Breaking the Wall

Draper Days 5K

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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: 304.65 Year: 3606.17
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: 1657.61
Brown Crocs 3 Lifetime Miles: 806.96
Race: Draper Days 5K (3.107 Miles) 00:16:28, Place overall: 8
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Draper Days 5 K, 16:28, 8th place. The course has been changed. It is now a loop course with some moderate hills. The grade for most of the course is about 0.5-1%, a short (about 0.1) stretch of 3-4% climb about 2.6 miles into the race, not a spot that is flat - you are either going up or down. Definitely slower than what it used to be.

On the positive side of things, the temperatures were ideal this morning. If felt perfect.

Warmed up with Carol Cabanillas and Carre Joyce. Steve Ashbaker ran by with the ladies he is coaching. He was not in the race, but stopped by for a visit. We chatted a bit. He predicted that I would run 16:26.

Lots of trouble at the start. My plan was to run with Alexander Thomas regardless of how fast he went for as long as I could, then hang for as long as I could with every runner that passed me after that. Seth, Teren, and Stephen Clark were a few seconds ahead, then Alexander, Dennis, and me. I made it to about 0.75. Nate Hornok caught me, I managed to make it to the mile with him. First mile in 5:02. I was pleased. It was a slight up.

Nobody passed me in the second mile. It started out with a downhill stretch, and then it was a slight up. 5:17, pretty much what I hoped to run it.

Right after mile 2 mark Kyle Moffet passed me, and I was able to hang with him to the middle of the uphill at 2.6. Caught a split at 4 K - 12:58. Did the math, realized Steve was going to be right. Pushed myself as hard as I could on the last mile. 15:54 at 3 miles, 5:35. Not spectacular but acceptable.

Kicked at the end, last .107 in 32 seconds. My watch said 16:26, but my official time was 16:28.

Other times: Teren 15:08, Seth 15:26, Stephen 15:33, Alexander 15:36, Nate 15:41, Dennis 16:10, Kyle 16:20, Neal Gassmann 16:34, Thatcher's friend 16:36.

Ran back, paced Alexander Berry for the last 0.15 or so. He finished in 20:37. Then cooled down with Bill Cobler. Then talked with Mark Olsen and he had his timing gate handy. So we did a few sprints measuring top end speed for 10 meters. My best time was 1.42. Bill got 1.38. Breanna got 1.50. Thatcher's friend from Ethiopia whose name starts with a G (I will learn how to say and spell it some day) ran 1.11.

P.M. 1 with Julia in 10:48, 2 with Benjamin in 16:38. Jenny joined us for 1.5 in 12:36. Her friend Brinley joined us for a little over a mile and the mile that she ran was 8:25.

T4 Racer - 319.73 miles

Five Fingers - 763.25 miles

Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.83Total Sleep Time: 7.83
From Kim on Sat, Jul 19, 2008 at 17:05:31

It seems crazy to me that you can run a 5K in 16:28 and be in 8th place! What is your 5K PR? You are an amazing runner! Have I ever thanked you for all you do for me and the rest of us? If not...thank you! You really have offered a lot to a lot of runners!

From Walter on Sat, Jul 19, 2008 at 17:54:38

Nice run Sasha! Everyone was running so fast today! I havnt seen Neal Gassman around forever. Did you talk to him?

From jhorn on Mon, Jul 21, 2008 at 19:04:35

Thanks for pacing Alexander Berry and inspiring me to kick it in to have a little pride in my kick. My name is Jesse, by the way. Neal hangs with the slc track club but I haven't seen him race til now. He's still crazy fast and is probably just rounding into shape.

From Sasha Pachev on Tue, Jul 22, 2008 at 18:05:30

Kim - my loop course PR is 16:00. I've run 15:37 on the old Draper Days course which you could consider an honest course - certified, 0.4% elevation drop, but with some uphill.

The big question I have is what we can do to make the average runner to be more likely to come to a 5 K race because 10 people or more go under 17:00 on a certified hilly loop course at altitude rather than because it has good food, pretty age division trophies, or a raffle.

Walter - Neal is recovering from an injury. So he is not quite in his top shape yet.

Jesse - I did not realize that it was you, but figured it out later by looking at the race results. Odd that we've never met in person yet. I'll try to find you at the next race. Are you running DesNews or Minuteman 5 K?

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