Breaking the Wall

February 16, 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: 81.04 Year: 418.47
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: 1353.22
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

The sickness has advanced, and I was able to measure the toll today. Not too bad, but some rest and relaxation is needed. Ran with Ted at 5:20 AM on the Provo River Trail starting at Macey's and going towards the Utah Lake. We both had to be at the State Youth Championship, so we had to do our run early and get it done fast. The plan was to warm up to Geneva Road, then run a 5 mile tempo 2.5 out 2.5 back at 6:00 pace, then cooldown.

Got better sleep than the night before. At least the dreams were more versatile, and I woke up only once.

Noticed the HR was about 5 bpm higher than normal for the pace during the warmup. Ted was moving briskly going sub-6:40 pace at times, and I felt no initiative to help him go any faster. Not a surprise considering the health condition.

Went through the first 2.5 in 15:17 with Ted at a failry steady pace. HR gradually drifted up to 150-151, again 5-6 bpm too high for the pace. Subjectively, I also felt I was working too hard for the pace.

Nevertheless, the temptation to catch the 6:00 mile guy was more than what I could resist even in this condition. So after the turnaround I went after him. Not a lot of go in the system, only 5:55 pace with HR climbing up to 157. Still thought I'd get him eventually. Could not quite see the splits in the dark. Finally, with a quarter to go I realized I was still way behind and needed to kick hard to get him. I pushed it, but it was not enough - got 30:03. HR climbed to 166 at the end at about 5:30 pace.

Ted had a calf problem, backed off, finished in 32 minutes.

Took Benjamin to the State Championship. Jenny and Julia went along to watch. Benjamin was sick too, so I was not expecting much. At the meet he got recruited to run for Team Provo.

He did the best he could under the circumstances, and finished 13th in 15:24 in the 3000 meter run. I told him before the start that since he was running for a team, every place position mattered, and he should fight to advance as high as he could. He followed my advice. Unfortunately, Team Provo did not have enough Batnam boys, and he was not scored.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From Nick on Mon, Nov 06, 2006 at 14:19:36

Hey Sasha,

I don't know what I should be shooting for on my tempo runs. Like you said earlier, the pace I ran yesterday was about the pace of my PR for the 10k (even though I was not feeling very good), but I want to have the ability to move faster. What speed should I do these runs at?

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