Breaking the Wall

Fast Running Blog 5 Miler For Strong Families

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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
Race: Fast Running Blog 5 Miler For Strong Families (5 Miles) 00:27:25, Place overall: 2
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Fast Running Blog 5 Miler For Strong Families, 27:25, 2nd place. Did not run great, but at least set a Five Finger PR for the distance. I am learning that a few extra things I decided to do organizing this race while not appearing too stressful can increase the load on the nervous system and can cause it to fail mid-race.

Set up the start, including the cool new clock from Microframe, nice 5.5 LED digits, remote control, battery power option, available to be used free of charge for races within reasonable distance of Provo that comply with the Promotion Rules. Executive summary of the rules is that you need to have an accurate course, give elite comps, generously (according to your abilities) reward quality performance, and your top raffle prize cannot exceed the lowest performance or accomplishment prize. E.g. if your winner gets only $50, but you are raffling away a treadmill that is not cool. But if you give a cancer survivor that finished the race a treadmill while giving the winner only $50 that is cool.

We had 10 people in the race, 7 pre-registered, 3 showed up day off. Jeff paced me through the first half very evenly with 5:20 and 5:21, then 13:21 at the turnaround. I knew it would be a stretch to hold 5:20 the whole way, but I wanted to know where I would fail and how. At first 5:20 felt very reasonable, half-marathon like. But after the turnaround I could only hold it for another quarter.  Then my legs gave out, and told Jeff to go. I did an 84 quarter, and then it was 86, 85, 86, 85. Legs felt weak. Well, it was not the legs, legs were just fine. The neural drive was not there due to the organizational stress. But I was thankful anyway that it was at least 86 and not 88.

Mile 3 was 5:25, then 5:42 in the 4th. I gave myself a cheer that even though I was dragging at slower than 5:40, at least I hit 4 miles in 21:48, which is a decent time on that course. With half a mile to go I found a droplet of a kick and was able to speed up to 84-83 quarters and finish with 5:37 mile and 27:25 for the whole distance. Jeff closed with a 5:19, 5:17, 5:06, 4:50 pace the last half, and finished with 26:22, new course record, and $50 richer. Not a lot, but better than nothing.

Then I jogged back and ran with Sarah. Found her at around 4.1 into the race. She pushed herself hard and finished with 45:54, a great time, it's been a while since she's been able to run that pace, before the start she was not even sure if she'd be able to break 50:00. She said afterwards that the pain of the effort was greater than in William's labor, but less than in others.

Afterwards drove to the Youth Regional Track Meet at BYU. Jenny ran 1500 in 6:31.22. Benjamin was registered as well, since one of the runners that beat him in State did not run. But he got cold feet and refused to run. He is still a kid, but he needs to learn to deal with those kinds of fears and moods, you need to learn it right at a young age, or your adult life will not be happy. We had a conversation afterwards and he agreed to do a redemption mile time trial on Monday.

Ran 1.5 with Benjamin and Julia to pick up the signs and cones from the race course in 13:40. One of the signs got damaged when somebody apparently rammed into it on a bike or a scateboard. Lesson learned - make sturdier signs.

Will run another 10 with Sarah on a bike tonight.

P.M. Ran 10.1 in 1:09:36 as Sarah followed me on a bike. It was nice to have her around and it's been a while since we've had the opportunity. About 3 miles into the run I told her in Russian that we were following the 7:00 guy with the intent to strike and pass him at some point. Except it was not quite what I said:  Мы пасём семиминутного товарища. Which literally translated is - We are shepherding the seven minute comrade. Sometimes my mouth produces interesting Russian phrases that sound completely normal to a non-English speaking Russian but nevertheless surprise me because I think about how the difficulty of properly translating them into English, and the amusing value of the literal translation. How about this one - "The car was operated by a citizen in a  non-sober condition."

We did the last 2.5 of the race course fast - 14:24, 5:45.6 average. Sarah sang me BINGO the entire time to get me going.  Not surprisingly, the pace felt very hard at the end of the day, but I was surprised at how low the heart rate was - even in the last mile it was 152, and briefly hit 155 at the end when I sped up to 5:36. I think it was a PR for pain at this heart rate with the conditions as warm as they were and the low level of hydration. I never thought I would have to work so hard on a warm July evening after running for 45 minutes to get that low of an HR.

My Five Fingers developed a hole. It is in the right shoe. Less than 500 miles. The other pair took 1000 miles. I suppose that is the difference between doing speed work and tempos and just jogging.

Five Fingers 2 Miles: 18.40Bare Feet Miles: 1.50
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
From The Howling Commando on Sat, Jul 11, 2009 at 18:26:09 from

Sasha I measured my hamstring circumference and my left leg (the one with the sore knee) is nearly 2 " less developed than my right leg! I have started doing the quad tightening exercises to try and build it up, but I can't do lunges and squats as my knees bow out (I'm pretty bowlegged) and it hurts. What do you suggest would be a good way to build up muscle in the left leg?

Great race. You do so much science regarding running. It's fascinating. You would be a great coach!

From cheryl on Sat, Jul 11, 2009 at 18:46:37 from

Thanks, Sasha. It was fun today. Tough but fun.

From Sasha Pachev on Sat, Jul 11, 2009 at 19:06:54 from


I do not know. I am not an expert on muscle group strengthening. My intuition tells me a good approach is to do an overall strengthening in the general area of the problem and hope you get it right. You cannot usually go wrong with being overall stronger. It may not solve the problem, but it will not hurt. Other than time it takes away from specific training, but when you are injured it is usually not an issue.

So maybe something like riding a bike up a hill, or maybe even some leg extensions. Find something you can do that is difficult and do it.

From auntieem on Sun, Jul 12, 2009 at 17:19:24 from

Wow! I am very impressed with your performance in the 5-fingers. I have not been able to buy any because my toes are just too long for the shoe! My husband got a pair yesterday, and I am hopeful that he will run in them with me!

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