Breaking the Wall

Murray Fun Days 5 K

Recent EntriesHomeJoin Fast Running Blog Community!PredictorHealthy RecipesSasha Pachev's RacesFind BlogsMileage BoardTop Ten Excuses for Missing a RunTop Ten Training MistakesDiscussion ForumRace Reports Send A Private MessageWeek ViewMonth ViewYear View
15% off for Fast Running Blog members at St. George Running Center!


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: 0.00 Year: 1935.71
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: 805.63
Race: Murray Fun Days 5 K (3.107 Miles) 00:17:34, Place overall: 6, Place in age division: 1
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran Murray Fun Days 5 K in 17:34, 6th overall, first master, $100. They are nice to masters - one of the few races that pays masters as much as it does overall. 

I decided to do this race for two reasons. After UVM half I realized that with a few extra races I could earn some cash in the master's USATF circuit. I used to race the circuit, but as the number of children has increased, my ability to win prize money has decreased, and our financial situation has improved, I could not anymore justify spending that much time on Saturdays going to races. However, this year with me turning 40 I realized that a couple of 5 Ks and maybe a TOU half would be all I would need to do in addition to UVM, Desnews, and TOU marathon to place in the money. So this was one of the 5 Ks. The other will be Draper Days.

The other reason was I wanted to see what Benjamin could do in a 5 K against your regular USATF circuit competition on a course that I knew. I would highly recommend anybody to run a circuit race if you want to run a 5 K in particular. Unlike many 5 Ks out there, a USATF circuit race has an accurate length (unless the police car takes a wrong turn, which has happened before, but this is a rarity), usually accurate mile markers, a pool of consistent competitors, and a long history of performances. If you run that 5 K in a certain time with certain splits, you have a pretty good idea where you stand and what you need to do to improve. If you run one of the multitude of fundraisers/fun runs/etc the quality of the information is just not the same.

Since we were going to be in competition the plan was that Benjamin was going to follow me, and if I felt I wanted him to lead I would motion to him to do so. Nevertheless, this race was not supposed to be me pacing Benjamin like in the Utah Valley. He has outkicked me before in a 3 mile tempo run, and he has beat me in a 2 mile race, so this was going to be a race over the last mile. I also wanted to win the masters, and I knew that Steve Anderson and/or Dennis Simonaitis (51 years old but still going strong), and/or Mr. X could give me problems.

The temperature at the start was 67 F, with the dew point of 63 F which gives you the relative humidity of 88%. This turned out to be a problem for me, but more for Benjamin. Our first mile was 5:32. We made our way through the crowd. After the turnaround I did not see Dennis either ahead or behind. I was quite perplexed by that. I learned later that somebody stepped on his foot and he felt the injury was bad enough that he could not race. I swear I did not bribe that guy :-) 

I could tell that Benjamin was struggling, so I did not quite press on the gas pedal as hard as I would have otherwise in the second mile, and I even said a few words of encouragement to him. This made the second mile slow even though it was downhill. Well, even though the first mile is uphill, it does not have a 180 turn. Also, it is hard to get going on the downhill after running uphill. So that mile ends up being not as fast as you would hope. This time it was 5:43 bringing us to 2 miles in 11:15.

At this point I realized I needed to start running my own race, and let Benjamin tough out his - he had been telling me to go for some time now, but I wanted to make sure he really did not have another gear before I took off. So I gave it a push and caught up to Garret Jones. This took quite a bit out of me - I could not pass him - maybe he sped up as well - and I sat on him all the way until it was time to kick. I thought he was going to outkick me. He surged with about 400 to go and I thought I was dead, but I found a little bit of energy to stay with him. Apparently that in combination with the hill that preceded the final 200 meters was too much for him. When we got to the 3 mile mark which I think was about 3-4 seconds off on the far side (making the kick time faster than what it should have been), I saw 17:05 and not realizing the mark was off, got really mad about all the effort that I had put into the third mile to get only 5:50. So I kicked, and to my surprise Garret did not respond. I kept running scared of his speed, but there was no reason to fear - I gapped him by 4 seconds. Benjamin finished not too far behind in 17:47.

