Breaking the Wall

SLC Track Club 10 K

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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: 244.22 Year: 3545.74
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
Race: SLC Track Club 10 K (6.214 Miles) 00:37:46, Place overall: 5
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran the SLC Track Club 10 K. 37:46, 5th place. I've run in training in worse conditions (for speed), but never in a race. The entire course was covered with snow. On the way out I could run more or less normal pace. But then on the way back we got a strong headwind, and on top of that, the road became more slippery.

I  also  had a cold, but no fever. Not sure how much it affected me. Probably 20-30 seconds.

Went through the first mile in 5:27 in a pack with Jeff, Seth, Brian Summers, and James Moore from the blog. At that point we did have some traction as evidenced by the time. Then around 1.25 the pace felt too fast, and I decided to back off. In restrospect this was a mistake. The lack of traction eventually became my number one limiting factor. So the right way to run would have been to run my guts out from the start, and then do my best once the slippage became the main problem. This would have been effective because the fatigue from the early aggressive pace would not have been sufficient to make it impossible to run the fastest the friction would permit.

Unfortunately today I became painfully aware of the formula F = k*P, where F is the maximum achievable friction force, P is the ground contact force, and k is the friction coefficient that is dependent only on the properties of the surfaces in contact. With that in mind my strength became my weakness. A runner needs to put a decent amount of P into the ground to get a forward propulsion force. Over the years I happen to have learned how to get a decent amount of forward propulsion  with a very low value of P. This is very good. It helps me do well in long races and not get injured. However, today was a bad day for low values of P. k started out small and kept getting smaller. Eventually the forward propulsion force began to be limited by friction.

My second mile was 5:39, and I was actually quite happy. The pack was about 10 seconds away. 5:48 for the third mile, not stellar, but respectable for the conditions. 17:34 at the 5 K, 17:06 for the leaders, they are still together.

And then the surprise came. Quite a headwind. However, I would have taken double that any day if only I could have decent traction. My next mile was 6:32. I would have normally blamed this on the misplaced mile markers. But I knew they were in the right place because I had checked them going the other way. So I doublechecked the math instead. I never make time calculation mistakes during a race, calculating a split is second nature to me, as easy as noticing the color of the shirt of my competors. But the split was so off the wall today that I had to double check, and sure enough it was right.

Mile 5 - a glorious split of 6:34. Beautiful. Minus the cold, I am feeling great, though. OK, last mile, lets see if I can reel somebody it. Not with a 6:28 mile, though. I do not know how Jeff and Seth maganged to run it in 5:35. Their values of P must be quite a bit higher than mine, that makes sense given Seth's great performance on Ragnar.

Glorious closing 5 K of 20:12. After opening in 17:34 that did not hurt too bad I never thought I'd be closing that slow in the most pessimistic analysis. Live and Learn.

Seth won with 35:12, then Jeff 35:14, James 35:35 (I think), and Brian 36:30.

Mary Ann ran a very solid 38:53 going through the 5 K in 18:36. Second 5 K was rather bogus for everybody due to the traction and the headwind. But the first one shows she is capable of sub-36:00 on that course in good conditions.

Cooled down 2 miles.

P.M. Just to be cautions and not make the cold worse I did not run. The kids ran with Sarah.

Saucony Type A Miles: 11.61
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
From Burt on Sat, Feb 14, 2009 at 19:00:02

Throw down on the Physics 101! Nice race. Heard about the surprise headwind.

From huans32 on Sun, Feb 15, 2009 at 00:44:06

Great report Sasha. Was nice to chat with you for a few moments after there race. I enjoy all the details of your race. I got to get one of the blog singlets. They will be nice in the summer for sure.

From Dallen on Sun, Feb 15, 2009 at 14:57:01

My guess is that you could have benefitted from some different shoes. I assume you ran with the T4's or the Five fingers and neither of those have any traction.

From Sasha Pachev on Mon, Feb 16, 2009 at 12:38:41


I ran in Saucony Type A with less than 80 miles on them at the start of the race.

Mark - are you going to be at the 15 K? If yes, I can bring the shirt for you.

From Mary Ann Schauerhame on Sun, Feb 22, 2009 at 13:16:26

Thanks for the nice comments about my race Sasha!

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