Breaking the Wall

Utah Valley 5 K

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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: 304.65 Year: 3606.17
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: 806.96
Race: Utah Valley 5 K (3.107 Miles) 00:16:20, Place overall: 2
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Woke up this morning at 3:00 AM to go to the bathroom and then could not fall   asleep. Oddly enough was worried about Steve getting lost on the course again and getting a bummer instead of $1000. After about an hour of wondering I finally decided to call Hyrum (figuring he was up setting up the course anyway) and make sure everything is OK. Hyrum reassured me everything was fine, but by then I was wound up enough that I could not fall back asleep.

Had a bit of an adventure at the start with Jeff not realizing the race was chip-timed and not bringing the chip. We finally got his chip, but that gave us only 0.5 warmup in 27 F weather. With me not getting enough sleep, Jeff fighting the cold, and neither one of us getting a good warmup for such a short race it was lame racing the lame. So we did our best under the circumstances.

Traded leads every minute through the first mile, then I took my lead and Jeff fell back. Caught 4:39 split at 24 mile marker of the marathon, which is 5:14 pace. Got 9:55 at mile 25 marker, 5:16. With about 0.5 to go Jeff made a strong move, and caught, and passed me. I latched on to him, but then he started the kick and gapped me. 15:14 at mile marker 26, 5:19. I closed a bit half way through, but not enough, and then he opened up what I closed again. We ended up 1-2, Jeff 16:19.7, me 16:20.9. The course was flat, the last 5 K of the marathon. I would say the time was acceptable for the lack of sleep, the cold weather, and the lack of warm-up.

Paced Benjamin. He ended up with 21:32.2 running in Crocs, a PR by 28 seconds. Then drove to around mile 18 and paced Steve from there. Steve won with 2:37:08 with a gap of over 19 minutes in spite of having a cold. Then paced Andy, he got a decent time for a training run - 3:02. Then paced Josse, and watched her move into the lead on the last mile performing the proverbial lamb sacrifice as she moved into big money and left her opponent with none. Then ran some more with Jeff back to where we left our cars. Ended up with about 18.4 miles total.

P.M. 1 with Julia in 11:20, 1.5 with Jenny in 13:04.

Crocs - 432.9 miles.

Night Sleep Time: 5.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 5.00
From air dark horse on Sun, Apr 13, 2008 at 10:21:13

Hey, thanks again for towing me home to the finish. Considering where you started it definitely must given you some miles today.

From Christi on Sun, Apr 13, 2008 at 11:50:07

Wow- considering I ran a 5k the same day, I am blown away by your time! Congrats on the 2nd place- awesome!

From josse t on Sun, Apr 13, 2008 at 22:37:18

Thank you for the extra push at the end of the marathon. You do know how to make someone mad enough to want to run faster. Really it was great and thanks for the teaching along the way. Close race for the two of you.

From barry on Mon, Apr 14, 2008 at 08:55:07

I have a question for you. I am running a half-marathon this Saturday, how much should I cut back on my mileage?

From Sasha Pachev on Tue, Apr 15, 2008 at 12:37:48

Barry - I would actually increase it or at the very least keep it the same. You have been running only 20-40 miles a week. At this volume, cut back does not produce the effect you would expect from a taper. Rather, you just lose fitness. I would, however, ease off on your pace, not just this week, but in general. Try running more mileage at no faster than 8:00 pace. You gain absolutely nothing from running at your 10 K - half marathon race pace more often than a couple of times a week. If you do it daily, it overloads the nervous system and/or beats up your muscles, bones, joints, and ligaments. So that puts a cap on how far you can run each day, which in turn puts a cap on how much you can develop your aerobic endurance, which develops much more in proportion to distance than in proportion to speed. I think if you developed it properly you could run 1:18 half marathon, maybe even faster.

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