So the finish order was Teren 15:18, Josh McCabe 15:42, Jake 15:44, a high school runner (forgot the name) 16:29, then Albert 17:21, then me with 17:34, then Garret  17:38, Benjamin 17:47, another runner in 17:58, and Steve Anderson in 18:06.

We ran some extra miles with Steve Ashbaker, Jake and Sandy. I ran another 3.5 miles when I got home. Benjamin ended up with 8.5 miles, I got 12.

Not sure what to think of this race. The time was slow. I probably lost 15 seconds or so on pulling Benjamin for the first two miles at a conservative effort instead of being more aggressive and catching up to Albert quickly, but I do not regret it. He is my son and I want to be with him when he struggles. Also, as a coach being there and sensing how he responds to changes in pace is very valuable. Not sure how much of a factor was humidity. Last time I raced in humidity (Rocket City) I struggled a lot. I could definitely feel bothered by the humid air coming in. I suppose we will see in Draper Days in two weeks.

For Benjamin, humidity is going to be a serious concern - he has two track races coming up that will likely be in conditions that are more humid than what he is used to. He told me when he tried to push it in the third mile he felt like he was going to choke. When he finished, he said his legs were not tired. So in other words he could not bring in enough oxygen to make them work. We need to do something about it. So I looked around and found a humidity mask (Humidiflier) that recirculates the moisture in the air you breathe and make it more humid. I ordered two - one for me and one for Benjamin. 

Green Crocs 5 Miles: 12.00
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
From Rob Murphy on Thu, Jul 04, 2013 at 15:28:49 from

Nice job on the masters win Sasha.

As one who struggled with the humidity this morning and who frequently travels to places like Minnesota in the summer to race, I can say that I firmly believe high humidity can be as much of a performance limiter as altitude.

From Josh E on Thu, Jul 04, 2013 at 16:45:19 from

Nice meeting you briefly, Sasha. Sorry I lost you guys for the cool down. I am the 17:58 runner:) Since Teren always runs this race, perhaps his pace is some data. Though he races less, he is not slowing down that much recently. In 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012 he went 15:06, 15:08, 15:15 and 15:19. So a slight uptick this year making me think it is a pretty usual year unless he was feeling extraordinarily good today.

I was thankful for the rain because it cooled it off maybe 10 degrees. So even if I was sweating more, I didn't feel like I was overheating. I feel like there are those who struggle with the elements and those who are more or less impervious to them, though obviously different elements may affect people physically in different ways...

From MarkP on Fri, Jul 05, 2013 at 09:31:22 from

Nice job! Hopefully, later in the year I can keep you in site.

From allie on Fri, Jul 05, 2013 at 11:39:56 from

nice job, sasha. congrats on the masters win.

From Bill on Fri, Jul 05, 2013 at 13:13:02 from

Good job! Sasha, it was nice to see you and your son racing today. Running is such a great family event. I think of the many families there for the 4th. A tradition that many have done for years now. It is a sport that is family friendly that we can do together young and old. Hope to see you again at Draper and have a chance to talk a little. Tell Ben great job finishing strong.

From Dave Taylor on Sat, Jul 06, 2013 at 13:04:33 from

Hey, maybe I come and Mr X you on the next one eh ?:) I used your workout this morning, it is awesome, thanks!

From RAD on Sun, Jul 07, 2013 at 22:22:41 from

Congrats on a win and I'm always impressed with Benjamin's tenacity to stick to the race despite conditions.

From Jake K on Mon, Jul 08, 2013 at 12:34:42 from

Good run Sasha. Enjoyed chatting with you on the run afterwards as well.

Add Your Comment.
  • Keep it family-safe. No vulgar or profane language. To discourage anonymous comments of cowardly nature, your IP address will be logged and posted next to your comment.
  • Do not respond to another person's comment out of context. If he made the original comment on another page/blog entry, go to that entry and respond there.
  • If all you want to do is contact the blogger and your comment is not connected with this entry and has no relevance to others, send a private message instead.
Only registered users with public blogs are allowed to post comments. Log in with your username and password or create an account and set up a blog.
Debt Reduction Calculator

Featured Announcements
New Kids on the Blog
(need a welcome):
Lone Faithfuls
(need a comment):