Breaking the Wall

January 28, 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

Ran in the Provo Canyon in the morning. Measured wind strength by running a 1:28 quarter uphill during the warmup. Then ran the 3 mile tempo from Nunns Park to the mouth of the canyon with an aggressive marathon pace effort. First mile 5:37 (asleep), then woke up and ran two 5:23 miles - total time 16:23. Still felt lazy, but 5:23 pace felt very good, although it did require some concentration.

Then jogged back to the Canyon Glen Park, and did 5x400 with 200 rest downhill. 69.6 - 70.3 - 70.5 - 70.0 - 69.2 (last 100 16.6). Felt lazy. Watched my splits like a hawk, and only sped up if it looked like it was going to be over 70. It seemed like there was some barrier at around 71 second pace that made me feel so comfortable when running slower that I had to push myself to cross it.

Sarah went into labor in the afternoon, and for a while we thought the baby was coming. However, her contractions stopped after 6 hours. Good for us - we got good sleep. Hopefully, we can get them going again this afternoon (Tuesday) and get the baby out.

Ran with the kids in the evening. Total of 12 miles for the day. Starting to taper for Draper Days/Desnews marathon combo.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From Brent on Tue, Jul 18, 2006 at 18:14:37

Shasha, good luck at the Des News marathon and bless your coming baby.

From Nick Miller on Wed, Jul 19, 2006 at 20:30:43

I hope all is well with the baby! I am sorry to throw so many questions at you, but I need some outside input. I am going to try out for the CU cross country team, but, unfortunately for me, they have one of the best teams in the nation. Making it on the team is very difficult, and I am going to need a lot of training to rise to the occasion. The tryout run is an 8k, which many of the team members can run in 24:30. I realize that I can overlook this time because in my current condition that is near impossible. I need advice on how to properly prepare for this stressful run. In your opinion, what is the best strategy for minimizing an 8k time within a month and a half? I know this may be hard for you to answer, but I need all of the advice that I can get. Thanks Sasha, and god bless the baby!


From Sasha Pachev on Thu, Jul 20, 2006 at 15:15:55

Nick - a month is not enough time to drastically change your condition. I would recommend a steady training regimen carefully listening to your body, and then take what that will give you in the try-outs. You might get a surprise, you might not. However, after a year of steady training you might get somewhere.

I would emphasize the following points. Run at least 8 miles every day. Run 70% of it at a comfortable pace (about 7:00 mile or so, slower is ok if you feel tired). Once a week, do a speed workout with a total mileage of 3 miles covered at the speed of about 5:00 pace (75 second laps on the track). Break it down enough so you can handle it - eg. 12x400, 6x800, 4x1200, 3x1600. Once a week run 3-5 miles at about 5:30-5:40 pace. And once a week run 8 miles at about 6:00 pace. Those are the hard days. Make sure to jog about 2 miles before starting the hard run on a hard day to warm up, and about 1 mile after you are done for a cooldown.

In between hard days, run about 8 miles easy. Follow this routine for three-four weeks, and let's see where it takes you.

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