Breaking the Wall

Draper Days 5 K

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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: 149.44 Year: 1460.80
Saucony Type A Lifetime Miles: 627.15
Bare Feet Lifetime Miles: 446.12
Nike Double Stroller Lifetime Miles: 120.59
Brown Crocs 1 Lifetime Miles: 1509.03
Brown Crocs 2 Lifetime Miles: 987.95
Navy Crocs Lifetime Miles: 2133.34
Race: Draper Days 5 K (3.107 Miles) 00:16:04, Place overall: 6
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Draper Days 5 K, 16:04, 6th place.

Caught a bit of a bug that my kids had, but not too bad. Felt a bit dehydrated during the night, got up a few times to drink, eyes a bit tender and throat a bit scratchy. Was concerned about how that was going to affect the race, but I do not think it was a major factor.

Warmed up with Paul, Cody, and Scott Browning the Siren. Noticed HR was high, probably had to do with 75-80 degrees at the start. Felt sluggish, again probably for the same reason.

Was concerned about the stomach, it felt a bit funny, but probably more from the heat than from the infection. Nevertheless, decided to stick with the plan - follow Paul until I can't, then survive. Figured if this plan produced some vomit, well, this will be the first time I've ever vomited during a race in over 22 years of running. At least I would go away knowing that I've done my best.

The heat was affecting not just me, so we all started slow. After about a quarter, Nick McCombs, Seth Wold (wearing Nick Miller's bib for some odd reason), and Paul started to pull away. This was not a good situation - Paul being dragged ahead by Nick and Seth, this means he'll keep the pressure on trying to catch them or at least keep them within reach. I considered staying back with Neil Gassmann, but figured if I were to have a shot against him, I need to have a safety buffer. If I stay with him, it will amount to signing a verdict of defeat right away. So I went with Paul.

Nick and Seth gapped us by a bit. I made it to the mile - we hit it in 4:40. This is slow for that mile, it is 2% downhill, so at that point I knew this was not going to be a fast race for anybody. After that, I did not have the juice to run with Paul anymore, and backed off. Tried to make the pack not want to catch me, it kind of worked for a while. Josh Steffen pulled up. I hoped he would pass me so I'd tuck in behind him, but he did not, I think he was just happy to draft himself. 2 miles in 10:07 (5:27), second mile is uphill.

Neal Gassmann caught me around 2.25. I tried to latch on, failed, did not have the juice, but had enough juice to separate myself from Josh while trying. At about 2.75 Gray Augustus went by me, again tried to latch on, no luck. However with about 200 to go, I found another gear. Where did it come from? Maybe I was finally rested after 2 miles of 5:27 pace? Caught Gray, tried to pass, but he found another gear. Ended up 1 second behind him, and again, just like last year, 1 second out of money. Only $20, but still. 16:02 on my watch, 16:04 officially.

Nick McCombs won with 15:16, Seth Wold 15:16, Paul 15:23, Neal 15:54, Gray 16:03. Ken Richardson was 7th with 16:10, and Josh Steffen 8th with 16:12. The gaps were correct, pretty much what I expected to see, however, the times were about 20-30 seconds slower than what I anticipated, probably because of the heat. On the positive side, I got beat by 41 seconds by Paul instead of 1:06 (half of what he beat me by in Sandy 10 K), and by 48 seconds by Nick instead of 1:22 - half of the Sandy gap.

Turned around, found Alexander Barry, he made me work with his kick - he got 22:08. Then went back again and found his dad, and paced him to the finish. Ran back to the car.

Afterwards, drove up to downtown to pick up the DesNews packet. Found out I'll be racing Jon Ndambuki, Paul Rugut, Peter Vail, Peter Vail's training partner, and Jared Nyariki.

Ran with the kids in the evening. They are starting to feel better.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From Superfly on Sat, Jul 21, 2007 at 19:17:28

Good job Sasha.

I'll be up there Sunday night so I could meet you for an easy run Monday morning before you run Des News. I was thinking of maybe meeting you at the half or with 10 miles in and runnning in with you...Let me know if you want to run on Monday and we can talk then about Tuesday.

