Breaking the Wall

Earn Your Turkey 4 miler

Recent EntriesHomeJoin Fast Running Blog Community!PredictorHealthy RecipesSasha Pachev's RacesFind BlogsMileage BoardTop Ten Excuses for Missing a RunTop Ten Training MistakesDiscussion ForumRace Reports Send A Private MessageWeek ViewMonth ViewYear View
15% off for Fast Running Blog members at St. George Running Center!


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: 188.26 Year: 188.26
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: 1359.62
Race: Earn Your Turkey 4 miler (4 Miles) 00:21:22, Place overall: 10
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Earn Your Turkey 4 miler in Orem. 21:22.6, 10th place.

Today was a special day. Everybody in our family except Sarah and William ran. I ran first. We had a fast field. The start was very fast. I worked through the pack until I found Stephen Clark pacing Shaine Kirtright, and tucked in behind them. The mile markers were off. For the record, my time at the first mile marker was 5:06, but it was short. 5:30 at the official 3 mile mark which we would hit on the next lap again, and the it was really supposed to be 3 miles, but I knew already it was in the wrong place. I caught a split at the four triangles for 1.25, and it was 6:40. Now that made sense. 2 mile split officially in 10:41, I think that one was right.

Then around 2 miles Shaine started struggling, Stephen started yelling at him, and I passed them and surged to catch Gamechu, a high school runner that immigrated from Ethiopia. Caught him, he surged and dropped me, but I was able to pull back up. Tucked in behind him as tight as I could. 15:55 at the official mile 1 the second time around, 16:06 at the triangles, I think this was the actual 3 mile split, and 16:19 at the official mile 3. My natural tendency to association cannot help but remind me of the standard Soviet propaganda line when they spoke about America: "According to the official, obviously distorted, data ..."

With about 1 K to knowing that Gamechu had a close to 11.0 PR in 100 meters I tried to break him, but could not. He ended up gapping me instead, but I closed with a quarter to go. But then it was too late. He turned on his kick and pulled ahead. He eased off, I closed some, but could not catch him. I timed the last quarter in 76.

Ahead of me: Sean Sundwall 19:55.3, Nick McCombs 19:59.8, Jeff McClellan (our Jeff) 20:02.1, Reagan Fry 20:13.8, Aaron Robison 20:30.1, Shin Nozaki 20:33.0, Danny Moody 20:45.1, Thatcher Olson 21:11.9, and Gamechu Goesse 21:21.9. 1-2-3-7-8 for the blog. Not bad in that field. Bloggers beat BYU, not bad at all. Of course, not sure how to count Thatcher - he is both.

Overall the race went better than I expected. 5:20 pace felt good when tucked behind somebody. Felt like I could run a 10 K like this. But not any faster. Did not handle surges well, they hurt bad. On the positive side of things ran strong all the way, did not fade in the last mile. So while the neural power is lacking the neural endurance is not doing too bad.

Now the fun begins. Kids races. Men 0-2 - 100 meters. Jacob won with 35 seconds. This is our family record for the diaper division. 9:20 pace while wearing a diaper, how about that? We've tried to win that division ever since we've had kids. It took 5 tries (as in kids, not the number of runs).

Men 3-4, 400 meters. Joseph ran 2:34 for 7th place. A new PR, and not bad for a 3 year old. His stride is still developing though, he shuffles. No big deal, he'll outgrow it. Jenny used to shuffle at his age as well.

Women 5-6. 800 meters. Julia crushed the field with a 3:51 winning by more than 40 seconds. New PR. Splits of 1:51 - 2:00, quarter PR en route as well. She pushed hard, which for her is remarkable. She is not developed mentally to the level of Benjamin and Jenny at her age yet.

Women 7-8. 800 meters. Jenny won coming from behind. Her time was 3:21, splits by quarter 1:41 - 1:40. There comes Jenny the Fire Breathing Dragon, better watch out.

Men 9-10. 1 mile. Benjamin finished second with 6:14, 4 seconds behind his arch-rival Jacob Blackburn who is a year older. New mile PR. Last quarter in 1:30. He gave it all he had.

Interesting enough, in all of the races our kids ran the Pachev-Blackburn combination did a 1-2 punch. The main Blackburn family has 10 children, and they have cousins as well. It is fun to race them.

All of the children performed according to my expectations. After having worked with my kids for probably 7 or so years I can appreciate the significance of this. This is a true miracle. I do not set my expectations low. I do not tell a kid he did a good job to make him feel good when he performed poorly. When he runs below expectations I am  honest with him, we analyze what went wrong, and make plans on how we are going to improve.  You can train, you can prepare, you can make plans, and things still go wrong. They go wrong even with adults. With all the experience I have I still have bad races. With kids it is much worse - kids can run into issues adults never will (hopefully), like a temper tantrum at the start, or half way through the race. To have all five run with no glitches was something special.

Ran a cool-down with Jeff, total of 11 miles for the day.

Brooks T4 Racing Flat Miles: 11.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
From Matt on Thu, Nov 27, 2008 at 23:55:49


Congrats to you and your whole family I have to get my kids doing some races it is some much fun and a confidence booster. I had a run picked out up here but my mother in law would have killed me.

From Burt on Fri, Nov 28, 2008 at 11:01:21

Awesome job for both you and the family. I don't think I broke a 6:14 mile until I was a sophomore or junior in high school.

My daughter was pretty upset with me because I didn't get her up to come run with me yesterday.

From montelepsy on Fri, Nov 28, 2008 at 11:06:18

I'd be lucky to break 9:20 in a diaper...

From Burt on Fri, Nov 28, 2008 at 11:17:08

...that's because you'd be taking full advantage of your portable commode.

From James on Fri, Nov 28, 2008 at 13:00:24

How did Shaine end up? He is going to be one of my athletes this spring for track.

From Sasha Pachev on Fri, Nov 28, 2008 at 14:47:23


Shaine ran 21:27, one place behind me.

From paul on Fri, Nov 28, 2008 at 15:20:48

Sasha - Good time.

I have noticed that your mileage has been quite moderate lately: 85 mpw rather than 120 mpw. Do you think you would have run the 4-mile race much faster at your usual summer volume? Where do you think you get diminishing returns, or negative returns?

From mikemac on Fri, Nov 28, 2008 at 17:23:22

Very good advice concerning children.

Thanks Sasha.

From Sasha Pachev on Sat, Nov 29, 2008 at 21:18:16

Paul - I think I hit diminishing returns at around 90 in my current state. The reason being is that the neural drive is so weak I cannot use the gains in aerobic fitness. I actually ran it better than every one of my summer races.

Add Your Comment.
  • Keep it family-safe. No vulgar or profane language. To discourage anonymous comments of cowardly nature, your IP address will be logged and posted next to your comment.
  • Do not respond to another person's comment out of context. If he made the original comment on another page/blog entry, go to that entry and respond there.
  • If all you want to do is contact the blogger and your comment is not connected with this entry and has no relevance to others, send a private message instead.
Only registered users with public blogs are allowed to post comments. Log in with your username and password or create an account and set up a blog.
Debt Reduction Calculator

Featured Announcements