Breaking the Wall

August 12, 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: 88.07 Year: 2386.98
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: 1257.89
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Final taper day before Draper Days 5 K. I am also running the Deseret News Marathon, and am tapering for that as well for several reasons:

  • I need an excuse to back off the mileage
  • If the standard three Kenyans all run 2:27 this year, 1 minute could be worth $2000. Of course, if all the Kenyans that finish run 2:22 or faster, and there are no dark horses running under 2:35, the taper is a waste of training. But I would rather err on the safe side.
  • Having fresh legs would not hurt the recovery - this one is debatable. One could argue that you can push the fresh legs much harder, and make it much harder to recover. But I think if you avoid the temptation, fresh legs recover faster from the same stress than the tired ones.
  • It gives me a chance to run a good 5 K right before it without wasting a week of training on the taper.

So today I ran alone. Jogged 3.5 miles out, then turned around and ran a 1 mile pick-up. First 0.75 at marathon pace, then the last 0.25 at 5 K pace. Ended up doing 1:25, 1:23, 1:23, 1:14. On the last quarter, had a hard time catching that 5 K pain feeling, so I thought I was going slower, about 1:17-1:18 maybe. So I was very pleased with 1:14. This gave me 5:25 for the mile. Finished 7 miles in 48:39.

Ran with Julia in the afternoon (0.5), then took Benjamin out for a health test - he said he was feeling more normal. He failed it - 0.25 in 2:44 and it felt hard, lack of energy, etc. Brought the stroller along just in case I would need it, and ended up using it to bring him back. So he is still too sick to race and will not be running Draper Days tomorrow. It is a miracle that I have not yet gotten sick - everyone else in our family has already. I count my blessings and pray that they will continue.

Added the Mileage Board. Feedback is welcome, and very much encouraged.

Latest web traffic news - we are now getting about 75,000 page impressions a month with about 9,500 unique visitors. 95% of our visits come from the US, 3% from the UK. Of the US visits, 58% are from Utah (down from 75% a few months ago),  10% from a location Google Analytics could not identify,  5% from Arizona, 4% from Idaho, 3% from Colorado, and 3% from California.

Does anybody have any experience/understanding of the online coaching market? There is a lot of informal coaching happening on our site. However, I have been thinking about adding some kind of a formal arrangement as well. Some questions need to be answered. What should be the qualifications for someone to be a coach? What programs do you offer? How much do you charge?

My goal is to create an environment that allows the sub-elite runners (for male marathoners,  the 2:20-2:30 range) to really focus on running and move up to the next level while helping runners with less talent and experience achieve their full potential. One idea is to have a setup that allows them to work as online coaches. The question is - is the market for formal coaching deep enough for us to tap  into it?

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From Scott Browning on Sat, Jul 21, 2007 at 00:03:15

The online coaching market is still pretty much emerging with most coaches charging a weekly or monthly fee for updated training. The most advanced coaching program I have come across is from Chris Carmicheal - Lance Armstrong's coach. He has a series of coaches working for him. Qualifications of coaching seem to vary quite a bit, USA track and field offers some certs, but that may not qualify someone as a good coach. There currently are no set standards that regulate the coaching industry so pretty much anyone can say they are a coach. My view of online coaching would consist of an interactive web application which allows for multiple types of communication between athlete and coach. Tracking software to not unlike what you are using for the blog and a way collect fees online. In my opinion the online coaching has not been done well yet and has the potential for growth, the obstacles that remain are how to determine if someone is truly qualified to help runners achieve their goals. I could go on forever on the topic and I have done a fair amount of research on the topic, if want to chat about it, call me and we can talk more in depth. I look forward to seeing you at Draper in the morning.

From Scott Browning on Sat, Jul 21, 2007 at 00:05:41

By the way, I like the mileage chart, it puts things into perspective - cool stuff.

From ashman on Sat, Jul 21, 2007 at 02:40:15

Sasha, The hay is in the barn as Bill Bowerman would say, taper as much as you can while maintaining quality. You will lose nothing and gain very little training heavily. To back off would be I think a good decision. YOU ARE SUPREMELY FIT! JUST DO IT!

From wheakory on Sat, Jul 21, 2007 at 04:22:56 is a very popular place for coaching

From Scott Zincone on Sat, Jul 21, 2007 at 05:46:23

Just reading the different blogs has changed my attitude and knowledge towards training. I beleive I would be interested in online coaching. Not many runners where I live. And as slow as I am I usually place in the top 5 in local races running around 7 min. per mile in 5 and 10 k's. The chance to get the most out my running is my main goal. I feel at 37 I may have missed my best years but I am going to give it a shot. And would take all the help and advice I could get. Especially from someone who would be able to analyze my workouts and push me to do more. Even if it is an online coach and someone I may never meet in person.

I do feel silly though seeing my cross training miles in a top mileage running chart since I have not run a step in the last 3 months.

