Breaking the Wall

July 15, 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

Magna 5K. 15:35, 5th place. Headwind on the downhill stretch made the times slow. Teren Jameson won with 14:45, then Joe Wilson 15:14, Dennis Simonaitis 15:16, and Corbin Talley 15:24. I barely escaped the jaws of a lion trying to eat me for lunch and take my precious $20 of prize money away from me - Nate Hornock was 6th with 15:40.

With the headwind on the first 1.7 or so downhill stretch, the plan was clear. Hang in with the non-Teren big boys until I puke. Then if Nate, Mike Kirk, or Steve Ashbaker are around, trade leads with them.

Teren took off very fast, there was a pack of curious runners that I suppose just wanted to see for a couple of minutes what it feels like to run in the lead pack, then as it usually happens, the position got settled according to the level of fitness. Teren battling the wind on his own, then Joe, Corbin, Dennis, and myself trying to catch a ride. It started hurting right away, but I decided to run with them until it would become physically impossible.

Joe felt good and broke away. I stayed with Dennis and Corbin. Mile 1 in 4:40. Around 1.5 we reeled Joe in, and he joined us. Mile 2 in 5:01. I am still with the big boys, and the bigger boy (Teren) is still visible enough to take his splits. Then about 11 minutes into the race the lions began to roar as they prepared to divide their lunch. I set a goal to hang with them until 12 minutes into the race. At 11:47 it became physically impossible for me to stay with them and I got dropped.

Then I tried to survive. 3 miles in 15:06 ( 5:25), and I heard loud breathing behind me. This has to be Nate, and it means trouble. He has a kick. At first I thought let him have $20, but then I said no way and gave it all I had like an antelope fleeing from a lion to safety. I made it!

Ran a bit more, then ran with Benjamin and Jennifer at home, then a little more with Julia and Joseph in the stroller. 15 miles for the day.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From Brent on Mon, May 29, 2006 at 11:10:12

Shasha, great effort in heavyweight competition, middle distance Utah elite runners. I was disappointed about my time, but happy with the effort given the wind. B ob BS Rools out.

From Maria on Mon, May 29, 2006 at 22:37:01

Sasha - great job hanging in there! How close is this to your PR? Your splits really went downhill by a lot with each mile though - do you think you could have gone faster by running more evenly and starting at, let's say, 5:00? But you had an awesome kick in the end - 0:29 for the last .1! You must have really wanted that $20 :). I got a useless (for me) toy model of BMW Z4 for my 3rd age group place today, and they also had gift certificate attached to it for New Balance store. I thought I could at least use that, but when I opened it, it was only for $5, which kind of not worth driving 40 min. to the store. Oh well, I guess I need to get faster if I want to have better prizes!

From Sasha Pachev on Tue, May 30, 2006 at 11:55:43

Brent - I hoped to see you in Magna, but somehow missed you.

Maria - the splits were not as bad as they sound. First mile was enterly downhill, second partially downhill, and third partially uphill with a short downhill. However, the strategy to go fast and survive was correct. Otherwise, I would have likely been left alone to battle the headwind. But even without the headwind, I always run 5 Ks better going out hard, plus it is a good mental training. I even more often than not run good marathons with this strategy. I am yet to run a really good marathon coming from behind, and I have tried many times - what happens is I start out slow, and then finish slower.

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