Breaking the Wall

July 08, 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. Felt a lot better yesterday morning, the chest constriction was gone. However, still did not feel 100%, but good enough to go to church and stay there for all meetings. Came home, then remembered that I had forgotten to make an announcement in the Spanish branch Sunday school, so ran back (about 200 meters) to make it there before they would start. Turned out I really did not need to hurry, because being Latinos they really took their time getting out of the Sacrament meeting. However, during the brief run I got pain feedback from a paired organ right under the the lungs, I am not that good with the 3-D human anatomy, but I think the most likely organ would be the kidneys. That would make sense, because I was doing transmission fluid flush (repeated drink-leak cycle every 30 minutes) pretty much non-stop since Saturday morning. Otherwise, felt a lot stronger than the day before, but still not 100% there. I was not too worried about it because with it being Sunday I did not need to run anyway, and I made a very rapid improvement in 24 hours.

This morning things were a lot better. The resting heart rate in the sitting position dropped down to 50 from 63 yesterday. 50 is about normal for me. Ran with Ted at 6:30 AM. Well, we planned to leave at 6:30, but then I could not find my shorts. So we ended up leaving around 6:45, and Adam missed us thinking we had already left. I had a dream the night before that Ted and I ran the first quarter of our run in 1:58. The reality turned out better than the dream - 1:51. My legs were really rested from not doing much in the last two days. I was getting feedback from the kidneys (I think) at first, and then that I went away and turned into a pain from mostly likely a nerve in the middle of the chest. However, aside from a minor annoyance, this did not inhibit me, and did not get worse as the pace increased. We eventually progressed to a 7:02 pace, which felt like a nice easy conversational pace, then turned around at 4 miles (28:46), and headed back. Caught up to a stray runner, his named turned out to be Justin, he agreed to join us, we backed off a bit. Then we started on the strides. Did 6 100 meter strides with 200 meter jog. The strides for me started at 19 then gradually progressed all the way to 16 on the last. Felt very strong in the strides. I actually started feeling less chest pain with each stride, which is a good sign.

Finished 8 miles in 59:47. Two things worth mentioning. The bishop said in the blessing: "all of the symptoms of the illness will be gone within 2-3 days according to your faith". Interestingly enough, it had been 43 hours since the blessing at the time of the run, and the symptoms were pretty much on their way out. Also, Friday night I took Julia on a birthday present shopping trip (it was her birthday). As I was walking through a parking lot, there was a party going on, a band playing, and it was dark. It naturally reminded me of the start of the St. George Marathon. My legs were giving me very very positive feedback, and I know very well from many experience in the past that if they are talking to me like that I am going to run great. They do not have to, I've been able to run very well on occasion without that feeling, but I've never run below my expectations with that kind of leg feedback. This time is was perhaps the strongest ever signal in my entire life. I started feeling confident, like I had the Trial's Qualifier in the bag. I tried to caution myself, and remind myself to remain humble. That night in my prayer I thanked the Lord for blessing me with the fitness and the confidence in my fitness, and then asked Him to help me be humble. The moment I said it, I realized what I had just done. That was quite a slip of the spiritual tongue, it was done in faith, I knew I had done it in faith, I knew the Lord's way of humbling people, and I also knew that of all the prayers the Lord answers this kind the quickest. He is quick to give us what we really need especially when we ask for it. Well, my prayer was answered in 4 hours - Saturday morning at 2 AM I woke up feeling sick.

P.M. Ran 1.65 with Benjamin and Jenny to the body shop to pick up VanGoGo in 15:51. Also ran 1 mile with Julia in 10:28. Felt almost 100%, little pain in the nerves around the chest migrating from place to place, only a very very minor annoyance. However, had an odd incident tonight. I had been playing chess on the floor looking at a very small board with Benjamin and Jenny for around 40 minutes in a rather odd position. Then I needed to go the bathroom, and when I do it is usually urgent fairly quick. So I got up really fast, did my business, and then started feeling like I was going to pass out. I breathed in deeply a few times, then laid down for a couple of minute, then everything was normal, HR at 54.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From MichelleL on Mon, Oct 01, 2007 at 13:15:05

I am glad you are feeling better.

From Lybi on Mon, Oct 01, 2007 at 16:06:22

You threw me for a loop there. I thought you meant you were feeling sick again. But no, you're better, right? Fabulous! I hope you still take it extra super easy all week, though. It'll be great to see you and your family again! Happy taper week.

From Maria on Mon, Oct 01, 2007 at 18:33:26

Lybi, I got thrown for a loop as well! I thought Sasha was sick AGAIN after feeling better initially, but when I read more carefully, he referred to Friday night, so it must have been the one and only time he woke up sick.

Sasha, I really hope you feel 100% very soon, and it doesn't affect your race this weekend. I'll be thinking about you, sending you positive thoughts (that's about as close as I can come to prayer).

From Amanda on Mon, Oct 01, 2007 at 20:12:34

Thanks for your comment! I am excited to get my motivation back and to really take my training to a new level. I was recently given a heart rate monitor and may even take it out of the box and try to figure it out. I am typically one of those people that cannot stand anything on them while running...only recently have I been able to tolerate a hat and sunglasses are only in emergencies (I am ok with them on a long bike ride, though). So I am slightly concerned with a band around my chest.

Your entries are inspiring. Do you have any resources that you recommend that may help me out with my nutrition?

Hope you feel better!

From Craig on Tue, Oct 02, 2007 at 21:19:00

Sasha- good luck this weekend at St George. I'll be rooting for you to get that qualifying time. Indeed- trials of our faith make us stronger.

From Sasha Pachev on Thu, Oct 04, 2007 at 17:13:01

Everybody, thanks for the comments. Maria, I think you can upgrade the positive thought to at least a desire to believe if not more. See if Alma 32 makes sense to you. I can tell you from my own experience that faith in God is much more than a mental state, there is a real power behind it. Amanda - regarding nutrition, my first recommendation is to reach the level where if you know it is bad you have the discipline not to eat it. Are you there yet?

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