Breaking the Wall

August 12, 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

A.M. Ran with Jeff at 6:40 AM. Medium workout. Warmed up 4.12 in 30:40 (7:27 pace). Then 5 mile tempo. The goals were to work on the threshold, not grimacing when the pace feels hard, and the ability to negative split. I believe the last two are related.

The weather was warmer. Still close to freezing, but a bit warmer, maybe 40-45 degrees. The leaves were mostly gone from the ground, and there was more light as we ran a bit later. I warmed up in shorts, long-sleeved shirt, and a jacket. Then it was warm enough to take off the jacket for the tempo run.

Jeff is still recovering from injuries, and just ran easy today.

Started at the Utah Lake gate so the first half would be uphill. Ran the first mile cautiously in 5:37. Not much meaningful feedback from the body, felt like just about anything could happen. Felt stronger on the second mile, did not slow down on the uphill section, got 5:35. At that point I knew I'd be able to run at least a few seconds faster than last week. However, I did not particularly care about the time, I was more focused on the negative split practice and teaching myself not to grimace.

Next 0.5 in 2:49 - this is a rough section, I think it is disguised uphill, it is always slow. Made a 180 turn, 14:01 for the first 2.5. Next quarter was 1:26 (recovering from 180), followed by 1:23. This gave me 5:38 for the next mile, and 16:50 for 3. Then with the help of small downhill for about a quarter mile got going. Next mile in 5:25, followed by 5:19 with the last two quarters in 1:19, and 1:18. Total time was 27:34, last 0.5 in 13:33, actual negative split of 28 seconds, profile adjusted negative split of 21 seconds. Avg pace was 5:30.8.

Cooled down with Jeff - 3.88 in 27:16, 7:01.65 avg. Total time for 13 miles was 1:25:30, avg. pace of 6:34.62

P.M. Good news - Murdock Travel called me and said they would accept the certificates. So I got a ticket to Memphis and back for $139 after applying $250 worth of certificates. I did learn my lesson though, and had the right flight picked out. The moral of the story - if you are ever given fixed value certificate that you have to use via a travel agent, go on the Internet, find the best flight, then go to the agent and tell him you want to use that flight.

Ted stopped by my house in the middle of his run to tell me about James' 5:31 mile - new course record for his age. Then we took Benjamin on foot and Jenny in the stroller and ran on the trail to Ted's car. 2.52 in 19:43, 7:49.44 average. Then back with Jenny running 1.5 of it, and Benjamin in the stroller all the time. Jenny's time was 13:24. Some guy passed us on Jenny's last quarter. She was going a bit sub-8:00, and that guy moved away from us pretty quick. I thought I could possibly catch him once Jenny was in the stroller. She took too long to get in, but I tried nevertheless. So I hit a quarter in 1:31 with a double stroller and Benjamin and Jenny in it (over 100 lb kid weight total) down 1% grade. I was entertained by how the kids discussed the pace from the stroller:

Jenny: I think we are going 7:00.

Benjamin: No, if it was 7:00 I'd be able to keep this for a while. This looks like I might be able to hang in for a quarter, but no more than that.

I was able to close a bit, but ran out of road - the guy must have been going around 6:40. It was time to turn. Once it flattened out, I slowed down to a 1:36 quarter. This felt like marathon race pace, maybe like 1:24 - 1:25 quarter without the stroller. Total time for 2.52 on the way back was 19:47, 7:51.03 avg.

Then ran 1.05 with Julia around the block in 10:58, 10:26.67 avg.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From Paul Petersen on Thu, Oct 25, 2007 at 14:57:19

Have you found out if you are doing a marathon this fall/winter?

From Sasha Pachev on Thu, Oct 25, 2007 at 15:03:01

Yes, I am running St. Jude in Memphis. And Murdock Travel just called me with good news - they are going to honor all of my certificates, so I get to fly to Memphis and back for $139. If I make top 10, the trip will be cash-positive.

From Paul Petersen on Thu, Oct 25, 2007 at 15:33:40

This is great news. I can't wait to see how you do. When is the race?

From Sasha Pachev on Thu, Oct 25, 2007 at 18:07:29

The race is December 1.

From Paul Petersen on Thu, Oct 25, 2007 at 18:16:49

I was just looking at the race website. I would think that Top 5 ($1000) would be quite doable. I looks like a fast, but honest course.

I had never heard of this marathon, but it looks like a good one, plus it's a rare Saturday race. Maybe I will put it on my list for next year instead of CIM.

And perhaps next year we can organize things so that several bloggers travel to some of these out-of-state races. Traveling together will reduce expenses ever more.

From Maria on Thu, Oct 25, 2007 at 18:48:03

Paul, if you don't have "hard" religious objections against Sunday's races, CIM is really hard to beat. I'm pretty sure it's faster than St.Jude's. The weather is always cool, the course is gentle, subtle downhill that's not hard on your quads. I loved it, it was my best marathon experience. Doesn't pay much prize money, but awesome for PRs. It's aided, for sure, but less so than St. George.

From Paul Petersen on Thu, Oct 25, 2007 at 19:01:07

Maria - I don't have huge religious objections to Sunday races, but it kind of irks me in principle that just about every major marathon is on a Sunday. I prefer to to spend my Sundays laying around watching football so that I can face Monday properly.

I figure I've already got my downhill hill PR, now my goal is to match and beat it on a sea level course with little or no net elevation change. Plus, St. Jude actually looks winnable, with potential cherry-pick money. Of course, I have over a year to think about it and see what else there is!

From Lybi on Fri, Oct 26, 2007 at 11:58:20

Hey Sasha! Last night I had a dream that you became a concert pianist. No pressure, but I was a very proud piano teacher. :)

That's exciting about St. Jude--they aren't going to know what hit them!

From Brent on Fri, Oct 26, 2007 at 21:52:21

Sasha, no doubt, your the man, right back after it at the races. What a quick rebound. You will do great.

From Lulu on Fri, Oct 26, 2007 at 22:48:09

St. Jude is a good race. I have run the half every year they have had it until last year when I was three weeks from having Bubbles. It is mostly small rolling hills. There is one long stretch (miles 5-11?) of incline, but it is no big deal (and I am truly a flatlander saying this). The back half of the course is rolling hills. There is not a lot of spectators, but you pass the hospital early in the race and that is inspirational. Usually there are kids out front. The back half is in neighborhoods. The last part is down hill, and you run into the baseball park and run half way around the outside of the turf to the finish line near home plate. A couple of years ago, they got wise and split the finishes for the half and the full. I do believe they finally stopped sending the marathoners DOWN THE STAIRS into the locker room (very hot with all those bodies in there) right after they finished. Be forewarned though (unless something has changed) that you do have to climb stairs to get out of the park.

From Sasha Pachev on Fri, Oct 26, 2007 at 23:03:03

Lulu - thanks for the description of the course. It will be very helpful. No problem with the stairs unless it is the Desert News marathon (cumulative 4000 feet of elevation loss, net 3200). I have been able to walk stairs and even hop up and down on one foot after a non-DesNews marathon since September 2003. After DesNews, I am just like everybody else even in comparison with the people who run the same course. I think this goes to show that once you tear, you tear no matter how strong you are, but if you do not reach that threshold, you are in a completely different zone.

From sarah on Fri, Oct 26, 2007 at 23:44:11

Lybi-....I was so delighted and tickled about the dream about Sasha that I jumped out of my seat when I read it...kind of involuntarily...really really funny...and yes it does make me feel better about the crazy dream he had about me.

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