Breaking the Wall

January 28, 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

Before I forget - Kris Erickson wanted me to tell everybody that there is no day of race registration for Draper Days 5 K. So everybody who would like to run, register in advance. You can register at SportsNuts  or download the registration form. I recommend everyone to run this race. It is a fast course, but not so fast that your PR crosses the boundaries of what I consider legitimate. I estimate it to be about 10 seconds faster than a perfectly flat 5 K in Salt Lake City. You get very good competition, and I have run this race enough times to where I can tell you what is going on with your training and fitness by studying your Draper Days splits.

Jeff and I drove to Vivian Park from my house. We left his car there. Warmed up 3.26 to the start of the Provo River 10 miler at 7:56 pace average up 3% grade. I originally wanted to run a 10 mile tempo, and the rest easy, then on the way up I changed my mind to make it 12, then 13.1, then decided to make it 15. My body was telling me I was fit enough to benefit from a 15 mile tempo at marathon race pace. Another reason for making it 15 is that it would avoid running at threshold for a good portion of the tempo thinking it was marathon pace. The longer tempo would have a humbling effect with a better inclination to face reality. It would also be a better test of marathon fitness - in most of my marathons I have been able to predict my finish time with a minute accuracy from my splits up to 15 and analyzing how I felt.

The tempo had a total drop of 1160 feet starting at 5675 ft, then dropping to 5200 ft in the first 3.23 miles (3%), then a more gradual drop to 4800 in the next 6 miles (1%), then a drop to 4700 in the next 2.5 (about 0.5%), after that a rolling drop to 4535 at the finish (less than 0.5%).

We were a bit sluggish getting started, but then eventually worked into a nice 5:30 rhythm. Hit the 3.23 mark (wheel-measured) in 17:38, then the 5 mile mark on the course, which agreed with the GPS in 27:31. Dropped Jeff off at 6 miles, he ran back to the car. Hit the standard 3 mile tempo stretch from Nunns to the mouth of the canyon in 16:42. 55:45 at around what I thought was the finish of the Provo River 10 miler. The GPS showed 10.10. I was checking it against the trusted marks and it was accurate everywhere expect about a mile stretch on mile 2 of the standard 3 mile tempo. I think the Provo River 10 miler is really 10.05 - when it was certified, there was no bridge detour. Then Curt put in the detour but did not adjust the start or the finish for it. The detour is about 0.05 long. My 10th mile was around 5:40 - it flattened out by then, and the sun started to come out. I did not worry about the pace, and focused on maintaining the same effort with the realization that now it was going to be slower.

11th mile was 5:48 (by the dots). Then I needed to go to the bathroom. So I made a stop at Wills (11.2 into the tempo). Although I was feeling good, I wanted to stay as far away from running on empty as possible. So I bought a quart of Powerade. Ideally I would have gotten a smaller container, but that was the smallest they had. I drank about half of it. Not wanting to waste the substance, I decided to run with the bottle and empty it as I went along. It turned out to be quite a nuisance. I actually ended up not using it until I was done with the tempo. Had a rough start after getting out of Wills, 1:34 quarter, then figured out a good way to carry the bottle and got into a nice rhythm - 5:40-5:45 pace on a slight down, 5:50-5:55 on the up. The trail got back to the river, and now I was going under bridges and making a lot of turns - this slowed me down to a couple of 1:30-1:32 quarters, but then I shifted gears and started handling the disruptions of rhythm better - 1:28-1:29 quarters. Hit the half marathon around 1:13:50 - going by the GPS and adding 0.05 for the error in the Provo Canyon.

Felt strong all the way to 15, finished it in 1:25:00, exactly 5:40 pace average on the dot. It was very tempting to try to run another 11 just as hard to see what I could get for the marathon. However, I was running out of time, and also there a bit of wisdom that I learned from years of running - Just because you can, does not mean you should!

Stopped, and finished the Powerade. Now I was glad I had it with me. Had a nice recovery jog to get to the total of 20 eventually easing into a 7:00 pace, which felt very nice. Total time for 20 miles was 2:02:50.

Afterwards, ate breakfast and went the children's parade. Ran 0.6 with James (Ted's son) there to fetch the van after the parade was over.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From Randy on Sat, Jun 30, 2007 at 16:48:50

Sasha, Nice workout! So what are you training for this fall? I assume St. George. The next shot at the trials is 4 years away!

From James on Sat, Jun 30, 2007 at 17:13:32

Holy miles this week Batman! Are you doing the Sandy 10K with Paul on the 4th?

From Logan on Sat, Jun 30, 2007 at 19:35:19

I would love to do some of those races on the 4th or the 21st but I am already signed up to do the Blacksmith Fork 15K in Hyrum on the 4th and the Bryce Canyon Half on the 21st. I am spending the 4th with the in-laws and over the 24th with my family down in St. George. I am surprised to see you think I could do 2:27 in St. George. I feel if I keep moving up the mileage and continue with speed work it might be possible. I also would benefit running with someone. Thanks for the encouragement. I appreciate it. Great week with the mileage.

From wildbull on Sat, Jun 30, 2007 at 20:46:11

103 miles. WOW! Sasha your an amazing runner! Thanks for all your comments.

From Nick on Mon, Jul 02, 2007 at 17:59:02

Hey Sasha,

Alright, I think I have a general plan to go by for a Utah visit. I am planning on running the Draper Days 5k on the 21st of July. I was planning on flying out (I get free standby airline tickets) on the 19th, and staying in Utah until the 24th or 25th. I am still unsure of exact times, but this seems to be where my general plan is headed. Does this work for you? Just tell me what would work out best. Chad invited me to stay with him the night before Draper Days b/c he is close to the start. Maybe I could stay there (if its ok with him of course) and make a switch directly after the race. I don't have any solid itenerary, so what works for you will probably work for me!

From Sasha Pachev on Mon, Jul 02, 2007 at 18:21:38


The plan is to run DesNews, but approach it more as a training run with a strong finish. After than another training run of sorts at the Top of Utah, and then give it all I've got in St. George and try to hit a qualifier.


I am running Sandy Classic.


The only thing that would keep you from running 2:27 or faster in St. George is the lack of glycogen in the muscles. Aerobically you are there, you just need to work on your fuel storage, which you are doing already in your training.


Anything works for me. Draper Days is actually about half way between Chad's place and ours. However, Chad is closer to the airport. If you stay until the 24th, you'll get to see the Utah Pioneer's Parade along with the 10K and the marathon. If you feel inclined, you can find me at mile 20 and run with me. Talk with Chad, then let us know what you would like to do.

From Michelle on Tue, Jul 03, 2007 at 00:29:02

Well the 5K on Sat. was a little bit of a challenge, but I had fun regardless of the time, so I glad about that! Fun to watch Clyde run, and good to have Mik'L to run with, a running partner was fun if only for the day! I'm planning to run another 5K on Wed. too.

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