Breaking the Wall

September 15, 2019

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: 90.98 Year: 2713.79
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

Another Big Workout. I wonder now if 20x400 can be effective because time-wise it is a Big Workout, with the warm-up and cool-down it lasts forever. That is not what I did this morning, though.

A big group today - Ted, Nick, Jeff, James, and Breanna. Ran the first quarter in 2:08, and I knew that I was going to have a good workout. Now this may sound rather humorous. Most runners in my bracket, and even as far as a minute per mile slower at threshold, would not think so from such a measurement. But this week I have been hitting 2:25 on the first quarter without fail, and it felt hard. Now 2:08 felt easy. Of course, this has nothing to do with the aerobic fitness - my HRM has not been working, but I am fairly certain my HR was at 100 or below. It is all about the neural drive, and for some reason my body has been chosing to inhibit it to the extreme during the warm-up stage. So I was excited to see the change.

We quickly progressed into about 7:10 pace. I was very happy to see that Breanna was still conversational. Just in June she was racing Heart of Holladay 5 K at that pace. Looks like she is getting over whatever it was that inhibited her endurance. Breanna and James turned around at 3 miles. We ran to the turnaround (5.02), hit it in 37:08, and then got back to the start of the tempo workout (2.5 mark/turnaround of the Provo River 5 Mile Tempo , about 6.2 into the run) in 45:14.

The workout was 3 - 2 -1 with 0.5 brisk jog in between to make it more of a fartlek that repetitions. Ted paced us through the first quarter of the 3 in 1:20, and continued to run easy after that. We took turns every quarter, and the pace was all over - the fastest quarter in the middle was 1:18 while the slowest was 1:25, and I believe we hit everything in between at least once. This made it lean away from the steady tempo towards a fartlek within a fartlek. First mile was 5:26, then 5:23, and the last was 5:27 for the total time of 16:16. There was a 180 turn at 2.5 which cost us probably around 3 seconds total.

Nick was running out of time, so he ran to his car after the end of the 3. Jeff and I jogged the next 0.5 in 3:57 (first 100 in 35), and then started the 2 mile tempo. Jeff took the lead on the first quarter and did it in 1:22, then I took then next 0.5 a little faster, then it was Jeff's turn, but he was struggling, so I moved up again after 200. Hit the mile in 5:27. At the point my face started developing a grimace, but I could still hold the pace even being up front. Jeff fell back maybe a second, but then pulled up with 0.5 to go, and helped with the pace quite a bit. We had a 180 turn at 1.5 mark. Finished the repetition in 10:51, last mile in 5:24.

Jogged the next 0.5 in 4:00 (first 100 in 36). I had to make a pit stop in the middle, so this made the recovery a bit longer than 4 minutes. Then went for the mile. Did it in 5:15 with the quarters of 79 - 80 - 80 - 76. Last 200 was 36. The third quarter was uphill (0.5%), the last one rolling. Jeff did well on this one, although he was hurting quite a bit after the first quarter. I think he is starting to get into really good shape for the marathon if he can be so lively with 12 miles on the odometer, 5 of them being a fairly brutal tempo.

Ran to the house, 1:39:12 for 15.04.

In the evening it was hot - 90 degrees. Had to run earlier to make it to some Church meetings/activities during the nicer part of the evening. Ran 0.5 with Julia in 5:36, then 2.5 in 19:47. Found a friend on the trail - his name is Ken Montgomery. He ran with me after 1.25. Then ran with Benjamin and Jenny. First mile in 8:40, then put Jenny in the stroller, Benjamin ran the next mile in 7:38, total for 2 was 16:18.

Noticed an increase in the neural drive. Feeling more energetic, more interested in pushing the pace, the legs feel snappier. 

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From Paul Petersen on Fri, Aug 10, 2007 at 14:41:45

IMO total time is what qualifies a Big Workout. Anything over 90 minutes of continuous running meets the bill, so it doesn't matter if you do 20x400 or a fartlek or a tempo (or all three). I generally think of it as 15-20 miles with over half that distance being hard running.

From Mike K on Fri, Aug 10, 2007 at 15:16:29

Are you running the Provo 1/2 tomorrow?

From Sasha Pachev on Fri, Aug 10, 2007 at 15:51:12

Mike - yes, I am running the Provo River Half.

From Mike K on Fri, Aug 10, 2007 at 15:56:09

Good Luck Saturday. The way you have been running I expect you to do very well.

From James in Sunny AZ on Fri, Aug 10, 2007 at 23:35:23

Sasha - good luck at the 1/2 tomorrow. Can you pinpoint anything that may have resulted in the increase in your neural drive, other than perhaps total recovery from the marathon?

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):