Breaking the Wall

May 22, 2019

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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: 149.44 Year: 1460.80
Saucony Type A Lifetime Miles: 627.15
Bare Feet Lifetime Miles: 446.12
Nike Double Stroller Lifetime Miles: 120.59
Brown Crocs 1 Lifetime Miles: 1509.03
Brown Crocs 2 Lifetime Miles: 987.95
Navy Crocs Lifetime Miles: 2133.34
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Long run in the morning. Ran the standard 10.04 course twice. First time around easy with Scott Hillman. We chatted in Russian all the way, very relaxed, got 1:15:37, HR stayed below 120. Then a quick bathroom stop  at the house, drank a quart of Powerade, and then ran the second half hard. Had a rough time getting into a rhythm on the first mile, but then  settled into a nice 5:45-5:50 pace. Hit the 2.5 tempo stretch on the trail in 14:27 on the way out. 29:12 at the turnaround. The tempo stretch on the way back in 14:27. HR hovered in the 150-154 range. 150 felt relaxed, 154 felt like I was working, but still had some gas in the tank.

It warmed up a bit at the end, I felt I had to put in more effort to keep the pace, but I could handle it. Picked it up on the last 0.5. Timed the last quarter - 1:23. Came back in 29:07, total time for 10.04 was 58:19, average of 5:48. Total time for 20.08 was 2:13:56.

Ate breakfast, helped a neighbor move. Made sure not to carry anything too heavy, left this to the guys with bigger muscles. Started feeling better during the move.

Took a nice two-hour nap, felt good afterwards. Ran 2 miles with the kids in the evening, then took Sarah on a date. She rode the bike, and I ran. Started out at 8:00 pace, then gradually eased into 6:30-6:40 pace. HR at first hovered around 127, then as I lost a bit of water it drifted to 130-132 range around mile 5. It is amazing what a man is willing to do to impress a woman, even if he's been married to her for 10 years. Sarah asked me if I was working. I told her, watch, let me show what happens when I am working. So I ran 0.75 in 4:07 with the quarters of 1:24, 1:22, and 1:21. That felt good, like I could hold it for a while, even though I already had about 28 miles on the odometer for the day by that point. I guess the combination of a nap, proper carbo-reloading, and a drive to impress a woman can do wonders. Finished 8 miles in 53:34, out in 27:32, back in 26:02.

Record weekly mileage, somewhat unplanned, but I felt good, so I decided to go for it.


Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From Suraj Subramanian on Sun, Jul 08, 2007 at 04:11:35

Absolutely amazing.I've been reading your blogs for some time and am truly inspired by your dedication and passion for running.

From Maria on Sun, Jul 08, 2007 at 05:24:24

That's some serious training, Sasha! You got 2 weeks in a row over 110 miles, and you're running some intense tempos. I'm sure you'll see results of high mileage in races. Another crucial element for you is to keep training with partners as much as possible. It is easier to push yourself when running with others, compared to running alone. You also have others to set the pace, so you can just follow, rather than worrying about everything yourself. If you can keep finding others to train with, you'll make greater gains, and hopefully can have a breakthrough in time for St.George. And this includes running to impress Sarah - hey, whatever works! I'd love to see you run OT time, because you so deserve it!

From James on Sun, Jul 08, 2007 at 12:31:48

That is some mega miles for the week! I like your idea of "increasing" to get you over this plateau you seem to be stuck on, but I don't think you are playing your cards quite right. We both know that when you hit plateaus that you have to increase something, time, distance, speed, intensity, etc., to get you over that wall. I think that you would see better results in your running from increasing your speed and intensity on your hard days, and increasing your easy recovery miles on easy days.

I have noticed since you bumped up the mega miles that your threshold, marathon, tempo, and recovery paces are all the same. You don't take it easy on your easy days! You have been running 5:40 miles in your tempo, and 5:40 miles on your rest days. As a result you have been running 5:40 miles in your races, from 10K to marathon you run the same pace. I think if you ran faster on your speed days, and alot slower(7-8 minute pace, with zero 5:40 miles) on your recovery days you would see some better results. Your base is amazing, but you get stuck in that 5:40 pace rut everyday, and I think that is a major reason why you raced at 5:40 pace at Sandy, and you couldn't get going any faster. You need faster workouts and you need to make your recovery days very easy so that you can rest, recover, and get stronger. The major principle in "overload" is rest. If you overload and your muscles don't have a chance to completely recover, then you will get stuck in a rut, if not decrease in strength. I think that you can make a good run at the trials this year, and you definitly deserve it, but if you run 5:40s every day like you are you won't run much more than 5:40s in St. George 2:25-2:28. I would love to be stuck in that 5:40 marathon rut myself, but you have more potential than that. These are just my observations as of late. I would love to see you break that wall, but I think you need to break through that 5:40 wall to reach your goals.

From bc on Mon, Jul 09, 2007 at 17:46:45

Sasha when I got the results for Sandy I saw you listed as unknown runner but took care of it in the LDR scoring.


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