Breaking the Wall

July 10, 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. Total of 12. Did a pickup for a mile. Benjamin did 5, Jenny 3, Julia 3, Joseph 3, Jacob 2, William 0.5.

Benjamin took the AP Chemistry test today at Orem High. This is going to be an interesting benchmark of our educational method. Last year he took Calculus BC test and got a 4, which I thought was a good result for a 13-year-old, but I know calculus well enough to teach the AP test material. I know some chemistry, I successfully challenged BYU Chem 105 19 years ago, I do have a good memory, but it is not perfect, I have not done anything with chemistry since them except occasional curiosity reading, and I found that I did not know enough to teach Benjamin, and I did not have enough time to learn it all either. But I found out that I did not have to. We came up with a study plan, used, sample tests, Google, and a textbook. He learned what I could not teach him and he taught me some of that in the process as well.  Benjamin came home feeling quite confident in the result, but we will find out how well he learned this when the test scores come out in a month or so.

The concept of an environment where the student exceeds the teacher is something I consider critical for effective education. Not just home school but at any level. When you have a real job, you have to self-learn, you have to figure things out that nobody can teach you. It is a good skill to learn at a young age.

Green Crocs 5 Miles: 12.00
Night Sleep Time: 7.50Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.50
From Scott Ensign on Tue, May 07, 2013 at 16:23:41 from

Sasha, I have an extensive set of on line chemistry resources for principles of chemistry 1 and 2, equivalent to chem 105 and 106, including all lecture recordings- you and your kids are welcome to use it.

Sometimes the site is password protected (apache), as it is now for chem 2, PM me if you want a username and password.

From Sasha Pachev on Tue, May 07, 2013 at 17:14:49 from

Scott - thanks. Jenny is our next prospective college student - she still is not quite there yet, but hopefully in a year or so.

From Holt on Tue, May 07, 2013 at 17:31:38 from

That is one thing I have found as a struggle as a high school teacher (even as an AP level teacher) - too many students want to be spoon fed rather than be the master of their own learning. For AP US History for example, there is too much information for me to just give them everything. I really try and encourage students to go out and learn on their own and find info and bring it back to class and teach all of us; too often, however, they won't do that. And then it is those that do that excel and the others don't meet the expectations.

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