Breaking the Wall

August 10, 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: 88.07 Year: 2386.98
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: 1257.89
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2016-06-18 06:11:04
Workout Totals: Distance21.500Time2:28:02.20Pace6:53.13
Started with a 16 mile run - 8 from the house to the magic spot near the Vivian Park, and 8 back as a tempo run in 47:03. The tempo run was hard, but I was able to hold a steady pace. Some important stretches - 3 miles from Nunn's to the mouth of the canyon - 17:28, last 2 miles - 12:03, last uphill mile 6:08. This was my first long tempo this year not counting the half marathon and the 15 K races, and the first one period done in the middle of a long run. Never hit any fuel issues, but I did feel that the heart did not want to pump long and hard.

Then we went to the Run for the Refugees 5 K. This was more to support the idea of this unique type of fundraiser than to actually race. What is unique about it is that the race cost (if you do not want the shirt) is covered by the vendors that are selling the merchandise or getting exposure otherwise in compensation. You optionally can donate. That works out quite well since your budget has not been hit by the entry fees, and you know that all of it is going directly to the cause without the overhead of covering the race.

The course was a loop in the Indian Hills area of Provo, and involved a lot of steep hills, both up and down. It ended up being short, about 3.01 according to my map, but the hills made it worth about 3.20 according the Course Tool. I ran with Joseph and Jacob to make sure they did not beat their legs up too bad and had them hold back on the steep downhill sections. Benjamin ran with William. He asked me at the start if he could race it, but I told him absolutely no on that course given his current fragile state, but it was a good sign that he felt good enough to ask.

Joseph ran 21:04, I ran 21:09 with Jacob, William got 23:30, Sarah ran the flat, downhill, and moderate uphill, and walked the steep uphill in 31:59 (32:22 from the gun, with the crowd it took her a while to make it to the start). This was a confidence builder for her, as she is not good with hills even when not pregnant, and she is 24 weeks pregnant now.

Then the kids ran the 1 K. Initially the plan was to have Joseph run hard although not too hard, have William and Jacob pace Stephen, and have me pace Matthew. But Stephen was playing a bum, at one point and for quite a while he was behind Matthew. So I told William and Jacob to just go for it. Joseph got 3:43 (1st), Jacob 3:57 (3rd), William was around 4:30 (4th), Stephen 5:26, Matthew 5:34.
Leg 1:Distance8.000Time59:00.40Pace7:22.55
Distance to dump some glycogen.
Leg 2:Distance8.000Time47:03.60Pace5:52.95
Tempo run from the magic mark near Vivian Park to the house. Made easier by Hawk Harper's new triangle marks on the trail.
Leg 3:Distance0.250Time2:09.30Pace8:37.20
To the start of the race.
Leg 4:Distance4.410Time32:22.20Pace7:20.41
Run for the Refugees. Ran with Joseph and Jacob, then ran back to meet Benjamin and William, to the finish with them, then back to check on Sarah, and some more distance.
Split 1:Distance3.010Time21:09.30Pace7:01.69
Split 2:Distance0.300Time2:21.10Pace7:50.33
Split 3:Distance1.100Time8:51.80Pace8:03.45
Leg 5:Distance0.620Time5:34.80Pace9:00.00
Paced Matthew through the 1 K.
Leg 6:Distance0.220Time1:51.90Pace8:28.64
To the car.

Black Crocs 2 Miles: 21.50
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From steve ash on Sat, Jun 25, 2016 at 19:35:41 from

Great workout Sasha. Keep it going:)

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