Breaking the Wall

Salt Lake Track Club 10 K

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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
Race: Salt Lake Track Club 10 K (6.214 Miles) 00:36:09, Place overall: 10, Place in age division: 1
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2014-02-08 09:22:34
Workout Totals
Distance Time Pace
18.411 2:17:26.20 7:27.90
Raced Salt Lake Track Club 5 K today with Benjamin. Won the masters with a kick at the end in 36:09, 10th overall. This was the first time I ever beat Dennis Simonaitis in 16 years - if you do not count a couple of races he did as a training run. Of course, I had to wait until he turned 51 to do it and I had to sit on him for 5 miles, with 2 of those into a brutal headwind. Benjamin had a decent race - his assignment was to sit on Nate Hornok "till the standard bearer fainteth", and he made it to 5 miles when Nate shifted gears and pulled away. Benjamin ended up with 35:08 splitting 16:50/18:18 which was actually worth about an even split in the conditions today. It was not as competitive as two weeks ago, so my higher placing was partly due to less competition, but I also improved relative to competition. I did not get beat by anybody that did not beat me in the 5 K, I beat several people that beat me in the 5 K, and I reduced the gaps with several others. Benjamin made a similar improvement. I think not having the stomach flu helped. I forgot that Benjamin was still only 14 and neglected to do his wardrobe check before we left. He did not bring shorts or a t-shirt, so he ran looking like a stray kid from a PE class. I think he lost some time on that as he was too warm. I really enjoyed running in shorts. This was the first time I wore shorts since the Rocket City marathon, I believe. Jenny did 4, Julia 3, Joseph 4, Jacob 2, William 1. Details below.
Leg 1
Distance Time Pace Comment
3.2 24:33.60. 7:40.50 Warmup.
Split# Distance Time Pace Comment
1 3.200 24:33.60 7:40.50  
Leg 2
Distance Time Pace Comment
6.211 36:08.80. 5:49.19 The race.
Split# Distance Time Pace Comment
1 0.621 3:20.60 5:23.03 With Dennis, James Moore, Steve Ashbaker, and a few others. May have hit the split at the wrong mark - there were three candidates to choose from - I guessed the first one.
2 0.486 2:42.60 5:34.57 Hit the split at the 2 mile mark of the 5 K, so 1.107 miles from the start.
3 0.136 0:46.50 5:41.91 Now hit the split in the right place, 3:29.1 for the kilometer. The pack thinned out, but Dennis and James Moore are still there.
4 0.621 3:29.70 5:37.68 More or less the same pack. Dave Olson is with us in addition to Dennis and James. I think James started to fall back somewhere around here.
5 0.621 3:30.20 5:38.49 Tucked behind Dennis and following him.
6 0.621 3:27.90 5:34.78 17:15 at the 5 K, now the fun begins with the headwind.
7 0.621 3:57.00 6:21.64 Dennis slowed down. I think for a tactical purpose. Dave Olson passed us. In retrospect I should have latched on, but I was not certain of my fitness and did not want to expend any more effort than I absolutely had to. So I just sat behind Dennis accepting the slow pace.
8 0.621 3:54.00 6:16.81 Thinking to myself - what if Dennis is running slower because he has an injury and I am just running slow for nothing. Moved to the side to pass, felt the wind, understood why he was running slow, and hid behind him. What I did not understand, though, is why he did not follow Dave when he passed us.
9 0.621 3:44.30 6:01.19 The wind lessened and Dennis sped up.
10 0.621 3:48.20 6:07.47 This split might be a little slow because of the wrong mark. Perhaps it should have been 4 seconds faster. With 1 mile to go I gathered up the courage and passed Dennis hoping to quickly close the gap on Dave and draft. But I did not quite have the momentum. I was not closing the gap fast enough and Dennis latched on to me. So I eased off, still leading, now Dennis drafting.
11 0.621 3:27.80 5:34.62 This mile was quite dramatic. Dennis made his move with about 0.3 left, but I was able to latch on. He kept speeding up, but somehow I was responding. With 0.1 to go he turned on the kick. For a moment I felt this was it - he was gone. But somehow I found another gear and was able to keep up. Then the unbelievable happened. I was able shift gears again and passed Dennis. Then I ran scared expecting him to blow by at any moment. But he did not. In fact, somehow I managed to gap him by 4 seconds in about 100 meters or so. I do not know where that kick came from. I was not finding it in workouts or races lately. It was a complete surprise.
Leg 3
Distance Time Pace Comment
3 23:11.60. 7:43.87 Cool-down.
Split# Distance Time Pace Comment
1 3.000 23:11.60 7:43.87  
Leg 4
Distance Time Pace Comment
4 35:15.50. 8:48.88 With Joseph.
Split# Distance Time Pace Comment
1 4.000 35:15.50 8:48.88  
Leg 5
Distance Time Pace Comment
1 8:38.00. 8:38.00 With Jacob.
Split# Distance Time Pace Comment
1 1.000 8:38.00 8:38.00  
Leg 6
Distance Time Pace Comment
1 9:38.70. 9:38.70 With Jacob and William.
Split# Distance Time Pace Comment
1 1.000 9:38.70 9:38.70  

Green Crocs 6 Miles: 18.41
Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.00
From RileyCook on Sat, Feb 08, 2014 at 23:16:02 from

Nice race Sasha and congrats on the Master's win!

Don't know if you've seen it but Andrea took a great photo of your kick finish and Jake posted the link on his blog.

From Josh E on Sat, Feb 08, 2014 at 23:43:18 from

It is a good photo. You were giving her a nice little wink. Congrats on the masters win and beating Dennis.

From Jake K on Mon, Feb 10, 2014 at 09:18:14 from

You had quite a finish Sasha. It was pretty impressive to watch how you closed that last 100 meters (really kicked it up into high gear) vs everyone else (just looking relieved to be finished)!

From SpencerSimpson on Mon, Feb 10, 2014 at 14:56:24 from

nice pic of you Sasha. Good to see you and Ben running well. The way Ben looked and your description was well said. I loved the comment. Pretty impressive to run a 35 in ski gear. :) make it happen.

From Steve on Fri, Feb 14, 2014 at 00:17:02 from

Running with Dennis, let alone finishing ahead of him, is always a thrill. Nice run. You have some new spirit this year.

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