Breaking the Wall

September 22, 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: 146.13 Year: 2768.94
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: 22.05
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with James, Jeff, and Matt at different times. Total of 10.27. James, Jeff, and I started together and warmed up for 1.38. Then I paced James through 6:00 pace until failure test. He made it to the mile in 5:56 with HR reaching 199. After that he suffered through another quarter in 1:36. His HR dropped to 197. I challenged him to bring it over 200, but he could not. He said the limit was not being able to get enough air. Looks like a cardio weakness, probably maturation related. Breanna had a similar problem about a year ago, and eventually grew out of it.

Then ran with Jeff the rest of the way after jogging back to him. Of all things the subject of our conversation drifted to microwave safety. I recalled a time when I was messing around with a microwave trying to crash its computer. So I was pressing lots of buttons randomly. Eventually the microwave responded with a message that said : Child. Jeff recalled a story about how he and his brother fried oats in a microwave. His younger brother (2 at the time) put in his oats into the microwave and tried to cook them. He was pressing all kinds of buttons randomly. Then Jeff (5 at the time) came and said, no this is not how you do it - Mom told us pres 1,3,0,Start. So he did that, except there was a number on it earlier from his brother's messing around. So the oats cooked for quite a while and caught on fire.

Ran into Matt and ran with him some as well.

A.M-2 Took VanGoGo to Computune to check out the anti-lock break light on problem and ran back with Benjamin and Jenny - 2.25 in 19:31.

P.M. 1 mile with Julia in 8:57. She earned the Saturday lunch out with Daddy prize. The standards are 9:00 for 1 mile for Julia, 1.5 in 12:00 for Jenny, and 0.5 in 3:10 for Benjamin. Benjamin has a shorter distance because he normally runs 1.5 with Jenny - I decided to make him do that to keep him from speeding on his daily runs.

It did take a trick to get Julia to do it, though. I pulled ahead shortly before the turnaround and said - Julia, if you are behind at the turnaround, we are going past it until you catch me. This got her to pick up the pace and hit the half mark in 4:35. After that it still took some work to convince her that she was capable of getting the standard with some reasonable effort, but it was not exceptionally hard.

Five Fingers - 837.05 miles.

Night Sleep Time: 7.75Nap Time: 0.50Total Sleep Time: 8.25
From Runnman on Wed, Jul 30, 2008 at 19:54:29

Sasha, I have a calorie question for you. As I do some running on the treadmill I notice the estimated calories burned. The monitor says I burn about 115 calories per mile. If that is correct I will be burning just over 3000 calories during the marathon. How many of those calories do you think need to be restored DURING the race? Gel packets only contain about 100 calories each.


From Sasha Pachev on Thu, Jul 31, 2008 at 11:30:27


I don't know and I honestly don't care. Fuel is important, but I do not know of anyone who has run a better marathon by counting calories. Just eat normal healthy amounts before the race as you taper, get good sleep, avoid stress, and during the race fuel according to the patterns that have been successful in your training, and you'll be fine.

From Jon on Thu, Jul 31, 2008 at 14:34:25

Ken- lots of running guides say studies have shown that your body has enough stores to get you through about 20 miles without additional fuel (depending on diet/carbo load). So you would need about 600-700 additional calories, either through sports drinks or gu's. I find that 2 gu's and taking gatorade at the aid stations is enough. Some people do more gus, some do none, some only drink water. Like Sasha said, it is an individual thing, but this should give you an idea of what you need.

From MichelleL on Thu, Jul 31, 2008 at 15:03:38

What does lunch out with Daddy mean in the Pachev family? You get the privilege of running a noon run with Daddy? Or you get to walk to the park and eat your raw oats and dates there instead of at home? Or did you take her to an all you can eat pizza buffet (my kids favorite place to go)?

From Sasha Pachev on Thu, Jul 31, 2008 at 15:21:08

Michelle: Lunch with Daddy = a sandwich at Great Harvest + a smoothie at Jamba Juice.

Ken: To throw a curve to the calorie scientists. Mike Kirk beat me in Ogden 2006 coming from behind and running stronger in the last 3 miles. I did OK, but he did better. After the race he was clean - no Gatorade spill. Somebody asked, he said he took nothing except water the entire race! He was not loafing, either, racing at a speed that very closely approached his 5 K performances around that time ADJUSTED FOR THE COURSE PROFILE. Where did his calories come from?

From MichelleL on Thu, Jul 31, 2008 at 15:25:59

Oh, that sounds so good. I consider myself chastised for my snideness. But I could appeal to your frugality: Do you know that a slice of bread at Great Harvest is 50 cents if you don't buy anything, and a jamba juice and a slice of bread have comprised many breakfasts and lunches over the years. The cost of a Jamba Juice has gone up, but the 50c slice hasn't had any food inflation yet.

From Jon on Thu, Jul 31, 2008 at 15:48:51

Sasha- there are certainly exceptions and some people can do with just water, like Mike. But 500 or so calories of gu, gatorade, or bananas is helpful for many people.,7120,s6-238-244--12522-0,00.html

You burn more per hour in a marathon than an ultra (running faster) but the calorie absorption would be about the same- ~260 calories/hour.

Sasha, glad to see you like Jamba Juice. I often get Jamba cravings during my long runs- I went there and got a large after my long run last Saturday. Very yummy.

Michelle- your snideness made me laugh.

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