Breaking the Wall

February 24, 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

A.M. Moderate workout. 6:30 AM by myself. Temperature around freezing. Warmed up 4.12 in 29:43 to the trail gate by the Utah Lake. Then ran Provo River 5 Mile Tempo except started at the other end of the stretch. Figured it would work better for teaching me to negative split since that makes the first half a slight up, and the second slight down. It worked quite well. I hit the first mile in 5:40. It was still dark. The pace felt just right. I adjusted for the cold, leaves on the road, post-marathon residual fatigue, and a recent increase in mileage. So although it was slow, I was expecting to hit slower splits with more effort. Started to get into a good rhythm on the next 0.5, ran it in 2:47. Then hit the uphill section, and it took the wind out of my sails. Dragged myself through the next mile in 5:40 with 14:07 at 2.5. My legs felt like they were stuck in a low gear. The way things were going, it looked I was headed for about 28:05. I began to wonder if the marathon, and the sickness before it perhaps took more out of me than I thought, or maybe I was just underestimating the effect of the cold weather and the leaves on the road creating slippage. Next quarter was 1:27 recovering from 180 turn, followed by 1:24, a bit of an encouragement. This gave me 16:58 at 3 miles.

Then the sun came up, it started getting warmer, and I hit the downhill section. This kicked me into gear. Next mile in 5:28, and the last one in 5:26 with the last quarter in 1:19. Total time 27:52, last 2.5 in 13:45. While the time was not particularly fast, nor were any of the splits in the middle, I was happy with being able to find myself not feeling that great half way through, yet still be able to run a 22 second actual negative split, which translates into a 15 second effective negative split adjusting for the profile of the course.

Then ran 3.88 in 26:51 back to the house. This gave me 1:24:26 for 13 miles, 6:29.69 average.

P.M. 2 miles with Benjamin in 16:11. Tested his sense of pace - did not give him any splits until we were done, and had him estimate every quarter. He was fairly consistently off by 5-10 seconds guessing a slower pace that he was actually running. Then 1.05 with Jenny and Julia in 10:29, and another 0.5 with Jenny in 4:32. Then 1.5 by myself in 10:24. No stroller today.

The good news is that while in the late morning and early afternoon I was feeling like I had done something, by tonight I started to feel like a slacker. Not bad at all after 74 miles in 4 days.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From Christi on Thu, Oct 18, 2007 at 20:50:19

Hi Sasha! Thanks for the motivating tips on my blog. I've decided to not break my neck to get to the gym early in the morning. I'm just going to run

'cause that's what I like! I'm still figuring out if I'm a marathon runner or 5k runner- big difference I know! I just get so much satisfaction out of seeing my time improve in shorter distance races. This is weird- a couple of your recent comments have come to my email, but they don't show up on my blog? Just curious why they don't show on the blog?

From MichelleL on Fri, Oct 19, 2007 at 10:51:30

Sasha, I had similar sluggishness on uphill on Thursday, though not in the middle of a tempo run. Perhaps uphill running is the last piece of our training to bounce back from a marathon?

From Sasha Pachev on Mon, Oct 22, 2007 at 12:22:30


Your browser is probably caching when it should not be - sounds like a typical Internet Explorer issue. You can hold Shift and click on the Reload button at the same time to refresh the page. Or, better, just download and install Firefox from the button on the right of this comment.

Regarding your distance - there is not a whole lot of difference in the way a top 5K/10K runner would train compared to a marathoner. In fact, it is not uncommon to find a 5 K runner that runs higher mileage than a marathoner. At this point in your training you should not worry about which distance you are going to specialize in, but instead focus on building a solid aerobic base which is critical for all distances 5 K and up.


I think you have a point. I have a pretty good idea how strong I am going to close a marathon by how well I am taking uphill segments around mile 18. I also know that if a competitor is hanging on but appears unusually weak on uphills after 15 miles, he presents no threat, he's got only 3-4 miles before he starts a premature cooldown. With that in mind, it is reasonable to expect that there will be some residual uphill weakness after a marathon even though you might be feeling normal otherwise.

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