From Maria on Sat, Jul 21, 2007 at 09:40:58

I've been working with an online coach since mid '05 and, in combination with this site, I believe it was highly beneficial for me. I'm somewhat familiar with the world of online coaching, and I can confirm Scott B. assessment: it's not a regulated industry. You can have no qualifications whatsoever, but if you manage somehow to get clients, there's no one to stop you from coaching. Most coaches do have USATF certifications, at least level II, but it's not a requirement. There are several online businesses that are known nationwide (US), but a lot exist more locally, centered around running stores and clubs. I'm not aware of any online coaching in UK, but I'm sure they exist. Charges vary, but I'd say most are now ~100/month or ~300/quarter. Some charge monthly, others quarterly, saying that you can only see results in a few months. Levels of service vary too - some have bronze, silver, gold type of packages with increasing levels of interaction and increasing prices, others have just one offering with 24x7 access by phone, email and/or IM. Carmichael's is indeed one of the better known businesses, although I've read that quality of coaches can vary wildly. If you're a high-performing athlete and pick a premium package, you get top coaches, otherwise, you may get an entry level coach.

I think your idea is good, and I support it, although I have some reservations. First, being a sub-elite athlete does NOT mean a person would be a good coach. He would probably be more experienced with his own running, but I think it's more important that the coach has solid understanding of physiology and training methods, and some coaching experience already, regardless of their own achievements. Second, if you think that it is possible to make a living solely by means of online coaching, you may be too optimistic. It is possible for a well established coach with many clients (and possibly other coaches working for him), but initially athletes should plan to supplement their income by other means. It doesn't mean this shouldn't be pursued, just that people need to be realistic.

If you want to take a look at some sites, let me know, and I'll dig out my list.

From Maria on Sat, Jul 21, 2007 at 10:29:14

Sasha, on another note, I checked again, and Alexander Gladkov's site has now English version, and international currency account information. With 9,500 unique visitors a month and so many hits, it may make a difference!

From James in Sunny AZ on Sat, Jul 21, 2007 at 10:58:28


Love the new mileage chart! I am amazed to see where my weekly mileage stacks up in comparison to others. I had also mentioned in my blog I thought it would be neat if there were a way to reset the mileage counter on trainers and racers to account for new shoes that you buy. Some may have more than 2 pairs they rotate, who knows - but it seems like this would be a good way to be able to see how many miles you have gotten out of your trainer. Also, I though there used to be a year view in a chart format - don't see this any more, unless I was just seeing things in the first place . . .

From Paul Petersen on Sat, Jul 21, 2007 at 16:20:40

Sasha, the mileage chart is great, just what I had in mind. I think it will serve to both motivate people and help track progress. For instance, I can already see that I have ran several hundred more miles than last year! Also, I'm neck-and-neck with Dave Holt for miles this year, which is kind of fun.

Regarding coaching, I've seen online coaching for as low as $60/month, but most qualified coaches go for well over $100/month. I think someone with zero coaching background and whose only qualifications are being "fast" would have to charge less than that until they built up a worthy "portfolio". People with lots of formal coaching experience may be able to charge more.

From James on Sat, Jul 21, 2007 at 16:26:36


How do you hyperlink the course tool to your entry, for those of us who aren't to computer savvy.

From Sasha Pachev on Sat, Jul 21, 2007 at 18:10:09

James - look at the top of the Edit Entry screen - it has an example. Also, you can use the same syntax in the comments.

From James on Sat, Jul 21, 2007 at 18:16:38

I like the mileage chart too. It is interesting to see and compare weekly, monthly, and yearly mileage.

From Adam W on Sat, Jul 21, 2007 at 21:22:11


The mileage chart is a good idea. I think runners like all different levels of competition. One comment, when I plan out my weeks I plan them Mon-Sun, I know a few other people on the blog do this as well. Not that it makes a huge difference but is it possible to have the choice of seeing the "weekly" mileage broken down with different start days. I have no experience with programing so I do not know how much of a challenge this would be. Thanks!

From Bc on Mon, Jul 23, 2007 at 11:16:57

i would also like to start my weeks on Monday. For the seventh day was Sunday a day of rest. I think I heard that some where. Sunday is not the first day for me.

From Sasha Pachev on Mon, Jul 23, 2007 at 14:04:55

Everybody thanks for the feedback. Maria - I have created a News/Special Announcements section and put a link to Alexander Gladkov's site there. This would hopefully give them some traffic, and maybe generate some donations. It would really help if they had a PayPal account, though. A lot of people would be happy to send a few bucks, but not many will take hours to do it.

Bill, Adam - to change the system to start the week on Monday will take 2-3 hours of work. The code that controls the start of the week was written a long time ago, and the logic is scattered all over the place. I will take care of it once I collect enough reasons for a full rewrite of that code, but for now there are some other priorities in the development.

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