Breaking the Wall

December 04, 2020

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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
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Jeff must have slept in this morning. So I ran alone for a while.

Quiz: What are my chances of meeting a Russian speaking running partner at 6:00 AM in Provo on a December morning?

Answer: You might think they are pretty dismal. Provo is a small town in the depth's of a supposedly ignorant, non-diverse, narrow minded, prejudiced, bigotted, and you name it, state of Utah which somehow managed to place 5th among all of the states in a recent national health survey. Number one rating on low smoking rate, and number one on low cancer deaths. Only number three on low binge drinking, Latter-Day Saints need to do a better job on home teaching, activation, missionary work, and opening their mouth in general when they know they should even though the world might think they should not. Number three on low cardiovascular deaths. Not dismal, but we can do better than that. Need to do a better job  following the principles of the Word of Wisdom rather than just the letter. 4th place on low infant mortality. Not bad considering that our women have more children than anywhere else in the nation and that they push the envelope and will have a child against the odds more often than anywhere else. But with healthy diet and exercise we might be able to do even better and be number one.

7th place on the low prevalence of obesity. Good bye the myth that LDS people are fatter than the rest of the country. But they are still fat. 22.4 % with the BMI of more than 30. That means a guy my height (5-10) weighing over 208 lb. And no, we cannot blame this on those outside of the church :-)

8th place on low poor mental health days. Good bye the myth that LDS women with everything they have to do are any more depressed than the rest of the nation. But more sunshine in the soul would not hurt. We can be number one.

One place where we got unfairly hit in my opinion is the number of primary care doctors per person (45th), and the public health spending per person (32nd). Doesn't the scripture say the whole need no physician? The healthier we get, the fewer doctors we need, and the less money we need to spend on health care.

We also got slammed on the geographic disparity (45th) which measures how equal the counties are on the health parameters. I'll blame that on the fact that smoking and binge drinking are much higher in the Salt Lake County than in the Utah County and rural areas.

You can see the data at

Well, this morning the Russian speaking partner chances ended up being 100% (if something already happened, the chances are 100%, if it did not, then just 0%). Half way through the run I met Scott Hillman.

Total of 10 miles in 1:21:33. Too early and too much talking in Russian.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin and Jenny in 17:27, 1 with Julia in 9:50.

Vibram Five Fingers Miles: 10.00
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
From tarzan on Thu, Dec 04, 2008 at 18:57:25

LOL - Sasha - aren't you preaching to the choir on some of this? Most of us are doing pretty good on working out and eating healthy.

And while I agree that most healthy people don't need a doctor - some of us are blessed with less than perfect bodies and need help with that. For instance, take Leslie's son-in-law Paul - he was playing Rugby when someone tackled him by the neck and he will probably need constant medical care the rest of his life - no matter how good of shape he gets in.

Do you run into any Italian speakers on your runs?

From Sasha Pachev on Thu, Dec 04, 2008 at 19:13:37

I actually do. Saw at least three at the Thanksgiving race, and once in a while train with two of them - Adam R and Nick McCombs. I run into all kinds of speakers.

From tarzan on Thu, Dec 04, 2008 at 19:21:37

Cool. I was in Wasatch Running the other day talking about my Italy trip in September and the owner started talking to me in Italian. I think he was surprised when I started replying to him.

From wheakory on Thu, Dec 04, 2008 at 22:35:49

How are the holy five fingers holding up for you? Your amazing the mileage you put on one pair of shoes.

From Paul Petersen on Fri, Dec 05, 2008 at 13:54:42

I passed the quiz. But to be fair, you've given the quiz before, and I have a good memory. ;-)

From Jon on Fri, Dec 05, 2008 at 14:10:29

Yes, I've seen the same quiz before, as well, like Paul.

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