Breaking the Wall

August 19, 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: 160.46 Year: 2462.47
Saucony Type A Lifetime Miles: 627.15
Bare Feet Lifetime Miles: 446.12
Nike Double Stroller Lifetime Miles: 124.59
Navy Crocs Lifetime Miles: 2133.34
Navy Crocs 2 Lifetime Miles: 1263.81
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. 15.2 with Jeff in 1:51:14. Did a ladder in the middle. 800 in 2:20.1 (68,72), 1000 jog, 600 in 1:45.5, 800 jog, 400 67.6, 600 jog, 200 30.8. The jogging was done at around 9:30 pace.

The temperature was 18 F, and I was wearing  tights, jacket, hat and gloves. Not the best conditions for this type of workout by far. I was surprised that I was able to hit those times. Given the conditions and my lack of middle-distance training in the last 8 months I optimistically hoped for 2:24 - 1:48 - 70 - 32. So when Jeff opened with a 33 200 in the 800 repeat I warned him. It took him a while to settle down (thus 2:20 split), but I handled it OK. Did not feel a huge anaerobic bear, and did not want to feel it because I still had the rest of the workout in front of me. So I was content to hit the second quarter at target pace.

I was also happy with how the rest of the work went. The times demonstrated that the 2:20 800 opener did not quite put me at my limit. This is significant. My all time 800 PR is 2:12 on the track in perfect conditions at the age of 18 after six months of focused middle-distance training. So to run 2:20 in 18 F in winter gear on the road with no middle-distance conditioning except 5x400 two weeks ago in the last 8 months and live to do the rest of the workout respectably means something good had happened.  

What is interesting is that I never felt my legs powered hard enough to merit going this fast. The form felt loosened up, there was less resistance, but I did not have more power. 

I am very encouraged by this development. I have spent the last 10 years looking for a structural improvement, and have never had a workout or a race where I could even suspect a measure of success from my structural efforts. "Structural" = "not related to leg power or endurance", e.g. improving posture, flexiblity, re-activating a deactivated muscle, etc. Improvements came mostly from the increased aerobic power and better health. I ran more miles, I ran more of them at race pace, I did brutal workouts, I cleaned up my already clean diet, I slept more. It helped me achieve a measure of success, but I was up against a wall because I had reached the limit of those methods, or at least was very close.

I knew that if I were to reach my goals, I needed to find a structural breakthrough. I had hopes that the medical profession would have the answers, but not before long it became clear to me that if it did the answer was hidden far away, each step in the search cost money and time, and I did not have either one to look for the answer using this route. So my only hope was, to quote a Primary song our children sing in church,  "search, ponder, and pray".

Finally after 10 years of discouraging struggles today I saw a dim glimmer of light from the depths of the dark and never ending tunnel that winds around being good but not that good of a runner in hopelessly perpetual circles. Finally something I did in the structural department produced the results that I consider positive, pointing at the possibility that I may be going in the right direction. It was the trigger point massage and scraping of the Magic Adductor. Medically I still do not quite know what I am doing. In fact, I cannot even tell which adductor my Magic Adductor is, Longus, Brevis, or Magnus, or if it is a combination of those. I have been going by feel asking the Lord every day to give me inspiration and then paying close attention to the body signals as I would go through the trouble area. 

It was an exciting moment for me today. It was nice to receive a small assurance that I am somewhat close to the right track. 

P.M. 2 with Benjamin and Jenny in 17:29. Julia ran 1.5 with us in 13:31. 0.5 with Joseph in 4:51. 0.25 with Jacob in 2:49. 


Water Clogs 3 Miles: 2.75
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
From Lybi on Mon, Feb 01, 2010 at 01:36:15 from

Yea Sasha! Good for you. You always go and find your own answer, like you have to invent everything. Hard work! But effective.

From flatlander on Mon, Feb 01, 2010 at 10:39:55 from

Sasha, congratulations on this potential breakthrough, and thanks for sharing it. You may have found something that others might be able to benefit from as well.

From MichelleL on Mon, Feb 01, 2010 at 23:09:14 from

Very nice, Sasha. Hopefully it will continue to work for you.

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