Breaking the Wall

Ogden Marathon

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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
Race: Ogden Marathon (26.22 Miles) 02:32:00, Place overall: 6, Place in age division: 6
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Brief report on the Ogden Marathon, more to follow later. 2:32:00, 6th place. Ahead of me: Paul Petersen (2:26:24), Steve Ashbaker (2:29:31), Joe Wilson (2:29:33), Neal Gassman (2:30:05), and Mike Dudley (2:30:51). What a race, especially considering the hot conditions on the second half! First half 1:14:36, second half 1:17:24. Last 10 K in 37:16, pleased with that considering the weather. Special congratulations to Paul and Steve on running PR's in spite of the course and weather challenges.

Now incremental full report, will do it in parts as I have time. Steve and I had a plan to run together for the first 15 and then make it race from there. It worked out quite well. After the first two warm-up miles in 5:42 and 5:40 we settled into a nice 5:30-5:35 pace and it felt just right. Paul went ahead as we anticipated, while Neal ,Joe, and Mike Dudley hung back. For those who do not know, Mike Dudley is a 2:14 marathoner that is currently somewhat out of shape. I am not sure why he decided to run Ogden, but he was there. At first I did not know who he was, but then the suspect revealed his identity upon questioning around mile 17.

We went through 5 miles in 27:56 (I am giving splits by the official mile markers, they were where they were supposed to me). Maintained good pace through 8, then slowed down on the rolling hills. 10 miles in 56:14. Next mile in 5:59. That was probably too much, but I wanted to make sure the pace felt relaxed. It was probably getting a bit warmer too, so the same effort now was not giving the same results. Mike Dudley caught us, and all three of us started working together. We sped up to 5:48, and then ran the steady uphill mile in 5:58. Hit the half in 1:14:36.

Steve started feeling a bit edgy, like he wanted to make a move. I told him to hold back until we were over the hill. I now started thinking race the second half, forget about the first. The first mile of the second half was 5:44. Missed the second one. We were moving along at about 5:50 pace after the hill. At the dam (17 miles), Steve made a move. Mike responded but fell back. I passed Mike, then he passed me back. I started feeling the effects of heat, and was not feeling energized. From that point I was just trying to keep my head above water (sub-6:00 pace).

Joe and Neal went by at around 19 miles. They were going strong. I got to 20 miles in 1:54:44. From that point I was trying to maintain a positive attitude. I was not unhappy about being on pace for 2:32 realizing that the heat was taking its toll. However, seeing the prize money run past me and not feeling the strength to chase it was discouraging. I decided to plod along and be ready to pick up roadkill if there was going to be any. It did not look like there was going to be, and there was not. I managed to stay sub-6 until mile 25, which is flat, even a bit rolling, and has a lot of tunnels on the trail. I did it in 6:08. When I got out on the home stretch, I decided it was finally safe to just go for it and give it all I had. I started seeing the quarter splits of 1:30. Saw 2:30:45 at 26 miles. Did the math, figured I needed 1:15 for 385 yards to get 2:32:00. Sprinted as hard as I could and pulled it off. This is incidentally a PR for the last 385 yards of a marathon as far as I recall, or at least one of the fastest times.

I promised myself that I would go and find Dan on the course afterwards if I were feeling half-decent. I knew that out of everybody in the blog group Dan would be struggling the most in the last miles. I jogged a bit, the back was stiff. Stopped and talked with Scott Browning (The Siren) and Bob Hintze. Saw Ted finish, then started jogging again. Felt better this time. After a while felt confident in my ability to pace others in the 2:50 - 3:00 and change bracket. Saw Cody, he looked like he could use some help. He was doing better than I thought, he told me to run faster. He made me run a quarter in 1:34, I count that as marathon race pace in the miles. Sent him off to finish the kick, and went back to find Dan. Found him sooner than the worst I was expecting, actually closer to the upper range.  He should have been sub-3 or close based on his training and racing, but it was hot and it kept getting hotter. He ended up doing great for the conditions - 3:05:03, 7 minute PR, and  Boston Qualifier.

Ran with Julia in the afternoon. Benjamin and Jenny ran with Sarah and Adrianne tonight. The recovery is going well so far - legs are not sore, although a bit cramped from the heat. The biggest damage was in the big left toe, same as after 30 K.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From Superfly on Sat, May 19, 2007 at 17:30:41

Way to go Sasha. Looking forward to the full report. Hope your recovery is fast.

From wheakory on Sat, May 19, 2007 at 18:01:12

Nice time Sasha. The hotter weather can definitely fatigues your body faster. Your second half was a great time.

From Cheston on Sat, May 19, 2007 at 19:20:49


Nice race, congradulation on a nice finish and place. Your my running hero, you make it sound so ease.

From JohnK on Sat, May 19, 2007 at 20:17:59

Great race! 2:32 in warm conditions is excellent. Congrats.

From Steve Hooper on Sat, May 19, 2007 at 21:49:14

Good job on the race Sasha! It's been great reading all the posts from the race today. Also, congrats on your 385 yard PR!

From Maria on Sun, May 20, 2007 at 06:29:23

Good job, Sasha! Your splits are good, considering the heat and your statement that you can never negative split. You really didn't slow all that much in the second half. Way to finish with a hard sprint. I'm always amazed at your ability to just turn around and go back to pace others in after just finishing an all out marathon!

From Paul Petersen on Sun, May 20, 2007 at 11:14:58

Nice race Sasha. I'm always amazed at your ability to give it your all and then turn around and help other people in. Not only is it a true sign of character, but also conditioning.

From Scott Browning on Sun, May 20, 2007 at 12:36:27

Another impressive performance!!! Your kindness and willingness to go back and encourage other runners is a true statement of the kind of person you are. Well Done!

From ashman on Sun, May 20, 2007 at 16:24:29

Stay positive, you are getting better with each race. I think that by Deseret News you will be in position to take the win.

From Cody on Sun, May 20, 2007 at 19:18:49

Great Race Sasha!

Thanks for coming back and pacing me into the finish. You woke me up from my daze and gave me the swift kick in the butt that I needed. You are an animal!

From James in Sunny AZ on Mon, May 21, 2007 at 10:42:02

Excellent race, Sasha. I really appreciate the advice you have given me. I have always had issues with the heat - there are several incidents I can recall where I suffered from heat exhaustion because I did not know my body's limits well enough. BTW, what happened with your left toe?

From Jed Burton on Mon, May 21, 2007 at 13:43:45

Well done, Sasha. I'm with Paul and Scott--your habit of going back to pick up friends is evidence of a truly impressive character. Not many elite runners think about the masses behind them.

From Sasha Pachev on Mon, May 21, 2007 at 16:43:54

Thanks everyone for the encouragement. James - my the toenail on my left toe was black and hurting after the race. It is better today.

From James on Mon, May 21, 2007 at 16:54:25


Nice race as usual! I agree with Steve, you are getting better with each race. I am sure that you will continue to have a better year as it goes along. I am looking forward to WBR again, which is probably my next race. We'll have another good, and fun experience there. Thanks for your positive comments and encouragement.

From ArmyRunner on Mon, May 21, 2007 at 17:02:48


Once again the FastRunningBlog runners did very well. The blog had 8 of the top 16 in the marathon finishing 1,2,6,8,9,12,13, and 16. Good running by all and thanks to the blog we can all help each other continue to improve and dominate the results.

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