Breaking the Wall

December 01, 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: 304.65 Year: 3606.17
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: 806.96
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Day of rest. Went to church. Actually twice. First time to the Spanish branch, then to my ward afterwards. Took a nap in the afternoon.

Night Sleep Time: 9.00Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 10.00
From jefferey on Mon, May 11, 2009 at 20:39:40 from


Are you a HC?

From sue on Tue, May 12, 2009 at 11:54:34 from

Hey Sasha I wanted some advice. I am running Ogden on Saturday. My first racing marathon (racing myself of course) I am nervous and almost sick about it. I need a strategy in my head that I can try for to calm the nerves a little. Any suggestions? My average pace was 7:13 at Provo half. I wanted to try to map out what pace I wanted and where on the course. I am injured (darn shin splints) but I think I will pull through. Would you suggest wearing a wrap on my shin in the marathon? It seems to help a little. Anyways sorry for so many questions just wanted your opinions if you have any on this marathon.

From Sasha Pachev on Tue, May 12, 2009 at 13:08:52 from

Jeffrey - I am a ward missionary.

Sue - my thoughts are that you are not quite ready for a good marathon. By good I mean being able to fully utilize your current 5 K speed, so around 3:05. The challenge with marathons is that when you are not ready for a good one it is hard to tell what you are ready for. Sometimes you might be able to run only 5-10 minutes slower. Other times, the bottom is very deep. So I would approach this one as a training run, a time trial of sorts. Do not taper, just train through it. You will actually bring more glycogen to the start this way because whatever you would have stored from running less would otherwise be wasted on being pre-race nervous.

There are several things you can do in this time trial, and I think any one of them is good since we are not trying to run any particular time, just developing some marathon experience. You can try to run a quicker pace, let's say 7:20 to failure, and then just not care and jog to the finish, being satisfied that you could run 7:20s let's say to 16 miles, and call that good. Or you can try running slower, let's say pace Carolyn through the first half in about 1:45-1:47, and then try to pick it up. But do expect, in that case, that you might not necessarily find the juice to pick it up, and be ready to deal with it. Or some other alternative with some form of varied pace.

I would caution against setting any particular time goals or expectations. It is very very challenging in the second half of the marathon to maintain putting in your best effort when you have set your mind on a certain pace, and then for one reason or another that pace is not happening. And more often than not, that pace does not happen. Marathons statistically produce one miracle for K average performances and N disasters. The values of K and M depend on the preparation, and the experience, but even with the best preparation and experience they are still high. Thus, in order to be a good marathoner, step one is to learn disaster management.

Be prepared to completely bomb, be thankful when you don't. I find it helpful to say a brief prayer of thanks after every mile. Do not be afraid of blowing up. Blow up a few times, learn from it, and eventually a good marathon will come.

From Sue on Fri, May 15, 2009 at 11:53:32 from

This is wall hanging advice! Thank you! I had to reread it today.

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