Breaking the Wall

July 04, 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: 291.02 Year: 1935.71
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: 805.63
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Exceptionally uneventful 20.1 First 15.5 with Ted. Total time 2:26:59. Did not like the snow or the layers of clothes. The only event was measuring our strides in moderately deep snow in the park. Both of us have a discrepancy of 3 inches, but Ted has a very funny way of landing on one of his feet, but not the other - it hovers right near the ground for a while before it lands.

Went to our adopted granpa's funeral afterwards. There they sang Be Still My Soul. This is a special song for me. It brought some memories. In the beginning of 2003 I was having a hard time. I was not happy with my job, or my running. I felt I had reached a plateau, and felt condemned to stay at it. I had exhausted the limits of Sasha Science of the day to make me any faster. The only thing that was left to keep me trying was Sasha Faith, and humans by nature have ups and downs in their faith. One winter day that year with lots of snow on the ground I found myself alone 8 miles into a 15 mile run, and 7 miles away from home in a fairly deep snow. Every step was a struggle. My faith was wavering. Is it even worth it to keep trying so hard? I felt like I wanted to lie down in the snow and just stay there. Then in my mind I heard the words and the tune of Be Still My Soul. This revived my spirit, and I continued the run, still struggling through the snow, but with a much different perspective.

Eventually Sasha Faith produced an advance in Sasha Science, which led to a breakthrough. It happened in the Top of Utah Marathon that same year. I ran that race with a lot of power. But that power, manifested on the day of the race, had its roots in that run on that dull winter day with God lifting up my soul and telling it to be still, reviving my faith at its down. That is one reason TOU 2003 is a very special race for me, and that is why I still keep the picture from that race on the blog. It will be there until something equally special takes place.

P.M. 5 miles by myself (kids ran earlier with Sarah) in 36:25. Still slippery. Picked it up on the last 0.25, ran it in 1:25.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From MichelleL on Sat, Dec 15, 2007 at 18:30:25

Thank you for the story Sasha. Be Still My Soul is also one of my favorite hymns. It has seen me through many hard times.

From Brent on Sat, Dec 15, 2007 at 18:45:38

Thanks for sharing, puts perspective on many things.

From Lybi on Sat, Dec 15, 2007 at 19:22:53

Sasha, that is so moving. I think your faith makes you the kind of person other people want to follow.

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