Breaking the Wall

August 19, 2019

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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: 173.50 Year: 2475.51
Saucony Type A Lifetime Miles: 627.15
Bare Feet Lifetime Miles: 446.12
Nike Double Stroller Lifetime Miles: 124.59
Navy Crocs Lifetime Miles: 2133.34
Navy Crocs 2 Lifetime Miles: 1360.04
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Murray Fun Days 5 K. 16:39, 3rd place after my teammates Corbin Talley (16:22) and Mike Nieslen (15:36). In the absense of a number of fast runners, we pulled off a 1-2-3 for the Wasatch Running Center, which made Glen (the store owner) very happy. The course is not the fastest by any means - 1% grade up for about 1.1 miles, then 180 turn, and the same grade down on the way back. From there somewhat of a rolling hills around the Murray City Park to the finish.

The start was rather abnormal. Corbin pulled off a manuever I considered doing myself but thought would be logistically impossible - two races in the same day, finishing 3rd in Sandy Classic 10 K 15 minutes earlier with 33:56. I did not ask him how fast he had to drive, but in my earlier discussions with other runners the consensus was you had to be on a police motorcycle to make it.

So with another race under his belt already Corbin was not anxious to push the pace. Mike was not in a hurry to do so either. At first we were moving so slow that I considered taking the initiative to push the pace, but feeling a bit of a headwind made me change my mind. About 0.7 into the race Mike finally started going, and I tried to go with him. He dropped me fairly quickly hitting the mile in 5:09. I got 5:16, and was very happy with it, especially considering the grade and the fact it did not feel too hard. I though the second mile would be easily 5:10 going downhill. It was not - only 5:20. By that time Corbin had started to recover from his earlier race and caught me. I tried to hang on, and made it to a little bit past the 2 mile mark. After that, I was just praying I would not get passed (with the prize money cut-off being top 3), and trying my hardest to discourage the possible predators. Fortunately, the venomous predators were not around, and I managed to stay in 3rd place. Third mile was 5:30, and the kick was 33 seconds. It was actually 32, but USATF rules say you always need to round off the finish time up to the nearest second, so 16:38.01 rounds off to 16:39. On the last mile, as usual, I felt I could go a while at that pace, but lacked the juice to go even 5 seconds per mile faster.

I ran 15 seconds slower than I did last year, but I knew I should not expect much after my three-week mileage/tempo experiment. Losing only 15 seconds in a 5 K immediately after the hard and possibly unwise training is probably not that bad. Especially if you get $50 and good circuit points for it. So in spite of a slow time, I am very happy with this race.

In the evening ran with the kids, and worked out with weights (bench-press). One set of 6 with 85, then another set of 6 with 90, and then a set of 3 with 100. On the last repetition I barely was able to get the barbell on the stand. This is a sigficant improvement from Saturday. Could your muscles possibly get stronger after one workout? Or possibly the fatigue of running and the general stress of life was higher on Saturday that tonight?

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From Paul Petersen on Wed, Jul 05, 2006 at 08:42:26

In my experience, it doesn't take many lifting sessions to see rapid improvements, at least at the beginning. You'll probably have drastic improvements the first month, and then will slow down a bit after that.

From Brent on Wed, Jul 05, 2006 at 13:03:49

Sasha, congradulations on your third place finish. I tought it was a well organized race with a very good effort to have all runners enjoy the post race event.

From Zack on Wed, Jul 05, 2006 at 19:03:00


Re: Weight training you will see very quick results / strength gains for the first 6-10 weeks. I do strength sessions 2 x a week evenly saced out to allow for maximum recovery. I usually alternate heavy weight / low reps ( 4-5 sets of 4-8 reps) 1 workout, then lighter weight high reps (3 sets of 10-12 reps) the other workout. Just my 2 cents. Great run in the 5K congrats on holdign on to a podium / money finish...

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