Breaking the Wall

August 11, 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: 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

Last night I began to wonder if my dreams perhaps were a stumbling block. In the top of my mind I believe I can run faster, but deep down perhaps I doubt, which makes me dream only of things I have done before. This morning it seems I have made a breakthrough on the dream front - I dreamt about warming up before a marathon having full confidence that I was going to qualify for the trials. I was as sure I could do it as if the qualifying standard were 2:35 and not 2:22.

Drove to the Provo Canyon, jogged a mile, a mile with ankle weights, a few strides, then the running by faith workout. 2x1.5 miles downhill (about 1% grade) with 0.5 miles recovery. Hold 5:00/pace until I can't, then survive for the rest of the interval. This time there was no survival stage - I was able to stay sub-5:00 average on both of them all the way.

First one, 73-74-74-75-74-75 - 7:25.3. Second - 75-74-74-76-76-73 - 7:28.7. Unlike last week, started breathing hard right away, but was not as miserable at the end.

Total of 10 miles for the workout.

Came home, ran with Benjamin and Jennifer. Did some jogging later on with ankle weights. Wore them all day. Total of 15 miles for the day.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From B of BS Rools on Sun, May 21, 2006 at 10:22:36

Sasha, keep dreaming, keep on your quest. I have one comment, it seems from my novice experience, you may need a faster training partner? Is there anyone in the state the you can train with that would push you? It seems whenever I read about elite runners, they train with elite athletes. Can the BYU track coach help? Ed Eyestone? B of BS Rools out.

From Paul Petersen on Mon, May 22, 2006 at 09:12:34

Oh...that's a good point B brings up. I always made my biggest jumps when I was running with 15 other people are were just as fast or faster than me. That's how I took a minute off my 5k time between my senior year of high school (where I was top dog) and my freshman year of college (where I was mid-pack). Some of my times got worse after college because I wasn't doing speedwork with other people anymore. As hard as you think you can push yourself, you can always push yourself harder when working with other people.

From Sasha Pachev on Tue, May 23, 2006 at 11:59:20

I wish I could find even one runner in the area that would do my workouts. We have fast guys at BYU and UVSC, but they have their own agenda. They train mostly on the track, and for short track races. I try to avoid the track as much as possible - track running injury-prone for me. Steve Ashbaker comes to train with me once in a while whenever he can, but most of the time unfortulately I am on my own for fast workouts. I've tried to convince him to move to Provo, but have not yet succeeded.

I really do not want to move to Salt Lake just to have training partners. I like the Provo Canyon. I regularly patrol the trail for fast runners and strike conversation at every opportunity, but have not found anybody so far.

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