Breaking the Wall

July 08, 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. Finally some semblance of a long run. Ended up with 17.5. Rob came down all the way from Lehi to run with me. He had to be done early, so he had already run 7 by the time we started. We did a tempo run to evaluate mine and his fitness. The plan was to go 6:00 until problems emerged on either side. Rob was a bit anxious and we opened with an 85 even though I had to hold his horses. I was pleasantly surprised with how that 85 felt because I honestly expected to see nothing faster than 88 from the effort. Then I sensed that Rob was not up to running 5:40, and eased off some. We did 87, 87, 90 (5:49), 89, 91, 91, 90 (6:01). At that point I told him to try to make it to 3. He struggled, but held off the 6:00 average finishing with 17:54. I picked it up a bit in the last quarter to be a moving target to see if it would tempt him to kick, but it did not . I ended up with 17:48 with the last quarter in 84. So it seems like Rob has an issue with neural drive - inability to kick  is an indicator of such a problem. Of course, it is no big deal if you are already going 63 per quarter, so if all Haile can do in the last quarter of a 10,000 is 61 after doing 24 of them in a bit over 63, that is technically still a neural drive problem, but I would not mind having it manifested this way at all.

I told him to ease off the intensity, and up the mileage to 10-12 a day at a comfortable pace. We'll see how that works out in a few weeks.

We finished the run with a long cool-down - he ended up with 18, and I was at 11 at that point, then I ran with the kids. 3 with Benjamin - the last 0.5 was done in 3:00. The effort was a bit higher because it was into a headwind and with 5 90 degree turns. 2 with Jenny and Julia. 1 with Joseph, and 0.5 with Jacob.

Gold Crocs 2 Miles: 17.50
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
From Rob on Sat, Feb 19, 2011 at 20:06:48 from

Sasha, thanks for the run today. I really enjoyed our conversation.

I attribute my "lack of neural drive" to 2 things. First, I never did any competitive sports in school so I never really developed a killer instinct. Second, in college I was actually a very good pool player... however one year a professional pool player took me under his wing. Taught me more about the game of pool than anyone could ever hope to know, however. I could hardly ever beat him, we used to play straight pool and I pretty much was the ball racker for him. Destroyed any killer instinct I did have, I mentally never could win a pool tournament again after that, but I was a better player, strange I know.

I guess I didn't really understand the workout today either, I'm sure next time I could find a little more kick knowing that you were really going to let me rest at the end, I'm used to just running far on Saturdays so knowing in the back of my mind that I still had 8 miles to run held me back. Next time I'll know how it works though :)

From Sasha Pachev on Mon, Feb 21, 2011 at 13:28:14 from


I would attribute the lack of neural drive to two things: a) too much intensity work and b) getting up at 4:00 AM. Not much you can do about b) given your circumstances except mitigate it by being very careful with a).

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