Breaking the Wall

August 08, 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: 16.00 Year: 2314.91
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: 1185.83
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with Jeff. Decided to modify our quarters workout by stringing most of them together and running them a little slower. In other words, 74 second pace to failure or to 1.25.  Based on how I felt on Tuesday I thought I could break my Five Finger PR in the mile (4:58) without too much blood. Plus I wanted to have the confidence of being able to run a sub-5:00 flat mile, something I have not done in a while. And for a bonus I wanted to go through the mile sub-5:00 and then keep going at a respectable pace for a little bit, even if it was just for a quarter.

So Jeff paced me. I told him to be nice. He is learning. It is a benefit to him. Because if he learns to be nice to me over a short distance, he will also learn to be nice to himself over a distance three times as long. Jeff was exceptionally nice and paced it near perfect. 74 - 73.5 - 74.5 - 74 - 75. The last one was not Jeff's fault, I was struggling with the pace. So I reached my goals - 4:56 mile split (new Five Finger PR), and then another quarter in 75 past that. New flat 1.25 PR of 6:11.5, Five Fingers or not. HR maxed out at 170, but dropped to 168 near the end. Another indicator of muscular strength problem. But better than before.

It felt good to go through the mile in 4:56 and not quite feel like I was racing the mile. In fact, I was comfortable enough to think that if I pushed the right buttons, I could hold this pace for a while, maybe even as long as a 10 K. Which still does not break 30:00, but it does break 31:00. Of course, there is a big difference between thinking that at the mile, and thinking that further along. I was not thinking that anymore 300 meters later, that is how fast you go downhill when leg power fails. But cardio was OK, surprise, surprise. The good news I can run 5:00 pace at HR of 168. The bad news I cannot hold HR of 168 for very long.

We jogged another couple of miles and then to give me more misery for the day ran a quarter in 68.4. I was happy with it because I felt strong and it was evenly split. In spite of the hard 1.25 interval earlier I was not fading in the last 100. Jeff suggested more misery for me - another quarter 200 meters later, but I declined using the excuse that we needed to hurry to get him to work, and another fast quarter would require a whole lot of recovery.

We cooled down averaging around 7:00 in the last 3 miles. Total of 10.1. Then I ran 2 more miles with Benjamin pushing William in 17:25.

P.M. 2 with Jenny in 18:45. Julia ran 1.5 with us in 13:50. 0.5 with Joseph in 5:49.

Five Fingers 2 Miles: 12.10Bare Feet Miles: 2.50
Night Sleep Time: 7.75Nap Time: 1.00Total Sleep Time: 8.75
From Mike Warren on Thu, Jul 16, 2009 at 15:49:02 from

Nice job on the Five Finger PR!

From Sue on Thu, Jul 16, 2009 at 23:56:13 from

Alright. Sorry Sasha, I do need more help then I thought. 26.2 may not be able to do our timing. I may need your expertise on that after all. I thought I heard someone say at one time that you have a scanner, is that right? Also I have ran into a bit of a problem with the insurance. I was going through a company in Salt Lake but it is super expensive, higher than they originally quoted. I am trying to figure out how USTAF insurance works. Also does fastrunningblog have a logo? Could you email that to me and I will put it on the shirt. Thanks!

From Sue on Thu, Jul 16, 2009 at 23:56:38 from

Oh the Mark the Great announcement looks good. Thanks for doing that!

From Jon on Fri, Jul 17, 2009 at 16:15:54 from

You may want to consider trimming the "Featured Announcements" box at the top right of this page- it's getting rather long, plus UVM is done.

From sam Dean-Howard on Fri, Jul 17, 2009 at 17:38:08 from

Sasha the mileage board seems to be playing up, sorry but it's annoying me saying that Ive done less than I have ???

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