Breaking the Wall

Magna Classic 5 K

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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
Race: Magna Classic 5 K (3.107 Miles) 00:15:25, Place overall: 8
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Magna Classic 5 K 15:25, 8th place, new course PR.

The course in my opinion is equivalent to Carlsbad - aided but at an elevation. You can see the course map and profile at Magna 5K link. At least Dennis Simonaitis ran 14:47 in Carlsbad and 15:00 today, and 14:55 last year in Carlsbad and 15:12 in Magna. Adjusting for putting in less effort in a lower-key race we get the times that are about equivalent. The Course Tool says we are getting about 13 seconds a mile speed up, which would give us a good 40 seconds, which would be 20 seconds more than an NCAA altitude adjustment. In practice, though, I am seeing people run 30 seconds faster at sea-level so I wonder if the adjustment is tailored to make sure that the best altitude runner does not get too much. Also RunWorks.Com calculator says Magna should only be 32 seconds faster than a flat course at the same elevation.

Drove up with Jeff, his wife Kimia, Tyler, and Steve Ashbaker the Air Dark Horse. Warmed up 2 miles, and got ready.

Trouble at the start: in addition to what I've brought in my car, Teren, Seth, Mike Vick, Dennis, Josh Steffen, and Adam Wende. Turned out there was even more trouble - John Cole, a high school runner that has been putting in the miles. Lots of lions going after $275 worth of antelope meat.

The gun went off and the lions said: "Grrrr" Went through the first mile in 4:34. Course Tools says it should have been 4:45 for an even effort for this time. It felt hard. We had some sort of a pack. Teren and Seth way ahead, then Mike Vick a little closer, then Dennis, Jeff, Josh, Tyler, John, and myself.

In the second mile Dennis made a move. Josh tried to follow. Tyler fell back. Jeff fell back but then passed me and pulled away. 9:26 at 2 miles, 4:52. Course Tool even pace projection was 4:55. I was very happy with that 4:52 mile. Last year my first mile was 4:36, and second mile was 4:59.

I expected some difficulty in the last mile given my lack of 5 K training combined with the fast start. But there was not as much difficulty as I expected. We had some tailwind or maybe friendly cross-wind in the first 1.7 miles. However once we turned we had either a headwind or an unfriendly cross-wind. I was drafting behind John, and actually started feeling somewhat good after a moaning stretch, but I did not want to take over as he was going fast enough. I passed him once we turned the corner off 2700 South (around 0.4 to go), then he passed me back with about 0.25 to go, I stayed with him until about 0.1 to go, then he had a kick and I did not. So I ended up in 8th place with 15:23 on my watch, 15:25 officially. This is 19 seconds faster than last year, and a course PR by 6 seconds.


Other finishers: Teren 14:12, Seth 14:48, Mike Vick 14:51, Dennis 15:00 (masters course record), Jeff 15:08 (got a $20 piece of antelope meat, last lion that got to eat today), Josh Steffen 15:16, John Cole 15:23, Tyler 15:28 (9th), Steve Ashbaker 16:06 (10th), Adam Wende  16:09 (11th). Zuzana Thomas won the womens in 16:51 (if I remember right), then Carre Joyce 17:02, and Carol Cabanillas 17:08.

Ran a moderate length cool down with Jeff, Tyler, Steve, Seth, Adam, and Mike.

At home ran 1 with Julia in 9:30 (Benjamin joined us but ran ahead later and finished in 9:04), and then 1.5 with Jenny in 13:23.

P.M. 8.05 in 56:43. First 1.05 with Joseph and Jacob in the stroller.

T4 Racer - 90.76 miles

Five Fingers - 104.96 miles

Night Sleep Time: 7.00Nap Time: 2.00Total Sleep Time: 9.00
From Tom on Sat, May 24, 2008 at 20:18:00

Good job Sasha, congrats on your course PR.

From Dave S on Sat, May 24, 2008 at 21:35:03

Sasha, nice race expecially after a difficult marathon last week. It was nice meeting you after the race.

From Lybi on Sun, May 25, 2008 at 00:17:18

Wow! You are running amazingly well this season--PR's all over the place. It's especially noteworthy because of how long you've been running, and how solid your training always is!

From James W on Sun, May 25, 2008 at 00:36:43

Congratulations on a course PR. I agree with Lybi, you are doing extremely well this season. Looking forward to seeing you no later than St. George.

From Michael on Mon, May 26, 2008 at 18:20:27

Wow - fast race Sasha - great effort and great improvement, especially with running the marathon a week ago. The saying "you beat me by a mile" was really true, I was probably at mile 2 when you finished

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