Breaking the Wall

July 10, 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: 51.55 Year: 2011.51
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: 881.43
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Almost uneventful 15.1 in 1:50:18. The events were "balmy" 14 degrees compared to 8-11 yesterday, having Ted around for the first 10.1, nice crunchy snow with good traction, and a tempo pick up on the last 0.6 with the last 0.5 in 2:53. First 10.1 were done in 1:17:14, 7:38.81 avg, we've been so engrossed in the conversation that we did not even bother to chase down the 7:30 guy. On the last 5 I picked it up a bit, total time was 33:04, 6:36.8 avg.

P.M. Cross-country skiing in the Hobblecreek Canyon while the kids were sledding. Today is Joseph's birthday, he turned 3. He loves sledding. So we figured we'd give him a bit of a present. Did not bring The Toy, used landmarks and a regular watch to judge the distance. Took it easier starting out, went up for 14:59, figured it was about 1.5 off the landmarks. 12:11 on the way back. I need to start waxing my skis. I do not know that much about cross-country skiing, but I think there is something wrong if on a certain stretch you run up at 6:00, with the same effort you run at 5:00 down, you ski up at 9:00, and with the same effort you ski down at 8:00. Going down 3% grade I cannot just coast, I would come to a standstill in 5 seconds, and going down 2% I cannot go into pushing off with both poles at the same time. Forget skating, down or up. At first I thought maybe the road was really bad, or maybe my arms were just too weak, but now I am more inclined to think it is the lack of waxing. I found a small patch of ice, and was able to accelerate skating on it, and if felt much different.

1.05 with Julia in 11:07, 2 miles with Benjamin in 17:05, Jenny joined us for the first 1.5 in 13:12. Additionally 0.25 from Benjamin's Boy Scout meeting place home, and from home to church.

Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
From Clay on Thu, Jan 03, 2008 at 16:08:35

Be careful in the back country Sasha, we don't want you to become another statistic, avalanche danger is high right now...

From Paul Petersen on Thu, Jan 03, 2008 at 16:33:34

If you are still using my old skis, they are wax-less, and I think waxing would probably make them function very poorly. As I recall, I could climb just about anything in those skis, and stay in control on the way down on steeper stuff. I think they just have a bit more grip than other skis. My current wax-less skis have the opposite problem: going up is hard, and going down is a bit too fast for my liking. Going up Green Canyon (4.7% grade), I did 15-minute miles, but could hold 7-minute pace coming down.

From Sasha Pachev on Sat, Jan 05, 2008 at 21:08:04

Paul - yes, those are the skis I am using. Any tips on how to make them slide better? I read that glide waxing could work. Have you ever tried it?

I do have a strategic reason for good sliding qualities. I noticed that when running I have a 3-5% difference in the stride length from one leg to the other, but when bounding the strides are even on both legs. And if you remember the discussion earlier, my bounding predicts a 53 second quarter based on the Russian charts. I suspect there is a range of motion issue for hip extension when running on the right side (which produces the shorter stride when running) that I am able to work around when bounding. So the thought is, if I could make the skis slide back really well on hip extension, that would give me some range of motion exercise that may be enough to enable me to learn to use my bounding workaround when running.

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