Breaking the Wall

Orem International Thangsiving 4 Miler

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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: 291.02 Year: 1935.71
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: 805.63
Race: Orem International Thangsiving 4 Miler (4 Miles) 00:21:06, Place overall: 3
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran in the Orem Thanksgiving 4 Miler. 21:06.4, 3rd place.

It was cold - 24 degrees, and windy as well. The wind was coming out of the Provo Canyon and making its way to central Orem. So good friendly cross-wind the first quarter, mild unfriendly cross-wind the next quarter, then more unfriendly cross-wind the next 0.5, mild friendly cross-wind the next 0.5, very friendly cross-wind the next 0.5, mild unfriendly next 0.5, very unfriendly the next 0.5, mild friendly the next 0.5, very friendly the next quarter, and mild unfriendly on the last quarter. I discovered this in the warm-up, and adjusted my expectations accordingly. The plan was to start slower than normal, draft as much as possible on the unfriendly cross-winds, and move from pack to pack on the friendly ones. Unfortunately for the goal of running a fast time, or perhaps fortunately for the goal of winning a turkey (top 5 overall or 1st in the age division), there were not many packs around, and I spent all of the race except the first mile alone.

As usual, there was a pack of high schoolers going out way too fast. They probably would be able to hold that pace all the way if they trained right. We are sure wasting a lot of talents in high schools. I worked my way through the pack trying to use them as wind breakers. It worked to a certain extent. I would tuck in behind a guy and start breathing noisily to make him feel like if he picked it up he would drop me. Unfortunately, those guys did not last, but each one would always pull me up to the next close enough to where I could advance to the next drafting target with a mild surge. Passed Ed Eyestone - he is back into running, although not nearly as fast as he used to me. Worked my way up to Danny Moody. Danny pulled me up to Seth Wold, Stephen Clark, and another runner I did not recognize.

I happily sat behind them. Then they slowed down into the wind, and I was itching to go, but not bad enough to break the wind for them. First mile in 5:18. Then Seth and Stephen just took off. I tried to go with them, but they were way too fast. But this helped me lose Danny and the other guy, which was helpful for the turkey cause. Next mile in 5:08 with friendly cross winds. Felt good. Now unfriendly cross winds. Third mile in 5:20 according to the official mark, but I am pretty sure it was about 5 seconds off. I could tell I was slower than 5:20. Made the turn and started recovering from fighting unfriendly cross winds alone for a mile. Started kicking into gear. With a quarter to go heard Danny Moody coming up on me. That was trouble, he can run a quarter in low 50s. So I ran like an antelope chased by a cheetah - its only hope is to have enough gap to start with and run the cheetah out of juice. It worked, I managed to hold him off, he finished 5 seconds behind. Last mile officially in 5:20, but more likely around 5:13-5:15. Got my turkey.

Felt good after the finish, jogging felt comfortable right away, which is a sign that although I did not run very fast, and did not feel like I could have gone faster, it was very aerobic, probably the most aerobic I've ever been in a 4 mile race. When sub-5:20 on a windy day in 24 degrees feels aerobic, it is a good sign for the marathon.

Ran back to meet Sarah. She got a PR of 31:57, and finished 161st out 547 men and women.

Then it was time for kids races. First the diaper division - 0-2 100 meters. We had two in that race - Jacob, and Joseph. Jacob got a DNS - refused to start the race. That's OK, he is only 16 months old, we'll work on having a better attitude next year. Plus he got a turkey in the raffle. Joseph did great. No complaining, no crying, ran the whole way. 46.2. 3rd boy, Pachev family record for the diaper division! Good race, even though the competition was stronger - the winner ran 34 seconds. Very good attitude for his age and the conditions.

We did not have anybody in the 3-4 400 meter race. In the 800 meter race they had everybody run together, which included two age divisions - 5-6, and 7-8, both boys and girls. That took me by surprise as I hoped the races would be in separate heat so I could pace all of the remaining children individually. With Julia being the youngest, I decided to pace her, and let Benjamin and Jenny run on their own.

Benjamin did great - 3:00.6, new PR, won the boys 7-8 by 27 seconds. I told him to hang back but keep an eye on the leaders up until 300 meter mark, then pull up to them, and around 400  put on a decisive winning move. He did exactly what I told him. His move was absolutely devastating to the competition. When I saw him after the turnaround, he was hauling, and giving the rabbit a run for her money. He tells me he ended up dropping the rabbit. Turkey for Benjamin.

Jenny was racing Sophia Thompson who is 8, so this was going to be tough. Sophia beat her with 3:14. Jenny got 3:34, a new PR,  2nd in the age division, but chicked all the boys except Benjamin and the 2nd place finisher in the 7-8 division.

Julia  also had  a tough race being only 5, and a young 5 as well, and racing in the 5-6  division, with Rachael Blackburn in the race. She was having a decent race up until 200 to go. Then she kind of gave up. But she still managed a decent time of 4:24, and a second place in her age division after Rachael, who ran 3:59. Interestingly enough, last year it was Jenny who took the turkey away from Rachael using the advantage of being 1 year older. But this year it was the Blackburn's turn for the turkey in women 5-6.

Ran a cool down with Benjamin (1.1), then another mile with Ted and James, then Jenny lost her special bunny. When you see her race like a furious dragon it is easy to forget that she is only 7. The lost bunny was a reminder. We looked and looked, and could not find it. Then Benjamin, Jenny and I even ran along the race course (total of 0.8), and still no bunny. Then we came back and Sarah had found it in the van. Jenny's sorrow turned immediately into joy.

P.M. Got home around 5:30 PM from Salt Lake, went for an easy 5 on the trail alone. Absolutely not a soul in any form. Felt a bit weak in the first 3 miles, then felt strong, and chased down the 7:00 guy - 34:57 for the run.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From Brent on Fri, Nov 23, 2007 at 09:11:59

Sasah, always enjoy reading your tactical account of the race, awesome as always. Congrads on the turkey.

From MichelleL on Fri, Nov 23, 2007 at 10:54:54

Hey Sasha, Congrats on holding off Danny Money and securing the turkey, which is sounds like you might even allow yourself to eat!

From Craig on Fri, Nov 23, 2007 at 19:25:26

Sasha- great account of the race, as always. I would be interested to hear more of your thoughts on bad training and wasted talent in high school.

From Sasha Pachev on Sat, Nov 24, 2007 at 22:22:25


Most high schoolers train sporadically, do not do much base conditioning, and cram-train for speed. With proper base conditioning, more consistent training, and increased focus on aerobic development in regular runs as well as in speed work most if not all the guys I see ahead of me after the first quarter in a 5 K would still be ahead of me at the finish.

From Lybi on Sat, Nov 24, 2007 at 22:24:19

I wondered how many turkeys you guys were getting this Thanksgiving! How fun that they have those little races for the kids. Sounds like they all did a great job!

I laughed when I read that you were hanging out right behind those guys and purposely breathing hard to try to get them to go faster. Ought to be ashamed of yourself--taking advantage of less experienced runners like that! ;)

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