Breaking the Wall

August 13, 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: 88.07 Year: 2386.98
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: 1257.89
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Drove to Payson with Ted and Benjamin to pace Benjamin in the Payson Onion Days 5 K. Benjamin did an excellent job running a PR of 23:31.6. His official mile splits were 7:16 - 7:42 - 7:56. Ted's GPS gave him 7:17 - 7:47 - 7:57. According to Ted's Garmin 205 the course was only 3.08. The course did not have any sharp hills to seriously confuse the GPS. So based on what I've seen from Ted's GPS measurements in the past, I'd have to say the course was probably 10 seconds short. However, even then Benjamin still would have gotten a PR. I wish the race directors in general considered course certification a high priority. It does cost some money (or work), but it is very well worth it in the long run. Maybe I should make a banner "Race Director, certify your course!" and run it on this site. Along with that "Race Director, start your race where the certification documents tell you you should" especially for the Great Salt Lake half-marathon. The 1-9 age division was very competitive. Benjamin ended up third - got beat by R.J. Lundberg and Nathaniel Kruger who are both 9. He finished 34th in the men's division out of 108, and was beat by 7 women out of 118. Not too bad for a 7 year old kid. The race was won by Mike Michael Buckhoff, a master's runner from California in 16:33.8. The results are available here. Afterwards, Ted and I went back on the course to do a tempo run. I hit the first mile (slight down) in 5:26, which agreed with Ted's GPS. 10:58 at 2 miles, about 3 seconds short, and then I took a wrong turn at around 2.7 and ended up running 3.4 in 19:11. Ted ran 2 miles in 11:40, and then jogged down to finish in 18:56. This would have given him 4th place in the race. I was not very happy with the way I felt in the tempo run - the stride felt tense and choppy. So went I got back home, I decided to do some more tempo running after a run with Jennifer, Julia, and Abbi (Benjamin did his honor lap in the stroller sitting right next to Joseph). The second tempo run went better, at least I liked the way I felt better. I ran one Slate Canyon Loop (2.11). First three slightly rolling quarters in 1:21 each. Then the quarter uphill in 1:32 (5:35 for the mile). 7:26 at the turn-off into the Slate Canyon (1:51 for 0.29 uphill). Then 8:30 with 0.625 to go. 9:05 with 0.5 to go (35 downhill). Next two quarters 73 (down), and 80 (up). 11:38 for the loop, only 5 seconds slower than my course PR. Overall I felt the stride was wider. Did Pettibon exercises, and took the Adrenal formula. Sarah went to SLC to see her family, and when she tried to come back the van refused to start. So she is stuck in SLC now. If anybody can recommend a good mechanic in West Valley, the advice will be appreciated. This means I had to fix myself dinner tonight. I followed her Buckwheat Recipe, and it turned out really good.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From Paul Petersen on Tue, Sep 05, 2006 at 10:06:57

Benjamin is getting fast...

These little gps units are never trustworthy, so I wouldn't put ANY weight into what it measures. The only good ways to measure a course are with a measuring wheel or bicycle. There is a reason GPS is not acceptable for certification.

From Sasha Pachev on Tue, Sep 05, 2006 at 10:36:43

Paul - I have been skeptical of the GPS measurements in the past. In fact, one time back in 2003 I wheeled the Swiss Days 10 K which was measured out with a GPS, and sure enough, my suspicions were confirmed - it was 111 meters long.

However, the Garmin 205/305s have improved considerably. All of the 205/305 models I've checked on certified courses showed the correct length, or sometimes 0.02 longer probably because the runner did not do his tangents well. I have also been running with Ted and constantly checking his Garmin 205. It was significantly wrong only once showing 2.18 instead of 2.11 on the Slate Canyon Loop. When the course is flat or does not have sharp elevation changes, it has always agreed with my wheel measurements. However, immediate pace feedback can still be a bit off at times.

Interestingly enough USATF does not accept wheel measurements for certification, only a bike that was calibrated immediately prior and immediately after the measurement.

From Clay on Wed, Sep 06, 2006 at 14:48:32

I didn't run faster I was slower than usual, in response to your bolg to me today, time was 1:33:20, I felt like I couldn't run another mile. I am new to this how do I respond to you guys, do I click on your blog and then send my reply after you have looked at what I have done on a paticular day, or is that wrong.

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