Breaking the Wall

August 04, 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: 16.00 Year: 2314.91
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: 1185.83
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Day of rest. Went to church as usual. The talks in the sacrament meeting were on service. I missed a good portion of the second one because Stephen got fussy and I had to take him out. But I caught the first which discussed the need to serve without delay and without waiting for what appears to be a more convenient opportunity. 

Then we had a good lesson in Sunday school on 2 Nephi 4 which contains the Psalm of Nephi. The teacher played a rendition of that for us by the BYU men's choir to the tune of Be Still My Soul, which has an interesting history. To the Latter-Day Saints it is Be Still My Soul, but the tune comes from a Finnish patriotic hymn that was originally written to protest the Russian oppression of Finland. So I remembered two things during the lesson. One time back during the winter of 2003 when I was struggling to improve my times, hit a seemingly impassable plateau with no apparent hope, was out on another training run, 7.5 miles into a 15 miler and found myself in deep snow. At that point I just wanted to lay down in that snow and not move. I was wondering why I was even trying and ready to give up. Then a hymn came to my mind, and it was Be Still My Soul. By September I made a breakthrough, and won the Top of Utah marathon.

Noting the connection of the tune with Finland, I recalled Lasse Viren's win in the 5000 meters in 1972 Olympics. Many American runners experience that event through the movie Without Limits about Steve Prefontaine in which he finishes 4th in spite of running the last mile in 4:01. Well, Viren is the guy that won that race. In my mind I visualize the last 600 meters of that battle with Finlandia/Be Still My Soul tune playing in the background, and Viren saying: "The coach said take the lead with 600 to go and stay there. I did". The power of quiet peace which gives the strength to persevere. Indeed we would truly run without limits if we could understand that.

Night Sleep Time: 9.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 9.00
From Rob Murphy on Tue, Feb 28, 2012 at 18:36:03 from

Nice thoughts Sasha.

You know, I'm not a particularly religious person, but I have occasionally reflected on the principle of the sabbath and taking a day off each week.

I think it was the philosopher John Dewey who said "experience without reflection is meaningless". The pace of life these days is often so frantic that we have to slow down and allow time to put our thoughts together so we can grow. I have to remind myself to do that, but having a time automatically built in for it is helpful.

This is all assuming that you put the above post together on Sunday.If not, just disregard it I guess.

Thanks for sharing those thoughts.

From Sasha Pachev on Tue, Feb 28, 2012 at 19:37:09 from


The thoughts came to me on Sunday during the lesson in church, but I wrote them down on Monday when I finally got around to writing something in the blog.

I have not always been a religious person myself, and probably would have never become one had it not been for the testimony of Joseph Smith of seeing the Father and the Son. When I heard it, a spiritual gift I had made itself known in me being able to know immediately that the testimony was true. Thus I knew that the Biblical account of Christ was more than just a story, and that meant I had to change some of my habits.

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