Breaking the Wall

Park City Half Marathon

Previous WeekRecent EntriesHomeJoin Fast Running Blog Community!PredictorHealthy RecipesSasha Pachev's RacesFind BlogsMileage BoardTop Ten Excuses for Missing a RunTop Ten Training MistakesDiscussion ForumRace Reports Send A Private MessageMonth ViewYear View
Graph View
Next Week
15% off for Fast Running Blog members at St. George Running Center!


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: 266.81 Year: 266.81
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: 1438.17
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Easy run with Ted in the morning. Had a new running partner - his name is Ken. He joined us for the first three. I stopped to go to the bathroom, then did 4x100 strides, two in 18, and two in 17 to catch up. Felt good, speedy, the form felt good, slowed down to 7:12 pace in between for recovery. Saw Sarah (the Fast Running Mommy) on the way back. Got to the house, and ran back with Ted to meet Sarah, but she went another way. So we ended up doing 13.05, I got 1:37:08, Ted was about a minute slower due to my bathroom break.

No ill effects felt from the Saturday adventure. Lydiard said you could run a marathon once a week if you did it slow enough. I suppose he was right after all. Not that it is necessary to do it to train for a marathon, but if a crazy urge strikes you one week, and you slow down sufficiently, it can work.

P.M. Paul was driving through town, so I went for run with him. It was hot, but not as hot as it used to be - only 90. We started at Jiffy Lube where he was getting his oil changed. Ran on the Provo River Trail, crossed Geneva Road, then turned around and came back to my house. This was 5.75 in 42:37. Took Benjamin and Jenny with us, hit the next mile in 8:47, then Paul went on to Jiffy Lube, while we turned around and ran back. Jenny ran the next half mile in 3:49, which gave her 12:36 for 1.5. Put her in the stroller, Benjamin hit the next 0.5 in 3:23, which gave him 15:59 for the 2 miles. Then ran 0.5 with Julia. She hit the first quarter in 2:22, on pace for a PR, so I told her she would get a special prize if she would keep the pace. She picked it up, and hit 2:07 on the next quarter, which gave her 4:29 for 0.5. Afterwards we went to Reams and got her a toy pony, a chess set, and some balloons. She was very happy. Interestingly enough, she did it wearing Crocs - she actually rans better in Crocs than in regular running shoes.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Big Workout. Ran a warm-up of 5.02 with Ted in 37:19. Legs felt snappy. Wondered if this was just the nervous system being a bit wired, or really a sign of fitness. Made the pessimistic assumption. After the warm-up started the 10.02 tempo back to the house with the Provo River 5 Mile Tempo detour. Going off the pessimistic assumption did not have any goals, just run comfortably hard, starting out at a conservative marathon pace, then picking it if feeling good and coasting otherwise.

Got to the tempo turnaround gate in 6:44, this was around 5:45 pace. Ran the next 2.5 in 14:22, then 180 turn, next 2.5 in 14:00, then another 180 turn, next 2.5 in 13:58. This gave me 42:20 for 7.5 en route, with the last 5 of it in 27:58. Kept going past the end of the standard tempo start at Geneva Road to the house. Ran 7:38 for the last 1.33, with the last quarter in 1:22. Total time for 10.02 was 56:42, a slightly under 5:40 average. I was very pleased with the results - I usually run this tempo in a different flavor (faster and shorter course, only 10.00, not 10.02, no running under the bridges, and not net uphill), and my PR on that course is 56:42. This was done with a furious drive on the last 2.5 in 13:32, and with a shorter warm-up. Today I was just coasting, no shift to threshold at the end except maybe on the last 100 meters when I saw a garbage truck and realized I had not put my garbage out.

Total time for 15.04 was 1:34:01.

Interesting events during the run: around 6.75 into the tempo a dog tried to attack me. It was too big to kick (I think it was a shepherd) so I stopped and invited it for a boxing match. It backed off, I advanced, it backed off again, but the moment I would turn and try to run, it would back to its old tricks. So I just waited for the owner to get it. And, I passed a guy on a bike that looked like a farmer. He had a dog on a leash. I wonder if the dog's name is BINGO. The dog did show some interest in me, so I had to swing out wide enough to avoid trouble. We actually see him out almost every day. That dog really likes Nick, always tries to get him.

A little later ran 0.5 with Julia. She liked the stuff she got for her record yesterday and wanted to set another record today. So she ran 4:16 with the splits of 2:09 and 2:07. This is the family record in the 4 and under division. Her run yesterday was the family record as well, but prior to that Jenny held it (4:31).

