Breaking the Wall

December 03, 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: 304.65 Year: 3606.17
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: 806.96
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Towed Sarah for 0.35 in 2:58, then her legs were sore from being towed yesterday, so she went slow untowed, and I went to the trail. Ran a total of 16.1 in 2:02:41, 7:37.2 avg. Much better than yesterday, the 13 degree cold make the snow crunchier. Had a partner for a couple of miles. His name is Kirk. He is 47 years old, and teaches Arabic at BYU. I see him on the trail quite a bit.

P.M. Took Julia sledding in the Hobblecreek Canyon. She was sledding. I was cross-country skiing. We used the infamous harness to connect us.

Dashing through the snow
On a one-horse open sleigh,
Over the fields we go,
Laughing all the way;

Did 2 miles in 22:15, first one uphill in 12:20, then downhill in 9:55. Was faster than I expected I'd be able to do on the rough snow, pulling a sled, and not being conditioned for the sport - this was my second cross-country skiing experience this year, and third time since coming to the US.

My cross-country skiing does lag behind my running. I was number one cross-country skier in my school thanks to the running endurance, but I got beat badly by the real cross-country skiers. My best 3 K at the age of 11.7 was around 16 minutes, which I did in the Moscow championship. The fastest kids my age did it around 13 minutes on the same course. At the same time, I could have run the same distance in around 11:30. What I find odd is the size of the gaps in cross-country skiing vs running. Although they did not have a 3000 meter race for 11 year olds in Moscow, I would estimate that if I lost a 3000 meter race to anybody my age at that time, it would not have been by more than 30 seconds. During a PE class I would gap my classmates running by about the same margin as I would cross-country skiing. Yet cross-country skiing against a real cross-country skier I'd get gapped by as much as I would gap my untrained classmates.

Another thing I found interesting is that I've never seen a cross-country skier that could not just jump in a running race and be competitive. On the other hand, it is not quite the same with runners trying to cross-country ski. I also noticed that it seemed like my running went better when I supplemented it with cross-country skiing a couple of times a week. Which is why I am trying this now.

Got home, ran 0.5 with Benjamin in 4:12, then Jenny joined us for the last 1.5 in 13:05, Benjamin got 17:17 for 2 miles. Ran 0.35 with Julia in 4:05, her knee is better, but still hurting.

Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
From MichelleL on Thu, Dec 27, 2007 at 14:01:09

Can I, and possibly some of my female posse, join you and Ted for your uneventful 1/2 on Monday? If so, can we move up the meeting time to 6am? I would love to do a consistent tempo but perhaps a fartlek where there is dry ground would be more appropriate.

From Sasha Pachev on Thu, Dec 27, 2007 at 14:09:41

Sure. The only problem is that we've got quite a bit of ice, and from what I see in the forecast, it does not appear that it would melt any time soon. If it is tempo-unfriendly, we could run to the indoor track and do another puke run, see if you can make it to 3 miles.

From Jon on Thu, Dec 27, 2007 at 15:45:32

What is a puke run?

From Sasha Pachev on Thu, Dec 27, 2007 at 15:48:33

Run at a target pace until you can't, see how far you can make it.

From MichelleL on Thu, Dec 27, 2007 at 18:57:38

I would love to have your help on a puke workout, but I think the track workout brought on my groin issue, and it is still tender so I don't think it's wise to return to the track. Also, running on ice and snow is probably not good for it. I would like to do a long tempo run ideally. Since you mentioned a change of venue, what would be the chances of convincing you to hit the roads? The roads clear faster because of the plowing/sand/salt/traffic.

From Paul Ivory on Thu, Dec 27, 2007 at 19:30:54


A running coach friend of mine, Bill, told me about a web page that is an awesome resource for running information and guidance.

A wealth of the training advice reinforces what you suggest as the keys to a life of successful running and achieving your running potential.

This web site has a wealth of running information. If you scroll about 2/3 of the way down the web site you will get to the section titled: Training Advice:

A few of the articles that I have looked at are noted below:

- Top 10 Training Tips

- No Shortcuts

- Wejo Speaks: Why I Sucked in College (an awesome article)

And looking at the titles of many other articles suggests there is a wealth of great reading here.

Enjoy, Paul

From Sasha Pachev on Thu, Dec 27, 2007 at 20:23:28

Paul: Thanks for the info.

Michelle: Yes, I wondered if the groin pain came from running on the track in the first place. With that in mind, though, it is probably a good idea to skip all tempos until it is completely better. Winter has a way of doing tricks to your mind. When you've been running on ice day after day you start thinking you are losing speed. The pace feels painfully slow, and it just drives you nuts. In truth, you are not losing that much if anything at all. My current loop course 5 K PR was set at the end of January 2002 after running 441 miles in December with only 17.75 at marathon pace, 5.75 at threshold and nothing at VO2 Max, followed by 409 miles in January, 3.5 at marathon pace, 11.5 at threshold, and 5.5 at VO2 Max, 3.1 of which was the race itself.

If you are really anxious to do a tempo, we can run N times around the block. The loop is 0.35 miles, world-record quality flat, not many cars, I know most of the drivers, and it is usually the clearest piece of less trafficked road around.

From S browning on Fri, Dec 28, 2007 at 20:29:47

Hi Sasha,

I have a triathlete interested in joining the blog, can the templates be set up to include swim yardage, bike miles and running miles. He is an outstanding triathlete and would make a good addition to the blog.

From Sasha Pachev on Fri, Dec 28, 2007 at 20:45:53

Yes, I'll get that set up shortly.

From Sasha Pachev on Fri, Dec 28, 2007 at 22:31:13


I have set up a template for triathletes.

From S Browning on Sat, Dec 29, 2007 at 13:19:16

Thanks Sasha!!!!

From MichelleL on Sat, Dec 29, 2007 at 13:20:24

Hey Sasha - is there a non-icy road loop that is wider than .35? .35 is not much wider of a loop than a track. I would lean toward the river trail if there are dry spots where we could pick it up, or a wider road loop if we can come up with one. I think Jamie and I will be coming if we can start at 6am. Let me know what you think will be best so we can mentally prepare for the workout ahead. Thanks so much!

From Sasha Pachev on Sun, Dec 30, 2007 at 09:11:48


I do not know of any good loops other than the 0.35 one. Other roads have too much traffic for my taste. The trail will be pretty icy unless it gets warmer than expected today. We might luck out and be able to find a mile stretch that is dry. We could do a long warm-up on the trail, then 10 times around the block for 3.5 miles, then a long cool down. Ted and I will be expecting you and whoever else comes at 6:00 AM Monday morning.

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