Breaking the Wall

Salt Lake Track Club 5 K

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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: 188.26 Year: 188.26
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: 1359.62
Race: Salt Lake Track Club 5 K (3.107 Miles) 00:16:21, Place overall: 5
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Raced SLC Track Club 5 K 16:21.7, 5th place.

Warmed up with Jeff and Mary Ann on the race course at a little bit slower than 8:00 pace. Did the rest of the ritual, then the race started. Today was the debut of the new race singlet.

About 30 degrees, a little bit of a cross wind, but not too bad, clear skies, perfectly dry road. On the scale of 1 to 10 the condtions were at about 9.5 for this time of the year in that location (out in open space in the middle of nowhere about 10 miles west of the Salt Lake Airport).

Lot of trouble at the start, some of it home grown. Recongized immediately - Hobbie, Jeff, Seth, BJ,  Augustus Gray, and Fritz. In addition there were two disguised trouble-makers - Jason Shoenfeld and Andrew Hansen.

 Hobbie decided Jeff needed a new pair of shoes, so he ran the race with a 30 lb weight jacket. Hobbie just loves to be a lab rat. Thanks to him we found out today how much 21% of extra weight can slow you down in a 5 K. For the impatient, the answer is about 13%, or about 2 minutes for somebody who can run around 15 minutes.

BJ, Seth, and Jeff pulled ahead from the start. I sat in a pack with Augustus, Jason, Hobbie, and Andrew. The course was marked to near perfection. First quarter in 75, 2:32 at half mile, 3:11 at 1 K. Around this point we lost Hobbie and Augustus. Both were a surprise, I was expecting both of them to run at least 16:30. I tucked behind Jason. It felt good to be behind him, perhaps too good, but I have learned something over the years of racing. If you are drafting, do not pass until it feels dog slow. The same pace immediately behind another runner would require 5 seconds per mile harder effort upfront. If you are not ready to work 10 seconds per mile harder then better stay put. So I stayed behind Jason faithfully.

5:13 at the mile, 6:31 at 2 K. Still close enough to watch the race for first, in part thanks to a course with great visibility. BJ, Seth, and Jeff hit the mile in 4:59, BJ got dropped somehwere around 2 K, Seth and Jeff hit the turnaround in 7:50, Seth is trying to drop Jeff. 8:12 for Jason and me at the turnaround, Andrew a few steps behind. Met Mary Ann 8:32 into the race, figured she was about 40 seconds behind and would end up about 1:20 behind, but due to the race effort was not quite able to appreciate how fast she was going to run.

Andrew made a surge and passed us. The pace picked up. But soon Andrew ran out of juice and fell back. Jason is now gradually turning up the heat trying to lose me. I really liked it when were running 5:20 pace, but 5:15 feels so much harder. I am sure glad Jason is doing the work.

Too focused on racing, missed the 3 K mark. 10:36 at 2 miles, 5:23. 11:10 with a mile to go, 13:10 at 4 K. Still close enough to watch the race for first. Looks like Jeff survived Seth's surge and with a surge of his own persuaded Seth that he was the one who needed the shoes. That's the nature of racing. Many good runners, but only one pair of shoes.

13:49 with half mile to go. Looks like we will be under 16:30, maybe even under 16:25 with luck. I am wondering if I can outkick Jason, and if BJ is weak enough for us to eat him up. That would be quite a meal, he is about 6-6. Trying to not think about the fact that there is nothing good for third, and trying to also not think about the upcoming post-race tempo, just telling myself to run my guts out regardless. 15:07 with a quarter to go. Still with Jason. 15:50 at 3 miles. He seems to be struggling a bit, maybe a mental trick will work. I attempt to pass him decisively, and it works to a point, looks like he is hesitant to kick. The problem was that the pace was already so fast that I did not have much more acceleration in me. So he was able to respond and outsprint me to the finish. 16:20.6 for Jason, 16:21.7 for me.

Jeff won with 15:35.8, then Seth 15:53.0, and BJ 16:11.8. Andrew finished in 16:32.4, then Augustus 16:55.8, Hobbie 16:56.2, and Fritz 17:09.4.

Mary Ann won the race with 17:50.4, which is only 15 seconds slower than her sea-level track PR. Second place was last years St. George winner Christina Gingras with 18:34.8. Women's field was fairly strong today with the top ten under 20:00.

Jeff and I waited for Mary Ann to finish, and then 30 seconds later (18:20 into the race) started a post-race 10 K tempo. There is a saying in Russian that you are not supposed to swing your fists after the brawl is over. Well, we did anyway. Since we were not sure if the 10 K course marks from the last year would still be visible we ran the 5 K race course twice. Jason joined us.

At first we were mentally warn out from the race, and we also wanted to get to know Jason better, so we were chatting a lot. That gave us a rather odd pace - 3:57 for the first 1 K, 6:19 for the first mile, 6:14 for the second mile. After that I said in order to call it a tempo we need to pick it up, so we did. 19:03 at the 5 K (37:23 10 K from the start of the race), and then Jeff really got into it and started pushing the pace. We did the next mile in 5:47, and the 2.5 K stretch in 8:58. Then I realized it would be bad to get chicked by Mary Ann in the last 5 K and started supporting Jeff more in the pace effort. The second mile of the "don't get chicked" 5 K was 5:42. Jeff asked me how I was feeling, I told him in a manageable level of pain. He took it as a cue to speed up even more and rewarded me with a 5:34 mile. Towards the end the pace became 5:20. Jason fell back a bit in the last quarter. Total time for the "don't get chicked" 5 K was 17:37, our male dignity saved by 13 seconds. Total time for the 10 K tempo was 36:40. 55:00 from the start of the 5 K race to the finish of the tempo. Excluding the 1:59 stop that gives me 53:01 15 K.

Jogged 2 miles with Jeff while Mary Ann was getting her prize shoes at the Salt Lake Running Company.

In the evening ran with the kids. 1 mile with Julia in 9:50. 2 with Benjamin in 17:08. Jenny ran 1.5 with us in 13:08. 0.5 with Joseph in 5:45. 200 with Jacob in 1:59.

Saucony Type A Miles: 15.32
Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
From Burt on Mon, Feb 02, 2009 at 12:39:56

Great race. Let's see a picture of them new shirts.

From Andrew Hansen on Mon, Feb 02, 2009 at 15:24:29

Nice website Sasha. Its fun to see your perspective on the race. I agree with your comment about drafting. I shouldn't have tried the surge. I may have been able to stick with you guys longer had I not tried that. Live and learn.

From huans32 on Mon, Feb 02, 2009 at 18:16:24

Was good to see you running at the race. I remember seeing you pass me on the loop back and cheered you guys a bit. Great report.

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