P.M. Ran 1.53 to the car shop to pick up VanGoGo with Jenny in 13:07, then 2.05 with Benjamin to the soccer game in 16:33, then back (2.06) in 14:00. Benjamin's team won 7:1.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Easy run with Ted on Sasha House 10 Miler at 5:00 AM. The run was pretty much an extension of my sleep, especially the first 3 miles on which we averaged 8:20 with the record slow first quarter in 2:27. Then we woke up a bit on the second half, but not much - 7:30 pace. Total time was 1:18:29. I told Ted I could tell my legs were feeling snappy yesterday when I hit the first quarter in 2:05.

P.M Ran with Julia in the early afternoon. She wanted to set another record. I told her she needed a recovery day after two records in a row. She ran 0.5 in 4:50. Later in the evening ran with Benjamin and Jenny. First mile in 8:34 with Jacob in the double stroller. On the way back, put Jenny in the stroller (took 7 seconds) and went after Benjamin. I usually catch him pretty quickly, but this time it was different - it took me a whole quarter of decent effort. No wonder, he ran it in 1:51, so that made mine 1:44 which is not slow with a loaded double stroller and having to go under the bridge and up by 800 North in Provo. I timed a couple of his 100s, and gave him a challenge to break 7:00 on the last mile. He hit the next quarter in 1:41, followed by 1:39, and another 1:39. His last mile was 6:50, only 2 seconds off his PR set on a track in a race, and this gave him 15:24 for 2 miles. Incidentally, this became my fastest mile of the day up to that point. Afterwards, went for another 4.54, Benjamin went with me on a bike. His bike riding skills have improved greatly, he was very conversational at 6:40 pace. Total time for 4.57 was 30:14. Benjamin pulled away from me on the last quarter. At first I hesitated and coasted, but then with 0.15 to go decided to pick it up. Tried to keep it at no faster than threshold effort. This gave me 1:23 for the last quarter.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Big Workout. Ran the warm-up with Ted, Adam, and Jeff. Stopped at 3.5 to visit a bush, Ted and Adam went on, as Ted was on a tight schedule and they were not doing the workout anyway. Jeff and I did our standard 6.2 warm-up, and started the workout at the end of the official Provo River Trail gate as we usually do. The workout was Ted's idea. I asked him yesterday if he had any suggestions on something that would not run Jeff into the ground. He came up with something that had the potential of running me into the ground as well - 2 miles in 10:40, 3x1 in 5:10, then 2 miles faster than the first time around. I modified it a bit - made it only 2x1 instead, and made a bit of a leeway on pace. Also, if 5:20 pace did not feel right on the 2 mile interval, back off to 5:25 or even slower.

Jeff had had only 3 hours of sleep, so to make things easier for him, we made the 0.5/0.25 lead trade off on the first 2 miler. Ran it with a slight net uphill, mostly from 1.5 to 1.75 (0.5% grade). Nearly perfect pacing - never more than 1 second ahead or behind at any of the checkpoints. This is with me cheating and checking the split every 200 meters (0.125 to be more exact). Got 10:40.0.

Jogged 0.5 untimed, very slow, then ran the mile. The target was 5:15. Jeff took the first and the last quarter, I handled the 0.5 in the middle. Started out right on target, 1:19 for the quarter, then I pushed it a bit during my turn, and Jeff kept the pace during his - we ended up with 5:09.4. This section had a 0.5% down grade from 0.75 to 1, but it also has places that slightly roll, which would make it still slower than perfectly flat.

Jogged 0.25, slow, untimed. Another mile the same way. This time we ran more even and a bit slower, got 5:12.2.

Jogged 0.25, slow, untimed. Jeff was getting tired, so I suggested he should run just the first mile instead and pull me through it. He did a good job, we hit it in 5:18, and I thoroughly enjoyed drafting behind him, it was almost relaxing, as much one could possibly relax that late in the workout and at that effort. Then he was done, and I was left alone. Being alone made the pace a lot harder. I hit the next 0.5 in 2:41. Now try not to lose ground on the uphill quarter. Managed 1:21, now the 5:20 guy caught up to me. To hold him off, I picked up the effort, and ran the last quarter in 1:19. This gave me 10:39.2 for 2 miles.

Cooled down to make the total 15.04.

