Breaking the Wall

November 27, 2020

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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: 232.17 Year: 3533.69
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: 734.48
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Started with Ted and Jeff. The plan was 20 miles with the last 15 hard. Ran to Bridal Veil and back. We met a guy named Tyler and he joined us from 3 to 5. Ted ran the first 5 then turned around.

The first 5 were slow (39:11), HR was not getting up, and the pace felt fast. I told Jeff to keep my HR at 152 no matter how slow of a pace this produced. It ended up not producing that slow of a pace after all. But it was hard. I think the problem was that I was out of fuel. Maybe those guys at the BYU that were selling Starving Student cards noticed something real after all.

So we did the first 5 of the tempo up the Provo Canyon (from about Orem Center street to about  Bridal Veil) in 31:03 (1:10:14 at the turnaround). I had to tell Jeff my HR was 154-155 a few times, but he was pretty good at pacing otherwise. It did help that he had his HRM on as well. It felt hard.

Then we turned around, and discovered that for my HR to hit 152 we needed to go 5:36-5:40 pace on the downhill. So we did. This was for some reason harder than maintaining the same HR uphill. What is interesting is that both Jeff and I felt the same way about the effort. Next 5 miles in 28:04.

Then it was time for Jeff to run fast. Yes, I know, he had just run 5 miles at 5:37 average with 15 on the odometer, and I am saying it was time for him to run fast. But he has progressed a lot in the last two years and 5:37 down Provo Canyon in a long run is not fast for him any more. So he took off and averaged 5:20 pace for the last 5. I was starting to feel the fuel issues and all I could manage was 6:00 pace. I could tell in particular during the turns - had a hard time accelerating when I lost the momentum. Legs were feeling shaky. So normal pace was a bit faster than 6:00, but I was losing more than normal on the turns. HR was often at 151 and I had to focus to bring it up to 152. However, in the last mile I was able to focus and bring it to as high as 160 in the last quarter. Last mile was 5:51.

So I ended up with 2:08:17 for 20 miles, 6:24.85 average, last 15 in 1:29:06, 5:56.4 average. I was happy to average sub-6:00 for 15 with the Provo Canyon uphill. Last 10 in 58:03, 5:48.3 average. Was happy about that as well - three weeks ago I could not break 1 hour on the same stretch even though I did not tempo for 5 miles uphill prior.

P.M. 1.5 with Julia in 14:00. Benjamin and Jenny ran 2 miles ahead of us in 17:16. 0.5 with Joseph in 5:12. Wore Crocs.

Saucony Type A Miles: 20.00Walmart Crocs (No Boundaries) Miles: 2.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 1.50Total Sleep Time: 9.50
From Jeff L on Sun, Sep 06, 2009 at 11:39:39 from

Hey Sasha. I'm amazed at how fast you and Jeff run for such long runs. You guys passed me coming down the canyon and I decided I would try and stick with you for as long as possible. I lasted about a mile, but it ended up being the fastest mile I ran. I would love any suggestions/feedback you have to help me develop some more speed for the marathon. Is it just a matter of continuing to put the mileage in and the speed eventually comes? Thanks.

From Brooke13 on Mon, Sep 07, 2009 at 21:44:55 from

Hi Sasha,

That is a fantastic run! Provo Canyon sounds like a beautiful place to run. I have been going out and running about 5 days a week without doing any track workouts or stuff. I have been feeling great and definitely been feeling a lot faster! Thanks for your advice on dropping the track workouts because although I do miss them, just running for long distances has made a definite increase in my speed.

From Sasha Pachev on Mon, Sep 07, 2009 at 22:28:54 from


Sorry about not talking to you. The pace was too fast for me to introduce myself.

When I saw you as we were headed up (I did not know who you were) I said to myself this guy has a smooth form and has some potential (under 2:40 or maybe even under 2:30). And you were able to demonstrate it by running a mile in 5:36 in the middle of an 18 miler on a whim.

My thoughts are you need to keep building your mileage and do it in a way that does not result in injuries. I believe in getting up to 60-70 miles a week fairly quickly, and then holding it for a year or two until your times stop improving. Then up it to 90 and beyond if you have time and interest.

One way to cheat in the injury department is to eat a 100% clean diet without lapses and to have a strict bedtime curfew. And, of course, nap whenever you have a chance.

If you are ever running in Provo, send me a message if you want to join us.

Brooke - very good progress. Keep it up. See if you can get into a race to test your improvements. Maybe even a collegiate cross-country race if you cannot find a good road race.

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