Breaking the Wall

February 28, 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: 155.37 Year: 492.80
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: 1353.22
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Taper for the Top of Utah marathon. Ran easy 5 miles by my house this morning with 1 tempo mile in 5:45. Then saw Raymond, and ran a bit more at the same pace to catch him. Ran with him for a little bit, then ran a tempo 600 in 2:07 to the end.

Ran with the kids in the afternoon.

Also did bench press, 3 sets of 3 with 105, narrow grip. Still doing the Pettibon excercises and taking the Adrenal Formula. Started the headweights and the Wobble Chair.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From Chad on Thu, Sep 21, 2006 at 10:54:19

Pettibon exercises? Adrenal Formula? WOBBLE CHAIR?? What kind of crazy voodoo are you cooking up down there Sasha??

From Chad on Thu, Sep 21, 2006 at 10:59:30

Oh, and what are headweights?

From James on Thu, Sep 21, 2006 at 13:20:08

Good luck at TOU - hope you do well.

From Sasha Pachev on Thu, Sep 21, 2006 at 13:26:23

Adrenal Formula is an herbal mix to improve adrenal glands and nervous system. I am a firm believer in combination of a good diet and herbs to build the health of internal organs. With essentially the same training I ran 2:33 in TOU in 2001 (PR), then 2:37 in 2002, and 2:27(PR) in 2003 followed by another PR in St. George two weeks later (2:24). I could barely walk after TOU in 2001, and 2002. In 2003 after the finish and the interviews I ran back to mile 22 (via a 2 mile short cut, met my wife, and paced her for the remaining 4 miles of her race. What I believe made the difference was an improvement in diet and using herbs to restore the internal organs to better health.

Also, between 1999 and 2004 my VO2 Max went up from 66 to 75, max heart rate dropped from 187 to 170, while the half-marathon race pace heart rate dropped only from 173 to 163. The resting heart rate did not drop. I did not do any measurements in 2001-2002 to see if I already had something going before the dietary improvement in 2003, but I strongly suspect it is responsible for the lion's share of this cardiovascular breakthrough.

The rest is a part of the


>Pettibon system for spinal correction. You put headweights on your head and hold them for 20 minutes to form the proper curving of the neck. Here is my reasoning for investing into it. The VO2 Max of 75 predicts about 14:00 5 K with the average economy. My best reasonably honest 5 K is 15:37 (Draper Days, 0.4% elevation drop, but some climbing, probably enough to make it honest course equivalent). So there is a good amount of energy waste going on. Subjectively, I feel strong when I run, but not smooth. Often I feel strong, but progressively slow down as I go. I am yet to run a 5 K PR with a negative or an even split. So the accusing finger of evidence is pointing at bad biomechanics to start with, that often gets worse as the run progresses possibly because it takes so much mental energy to keep it even semi-decent that on some days I just do not have.

I have become convinced that a runner attains biomechanical perfection naturally as he runs a lot of miles, but that perfection limited to the degree that his bone structure will permit. I have tried several times to change my form with a conscious effort or with form drills. The visuals would improve, but the performance would not. I was still running the same pace with the same effort at best. Thus I came to the conclusion that the only way a seasoned runner could ever effectively (resuling in better economy) improve his form is my changing his bone structure to be healthier. So that has become my focus recently.

Why Pettibon? First, you've got to start somewhere. And, second, and perhaps the deal winner - it worked for Trever Ball, I have seen him run, I've checked his running history before and after (16:19 5 K -> 14:09 5 K), and he swears by it.

From chad on Thu, Sep 21, 2006 at 13:53:31

Thanks for the information, Sasha. Your results speak for themselves. So you're obviously doing many things right.

Is the Gotu Kola that is in the Adrenal formula related to the Kola Nut? I've seen that ingredient in GU, I think it has caffeine in it.

Anyway, I agree with your focus on good nutrition. I've been a vegetarian for 10 years. The best thing the diet has done for me is to make me conscious about everything I eat, which helps eliminate a lot of junk. I've tried various supplements too, but right now just try to get everything from food. I'm always interested to hear what is working for people, though. And as I say, your results are proof that something is working!

On the point about running form and efficiency, have you worked closely with a running coach to help improve form?

From Sasha Pachev on Tue, Sep 26, 2006 at 14:54:54

I have worked with and without a coach on the form, and found it ineffective. I found that is fairly easy to improve the superficial visuals, but something deep inside at the core, not so easily perceivable is still wrong. And I do not run any faster.

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