Breaking the Wall

January 23, 2021

Recent 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 MessageWeek ViewMonth ViewYear View
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: 188.26 Year: 188.26
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: 1359.62
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Finally I got around to doing a scheduled speed workout. It did help that Jeff wanted to do a tempo. I decided I was going to become a boltun, which is the masculine form of boltushka. Both words mean a talkative person in Russian. For me, being a boltun means I am not going to schedule any speed work unless somebody is doing it with me, and even then, go his pace even if he is slower. The rationale behind it is that even though my muscles and cardio can handle pushing the pace every other day fine, my nervous system subtly becomes worn out. The lack of muscular fatigue does not help, either, because it tricks me into thinking I am good to go for another workout too soon. With a partner, the nervous system will get taxed less. If he is slower, I can move up front and pull him and still be OK. If he is faster, I can draft - the muscles will work harder, but the brain will not. If he is an equal match, then we'll trade quarters, and the brain will be working half the time.

After yesterday's experience I was confident the crocs were good enough for a 15 mile run. Jeff's first question when he saw them was if they stay on your feet. They actually do quite well. We warmed up a few miles, then started the Provo River 5 Mile Tempo. The plan was to run side by side for about 0.5, then I would move up front and pull Jeff at whatever pace he thought was right the rest of the way. Jeff is still not quite in his top shape after his injury, normally we just trade quarters. So we did the first two quarters in 1:24. After that I accelerated to move up, but forgot to ease off once I was there. So the next quarter was 1:20. Then I eased off to 1:24, 5:32 for the mile. Jeff seemed to be doing OK, so I ran the next mile in 5:30 at a steady pace hoping that maybe we could beat the 5:30 guy. But then Jeff started struggling and we backed off some. 13:51 at the turnaround, we lost quite a bit hitting both quarters before and after in 1:26. Doing a 180 in the dark over by that gate is a bit tricky.

16:40 at 3 miles. 22:17 at 4. Then Jeff struggled on the micro-hill - quarters of 1:27 and 1:26, then I told him we needed to run sub-5:40 to break 28:00, so he sped up a bit, and we closed with 1:24 and 1:23 to finish the 5 miles in 27:57.

Ran back with Jeff to his house, then the additional distance to make the total of 15.

More notes on the crocks - the pluses are that the form feels great, the foot comes off the ground quickly, the fatigue is less noticeable, the foot lands on the toe, and the shin muscles are working very well, better than in any other shoe I have ever worn. The minuses are that my big toes do not like the feeling of rubber pressing against them, The side of my foot hits the side attachment clip of the back strap on the sharp turns at fast speeds, and the extra rotation of my right foot causes it to rub against the top edge of the shoe which resulted in a minor blister. Plus their durability is not that great. After only 25 miles I am already seeing wear marks in the toe area. No wear marks on the heel, a very good sign. So far, I am encouraged to try Vibram Five Fingers, which should have all of the advantages of crocs but would hopefully address the disadvantages. Plus, being able to use the toes more freely should help.

P.M. Crocs again. 1 with Julia in 10:27, 1.5 with Jenny in 13:10. She said: "There is no way I can catch the 9:00 girl" as she closed 10 seconds on her in a quarter. She repeated that half-way through the next quarter in which she closed the remaining 10, and added another 3 seconds on top of it. Afterwards, she was finally convinced that the 9:00 girl was not that hard to beat, and put another 17 seconds on her in the next quarter closing in 1:58. Sometimes our perception of reality is not correct.

Another 2 with Benjamin in 17:39. He is racing on Saturday, and he said before the run that he did not want to run faster than 8:50 pace. He ended up being right on, which took a lot of self-restraint. Added another 0.5 by myself.

Night Sleep Time: 7.75Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.75
From wheakory on Thu, Mar 13, 2008 at 13:15:04

Sasha, wearing the crocs is this an experiment your trying. It would seem like almost wearing race flats without too much heal support.

From Chad on Thu, Mar 13, 2008 at 17:42:41

I am amazed that you can run in crocs. The Vibram Five Fingers (Sprint model) look interesting. I would like to try them on grass, maybe on the track.

From Steve Hooper on Thu, Mar 13, 2008 at 18:22:04

Sasha- way to go with the 15 in your Crocs! I'm very impressed. I think your ligaments and tendons are already fairly strong due to the unusual amount of miles you tend to put your shoes through.

I would bet your Crocs are actually "softer" than you normal trainers? Am I right?

The five fingers don't have the cushion that the Crocs have - However, the Vibram sole will do a better job at protecting your foot against glass.

From thisgirlcanrun on Fri, Mar 14, 2008 at 13:05:25

Crocs? I have 3 pairs cause they are so comfy. I think I will try this :)

From Maria on Mon, Mar 17, 2008 at 11:55:06

I agree with Steve - crocs are very spongy, I think they have good amount of cushioning. But Vibram shoes look like they don't have any cushion at all, or very minimal. It would be interesting to see your results with them!

Add Your Comment.
  • Keep it family-safe. No vulgar or profane language. To discourage anonymous comments of cowardly nature, your IP address will be logged and posted next to your comment.
  • Do not respond to another person's comment out of context. If he made the original comment on another page/blog entry, go to that entry and respond there.
  • If all you want to do is contact the blogger and your comment is not connected with this entry and has no relevance to others, send a private message instead.
Only registered users with public blogs are allowed to post comments. Log in with your username and password or create an account and set up a blog.
Debt Reduction Calculator

Featured Announcements
Lone Faithfuls
(need a comment):