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

A.M. Power workout for me today. Ran with Jeff, Josse, and Michelle. Matt found us on the trail and joined us. The workout was 6x1 mile with 400 recovery on an almost flat stretch on the Provo River Trail alternating directions. The power training aspect came from towing Josse in a harness. This was going to give her some overspeed training. Who needs an overspeed treadmill when you have a harness and somebody to pull you? And who needs a hill when you have a harness and somebody to pull?

I did not know what to expect, but a rough goal was to allow Josse to stay with Michelle. This proved to be too hard of goal for a couple of reasons - Michelle was stronger than I expected, and the pulling Josse in a harness was not as easy as I initially thought. I expected to work at about 1-2% grade uphill effort, but it ended up being more like 3% grade or 20-30 mph headwind.

Splits: 5.47.9 (on this one we managed to stay with the pack), 5:51.5, 5:50.9, 6:02.1, 5:46.6, 5:53.4. Peak HR was 164 on the first repetition, after that it was between 166 and 168. Michelle chicked me on all the repetitions except the first. It was an interesting experience. I am running with everybody, and all of a sudden I am working the same, even harder, and they are pulling away as if I were standing still, and there is nothing I can do to keep up. The harness handicap turned Michelle into a virtual Kara Goucher from my perspective. This was a good chance to learn humility.

Towards the end I started to get the grasp of the art of pulling. Which is probably the same as the art of running uphill or into a headwind. To be successful it is very important to fire up the leg muscles as quickly as possible the very moment your foot lands. A quick explosion of energy, once you get going start relaxing the muscles, they've done their work, you're going, they can rest. Easier said than done, it is like saying all you need to do to play a piece on the piano is hit the right keys at the right time.

Overall a good debut of the FRB Towing Service. Josse enjoyed the workout, felt good, but we'll have to see if she gets the delayed onset soreness. I estimate she had just run the equivalent of 6x1 mile down a 3% grade. This could be hard on the quads.

Total of 12 miles for the run.

P.M. 1 with Julia in 10:55, 2 with Benjamin in 16:58 with Jenny running the last 1.5 with us in 12:56. 1 more with no running kids in 7:51. Pushed Jacob in the stroller the whole run.

T4 Racer - 280.68 miles.

Five Fingers - 651.84 miles.

Night Sleep Time: 7.25Nap Time: 0.33Total Sleep Time: 7.58
From luzylew on Tue, Jul 08, 2008 at 16:52:22

I saw the tow rope action this morning. So I had to read your entries to see what that was all about. After reading a bit, I have thank you for saying that if over time (speedwork, resistance,aerobic base) one becomes marginally better, then "marginally better, is better than the same." I know the application of that principle is vastly different for different types of runners, but that thought was very inspirational to me. Thank you for sharing it here. In fact, that phrase may be the title of my blog soon.

From adamr on Tue, Jul 08, 2008 at 17:52:04

Sasha, I have a pile of old tires that I might be able to lend you if you are ever unable to get a person to tow. There are even a few little ones (maybe 20-30lbs) that you could just drag on a normal run. Let me know and I'll see if I can get them to you.

From Walter on Tue, Jul 08, 2008 at 21:30:40

great workout sasha! I remeber doing that in high school. I should try it. Where do you get the harnesses? By the way, do you know who ended up with the 2nd place awards from WBR?

From Superfly on Tue, Jul 08, 2008 at 21:47:20

We need to get the Del Sol and WBR awards out to all the runners. Who has them and what do we need to do to get them out?

From James on Tue, Jul 08, 2008 at 22:41:21

I just got the white team battons from UPS today. Clyde, I'll bring your award to you next week. Sasha, I'll get the Provo guys awards to you. Do you still have all of the Del Sol awards and my headlight?

From Superfly on Tue, Jul 08, 2008 at 22:45:01

Sweet. If your coming down try to grab all the awards for me and the other guys down here. I know Dave and Logan were asking me about them a while ago.

From James on Tue, Jul 08, 2008 at 22:47:52

I'll get them for the half.

From MichelleL on Wed, Jul 09, 2008 at 10:30:59

Humility is good. I'm happy to hand you some, even if having you tow someone is the only way I can do it :) I think that's what I'm going to be handed at DesNews. I looked at the 2007 results again and the #5 girl was 35:19, and all top five seemed to be local, so not sure if 2007 was normal. If so I'll be knocked off the podium.

Thanks for the workout once again. I need to get better at doing hard workouts on my own. My gas tank is killing me.

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