Breaking the Wall

January 27, 2021

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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: 266.81 Year: 266.81
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: 1438.17
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Total of 20.5. Started with 0.5 with Jacob. Jenny and Julia did 3 with Sarah. Benjamin had a cold, did not run. After Jacob's run I did my 20 mile course to Bridal Veil and back with some pickups throughout the run. Started with a mile at 0.5  in 5:55 up a small grade and with obstacles. Then at 3 did a mile in 5:44. This one had less adversity, but I would still consider it anti-aided. At about 6.5 did 2 up the Provo Canyon in 11:58. It felt harder than it should have. Then at 10.5 did 3 down the Provo Canyon on my standard tempo stretch. Based on how hard the earlier miles felt I thought it would be difficult to be under 17:00 (5:40 average). I wondered if I would even get that after the first quarter in 90. But then I got going and hit 5:38, 5:34, 5:30, which gave me 16:42. I wanted to run the last 4 hard and started on it. 6:00 pace was a struggle. After doing a mile in 6:15 I was concerned that I might be doing more damage than good if I kept pressing and stopped the tempo 2.5 into the interval while still 1.5 away from the house. After a quarter of jogging, however, I reconsidered and decided to give it an honest push in the last mile. I was very sluggish through the "obstacle" quarter in 96, but then was able to shift gears  and did 87, 87. Before the run I weighed 144.4 in winter clothes. After 140.4. Adjusting to my normal weighing standard I think this would convert to around 143.8 and 139.8. So there went 4 lb in the run. Not much sweating - the temperatures started in the 20s and were in the low 30s at the end of the run.

The crash was interesting. It was not really a crash after all, I think. I was just so mentally exhausted from running alone in the cold for 20 miles, working hard for a good portion of it,  and possibly also from our adventures with sick children and the race on Thursday, that I just did not have the mental energy to battle various course obstacles (tunnels, turns, bridges) on the trail. The last three quarters showed I still had something physically. But I think one thing we do not realise is how much mental energy it takes to keep accelerating back to pace after minor setbacks, and when the physical goes down, the mental goes down with it as well perhaps at a higher rate. So what would be only a minor annoyance when you are fresh becomes a 10-15 seconds per mile knockdown when fatigued.

P.M.  1 mile with Joseph.

Green Crocs 2 Miles: 21.50
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
From seeaprilrun on Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 00:01:23 from

Nice 20 Sasha. I think the mental element of running is much huger and a bigger factor than we as runners give it credit for.

From Chad Robinson on Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 00:20:13 from

Sasha, I don't know what your next several Saturdays are looking like, but I am ready to pick back up with you if you are interested.

From Sasha Pachev on Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 00:44:34 from


This Saturday I am going 15. We can meet at our usual time of 7:30 if that works for you.

From Chad Robinson on Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 11:12:36 from

Sounds great. I will be there.

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