Interesting events: passed our favorite farmer with the dog named BINGO again, twice. Some background for those not familiar with this inside joke. My kids used to listen to a tape with BINGO on it, so the song got firmly ingrained in my head (being raised in Russia, I did not grow up with it). One time during a tempo run it came into my head, and that seemed to do a nice job keeping the neural drive going and helped me sustain the pace. Then this year during the Del Sol relay my teammates asked me if I wanted them to do anything for me during the night leg. I asked them to sing BINGO around mile 2. So around 2 AM somewhere on a country road near Scottsdale, AZ Paul, Jon, Clyde, Dan, and Dave Nelson got out of VanGoGo and did the gig. Since then, the song kept popping up in various contexts. Paul told me during the 30 K in Ogden he had BINGO in his head. I knew I was in trouble. Now every time I do my Big Workout, often trying to get my brain to fire with BINGO, I pass that farmer-looking guy riding a bike with his dog.

Then on the last 0.5 of the workout I saw the Fast Running Mommy again. She looked like a blur by that point, but I nevertheless recognized her and waved. She ran 5 miles in 48:10.

P.M. Ran with Julia in the early afternoon. She was supposed to do an easy 0.5 run, but after a quarter in 2:40 she said she wanted to do a mile. So she hit the next quarter in 2:13, followed by 2:10, and 2:12. This gave her the time of 9:15 for the mile, a 42 second PR, and the family record in the 4 and under age division. The previous record of 9:32 was being held by Jenny. I was very pleased with Julia's initiative on going the distance, picking up the pace, and exhibiting a degree of mental toughness above her age. She was breathing pretty hard the entire time once she picked up the pace after the first quarter, but was maintaining a good rhythm nevertheless like a mature elite runner.

I dream about being 90 years old, looking at the IAAF top rankings in the distance races and seeing the name Pachev all over. Today when runners see the last name of Rono, Ndereba, or Bekele on the start list, they become seriously concerned even when they are not recognizing the first name. When I am 90, I want them to feel the same way when they see my last name. Not so much that I want the glory, but I want to demonstrate the power of one, how much can be accomplished by being consistently productive, challenging the false dogmas without questioning God-given laws, and reaching out with faith for the seemingly impossible. Today we got one step closer.

Ran with Benjamin in the afternoon to the soccer practice (2.12 in 17:53 for him, I was about 40 seconds faster due to a bathroom stop in the middle), then back with Jenny, she got 12:37 for 1.5 then rode in the stroller the rest of the way, I got 17:06 for 2.08, then I was running late to a church meeting, and ran 0.12, actually made it before the meeting started. It is amazing how much difference relaxed running makes over relaxed walking for me even over such a short distance.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Sasha House 10 Miler with Ted and Jeff in 1:14:10. Hit the first half in 38:41, then woke up a bit. 2 more miles after that alone, first in 6:45, second in 6:25, this gave me 1:27:20 for 12.04. Started asleep as usual, felt progressively better as I went. Interesting events: saw a skunk, he did not spray us, then discussed skunks for a while. I learned that dogs gets sprayed a lot by skunks. Also, saw a pit bull, no owner, no leash. Ted yelled at him to go home while I pointed the way. That seemed to work. He kept running ahead and looking back, checking his lead I suppose. Finally he got off the trail, and headed into the trailer court.

P.M. Flooding in Michigan apparently affected the Fast Running Blog. Our ISP Sectorlink was apparently struggling with the power outage, so we were down for a few hours. Fortunately it lasted less than the worse possible case that I anticipated, and we are back in business. Ran 0.5 with Julia in 4:42, then a mile with Benjamin and Jenny in 8:39 (Benjamin was a bit a head with 8:38), and then 3.54 in 27:21 by myself. Park City Half tomorrow.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Race: Park City Half Marathon (13.1 Miles) 01:14:18, Place overall: 1
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Park City Half Marathon, 1:14:18, first place. Today was Jenny's 7th birthday. Winning the race has a historical significance. I won Hobblecreek in 2000 about 10 hours after she was born. I do not always get to celebrate her birthday by winning a race, but I try.

Drove up with Ted and Jeff. Warmed up 2.3 miles.

