Breaking the Wall

Rangar Wasatch Back 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: 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
Race: Rangar Wasatch Back Relay (177 Miles) 18:29:29, Place overall: 3
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Day one of Wasatch Back Relay. Ran 5 easy miles with Nick and Brent in the morning.

At the start in Logan it was hot. Our team name was MarathonGIS (Paul's business), and we had a 5:00 pm start with BYU, Weber, Runner's Corner, and 26.2 Running Company. Runner's Corner had Mike Vick, BYU had Derek Taylor, Weber had an 8:38 steeplechaser, and 26.2 Running Company had somebody fast I had no background on. It was hot - 95 degrees. I tried to hang on with them for 0.75, after that they dropped me. They were doing 5:20 pace in spite of the heat and the hills. Some of them were not fit enough to hold it, as it turnout out later. By 2.5, the trailing part of the pack was 53 seconds ahead of me. I was just trying to keep my head above water with a sub-6:00 pace when I was not going uphill. On the uphills I was down to 6:15 pace.

Then everybody expect me took a wrong turn. Mike Vick and the Weber steeplechaser were quick enough to turn around, and by the time we started going uphill from mile 21 of TOU course towards mile 20, they were with me. They were too fast for me to run with, but they were not moving away from me as fast as they were earlier - probably about 20 seconds a mile or so. Derek Taylor (BYU) and the 26.2 guy never caught up, and in fact, according to Cody, I actually increased the gap them on that 1.5 mile stretch. My split for the 5.14 was 30:07, 1:13 slower than the schedule, but adding about 1:40 adjustment for the heat from the Tinman chart,I was actually quite a bit ahead. My stomach felt sick from running hard in the heat, and I raced to the porter potty as soon as I finished, but otherwise I was fine.

On the second leg Jared Rohatinsky (BYU, the brother of Josh, I guess that makes Josh the brother of Jared, some humor for those familiar with the Book of Mormon) passed Dustin, then Dustin passed Joe Bendoski (Runner's Corner, out of shape due to a long break from injuries), then Jared took a wrong turn on a perfectly straight stretch of road, and Dustin being a bit delirious from the heat and the effort just followed him. I've done something like this myself, when you start to hurt the straight road just bugs you, you are looking for any excuse to turn. I did that in TOU 2002. So Dustin ended up running extra 0.9 in the heat which cost us about 6 minutes on this leg, plus some more on his other legs from the extra fatigue. Corbin (Weber) ran great on this leg, and put on a good gap on everybody. Joe Bendoski did not take a wrong turn, so that put him ahead.

Chris Rogers passed the Runner's Corner girl, and the BYU runner who was not feeling well and put on a good 3 minute lead on BYU. We were able to hold BYU off up until leg 8. After that they passed us and were gone.

I discovered that my shorts got ripped up pretty bad, even to the point where I would consider them beyond usability, which has to be very far. I borrowed a spare pair from Dustin. He really saved my rear end, literally!

I got the baton at 11:13 PM at the Snow Basin ski resort near Huntsville. Paul remarked later that when you are starting your night leg your thoughts might be: Why am I running at this late hour, and not in bed with my wife? Those were exactly my thoughts.

I was supposed to average 5:02 pace on this leg. However, this was too aggressive of a prediction. 5:02 on a smooth 4% grade would have been just right. But this leg was full of little break-ups that went uphill for a quarter, and portions that were only 1% followed by steeper parts to make up. You do not go much faster on 7% than you do on 4%. However, you do go much slower on 1% than you do on 4%, and very much slower at 6000+ elevation up a grade even if it is very small. To make things worse, the bread I brought to snack on in between legs had a very hard crust, and I was feeling it. Combined with the dark this made it difficult for me to concentrate and push hard. I ended up doing only 5:24 average on this leg (41:40 for 7.7). I did not feel like I was working very hard, but just could not put it all together and really go. Mike Vick ran this leg a good 4 minutes faster. He should have been no more than 2:30 faster based on the first leg and recent race history. I was only 2 minutes faster than Nate Pollard on it, and this also indicates that I should have run this leg about 1:00-1:30 faster. I noticed I was getting a lot stronger towards the end. I wondered why, then look at the elevation profile - the early miles were at 6500 feet while the later ones were near 5000.

End of Day 1.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From James on Mon, Jun 25, 2007 at 11:52:56

Good running as usual. Having you on our team is always a pleasure. I didn't hardly get to talk to you, especially like I have in the last couple of relays that we have done. Sorry for running you over in the shute a couple of times, we'll have to work on those exchanges!

From wheakory on Mon, Jun 25, 2007 at 12:13:28

Nice running. You did an impressive effort in the 95 degree heat. That's hard to handle especially in racing events. Way to push through it.

From Paul Petersen on Mon, Jun 25, 2007 at 12:25:52

Nice job in the heat Sasha. I think it will be pretty easy to add a few things to the spreadsheet predictor, including temperature, road surface (gravel, paved), and altitude, or at least altitude difference between training/living and the relay leg.

From Jon on Mon, Jun 25, 2007 at 12:50:16

Nice work. Sometimes trailing a bit behind can be good, I guess. Just wondering- where did they all make the wrong turn?

From Paul Petersen on Mon, Jun 25, 2007 at 12:52:54

Jon, they all went straight toward the Providence movie theater rather than turning left toward Millville.

From Jon on Mon, Jun 25, 2007 at 14:08:07

That is the turn I was guessing they missed- any other turn would have been correctible because you would just parallel the course.

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