Breaking the Wall

July 15, 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: 51.55 Year: 2011.51
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: 881.43
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Taper week. There were a couple of posts on the blog earlier suggesting different types of tapering. In addition to my personal experiences I drew some ideas from the following. First, a quote from Tinman:

Your muscle fiber types also determines how long you must taper. People who are naturally endurance oriented and not speedy will need short tapering phases. I have observed that slow twitch runners tend to lose aerobic endurance quickly upon cessation of mileage and suffer greatly in races when they taper too soon and too much. At the other end of the continuum, runners who are speedy tend to retain aerobic endurance more easily, so they can afford to taper longer. Most runners are somewhere in between these two extremes. However, no matter what you do, remember, if you are not tired, sore, and beat up, you don,t need to taper much.

If he is right, I do have two things going for me to explain why I do better with a short taper. One, being naturally very much endurance oriented. My favorite distance at the age of 12 was a 10 K, I really like that you did not have to be 3000-anaerobic to race really well. I looked forward to 10 Ks and dreaded track races because they were so short. And two, I am definitely not tired, sore or beat up from my training. Quite the opposite - I can barely tell I've trained. And, looking at the effect and trying to discern the cause, I have suffered many times in the past from tapering too soon too much, and on the other hand have run PRs and near PRs completely untapered.

I also looked at the Hanson guys at Athleticore, and decided to follow more or less what Chad Johnson and Brian Sell did before the Trials. I generally loathe the idea of copying somebody's training just because they are faster - first, it may not be their training that makes them faster to begin with, their training could very well be sub-optimal, but they are still faster due to natural abilities, and also, even if it does make them faster, they may very well be different enough that the same thing will not work for you. But I did notice that they were training already almost exactly the same way I did, so I figured looking at their taper with a bit of a grain of salt would not be a bad idea.

The end result was to do pretty much what Ted suggested. This morning ran 10.1 easy with Ted in 1:13:48. Did 8x100 strides, first 5 in 18, the rest in 17.

P.M Run with the kids, total of 2.55. 1.5 with Benjamin and Jenny in 14:28. Then 1.05 with Julia in 11:08. Benjamin was coming down with some sickness. I've got a little bit of respiratory irritation as well, but it has not yet been showing in reduced energy levels or running performance. I hope it stays that way. It is a miracle I have not gotten sick with 125 mile weeks and 5 potentially sick little kids around. Sucking on garlic like crazy, this is my only chance. Better off than before St. George so far, knock on wood although I am not superstitious, but I still have a flight ahead of me with plenty of chance to catch something this time of year. But it is just as bad for the competition, so the secret to getting money in a December marathon is showing up healthy at the starting line.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From Paul Petersen on Mon, Nov 26, 2007 at 18:21:09

Very good tapering apologetics.

From James on Mon, Nov 26, 2007 at 18:35:35


From ryan on Mon, Nov 26, 2007 at 18:43:17


I noticed Nathan Hornock is on the blog and I was wondering if you recruited him??? I went to grade school, junior high, and high school with him so I know first hand what a terrific runner he is. He might be able to recruit Teren Jameson to the blog. I noticed that Teren's wife had joined the blog earlier in the year but didn't keep it up. At any rate they all can make great contributions to the blog.


From adam on Mon, Nov 26, 2007 at 23:48:08

Good luck this week Sasha. For your sake I'm not going to run with you all this week, so you don't risk catching anything lingering off me either.

From Adam RW on Tue, Nov 27, 2007 at 16:01:35

Sasha, Sometimes I'm oblivious. What race is the taper for?

From Brent on Tue, Nov 27, 2007 at 20:11:20

Sasha, good luck at the marathon. Hey, I agree with your taper comments, everyone is different, I do not do well with the "traditional" taper, better with a mini taper.

From Clay on Tue, Nov 27, 2007 at 22:08:37

Sasha, I'm oblivious too, which race are you running? A Good luck is in order as well...

From Sasha Pachev on Tue, Nov 27, 2007 at 23:08:24

St. Jude Marathon, Memphis, TN, this Saturday.

From Adam RW on Tue, Nov 27, 2007 at 23:11:17

Good luck, run hard, and have fun!

From steve ashbaker on Tue, Nov 27, 2007 at 23:34:38

Arturo Barrios once said " I train for good luck" Well, then in your case you have plenty so just go and tear that course up.

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