Saw Bob Thompson. Bob is recovering from a calf injury, but knowing his previous fitness level, it was a possibility that he could cause some trouble, and definitely be able to run with us at least for a while. So I invited Bob and Jeff to share the lead every quarter. We went like that for two miles at about 5:45-5:50 pace. The course is a beast - starts at 6400 feet (Kimball Junction), climbs to 6900 at the half-mark (somewhere in the middle of Park City residential area), then back down the same way. About half of the way on gravel/dirt. Lots of 90 degree turns, and the narrowness of the trail makes them a true 90 - no room to swing out. To make things worse, the climb is uneven - some places flat, some near flat, some even slightly down, and some steeper, reaching perhaps a 3-4% grade, which really hurts at altitude anywhere, and on this course those parts are towards the end of the climb - a higher elevation for the steep parts, double trouble. So on that climb anything sub-6:00 is really good.

That pace was too much for Bob after two miles. I suppose he would have done relatively better at a lower elevation - the gaps in the aerobic conditioning from a forced break would have had less effect. Jeff and I went on trading quarters. Jeff was very strong and was making me suffer. By around 3.5 I knew that the only thing that would save me would be the distance to soften him up, and I hoped 13.1 would be long enough. Nevertheless, I was taking my turns every other quarter according to the plan. Our slowest quarter (off Garmin) during the entire climb was 1:34. At first I rarely saw anything slower than 1:30, but as the grade became steeper, I started seeing 1:31s and 1:32s more often. We would occasionally hit a 1:27-1:28 when it flattened out for a brief moment, or when Jeff would really turn up the heat on me.

We reached the turnaround in 38:56, and my Garmin 305 showed a reasonable distance, good sign. Most of the mile markers agreed with Garmin as well, another good sign. On the way down both of us press hard on our turns. I started seeing sub-1:20 quarters quite frequently. Saw Chris Rogers in third, he passed Bob, then Bob not too far behind, then a while later a group of runners and Ted. By around 8 we were in the thick of things - lots of runners going the other way.

I kept waiting for the distance to soften Jeff up, but it was not happening. I began to realize that I was dealing with a different Jeff. That is good news for his upcoming marathon in St. George. Today with no taper he could have definitely made it to 16 in one piece if not further, then it is only 10 to go. Additionally, St. George is a much more fuel efficient course. I've felt pretty bad on it around 13-15 and was still able to finish decent, without a forced premature cool-down. If I am feeling that bad at the same point in Ogden or Top of Utah, things do not look good, the cool-down is bound to happen.

With a mile to go, it was apparent that the race would be decided with a kick. We were still trading leads on quarters, but now it was more tactical and ferocious. Jeff is not a kicker, so he was trying to drop me with a fast pace. I am not a kicker in a 5 K, and I will not kick well off a faster pace, but in a threshold race (15 K to half-marathon) it is a different story. If the pace softens up to as little as 5 seconds per mile slower than my threshold, I will have a good kick. At 12.75 it was my turn to lead, but I figured waiting another 200 meters to take my lead would be fair game that late in the race. Jeff had soften up just a tad, and it was enough for me to have a kick. So I waited until I thought we had 300 meters to go, and then went for it. Jeff did not expect me to start the kick that early, so I was able to open up a small gap. I eased off a bit, then once we hit the grass, I realized I was in trouble - Jeff was closing, and he has done a lot more cross-country running than me. So I pushed as hard as I could, and ended up beating him by a second. The time on my watch said 1:14:20, the official time was 1:14:18. Jeff had 1:14:19. Chris was third with 1:16:59, and Bob fourth with 1:17:37 (I think). Ted was 6th with 1:23:37 (I think).

After the finish the announcer did not have us on his list, so he asked me my name. That 300 meter anaerobic interval at the end put me on the edge of losing my breakfast had I eaten one in the morning, but fortunately I did not, so there was nothing to lose, but I was still not able to talk. So I waved to him, and he said he would get to the business later.

One great thing about this race was the food. I think this race had the best food selection I've ever seen in a race. Lots of natural, organic stuff. I ate a lot.

Ran a 3 mile cool-down with Ted and Jeff. Then stayed for long enough for the awards ceremony, and watch the finish of the marathon. Dave Spence made a come back and won with a high 2:49. Steve Olsen was second with 2:53, Bill Cobler third with 2:57.

P.M. Ran 0.5 with Julia running and Joseph in the single stroller in 4:49, then 1.5 with Benjamin and Jenny, plus Joseph in the single stroller in 13:27, then 3.04 in 21:30 with Benjamin riding along on a bike. Hit a bit over 120 miles this week, highest ever.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Debt Reduction Calculator

Featured Announcements