Breaking the Wall

Deseret News Marathon

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 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: 916.90
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: 1679.47
Race: Deseret News Marathon (26.22 Miles) 02:32:54, Place overall: 3
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Deseret News Marathon, 2:32:54, 3rd overall ($500), 1st from Utah ($500), total of $1000, finally a race with some good financial luck. I have not had very much of it this year. In Ogden, I ran a race that deserved $500-$1000 pay off, but the field was crowded, somebody had to miss the money, and being a bit less fit than the competition gave me that lot. Similar stories in shorter races - crowded field, this is a qualifying year, and the Fast Running Blog has been helping crowd the field as well. Nevertheless, I would much rather see/help create a strong field, and wait for/encourage the race directors/sponsors to make the purse match it than rake in all the money racing against a weak field.

Stayed with Chad the night before. Got to see his wife Heather and his little son Jack. Had a nice visit with Paul and James there. Had a runny stomach during the night, got up a few times. On the way to the race was concerned about that. Why? A marathon is a long way to go. Little things tend to escalate. Malfunctioning stomach means the carbo-replenishment will not go in as well. This often leads to an early bonk. Nevertheless, figured if I run conservatively, I could offset the stomach glitch, as well as the effects of the sinus infection the day before, and still run a decent race.

Weather conditions were good. Cloudy skies, no extreme temperatures.

Got to the start, usual routine, then the gun went off. Bill Cobler went into the lead. I stayed with Steve Olsen, Walter Brown, Jon Ndambuki, and Paul Rugut. We coasted at around 5:20 pace on the steep sections. Then Ndambuki and Rugut decided to take a potty break. I picked up the effort (not the pace, as the drop grade decreased), and ended up running alone. Ndambuki and Rugut wasted no time bridging the gap and caught me pretty quick. At around the same time (near mile 4) we went past Bill Cobler. I saw that the Kenyans were slowing a bit, and caught up to them. We ran together until mile 6. 6 miles in 32:43. HR was very reasonable on that section. Down 7% it hovered around 140, then it was around 155 as it flattened out.

Then they started pressing up the Little Mountain. I decided to keep my heart rate around 160 on the climb, and if I could keep up with them at that effort, go, otherwise, just let them take off. They were going significantly faster than what I could manage comfortably with the effort appropriate for the marathon. I ran the 7th mile in 6:25, and they put about a 20-30 second lead on me, this is up a 3-4% grade. On the 8th mile my runny stomach gave me some problems, and I had to make a quick bathroom stop. No big deal, lost no more than a few seconds on it. Got over the Little Mountain, 45:18 at 8 miles. Just trying to run relaxed.

Hit the little uphill subdivision loop. The Kenyans now had about a 2:00 lead. Saw somebody who I at first mistook for an early started, should have paid better attention to his form, it was Peter Vail (I think). He was maybe 40 seconds behind. He was surprised to see me, and made a comment to the effect of, what? you're third? I did not understand the meaning of the comment at first.

10 miles in 56:40, 13 miles in 1:13:16 (this gives me about 1:13:52 half), 15 in 1:24:12. Then to my surprise I heard steps behind me. Peter Vail was gaining on me. I did not like that, but I did not know what to do either. Then I noticed he was not gaining as quickly on the downhill sections as he was on the flat ones. I also remembered that he struggled quite a bit with the downhill in 2004. So I started surging on the downhills.

Clyde joined me soon after 15 miles. I kept doing my downhill surges, and it worked. First I increased the gap to a minute, and then there was no sight of Peter (or whoever that was). Felt strong 15 through 20, and thought that for sure I would run no slower than 2:30 with some seconds, and maybe even a bit under 2:30. Hit 20 miles in 1:53:42, and it is all downhill from there, and with a cloud cover to make things easier. However, my downhill surges combined with not being in the best health combined with a less than normal taper (only one week of 60 vs 80-51 the year before) started to take its toll. I slowed down to 6:20-6:30 pace and did not feel like I could go any faster. The legs felt beat up, and I felt a little weak (although not terribly). Not feeling a threat from behind, and knowing that the Kenyans had a mile lead and not slowing down was also a factor. So I coasted to the finish at that pace. The last 2 miles seemed to take forever, but not too bad.

For some reason there were several timing mats at the end separated by quite a bit of distance. I assume one set was for the 10 K, while the other set for the marathon. Not sure which one was which. So I made sure to keep running until I've crossed all of them, and timed myself on the last one. Based on that, my finish time was 2:32:54 with the last 10 K in 39:12.

Ndambuki won with 2:22:24, Rugut was second about a minute behind. Steve Olsen was 4th with a low 2:44, Bill Cobler 5th with a low 2:48, and Walter Brown struggled big time on the last 2 miles, but still managed a 2:51 finish. Carol Cabanillas won the womens with 2:53. She hoped for a trials qualifier, so she is probably disappointed. However, I am sure she does not mind a $2507 paycheck. 

Legs were sore afterwards, but I think not as sore as last year, which would be good. We'll see tonight and tomorrow.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From rdrunner on Tue, Jul 24, 2007 at 14:58:28

Nice run Sasha! Congratulations on the financial rewards! Great job on the mid-race adjustments to surge down the hills to maintain/increase your lead. Contratulations!!

