Breaking the Wall

July 13, 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: 51.55 Year: 2011.51
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: 881.43
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Long run with Jeff. He had diarrhea since Tuesday. That was perhaps good. Otherwise, he would have to run 5:40 pace for 20 miles to cause glycogen depletion. So you could not do the depletion without the muscle tightness. This way, there was no tightness, and we could study how he runs without much glycogen, learn what to do when you bonk, and build some confidence that we would not see a repeat of St. George even in a bad case scenario.

So we warmed up a mile in 6:39, and then I suggested we run 6:00 pace until something bad happens. Jeff thought it was interesting that I was so sure something bad was going to happen. Towards the end of 10.1 Jeff was not feeling good - fuzzy head, using more effort than normal for the pace. We got to 10.1 which happened to be at the house in 1:01:03, 6:02.7 average. He was just about done with running fast, but I suggested we get some fuel in, and see how much longer he could go after that. For the fuel we used a drink made of evaporated cane juice with EmergenC for flavor and electrolytes. I fueled myself just in case the drink would work on Jeff better than I thought, because it could have meant 5:40 pace for the last 6 miles.

Then figuring it would take a couple of miles for it to kick in we decided to go another 3 miles at 6:00 pace and decide what to next after that. Like magic, 2 miles into it the pace picked up to 5:50 and Jeff asked me about the possibility of planting bottles in the Salt Lake marathon. That was a good sign. Then 3.5 miles into the tempo Jeff says, this stuff does not last long. I told him that's why they have aid stations every two miles. He also asked me about how long you could go off ingested carbs once you hit the wall. My answer was that you could go for a long time, but not very fast. I've been able to speed up to 6:25 after slowing down to 7:10 in TOU 2005. This does not work, though, if the body is not healthy enough at the moment to ingest carbs while running.

Jeff said he wanted to turnaround at the 4 mile mark, but keep tempoing, so we did. Then 15.1 into the run he thought he was done. I suggested we go another 0.5, he agreed, he is a very easy going guy when it comes to matters of pain. Then I suggested we go another 0.5 so our total tempo mileage would go over 15, and he fell for it. "...and he leadeth them by the neck with a flaxen cord, until he bindeth them with his strong cords forever" (2 Nephi 26:22).

So 16.1 into the whole run we eased off to a little sub-7:00. With 1 K to go I suggested  we speed up again, and we did running it in 3:47. Jeff was done, I turned around and ran another 2 tempo miles to finish the 20.1. First one was a slight uphill in 6:05. Then coming back I ran 5:47. Total time for 20.1 was 2:02:07, 6:04 average. The tempo 15.1 was 1:30:18, 5:58.8 average.

P.M. Jenny's mile time trial. Benjamin helped too. We warmed up 600 in 3:27. Then I set the pace, and Jenny broke 7:00 with the splits of 1:42, 1:42, 1:44, and 1:44 - 6:52 total time, and became the fourth sub-7:00 miler in the family. For her effort she earned a bike and a Palm Pilot. Then we cooled down 1000. Benjamin was itching to go after about 550 so I let him. Then I realized I wanted to time him, so  at about 680 I went after him and ran the last 300 in 58. Could not catch him, it was too late, and he was going too fast, but his time for 1000 was 4:44, mine 4:46. Jenny finished the cooldown in 5:22. Hard to believe this is now her cooldown pace. The later ran 1.5 with Julia in 15:05.

Saucony Type A Miles: 20.10
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
From rockness18 on Sat, Mar 28, 2009 at 21:41:35 from

Thanks for sharing this Sasha...both interesting and insightful!

From tarzan on Mon, Mar 30, 2009 at 19:23:53 from

Wow - I'm speechless and jealous of your kids speed.

From Burt on Mon, Mar 30, 2009 at 19:30:20 from

Sounds like you were trying to study how he runs with the runs.

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