Breaking the Wall

January 29, 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: 252.01 Year: 252.01
Saucony Type A Lifetime Miles: 627.15
Bare Feet Lifetime Miles: 446.12
Nike Double Stroller Lifetime Miles: 124.59
Navy Crocs 2 Lifetime Miles: 1576.28
Neon Crocs 1 Lifetime Miles: 1353.22
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Easy 10.1 with Ted this morning in 1:14:29. Trail covered with snow and ice for the most part. Hamstrings felt stale in the first mile, and it took me a while to figure out why they would be. Then I remembered I'd run a marathon two days earlier. Towards the end the hamstring staleness was gone, and I felt completely normal.

Funny story from yesterday. Sarah left my only pair of dress shoes (I own only one specifically for the purpose of going to church) in SLC, and we discovered that about 20 minutes before our church meetings. Sarah suggested I should wear a pair of my dark blue racing flats since they looked the closest to church-appropriate shoes in my wardrobe. So I figured better go to church in racing flats than not at all.

Also, I have finally finished my race report from Saturday. Added some history of rams in the thicket for those interested.

P.M. 2 miles with Benjamin in 15:44. Then 1.05 with Julia in 11:38, and 1.5 with Jenny in 14:29. Another 0.3 to pick up church keys.

As I watched Benjamin lope along at 7:30 pace in the second half of his run, and contemplated the implications of the recent change in the OTQ marathon standard, I began to appreciate the value of pushing yourself really really hard to see what your true best is in the sport. It really does not matter that much where you actually end up as long as you really dug deep and did not quit by calling your best something that really was not. I can teach Benjamin what I learned from what I've tried. I can also teach him to work hard by working hard myself. He has more of what we call natural talent. His form is smooth, he has good natural speed. Many top runners of today are there because they saw their dad run. Their dad may have been only a 2:40 marathoner. But that was good enough to get them going, and they were able to do better. As I pointed out earlier on several occasions, if we want to see US dominate in the marathon, we need to nourish those 2:40 guys. We need to have thousands of them, and we need to give them a reason and an opportunity to try to fully develop their talent, even if it is limited, even if they are never going to get much faster than 2:40.   Then their children, other relatives, neighbors, friends, etc will be inspired to run to the best of their ability, and some of those will have the talent to dominate in the world scene.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From cgbooth23 on Mon, Dec 03, 2007 at 17:37:21

Sasha, i read your airport story... with trying to get your food thru... curious if you could outline a basic SASHA day of eating, I try to eat as good as possible and want to see if I am doing pretty good? Congrats on the marathon result!

From marciej on Tue, Dec 04, 2007 at 10:59:48

Good job on your run today! Thats great that you felt back to normal by the end of your run.I was wanting to ask you the same thing, an example of a typical day of eating. Also what about adding a section for those who wanted to log and keep track of what they eat??

From Sasha Pachev on Tue, Dec 04, 2007 at 11:08:15

Marcie, cjbooth123 - thanks for your comments. Regarding my typical daily menu, check out the post at,104.15.html

From Scott Zincone on Tue, Dec 04, 2007 at 11:42:41

My dad started running a mile a day back in 1978 0r 1979. And he used to "drag" me along with him. But now I am grateful for this experience. I would most likely have never become a runner without his example. I agree with you, the more people out there running will make it easier for others to start.

From cgbooth23 on Tue, Dec 04, 2007 at 13:10:22

Sasha, thanks for the link info that was good stuff, wow, talk about discipline...but i guess thats what it takes to be ELITE!

From Maria on Tue, Dec 04, 2007 at 14:45:58

Sasha, I agree with much of your argument for nurturing ultimate development for 2:40 guys. But there has to be a very important and necessary ingredient present in these athletes - the desire to keep pushing themselves when it is 95% clear they will not reach elite level. Not many people have that drive, faced with multiple other areas of life, which they may want to develop but have to sacrifice due to the training required. I see this happening now in UK in my daughter's swim team - kids are quitting the sport at 16-17, when they hit a plateu and more and more training is required to improve yet they are not close enough to national standards to justify it. There is no well developed college sport scene here as in US, so there is little motivation to train 10 times a week. I see a lot of really good swimmers quitting, unable to cope with hard training and school work at the same time, and lacking the reasons and the inner drive to keep pushing themselves. I spend a lot of time working on my daughter's mental attitude, and I hope this won't happen to her, as she wants to study in US and swim at collegiate level, so this should provide enough motivation, but I'm not 100% sure. Part of it can be learned, but another part is unique personality makeup - you must want to get the absolute best out of yourself without any reward or guarantee except the knowledge you gave it your best. The price of such a pursuit is great, and it is not worth it for everyone. So we may want to instill these traits in our children, and we try, but it will be ultimately up to them to make that choice.

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