Breaking the Wall

November 23, 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: 232.17 Year: 3533.69
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: 734.48
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. My good old friend and training partner Ben Crozier was in town. He joined me this morning. This helped quite a bit, as Ted was out of town, and my Uneventful Half-Marathon would have been very uneventful otherwise. Ben is still not married, so Sarah and I gave him a lot of teasing about it, as well as practical advice. Even my son Benjamin joined, and offered some of his.

Benjamin joined us for the first 2 miles. The first one was rather uneventful even for Benjamin - 8:08. On the second he decided to show class and gradually wound it up hitting a 7:24 split, total time 15:32.

Then we ran another 8 at a slightly faster pace. I gave Ben a long lecture on the importance of sleep, and taking it easy on easy runs. He argued with me that he needed to do more speed work, then he'd be faster. I just has a hard time believing that a former 15:45 5 K runner that is not currently overweight would have those issues, and suggested a test. We ran a bit at what he thought was his 5 K race pace. He ran about 0.1 at 5:20 pace, which was about what I expected to see. Then after some rest, and further into the run, I did another demonstration setting a 6:00 pace and asking him to hold it for as long as he could. He made it through 500 meters, which was also about what I expected to see. This showed that the reason he recently raced a half marathon at 6:43 pace was more in not being able to hold the pace, than in the lack of speed. The main reasons for such a failure are lack of aerobic conditioning, lack of sleep, and lack of proper carbo-replenishment. So he is going to work on all three.

Dropped Ben off 10 miles total into the run (1:13:22), then added another 3.11 with 8 strides in the middle, total time for the half was 1:34:58, 7:14.63 avg.

P.M. 1.5 with Jenny in 14:49, 1.05 with Julia in 10:36, then put Jacob in the stroller and ran 3.62 in 27:08.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From josse on Mon, Nov 05, 2007 at 15:50:25

I was wondering if you think it is better to get your daily milage up to

8-10 a day before you start adding distance to your saturday long run. Or work on both or what? I'm to that point where I what to start building my endurance but would like some input.

From Sasha Pachev on Mon, Nov 05, 2007 at 16:04:15

When in doubt, I would up the daily mileage first, and if that goes well, up the long run mileage. With doubles, daily mileage can be productively pushed much further than the long run mileage. Being able to eat and take a nap in between runs makes a big difference.

From josse on Mon, Nov 05, 2007 at 16:08:29

Thanks will do.

From adam on Mon, Nov 05, 2007 at 19:17:49


What time are you going out tomorrow morning? I'll give you some company. The earlier the better for me.

From Dallen on Mon, Nov 05, 2007 at 20:22:55

I am jealous of the run with Ben. It has been a long time.

I will be in town in mid December. Maybe we can get together for a couple runs. Too bad Ben won't be around, otherwise we could pull in Matt and have the whole gang together.

From Aaron on Tue, Nov 06, 2007 at 12:17:41

Sasha, question about the taper. I've been training at 45-50 mpw. The race is on the 25th. My plan was to stay at around 50 this week then to go down to 36 (with 12 miles easy on Sun) and 25 or so the week before the race. Does that sound reasonable to you?

From Sasha Pachev on Tue, Nov 06, 2007 at 13:22:44


I am running Wednesday at 5:00 AM, Thursday at 7:00 AM, and Friday at 6:30 AM. Take your pick. Wednesday - easy 10, Thursday - big workout - 6.22 warm up, 5 mile tempo, 3.88 cool down, Friday - the Uneventful Half-Marathon. You can also join me for the evening runs - I'll be doing those some time around 4-5 pm, the time is usually flexible.

Aaron - your taper plan sounds reasonable. The challenge of the taper is to find a balance between giving yourself enough of a break to properly refuel and rebuild torn-up tissues, and still running enough to not lose the fitness. I personally lean towards shorter tapers. My philosophy is that even if I am a bit low on glycogen in one particular race, I'll get my fitness back quicker after the marathon because I did not lose very much training in the taper. So in the next one I'll be fit enough to perform at a higher level, and eventually this will be much higher than what I could have done being fully glycogen-loaded in that one race.

From Aaron on Tue, Nov 06, 2007 at 21:34:30

These are very helpful comments. Thanks.

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