Breaking the Wall

July 04, 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: 291.02 Year: 1935.71
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: 805.63
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Day of rest. Went to church as usual. The Sacrament meeting talks were on faith and as I listened I felt I needed to approach my running with more faith. Lately I've been feeling like I had an excuse to not train as well because the focus has been on the children. The children have been doing well, Benjamin has even been beating me, so I felt it was all good - anything I achieve now myself is a bonus. But as I listened to the talks I felt that while the focus on the children and making their running a priority was correct, I could do better in my own training and recovery. So I resolved to do that.

During Sunday School lesson, which was on eternal marriage, somebody made a comment that nowadays it is not realistic to expect a woman to stay home with the children due to the ecomonic challenges of supporting a family off one income. Several people including Sarah and myself, raised an objection to that. Interestingly enough, Saran and I were the only ones under 60 in that group. It is also interesting that there was nobody in that group that had fewer than five children.

I have some thoughts on that subject that I would like to share. It is very challenging to support a family off one income, but with faith it is possible, and I can testify to that. Sarah and I started out in our marriage with a vision - we would have children, a lot if the health permitted, she would stay home to take care of them, and I would do whatever it took to make this possible. In my mind I was ready to work three jobs if that is what it took. The Lord was merciful to us - I never had to. Quite the oppositive - along with Sarah I got to stay home as well. Last time I had to report to an office for a job on a regular basis was December of 1999. Ever since I worked from home.

Even though I have always made more money than the average neighbor, perhaps even a dual-income neighbor, we have always lived what others would have considered below our means. We still do. We have never bought a car much less a toy on credit. For quite some time this meant driving cars that were old enough to date, then vote, then go on a mission. We have lived in small homes and did everything we could to pay them off as fast as possible. We learned how to feed a large family nutritiously at a low cost. We have hardly ever eaten out. We now do this a little more, but still not as much as our average neighbor, and it is always a health-food restaurant. 

Some might say we have been lucky, but I believe it is more than luck. Luck is random - sometimes it is in your favor, sometimes it is bad luck, intergrating luck over a large interval you get a quantity that approaches zero. I believe the reason we managed to pull this off the way we did was having a vision and being consistently true to it no matter what kind of luck we got. The vision came from the Lord. We cheated - we did what someone much wiser than us has has revealed to us through his prophets. Thus we had the advantage of being 90-year-old wise in our 20s, and we are talking 90-year-old that is familiar with the realities of the 21st century and still has his mind intact. We played the chess game with a grandmaser wispering us the moves.

So long story short, I believe you can support a family off one income just fine, but you must have the vision, and you must have the faith to stay true to it. Your faith will be tried. Possibly it will be tried more than ours. But it is all worth it. All of those sacrifices pay off.

When I came home I took a much-needed long nap.


Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 2.00Total Sleep Time: 10.00
From Jon on Wed, Aug 28, 2013 at 20:31:52 from

Well said, Sasha. Thanks for your thoughts and hard work.

From Steve on Sat, Aug 31, 2013 at 09:41:47 from

Our entire society right now tells us this won't work. Keep it up!

From jeffmc on Mon, Sep 02, 2013 at 18:00:50 from

Sasha, agreed. I wish that more members of the church would make this type of commitment and have the faith to stick with it.

It is also interesting to hear viewpoints from those who are not members of the church. I had a chat with a classmate who mentioned that society is becoming dumber because the educated are having fewer and fewer children, while the uneducated are still having a fair number of kids.

I said (slightly tongue in cheek because this student has publicly stated that he never wants children) that the educated should focus on having more kids to ensure that the scales do not tip too far to one side. The response that followed surprised me (not the conclusion, just the logic). My classmate said that it would never happen because the educated were too smart to have lots of children because they wanted to prevent overpopulation, and depletion of the planets resources.

I think that these types of viewpoints that saturate public opinion outside of the church can slowly infiltrate the viewpoints of our members. I got the impression that my classmate was simply trying to provide reasoning based upon a credence that made his desires seem logical, rather than using demonstrable facts to do so. The belief that both parents must work to support a family is another similar form or reasoning, and some people (obviously I can not speak for everyone as situations can vary wildly) use the belief as a crutch to continue doing what is convenient, or what they desire to do, rather than what is right in many instances.

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