Breaking the Wall

April 07, 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: 0.00 Year: 916.90
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
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Eventful Big Workout. Big Workouts are always eventful. Ran at 5:05 AM with Ted. Warmed up 6.22 in 45:12, 7:16.01 avg. Lots of leaves on the ground between the 1.5 and 2.5 marks of the Provo River 5 Mile Tempo. Dark the entire way, but warm, around 50 degrees. Wore shorts and a long-sleeved shirt.

Then ran 7.5 tempo. Traded quarters with Ted for the first 2.5. This made it go by fast. The split was 14:18. Afterwards Ted had some hip and general fatigue issues and backed off to a brisk jog. On the way back first took my time to get going after the turnaround (5:46 mile) , then did OK on the 0.5 without the leaves (5:36 pace), then slowed down on the leaves (5:42). This gave me 14:16 for the next 2.5.

Another 180, and back at the leaves. Hard to get going on them and in the dark. Next mile in 5:46. Then the leaves were gone, and I was able to pick it up. 5:38 pace for the next 0.5, and then ran the last uphill mile in 5:29 with the last quarter in 1:20. This gave me 14:04 for the last 2.5, and 42:38 for 7.5, 5:41.07 avg.

Cooled down 1.38 in 10:40, 7:43.77 avg. Total time for 15.1 was 1:38:30, 6:31.39 avg.

Have been reading the transcripts of the General Conference in the last few days. There were a couple of talks that had some great messages for runners:

Raising the Bar

One evening as I returned home from work, I found Lee practicing his jumping. I asked, “How high is the bar?”

He said, “Five feet, eight inches.”

“Why that height?”

He answered, “You must clear that height to qualify for the state track meet.”

“How are you doing?” I asked.

“I can clear it every time. I haven’t missed.”

My reply: “Let’s raise the bar and see how well you do then.”

He replied, “Then I might miss.”

I queried, “If you don’t raise the bar, how will you ever know your potential?”

I heard that talk right after getting back from St. George. It really spoke to me particularly at that time. I missed the bar, but was comforted with the thought that raising the bar high enough to find out your potential means you might do your best and still miss it.

Do It Now

Many of us want the simple way—the process that will not require serious work and sacrifice. Well, I once thought I found it. Driving in the back of a verdant valley above the city of Honolulu, I looked up, and there it was—Easy Street! As I was dreaming of the life-changing benefits of my discovery, I took out my camera to record the blissful moment. As I looked through the viewfinder, however, my focus literally and figuratively became clear. A large yellow sign returned me to reality—Easy Street was a dead end!

P.M. Easy 6.05. First 1.05 with Julia in 10:11. Then 1.5 with Jenny in 14:04. Then 0.5 with Benjamin in 5:07. His feet were hurting, so we cut the run short. Sounds scary, like the symptoms of PF, but I think he has actually had this before when his feet were growing and outgrew his shoes. Then added another 3 miles in 20:27. 

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From Dallen on Tue, Oct 30, 2007 at 18:33:06

I seem to remember that back when I ran with you you wouldn't ever wear a long sleeved shirt unless the temperature was somewhere close to zero. Glad to see that you have wisened up a little.

From Lybi on Tue, Oct 30, 2007 at 20:54:23

Love the quotes, Sasha!

Good job on those slippery leaves. Trees everywhere should fear you. :)

From Paul Petersen on Tue, Oct 30, 2007 at 22:05:53

It is very very very rare for a child to get PF.

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