Breaking the Wall

December 01, 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: 304.65 Year: 3606.17
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: 1657.61
Brown Crocs 3 Lifetime Miles: 806.96
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Control 3 mile tempo run with Jeff this morning at 6:00 AM. Ted had to go a bit earlier. The rough plan was - 1:19 quarters - good, 1:18 - better, 1:17 too good in the first mile, really good otherwise, 1:20 acceptable in the first mile, too slow otherwise. The significance of this run is that a 3 mile tempo has accurately predicted my marathon times in the past, and I had the data for this particular course for Ogden 2007 and Richmond 2003.

Warmed up 3.38 very easy. Started at the start of the Provo River 5 Mile Tempo by Geneva Road. Jeff and I alternated quarters, I took the first. 1:17 - 1:20 - 1:16 (0.5% down) - 1:17 (0.5% down), first mile in 5:10 - 1:18 - 1:20 (slowed down to not miss the turnaround, it was still dark) - 1:21 (recovering from 180 turn) - 1:20 (Jeff started losing it, I passed him 50 meters early and went for it), 5:19 on the second mile, 10:29 at 2 - Jeff fell back, now I was running alone - 1:19 (up 0.5%) - 1:19 (up 0.5 %, had to break because a dog jumped right under my feet, bad place too, right in the middle of the uphill) - 1:20 (got complacent) - 1:17 (felt good, but could not put together a kick). Last mile in 5:15, total time 15:44.3. Jeff was suffering from our Saturday run combined with the lack of sleep, so he was reduced to coasting through the last mile in 5:42 and finished in 16:12.

This predicts 2:28 in Ogden 2007 (including the heat), and 2:26 in Richmond 2003 assuming a crazy start. Reasoning - ran this in 16:12 before Ogden this year, 2:32:00 in Ogden, and 16:22 before Richmond 2003, 2:31:45 with the approach "qualify or die", first half in 1:12:12, second in 1:19:33, and those halves would be within a minute of each other run at the same effort.

Sasha science analysis for St. George - in the 3 mile run prior to Ogden I did enough VO2 Max workouts to have the ability to cheat in the 3 mile tempo. Ted paced me on the last mile, I hurt a lot, and ran it in 5:18. It was a true VO2 Max mile. Today I ran 5:15 on the last mile for two reasons - did not have anybody around to stir the pot, and could not get to a VO2 Max pace due to the lack of training at those speeds. That is OK, it is good to have a governor that would not let me go that hard in St. George, especially on Veyo. Prior to St. George 2006 I ran the standard downhill 3 mile tempo from Nunns to the mouth of the Provo Canyon in 15:35. This one tends to be about 35 seconds slower than that one. That would give me 15:10 on the Provo Canyon tempo, projecting it over the marathon, 3:38 faster than my finish time in St. George 2006, so 2:21:54. I have a trump card to pull out - higher mileage and a lot more Big Workouts this year, so I should be able to hold the threshold better through the marathon. That could come handy for getting the standard A, or in case something goes wrong, a bit of a cushion to still get standard B.

P.M. 0.5 with Julia in 5:05, then 1.5 with Benjamin, Jenny, and an empty single stroller in 13:49, then put Jenny in the stroller, last 0.5 with Benjamin in 3:32 (you can tell his horses were neighing the whole way through Jenny's run), that gave us 17:21 for 2 miles. Benjamin's soccer team lost  for the first time this season 0-2. Benjamin's explanation of why - 75% of the opposing team were Hispanic, the rest were giants.

Taper time - I feel like I am driving through a construction zone, fines double,  with a trooper following me.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From Paul Petersen on Tue, Sep 25, 2007 at 12:54:37

Good workout.

From wheakory on Tue, Sep 25, 2007 at 13:01:30

Nice Workout and good data analysis to indicate your projected time. Sasha, you have the determination and faith to get your goal this year. I'm excited for you.

From adam on Tue, Sep 25, 2007 at 13:48:39


I will talk to Aaerd Sampson about getting you a VO2 max test over here at BYU. Is there a particular time you would want to have it (before/after St. George)?

Also, if you are ever completely bored and want to be a subject in our biomech crutch study, let me know. We are always looking for more subjects. You'd get ten whole dollars for about an hour of "work"...mighty tempting, I know.

From Sasha Pachev on Tue, Sep 25, 2007 at 23:25:50


Thanks for your help. I'd like to do it before St. George. Any time this week, or early next week will work. While I am there, I may just as well do the crutch stuff. I love measurements, and draw inspiration from them.

We are running at 5:00 AM tomorrow from my house, easy 10 if you want to join us.

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