From James on Sat, Jul 21, 2007 at 19:39:23

How did Seth get Nick Miller's bib, and why did he pull up and let the other Nick win?

From Paul Petersen on Sat, Jul 21, 2007 at 19:42:11

Is Seth still running for USU or is he graduated? If he still has eligibility, it makes sense for him to pull up, since he can't accept money and Nick can.

From James on Sat, Jul 21, 2007 at 19:57:32


That is a good point, I bet he couldn't accept the money. But didn't they give money more than one deep? Seth is on the BYU running plan, I think he has red-shirted in track and cross country on different years. He will either be a junior in cross country and a senior in track, or a senior in cross country and is done with track. Either way I think he is running this fall. The reason he was wearing one of Dave Bell's store singlets is because he is from down there somewhere close to American Fork.

From Michael on Sun, Jul 22, 2007 at 14:29:47

Good Luck in the Deseret Martahon, hope you do well against the Kenyans and other top runners! Thanks for encouraging Alexander and me. Sorry Benjamin was ill as he ran that race good last year

From bc on Sun, Jul 22, 2007 at 22:19:52

Sasha, Kurt Black told me there was a group coming from Colorado are any of these from there. Usually 1 or 2 drop when they see they are not in the top money. How high do you think you can place? Top Utah I would expect? Looks like the temps will be down some so it could be a faster race than last year. The construction in the canyon will goof up running a few tangents. Wish you the best, you have been running well. Check out the last verse of Come, Come, Ye Saints -- We sang it in church today and it made me think of the end of a marathon and making through to the parade. "And should we die before our journey's through, Happy day! All is well! We then are free from toil and sorrow, too; With the just we shall dwell! But if our lives are spared again To see the Saints their rest obtain, Oh, how we'll make this chorus swell-- All is well! All is well! Kim is running the full to hopefully the heat holds off for her. It is going to be her second marathon and 5 hours on this course will be tough.

From Bc on Mon, Jul 23, 2007 at 11:21:32

Sasha, saw that Peter Vail is from Colo. so that is probably who he was talking about. I don't know of others coming and I still think only a couple of them will finish. So you have a better shot for good $ Tuesday. Good Luck.

From Lybi on Mon, Jul 23, 2007 at 11:49:03

Awww man! Sorry you got a little sick. You still did an amazing job, though. Even more amazing that you feel "rested" after running 5:30 pace.

From Bc on Mon, Jul 23, 2007 at 13:40:06

Sasha, You love to crunch numbers so I did a little while I'm resting today. We have done several of the same races and both hit high miles in most weeks. So I compared our times in the races to see how we stacked up pace wise against each other assuming our efforts were the same in each race and here is what I found. You generally run an average of 33 seconds per mile faster than me. And we both should use Ogden Marathon as a guide to what our time in Des will be. If the heat doesn't effect us in the negative you should hit 2:28 - 2:30 and I should hit 2:42 - 2:45. Your perdictor is usually pretty accurate, but I think H of H 5K needs to be updated to the new course. It makes everyones comps slow. Do you think my perdiction on our times is close or do you think you will be able to run faster. I would be happy with my time if I can hit in that time range.


From Sasha Pachev on Mon, Jul 23, 2007 at 14:41:31

Bill - I think your calculations are fairly accurate. I also agree with your estimation of Heart of Holladay. I had not changed the predictor since the course was changed. However, the empirical data defies all logic. The change eliminated 1.5% up and down + 180 turn and replaced it with no more than 0.5% grade up, probably only 0.3%, and actually a part of that is being run in the down direction. And yet people have been running the new course about 5-10 seconds slower! Is it possible that the earlier certification was not properly done?

I have always wondered how I managed to run a course like Heart of Holladay so fast.

From Mike K on Mon, Jul 23, 2007 at 19:45:35

Good luck tomorrow! It is raining right now so hopefully you will have a cooler than expected start.

I hope Benjamin is better and back training.

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