Breaking the Wall

January 24, 2021

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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: 225.16 Year: 225.16
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: 1657.61
Brown Crocs 3 Lifetime Miles: 1359.62
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Ran on the trail about 4 miles with Eric and Jorge to the magic mark. On the way back, did about a 6 mile tempo at about 6:00 pace. Then did 4x100 with ankle weights (19.7 - 19.0 - 18.6 - 18.2).

Aftewards ran with the kids. Took Benjamin on the Slate Canyon Loop to help him learn how not to have fits on a hill. Had Jennifer in the stroller. The presence of a little sister greatly improves the older brother's mental toughness.

We planned it so he would be very tempted. He hit a rolling 0.75 in 5:49 before the hill started. Then he slowed down to a 2:12 on the hill on the next quarter - very good pace for that grade, and had a good attitude. I told him he needed to tell himself he is stronger than the hill. He scaled that nasty hill (about 0.57 long) like an adult Kenyan - as if it were not there, and shifted gears very quickly on the down. His downhill split for 0.5 was 3:28. Last quarter was uphill, but he again tackled it like an adult Kenyan with a split of 1:57, and the total time for 2.11 of 16:44. There was a little glitch as we passed a house with two ladies that live an alternative life style and smoke like a chimney on top of it. The smoke threw Benjamin off, he started having difficulties breathing, and was about to go into panic. That is when his little sister's help came handy. She gave him some firm words of encouragement, and he quickly recovered first mentally, then physically, and sped back up. I was very impressed that he was able to hit a 1:57 quarter split uphill through all of this.

Ran some more in the evening with Joseph in the stroller. Total of 15 miles for the day.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From Paul Petersen on Thu, Jun 15, 2006 at 12:49:16


I've always been impressed with your fast recovery, and I know that you attribute some of this to your diet and other living habits. What, if any, supplements do you take? Do you know of any good natural anti-inflammitory supplements? I'm looking for a non-drug method of reducing pain and inflammation.

From Sasha Pachev on Thu, Jun 15, 2006 at 15:26:17


I do not take any supplements. I believe the quick recovery is a result of a long-term healthy lifestyle. I was a weak kid and got sick often before I started running. However, early on, in spite of not having a religion, I learned about the harmful effects of alcohol and tobacco, and made a firm decision to stay away from both completely.

When I was 13, I ran a bad race once after drinking coffee. So I decided to not drink coffee before any kind of serious running, and drank it very infrequently after that. At the age of 19 (1992), I joined the LDS Church and made a commitment to live the Word of Wisdom. This eliminated tea and coffee altogether on top of what I was already doing.

A year later I came to America, and decided that now that I had more choices in my diet, I was going to eat only what I believed would build my fitness - even if I can deal with unhealthy food, I just cannot afford to make room for it in my stomach. This eliminated soda pop, sweets, fast food, and other forms of junk food.

This gave me a better than average American diet, but still in 2002 I began slowing down. I searched for answers for a year, until I decided to change the diet even more. This time I paid particular attention to the do's of the Word of Wisdom: fruits, vegetables, and grains, while using meat sparingly.

So in short, the quick recovery I am seeing now has a deep foundation of nearly a lifetime. Even back before I gave the diet much thought, I was not exposed to the overload of junk food - it was simply not available in Russia. My body has never received any alcoholic drinks, no caffeine for the last 14 years, no junk food in the last 13, and only the highest quality nutrition in the last 3.

I think another reason is that I have trained very consistently. My body knows it cannot slack off on recovery, and has adapted to the routine overtime.

Regarding a non-drug method to reduce inflamation, I have had some success with BF & C, in addition to the tough it out method I have explained earlier. The idea is that you refuse to surrender to the pain, and somehow find a way to tell your body to heal or else... One time in 1994 I had a pinched nerve in the back after some improper training. For a month, I limped to class and back on campus, and every step of it hurt, but somehow managed to run 7.5 miles a day. It somehow became bearable after 2 miles of limpy running. And after a month it went away.

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