Breaking the Wall

January 28, 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: 252.01 Year: 252.01
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
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. 15 miles in 1:47:50. First 2 with Ted and Hyrum, then 5 more with Ted, and the remaining 8 by myself. Had a fluke happen after dropping off Ted. The nervous system did something weird and I ended up with a 5:59 mile without actually trying to run in that range. The breathing and the muscle strain were within the easy pace range, so I did not feel anything. I figured I could not have become a 2:05 marathoner overnight, so there was no way that 6:00 pace would be a true easy especially at altitude. And as I paid closer attention to the body signals I could feel that the nervous system was working in the non-easy range. So I eased off consciously although without hitting the breaks and dragging on purpose, but was still in the wrong range - next two miles were 6:14 and 6:11. So I decided to reboot myself by doing strides. Did 8x100 in 17-18 seconds. That calmed me down and I was able to get back into the true easy pace for the rest of the run.

However, this experience in combination with the pace fluctuations in Del Sol made me wonder if my muscles, and heart are already fit to run much faster, but the brain/nerves are lagging behind.

P.M. 1.5 with Jenny in 13:20, 2 with Benjamin in 16:45, 0.7 alone in 4:33, 1 with Julia in 10:20.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From Lybi on Mon, Mar 10, 2008 at 15:25:48

Every time you mention your neural capacity, I look at your sleep. Good sleep last night? 9.5 is not too shabby.

From Jon on Mon, Mar 10, 2008 at 15:41:18

Or, somedays, you just feel better and can run faster than others...

It's a good workout, either way, and can be a confidence booster.

From wheakory on Mon, Mar 10, 2008 at 16:14:27

Sasha, I've experienced days like that also, and I always assumed it was the sleep the night before and my nutrition from the previous that accounted for the odd behavior.

I like Jon's answer (somedays you fell invincible and others like a slug).

From wheakory on Mon, Mar 10, 2008 at 16:15:53

Sasha so your aware it only shows you ran 5 miles today, and I know for you that will never be true. Nice Job again.

From James W on Tue, Mar 11, 2008 at 09:03:51

Interesting observation. If your idea holds true, then it would be worth further investigating how to improve neural drive and, to the same extent, lessen neural fatigue during a race, when you know that your heart and muscles can handle the pace.

From JeffC on Tue, Mar 11, 2008 at 10:20:43

Sasha, could you teach me how to reboot my legs sometime? :)

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