Breaking the Wall

January 15, 2021

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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: 107.61 Year: 107.61
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: 1657.61
Brown Crocs 3 Lifetime Miles: 1276.97
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. The morning started with a dream about being stuck in some Russian town on the Black Sea, an hour until the flight back to America, and driving our Ford Escort 93 Wagon to the airport. All of a sudden, the engine light goes on, the temperature indicator goes way into the hot range, and the car refused to go more than 20 mph. I began to calculate how much the airline was going to charge me as a consequence of missing the flight. Then I started trying to figure out how I was going to get to the airport period. Then I found a very simple short cut to my home in Provo - wake up. I have very many blessings in my life. Not that I am plagued by nightmares, in fact, things are never particularly bad in my dreams, but I always feel happy when I wake up - reality is beating the dreams quite often.

Ted came this morning and reported 29 degrees outside. I figured the roads would be clear enough for a tempo. Then I looked for my fast pants, and could not find them. I did not want to run in the slow ones, they are too heavy. Spent about 30 minutes looking for them. Finally said, forget it, and put on two pairs of shorts, three long-sleeved shirts, a pair of racing flats, a pair of gloves, and a bank robber hood. What a combination! The idea was to keep the upper body warm, and transfer some of that to the exposed legs. It worked! I was warm the entire time.

Ran the warm-up 6.22 in 45:18. With the freedom of shorts, racing flats, and decent traction, the horses were neighing, and the legs were singing BINGO and were interested in a Swahili lesson. Ted was not feeling as feisty with his hip tightness and decided to take it easy, so I ran alone. Warmed up the first 2.5 in 14:21, 180 turn on ice was interesting, but otherwise the road was very decent except for occasional patches of snow and ice. Picked up the pace on the second 2.5 - 13:57, 28:18 at 5 miles. Decided to try to not be slower on the last 2.5, and was moving along at a steady 5:34 pace building a bit of a cushion for the 0.5-1% rise at the start of the last mile and the snow and ice on the last 100 meters. Ted, in the meantime, timed his turnaround so that I would be catching him on the last mile. With a quarter to go, I entered the greyhound-rabbit gravity zone, and there was nothing I could do. Some magic force started pulling me towards him against my will. This would be fine, except that force was coming from my legs, and he started running 5:20 pace to make me work. Last quarter was 1:17 in spite the snow and ice on the last 100, which made the last mile 5:25, and the last 2.5 13:48, last 5 27:45, and total time of 42:06, 5:36.8 avg, unintentionally and unexpectedly only 14 seconds slower than course PR in spite of the colder temperatures and slippage.

Felt that relaxing the quad, pulling up the foot with the hamstring, and using hip adductors to bring hips closer together helped with the form, and allowed me to run faster.

Ran 1.38 cool down, total time for 15.1 was 1:38:29, 6:31.32 avg.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 15:54 0.7 by myself in 4:51, 1.05 with Julia in 10:48, 1.5 with Jenny in 14:25. Time to put another plug for the Training Review Requests Board. I used to be able to follow everybody's training almost daily when the blog was small, but now as big as it is I cannot keep up any more. Plus, we now have a lot of others who are knowledgeable and willing to review your training. One of the expectations we have of the racing team members is that they will regularly help other runners with training advice. If you post on the board, you will get their attention.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From MichelleL on Tue, Dec 18, 2007 at 19:47:49

Great job on the tempo! Nice to negative split and do so well, especially with all the ice patches on the river trail.

From James W on Tue, Dec 18, 2007 at 23:46:11

I liked your comment about your form. Good job on the tempo, especially considering the conditions.

From Maria on Wed, Dec 19, 2007 at 04:44:53

Sasha, I was thinking again about hip mobility issue you mentioned in your breast stroke post. Have you ever tried hurdling drills? They are an excellent tool in developing hip mobility and flexibility! If you have access to a track with some hurdles, there are drills you can do, and if you do them regularly, you will most definitely see the difference. The simplest thing probably is to take one hurdle and put it couple of feet away and parallel to the wall or some barrier. Hold on to the wall/barrier, stand on the side of the hurdle, and bring the leg closest to the hurdle up and over the hurdle. Keep doing this motion for 10-15 reps. I hope my description makes sense, but if not, look up some hurdling drills with pictures on the net. I used to do tons of them when I was training in Russia, and while I was never very flexible, these drills helped a lot!

From Jon on Wed, Dec 19, 2007 at 14:42:47

Ted must be a great training partner if he waits 30 minutes for you to find some pants...

From MichelleL on Wed, Dec 19, 2007 at 14:54:52

No kidding Jon, I was thinking that too.

From cody on Wed, Dec 19, 2007 at 15:36:29

I agree too. Plus once you got going, he ended up running alone. Go Ted.

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