Breaking the Wall

Orem International Thangsiving 4 Miler

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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:

Russian champion tries Crocs, commits to racing a marathon in them

Nikolay Chavkin in the video below did 3x1000, first two in Adidas carbon-fiber models, the last one in Crocs. Surprised by the result (2:52, 2:52, 2:50) with the fastest interval done in Crocs, he committed to racing a marathon in Crocs if the video gets 42K likes and 195 comments (for 42 km 195 m, the marathon distance). Nikolay's current marathon PR is 2:14:00. The video was created by a Russian sporting goods store chain. Their moto is "more sports - brighter life", which we think is wonderful, and also deserves a Like. If you want to see a fast marathon in Crocs, go to the video and click the Like button. And make sure to share it with your friends.

Miles:This week: 0.00 Month: 202.42 Year: 3453.86
Saucony Type A Lifetime Miles: 640.15
Bare Feet Lifetime Miles: 450.37
Nike Double Stroller Lifetime Miles: 124.59
Brown Crocs 4 Lifetime Miles: 1334.06
Amoji 1 Lifetime Miles: 732.60
Amoji 2 Lifetime Miles: 231.94
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. The Uneventful Half. Record number of participants today. In addition to Ted, and myself, we had Michelle, Tom, and Jamie for the full distance. Additionally Daniel joined us for the first 1.5, then turned around and ran back home - recovering from his ankle injury.

Two VPB stops, caught up at around 5:30-5:35 pace both times, total of about 0.8. Did 8x100 strides as well. We stayed together as a pack most of the way, Jamie fell back 5 seconds on the last quarter. Total time for the lead pack was 1:34:25. I was probably a minute faster due to the post VPB stop accelerations, but I did not stop my watch. Interestingly enough, Jamie got a PR for the half marathon today.

Interesting dream this morning. I dreamed about running a 1500 in 3:49 and being disappointed because I did not make it to the Trials (3:42 standard). Then I said, wait a minute, I am a marathoner! If I can run 3:49 in the 1500 I should be stoked instead - this means I've got a 2:12 marathon in me! Not only will this get me to the Trials with standard A, this gives me a shot for the team. Then I woke up, and it was time to train to make it true.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 17:32, 1.05 with Julia in 10:27, 1.5 with Jenny pushing Jacob in the stroller in 14:06, and then 1.5 still with Jacob in the stroller, but otherwise alone in 10:43.

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

A.M. Big Workout at 5:00 AM. Ted did not make it, I suppose due to his knee pain. Part of it was with Clyde and Adam for portions of it. Adam turned around at 3.88. Clyde joined me for the first 2 miles of the tempo - his legs were still sore. First 6.22 in 47:03. Noticed some wind, did not like it.

Then started the tempo. I was lazy. Clyde had his horses neighing at first. So I took the first quarter in 1:28, Clyde responded with 1:20 on his. Odd, felt fast but not 5:20 pace fast. Then I took mine in 1:27, Clyde responded with a 1:25, 5:40 mile. I did mine in 1:28, Clyde did his in 1:23. Around that time I started liking Clyde's quarters, but still lacked the initiative on mine. Then I took no splits for a while - it was dark, and I kept missing the marks. Clyde all of a sudden lost steam and bailed out at 2 - I guess his legs started to complain a lot. I continued on in my laziness. Hit a 5:53 mile (slight up) before the turnaround with the last quarter of 1:29. Talk about a lazy bum. 14:24 at the turnaround.

On the way back tried to wake up. Hit the next mile in 5:44. Then things started to come together a bit, next mile in 5:38. Starting to gain on the 5:40 finally, but there seems to be some odd wind out there, and it is still dark. I am still not feeling extra motivated. Just as I about settled into a nice 5:38 rhythm, there was a gust head wind that slowed me down to a 1:29 quarter. 14:16 for the second 2.5, 28:40 for 5 miles.

