Breaking the Wall

August 15, 2020

Recent EntriesHomeJoin Fast Running Blog Community!PredictorHealthy RecipesSasha Pachev's RacesFind BlogsMileage BoardTop Ten Excuses for Missing a RunTop Ten Training MistakesDiscussion ForumRace Reports Send A Private MessageWeek ViewMonth ViewYear View
15% off for Fast Running Blog members at St. George Running Center!


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: 88.07 Year: 2386.98
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: 1257.89
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

In the morning ran with Eric and George on the foothills. We dropped George off to do more miles on dirt, and I encourage Eric to run fast for the last 0.75. He maintained 6:12 pace and I really liked his breathing. It sounded like he was handling the pace a lot better than he used to.

Then I put on my ankle weights and did a short fartlek. Started out with 50 seconds slow/10 seconds fast, but then realized that it is much harder to get going in 10 seconds to get any workout with ankle weights than without, and made it 45 slow 15 fast. Did this for a mile - 7:09.

Afterwards a tempo run at marathon pace on the Slate Canyon Loop (2.11). Did it in 12:23. Felt good.

Then ran with Benjamin and Jennifer. Went to see a client for the rest of the day. Ran a mile during a short break. In the evening ran about 1.8 miles to the theater - Benjamin and Jennifer were in a play. Total of 13.8 for the day.

I think I am starting to figure out my pelvis mystery. My right leg is 9mm longer and it tilts accordingly to compensate when I stand. After running with ankle weights for the last few weeks, I have been feeling different, and am starting to catch the form I had when I was 12. Back then I could relax and just fly. The stride felt effortless. I ran a 10 K in 37:38, 1000 in 3:03.8, and 3000 in 10:08.2. Then a mystery happened around the time I turned 15. I trained consistently, but nevertheless gradually that ease of movement was gone. I started feeling like an elephant, and have been the rest of the time until now. At the same time, durin g a medical check-up, the doctor noticed there was something strange with my pelvis, but he could quite figure it out.

Now after wearing the ankle weights for the last few weeks, that 12 year old smoothness is beginning to partially come back. I felt it particularly on the hill at mile 14 in Ogden. I fully expected to be dropped on that hill. However, when I hit it, I was able to run fast and relaxed, and drop the competition to my surprise.

My explanation so far of what happened. Between the ages of 12 and 14, a very critical bone formation period, I ran 4 days a week during the cold time of the year in Moscow on an indoor track at the Znamenskiye track and field school. It is 200 meters long, and has curves about 25 meters long. They are very sharp, and are tilted at a large angle. I averaged about 30 fast laps during my hard workouts. The pace was rarely slower than 6:00 mile, and was often faster than 5:00 mile. So I would hit those curves time and again. Eventually, it raised the right side of my pelvis more or less permanently, and this encouraged the right leg to grow some extra length into the provided room.

Whether it really happened that way or not, one thing I am fairly certain of is that running on those curves did the damage that caused the loss of smoothness, and running with ankle weights now is partially undoing it. The question is - can that damage be undone in greater measure? If genetically I am supposed to not have it, is it possible to encourage an adult body to restore itself to the shape it is genetically supposed to be?

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From Dallen on Sat, May 13, 2006 at 15:22:30

The ankle weights might fix your form, but I doubt that they can do anything about your leg length discrepancy. I think you are now stuck with that. Unless you are really, really wierd you bones quit growing many years ago.

From Paul Petersen on Sat, May 13, 2006 at 15:35:30

Sasha, if you can increase the efficiency of your running form and biomechanics one way or another, I guarantee you'll hit sub-2:22...soon. You have enormous strength, but economy may be your missing link, from the marathon all the way down to 5k.

Add Your Comment.
  • Keep it family-safe. No vulgar or profane language. To discourage anonymous comments of cowardly nature, your IP address will be logged and posted next to your comment.
  • Do not respond to another person's comment out of context. If he made the original comment on another page/blog entry, go to that entry and respond there.
  • If all you want to do is contact the blogger and your comment is not connected with this entry and has no relevance to others, send a private message instead.
Only registered users with public blogs are allowed to post comments. Log in with your username and password or create an account and set up a blog.
Debt Reduction Calculator

Featured Announcements
New Kids on the Blog
(need a welcome):