Breaking the Wall

July 11, 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: 51.55 Year: 2011.51
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: 881.43
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Salt Lake (instead of Marathon) 5 K. 16:09, 4th place. Given no prize money at the end, this made it a perfect race to intentionally die, and hopefully be resurrected in the next race. I executed the death part, and am hoping for the resurrection.

My plan was to run with Corbin until it becomes physically impossible with no regard to how it would affect the rest of the race. Afterwards, do my best to recover. Without the headwind to battle, Corbin hit the first mile, which was essentially flat, maybe a very slight down, in 4:50. I was surprised I was still alive - this is only 8 seconds slower than my mile PR! I managed to survive for another a little over 2 minutes. At around 7:05 into the race, I could not stay with him any more. Around 9 minutes into the race Nate Hornok caught me. I managed to stay with him until 2 miles, which we hit in 10:03 (5:13). Not bad - second mile was uphill. Just like this Shiz guy in Ether 15 in the Book of Mormon - head cut off, but still struggling for breath before he dies. This is exactly what happened to me - I managed to stay with Nate for another 20 seconds, and then he was gone.

The last mile had a nice downhill stretch after a short but unpleasant climb in the beginning. I'd rather have that last mile in the beginning, and the first one at the end, which is the way it is in Draper Days.

I managed to not get passed by anybody until right before the finish line. Steve Ashbaker sneaked by, and beat me by about half a second.

Steve just called me and told me the results of the race got really messed up. They put Corbin first, but gave him 16:09 - he ran probably at least 30 seconds faster. Nate is gone from the results. Steve's time is right, and he is second instead of third. He argued with the people in charge at the awards ceremony and vehimently refused to take Nate's prize, but to no avail. The timing company said they do not have a way to fix the problem. Now he will be explaining to everybody and their dog in Salt Lake City that they should not believe what they read in the paper.

According to Steve, they moved me all the way down to the 14th. I would not really have cared, except this is a big problem for the circuit. If the race timing company does not find a way to get their act together ( should really not be too hard - the footage of the finish does exist, but as big as they are they might not be that thorough), then there are two solutions - drop it from the circuit (Corbin will not be happy), or just have everybody who cares to get scored e-mail their time and place to Bill Francis. On the other hand, the race should not have been in the circuit to begin with - USATF rules say it has to have prize money, or no show, but they made an exception for this one.

In any case, this was a really good race to use for a specialty training run. I do not have a team to train with, except when I go to a race with competition. This is my chance, I'd better take it. Sure, if I had gone out with Nate from the start instead of Corbin, I would have finished in 15:55 or so. But I do not want to be running 15:55 5 Ks - I want to be sub-15 for a start. And the legs will not learn to run sub-15 by running just sub-16 all the time.

Afterwards, Steve and I ran to my car at Liberty Park. He, as always, wanted to make sure I was not mad at him for passing me so close to the finish. I keep telling him it is a race. In fact, of all the people behind me, he would have been my choice to pass me.

Got to the car, and tried to get to some place in the marathon where we could start pacing our friend Bill Cobler. In retrospect, we should have just backtracked on the marathon course. We got stuck in traffic, and then finally maneuvered our way to mile 18. I suspected we might have gotten there too late. We asked the volunteer, but she did not remember seeing Bill. We then saw Mike Evans and another runner, and asked them. They said "he had not been by". I thought this was an interesting response - I guess when you start getting passed, the world exists for you in terms of who's been by. So we thought Bill was having a bad race, and ran back. In the middle, Steve got excited and picked up the pace to about 6:00 mile. People kept telling us we were going the wrong way. Finally, we made it to 16. By that time, we realized there was no reasonable way Bill could be any further behind, and turned around. We paced a guy named Mike who was headed for about 3:40. For a while, I thought he might be able to go faster, but he did not seem to have as much juice as I hoped. We got back to 18. Afterwards, we needed to decide what to do. Steve was running late. So we decided to pick up the pace, get him to a Trax station while putting on some mileage, then I would come back to my car and drive to Provo. We sped up first to a 6:40 pace, and then we hit a mile in 5:47. Then I turned around and ran back to the car at 18. Again lots of comments about going the wrong way from the crowd.

In the evening ran with the kids. Total of 20 miles for the day. Somewhat unintentional long run - would not hurt.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
From Brent on Sun, Jun 04, 2006 at 14:18:26

Sasha, the timing problem does not surprise me. The timing clock was 10 minutes off during the marathon. It appears they started they clock with the wheel chair starters.

From RivertonPaul on Tue, Jun 06, 2006 at 19:39:20

I wish I could have been running your pace as you went by me (first the wrong way) then zipping past me again during the marathon. Bit by bit, I'm hoping to improve. Thanks for the website.

From Jed on Wed, Jun 07, 2006 at 09:32:39

I was the runner with Mike Evans at 18 and, in my defense, what I said was something like, "I saw Bill at the starting line but haven't seen him since." When you asked whether he was ahead or behind, I said he was probably behind (I had kept a pretty close eye on who was ahead). I didn't get passed by anyone after mile 4 that I didn't pass later in the race, so I wasn't thinking about it in terms of who had been by. I didn't know that Bill had started with the elites, so I apologize for sending you on a wild goose chase (going the wrong way) trying to find him. Sorry about the timing problem, too. I have my own gripes about the race, chiefly the mess at the finish, where I was tangling with 5k runners, half-marathoners, and kids doing the 1k as I made my way through The Gateway.

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