Breaking the Wall

August 13, 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

Did two runs today. First one early in the morning before going to the temple. The goal was to cover 10 miles in the minimum amount of time with the minimum possible effort. Two conflicting goals. To meet them, the course had to be flat, and I had to start right from my house. This meant a mile out, and then a mile back five times. Started out at slower than 8:00, then eventually sped up to about 7:10-7:15 pace. Did not feel like going any faster. It might have had something to do with the low quality of sleep last night - Jacob had a fever, and kept waking up. Sarah nursed him all night. Fortunately he nurses very well, and that makes him happy.

Finally got bored with the slow pace, and also got curious about how a faster pace would feel. Ran 0.75 in 4:19. Then with 0.75 to go, I saw that I could break 1:11:00 for the whole run if I did the last 0.75 in under 4:13. So I got going. First quarter in 1:27, no wonder it felt so easy. Then pressed a little harder on the gas pedal - 1:24, and a bit more on the last one - 1:21 - 4:12 for the stretch.

In the evening first ran with the kids. Then put Jenny and Joseph in the stroller, and went to do the remainder of the miles. I discover that Jenny is a great training partner. Her stories entertain me well enough to compensate for the extra 44 pounds of weight. She kept talking non-stop, which might be a bit annoying in the house, but is wonderful during a run.

Ran the Slate Canyon Loop in 15:33. Interestingly enough, on the flat sections I was going about the same pace (7:10) as I did earlier this morning, and it felt the same in spite of pushing 70 pounds of kid weight + the stroller itself. I guess having had a nap in the afternoon made quite a bit of a difference.

After the loop, added another 1.5 miles. Got curious on the last quarter how fast I would go at a tempo effort. Picked it up to an aggressive marathon pace. Got 1:30 for the quarter.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From Nick Miller on Thu, Aug 03, 2006 at 12:39:12

Hey Sasha,

Does running slow miles tend to slow down the maximum speed that you can run? In other words, does your body get used to running this slow pace and formulate itself to only run this pace?


From Zack on Thu, Aug 03, 2006 at 19:53:20

Sasha- thanks for the comment on being able to hit my goal.. I will definitley keep putting in the miles. Love your stories of running with the kids definitley entertaining...

From Sasha Pachev on Fri, Aug 04, 2006 at 14:00:31


If you run exclusively at a slow pace you will start losing speed. However, if you run fast once in a while to break the monotony, you get the best of both worlds - endurance and speed.

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