Breaking the Wall

February 24, 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: 155.37 Year: 492.80
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

It was raining this morning and it was fairly cold. Did my regular 5 mile tempo. Ted helped me with the pace on the first and on the last mile. First mile - 5:32, then 5:35 on the next. Next quarter in 1:23, but then hit some headwind plus caution before the 180 turn to not trip. The caution was needed, I slid pretty well trying to stop. The quarter was 1:26, so I got 13:56 at the time I started sliding. When I finally transitioned and changed direction, it was 13:58. Tried to pick it up to get back on pace. 16:47 at 3 miles, 5:40 for the mile with all the adventures. However, then I started getting cold apparently. Next quarter in 1:26. Tried to push it, was only able to get back up to 1:25. HR got to 155 and refused to go any higher.

Hit the next mile in 5:41, 22:28 at 4 miles. Now I need 5:32 to get 28:00, but as cold and wet as I am, it does not look like it is going to happen. But Ted knew how to get me going. He started a bit ahead of me. Now my hunting dog reflex kicked in, I think if I were a dog I would make a good hunting dog. Next quarter uphill in 1:25, then 1:24, and 1:23. HR got up to 157. I kept closing on Ted but he would strategically speed up. With a quarter to go I saw that if I ran 1:20 I would get the "impossible" 28:00. I pushed harder. There was one hunting dog reflex inhibitor. I knew that Ted was running only a mile and with some energy to spare, and that I did not have a chance to outrun him in the kick. I think with that knowledge removed I would have pushed harder. But I did manage 1:20, 28:00 for the run, and 5:32 for the last mile.

Jogged down to make the total of 13 miles for the run. Got home soaking wet and cold. My right knee refused to bend for about 10 minutes, something odd with the circulation from the sudden change of temperature. The shower felt good.

In the evening went the Benjamin's track meet at Timpangos High School. Ran with Jenny and Julia. Then watched Benjamin race. He first ran 100 meters in 18.7 taking second place in his age group (8 and under). I think the guy that beat him was about 18.2, and the other two were a couple of seconds behind. Not bad speed for a natural distance runner, I was very happy. I told him he could start running 2 miles a day regularly once he broke 19.0 in 100 meters and 7:00 in the mile. My philosophy - measure the biological age by performance in a short distance and a longer distance, and train at the volume appropriate for the biological age. So I said, 2 miles day after you are 8, and you are not 8 until you've run those times.  So this fulfilled the first requirement.

Then he ran 1600. It was an odd race. A bunch of boys and girls of all ages, not a big group, and all significantly older than Benjamin. All kinds of age divisions. Benjamin was running in the 12 and younger. He started out last, then passed a guy, then another. First lap in 1:40. Next lap in 1:48. Passed another guy, I think. Then on the third lap he caught up to an older boy that would not let him pass. First it was in a good way - he would speed up. I've taught Benjamin what to do in that situation. Pull along side, breathe as hard as you can to make your presence very noticeable, pretend you are passing, get him worked up, then draft behind through his surge. When his surge end, do that again. Repeat until he stops doing surges at a good pace, then pass him for good. It works on kids, but it surprisingly works almost as well on some exceptionally competitive adults. So Benjamin did just that. However half way through the lap, his competitor was over his ability to surge, and started blocking Benjamin's way as he was trying to pass. They went like a couple of drunks for the next 200 meters. Finally, Benjamin managed a good surge and took off for good. Next lap in 1:47. Not bad for all the "drunk" maneuvers. He also started closing in on the leaders. Passed another runner on the kick with 25 meters to go and finished 4th overall with 6:55, last lap in 1:40. Won his age group, though. Only 13 seconds behind the overall winner, who happened to be an older girl. This made him officially 8, a sub-7:00 miler, and earned him his own personal Palm Pilot.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From wheakory on Fri, May 04, 2007 at 17:05:39

Nice run Sasha your determination is very strong. I really wish I could someday train with you guys, but I'm too slow for that to happen.

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