Breaking the Wall

Murray Fun Days 5 K

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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
Race: Murray Fun Days 5 K (3.107 Miles) 00:16:42, Place overall: 6
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran Murray Fun Days 5 K in 16:42, 6th place.

My plan from the start was to go out hard and see what happens. The warm temperatures made it difficult. I have a weird body. I can run well dehydrated but my heat sensors are very sensitive. This makes me quite a bit better than competition average in a survival race (hot marathon) because I am still fine when others start having cramps, stomach problems, etc, but worse than competition average in a hot 5 K because the heat shuts me down and I cannot get going.

There was too much trouble at the start to name. Right now in a 5 K any decent high schooler is trouble for me.

Ran the first mile as hard as I could, but 5:14 was all I had in me. It was uphill and into a slight headwind, but still I hoped to see 5:08. But we were out in the sun and the air just felt too hot. By then I was with Brian Summers and a guy from Montana whose first name I have forgotten but his last name I Michels I believe. Seth and Teren in the lead, they hit the mile in 4:53, and Alexander Thomas about 10 seconds back ahead of us.

Lost contact with the Montana runner and Brian on the 180 turn. Tried to push to regain it, breathing is OK, legs do not respond. Tried to get going on the downhill coming back, not much success, but closed the gap on Brian. The Montana runner had dropped Brian by that time. Caught up to Brian by 2 miles. 10:36. Wow. Only 5:22 for all this work on a downhill. One mitigating circumstance was 180 in the middle. That and the heat. No problem, life goes on. Just keep racing.

Last mile has a small net gain, and is up and down. Starts with a slight up. Brian gapped me shortly after I had caught up. I gradually reeled him in, and was able to attach. Then there was a short steep down. I used that to pass Brian and hopefully discourage him. Did not work, he passed me back and started kicking. Then shortly before mile three another guy from Colorado, his first name was Mike, the last name was either Hutchinson or Huntington, went by me as if I was standing still. We hit the short uphill, it turned out to be less steep than I remembered it. Hit mile 3 in 16:12, 5:36. Not as bad as it could have been.

Turned out Brian miscalculated how far away he was from the finish and started his kick too early. Once his kick was over I was able to pass him back and finish 5 seconds ahead of him. I could hear trouble from behind so I was kicking as hard as I could. I thought it was Brian, but it turned out to be our blogger Kyle Moffet. He finished 1 second behind me.

Times - Teren 15:06, Seth 15:33, Alexander 16:00, Montana runner 16:14, Mike H from Colorado 16:36, me 16:42, Kyle 16:43, Brian 16:48.

Looks like that I was 4th in the circuit, in a 5 K for me that is a steal and a lucky day. It is rather interesting that the best quality 5 K I've run this year was Magna, which was a week after a marathon. I think the two week taper helped me - I ran less than 80 miles the week of the marathon, and after that only 90. Other 5 Ks were run off 120 miles a week. Also I wonder if 120 miles a week affects me more in the summer when it is hot. All this time outside while the heat sensors in the skin keep hearing "slow, slow, slow, it is hot". And then I race, and the same message is still deep under my skin.

Also I am probably feeling it in a 5 K more than in a longer race because you have to run faster.

Ran 7.5 afterwards. Some of it alone, ran 0.5 rabbiting the kids race, a little bit with Teren, and more with Seth.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 16:34 with Jenny joining us for the first 1.5 in 12:55. Julia ran 1.5 with Sarah. Then took Jenny to the Y. We hiked from the trail head to the bottom of the Y in 22:21. Looked at the view, took some pictures, identified landmarks, and then headed down. Ran parts while going down, about 0.5 or so. The time on the way down was 14:11. The distance measured 0.95 in both directions. The elevation gain is about 1000 feet, so about 20% grade on average. My best time on that stretch running is 11:38.

Night Sleep Time: 7.75Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.75
From marion on Fri, Jul 04, 2008 at 18:21:08

amazing... truly amazing. I love reading your reports. They are full of information and inspiring!

From Hayden on Fri, Jul 04, 2008 at 20:53:13

Mike was about 20 something seconds and Jared was 16 seconds, i think, so not to bad. Nice race to yourself

From Chad on Fri, Jul 04, 2008 at 23:50:03

Nice work, Sasha. I thought your comments about the reduced mileage paying off at Magna were interesting. If you were targeting the 5k it wouldn't make sense to run the miles you do at the paces you do. But perhaps there is a lesson in there that designing the schedule to back off the miles every now and then might give the body more of a break so it is able to respond when you need it.

From bc on Sat, Jul 05, 2008 at 01:04:26

Sasha, good job today. I didn't have my garmin on in the warm up how far do you think we went.

Let's analyze our splits and see what happened, based on the race strategies we talked about before the race.

My mile 1 5:45 yours 5:14 I'm -31

My mile 2 5:41 yours 5:22 I'm -19

My mile3.1 6:46 yours 6:06 I'm -30

It might appear that we both started and finished with the same net effort, but in the middle of the race I must of worked a little harder. If a relaxed a little more in the middle would I have a stronger finish?? Or did I lose focus and effort as I was passed by a master half way up Vine Street. After relaxing about 20 meters, a quick splash in the face, and a hold on for dear life finish. What are your thoughts? I know I'm not going into these races fresh, but we always want to seek a better performance or aprroach to obtaining it.

From Sasha Pachev on Mon, Jul 07, 2008 at 15:57:31

Bill - the gap on the last 1.1 was actually 40 seconds, or 36 seconds per mile. Let's add Teren into the picture:

4:53 - 4:50 - 5:23. Teren's gaps on me - 21 - 32 - 43 or 38 seconds per mile, on you - 52 - 51 - 1:23 or 1:14 per mile. Teren said he actually eased off a bit once he saw that he was safe from Seth, but I would guess it happened late enough in the race and his time was not affected very much.

I actually did not ease off in the second mile. I ran it as hard as my body would let me and was in a lot of mental pain.

I think you and I would have lost it on the third mile regardless of how we started. This is not a lactic fatigue. I bet if they measured our lactic acid levels during the third mile, Teren's would have been the highest, mine would have been the second highest but significantly lower than Teren's, and yours would have been the lowest but not much lower than mine because mine was pretty close to as low as it gets already. Why?

Both of us are aerobically fit as well as Teren if not better. But neurologically we are far behind. Which is the main reason he is able to beat us by so much. The third mile difference would suggest that my neurological fitness is a bit better than yours. Being able to beat you by a minute and half when you run as many miles as I do points in that direction as well.

To see if I am right. Put on an HRM and start running 5:30 pace on a flat well measured surface (track would work) and keep it until failure. After you fail, struggle for another mile or so to maintain the fastest possible pace. Watch the HR. When you struggle does it keep going up, or does it drop by about 5 beats a minute from what you got it up to at 5:30 pace? If it drops, the limit is neurological. If it climbs, I am wrong, it is cardio.

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