Breaking the Wall

July 09, 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: 51.55 Year: 2011.51
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: 881.43
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Another early morning run. Met Ted on the trail - he started from Smith's Field House at BYU. Figured since I was rested I'd better do a tempo. Ran 5 miles on the standard Provo River Trail course. Ted ran 2.5. We hit the first mile in 5:40. Then he had to stop for a bio-break at 1.75. I continued. Next mile in 5:40, and 14:10 at the turnaround. My heart rate monitor was not working. I think the battery is dead. But that is fine. I can tell my heart rate by feel most of the time, and use the heart rate monitor mostly for entertainment.

Next quarter in 1:27.7 - the turnaround always knocks me out of rhythm. Quickly sped back up to 5:40 pace. 17:03 at 3 miles (5:43). The next mile in 5:39. I kept hitting the lap split button, mostly to be able to see the time at the quarter instead of using the auto-split feature. I do get annoyed when The Toy gets the splits in wrong places even if it is only a couple of seconds off. If it was not dark, I would not even have bothered with lap splits, but it is a good way to turn the light on. I wish that Garmin had a feature to turn the light on for N seconds every M seconds. I also wish it would show your split with 0.1 second precision, or at least round it off to the nearest whole number rather than truncating the fractions. Seeing the splits of mostly 1:24 and only one of 1:25 misled me into thinking I was headed for a 5:37 mile. But those 1:24s were high 1:24s, and 1:25 was also a high one. So the mile ended up being 5:39, and I was a whole 2 seconds behind the 5:40 guy. And now I had to run the last mile uphill, and my quads were feeling tired.

I did the next quarter in a high 1:26 followed by a high 1:25. Now I was 4 seconds behind the 5:40 guy. On the next quarter I just about said, forget it, I do not want to chase him, I am too tired, it is too early in the morning, 5:41 is as good as 5:40 when I should really be in bed. While I was having those attitude problems, I ran it in 1:26.8. This gave me enough of a break to improve my attitude. I decided to give it an earnest try and put in a solid kick. I decided I'd start right with a quarter to go, and take 60 hard steps, then ease off. This was a mental trick. Two things were going to happen in that time - I would get good momentum, and I would be close enough to the finish to where I could take a few easy steps, and then push all the way through. It worked. I managed 1:17.8 on the last quarter, and 28:18.7 for the whole run beating the 5:40 guy to the tape.

Overall I felt I was not exerting myself cardiovascularly, but my quads were starting to quit when I tried to go sub 5:40. This is usually what I feel limits me most of the time. I suspect I run in such a way that overworks my quads and underworks other muscle groups. Fast 400 meter repeats in the past have helped me to some extent. I think I'll do them on Wednesday. 

Ran with the kids in the evening.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From Nick on Tue, Mar 06, 2007 at 11:31:19


I would consider my diet pretty healthy, high in carbohydrates, low is fats and sufficient amounts of dairy and proteins. I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables and rarely eat any kind of junk food or greasy food. A large portion of the food I eat is organic, lacking all of the unhealthy chemicals used to grow many types of fruits and vegetables. I think that my diet is good, and supports what I am doing right now. Maybe I did eat something, though, that made me feel that way throughout the run.

From olga on Tue, Mar 06, 2007 at 11:51:05

Jesus, I am not even going to try and fathom these times! Awesome job though:)

From Sasha Pachev on Tue, Mar 06, 2007 at 12:14:01


In 1999 I had a dehydration problem during the Boise Marathon. I noticed the heart rate was higher than normal during the race, but the pace felt good. Then at mile 15 I was out of action - slowed down to a 7:30 jog, and barely made my way to the finish. Afterwards I was drinking water like crazy, and did not regain a normal state of mind until the fluids got replenished.

My diet was very good by American standards, but not as good as it is now. Back then this was an extreme case of dehydration, but I did dehydrate in some noticeable form in long runs. I think overtime as I continued to improve my diet and put in the miles, I solved the dehydration problem quite well. Towards the end of a marathon my heart rate actually drops a bit as I run out of fuel, but it is correct for the pace I am going. Whereas many other runners in the same situation would have their heart rate going through the roof. So I think you need to continue doing what you are doing, and overtime this issue will resolve itself.

From Maria on Wed, Mar 07, 2007 at 07:04:13

Sasha, just wanted to pass this site on: - it's the first Russian interactive site about long distance running I found. Lots of information on Russian runners, athletics and an interesting forum. Some of the posts are pretty funny, but I was taken aback with some people's spelling - perhaps because I'm not used to reading posts in Russian. It's probably the same number of errors as on US boards, but they somehow stand out more in Russian. It's interesting to read how they train - quite a bit different than in the West.

Anyway, check it out!

From Sasha Pachev on Wed, Mar 07, 2007 at 15:16:45

Thanks. I've taken a look at it. Too bad most people on the blog cannot read Russian. I really like the joke about fighting with a runner - not a good idea, if you are stronger, he will run away from you, but if he is, you will not run away from him. A typical Russian joke, I would say. I remember in our school we had a well established fighting ability hierarchy. For any two boys, it was a fairly well known fact who would win in a fist fight, and that of course, was learned from experience. That knowledge helped maintain peace, unless somebody started getting stronger or weaker.

I also found it interesting that you mentioning the word Russian four times in the comment triggered an ad for in my GMail when I viewed the comment notification mail. This reminds me of a joke Sarah's dad likes to tell:

A Jew in the Soviet Union is sitting in a park and studying a Hebrew language text book. A policeman approaches him and says - why are you studying Hebrew, don't you know we would never let you go to Israel? The Jew responds - Hebrew is the language of Heaven! The policeman says - what if you do not make it? The Jew replies - well, I already know Russian.

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