Breaking the Wall

December 02, 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. The Inaugural Uneventful Half-Marathon with participants other than me and Ted. Jamie and Michelle joined us. They even warmed up. Also Adam joined us for the first three miles. I think men retain their show-off in front of ladies instinct even after they've been married for a while. We hit our first quarter in 1:59 instead of the usual 2:10. Then the ladies started to push the pace, so we had to pick it up. First mile in 7:34, followed by 7:07. I did not expect we would be going that fast, but that was just fine. Then soon the pace settled into a steady 7:00 groove. I had to take a VPB stop around 2.5 while the pack continued. It took 32 seconds. At first, I thought I could quickly catch them cruising at 6:30 pace. Then I realized they were going 7:00, so I figured I would have to do it with the siren and the flashing lights. Sped up to 5:36 pace, and caught the pack soon enough to give them their 3 mile split.

After the catch-up move, 7:00 pace started feeling a lot slower, and I was going to swear the pack has slowed down, but they did not - 7:00 pace right on. And the ladies were still very conversational. It was very clear that they've gotten into much better shape since St. George. 36:03 at 5.05, and 44:06 at 6.22.

Then it was time for the strides. Ted and I did the strides, while the ladies kept us honest on our recoveries with a fire-breathing chicking threat from behind. Did 8x100 averaging around 17-18 seconds. The form is starting to feel good, I was enjoying the strides for the first time since I started doing them, and the pace did not feel as sprinty as it used to.

Then around 8.75 Michelle's BYU team killer instinct began to break through. She picked it up to 6:40. After about a mile, Jamie decided to back off. Unfortunately, the course directions I gave her were not adequate, and she ended up getting lost. We'll do better next time.

Michelle continued to push the pace maintaining a solid sub-7:00 up a 1% grade. Then once we turned around, she used the downhill to pick it up to 6:40. On the last mile she started chasing the imaginary 1:31 girl. After some thought I upgraded the girl to a guy, if you can say that, well a guy is harder to get than a girl, and brings more credit to the chaser, so I guess we can call than an upgrade. Then I decided the guy should have a name, so I called him Tom. She ran the last mile in 6:20 finishing the half in 1:30:52. This is her record-eligible course PR, which I imagine is worth about 1:27 on the TOU half course. Her last 10 K, according to Ted's calculations was 42:30, which is almost as fast as what she did in the Payson Onion Days 10 K. Clearly some serious progress in the last two months in spite of running a marathon in the middle.

P.M. 2 miles with Benjamin, Jenny, and Jared in 17:46. Pushed the double stroller. Joseph rode in it. He enjoys the ride, but not the process of being captured and strapped into the stroller. Jenny ran 1.5 in 13:29. Jared ran all the way. Benjamin picked it up with 60 meters to go, and finished in 17:41.

Then 1.05 with Julia in 10:57. Then 3 miles by myself in the dark in 22:26.

Tomorrow I am running 20 starting at my house (339 N 1120 W in Provo) at 6:00 AM. Ted will not be able to make it. Start easy, then brisk easy, then after the turnaround at 10, consciously hard. Call 801-788-4608 before 10 PM tonight if you want to join me for part of it, or all.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From Paul Petersen on Fri, Nov 09, 2007 at 16:11:03

Sounds like an eventful run. Does that make it a failure?

From Tom on Fri, Nov 09, 2007 at 16:11:29

Interesting name selection for your 'imaginary' guy. I suppose Tom is as good a name as any. Not quite as common as "John" or "Joe", but Tom is a name that seems to be endure a fair amount of abuse (i.e. "peeping-Tom", "Tom-boy", etc.)

From Holt on Fri, Nov 09, 2007 at 16:32:38

Tom - Do I sense a small amount of angst here?

From MichelleL on Fri, Nov 09, 2007 at 18:01:41

Thank you Sasha for letting us join and for encouraging me. As you can now see first hand, just a little jabbing at mile 9 goes a long way when you are talking about my pride. Too bad I don't have some serious money to hire you as a coach and running mate. Great though that you are willing to do so much because of your generosity and love for the sport.

BTW apt name for the 1:31 guy. Tom may be more like a 1:28 guy, though.

From Craig on Fri, Nov 09, 2007 at 23:01:03


I can't meet up tomorrow, but I would definitely be interested in meeting up with you and others down there in the near future for a long(ish) run. If I wanted to come down during the week, do you have any sort of set schedule you keep?

From Sasha Pachev on Fri, Nov 09, 2007 at 23:05:50

Yes. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday - 6:30 AM. Wednesday - 5:00 AM. Occasionally earlier on the 6:30 days when Ted has something going on. Tuesday and Thursday are Big Workout days - a warm up of 6.22 followed by a tempo run. Others are easy. Strides Monday and Friday in the middle of the run.

From Jamie on Sun, Nov 11, 2007 at 09:25:00

Sasha, I really enjoyed the run and hope to give it a try again soon. No worries with the course mix-up; I'll have to pay closer attention next time.

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