Breaking the Wall

August 06, 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: 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
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Started out with Jeff and Hyrum. We ran 2 miles in 16:31 with a pickup at the end at about 5:20 pace for 0.15. I wanted to see how much juice Hyrum had left, and challenged him to pick up the pace. He did quite well.

Then Jeff and I ran another 2 miles and ended up back at my house again. We were supposed to meet Ben Crozier but he never showed up. We looped around the block for 1.75 miles waiting, finally decided to go. Then Jeff noticed that he had only 30 minutes left, so we picked up the pace to about 7:00 so we'd make it back in time. We did 0.5 pickup on the trail to feel the 5 K pace. The target was 2:30. Jeff took off pretty quick and I felt it immediately. No wonder, 17 seconds for the first 100 meters. So we eased off but not much. Hit the quarter in 73, and then did one more in 73 to finish in 2:26. This pace hurt, definitely not sustainable for the entire 5 K (it would be nice if it was, that would give me 15:10), but I felt could finish OK if I started this fast.

Dropped Jeff off at 10 miles, went for 5 more. Saw Sarah on the trail, ran about 0.8 with her. Then added some more to finish 15.

Jeff and I are racing in the Law Day 5 K on Chad's firm's team. Whenever a corporation gets interested in competitive running, I am always willing to do something to support it. Who knows, one step at a time maybe one day we will have something similar to the Japanese corporate running program or maybe even better. I have never heard of a Japanese runner going under 27:30 in a 10 K, but they have had 11 guys go under 2:08, with 3 of them going under 2:07 in the marathon. The population of Japan is 127 million. In the US we have had 7 people run 27:30 or faster in a 10 K, and only 2 go under 2:08 in the marathon, one of them being Khalid Khannouchi and the other Ryan Hall. The population of the US is 301 million. Clearly the Japanese are doing a lot better in the area of carrying the 10 K speed to the marathon, and I believe having a corporate level running program is an important part of their success.

A.M 2 - Ted told me about a race at the Rock Canyon Elementary that Jared was going to run in. I figured Benjamin would like to participate somehow especially since Jared was involved, and asked if they would let Benjamin run. Ted did not think they would, but he thought they might let him just run along and pace Jared. However, when we got there, we were told Benjamin could be officially in the race. So we signed him up. I was not sure which grade Benjamin would be in, and under the stress I completely forgot the correspondence between ages and grades in the US school system. Not that I remember it very well when I am not under stress to begin with as we home school our kids and let them progress at whatever rate they are ready for. Which happens to be quite a bit faster than their public school peers. So figuring that Jared and Benjamin would be in the same grade, I asked Ted which grade Jared was in. He said 4th. So I wrote 4th grade on Benjamin's tag. Later it turned out that Jared was actually in the 3rd grade, but it ended up not mattering for two reasons - a) Benjamin beat everybody except one 6th grader, and b) since Benjamin was not enrolled in the Rock Canyon Elementary they were not going to give him an award. Being a mature 9 year old and knowing that it would be just a medal or a ribbon he was not particularly disappointed, though, especially after I told him he was going to get a carob bar at Good Earth for his performance. How about this: Awards provided by AskSasha.Com/FastRunningBlog.Com?

The race was advertised as 2.5 miles, but ended up being 2.33 miles long according to Ted's GPS. The participants were kids from 6th grade down. The course was not fast at all - first 0.6 and last 0.2 on grass, the rest on asphalt with some serious uphill and then downhill to come back. Everybody started out very fast as expected, so Benjamin worked his way through the crowd in the first quarter mile of the race. Finally he passed Spencer Jarvis paced by his uncle Karl, a serious challenger his age to watch out for, and moved up on Joe Rowberry, the 6th grader that eventually would beat him. Joe had a quote from Prefontaine on the back of his shirt - "Most people run a race to see who is fastest. I run a race to see who has the most guts." And he raced accordingly - very competitive.

Joe pulled away from Benjamin on the uphill around 0.7 into the race. Then Benjamin started to close on the downhill, and eventually closed the gap to 7 seconds with about 0.7 to go. Then Joe looked back, got concerned, and found some juice to start pulling away. He ended up beating Benjamin by about 20 seconds. Benjamin finished second in 16:22, which is 7:01.46 average. Spencer was third about 20 seconds behind.

P.M. 1 with Julia in 11:38, 1.5 with Jenny in 13:18.

Night Sleep Time: 7.75Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.75
From wheakory on Sat, May 03, 2008 at 02:52:08

Very nice race for your son Sasha, and a good day of running for you as well.

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