Breaking the Wall

Del Sol Relay

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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
Race: Del Sol Relay (181.7 Miles) 17:04:37, Place overall: 1
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Easy 6 with James W, 1.5 with Benjamin and Jenny, additional 0.5 with Benjamin, and 1 mile with Julia.

P.M. Brief report, more details when I have time. Ran Leg 10 of Del Sol (7.4) in 42:20, average pace technically 5:43, but with adventures.

Now details. Our team was as follows in leg order: Van 1 - Dave Holt, Logan Fielding, Nick McCombs, Clyde Behunin, and James Barnes with Steve Hooper driving. Van 2 - Adam Wende, Ted Leblow, Kory Wheatley, myself, Jeff Shadley, and Steve Ashbaker (the Air Darkhorse).

Google was supposedly the team to beat, but after checking their performance history in other relays, I knew that they would not be breaking 6:00 average by much if at all. Barring an exceptionally catastrophic event, our team should not have had a problem outperforming this. I was more concerned about some Arizona running store bringing current and post-collegiate runners together. We did, however, consider putting on our van to taunt our competition, but it was a last minute thought and we lacked the materials. Apparently, according to one of our team members who talked with Google, they indeed had done the above search and knew they were in trouble.

I considered beating Google by a lot one of the main reasons for coming to the race. Why? There was a mission to accomplish. I want to see the US companies to start following the pattern of the Japanese corporations. I want to see strong corporate teams where winning a race is a matter of importance to a corporation enough to actually do something about nurturing the runners. From what I've observed about Google, of all the US companies they appear to be one of the most open to the idea of promoting the company by winning a race. Most corporations spend millions on maintaining their public image but are perfectly content to send a team that will not break 8:00 average pace. Google is different. They care. At least some people inside the company do. I wanted them to seriously ask this question - How in the world are these guys from Utah and Idaho manage to beat us so bad? What do we need to do to beat them next time?

However, beating Google would not have quite done the job had we not won the race outright. After the first leg, we saw that this would not be easy. Although we had no problem separating ourselves from Google as I expected, The Running Shop team from Tuscan was strong. Their runner finished together with Dave. Logan opened a 1:30 gap on his leg, then Nick increased it to 3:42, and Clyde to 4:19. Walter increased it further to 4:27, and then James to over 5 minutes in spite of being sick.

Van 2 took over. Adam ran strong ahead of his projection, Ted and Kory ran strong as well. We were not timing the gap any more as we could not afford to wait. My leg was interesting. I was projected to run 5:28 pace for 7.4 miles on rollers with a net elevation gain which I felt was a bit overoptimistic for a number of reasons. Nevertheless I should have been close. The leg started with 1.5 miles of 2% grade uphill and a steady headwind. I had forgotten by GPS at James and Lybi's house and borrowed one from Adam. Unfortunately, it did not start right away when I pressed the button. However, about a quarter into my leg I got it started for real. I was running a steady 5:50 pace in the initial section. Then I hit a 1:18 quarter on a short downhill, and settled into 1:22 - 1:24 quarters once there was no headwind. Had a hard time hitting my true threshold in the dark and at this late hour (11 pm). Had an adventure with about a mile to go. My flashlight fell off. It took me a few seconds to realize it was gone. I figured losing a few seconds by going back to get the light would be better than losing the light and possibly getting our team DQ'ed on top of it for running without the light. So I went back and got it. I do not know exactly how much I've lost on it, Adam probably could figure it out since it is on his GPS. My overall time was 42:20, 5:43 average assuming the leg was indeed 7.4. I do remember that the GPS had an auto-pause, and afterwards was showing 5:36 pace average for the timed portion of my run (7.15). So the leg could have been a bit longer than 7.4 as well. I ended up being 1:42 slower than the projection, and Jason from the Running Shop gained 2:35 on me.

To add injury to insult, once I got in the van I realized that my cell phone was gone, and we could not possibly go back to get it. Fortunately, I knew that most likely it went down at the same place as the flash light, and we could figure out exactly where later from the GPS.

Jeff and Steve ran very strong on their legs and more than made up for my adventures. We handed off to Van 1 with 7:48 gap on the Running Shop.


Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
From Jason on Mon, Mar 03, 2008 at 23:47:07

Hi Sasha,

I was a member of the Running Shop Team at Ragnar and happened to run the same legs as you. I just wanted to say congratulations on the win and good work!!

For my leg 10, I ran 39:45 which was, by far, my hardest effort of the day. Then, I ran 17:40 for leg 22 and 33:15ish (approx..had to stop at a traffic light) for leg 34.

I'm definitely glad there was at least some sense of competition and I hope we see you guys out in AZ next year.


From jtshad on Tue, Mar 04, 2008 at 10:59:11

Great running with you Sasha and thanks for all you have done getting the Racing Team together!

From wheakory on Tue, Mar 04, 2008 at 14:45:37

Sasha you are a true competitor and it was great running with you. Will have to work on are leg exchanges again if it happens for me and you to follow in order in the future.

Thanks for allowing me to run on your team.

From Superfly on Tue, Mar 04, 2008 at 15:38:01

Good job this weekend Sasha. Hopefully your family had a safe trip back home. Did you ever find your phone?

From Jon on Tue, Mar 04, 2008 at 16:00:36

I find it interesting that you use the relay to beat other teams in hopes of motivating companies to sponsor runners...

From Maria on Fri, Mar 07, 2008 at 07:58:50

Another great victory by FRB! You really had an amazing team this year. Did you see this:

Not sure where "revenge" comes from. Did they beat you in last year's relay?

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