Breaking the Wall

January 26, 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: 252.01 Year: 252.01
Saucony Type A Lifetime Miles: 627.15
Bare Feet Lifetime Miles: 446.12
Nike Double Stroller Lifetime Miles: 124.59
Navy Crocs 2 Lifetime Miles: 1576.28
Neon Crocs 1 Lifetime Miles: 1353.22
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Easy run with Ted at 4:50 AM. Two items of notice - it took me as usual 4 miles to warm up to pace, but I could handle 7:20 pace after the first mile. After that 7:00 pace felt easy. HR was normal - very low as usual, lower than it should be for the pace in the first 4 miles, then normal after that. Also, only one bathroom stop - the average for this early in the morning is 2.5.

Ted picked it up to 6:40 trying to catch the 7:15 guy. With a quarter to go I watched to catch the 35:00 guy for the last 5.02. So we ran the last quarter in 1:23. My legs felt good, like they had some jet energy in case Ted decided to test my kick. We ended up with 1:12:22 for 10.04.

The highlight of the afternoon run with the kids was Julia's first timed mile ever. Her goal was to break 10:00. After seeing Benjamin and Jenny get all the prizes for running fast times, she said to me: "Daddy, can I get whatever toys I want if I break the mile?" I told her she could if she went under 10:00. The main challenge was not the fitness. It is hard for a 4 year old to comprehend how long a mile is and to keep running at a hard pace with no end in sight. Especially for Julia - Jenny was a very mature 4 year old, she was already reading scriptures at 4.5, and comprehending the things of life in general much better. Julia is barely able to read her power words, and still does not quite realize what is going on around her, more like your average 4 year old kid.

Jenny volunteered to help pace Julia. This made a big difference. We did the time trial on the Provo River Trail. First half a slight up, then turn around and come back to the start. The first quarter was perfect - 2:30. The next 300 meters went great, we were right on pace for 10:00. Then Julia started to panic. I told her she could slow down. We got to the half in 5:07.

After the turnaround, Julia realized we were going back, so the finish was close. She started pushing the pace and ran the next quarter in 2:18. Then she saw the four dots and stopped thinking it was the finish. We told her no. She lost a bit of time on that, but fairly quickly got going again. Jenny and I kept giving her encouragement telling her she was still on pace and could get her prize if she did not quit. Jenny kept telling her to believe in herself. With 100 to go we saw our friend Amy with her kids, and that cheered Julia up enough to run the last 100 in 33 seconds "breaking the mile" - 9:57, now 5 people in our family of 7 are sub-10:00 milers!

Julia probably has the ability to run sub-9:30 with her current fitness if only she could understand the distance and how to run it better. That will come with age.

I checked Jenny's blog, and did some math - Jenny broke 10:00 for the first time at the age of 4 years and 295 days. Julia was 4 years and 242 days old today. Jenny had been running 0.5 miles a day consistently for about 3 months prior to breaking 10:00, and this was not the first time she had run the whole mile. Julia started much earlier, but her consistent daily runs have maxed out at 0.35. She had never previously run the whole mile without stopping for a considerable period of time.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From wheakory on Thu, May 31, 2007 at 00:25:36

Sasha, question my 11 year old is a very talented runner but she only really once to run when a fun run comes up and will train for it. She's ran races up to 4 miles and can run 8:30 to 9 minute miles. But I would like to have her run every day or every other day at least a mile. This is the same thing with my eight year old daughter too (of course her pace is slower 14 minute miles). What motivation can I use? My oldest is very good at soccer, and I try to tell her that running will really benefit you in soccer. She plays on a competition soccer team, and is going to a college soccer clinc next week for a week.

From Lybi on Thu, May 31, 2007 at 00:30:27

Good job Julia!

From christi on Thu, May 31, 2007 at 12:57:29

Ok Sasha- your feedback is killing me, but I'll let that be in a good way! Its definately made me get out the door and run more the past couple days! Now if I can just be more consistent!

From Sasha Pachev on Thu, May 31, 2007 at 14:21:20


With all three of my currently running kids (Benjamin, Jenny, and Julia) I had to battle them for a period of 6 months to a year before they began to enjoy running daily. Benjamin on one occasion reflecting on his recent success summarized the process as follows: Mommy, you do not know what it is like to train a whiny child! It is somewhat similar to teaching them to brush their teeth, or clean their room. There is one difference though that makes it easier - it is when they race. After a few good experiences followed up by a proper discussion of cause and effect afterwards they begin to appreciate the value of training, and not only that, but the value of hard work in general. Then they will not go to sleep without having done their run for that day.

Another good thing that happens is that the older sibling begins to teach the younger what they had just learned. On the other hand, if the older sibling starts losing focus, the threat of a younger one beating him quickly awakens him. You take them on a run together, if the younger one is pushing the pace, the older one cannot slack off.

One thing we do that I believe is critical is zero tolerance for negative attitude. I tell my children that "I can't" is a swear word when you are trying to say "I quit". I follow and analyze their progress very closely, so I can always know the difference between a bad day and a bad attitude.

Another important aspect is rewarding them generously for putting in an honest effort. Especially when they are having a mental struggle. I pick a goal that I know they can easily meet if they had the right attitude and think of something they would want bad enough to let go of their mental block. Not only do they drop the mental block for the day, more important is that they learn the skill of overcoming it, and being positive when things are rough becomes a habit. This is not only important for a runner, but also a vital life skill.

I have no bright ideas how to motivate an 11 year old. If I had to do it, I would think of something worthwhile (I will never reward my children with things that do not develop them in some way) that she wanted really bad. Something that is normally way beyond her privilege level, or something that would require you going a few extra miles to get for her. Promise to give it to her if she runs consistently for three months and then races afterwards. After three months she will be very fit, she will have learned how to work without skipping, and she will also know the joy of winning as a reward. After this hopefully she'll be self-motivated.

From Jake on Thu, May 31, 2007 at 14:55:22

Did you really have to battle your kids to convince them to continue running and that eventually they will enjoy it? Thats quite the shadow, Dad.

You analyze them daily so you can tell who is having a bad attitude and just a bad day?

Please keep let us know what you will do if one of your kids decides to find a hobby on their own without your help - GASP.

From Lybi on Thu, May 31, 2007 at 15:31:39

I surmise that this Jake person doesn't have kids. Just because kids need encouragement does not mean that they are being forced to do something terrible. Do you think it is a terrible thing to require your kids to learn to swim? Why not run? The Pachev children are vibrant, healthy, and happy kids with many interests.

Good luck hoping your kids will find their own interest in brushing their teeth, eating vegetables, going to bed at a reasonable hour, taking baths and toilet training.

From Jake on Thu, May 31, 2007 at 16:53:38

My son is 16 months old. But you are right. I better go down my checklist of expectations now and make sure he's on the right track I made for him.

From Diddy on Fri, Jun 01, 2007 at 12:32:12

How can you compare running to swimming?

If your kid accidentally falls into a pool or other body of water and can't swim, he/she will drown.

If they accidentally find themself on a track somewhere I think they'll live through it.

Also, teaching your kids basic hygiene not a valid comparison either.

It's not like Jake said you shouldn't teach your kid those's not like "Well I like to urinate in the toilet, but I'll leave that decision up to my kids, they can go where they please"

Let's compare apples to apples here folks.

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