Breaking the Wall

January 19, 2021

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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: 188.26 Year: 188.26
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: 1657.61
Brown Crocs 3 Lifetime Miles: 1359.62
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Day of rest. Went to church. Missed most of the Sunday class due to the diaper adventure with Stephen. For the Priesthood meeting I was in the Deacons class, as I am now the Scout master. Benjamin laughed when he heard I got called as the Scout master, and for a good reason.The world of outdoor adventure is more foreign to me than Chinese. At least I would learn Chinese faster because I have a natural talent for languages. But I do what I was called to do to the best of my ability regardless.

The lesson was on the role of women. Then we had the Sacrament meeting. I spaced out enough that I do not remember even the subject of the talks. This is not good, I need to pay more attention.

Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 9.00
From Amy Jo on Tue, Sep 27, 2011 at 21:31:47 from

Someone referred me to the advice you gave Kelley about speed vs.distance training. I found it very interesting. I am just getting started and have never been a runner. I am overweight and have built up to being able to run 2 miles but I am very slow (about 15 min/mile pace). Do you really think that focusing on the speed is more important than focusing on the distance-even at this level of running? I would love to get faster but that seems IMPOSSIBLY fast to me:) lol

From Sasha Pachev on Tue, Sep 27, 2011 at 22:08:27 from

Amy - I believe that somebody who cannot run 10:00 per mile for a long time can only get faster by running 10:00 in small segments until he is able to run it larger segments. This is different from somebody who can run under 10:00 comfortably already - they get faster by running their comfortable pace for long distances continuously and do not necessarily need to push the pace to the point that they are unable to sustain it, or even get close to that point.

So what I told Kelley applies to you to a great extent, but possibly with a couple of changes, depending on how severely overweight you are. There is a weight point past which running is not safe because the risk of injury is too high. I do not know exactly where that point is, but it is better to err on the safe side. So I would recommend riding a bike for a couple of months first to drop the weight, and strengthen the muscles, joints, and bones before you start running. It is important to ride sufficiently hard, not just coast along and enjoy the nature. Find a course with a good amount of uphill, but not so much that you cannot do it. You need to be breathing hard and your legs need to feel like they are working, and you need to be sweating. Probably start with 20 minutes a day, then increase it to 30. Monitor your progress. The weight should be coming down. If not, we need to re-evaluate.

Additionally, pay close attention to your diet. Challenge yourself to only eat foods and drink drinks that have a non-commercial name - apples, bananas, oats, rice, beans, water, orange juice, etc. The name of the food or drink must be substantially better recognized than the name of the company that makes it. That trick is something that is easy to remember that at the same time will work better than a complex set of rules with points, or lists of things you can or cannot eat, etc.

Do the bike riding for a month, then try to run and see how you feel.

From frenchmommy5 on Thu, Sep 29, 2011 at 20:25:19 from

I saw a post on your blog by googling "st george marathon carpool" that you are taking a large van from Provo down tomorrow afternoon and back up right after the marathon with the extra bonus of general conference being on the radio. I would love to go with you, but I know you will finish a couple hours before me. Is this an option for you to wait? I am coming from Lehi and this is my first marathon in ten years and only my second marathon total.

From Sasha Pachev on Thu, Sep 29, 2011 at 20:45:46 from

frenchmommy5 - that was from 3 years ago. I am not going to St. George this year. However, feel free to contact other bloggers in the are via private message to see if they are going and would be willing to take you.

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