Breaking the Wall

August 06, 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: 16.00 Year: 2314.91
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: 1185.83
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Ran with Ted in the morning. His son James joined us for the first 3 miles. Had a very sluggish start, and I was the initiator of it - I was actually dragging behind Ted and James on the first quarter which we did in 2:25. Took us a while before we started breaking 8:00. Got to the turnaround (5.02) in 39:13. Eventually sped up to 7:15, and then 6:40 at the end. Finished 10.04 in 1:14:47. Dropped Ted off, then added another 2 miles, first in 6:42, second in 6:32. Total time for 12.04 was 1:28:01.

Ran 2.5 by myself in the evening in 17:59. Then ran with the kids. 2 miles with Benjamin, Jenny, and Jacob in the stroller. Put Jenny in the stroller at 1.5. Finished 2 miles in 16:28. Ran 0.5 with Julia in 5:25. Total of 5 miles. 

 During our Family Home Evening we read a funny scripture in Acts 19:13-16:

 Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the LORD Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.

 And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so.

 And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?

 And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

 On a day like this I noticed I consume about 300 grams of honey in addition to regular meals.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From Lybi on Mon, Aug 06, 2007 at 23:59:45

Huh? I find that whenever I read scriptures about possessed people, I tend to crave honey too...

From Shauna on Tue, Aug 07, 2007 at 00:31:58


Is this the right place to respond to your feedback of my race? I'll try it.

Thanks for your feedback. I think my 10K time ended up being just over 59 minutes, a 9:35 pace. With the 10% slowdown, I would have run about 8:30-ish pace in Phoenix. The last time I ran this race, I finished in 54:00. I had trained with a 50:00 goal but didn't make it, probably due to the hills and altitude. I went on to run a 3:54 marathon (my PR) that season, which was 14 minutes shy of my goal to qualify for Boston. My goal again is to qualify for Boston at the PF Chang's marathon in January. I'm concerned because I'm slower now than I was before I started my training last time, but I need to run the marathon even faster!

From Aaron on Tue, Aug 07, 2007 at 01:48:17

This *is* a funny passage. I think it's actually making fun of a specific sect, the Cynics. The Greek word translated as "vagabond," perierchomenos, means 'someone who goes around,' and was used by Epictetus in the late first century A.D. to describe his ideal of the wandering philosopher or hero.

I met some of those exorcists at the University of California. But back then they were into vegetarianism and crystal healing.

From wheakory on Tue, Aug 07, 2007 at 12:17:33

Good scripture. It shows you need faith in Jesus and his direction to overcome and have the authority to use his name for that situation.

From Maria on Tue, Aug 07, 2007 at 14:51:11

Sasha, I'm looking to buy couple of running books from Amazon, and I checked the Fastrunningblog store. Both of the books are not available. Would it be possible to add them? They are "Running with the Buffaloes" by Chris Lear and "Paula: My story So Far", by Paula Radcliffe. Thanks!

From Sasha Pachev on Tue, Aug 07, 2007 at 15:22:18

Maria - I've added them on the second page. Thanks for your support.

From Dave Holt on Tue, Aug 07, 2007 at 17:52:31

Sasha, thanks for your math update for me. I've said it before, and I will say it again... It is a good thing I don't teach math! Truthfully, I was wondering why I was so far off on my times for that workout... there it is.

I was also wondering if you have a little time, maybe you could give me a little more detailed description of the Provo River 1/2's course, so I could be a little ready for it mentally. Thanks.

From Sasha Pachev on Tue, Aug 07, 2007 at 18:06:09

Dave - to start, read my report from last year, the splits should tell you a lot. In summary, you get 800 feet of drop, a good portion of it in the first 3 miles (2-3% grade). There is a mile long uphill from about 5.5 on which you get a strong headwind more often than not. Otherwise it is mostly 1% down. Last mile is essentially flat. Prior to 2006 the course was short by about 0.1, and my predictor right now is tuned for that version. The current version could be slightly long, maybe by about 0.05.

From Maria on Tue, Aug 07, 2007 at 18:41:11

Thanks Sasha, I hoped it worked. I started from Fastrunningblog store, but then was taken to a regular Amazon page for a checkout.

On another note, check out this interesting blog from South African exercise physiologists (one of them works directly under Tim Noakes, so I tend to listen to his opinion): Interesting entry today (as well as on Aug. 4) stating that developing speed in shorter distances is crucial before moving up to the marathon, for all levels of runners. That resonates with advice I read from Leonid Shvetsov, and lead me to believe that I shouldn't be so keen on marathon until I can bring my 5-10K times down. I think you also expressed similar ideas regarding your own ability to run OT standard relative to your 5K time.

From Sasha Pachev on Tue, Aug 07, 2007 at 19:05:59

Maria - thanks for the link. I posted a brief comment in that blog. I do agree that if your 5 K speed is slow, you need to figure out why. But in many cases a partial cure is a marathon-focused training.

From Cody on Tue, Aug 07, 2007 at 20:47:08

I like the new article "Top 10 excuses for missing a run". I would be interested to data mine the blog to see what is the one used most often. Although many people perfer to not fill in an excuse, they tend to leave the day blank. Still very interesting.

From adam on Tue, Aug 07, 2007 at 22:46:29

here's an intresting scripture that's a bit running oriented:

1 Kings 18:41-46; Elijah is the fastest ultrarunner in the scriptures, beating a royal chariot, on foot, a distance of about 50 kilometers-in the rain.

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