Breaking the Wall

January 21, 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

Did a warm-up run with Eric in the morning. Two Slate Canyon Loops with a 600 m acceleration in the middle in 1:54. Then ran with Benjamin and Jennifer. In the afternoon, went to the track meet. It was windy - 11 mph going exactly along the home stretch. You get 100 m tail, 200 m cross, and 100 m head wind. So the times were slow. I was able to get some of my goals, but not all. I avoided being lapped, but only barely. 10 people started the race. If you count the two guys that were already behind me when they dropped out, I did not finish last. The time, however, was more suitable for a tempo run than a 5 K track race - 16:51. I was able to stay with the pack for the first three laps, which we did in 76 seconds each. It felt good. Then on the fourth lap, the pack started to separate. I figured the slower part of the pack would not slow down very much, and provide some windshield for me. This was a mistake. 4:45 at 1500 m. Then the guy in front of me I was using to draft off all of a sudden slowed down to a pace that felt like a jog. We did this 100 m in 20 seconds. I waited for the end of the headwind stretch, and then passed him. In the next two laps I found out why he slowed down so much so soon. The wind had an effect of making you work harder, and get tired sooner. I hit the next lap in 80, and it went downhill from there. 9:50 for 3000 m (3:25, 82 per lap), 13:20 for 4000 m (3:30, 84 per lap), and last 1000 m in 3:31 (84 per lap). Barely escaped having Joe Bendoski lap me. Ran back to my house from the meet. Benjamin insisted on joining me, so I took him. He had already done his hard run earlier, but nevertheless he ran another 3 miles back home at 9:00 pace. The experience confirmed to me that the correct strategy for running on a windy day is to stay with the front pack as close to the leader as possible, but behind him until you are ready to puke. Then back off, and every time you get passed, if you do, draft behind the person who has passed you until you are ready to puke. Too bad it was not a normal race. I do not really know what this performance really means. To what extent did I slow down because of having to break the wind by myself, and to what extent because I lacked the fitness to do 76 second laps? I noticed that the end of that 5 K started feeling more like a threshold pace tempo run, but there seemed to be nothing I could do to make it faster. This is also how I felt in the other 5 K ran earlier this year. First mile in 5:02, and then 5:20-5:25 pace for the rest of it, does not hurt, but cannot go any faster. This is not how I felt when I ran 15:37 in Draper Days in 2004. It hurt start to finish, and I was anaerobically tired for the rest of the day. I suppose to run a good 5 K takes some practice to teach your body to run anaerobically for the 15 whole minutes of it, not just the first 5. I need to look more closely at the log entries to see what works well for this.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From Paul Petersen on Sat, Apr 29, 2006 at 09:19:27


Track running is a whole different beast from road racing. I'd say that your experience yesterday was inconclusive due to the wind. It can really slow you down that much. Plus track running is a lot about rhythm, and the wind probably broke your rhythm to the point where you weren't able to make yourself hurt. My junior year of college I was in 15:00 5k shape, but tanked a race at over 16:00 on a warm windy April day. My coaches were not happy...I refocused and came back 6 days later and ran 30:55 in the 10k on a cool, calm evening, running back-to-back 5k splits much faster than my open 5k the week before. The point is, this race is not an indicator of your fitness. All this performance means is that you need to work on your track-racing skills (not an important asset to a marathoner). I would just completely forget about it and put all your mental focus into Ogden.

From Sasha Pachev on Sat, Apr 29, 2006 at 10:39:09

Exactly! That is what it felt like. The 100 m tailwind section was not long enough for me to shift gears and gain the momentum - I usually need about 400-600 meters for it.

Today (12 hours after that 5 K), I did a 5 mile tempo run on the Provo River Trail with the first 3 miles relaxed, and the last two pushing. My overall time was 27:49 with the last two miles that are slightly uphill in 10:58. My last two miles in the yesterdays 5 K were 11:11. Track running is a whole different animal.

From Dallen on Sat, Apr 29, 2006 at 12:16:18

Definately not a good indicator of your abilities. Maybe you need to continue focusing on the Utah standard of downhill racing. That's your thing.

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