Breaking the Wall

Deseret News 10 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: 211.63 Year: 851.13
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: 1679.47
Race: Deseret News 10 K (6.214 Miles) 00:32:31, Place overall: 32
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran Desnews 10 K in 32:31. Exact same time as last year. First mile felt good, and then the legs started to give out. Mile by mile:

Mile 1 - 4:48. Got out of the crowd, then worked my way up to Lindsey Dunkley and James Moore, and ran with them. Felt comfortable, wondered if maybe too comfortable.

Mile 2 -  4:54 (9:42). Running with James and Linsey. Felt good enough to talk, invited Lindsey to draft, she tried, but said she felt better side by side. Saw the split, and knew something was up. That effort should have produced another 4:48, not 4:54.

Mile 3 - 5:19 (15:01). Legs were not moving, but this is not unexpected. Eventual women's winner from Ethiopia came by, Linsey went after her, my legs were not responding, we gapped James, but then I fell back, and he caught up to me.

Mile 4 - 5:24 (20:25). Sitting on James hanging on for dear life. Thinking that I'd be lucky to run 32:45, and being over 33:00 is a possibility. Telling myself to keep fighting, not to quit.

Mile 5 - around 5:25. A high school runner from Davis caught up, I was able to latch on on a downhill. I noticed that I was not breathing very hard, so I knew what was up. The nervous system had quit. When it does you are hosed, there is not much you can do. However, it is possible to gain 5 seconds a mile by refocusing and making bold moves. If you can tell yourself, latch on and run a quarter at a faster pace, and you actually manage to do it, the next quarter will not be slower from the surge as you are not going into oxygen debt. We dropped James, the high school runner started to let up, which was a blessing, then he let up too much, and I attempted to pass, but not really. I knew that I could barely manage his pace if I were in front, so all I wanted is give him an adrenaline rush (high schoolers have plenty of adrenaline) so he would go the right pace. It worked, he picked up, and I latched back on. I hoped we would catch Lindsey and I would avoid the embarrassment of being double-chicked, but at the same time I knew that the only way this was possible with how I was feeling is if she had fallen apart, and that would not be good. So I just focused on running my best.

Mile 6 - around 5:30 (31:20). With about 0.7 to go my high schooler smelled the barn and shifted gears. I did not have another gear. Another runner approached from behind. I caught a ride for 100 meters or so, but then I did not have it.

Kick - 1:11 (5:32 pace).  That was all I had. I wanted to beat my last year's time, and was trying, but legs were dead.

Lindsey ran a great race - 32:19, 2nd woman, improved by 18 seconds from last year. Dave Holt got 32:11 (gun time).  Daniel got 32:48, James 32:54.  Jeff ran 29:33, good enough for 12th place. It was a fast race, the winner ran 27:18 with 4 people under 28:00. Miles Batty did 28:15. Seth Pilkington 28:59. Teren - 29:27, I think. John Kotter around 29:30, Brad Osguthorpe 29:31, and Paul Petersen did 29:39. Total of 14 people under 30:00.

Went the shortest way to mile 20 and paced Rob Rohde to the finish. He ran strong, 41:37 for the last 10 K with around 2:51:40 finish time. I think he made top 10. Jeff paced Steve Ashbaker for the last 10 K in 39:52 with around 2:44 finish time.

There are some good and bad things about this performance. The nervous system malfunction is a concern. I thought I had gotten this under control. Apparently not. On the positive side, I held it together somewhat even with the malfunction.

I am excited about Jeff's breakthrough, or more precisely solidifying his breakthrough from Law Days 5 K. It was great that he finished only 3 seconds behind Teren there, but there were still some lingering doubts as to whether Teren was in good shape, or if he was running all out given that all he had to do was beat Jeff. Now Jeff finished in a decent position in a stacked race with  gaps that prove his performance at Law Days 5 K was not a fluke. He is however moving to Las Vegas to attend UNLV graduate program, so I need to find a new training partner. I have been spoiled in the last couple of years. Any time I wanted to run a workout, I could tell Jeff to pace me, and he could pull me at any pace I wanted for as long as I wanted, sometimes faster than I wanted for longer than I wanted as well. And, of course, he was always there for easy runs too, I rarely had to run alone. He will be difficult to replace, but I do have ambitious plans for cloning Jeffs from the BYU Cross Country tryout trash can. May Daniel could become the next Jeff.

