Breaking the Wall

May 21, 2019

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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
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Easy run on the 10.04 course in the morning. I came up with a new standard easy run plan. First 2-4 miles just warm up, go whatever pace the body wants. It usually starts out at 9:00 pace and warms up to 7:00 by the end of this stage, which it did today. Then on the second stage, run the fastest pace possible with the heart rate not exceeding 130. This usually results in about 6:35-6:40 pace. Then with 0.5 to go run threshold pace if I feel like it, no HR limit. So that is what I did today. Hit the first half in 36:52, came back in 33:02, 1:09:54 for the run. Timed the last quarter, it was 1:23.

A little bit of motivational bragging about the evening run. Sarah went with Julia to help a friend paint her house, so I was in charge of everybody else, that is Benjamin (8), Jenny (6), Joseph (2), and Jacob (almost 1). No treadmill. How to get in a decent run, get the kids runs done, and keep everyone reasonably happy?

Solution: Put Joseph and Jacob in the double stroller. Benjamin gets on a bike, Jenny runs a mile. She did it in 9:08. Then Benjamin and Jenny trade places. Benjamin runs 1.48 at about 8:20 pace. Then we stop at a park, Benjamin, Jenny, and Joseph play, Jacob watches from a stroller, I go back and forth on a 200 meter stretch nearby for 2.25 miles at about 7:00 average, and catch the 8:00 mile guy for the whole run. Then I tell Benjamin to stay ahead of the 8:00 guy for me on the way back home, and he averages 7:00 on the way home for the remaining 0.52, and almost catches his 8:00 mile guy finishing the run in 16:10. I get 41:06 for 5.25, 54 seconds ahead of the 8:00 pace.

Before that adventure, I ran with Julia, and a little bit more to the church and back. So that gives me 16.04 for the day.

I got started on the top Fast Running Blog performance list - so far just men in the marathon. To make it more meaningful, I adjusted the performances for the course quality and weather conditions on the day of the race when ranking different runners. This, of course, to an extent is a matter of opinion. If somebody has a reason to challenge my adjustments, or if you discover a factual error, feel free to send me a note.

I also got started on  the live top mileage list, but there is nothing to show yet.


Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From bc on Thu, Jul 12, 2007 at 00:32:57

Sasha looks good to me. just a thought and not just because I'm a master. But have you thought of age grading. I Know people like Dennis usually have some of the best times in the country at most distances when you take into account age.

From Jon on Thu, Jul 12, 2007 at 01:02:10

This performance list may get complicated...

From Lybi on Thu, Jul 12, 2007 at 12:05:08

Sasha, I just have to take a minute to say thanks so much for taking such an interest in every single person on this blog! You are a GREAT motivator. I am so happy to see James injury free and running like he wants, and I think a lot of it has to do with your experience and advice. Thank you!

From James on Thu, Jul 12, 2007 at 13:18:02


I was wondering how you were ranking your top runners? Is it a list of alltime best performances or current performances? I noticed Ted is #6 with a 2003 marathon time, and you are at #5 with this years Ogden time. You have ran better times, even at Ogden.

From Sasha Pachev on Thu, Jul 12, 2007 at 16:30:53

James - check out the Flat Sea Level Ideal Conditions Equivalent column. That is what the performances are ranked by. According to my calculations, my 2:32:00 on the Ogden course with a hot second half when properly adjusted is worth more than my 2:24:47 in St. George in ideal conditions.

From James on Thu, Jul 12, 2007 at 16:39:04

So do you think your 2:32 at Ogden this year was better than last years 2:30 because of heat?

From Sasha Pachev on Thu, Jul 12, 2007 at 16:52:23

About the same, leaning towards slightly better. Until it started to get warm, 5:30-5:35 pace early on felt very relaxing. The year before I ran the same pace in the early miles, but it was tactically motivated, and I was forcing it knowing that I would have to slow down later. This year around the 10 mile mark all of a sudden I was going 10 seconds per mile slower than the year before, and I was starting to labor. Other runners reported similar experiences.

I believe I personally lost more than 2 minutes on the heat. But a more heat-adjusted runner like Steve or Joe would lose about 2:00.

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