Breaking the Wall

November 29, 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: 244.22 Year: 3545.74
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: 1657.61
Brown Crocs 3 Lifetime Miles: 734.48
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Provo Canyon. Tempo run - standard 3 miles. Odd thing happened in the warm-up. It was cold, resting HR while driving was 48. However, as soon as I started running it jumped to 130, and I felt like I could run fast right away. Ran uphill at about 7:10 pace for 2.25 miles to the Nunns Park.

The tempo run went rather odd. First 1000 fairly relaxed in 3:22, HR still climbing to where it is supposed to be. Then I felt good and started pushing. Hit the mile in 5:17, which was about 5:09 pace for the next 600. HR climbed to 160. However, on the next mile, instead of climbing to 163 it stalled at 160, even dropped to 159 occasionally, and I felt like if I went any faster the pace would not be sustainable. Next mile in 5:23. On the last mile I managed to shift gears a bit and get back up to 5:20. It was flatter (0.5% grade down), so this required HR of 162. Kicked on the last 300 in 57 to dip under 16:00. HR climbed to 168 during the kick, but then dropped to 167. Total time 15:58.

It is tempting to explain the struggle on the second mile as a consequence of going anaerobic during the second half of the first. Perhaps this is true to a certain extent, but with a twist. A normal anaerobic backlash for me (as observed during and after Veyo in St. George) should see HR climbing to 166 or higher and staying high while I recover at a slower pace, then dropping back to the pace-appropriate HR. In this case, I believe I did go anaerobic, but not so much because of the pace (5:09 down 1.5% grade should not throw me severely anaerobic), but because the heart could not respond quickly enough to the change of pace. So it was anaerobic after all because I ran that fast with the HR only at 160, and I was paying for it later for the rest of the run. The lesson to learn from that is when it is cold, or if the heart is struggling to get going, hold the legs back until the heart is ready.

During the cooldown met a guy named Reed. We chatted a bit. I dropped him off and decided to run another mini-tempo uphill. Started at the mouth of the Provo Canyon and ran 1.5 miles up in 8:28 at a fairly steady pace. HR hovered around 162 once I warmed into the pace, and briefly maxed at 166 on a steeper grade towards the end, then went back to 163. I felt a lot better this time, even thought of going the entire 3 miles, but unfortunately did not have the time.

Ran with the kids in the evening.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From Paul Petersen on Wed, Nov 01, 2006 at 08:51:20

Sasha, you may have already seen this, but in 2007 TOU will be 3 weeks before St. George, rather than 2. This bodes well for multiple marathoners such as yourself.

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