Breaking the Wall

January 19, 2021

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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: 188.26 Year: 188.26
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: 1657.61
Brown Crocs 3 Lifetime Miles: 1359.62
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Total of 12. Benjamin did 5, Jenny 4, Joseph 2, Jacob 1, Julia 3, William 1. Joseph took Stephen for a short run as well. Stephen is still in diapers, so he does not run regularly as a workout.

Benjamin took the AP Computer Science test. Of the four he is taking this year - Chemistry, Computer Science, Calculus BC, and Physics C: Mechanics this might be the easiest for him because he has quite a bit of programming experience. He had to learn Java for this test - most of his experience is in PHP, although he has programmed in Perl and C as well. He felt quite confident after the test, which is a good sign. He also was the only one taking the test. There were about 20 students at Orem High taking the Chemistry exam, but Orem High does not offer Computer Science as a course so Benjamin was it. But they were nice enough to order the test for us and administer it. They only have to proctor, and send it somewhere else to grade, so it is no big deal for them.

I was perhaps naively surprised that nobody else had thought of learning Java on their own and taking the test like Benjamin. If you get even just a 3 (out of 5 graded on a curve) that is a 3 hour credit at BYU for the introductory Computer Science course. Only $89 - compared to around $500 or so worth of tuition - quite a deal. Well, I am posting it here so the cat will be out of the bag.

I did a 3 mile tempo run from the magic spot in the canyon to the house. First mile downhill, then a rolling climb back to the house. Ended up with 17:08. Did not think I'd be running much faster than 6:00 due to the hamstring tension, but it partially went away, and I realized how much had missed my hamstring. But then in the last mile I started to struggle with the pace I think due to not getting good sleep the night before - for some reason I woke up and just lay there from a little before 5 until I finally decided to get up a little after 6. My time was 17:08.

Julia did 800 meter time trial today at the Orem High track. I paced her. She started out a bit too fast going through the first 100 in 21, but I did not hold her back because she had held herself back too much in the past. I also noticed that if I hold my kids back when they are starting out, they get the wrong idea and settle into a pace that is too slow. So I just let them go and follow them. Once they drop below the target pace, I step forward.

Her 200 was 45, then 1:34 at 400 (49), 2:24 at 600 (50), and the last 200 in 46 finishing in 3:10.8 which is a new PR by 6 seconds, and her first PR of the year.

Green Crocs 5 Miles: 12.00
Night Sleep Time: 6.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 6.50
From allie on Tue, May 07, 2013 at 18:31:50 from

wow, benjamin is still quite young, right? (13 or 14?) that is very impressive.

congratulations to julia on her breakthrough.

From Bam on Wed, May 08, 2013 at 14:12:57 from

Benjamin seems to be flying both in his studies and his running - that's great.

If you don't mind me asking, how old is Julia?

From Sasha Pachev on Wed, May 08, 2013 at 16:33:00 from

Allie, Bam - Benjamin is 14 years and 3 months old, Julia is 10 years and 8 months.

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