Breaking the Wall

January 26, 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: 252.01 Year: 252.01
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: 1353.22
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Total of 12.5. Did a workout with Benjamin down the Provo Canyon. FIrst 3.5 - I got 19:56, he got 19:30. Then some jogging and a fast mile. He got 4:54, I got 5:14.8. Then a cooldown. He ended up with 10.5 miles. I ran 2 more with Julia.

Last night we found out that Benjamin got a 4-year full-tuition scholarship to BYU on the condition of maitaning 3.6 GPA. He hopefully will not need 4 years given that he is currently a sophomore. This shows that a purely home-schooled 15-year-old student can go at least to BYU on a scholarship without ever obtaining a high school diploma. This is an important breakthrough - if not in policy, then at least in thinking. Many families that would otherwise be home schooling send their kids to public schools because they are afraid that colleges will discriminate against home schooled students with no credentials that can only come from some kind of an educational establishment. Our exprience shows this is not the case.

Green Crocs 7 Miles: 12.50
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
From jeffmc on Fri, May 09, 2014 at 08:36:17 from

I don't think your experience proves that Sasha, because Benjamin has already been taking classes at BYU. He has already proven that he is deserving by earning certain credentials (testing out or taking classes) at the educational establishment that is offering the scholarship. If he would have been able to earn the scholarship off of non college based metrics (SAT, AP tests, etc) alone then I would be more inclined to agree with you.

Either way, it is still impressive that he was able to get the scholarship, but I am not sure that it really signifies a change in thinking on the part of the decision makers (at least in the way that you are implying).

From Rob Murphy on Sat, May 10, 2014 at 19:18:38 from

Many roads lead to Rome. Families and students need to find the one that works best for them.

Nothing better than a full scholarship. Congratulations to Benjamin.

From Sasha Pachev on Mon, May 12, 2014 at 21:24:23 from

Jeff - my point is that there is exists a realistic path to a full-tuition college scholarship at the age of 15 without any interaction with the high school system except showing up to take the AP tests and ACT - contrary to a popular opinion. That is what I meant by "the change in thinking".

Now that we have proven that, the next step is to figure out how to mass-produce the results, and not only with our own kids. The main problem to solve is what to do when neither mom nor dad can provide tutoring on the fly. One idea is to find the right kind of a talented college student and give him room and board in exchange for tutoring.

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