Breaking the Wall

October 13, 2019

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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: 78.87 Year: 3004.53
Saucony Type A Lifetime Miles: 627.15
Bare Feet Lifetime Miles: 446.12
Nike Double Stroller Lifetime Miles: 124.59
Navy Crocs 2 Lifetime Miles: 1576.28
Neon Crocs 1 Lifetime Miles: 22.05
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ted came in and announced that it was 3 F outside. I put on some extra clothes. Then Jeff came. We started with 3 laps around the block (1.05) with only one purpose in mind - for me to avoid a VPB stop. It turned out to be a wise decision as my body lived up to the statistical patterns of the past. Afterwards we ran 4 out and 4 back. The conversation, appropriately for the weather, turned to the Russian history of the 20th century. The weather and the discussion reminded me of the places where one of my grandfathers died, and the other spent 18 years before being released by Khruschev's decree after Stalin's death. Among other things, I recalled the story of how my grandmother went to see Stalin's dead body twice to be 100% sure he was really dead before she felt free to speak her mind.

Afterwards, added 2.1 around the block with Ted, this time to help him avoid a VPB. Then 4 more on the trail by myself. Total of 15.15 in 1:57:17.

Julia had read all of her Bob books. So Sarah made her some more books with stories about a fat pig and a bad pig. Then Benjamin decided to join the fun, and on his own wrote and illustrated a book titled The Slow Runner. The story reads as follows:

The slow runner was slow. The slow runner lost a race. The slow runner was sad. The fast runner came. The fast runner trained the slow runner. The slow runner won a race. The slow runner was not slow. The End.

P.M. 1 mile with Jenny and Julia in 11:38 - both had a sore throat. 2 with Benjamin in 17:27 - his foot is doing better. 2 more by myself in 13:59.

Magic stretches. 

Night Sleep Time: 0.13Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.13
From wheakory on Thu, Jan 17, 2008 at 16:58:43

Great story from your son. Very creative!

Nice run and wise choice to know how your body is feeling. Do you still have family in Russia?

From steve ashbaker on Thu, Jan 17, 2008 at 20:15:25

I liked the anecdote about your family in Russia. It illustrates better than any history book about how the Russian people felt about Stalin. A strange mix of fear, respect, and loathing. Would you say this is an accurate statement?

From Mike B on Fri, Jan 18, 2008 at 10:10:38

Sasha, forgive me, but what does VPB stand for? I've always been curious.

From Sasha Pachev on Fri, Jan 18, 2008 at 12:50:27


I still have family in Russia - my mother, father, aunt, and a few twice-removed cousins.


Yes, I agree.


VPB = Virtual Private Bathroom.

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