Breaking the Wall

Alta Peruvian Lodge 8K

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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
Race: Alta Peruvian Lodge 8K (4.97 Miles) 00:22:35, Place overall: 2
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Alta Peruvian Downhill Dash 8 K, 22:35, 2nd place.

Started the day with a 1 mile jog. Then after breakfast went to the Regional Priesthood Leadership Training in the Marriot Center. There was a lot of traffic - here in the Utah County the LDS population is large, and even if you only gather men in leadership positoins from all the congregations, there was enough to fill up the Marriott Center (22,700 capacity) almost to the limit. Park at the law building to avoid traffic problems and ran 0.5 miles to the Marriott Center. After the meeting ran back.

Came home, ate lunch, and then went to the race with Sarah and the kids. A short warm-up, jogged to the start, hit the porta-potty enough times to avoid trouble in the race, and then they fired the gun.

The race goes downhill at a fairly steady 7% grade, and produces fantastic times if your legs have been trained for this type of running. The course record is 21:04 set by Larry Smithee, which also happens to be world-best for an aided course. My PR on the course is 21:58. John Kariuki, a 2:12 marathoner, ran it once in 21:38. Downhill running is a different type of animal.

I looked at my competition, and saw trouble. Corbin Talley, Steve Ashbaker, Nate Hornok, and Tim Stringfellow.

Stiff headwind from the start. Steve took off hoping to lose us, but we all tucked behind him. First mile in 4:37. Then Tim took the lead. I really liked it - he is tall and has wide shoulders. Two miles in 9:05 (4:28), the wind is still there but subsiding. The pack still has 5 people. Not good, prize money is only three deep. I figured the legs of the competion must have been softened by all the pounding at this point, and decided to take some initiative. I did not think I'd be able to break away, but I hoped to cut the pack down to three. It worked - only Corbin stayed with me. 3 miles in 13:22 (4:17), I think it was possibly a bit short. I sensed that Corbin was strong, and eased off a little to encourage him to take the lead. He did. Our next mile was 4:32.

Then I saw the sign that said 9% grade ahead. I figured if I had a chance of winning, it would be right here. So I took the lead and pushed as hard as I could. Corbin responded - this is trouble.

And then there was more trouble - Nate Hornok caught us. Both Corbin and I were extremely concerned. He has a relentless long kick that will crush almost anybody who happens to be around him. So Corbin puts on a strong surge. I try to hang on but hitting my speed limit. I let him go for a few moments, but then by some miracle manage to cover it.

About 0.5 to go. Corbin and I are looking at our watches, and probably thinking the same thing - when will the race be over. I make another attempt to lose him, but it does not work. Finally, with about 200 meters to go he shifts into the Corbin kick gear. I am already in the Sasha kick gear, so I cannot match it. 22:32 for Corbin, 22:35 for me, 22:45 for Nate, 23:01 for Tim, and 23:15 for Steve. $100 prize + very good circuit points, which makes it very likely for me to reach my goal of winning the circuit this year.

Steve, Nate, and I ran back up to the lodge at what I calculated to be about 9:30 pace average.

Ran with the kids when we got home, and did bench press, narrow grip, 5-4-3, 105 pounds.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From Nick Miller on Sat, Sep 09, 2006 at 22:55:00

Good work! This is a huge 8k time. How was the course?

From zack on Sun, Sep 10, 2006 at 09:36:21

congrats on a great run.

I have a question re: training.

Ii am 5 weeks out from my marathon today my race is 10/15/06..

Next week I am running in a half marathon. Should I run a mile warm-up and an ez 5 or 6 miles after the race for my last long run prior to the marathon since it will be 4 weeks out?

Or should I try to run 18-20 the following weekend 3 weeks out from my marathon. I just have a feeling that after the half marathonn the weekend after my legs will be pretty sore still and it will not be the best long run.

also my last half I held 7:03 pace.. should I try to be a little more agressive and hold 6:55 or so for this race? I am not great at holding pace, I just kinda go and get in a groove and try to stay there.

Last question.. I need 3:15 the marathon I am running has 3:10 and 3:20 pace groups. what is your recomendation or do I just run my race and not try to stay with a pace group. Thanks

From Cody on Sun, Sep 10, 2006 at 12:36:28

Nice Race Sasha! I am in awe of the results you and the top runners produce. Rest up and run the TOU like you did in 03 (sub 2:30). Good Work

From Mike Kirk on Sun, Sep 10, 2006 at 17:36:04

Nice race Sasha. Good luck this weekend at TOU.

From Paul Petersen on Sun, Sep 10, 2006 at 18:16:01

Good work at the Peruvian. Stop by and see me at the TOU expo. I'll be working the course information booth.

From Superfly on Mon, Sep 11, 2006 at 10:04:37

Good job on the race-

Good luck next week at the TOU. If I can talk my wife into it I think we may come up and watch. Just to get in the spirit of racing before STGM.

Thanks again for the blog, it's helped me three flod since Boston in April.

From Sasha Pachev on Mon, Sep 11, 2006 at 13:39:05

Everybody - thanks for the comments.

Nick - the course was extreme downhill (7% grade, high quality). In the predictor, I set the virtual distance to 7 K for it. In other words, the time you run in that 8 K would be the time you will run 7 K on a flat course in Salt Lake City.

Zack - I will answer your question in your blog.

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