On the way back, the tail wind helped me get into a nice 5:36 rhythm after hitting the first quarter in 1:26 recovering from a 180 turn. Prior to hitting the headwind earlier I had hopes to catch the 5:40 guy, but now my goal was to just break 14:00 on the last 2.5. So I was just cruising along at 5:36 pace knowing that I could eat away the 2 second deficit on the last mile barring the headwind or something crazy like that. Next mile in 5:38. Then with 1.5 to go the sun started to rise, and I began to see some light. I may also have gotten a brief gust of tailwind as well. That gave me extra momentum and with about the same effort I hit a 1:22 quarter. From then on, I did all of the quarters in 1:22 up until the last, and with a little bit of concentration but not really kicking hit the last one in 1:20. So that gave me 8:10 for the last 1.5, 5:26 for the last mile (slight up), 13:48 for the last 2.5, and 42:28 for the entire 7.5 tempo, 2 seconds ahead of the 5:40 guy, and a PR for the 5:00 AM version of that run.

Ran the cool down (1.38) in 10:34, total time for 15.1 was 1:40:05, 6:37.68 avg.

Observed an interesting phenomenon that I've seen many times before. When I hit the headwind I had a certain negative feeling in the quads. That feeling comes usually when it is cold and I am trying to either run hard or not super hard but I am not yet warmed up, e.g I can get it going as slow as 7:00 pace in the first mile on a cold morning. I can also get it on a warmer day running hard uphill or into a headwind, and on a cold day that feeling is more pronounced when the quads are in high power mode (uphill, headwind). It can happen at slower than marathon pace effort heart rate, so it is not lactic acid build-up, that feeling is distinctly different from anaerobic running, but it is similar in that it seems to signal to the brain to back off. I can even get it by just walking up the stairs. I am thinking that feeling comes from the blood vessels being too constricted to handle the blood flow in required quantities.

So the question for those with exercise physiology background - when running uphill or into ahead wind, would the increased contraction of the muscle squeeze the blood vessels to restrict blood flow to some perceivable degree?

P.M.  2 miles with Benjamin and Lost Sheep Stu in 17:23. Pushed Joseph in the single stroller. Then put Joseph and Benjamin in the double stroller and ran 2 more miles with Lost Sheep Stu in 14:49. Then 1.05 with Jenny and Julia in 10:55, 0.5 more with Jenny in 4:39, and 0.7 by myself in 5:03, no stroller.

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

A.M. Very easy run with Ted at 5:00 AM this morning. 10.1 in 1:16:58.

Took a look at how the Hanson guys are training at Athleticore. Examined Chad Johnson, Nick Arciniaga, and Brian Sell. They train pretty much like I do. Brian Sell does a bit more mileage - 150 -160. Their speed work is 20-30 seconds per mile faster altitude adjusted, but the workouts are very similar - hardly any VO2 Max work, mostly tempos and aerobic intervals. However, the recovery rate is much different. I hardly ever have a bad day or any pains anywhere. They complain about aches and pains half the time. I need to solve the problem of being 20-30 seconds per mile slower on every distance. This is a beast, but I am determined to get to the root of it.

The challenge of the beast is that this is not a well-researched subject. Nobody really cares to develop a science of making a 31 minute 10 K runner into a 29 minute one. They just say the 31 minute 10 K should be happy that he is not a 35 minute 10 K runner or worse. I do not like that. I do not like web pages that take more than a second to load, I've always been able to make them load faster than that when I tried hard enough. I think we can do better than "be happy you can run 31:00" if we try. I feel driven to understand what exactly makes the trained 31 minute 10 K runner that way, why is he stuck there?

P.M. Easy run with Lost Sheep Stu - 4 miles at a bit slower than 8:00. He is procrastinating getting out of the lost sheep category, give him a personal message in his blog.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Race: Orem International Thangsiving 4 Miler (4 Miles) 00:21:06, Place overall: 3
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran in the Orem Thanksgiving 4 Miler. 21:06.4, 3rd place.

It was cold - 24 degrees, and windy as well. The wind was coming out of the Provo Canyon and making its way to central Orem. So good friendly cross-wind the first quarter, mild unfriendly cross-wind the next quarter, then more unfriendly cross-wind the next 0.5, mild friendly cross-wind the next 0.5, very friendly cross-wind the next 0.5, mild unfriendly next 0.5, very unfriendly the next 0.5, mild friendly the next 0.5, very friendly the next quarter, and mild unfriendly on the last quarter. I discovered this in the warm-up, and adjusted my expectations accordingly. The plan was to start slower than normal, draft as much as possible on the unfriendly cross-winds, and move from pack to pack on the friendly ones. Unfortunately for the goal of running a fast time, or perhaps fortunately for the goal of winning a turkey (top 5 overall or 1st in the age division), there were not many packs around, and I spent all of the race except the first mile alone.