Jenny and Julia ran 2 miles in the morning.

P.M. Found brand name Crocs at Big Lots for $10. Got two pairs, we'll see what kind of longevity they have. They do have a thicker sole.

Mark Palamar (the Mark of the blog) and his family came over to visit. He ran DesNews in 3:10;57. His wife Jenny did 3:58. They had two children with them - Andy and Tom. We went for a run/bike ride. I ran 2 with Andy in 18:06. Mark and Tom rode along. Benjamin ran ahead - 15:32 for 2 miles. Then I ran another 0.5 with Benjamin, Jacob, and Joseph.


Gold Crocs 1 Miles: 2.50
Night Sleep Time: 6.50Nap Time: 1.50Total Sleep Time: 8.00
From catherine on Sat, Jul 24, 2010 at 17:14:13 from

Thanks for the great report. It's always helpful when people explain what's going on in their head while they're racing. And good job on your race and on helping other people in.

From Lindsey Dunkley on Sat, Jul 24, 2010 at 17:30:59 from

Good job today! Thanks for the help in the first few miles...sorry you didn't feel how you wanted during the race, but at least you way hung in there and got the same time as last year :) To be honest, I wanted the time I ended up with, but kept hoping you would pass me back and get closer to your goal time too. Good race!

From peds endo doc on Sat, Jul 24, 2010 at 17:54:48 from

Sasha...thanks for being such a grat coach and running partner for Jeff. UNLV is where he can grow but he will also ahve a ahrd time finding a aprtner and coach as good as you!

From Rob on Sat, Jul 24, 2010 at 21:40:49 from

Thanks so much for your help today Sasha. I know I would have totally cracked at 24 without you. Those high fives where making me crazy, but after words I realized they are really what took my mind off the pain and got me through. I'm really excited about my results today, and know I have a 2:40 in me for TOU this fall if everything falls into place as it did today.

From Burt on Sat, Jul 24, 2010 at 23:50:38 from

Great report Sasha. I was trying to remember if you've ever been chicked before, let alone twice in one race. Way to stay strong.

From steve ash on Sun, Jul 25, 2010 at 12:33:26 from

Sasha, That was a good time either way. Your 10k pace is closer to your marathon pace than anyone I can think of especially on a downhill course. It made me analyze my performance also and I came to wonder if maybe it's time for me and you to train for a shorter distance event now such as the mile or a 5k? I don't know.. You have enough speed to run 30-31 minutes, but I wonder what your VO2 max is like right now. I think you could get it higher.. You were saying that you run marathons at close to 85-90% of your aerobic capacity. That is evident based on your 10k splits vs your recent marathon splits in the first miles also. So maybe we should try some fast continous downhill runs and multiple long reps with lower mileage maybe? You asked me to come run with you some time and if I do I would like to see us do this kind of training. What do you think?

From Paul on Sun, Jul 25, 2010 at 17:37:26 from

Nice job in the race. I like that you are excited about the success of others. Definitely the trait of a coach.

From James on Sun, Jul 25, 2010 at 18:45:54 from

Good job! I hope you can find another running buddy who bugs you to clip those toe-nails!:)

From fiddy on Sun, Jul 25, 2010 at 22:31:16 from

Way to gut it out Sasha. I want a rematch though!

From Superfly on Mon, Jul 26, 2010 at 12:50:38 from

Good race Sasha. Getting double chicked isn't too bad when the chicks are going that fast.

From steve ash on Mon, Jul 26, 2010 at 20:05:19 from

Your English language skills are better than mine..

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