Breaking the Wall

July 11, 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: 51.55 Year: 2011.51
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: 881.43
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Met up with Ted and Mike Kirk at the Canyon View Park. Ted drove us up to Vivian. We warmed up from there to the start of the Provo River 10 miler. Ted's measurement with Garmin 205 agreed with my earlier wheel measurement, and the distance was 3.23 miles from the east end of the guard rail by the bathroom.

From there we ran another 0.2 to the bathroom in the park, and back, which gave us 3.63 for a warmup.

Then Mike and I started the tempo run while Ted ran his own pace back to his car. Mike + downhill = trouble for whoever is trying to keep up with him. 16:37 for the 3.23 down the South Fork, or about 5:09 pace. According to gmap-pedometer, this is 480 feet of elevation drop, or about 2.8% grade. All the downhill running shook Mike up and he had to make a bathroom stop at Vivian.

Then we continued along the course of the Provo River 10 miler. Hit the 5 mile mark in 26:19, which sounds about right, but I always take Curt's mile marks with a grain of salt.

Passed the Nunns Park, the miles on my standard 3 mile tempo run course were 5:22, 5:27, 5:29 (16:18). Mike was pushing the pace. I would at times tuck behind him, and at times come out and help push it. One more mile after than, which we did a bit under 5:30. We hit Curt's 8 mile mark in 42:41. I was not quite sure where exactly the finish was, so we went all the way to the bridge that is definitely past the finish got 53:40 at that point. Our true time for the 10 mile course was probably around 53:35.

Then we jogged back to the Canyon View Park. Total of 15.9 for this run.

Ran with the kids in the evening to make it an 18 mile day. Also worked out with weights, bench press, 105 pounds, narrow grips sets of 5, then 4, then 3. Did Pettibon exercises.

Overall, the tempo run today shows that I have recovered to my pre-Desnews level for the most part. I raced the same course in 53:05 in June. The run today was hard, but I ran with what Mike calls "the killer instinct" off. When Mike ran faster than I wanted to, I'd just hang in there. When he backed off to a slower pace that opened a window of opportunity to cause trouble, I'd just take it without trying to neutralize him or make a break, which I would try in a race.

I asked Mike today for his opinion on the optimum length of the long run. I really like his approach - you should go for as long as you can maintain a good form. Of course, if I apply his suggestion too literally, I should never even start my long run.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From Chad on Sun, Sep 03, 2006 at 09:45:36

Whoa, you guys went nuts on this run. I can't wait to see what happens when you both have the "killer instinct" on!

From Brent on Mon, Sep 04, 2006 at 09:11:52

Sasha, good sense of humor.

From Nick Miller on Mon, Sep 04, 2006 at 17:00:56

Hey Sasha,

I finished with a time of 32:44. I was lucky,however, to even finish the race. I can honestly say that completing this race was harder than any other race I have ever ran. At about 2.5 miles in I had lost any sort of thinking and ability to run, and I still had 2.5 to go. I still beat some of the others that were trying out (somehow), but did not run even close to my potential. I talked to the coach and he said that I can run another race (unattached to the team) at the same place in less than one month.

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