As usual, there was a pack of high schoolers going out way too fast. They probably would be able to hold that pace all the way if they trained right. We are sure wasting a lot of talents in high schools. I worked my way through the pack trying to use them as wind breakers. It worked to a certain extent. I would tuck in behind a guy and start breathing noisily to make him feel like if he picked it up he would drop me. Unfortunately, those guys did not last, but each one would always pull me up to the next close enough to where I could advance to the next drafting target with a mild surge. Passed Ed Eyestone - he is back into running, although not nearly as fast as he used to me. Worked my way up to Danny Moody. Danny pulled me up to Seth Wold, Stephen Clark, and another runner I did not recognize.

I happily sat behind them. Then they slowed down into the wind, and I was itching to go, but not bad enough to break the wind for them. First mile in 5:18. Then Seth and Stephen just took off. I tried to go with them, but they were way too fast. But this helped me lose Danny and the other guy, which was helpful for the turkey cause. Next mile in 5:08 with friendly cross winds. Felt good. Now unfriendly cross winds. Third mile in 5:20 according to the official mark, but I am pretty sure it was about 5 seconds off. I could tell I was slower than 5:20. Made the turn and started recovering from fighting unfriendly cross winds alone for a mile. Started kicking into gear. With a quarter to go heard Danny Moody coming up on me. That was trouble, he can run a quarter in low 50s. So I ran like an antelope chased by a cheetah - its only hope is to have enough gap to start with and run the cheetah out of juice. It worked, I managed to hold him off, he finished 5 seconds behind. Last mile officially in 5:20, but more likely around 5:13-5:15. Got my turkey.

Felt good after the finish, jogging felt comfortable right away, which is a sign that although I did not run very fast, and did not feel like I could have gone faster, it was very aerobic, probably the most aerobic I've ever been in a 4 mile race. When sub-5:20 on a windy day in 24 degrees feels aerobic, it is a good sign for the marathon.

Ran back to meet Sarah. She got a PR of 31:57, and finished 161st out 547 men and women.

Then it was time for kids races. First the diaper division - 0-2 100 meters. We had two in that race - Jacob, and Joseph. Jacob got a DNS - refused to start the race. That's OK, he is only 16 months old, we'll work on having a better attitude next year. Plus he got a turkey in the raffle. Joseph did great. No complaining, no crying, ran the whole way. 46.2. 3rd boy, Pachev family record for the diaper division! Good race, even though the competition was stronger - the winner ran 34 seconds. Very good attitude for his age and the conditions.

We did not have anybody in the 3-4 400 meter race. In the 800 meter race they had everybody run together, which included two age divisions - 5-6, and 7-8, both boys and girls. That took me by surprise as I hoped the races would be in separate heat so I could pace all of the remaining children individually. With Julia being the youngest, I decided to pace her, and let Benjamin and Jenny run on their own.

Benjamin did great - 3:00.6, new PR, won the boys 7-8 by 27 seconds. I told him to hang back but keep an eye on the leaders up until 300 meter mark, then pull up to them, and around 400  put on a decisive winning move. He did exactly what I told him. His move was absolutely devastating to the competition. When I saw him after the turnaround, he was hauling, and giving the rabbit a run for her money. He tells me he ended up dropping the rabbit. Turkey for Benjamin.

Jenny was racing Sophia Thompson who is 8, so this was going to be tough. Sophia beat her with 3:14. Jenny got 3:34, a new PR,  2nd in the age division, but chicked all the boys except Benjamin and the 2nd place finisher in the 7-8 division.

Julia  also had  a tough race being only 5, and a young 5 as well, and racing in the 5-6  division, with Rachael Blackburn in the race. She was having a decent race up until 200 to go. Then she kind of gave up. But she still managed a decent time of 4:24, and a second place in her age division after Rachael, who ran 3:59. Interestingly enough, last year it was Jenny who took the turkey away from Rachael using the advantage of being 1 year older. But this year it was the Blackburn's turn for the turkey in women 5-6.

