Breaking the Wall

Heart of Holladay 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: Heart of Holladay 5 K (3.107 Miles) 00:16:42, Place overall: 7
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Heart of Holladay 5 K, 16:42, 7th place.

By the time I reached the starting line I already had 81 miles on the odometer for the week with no day less than 15 since Monday. I was feeling good, but definitely not tuned to run a fast 5 K. The plan was to make it more of a tempo run than an all-out 5 K. Knowing that I would not be able to make a good workout of just one 5 K, I decided to run the course twice. First time, at about a 10 K effort in the first two miles, followed by a hard last mile if I could squeeze anything out of myself at that point. Second time around at a true threshold.

First time around - in the race. The gun went off, and everybody just blasted out of the blocks like there is no tomorrow. I found myself in about 25th place. It took me a good 200 meters to pass Carre Joyce and Bill Cobler. By the mile I worked my way through the pack into 7th place. Teren Jameson was way ahead of everyone, Dennis was in second, and then there was a pack with Nate Hornok, Matt Harmer, Steve Ashbaker, and Josh Steffen. I considered surging to run with the pack, but figured it would destroy the workout possibly without improving the eventual finishing position in the race. First mile in 5:15. The pack was 5:10.

Tried to pick it up on the second mile but still be in control, the pack opened up another 7 seconds on me, I did the next mile in 5:18. Slower than I hoped, but I felt right. Tried to push hard on the last mile. It has a solid hill for the first half, so it is a slow mile. Did OK, although no miracles - 5:33. Did not catch anybody from the pack, in fact all of them pulled away from me except Josh. Tried to kick, there was not much of a kick - 35 seconds for 0.107.

Teren won with 15:00, then Dennis 15:52, Nate 16:02 (breakthrough race), Matt 16:12 - he wants to hit the Qualifier again this year, Steve 16:24, and Josh 16:29.

Walked through the chute to get my tag torn off, and got out as quickly as I could and ran back to find Benjamin. Found him in the middle of a hot race against Alexander Barry. They were in contention for the win in the 11 and under division. Benjamin ended up 4 seconds behind him with a new PR of 22:29. He ran a very smart race all by himself, and took his own splits with a $6 Walmart watch. First mile in 7:05, then 7:11, the uphill mile in 7:31, and the kick in 41 seconds . Add one more second for the standard USATF round-off. This is the average of 7:15 per mile, and an improvement of 2:42 from the last year.

After the finish, found somebody to keep an eye on Benjamin while I was gone, and headed for the second repetition on the course. Started it 30 minutes from the start of the first 5 K. Felt a bit sluggish and some lactic acid leftovers in the first mile - hit it in 5:40. After that, felt better, second mile in 5:28. At first I set a goal for myself to just not get chicked. I apparently overestimated Carre's winning time - I thought she ran around 17:40, while in fact she ran 17:53. Then I saw Cody cooling down around mile 2, and decided to raise the bar - beat his time instead. Fortunately Cody joined me and I had a chance to ask him what his time was - 17:36 (officially 17:37 with the USATF round-off). Felt very strong on the hill and afterwards. Cody helped me with the pace on the half-mile up the hill. Did the uphill mile in 5:40, only 7 seconds slower than in the race. Kicked in 36 seconds to finish in 17:24.8. I suppose the kick was slightly longer as I veered to the side to avoid going through the finish shoot - some walkers were still finishing.

Did some more distance during the award ceremony. Ran with Jenny and Julia when I got home, and added some more. Total of 16 for the day and 95 for the week.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From Brent on Sat, Jun 09, 2007 at 17:15:53

Congrads for your son on the PR. I followed him the first mile and 1/2 and he looked very controlled and smooth. I was no competition for him today.

From Cody on Sat, Jun 09, 2007 at 23:47:11

You are an animal! Nice race and way to hit your mileage goals, no matter what.

From James on Sun, Jun 10, 2007 at 01:38:50

Sounds like you are ready for WBR with back to back 5Ks like those. Either that or you didn't run the first one fast enough! Good job like usual, I am always impressed with your recovery time.

From wheakory on Mon, Jun 11, 2007 at 00:22:08

That's an outstanding performance Sasha with all the miles you've put in this week. Also your son's performance with the PR is impressive.

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