Breaking the Wall

November 29, 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: 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
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. This was an interesting night. Stephen woke up and cried, so I decided to calm him down by sleeping on the floor right next to him. That worked. He likes company. While on the floor I dreamed that William woke up, and in my dream I entertained him by running a file system check utility on a computer. Then I woke up from that dream, and moved back into my bed. This time I dreamed that James and Allie were getting married. Its been a while since I've checked anybody's blogs, maybe they are getting married after all.

Ran with Jeremy and Benjamin. The hamstring was still fussing, so I ran mostly easy. However, I could not resist the temptation when Jeremy told me he had done three quarters in around 90 the day before. So I told him, just run a quarter like you did the day before and let's time it. I was expecting a 90, so I figured it would not be too bad for my hamstring. He did 82 uphill. Then we did one more downhill. It was 74. My hamstring really did not like the 74 but I toughed it out.  

This was quite remarkable. A couple of months ago Jeremy was getting dropped while trying to run a downhill quarter in 80. Hardly any speedwork, just base, and now he is able to hit 74 without being pushed. I asked him what he thought his split was, and even after having run 82 earlier uphill, and knowing the time of that interval he guessed 80. This goes to show how much aerobic endurance is a factor in a race so short as a quarter mile. Granted, this is not a true quarter as we are doing it mid-run, so it is perhaps more indicative of 800 meter run performance, but still. No speed work at all, and we have an improvement in the middle distance speed. This also goes to show the futility of doing speed work without proper aerobic base.  The lack of aerobic fitness will keep the sustainable speed at bay so there is no speed stimulus, and the shortness of the intervals will preclude the development of endurance. In other words, in order of Jeremy to work on speed, he needs to be hitting quarters in at least 74. But when he is out of shape aerobically, you cannot expect him to run even one that fast.

Benjamin ran 4. I got back home, ran 2 with Julia (Jenny did 1.5), and then 3 more. The hamstring was chiding me for the 74 quarter the entire time, but was manageable.

P.M. 3 miles alone. Benjamin ran 0.4 with Joseph and Jacob. 

Green Crocs 3 Miles: 15.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 9.00
From Jake K on Thu, Mar 29, 2012 at 11:41:27 from

Allie and James ARE getting married in June! Your dreams are clearly checking the blog.

Good workouts lately - are you running UVM again as your spring marathon?

From allie on Sat, Mar 31, 2012 at 21:01:27 from

yes, it's true. we are getting married. this blog is where it all began for us :)

From Burt on Sun, Apr 01, 2012 at 17:02:55 from

Sasha, please don't dream that I will get swallowed by a komodo dragon.

From Sasha Pachev on Thu, Apr 19, 2012 at 13:50:36 from

Finally getting around to the comments :-) James, and Allie - congratulations! I think this is going to be our first blog marriage, unless I missed something, which I easily could have. Just think about this - if you have 10 children, one of them has a pretty good chance of having world-class runner genetics. If you teach all of them to work hard, chances are that one will actually do what it takes to realize his potential. The other nine will achieve something great in whatever areas of talent they happen to have as a side effect :-)

Jake - my plan is to run Utah Valley Marathon, then Deseret News, Top of Utah, and Rocket City.

Burt - no night-time dreams about you yet, but as far as conscious visualization goes, I am thinking about a sub-3:00 marathon. Consistency will get you there, I think you have enough speed.

From allie on Thu, Apr 19, 2012 at 14:15:37 from

thanks sasha. 10 children it is! :)

also, i like your upcoming marathon schedule -- that's a sasha racing season! we'll be at des news and TOU this year.

From fiddy on Thu, Apr 19, 2012 at 19:19:38 from

I remember you suggesting that I date Allie back in 2010. I was already planning on it at the time, but it just goes to show that you have good suggestions.

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