Breaking the Wall

January 27, 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. Ran with Jeff at Grandview. Wore Clogs in the first 10 laps. Jeff wanted to do a mini-speed session. 3x3 laps (1.158) with 1 lap recovery. I decided to do some of it with him depending on how I felt. In the first one things were going great for the first two laps - 2:14 - 2:05 and even the first 200 meters or so of the third. Then my Clog fell off. I guess my new Clogs are slightly bigger than the Walmart No-Boundaries Crocs, and are not designed for going faster than 6:00. I was confused and did not stop my watch. Nor did I think of simply finishing the repeat in one Clog. With all the commotion and the extra time to go back to get the fallen Clog my last lap was 2:28, total time 6:48.

Jogged the recovery lap with Jeff, and decided to skip the next one for good measure. Figured the grass was not as cold as yesterday so I decided to go barefoot. Running barefoot felt good, so I decided to run Jeff's last repeat. It went better than I expected: 2:05 - 2:05 - 2:01 - total of 6:11, 5:20 pace average, first two laps at 5:23, last one at 5:13. 5:23 felt sustainable, 5:13 was more pleasant than miserable, and the best news is that I did not get dropped. In the past whenever Jeff would get close to a 2:00 lap I inevitably got dropped even if we were running only 3 laps. So maybe going gluten free is already starting to bare fruit, who knows. If only I can get the foot to stop fussing before St. George now.

Total time for 26 laps (10.04) was 1:13:29.

P.M. Joseph is on the roll. He wanted to set a new record. I warned him that too many records in a row is not a good idea, but he insisted that he was fast. So he opened with a 2:19 quarter, and then really picked it up closing in 2:02. 4:21 for the new half mile record. Then supervised Benjamin, Jenny, and Julia while riding a bike. Benjamin ran 2 in 17:47, Jenny in 18:46, Julia 1.5 in 14:12.

Bare Feet Miles: 6.18Water Clogs Miles: 4.36
Night Sleep Time: 7.50Nap Time: 1.50Total Sleep Time: 9.00
From Kory on Fri, Sep 25, 2009 at 15:03:03 from

I would wear some cushioned shoes up to St. George so your foot heals. Give it some support so the healing process is faster. I know clogs are good for walking but they don't support the heal very well.

Just my advice... because I know you want to get the best time possible in St. George. It will be interesting to see if the eating chances have helped.

Good luck with St. George in a few weeks.

From Matt on Fri, Sep 25, 2009 at 15:04:46 from


My wife asked me to ask you about why she cramped up at Top of Utah. It was her first Marathon so I expected her to Bonk and she did right on schedule between 16.5 to 18 then about a mile later she cramped at 19 that’s when we had to mail it in and just walk and run to finish the last 6 took almost 90 minutes. It was her first marathon. She trained well compared to most first timers but not great by any means. She did very well on the long runs but the overall base was week. Still she hasn't had cramp issues in the past. Plus she ran 20 milers at a faster pace than she was running when she bonked (which I advised her not to do) and was fine. Her time was 4:54 and based off her 1:56 at Hobble Creek we expected better. Any wisdom would be appreciated. All I have offered up is more electrolytes; the heat took it out of you, more salt. She is a little larger than your typical runner so I don't know how that comes into effect. I have never had problems in this area myself during a race. Just before and after which I think has more to do with lactic build up. The good news is she is very excited to try it again soon.

From cheryl on Fri, Sep 25, 2009 at 15:32:53 from

Sasha--what exactly do you eat and not ear in a gluten free diet?

From Sasha Pachev on Fri, Sep 25, 2009 at 15:54:18 from

Kory - my dilemma is that cushioned shoes mess up my form badly. So my only option right now is running barefoot or in Crocs on grass. I have even been riding the bike when we do not get around to taking the kids to the grass field for their runs except for Joseph's because his is only 0.5. If running on grass did not mesmerize me with the feeling of smoothness and perfection I would have gone nuts already from doing those laps.

Matt - different people suffer differently from the lack of mileage in the marathon. Some more than others. If guys that run 60 miles a week or more for a couple of years sometimes cramp up and are reduced to a death march in the last 6 miles then what can you expect with significantly less preparation? My opinion is that a marathon should not be attempted with any less preparation than that. Yes, marathon race directors, charity foundations, and a few others would hate me for saying this, but I prefer being truthful over being popular. Half is a good distance if you are not willing to run 10 or more miles a day consistently.

Cheryl - good reading on the subject at

From tamy on Fri, Sep 25, 2009 at 15:58:13 from

Can you put up a picture of your clogs? I can't imagine what you're running in.

From Sasha Pachev on Fri, Sep 25, 2009 at 15:58:44 from

Matt - some more thoughts. A "good" long run off a weak base often backfires because it is not absorbed. Good base is necessary to make sure you are fit enough so running 18-20 miles does not put you in the red zone. I do have some discussion of that at the Top Ten Training Mistakes link at the top of the page.

From Sasha Pachev on Fri, Sep 25, 2009 at 16:01:43 from

Water Clogs, the exact kind I've got:


From Matt on Fri, Sep 25, 2009 at 16:05:07 from

Thanks Sasha I just read your statements to my wife. I let her know you don't sugar coat stuff the way I do. I think she wanted a miracle cure but I told her being good requires sacrifce and dedication. Hopefully this will inspire her to increase her base a little more. I'll have her go through the top ten traing mistakes again. It wouldn't hurt me to look them over again as well.

From JD on Fri, Sep 25, 2009 at 16:17:37 from

"If guys that run 60 miles a week or more for a couple of years sometimes cramp up and are reduced to a death march in the last 6 miles then what can you expect with significantly less preparation?"

This statement is a relief to me to read. I bonked at mile 19 at TOU last Saturday and thought maybe I just wasn't cut out for the marathon. I've averaged just under 60 miles a week for a year. It's good to know that I can keep working on increasing my mileage base and look forward to more positive results in my next marathon. Thanks.

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