Breaking the Wall

Salt Lake Track Club 15 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: 81.04 Year: 418.47
Saucony Type A Lifetime Miles: 627.15
Bare Feet Lifetime Miles: 446.12
Nike Double Stroller Lifetime Miles: 124.59
Navy Crocs 2 Lifetime Miles: 1576.28
Neon Crocs 1 Lifetime Miles: 1353.22
Race: Salt Lake Track Club 15 K (9.321 Miles) 00:53:58, Place overall: 11, Place in age division: 2
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Fast Running Friend Workout - 2014-02-22 09:17:19
Workout Totals
Distance Time Pace
15.365 1:41:06.50 6:34.83
Ran Salt Lake Track Club 15 K. 53:58, 2nd master, 11th overall. Benjamin's assignment was to pull me at 3:36 per kilometer (on pace for 54:00) for 13 K, and then run the last 2 K in 6:40 - his target half-marathon pace at sea-level. With the half-marathon in a week I felt that Benjamin would have a hard time being fully recovered if he raced an all-out 15 K, but a long tempo run with a fast finish to feel the pace and prove the fitness would be just right. So I recruited him for a noble cause - to pace his aging dad along with another master - Dennis. I figure it is good to teach the youth to take care of the elderly. The plan was carried out successfully. At home, Jenny and Joseph did 4, Julia 3, Jacob 2, William 1. Details below.
Leg 1
Distance Time Pace Comment
3.3 25:19.00. 7:40.30 Warm-up.
Split# Distance Time Pace Comment
1 3.300 25:19.00 7:40.30  
Leg 2
Distance Time Pace Comment
9.315 53:58.20. 5:47.63 The race.
Split# Distance Time Pace Comment
1 0.621 3:28.40 5:35.59 We maneuvered out of the crowd and eventually found Josh E. Benjamin upon seeing the split wanted to ease off, but I was feeling good and told him to keep going.
2 0.592 3:21.70 5:40.71 Hit the split at the wrong mark.
3 0.029 0:09.80 5:37.93 Now the right mark. 3:31.5 for the kilometer.
4 0.621 3:28.80 5:36.23 We caught up to Nate Nornok, and dropped Dennis. The pace still feels good.
5 0.621 3:31.30 5:40.26 The pace got too hard. I decided to make it to the 4 K with Josh and Nate, and then back off.
6 0.621 3:40.50 5:55.07 Recovery kilometer. Dennis caught up. I was glad that Benjamin was taking the wind. It was not terrible, but would have been difficult to battle alone. 17:40 for the 5 K.
7 0.621 3:38.70 5:52.17 We picked up a little.
8 0.607 3:31.30 5:48.11 Wrong mark.
9 0.014 0:04.70 5:35.71 Correction. 1 K split 3:36.0.
10 0.621 3:40.60 5:55.23 This kilometer had a turn-around which we hit in 26:47. Josh and Nate were 26:30.
11 0.621 3:39.50 5:53.46 I think this section is a slight uphill. We now had a tail wind, and I felt that Benjamin had stepped up the effort, but the split did not show it.
12 0.621 3:29.00 5:36.55 Now the effort is paying off. I think it levels out here. Good split, but it is starting to get difficult.
13 0.621 3:33.70 5:44.12 Need to fix Fast Running Friend to add up the splits for me to have the total at each split. Around 35:44 at the 10 K. Good split, but I am not feeling too fresh.
14 0.621 3:39.20 5:52.98 Asked Benjamin to back off.
15 0.621 3:41.20 5:56.20 Starting to struggle more. We passed the 12.K mark in 44:44 and I told Benjamin to just go. He did. Dennis passed me shortly after that. I tried to keep contact, but could not. Dave Olsen passed both of us.
16 0.621 3:45.30 6:02.80 This was quite a plop. I told myself I was not going to plop and miss the 54:00 mark. So I dug in and tried convince myself to increase my pain tolerance.
17 0.621 3:34.50 5:45.41 Really digging in, trying to shift gears. With age I've lost some pain tolerance. But not the will to win. I squeezed out some semblance of a kick and managed to dip under 54:00 just barely. Dennis was 12 seconds ahead with 53:46. Benjamin finished in 53:04 with the last 2.5 K in 8:20, on pace for 16:40 5 K, and the last 1 K in 3:14. He was closing on Josh but ran out of road - Josh did a good job holding his own and finished in 52:49.
Leg 3
Distance Time Pace Comment
2.75 21:49.30. 7:56.11 Cool-down.
Split# Distance Time Pace Comment
1 2.750 21:49.30 7:56.11  

Green Crocs 6 Miles: 15.37
Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From jtshad on Sun, Feb 23, 2014 at 08:23:45 from

Nice race and congrats on the Master's podium. Man, Benjamin is such a strong runner and is really coming on.

From Kassi on Sun, Feb 23, 2014 at 08:27:57 from

Successful plan Sasha. It was a win win.

From Matt Poulsen on Sun, Feb 23, 2014 at 16:09:40 from

Nice race, Sasha!

From Steve Shepherd on Mon, Feb 24, 2014 at 09:48:19 from

Great race for both you and Benjamin! It was fun getting to know you better after the race!

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