Breaking the Wall

January 29, 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

Day of rest. Went to church as usual. Taught a lesson on repentance in Sunday school. Being a ward mission leader I get turns teaching the class for new members and investigators. Then we had a lesson on developing talents in the Elder's Quorum. I remember thinking back before I was a believer that if there was a God and if he had His church that church would not just sing and pray all the time, that it would encourage a healthy life style and a development of talents - athletic, musical, scientific, etc. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints passed that test quite well for me when I got introduced to it. What is even better is that this encouragement to develop talents is more than just "hey, it is cool to be able to do things, so why not?" - there is a strong doctrinal foundation behind it. It naturally flows from the core doctrines of the Church. Without that encouragement and foundation I would have reduced myself to jogging 5 miles a day about 10 years ago if not earlier.

Then we had a Sacrament meeting. The talks were on reaching out to your neighbors. I liked the musical number. We are blessed to have a talented singer in our ward who attended the BYU on a vocal scholarship and still sings in competitions. He sang A Poor Wayfaring Man Of Grief, all 7 verses. This is my favorite hymn. When I hear it, the knowledge of who Joseph Smith was is plain before me. That was the hymn he wanted to hear when he was in jail a few hours before he was shot by a mob. Some people hear that hymn and say, so what? Others know plainly that somebody who lived a lie would not want to hear that hymn before his death. That would make him who he claim to be - a prophet of God in our day similar to Moses, Peter, or Paul to restore the truths that were lost through many years of apostasy, and therefore, the choice is simple. You must be baptized by proper authority if you have not been already, and join the action of being part of the Lord's church in the last days. I remember possessing that knowledge, knowing the right course of action, and still hesitating some back in 1992 in Moscow. Then a vision opened in my mind - I felt like I was standing in the doorway and blocking it while some people wanted to come through. By now I know that there were at least seven of them. I decided to act on faith, and make a step forward so that the progress of those unknown  people would not be blocked. I lack the words to describe the blessings this decision has brought into my life.

Night Sleep Time: 7.50Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 8.50
From Mack on Wed, May 18, 2011 at 14:40:33 from

Great post Sasha. Thanks for sharing such personal, heartfelt feelings. Very inspiring!

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