Breaking the Wall

USATF Cross-Country Open Race

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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: 266.81 Year: 266.81
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: 1657.61
Brown Crocs 3 Lifetime Miles: 1438.17
Race: USATF Cross-Country Open Race (3.107 Miles) 00:18:02, Place overall: 2, Place in age division: 1
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Went to the USATF Junior Cross-Country Utah State Championship to watch the kids run and race 5 K myself. Then added some distance afterwards totaling 17 miles for the day.

Joseph, Jacob, and William raced first in the 2 K in the 8 and under division. Joseph got second place with 8:54 behind McKay Wells who ran 8:29. I assume McKay was adopted from Ethiopia - his appearance and stride at least looked Ethiopian. Jacob was 4th with 9:20. William did not have a good day - it was cold, and it put him in a bad mood, but he did finish the race in 13:35.

Julia got 9th place in the 3 K in the 11-12 division with 14:20, which is actually her cross-county 3 K PR. Benjamin was taught humility today racing a competition that outclassed him. He finished 3rd with 14:10 in the 4 K in the 13-14 age division. Brodey Hasty won with 13:40, Jody Benson Jr was second with 13:48. He stayed with them for about a mile, then Brodey put on a major surge that broke both Jody and Benjamin, but Benjamin suffered from it more and fell further back. Nevertheless he ran a very solid 4 K time for cross-country.  Grant finished 4th with 14:58, which gives us some indicator of the quality of the top three times. This year Benjamin has been beating Grant by 10 seconds or so.

Jenny struggled today finishing the 4 K in 20:56.

Then Chad and I raced the young men in the 5 K. They announced that the meet was open to adults, but it was rather informal - you just take the number without paying a fee, write your name on it and race. Chad and I were the only adults that did it. Not many young men were there - I think there were three. I ran with Chris Rushing and Dakota Cobler for most of the race sitting behind them and counting myself lucky that I could keep up. With a mile to go they surged and dropped me. I somehow recovered and caught back up. They dropped me again on the hill with about 1200 to go. I again recovered and caught up to them on the downhill. Then Chris made another surge and that dropped Dakota. I tried to stay with Chris, but he was gapping me a little at a time. He ended up 4 seconds ahead of me with 17:58. I came in second with 18:02. Dakota was somewhere around 18:15, I think - official time reported is 18:34, while Chris's is 17:45 - both are wrong, definitely Chris's. Chad finished in 19:15.

I was quite happy with both the time and how I ran the race. When I got dropped, I felt hopeless and wanted to give up, but I told myself to keep fighting and was rewarded by being able to regain contact. This is significant for me because I am very well aware that it is easier to maintain contact than to regain it and as a rule I fight to the very end before I drop back. So if I get dropped, I rarely recover. It takes me some deeper digging to be able to pull it off, and it felt good to be able to find it - after the race that is, not during :-)

After the race I ran 5 miles with Benjamin pushing Matthew in the stroller with Jacob (all of it) and Joseph (just a mile) on bikes. Then I ran 8 more with 2 miles down the canyon in the middle in 11:29. At the end of the run I weighed 141.3 lb - serious glycogen depletion, no wonder that 2 mile tempo was so difficult.


Saucony Type A Miles: 4.00Schwinn Double Stroller Miles: 5.00Green Crocs 6 Miles: 13.00
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
From Dakota Cobler on Sat, Nov 09, 2013 at 20:35:05 from

Sasha, Chris and I raced the race after yours and those were our accurate times but we just ran it as tempo for our workout for the day

From Glory in the long run on Tue, Nov 12, 2013 at 01:36:56 from

Don't listen to them Sasha, you pushed hard. Pain is always rewarded ;-)

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