From Mike K on Tue, Jul 24, 2007 at 15:09:39

Good race Sasha! I cheered for you at 21 from the car. I should have turned around to tell you how big the gap was. Glad to hear you're feeling better. I hope you recover quickly so you can push on with your training.

From Paul Petersen on Tue, Jul 24, 2007 at 15:11:49

Way to go! That is a great effort, both physical and mental.

From Brent on Tue, Jul 24, 2007 at 15:21:17

Congradulations, how did you drop the other runner with you at mile 18? I did take a picture of you two as you went by. Let me know if you want it and I will email it. Great job on the cash. By the way, many runners behind the front runners really looked like their quads were gone.

From James on Tue, Jul 24, 2007 at 15:28:51

Nice job Sasha! We tried to run up to see you after the 10K, but we missed you. I am glad that you posted your race because I wanted to know how you did. $1,000 is a chunk of change, don't spend it all on poweraid and honey!

From Scott Browning on Tue, Jul 24, 2007 at 15:51:46

Nice Job Sasha!! I talked to Peter Vail, he was walking when I saw him, he tore his hamstring on the way down and bailed at about 16 or so. You looked great when I saw you, good to see you get some money too!

From Clay Simmons on Tue, Jul 24, 2007 at 15:57:25

Nice job Sasha, with all the hard training you do this was well deserved!! You are inspiring I am truly amazed by your fitness, it makes me want to work harder...

From "D" Ence on Tue, Jul 24, 2007 at 16:02:43

Nice work Sasha! Hopefully you can use the money for something fun and not something like paying for the door to get fixed on VanGoo!

From Kerry on Tue, Jul 24, 2007 at 16:29:10

Great job, Sasha! You've shown all of us the link between preparation and performance. Thanks for your example of hard work and determination.

From Chad on Tue, Jul 24, 2007 at 17:03:43

Sasha--it's too bad we weren't able to see you on the course after the 10k. Would have been great to give some encouragement. Nice job and nice payday. Go buy the Fast Running Mommy something nice (!)

From Maria on Tue, Jul 24, 2007 at 17:46:49

Congratulations on a great effort and a nice payday, finally! You really deserve to be making more money from racing as you work so incredibly hard.

From wheakory on Tue, Jul 24, 2007 at 17:58:59

Nice run Sasha and way to grab some cash. Your time is impressive considering you pushed yourself this week with no taper.

From Michael on Tue, Jul 24, 2007 at 18:26:10

Wow, terrific race Sasha. 3rd place is something to be proud of, being the best from Utah is fantastic and only loosing to 2 fast Kenyans is not bad at all. Your strong training definately paid off. Congrats on getting some well deserved award money

From Superfly on Tue, Jul 24, 2007 at 19:04:32

Good job Sasha. I had a great time running in with you. I hope your recover fast.

From Sasha Pachev on Tue, Jul 24, 2007 at 19:46:54

Everybody - thanks for the comments and encouragement. Brent - the other runner with me was Clyde, he was just pacing/encouraging/getting some marathon pace miles in. Later on, we were in the easy miles mode for him.

When I get extra money, I always put it either towards the savings or towards the mortgage. I believe in living with minimum debt, and being prepared for emergencies. With 5 kids, and possibly more coming in the future, you cannot or at least should not spend your money on fun things left and right until your debt is zero, and there is a bit of safety net in the savings, and we are not there yet.

From James in Sunny AZ on Tue, Jul 24, 2007 at 21:03:54

Congratulations, Sasha! Glad you were able to do well in spite of the recent health issues that certainly played a factor in your time.

From Cody on Tue, Jul 24, 2007 at 21:40:38

Nice Job Sasha!

Way to show why you are one of the top marathoners in the state. Well deserved.

From JohnK on Tue, Jul 24, 2007 at 22:36:33

Congrats on the excellent performance. I think we all get motivation and encouragement from your dedication and hard work. Glad to see you got the nice payday.

From Lybi on Wed, Jul 25, 2007 at 01:31:16

YEA! Way to go get 'em, Sasha. You are an animal! If you're having a hard time figuring out what to do with your cash (ha ha) you could always put it toward a piano. :)

From Lybi on Wed, Jul 25, 2007 at 01:33:00

Oh--I just saw your comment about debt. Too true, too true.

From jtshad on Wed, Jul 25, 2007 at 12:45:23

Congratulations on the great race! What a time and a strong 3rd place finish is fantastic. You are an inspirational runner, keep it up.

From Nick on Wed, Jul 25, 2007 at 22:00:12

Nice Sasha! That is way cool that you got 3rd place, especially since it has financial payoff! Too bad I couldn't have been there to run the last bit with you.

From Michelle on Sat, Jul 28, 2007 at 13:43:46

Wow Sasha! Congratulations on your excellent race. You are an inspiration!

From Tom on Sat, Jul 28, 2007 at 14:02:50

Super race Sasha! Glad to see you get rewarded in more ways than one for all your efforts both on the roads and with this website. One of these days I need to actually meet you face-to-face so I can shake your hand and give you a big THANK YOU!

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):