Ran a cool down with Benjamin (1.1), then another mile with Ted and James, then Jenny lost her special bunny. When you see her race like a furious dragon it is easy to forget that she is only 7. The lost bunny was a reminder. We looked and looked, and could not find it. Then Benjamin, Jenny and I even ran along the race course (total of 0.8), and still no bunny. Then we came back and Sarah had found it in the van. Jenny's sorrow turned immediately into joy.

P.M. Got home around 5:30 PM from Salt Lake, went for an easy 5 on the trail alone. Absolutely not a soul in any form. Felt a bit weak in the first 3 miles, then felt strong, and chased down the 7:00 guy - 34:57 for the run.

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

A.M. Easy 10 with Ted in 1:14:30, did 8x100 strides. James joined us for the first 6, we also caught up to Adam around 2.5 miles, and he ran with us most of the way.

P.M. Ran 2 miles with the kids over by Ted's house. First 1 mile with James, Benjamin, Jenny, Jared, and Julia in 9:40. Then dropped Julia off, another 0.5 in 4:34 (14:14 at 1.5), dropped Jared and Jenny off, challenged Benjamin to catch the 9:00 guy, he cranked it up, took the hills as if they were not there, ran the last 0.5 in 3:27, total time for 2 miles was 17:41. Noticed that Benjamin is starting to develop an Ethiopian knee-lift - you look at him an wonder how a guy so short could take strides so long.

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

A.M. Decided to be a bum today, since I am tapering. It was cold, so I waited until 11:00 AM for it to warm up. It did not warm up much - 30 degrees, and some odd winds, but that was as good as it was going to get.

15.1 progression run. Did not have any goals, decided to play by ear and set them as I went. Start out easy, then brisk easy, then marathon pace once it felt right. First quarter was 1:49, then started going 6:40, then 6:20, by 2 miles I was up to 6:00. Hit 2 miles in 12:51. After some hesitation decided not to give the 6:00 guy any more ground. Passed Adam around 3.3, invited him to join, but 6:00 pace was faster than he wanted to go. Hit the 5.05 turnaround in 31:01, then 38:01 at 6.22.

Cruised along edging up on the 6:00 guy like a predator. Next 2.5 in 14:45, turned around came back in 14:43. Now that catching the 6:00 guy was pretty much a done deal, decided to set a new goal - break 44:00 for the standard 7.5 stretch, and catch the 1:30:00 guy for the 15.1. That would mean putting a 36 second gap on the 6:00 guy. For that one I had to get my horses moving, and they fussed. They were enjoying the 5:55 pace just fine. It took a good 0.7 of negotiation before I could convince them to go 5:45 pace. Hit the next 2.5 in 14:29, 43:57 for 7.5.

Still had 1.38 to go, it was a rough maze. Three tunnels, lots of 90 degree turns, net uphill of 40 feet. Lost concentration, lost ground to 6:00 guy in a few spots. With 0.625 to go saw I needed to run 3:29 to make it. Wow, I really have got to move my horses for that, so I did. 42 for the uphill 200, then 1:25 for the quarter with 2 turns, and trying to get around a slowly moving SUV to cross 500 N, OK, now it is really time to stop messing around or the 1:30:00 guy will slip away, last quarter in 1:22, got 1:30:00 on the dot. Talk about a lazy bum, waited for the last moment and would not even budge to be 1 second ahead. Average of 5:57.62. Last 13.1 in 1:17:09, avg. 5:53.36.

P.M. The difficulty of negotiating with the horses in contrast with the aerobically conversational ease of 6:00 pace suggested a nervous system failure. This did make sense, as we had a couple of rough nights with sick kids, then I raced faster than my normal tempos, but did not take naps in the last two days. So although I was not feeling sleepy I decided to lay down and let my body take a nap. At first not much was happening, but pretty soon I zonked out and ended up sleeping for 2.5 hours. Then ran with the kids. 2 miles with Benjamin in 17:29, then 1.05 with Jenny and Julia in 10:52, then another 0.5 with Jenny, total of 15:27 for 1.55.

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
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