Breaking the Wall

July 12, 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.  10.1 with Jeff in 1:14:33. Did two fat miles, first in 5:55, second in 6:03. Noticed that our HR gap was decreased - his HR was only 9-10 bpm higher than mine.  My HR was normal for the pace, though.

Tried a new invention today. My new Five Fingers have been rubbing my heels. So I made myself Five Finger compatible socks by cutting out the front part. It worked quite well.

P.M. Ran barefoot. 2 with Benjamin in 18:03, 2 with Jenny in 18:44, Julia ran 1.5 with us in 13:57. 0.33 with Joseph in 4:05.

Five Fingers 2 Miles: 10.10Bare Feet Miles: 4.33
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
From auntieem on Thu, Jun 04, 2009 at 12:03:13 from

Thanks for the welcome! I see you have the five fingers shoes. I've been interested in those for some time. Do you love them?

From allie on Thu, Jun 04, 2009 at 16:20:58 from

Sasha - how long did it take for you to get used to wearing Five Fingers? Or did you just naturally adapt to them without any problems? I bought a pair last fall, so I only had a chance to use them a few times before the snow. I found I could only go 4-5 miles before the bottoms of my feet really started to feel trashed.

Also, would you ever consider a full marathon in the Five Fingers?

From Sasha Pachev on Thu, Jun 04, 2009 at 16:53:02 from

auntieem - I like my Five Fingers. I wear them in hopes of naturally correcting some imbalances in the body so I can run with better form. As far as I know nobody went under 27:00 in a 10 K that did not grow up running barefoot. So there must be something that develops overtime when you run barefoot at a young age. I am trying to see if it will develop at least to some extent at an older age.

Allie - I grew up running in thin soled basketball shoes (Keds), and have done 60 mile weeks at the age of 12 wearing Keds for the easy miles, and thin soles spikes for the hard miles. Since then I have been able to put 2000+ miles on a pair of shoes regularly with no consequences other than holes in the shoes. To prepare for the Five Fingers I ran 500 miles in a pair of Walmart Crocs. Crocs were like racing flats, no problems other than minor blistering, and poor durability - a nice set of holes after only 500 miles.

When I first started in Five Fingers I was afraid to go fast, but in about 2 months I lost that fear. Feet were OK. I did experience some tension in the calves, though. I did all of my mileage on pavement.

From Sasha Pachev on Thu, Jun 04, 2009 at 16:54:12 from

I am considering running Utah Valley in Five Fingers. I've already done a 20 miler in them, and I have not run in regular shoes in two weeks.

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