Breaking the Wall

January 26, 2021

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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: 266.81 Year: 266.81
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: 1657.61
Brown Crocs 3 Lifetime Miles: 1438.17
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Difficult day today, but managed to fit in the miles. The speed workout had to be done early as usual. Just wanted to do 2x0.75 miles near my house on very mild rolling hills at 5 K pace. However, for some reason, I can never run fast on that road. It does not seem like it rolls that much, and I have measured the distance several times to make sure it is accurate.

Figured it would help to do a couple of quarters at that effort first to warm up, as early as it was. Did them in 79, and 77. Then a 0.75 in 3:53, and the next one in 3:52. Then I di d not feel quite done yet, and did 2x0.5 in 2:35.5, and 2:35.1. Jogged some more to make it 9 miles for the whole run.

Legs felt a little funny after wearing ankle weights for two days in a row. Decided to give them a break today.

Then went to the temple, and then straight to see a client in American Fork. Got home after 6pm, did my always on the run mile with ankle weights (finally!), ate dinner, then ran with Benjamin and Jennifer. Dropped them off, did some more running with a double stroller and Julia and Joseph in it. 7:00 pace felt good with it in street clothes (T-shirt and long pants), good sign. The stroller has new unpunctured and properly inflated tires, which makes a big difference. Wondered what my threshold pace would be with it, and picked it up a bit on a quarter to feel it. 1:29, 5:56 pace. About 6 months ago, I tried a 5 K pace effort with the same stroller, but flat tires, and a slightly higher weight (Jennifer and Julia) and could only get 6:30 pace. I am in better shape now, but maybe 5 seconds per mile or so.

Some improvement on the dream front. Seemed like a big one - I was in the lead of the Boston marathon with nobody around me. However, after I've thought about it for a while, I realized it was only a weak attempt of the mind to get to where it is supposed to be. The race looked more like a smaller marathon. There was no police escort, the crowd was too small for Boston, there were no sub-5:00 splits, and the pace felt way too slow and easy, more like 5:40. So the mind was saying "win Boston", but not doing "win Boston". It got directions to shape up to believe I could run fast, but it attempted a shortcut to execute or rather circumvent those directions.

I am now beginning to understand the experience I had before Richmond 2003 marathon. I prayed to know what to do, and felt the impression to go out with Elly Rono until the pace felt so fast that I did not think I'd be able to finish a marathon if I continued any further. I did exactly that - fortunately, Elly took a while to warm up. We did 5:39, 5:24, and then 5:20 up a slight grade. I backed off in the middle of the 4th mile, stayed at 5:30 pace up to mile 15, PRed on a flat half marathon (1:12:09), and then gradually eased into a premature cooldown to finish in 2:31:45 taking 7th. I am now understanding the importance of that exercise. Sometimes (maybe always?) your mind needs to make a breakthrough before your body does. You need to have "dream" races where you go out with somebody out of your league, and hang in there until you puke to get your mind to want to be there. Then somehow your mind starts sending constant signals to your body to change, and if it does so for long enough, and you back it up with proper training and recovery, the physical change eventually happens.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From SuperFly on Thu, May 25, 2006 at 11:52:09

Sasha, I know once before that you commented to me about running either the SLC marathon or the DesNews.

Due to my work schedule I'll be in California during the SLC so it's out of the question. I'd still like to run one sometime this summer to see where I'm at before STG marathon. If you were me would you run DesNews or just not run one. I don't want to run the Desnews and get all jacked up so I can't continue to train and make progress for STG. However if I was to run the Desnews and do go it would give me a lot of confidence going into the STG.

One the side note I am registered for the Hobble Creek half in Aug and may run the Bryce Canyon half in July.

What do you think.

From Brent on Thu, May 25, 2006 at 21:38:48

Shasha, keep dreaming, no guts, no glory. No guts is my biggest problem lately. I plan to run too fast the first two miles in the Magna 5K, the last mile will be hell. But, sometimes you just have to let it rip and use a race for breaking a barrier. Good luck saturday. Dreams are great, they may not always come true, but, great for the mind and matter.

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