Breaking the Wall

August 05, 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: 16.00 Year: 2314.91
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: 1185.83
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Slept in this morning. Since I had to be at the Provo Temple by 8:00, cut my morning jog to 0.5 miles. In the afternoon ran with Steve in the Provo Canyon. 2x3 miles downhill. We had a very strong headwind. However, taking turns leading every 1 minute made things a bit easier. Again, the start at the Nunns Park, and the finish by the power plant at the mouth of the Provo Canyon. On the first repetion, the first mile was a bit aggressive - 5:12. Then we relaxed a bit, and the headwind began to punish us. Additionally, Steve was out of gas from his crazy mileage. We even hit one 200 in 44 - 5:52 pace. The second mile ended up 5:23. We closed with a 5:21 to finish in 15:56. On the second repetition, we had a more conservative start - 5:22. Then we sped up a bit on the second mile - 5:16. The wind let up a bit on the last 0.5, so I was able to close with 5:13 to finish in 15:52. Steve fell back a bit and finished in 15:54. With the cooldown the total length of the run was 12 miles. I ran with Benjamin and Jennifer, and added another "always on the run" mile to end up with 15 miles for the day.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From Steve Hooper on Wed, Mar 08, 2006 at 22:43:31

Sasha, fantastic times on the 5k repeats. Only 2 second gap between the two repeats. How long of a "rest" did you guys give yourself before you started the second repeat?

From Sasha Pachev on Thu, Mar 09, 2006 at 19:40:59

Steve - it was 3 miles, not 5 K. The rest had to be a 3 mile jog back up to do the second one downhill. As you remember my earlier comment, I am doing the downhill training experiment to see what happens. One thing I am sure about is that a couple of months of downhill running bring me to a new level. What I am not sure about is how far this would extend and when the benefits stop. Also, what to do afterwards, and how to make the uphill/flat speed catch up to be fully on par with the downhill speed. Also, if maybe this odd phenomenon I am experiencing is really a consequence of something else and there is a better way to fix it.

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