Breaking the Wall

August 06, 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: 16.00 Year: 2314.91
Saucony Type A Lifetime Miles: 627.15
Bare Feet Lifetime Miles: 446.12
Nike Double Stroller Lifetime Miles: 124.59
Neon Crocs 3 Lifetime Miles: 1185.83
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with Daniel, Mary Ann, Michelle, and Tyler S. Non-English language fluency of the group: Icelandic, French, Spanish, and Russian.

The workout was 3x5 K on the Provo New Year Run course that I measured yesterday. Lots of recovery in between due to the need for VPBs and the closest opportunity about 600 meters away from the workout headquarters (start/finish of the repeat). Only Michelle managed to do the workout in its entirety.

First one was 18:58. Mary Ann stayed with us through the first mile, Tyler made it to 2 miles, but finished OK in 19:08. Perfect even split by half.

Second was 18:47. Negative split by one second.

Third - 18:43 with a negative split of one second. We hit the first mile in 6:00. Then Michelle was struggling so I eased off the pressure. With a mile to go I challenged her to break 6:00 in the last mile. She did a steady 91 second quarter pace for the next three quarters. Then I accelerated, opened a gap, and challenged her to give me five. She did it quicker than I thought, and  I realized I had to accelerate quickly to make sure she kept the momentum after she had caught up. We hit 3 miles in 18:09, I figured Michelle would have a kick, so I accelerated pretty hard and got ready to play the give me five, but Michelle stayed right on my tail the entire time. Our last quarter was 84, and our last 0.107 was 34 seconds, 5:18 pace. What's odd is when I tried to go 6:00 (90 quarter) with about 1 K to go I was opening a gap so I had to ease off to 91, but Michelle was able to shift gears and run as fast as sub-5:20 when it came time to kick. Which makes me think she should be able to do this workout at 5:45 pace after some aerobic, neurological, and psychological conditioning.

I figure given the conditions and how I felt the workout was marathon pace effort for me. At least even in shorts and warm weather I am happy when I can break 19:00 in the last 5 K of a marathon.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 17:46, Jenny ran 1.5 in 13:27. Julia did not run - not feeling well. Getting better, but we decided to give her a day off just to be sure.

Brooks T4 Racing Flat Miles: 16.32
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
From MichelleL on Tue, Dec 30, 2008 at 17:43:10

"What's odd is when I tried to go 6:00 (90 quarter) with about 1 K to go I was opening a gap so I had to ease off to 91" 6:04 is just so much easier than 5:59! I think it's the 6:00 barrier. Going to have to come to grips with that eventually.

Thanks so much for the hard workout Sasha!

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