Breaking the Wall

November 21, 2019

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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: 118.81 Year: 3380.28
Saucony Type A Lifetime Miles: 627.15
Bare Feet Lifetime Miles: 446.12
Nike Double Stroller Lifetime Miles: 124.59
Navy Crocs 2 Lifetime Miles: 1576.28
Neon Crocs 1 Lifetime Miles: 33.72
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. 10.1 with Jeff in 1:12:59. Did explosions. No fat miles, resting for DesNews 10 K.Started out slower than 9:00 in the first mile, then sped up to 8:00, then ran sub-7:00 the rest of the way because Jeff needed to get to work. HR was around 132 at 6:40 pace, 126 at 7:00. Discussed a training idea - one week of 5 mile tempos at 6:00 pace every day followed by two normal weeks.  I  tried three weeks like this in 2006 aggravated by Wasatch Back Ultra in the middle, and it gave me neural fatigue at the end. However, a week later I ran a PR for the 3 mile downhill Provo Canyon tempo (15:15), had a decent performance in Draper Days (16:00 on the old course), and did not totally lose it in DesNews (2:31:47). After DesNews I had severe neural fatigue for a while, but then recovered to run St. George in 2:25. So a milder version of this, backing off timely, might actually work.

The theory behind it is to make the slow twitch fibers work very very hard to cause  myofibrillar hypertrophy. That is the type of hypertrophy that gives the muscle the strength without the volume, exactly what a runner would need. Nobody quite knows how to do it yet. I think the consensus is that you cannot do it. Fast twitch is easy  - weight training, 90-100% of the max reps. Slow twitch does not do it. But maybe it can. You just have to pick the right volume, frequency, and intensity. Possibly you need to have enough aerobic support in the muscle itself and in the cardiovascular system, and be healthy otherwise to even be able to train at that load without getting injured. Which would make it next to impossible to scientifically prove unless you really really know what you are doing.  

Ran 2 with Benjamin immediately after in 17:19.

P.M. 2 with Jenny in 18:06. Julia ran  1.5 with us in 13:33. 0.5 with Joseph in 5:10.

Five Fingers 2 Miles: 12.10Bare Feet Miles: 2.50
Night Sleep Time: 7.75Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 8.75
From Huans32 on Wed, Jul 22, 2009 at 14:40:13 from

Good to hear your doing the DesNews 10k. I will have to look for you at the starting line. Got any goals going into this race??

From Sasha Pachev on Wed, Jul 22, 2009 at 15:44:47 from


My goal is to run better than embarrassing :-) How about that for a goal? I would define "embarrassing" on that course as slower than 33:00. But I will take whatever God gives me.

From Mike Warren on Wed, Jul 22, 2009 at 16:32:54 from

Sasha, have you ever had an embarrassing race? If so lets hear it. I have seen nothing but great times from you. Do you know someone more consistent than you?

From Sasha Pachev on Wed, Jul 22, 2009 at 16:53:55 from

Mike - I've had lots. Too many to mention. One time I got triple-chicked in a 10 K in Provo. Another time I got double-chicked in a marathon, and almost triple-chicked barely outkicking a 44 year old lady. Another time I got passed by a high school runner at mile 8 of a half and lost to him by 1:45. All without leaving Utah!

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