Breaking the Wall

August 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: 88.07 Year: 2386.98
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: 1257.89
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with Jeff, Tyler, Michelle, and Julie Esplin. Jeff and I did the standard 10 mile tempo. Tyler and Julie ran easy. Michelle did some mile repeats with us during the tempo.

The tempo went better than I expected. 56:38.9 for the whole thing, which is actually a 3 second course/workout PR. Splits:

5:47 - 5:42 - 5:40 - 5:46 - 5:44 - 5:37 - 5:40 - 5:31 - 5:37 - 5:34

By 2.5: 14:20 - 14:19 - 14:04 - 13:55

By half: 28:39 - 27:59


Started out slow on purpose to not kill Michelle. Too slow - 91 the first quarter. I warned Jeff about overcorrection, so the next one was 87. After that Jeff just let it loose, but Michelle made it with us to 1.25 in 7:13.

After the first 2.5 I thought I'd be lucky to keep the pace. But then 4 miles into it things did not get any worse. During the second half of the tempo Jeff pressed harder, but I was not too miserable at first. I just tucked in behind him and tried to zone out. He had an non-gentleman-like moment by serving Michelle an 83 quarter after 5.5 when she tried to join us for a mile, followed by another in 85. Michelle was still hanging on, after that she fell back.

From 7 to 8 it was my turn to suffer. Jeff served me a 5:31 mile with a 180 turn in the middle. I asked him to back off, and was hanging on to dear life. Michelle saw us go by and decided it was hopeless to try to hang on. Perhaps not without a reason as we still hit a 5:37 for the next mile.

At the end, all I wanted to do was catch the 5:40 guy, but Jeff had higher ambitions. So he dropped me on the last quarter and finished 8 seconds faster in 76 vs mine in 84. I did not have much more than 84 left in me at that point.

Felt like I could push through fatigue better. The breathing was harder. Did not wear an HRM. I think my quarters have helped. I've seen this effect before - quarters at mile race pace or faster helping all distances up to the marathon.

Felt much better after the tempo that a week ago. Ran a long cool down. Total of 17 miles.

200 with Jacob in 1:53 afterwards. 

P.M. 1 with Julia in 8:56. 2 with Benjamin and Jenny in 17:07.

Brooks T4 Racing Flat Miles: 17.20
Night Sleep Time: 8.50Nap Time: 1.50Total Sleep Time: 10.00
From MichelleL on Sun, Nov 09, 2008 at 10:37:22

Great workout Sasha. Good job hanging onto Jeff's tailcoats. Thanks for letting me join and try to do the same.

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