Breaking the Wall

April 02, 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: 211.63 Year: 851.13
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: 1679.47
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with Jeff, Daniel, and Mary Ann. Today was the VPB day of the year. It began with a dream I had about running with a large group and trying to find a good VPB spot. Then about 0.8 miles into the run I had to stop. Again half a mile later. While catching the group I had to stop again. This reminded me of a misconfigured Apache web server error message when you go to a non-existent URL.  "Additionally, a 404 Not Found error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request." It tries to find the file, does not find it, then it tries to serve the error page but it cannot find the error page either.

So finally I got going, ran 0.75 in 4:05 and caught the group. Only to stop 200 meters later. This time I decided to be smarter and run fast in increments to avoid shaking things up. Caught the group in about half a mile,  and then stopped a quarter later, finally for the last time.

Then it was Jeff's turn. He found a geo-cache during his stop. No need for a GPS, VPB does it. Now, combining the two acronyms and geocaching, true story, one time I lost a cell phone during a VPB and used a GPS to find it.

Total time for 10.1 was 1:16:50.

And, of course, we could not do without a picture. A few days ago we ran out of toilet paper, so Benjamin and I ran to get it with Jacob in the stroller:


P.M. 2 with Jenny in 18:47. Julia ran the first 1.5 in 14:06. 2 with Benjamin in 16:41.

Brooks T4 Racing Flat Miles: 10.10
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
From Jon on Mon, Apr 13, 2009 at 16:38:59 from

You might have to buy another jumbo pack of toilet paper after all your vpb's today.

From wheakory on Mon, Apr 13, 2009 at 18:44:40 from

Wow Sasha! It must have been Easter Sunday dinner. Did you actually eat something different from your routine?

From Sasha Pachev on Mon, Apr 13, 2009 at 19:05:19 from

The culprits are: I overdosed on peppermint flavor while experimenting making a fuel drink the night before. I also was hungry in the morning and ate three coconut oil and honey sandwiches. The combination was not good. Live and learn.

From paul on Mon, Apr 13, 2009 at 19:28:16 from

Coconut you spread it like butter? I use coconut oil in substitution for butter for most baking (bought a gallon on for cheap), but found it does not spread well.

From Mary Ann Schauerhame on Tue, Apr 14, 2009 at 00:35:29 from

Ha ha ha!! This is the most hilarious picture ever!!! Reminds me of when I used to push a child stroller around to do my shopping. I'd pretend I had kids in there, but secretly was trying to get my miles in and save gas at the same time, til I got too embarrassed to do it anymore and gave the stroller to my sister. If only everyone were runners then everyone would do it without worrying about what anyone thinks! I wish I was humble enough to run through town with toilet paper visable to everyone. I guess if you have 2 kids with you then everyone thinks it's ok. Parents can get away with all sorts of public behavior!

From JeffC on Tue, Apr 14, 2009 at 12:56:53 from

I know what VPB means but what are the actual words for the acronym? I've been meaning to ask this question for over a year.

From Sasha Pachev on Tue, Apr 14, 2009 at 13:09:36 from


VPB stands for Virtual Private Bathroom. A hybrid of VIP (very important person) and VPN (virtual private network). I like to make fun of both. VIPs think their network is secure because they have a VPN. A VIP asks for a special bathroom at the start of a marathon. An experienced runner just finds a bush.

Paul - sorry for possibly ruining your appetite. Coconut oil spreads quite nicely for me. We got a huge bucket for $165 from a magic special order place. Sarah knows more details. Ask her if you are interested. Otherwise, we get a lot of stuff from AzureStandard.Com.

From paul on Tue, Apr 14, 2009 at 13:16:18 from

Sasha - no you certainly didn't ruin my appetite. Coconut oil is good, although I wouldn't put it on a I don't eat sandwiches anymore.

We bought a gallon bucket for $38. Seemed like a good deal. It's not virgin, so doesn't have much taste, but we only use it for cooking.

From wheakory on Tue, Apr 14, 2009 at 13:25:05 from

Sasha - What is the benefit for eating or spreading coconut oil.

From Sasha Pachev on Tue, Apr 14, 2009 at 15:10:48 from


Good reading at


We got 5 gallons of organic pure virgin coconut oil for $165. Probably that is why it spreads well. It is a combined order, meaning several people pool together and get a really good price. And a 5 gallon bucket is the smallest you can get.

From paul on Tue, Apr 14, 2009 at 15:22:16 from

I am laughing at the thought of a 5-gallon bucket of coconut oil. It is good stuff though. Reminds of when I order almonds, I order 25 lbs at a time. It's the only way to get a good price, but then I have a freezer full of almonds.

Sasha, since I'm feeling generous, I'll share my homemade power bar recipe with you. (I actually stole it from a website). It will bring you much success in the running through the power of coconut oil, almonds, and flax. None of that filthy wheat or peanuts either.

You can sub the chocolate with carob, and the agave and stevia with honey. I make these every week, and they serve as a quick snack. I think they are right up your alley.

From Lybi on Thu, Apr 16, 2009 at 02:44:57 from

Isn't coconut oil a natural laxative?

From Lybi on Thu, Apr 16, 2009 at 02:48:55 from

Bad news for the bushes in your area...

From Kelli on Sun, Apr 19, 2009 at 23:33:16 from

Just checking for your race report and came across this post. FUNNY---running toilet paper man. Good for you for not hopping in the car to do it!

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