then we saw him, and speed up to an 88 quarter to hit 6:03 at the mile. After that 2.5 split was 14:53, 5 miles in 29:41, no laws broken.

Then Jeff hit an 84 quarter to accelerate after the turnaround. The trooper started following us again, Jeff saw that and slowed down to 85-86. Next 2.5 in 14:23, 44:04 at 7.5. After the turnaround we were still legal for a mile with the exception of one 84 quarter after the turnaround. Then Jeff pulled out his led foot and did 83 and an 84. The trooper was just about to flash his lights, but Jeff quickly backed off to an 87. Then with 0.75 to go the trooper was called to deal with an accident. Jeff saw that and sped up to 84, 82, and 80 to finish 10 miles in 58:05.9 and a very illegal 14:01 last 2.5. Another trooper came out from the bushes and was going to give us a $300 fine for major speeding. We were able to talk our way out of the ticket by showing our Utah Valley Marathon finisher medals.

The pace felt good. In the beginning I felt awkward. But once the pace increased and it started to hurt I rememebred to make a concsious effort to activate the right glut. That seemed to help, I started feeling smoother and was able to handle sub-5:30 pace at the end without feeling I was out of my limits.

Cooled down, then ran 2 with Benjamin in 17:12.

Five Fingers 2 Miles: 14.75
Night Sleep Time: 7.75Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 8.75
From Maurine/Tarzan on Tue, Jul 07, 2009 at 15:17:25 from

See- those medals come in handy.....

You could have cooled down with my awesome coffee mug I got for finishing a 28 mile race.

From Brooke13 on Tue, Jul 07, 2009 at 22:38:44 from

Thanks! I was wondering if it would be possible for me to run a sub 5 min mile with training? I just started running (I played another sport at a very high level for most of my pre college years), and have not timed myself going all out for any distance yet. Any advice? I am very willing to train, I love both long runs and speed workouts, and am discovering how rewarding running because it is what I love to do is. Any advice or thoughts from a knowledgeable and very fast runner like yourself would be greatly appreciated!

From Sasha Pachev on Tue, Jul 07, 2009 at 22:58:52 from


Go to the track and time yourself over 100 and 400, as fast as you can. This will you an idea if you have natural speed for sub-5:00 mile with training.

Other than that, start running 6 days a week, easy pace, as far as you have time for and can handle without injuries or overtraining.

From Brooke13 on Tue, Jul 07, 2009 at 23:09:19 from

Thanks! I will do that tomorrow and comment back.. what kind of times do you need to run sub 5 min miles?

From Sue on Wed, Jul 08, 2009 at 13:54:52 from


Sorry to post this on your blog but I knew you would see it. My older brother died a few days ago. He was 44 and had 6 children. It was sudden. I am putting on a 5k for his little family. I wanted to see if we could announce it on the fast running blog. I have been trying to follow your guidelines for races that you endorce. The top finishers will receive gym memberships but I will need to get a fancy thing to measure the course to make sure it is exact. The website is

all proceeds go to his family. I would appreciate your support in this in any way possible. Thanks so much!

Here is more info

Mark the Great 5k Fun Run

A 5K fun run/walk and kids race will be held in Mark's honor on:

Saturday, August 1st at the Benjamin Park, 7300 South 3200 West, Spanish Fork. At 8:00 am.

Participants can register online at starting July 6th-July 30th or they can send a registration form from the website and check made out to Mark the Great Foundation to 677 N 650 E Springville, UT 84663.

Registration Fees:

Early registration-$15 July 6th-July 27th

Preregistration- $18 July 28th-July 30th

Race Day Registration-$20 (shirt not guaranteed)

Kids Fun run (ages 3-9) finisher prizes, No shirt for kids: $10


Susan Chapman

From Sasha Pachev on Wed, Jul 08, 2009 at 16:15:29 from

Sue - I can measure the course, and set up the promotion for the race on the blog. I can also do the timing if you need it, and provide a clock. Will call you to figure out the details.

From Sasha Pachev on Wed, Jul 08, 2009 at 16:47:13 from


I believe 15.0 in 100 is the slowest you can be if you have the ability to run sub-5:00 mile. In some exceptional cases maybe 16.0 might make it. Anything slower would be tough because you need to do 18.7 16+ times back to back, some speed reserve is necessary, and speed is difficult to improve. The quarter would need to be at least a 65, but without specific training it is hard to run your best quarter, you could be quite a bit off your potentially best quarter on first try. There is a bear that lives in the steeplechase water pit about 270 meters into the lap, he jumps out and rides on your back when you run past it, and if you are not used to it, your quarter can suffer a lot.

You will probably be off your true best 100 by a good second, maybe second and a half due to the lack of practice and competition. But if you can run 15.0 or faster, and your quarter is under 70 on first try, I'd say running sub-5:00 mile is a matter of training the endurance. In the quarter take your 200 meter split.

Make sure to go a good warm-up especially before 100 - you can pull a muscle otherwise.

Also - post your results, questions, training review requests, etc on the forum on the Training Review request board rather than as comments on individual blogs. This keeps things more organized.

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