Breaking the Wall

August 11, 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. The Big Workout. Alone at 6:40 AM. Wore shorts, long sleeved, a jacket, and gloves in the warm-up. Ran 6.22 in 42:45. Then figured the weather was warm enough to take off the gloves and the jacket for the tempo. More leaves on the ground than Tuesday, but not the highest I've seen.

Tempo run was 5 miles. Started at the Utah Lake trail gate as usual. First mile was leisurely - 5:37. Felt good, but not looking forward to picking it up. It was still quite cold. Gave myself a bit of a kick in the pants, and that kicked me into gear. Next mile in 5:34 with some uphill in it. Ahead of the 5:36 guy, that's good. Next half in 2:47, 13:58 at the turnaround.

Good recovery from the turnaround. First quarter in 1:23, then got into a good rhythm, no quarters slower than 1:21 all the way to the end. 16:42 at 3 miles (5:31), then 5:21, and 5:19. On the last mile hit the leaves in the first half and slowed down to 2:42, but then made up with a 2:37 closing half. 27:22.8 for the whole run, avg. 5:28.56, last half in 13:24, avg. 5:21.6, actual negative split of 34 seconds, profile-adjusted negative split of 27 seconds. I am starting to wonder if the difference between directions for the 2.5 stretch is 10 seconds rather than 7. I am fairly certain about 7 seconds for the first mile starting from Geneva road - I've done mile repeats on it and consistently hit splits that were 7 seconds faster going towards the lake than the other way. But I am starting to suspect that the remaining 1.5 stretch favors the direction towards the lake by a couple of seconds. It looks flat, but I know that one quarter of it favors the direction towards the lake by 0.5. I also noticed that I hit slightly faster splits with the same effort when going towards the lake regardless of which direction I go first.

I was happy to have run the last 4 miles in 21:45. Last year I raced the Thanksgiving 4 miler in 21:50. Around the same time, I did a similar tempo run with a positive split in 28:18, hitting the same 4 mile stretch in 22:33.

Ran 3.88 cool down in 26:34. Total time for 15.1 was 1:36:50, avg. 6:24.77.

P.M. Ran with the kids and some on my own. Total of 5.25. Kids times - Julia 1.05 in 11:38, Jenny 1.75 in 16:24, Benjamin 2.1 in 17:22.

Benjamin wrote a song "Twelve Days of Running With Ben" about our friend Ben Crozier. It should appear in his blog shortly. Well, it all started with Ben writing "Twelve Days of Running With Sasha" back in 1999 when we were running together in Provo. Ben noticed that I had a standard set of phrases that I used repeatedly during a run, so he expressed his observation in a song. As I said earlier, he provides great running entertainment. It goes like this, if I recall it right - Dallen might be able to fill in the gaps:

On the first day of running with Sasha Sasha said to me - Ben, you are running too slow.

Then it continues in the format of the "Twelve Days of Christmas". The other things I say are:

  • I need to water a tree.
  • Let's do an acceleration.
  • I'll pick you up at seven.
  • Five mile repeats.
  • Ben, why aren't you married? (He still is not, single women interested in a 30 year old guy in good condition, take notice).
  • No apostate running! (He used to go off on unmeasured courses, run for 1:10 at 8:00 pace thinking he was running 7:00, and call it 10 miles instead of 8.75. I called it apostate running)
  • Wooh! (A noise meaning the horses are neighing or I am ready for the run to be over, so let's pick it up)
  • Let's run a five mile tempo!
I am missing three days - have to ask Ben and Dallen to see if they still remember.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From Paul Petersen on Thu, Nov 08, 2007 at 12:20:33

Sounds like you are getting ready to go. Any time goals for St. Jude?

From Sasha Pachev on Thu, Nov 08, 2007 at 12:28:41

Not really. Just run by feel, finish strong if things go well, take no risks, try to place as high as possible.

From James W on Thu, Nov 08, 2007 at 13:01:59

Looking pretty good, Sasha. When is St. Jude again? Any idea what your potential competition will be?

From James on Thu, Nov 08, 2007 at 14:45:48

Nice workout, looking strong!

From adam on Thu, Nov 08, 2007 at 14:47:14

Go get your turkey Sasha!

From Lybi on Thu, Nov 08, 2007 at 15:38:41

Lookin' Good Sasha!

Hey, I have been meaning to ask you about something. My ward's "theme" for next year is physical, spiritual, and emotional health. Our bishop is really big on doing promotions, campaigns etc. Anyway, they were asking about people who might be able to come talk to the ward members, like in a fireside or something. I thought of you because you do such a great job of tying the physical and the spiritual together when it comes to running, and because you are very motivating. Is this something you are willing to consider? I thought that if you came to AZ for the Relay del Sol this year maybe you could do something that Sunday, if you are open to it. Think about it and let me know!

From Sasha Pachev on Thu, Nov 08, 2007 at 16:43:00

James W - St. Jude is on Dec 1. The competition is probably a bunch of Kenyans plus a couple of locals. Maybe even one Russian (Alexey Khokhlov) - he was there last year. Two things I've heard from him of entertaining value:

Description of the wall: "You are running well, thinking the race is going great. Then a burly man (muzhik) comes from behind with a scythe - whack!"

"A guy comes home drunk. His wife asks him, why did you get drunk, is today a celebration of some kind? He says, well , when two guys get together, that's a celebration!"

Lybi - this would be fine with me assuming we are in town at the right time. I am still not 100% sure on Del Sol.

From Michael B on Fri, Nov 09, 2007 at 07:35:37

Sasha, locally, I haven't heard that any of the "Big Guns" were running St. Jude. Actually, we don't have that many that are capable of sub 2:30 anymore. One moved away (Chicago) and the other is an aging masters runner. He qualified for the OT in 2004. The top local guy last year ran 2:34 high and from his local tune up races, I don't think he is near top shape. In reviewing the results from the past few years, I can't understand why in 2006, the winning time was 2:21:23, while in 2005 it was 2:16:48. They didn't change the prize money structure, the weather was the same, and the course was the same??? I know you won't change your race plan by who is entered but I will try to have more information by race date. It looks like your training is strong.

From Adam RW on Fri, Nov 09, 2007 at 08:47:03


I wanted to point out my friend from St. Louis and former college roommate/teammate just joined the blog. I think he will be a great addition to blog. He has been training some higher mileage lately and I believe is geared to run a sub-2:30 this April.


From Paul Petersen on Fri, Nov 09, 2007 at 11:02:15

Sasha - regarding Del Sol, I am not going to run it, but I do have a free entry that you are welcome to (worth $1000). It will go to waste otherwise. The only catch is that you have to name the team "".

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