Breaking the Wall

Striders 10K

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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: 151.02 Year: 151.02
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
Race: Striders 10K (6.21 Miles) 00:36:08, Place overall: 7, Place in age division: 1
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Striders 10 K - 36:07.9, 7th place. Cold day - about 26F at the start. Tough course. It highlighted my weaknesses. I do not do well on a long hill, or immediately afterwards. I have tried to work on it in the past and discovered that training on a long hill only makes things worse for me. The root of the problem is probably neurological or biomechanical. That in combination with racing at a higher than normal percentage of HR and VO2. I remember being able to drop the competition on a hill when I was slower, had lower VO2 Max, higher HR, and raced at a lower percentage of HR.

We had the same field as last week, with the addition of Dennis Simonaitis. We started out slow, then gradually warmed into a harder effort as we started the climb. There was a bit of a slight downhill to give us a break. I maintained a steady effort, and it resulted in pulling ahead a little bit. I figured I could use a bit of a buffer before the serious uphill. Then we started the climb for real. 5:59 on the first mile (going by the mile marks). The lead pack pulled away from me at first, then I gradually reeled them in right as we approached the end of the hill. Then it was immediate down. I had a hard time shifting gears, and dealing with the slippage and they got away. Did fine for a while - had them in view, probably within 10 seconds for another mile or so. Missed 2 mile split.

Then the nasty climb on the third mile that gains 300 feet. That is 6% grade for a mile. My Garmin 305 (The Toy) showed quarters at 7:00 pace, HR finally started reading normally as I had worked up some sweat. Steady 166. The leaders kept moving away further and further. 18:27 at mile 3, 12:28 for the last 2 miles. I was running with Steve Ashbaker for a while, but then he started to drop back. The leaders have lost Kenneth Richardson, and I hoped to catch him. However, the long uphill mile put me out of commission. Even though we were now going downhill, I could not get into a good rhythm for a while. My HR dropped to 155. Next mile in 5:27, 23:54 at 4 miles, finally caught the 6:00 mile guy.

Around the 4th mile mark I finally started getting into a good rhythm. Did the next downhill mile in 5:09. Closed a bit on Kenneth. Dennis Simonaitis went by - he was doing a win-the-masters paid tempo run of sorts. Had he been racing he would have gone out with the leaders. I thought of latching on him, but did not feel strong enough to do it.

Another little bit of downhill, and how we are climbing the final hill. Closed a bit on Kenneth at the start of the hill. The Toy reported a 1:38 quarter. Steve is not too far behind. I figured I focus on catching Kenneth, I'll be safe from Steve's kick.

Got to the end of the hill. Kenneth put on a move to make me not want to catch him, and opened a wider gap. We stayed in that order to the finish. 34:59 at mile 6 (5:56).

Bob won in 34:28, then Corbin 34:30, Joe 34:42, Paul 34:47, Dennis 35:47, Kenneth 35:56, me 36:07.9, Steve 36:28, Chad 37:15. Ted finished 18th in 39:13.

Splits by the GPS (distance 6.30): 5:48 - 5:40 - 6:37 - 5:31 - 5:17 - 5:40). Interestingly enough, other GPS's reported similar discrepancies both in distance and in splits. I wonder why. The course was certified.

Ran with the kids in the afternoon. Later we went to the dinner/talent show at our church. We did our famous Cat In The Hat skit, with Julia and Joseph starring as Thing 1 and Thing 2, Benjamin and Jenny as the boy and the girl, Sarah being the mom and speaking the part of the fish, Jacob being the actual fish, and me acting as the Cat. My favorite part is when Thing 1 and Thing 2 come out of the box, and start running around making a mess.

Sarah's Carob Chip Cookies won the first prize in the chocolate chip cookie bake off. I asked our Elder's Quorum President earlier if carob chips were allowed. He said that it would be OK, but suggested our chances of winning would be greatly reduced. He and his family ended up taking second.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From steve ashbaker on Sat, Feb 24, 2007 at 18:34:18

No, Sasha you do have a kick, I have seen you tap into it on training runs before. I think you just dont believe you have it anymore...

From Chad on Sat, Feb 24, 2007 at 19:13:50

I talked with Bill Cobler after the race and he said he certified the course based on the tangents. Apparently, also some of the cones were placed in ways that required us to run outside the line he used in certification.

Great job today, Sasha.

From Cheston on Sat, Feb 24, 2007 at 20:13:08

Nice race. Considering the hills and weather, you did well. Sounds like one I'm glad I missed.

From Cody on Sat, Feb 24, 2007 at 22:25:24

Great Job Sasha!

You always show up on race day ready to roll. You are very consistent and I enjoy watching the "pros" like yourself do it. We all learn so much because of you. Good Race

From Sasha Pachev on Sun, Feb 25, 2007 at 00:06:45

Bill - if you are reading this can you comment? It seems like the turn near the mile mark at about 0.9 into the race going to the mile should have been via a shorter route, not going all the way to where the roads branch. It would also have made more sense logistically as it was quite a mess to try to make a 150% turn while the runners going in the opposite direction were trying to do the same.

Steve - I have a really nice kick if you let me run slower than the threshold for a mile. Most of the time, the competition does not let me do it or I choose not to to get a better overall time. Otherwise, I have a death grip on my legs, and cannot get anywhere near my already low top speed.

From Paul Petersen on Mon, Feb 26, 2007 at 14:04:48

Sasha, I tried out your course tool. The splits it came up with were very close to my actual splits. Very nice! That was with just a quick-and-dirty gmap. It would be cool to provide your own google map interface to make the actual maps. You can get elevation data as a web service from the USGS site:

1 5009 4.36 6:09 6:09

2 4822 -3.55 5:20 11:29

3 5101 5.28 6:31 18:01

4 4848 -4.79 4:51 22:53

5 4803 -0.85 5:06 27:59

6 4781 -0.42 5:35 33:35

6.2158 4782 0.09 1:11 34:46

From Sasha Pachev on Tue, Feb 27, 2007 at 10:53:02


I have added the ability to make the course public. I saw you and Cody had the profiles, and turned on the public sharing on them. There is something wrong with your course now - not sure if it is the bug in my parsing code, or if your profile got messed up. Can you double-check, and if looks right to you, e-mail me the GPX file so I can debug it.

From Paul Petersen on Tue, Feb 27, 2007 at 11:11:28

Sasha, I had deleted my original course (made with gmap-pedometer) and replaced it with a high-res course that I made at home with GIS. That is the one you are seeing, and no, it doesn't work. I need to play with it some more, but my spare time has been limited. I imagine the problem is something on my end, as I have to do several conversions before I get to gpx format. BTW, consider supporting kml format as well. KML is similar to XML and is a pretty simple language. It is what Google Earth uses, and several gps units export it as well. Plus, my GIS software supports it. :-)

From Sasha Pachev on Tue, Feb 27, 2007 at 11:49:51


E-mail me the file, and I'll try to get it to work.

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