Breaking the Wall

January 29, 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 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: 252.01 Year: 252.01
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: 1353.22
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with Daniel, Mary Ann, Jeff, and Ben Crozier. Jeff slept in, so we met him on the trail. Ben was doing a goofy workout from Runner's World, and was too stubborn be talked into doing something more appropriate for his current condition. The workout was 9 quarters targeting a mysterious HR of 180 (how in the world do you hit any target HR in a quarter when it keeps climbing from start to finish?). I figured I'd keep him company to show where quarters start and end, take his splits, and gather up material for further discussion on the need for solid aerobic base before doing speed work. In the mean time, I could  shake out my legs a bit.

Ben did the quarters ranging from 85 to 93 depending on the terrain and his focus. I had to hold him back in the first 100, and then he faded in most of them in the last 100, except for the one when he really focused and hit an 85. So some clear indicators that quarters would be the wrong workout to do, leg power is way ahead of aerobic support, aerobic support development is primarily a function of the mileage, and is very little affected by how fast you are going once you reach a reasonable level of intensity (around 60%-70% of max HR). I just talked to him on the phone, his stubborness now has decreased.

Then Jeff and I ran The Interval. The plan today was for Jeff, 1.25 at 5:20, then 73 quarters to failure or to 2.5 total distance. For me, same, except once 73 quarter pace failure occurred, keep best pace to 2.5. Why? I feel something special happening to the muscles if I keep running hard after the pace failure.

We made it to 1.25 on schedule as usual, although a bit more erratically than normal - at one point we were 2 seconds ahead, and in a few spots 1 second behind. 5:20 pace felt hard at first, but then easier. Part of it was probably from erratic pacing, and I can really feel the difference between 5:12 and 5:20. Then I made it with Jeff through 600 in 1:50, and backed off. The failure was caused by legs caving as usual, except I was able to make it further than before. My 200 splits after that were 43, 43, 42, 42, 42, 40, 40. Total time for 2.5 was 13:22.7.

Towards the end I felt I was at the limit of my leg power, but was still going strong. I was pleasantly surprised with the results. I thought for sure I'd slow down to slower than 6:00 for at least a quarter to recover, but I only needed an 86 (5:44 pace), and then I started to get progressively stronger.

Jeff did 72.5, 72.5, 76, 78, called that the final failure, then once I caught up to him he finished 2.5 with me. At first I thought this was residual fatigue from the half, which did not quite add up with how he was feeling right after the half. Then after some discussion we realized there was a bigger problem. Kimia's sister and her family has been visiting with them and that added some extra running around and threw off his sleeping schedule. Again we go back to the wisdom of classical Kenyan recovery - rest in bed, do not move if you do not have to, when you have to get milk  walk to the store at zombie pace. Shut your body down as much as you can. Strive for zombie status to the extent your circumstances permit. One reason Kenyans are fast is that they know how to be lazy.

Afterwards ran the cool down with Mary Ann, total distance was 10.2.


Brooks T4 Racing Flat Miles: 10.20
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
From air darkhorse on Thu, Apr 09, 2009 at 10:45:44 from

In other words if you want to be World Class, go on unemployment and food stamps right?

From Sasha Pachev on Thu, Apr 09, 2009 at 12:48:00 from

It is unfortunate that a) we have the option of food stamps with no requirement to work for them and b) there are so few opportunities for somebody who is very good at running to support himself using his primary talent to the point that it may become tempting to think of option a).

However, supporting yourself was not an issue in this particular case. In our culture we are not sensitive to health. We grow up learning to sacrifice health for fun. You are implicitly expected in many different ways to sacrifice health for fun. Then we learn that having no health is no fun, but by the time it is too late.

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):
Lone Faithfuls
(need a comment):