Breaking the Wall

August 04, 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: 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

A.M. Decided to be a bum today, since I am tapering. It was cold, so I waited until 11:00 AM for it to warm up. It did not warm up much - 30 degrees, and some odd winds, but that was as good as it was going to get.

15.1 progression run. Did not have any goals, decided to play by ear and set them as I went. Start out easy, then brisk easy, then marathon pace once it felt right. First quarter was 1:49, then started going 6:40, then 6:20, by 2 miles I was up to 6:00. Hit 2 miles in 12:51. After some hesitation decided not to give the 6:00 guy any more ground. Passed Adam around 3.3, invited him to join, but 6:00 pace was faster than he wanted to go. Hit the 5.05 turnaround in 31:01, then 38:01 at 6.22.

Cruised along edging up on the 6:00 guy like a predator. Next 2.5 in 14:45, turned around came back in 14:43. Now that catching the 6:00 guy was pretty much a done deal, decided to set a new goal - break 44:00 for the standard 7.5 stretch, and catch the 1:30:00 guy for the 15.1. That would mean putting a 36 second gap on the 6:00 guy. For that one I had to get my horses moving, and they fussed. They were enjoying the 5:55 pace just fine. It took a good 0.7 of negotiation before I could convince them to go 5:45 pace. Hit the next 2.5 in 14:29, 43:57 for 7.5.

Still had 1.38 to go, it was a rough maze. Three tunnels, lots of 90 degree turns, net uphill of 40 feet. Lost concentration, lost ground to 6:00 guy in a few spots. With 0.625 to go saw I needed to run 3:29 to make it. Wow, I really have got to move my horses for that, so I did. 42 for the uphill 200, then 1:25 for the quarter with 2 turns, and trying to get around a slowly moving SUV to cross 500 N, OK, now it is really time to stop messing around or the 1:30:00 guy will slip away, last quarter in 1:22, got 1:30:00 on the dot. Talk about a lazy bum, waited for the last moment and would not even budge to be 1 second ahead. Average of 5:57.62. Last 13.1 in 1:17:09, avg. 5:53.36.

P.M. The difficulty of negotiating with the horses in contrast with the aerobically conversational ease of 6:00 pace suggested a nervous system failure. This did make sense, as we had a couple of rough nights with sick kids, then I raced faster than my normal tempos, but did not take naps in the last two days. So although I was not feeling sleepy I decided to lay down and let my body take a nap. At first not much was happening, but pretty soon I zonked out and ended up sleeping for 2.5 hours. Then ran with the kids. 2 miles with Benjamin in 17:29, then 1.05 with Jenny and Julia in 10:52, then another 0.5 with Jenny, total of 15:27 for 1.55.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From MichelleL on Sun, Nov 25, 2007 at 11:28:32

Couldn't resist breaking that 100 mile mark, could we? ;)

From ArmyRunner on Sun, Nov 25, 2007 at 22:18:24

My 2 cents for a taper this week for you:

MON - AM = 8 miles easy with strides

PM = 6 miles easy includes kids

TUE - AM = 10 miles with 3x2min

PM = 3 miles easy with kids

WED - AM = 6 miles easy with strides

PM = 4 miles easy with kids

THU - AM = 5 miles easy

PM = 3 miles easy with kids

FRI - AM = 3 miles easy before flight

PM = 2 miles easy after flight

From James on Sun, Nov 25, 2007 at 22:46:57

The Barnes 2 cents for a taper this week for you:

MON - AM = 7 miles with 2x1600 meter workout

PM = 3 miles easy includes kids

TUE - AM = No run

PM = 3 miles easy with kids

WED - AM = 6 miles easy with strides

PM = 2 miles with kids

THU - AM = 5 miles easy (no 5:30-5:40 stuff)

PM = No run with kids

FRI - AM = 3 miles easy before flight

PM = 2 miles easy after flight

That is more than what our top runner ran before his last two marathons for taper week.

I would like to see if you could come close to either one of these suggestions, plus I would like to see what a truly rested Sasha could do!

From Katie on Mon, Nov 26, 2007 at 07:51:09

Sahsa, What race are you tapering for? I would also be interested to see what a well rested Sasha could do. Have you the self control for that though? I suspect it might require ropes and some sort of sedation.

From Paul Petersen on Mon, Nov 26, 2007 at 09:14:53

Yeah, the less you do, the better, IMO. You won't lose one iota of fitness. I realize it might drive you insane, but it could be worth it for a PR and some prize money. ;-)

From Paul Petersen on Mon, Nov 26, 2007 at 09:15:31

Either way, I'm really looking forward to see how you do. Good luck. Will the new singlet be ready in time for the race?

From Sasha Pachev on Mon, Nov 26, 2007 at 10:39:41

Katie: I am tapering for the St. Jude Marathon in Memphis, TN.

Paul, James, Katie - my past experience suggests I do better with a very minimal taper. Too much tapering makes me very sluggish. I suppose the reason is that Sasha is quite well rested already off regular training. So if I do what others consider taper, it does little for my muscle freshness and glycogen storage and gives me lost muscle tone instead.

From Katie on Mon, Nov 26, 2007 at 16:55:19


From adam on Mon, Nov 26, 2007 at 17:20:35

I didn't think you could call a four day taper "too much" tapering, especially after another 100mile week, and right before a goal marathon. Do what you know is best for you though, and don't think too much about it. Personally, I think Ted is on the right track, but I think some strides Thursday/Friday morning instead of wednesday might help you feel more "bingo ready" for Saturday.

From ArmyRunner on Mon, Nov 26, 2007 at 17:22:43

The taper I suggested for Sasha was higher than any other taper I would suggest for others based on how Sasha trains and recovers. I also know Sasha would not go for anything too low so I tried to design something that would or could be acceptable to him. I also really want to see what a truly rested and properly tapered Sasha can do. I think what I suggested above falls into a minimal taper category so hopefully something along these lines works for Sasha. If he does about 50 miles in the 5 days before the marathon this is about 50% of his normal mileage in 5 days. If one looks at other high mileage types like Brian Sell this is about what he did leading up to the trials and he is like Sasha in that he does not prefer a major taper. In fact he did the following for the trials in his final 5 weeks:

5 weeks out – 160 miles (high mile week of year)

4 weeks out – 154 miles (4% reduction from peak)

3 weeks out – 139 miles (13% reduction from peak)

2 weeks out – 115 miles (28% reduction from peak)

5 days prior – 66 miles (44% reduction from 5 day peak)

So I agree Sasha needs to learn to plan his taper better but something similar to what Sell does may be his best bet. I also noticed that Sell training is pretty straight forward and simple. 1 hard day followed by 2 easy days and repeat. He rotates the hard days between longer tempo, longer repeats, and a long run where he finishes the last 3 miles at MP. His last long runs before the trials were 22 miles 33 days out, 22 miles 27 days out, 22 miles 19 days out, and 20 miles 10 days out. I really like his approach to training and it confirms what I also have thought works best for a marathon runner.

Anyway, just my 4 cents now I guess.

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):