Breaking the Wall

August 08, 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: 16.00 Year: 2314.91
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: 1185.83
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. A fairly eventful long run with a tempo. Ran alone - Ted is out of town. 18 degrees outside, got snowed on in the last 8 miles. Total of 20.25 in 2:13:15, avg. 6:34.81. My original plan was to run my regular 10.1 and add 2 times Provo River 5 Mile Tempo once I got there to make it 20.1. I was also under a time constaint to finish the run in about 2:15 or so for logistical rather than training reasons. I decided to run fast when I could, and do what I can on icy parts. It turned out that most of the trail was icy, and it was bad enough that I hit a couple of 8:15 miles. It became apparent that the run on my original course would take too long. After some thought, and 8:15 pace gave me plenty of oxigen for thinking, I decided the only way I'd be able to finish the run in time is to go back to the house and then run the 0.35 loop around the block 29 times at 6:00 pace or so. That was the only place I could count on being clear for long enough to go that fast short of going to the indoor track, which is about the last thing I would do next to running on a treadmill.

I did manage about a mile of about 5:30-5:35 pace in between icy spots on the trail, which got me to 9.6 mark in 1:11:51, 7:29.06 avg. Then finally I was in the clear, and I ran 0.5 in 3:03 to warm up the engine. Then I was ready to shift into a tempo gear, and once I did I started hitting the 0.35 loops in 2:00 with very little deviations - this is about 5:43 pace. I kept looping around like this as the snow was falling down. At first, traction was decent, but it kept getting progressively worse. Towards the end, there was enough snow to where I slowed down to 2:03 loops, this is about 5:51 pace, but still much better than 8:15 on the trail. Odd feeling - when I tried to pick it up, the effort did not feel any harder, and the pace was not any faster. Finished the 29 loops (10.15) in 58:21, 5:44.93 avg.

Those loops were tedious, but there was one good thing about them. The course was absolutely pancake flat, world record quality, aside from the turns, a couple of gutters, and the snow falling on the ground. Nevertheless it was still good enough that I experienced the power of rhythm. Even though I was at the end of 20 miles, it felt just like a regular 10 mile tempo, holding the pace with much greater ease that I would on rollers. I can now understand better why Haile says there is no course better than Berlin.

P.M. 1.05 with Julia in 10:02, 2 with Benjamin in 17:27, 1.75 with Jenny in 15:27, and 0.35 in 2:30 by myself.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From James on Sat, Dec 22, 2007 at 14:35:34

29 time around the block would be very tedious! That is almost like running around the track 40 times. Good run though!

From Jon on Sat, Dec 22, 2007 at 15:13:27

I go crazy if I have to run the same loop (i.e. track) more than 2-4 times. I think I would literally kill myself if I had to do anything 29 times. You have lots of determination.

From Paul Petersen on Sat, Dec 22, 2007 at 16:21:53

Nice job. 29 laps around the block is no worse than running an indoor 5K.

From James W on Sun, Dec 23, 2007 at 00:04:34

Holy Cow! And I thought running 13 miles on the treadmill was tedious - I don't know if I could have handled 29 laps around the block. Way to go, Sasha!

From jtshad on Sun, Dec 23, 2007 at 09:47:22

Wow, what a way to get in 20 miles! I am with Jon, I would go nuts.

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