Breaking the Wall

Law Day 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: 266.81 Year: 266.81
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: 1438.17
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Night Sleep Time: 45.58Nap Time: 2.00Total Sleep Time: 47.58
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Made up on the sleep. Heard a good talk in church. One brother was speaking about his ancestors. Some did interesting things like riding in two truck next to each other and reaching out from one to the other with a metal pole. They learned you get nice electric shock this way. But on the more serious side, he had a good story about his great grandfather. His family came to America on a boat. He was a baby. On the ship he contracted plague and they thought he had died. The rule on the ship was they had to bury the dead in the sea. The mother refused to bury the baby in the sea and hid him in a trunk. Right when they were about to get off the ship they heard crying from the trunk. The baby was alive.

Night Sleep Time: 9.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 9.00
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Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Ran with Jeff. We did 8x100 in the middle of an easy run. Missed the split on the first one. 15.6 on the second, then 15.1, 14.7, 15.1, 14.9. Then we did a 100 meter bound test. I covered it in 42 steps, Jeff did it in 45. Then I wanted to see what Jeff could run all out. He did not have his watch, so I gave him mine. To make things interesting he gave me an early start and chased me down. However on the first try he timed himself at the wrong mark - too early. So we did it again, but did not give him enough rest - only 100 meter jog back. The second time around he ran 13.6. Dropped Jeff off and ran some more - total of 15.2 for the run.

P.M. 1 mile with Julia in 11:38. Then 1.5 with Jenny in 13:09, and 0.7 alone in 5:08. Then 2 with Benjamin in 16:53 with a 200 meter time trial in the middle on the trail done twice. The first one was on a slight uphill and we had to go around a dog - Benjamin went all the way to the grass, he is afraid of dogs. He still got a PR of 40.6. Second time around we ran on a slight downhill and he ran faster - 38.6.

Night Sleep Time: 7.83Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.83
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. We had quite a company for 5:30 AM - Jeff, Hyrum, Josse, Michelle, and Brad. Michelle and Josse were running the Uneventful Half. Brad and I started with Hyrum at a slower pace, hit the first mile in 8:21, then Hyrum turned around at the mile as planned, we shifted gears and caught Michelle, Josse and Jeff right before 2 miles. We were going a bit under 6:00 at first, then sped up to around 5:40. Our mile split was 5:58 but that included easing off to around 7:00 once we caught up. Then I had a VPB a bit after 3 miles, and caught up in about 0.4 miles. Timed 500 of it in 2:06, a bit under 5:40. We cruised along at a bit sub-7:00 pace after that until Josse started struggling. Brad and I stayed with her while Jeff and Michelle went ahead. Then Brad had a VPB, and never caught up. Josse and I continued. She had a small mental lapse right before the 10 mile mark, but then recovered and was able to finish strong - 6:59 on the last mile, and 1:34:07 for the whole distance - new PR for a loop course.

Afterwards jogged about a quarter with Michelle and Sarah, then went for another 2 miles and found Josse's gloves on the trail. Total time for 15.35 was 1:51:46 minus VPB time. This was actually a brisk pace. Jeff and I have been really enjoying nature and conversation lately running as slow as 8:00 on some runs. Our near all out sprints did help in that cause though - you do not feel like going much faster than 8:00 for a while after sprinting and you need to jog very slowly so you could sprint well again.

P.M. 1 mile with Julia in 10:56 pushing Joseph in the single stroller with Jenny riding a bike. 1.5 with Jenny running, Julia and Joseph in the double stroller, in 13:02. Saw Ben Crozier on the trail with a girl, it is about time, he is 31 years old, 4 years past the menace to society age supposedly defined by Brigham Young. Stopped to talk to them. He said he would run with us Friday morning. Added another mile in 9:29 with Benjamin and Jacob in the double stroller. Benjamin was not feeling well, which why we ran less and slower than normal. Then another 1.5 in 11:47 pushing Jacob in the double stroller.

Night Sleep Time: 7.25Nap Time: 0.50Total Sleep Time: 7.75
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Did not get good sleep. Had odd stomach issues in the middle of the night. Ran a total of 10 miles, 2 of it with Hyrum, most of it with Jeff. Easy pace, around 8:00 average. Jeff and I did a standing broad jump test on the sidewalk by my house. There was some headwind which skewed the results but it was probably equal for both us, and all we cared to know was the comparison anyway. He jumped 7 feet and 5 inches, I did 6 feet and 7 inches.

In summary, our differences in power exercise measurements with Jeff - leg extension - I am 10% stronger in raw power, but 4% weaker relative to body weight. All out speed - we have not done a good measurement yet, but comparing 100 meter PRs (12.6 vs 13.9), which appears to be consistent with the differences we get during our sprints as well, Jeff is 10% faster. 100 meter bound (cover the distance bounding in the smallest possible number of steps) - my average stride is 7.1% longer and I also move faster. Height difference - I am 3.6% taller. Standing broad jump - Jeff jumps 12% further.

P.M. Windy and rather cold. 2 with Benjamin in 16:31. He felt significantly better. 1.5 with Jenny in 13:12, and 1 with Julia in 10:58. Then 5.5 alone in 38:14 with one event. I saw two girls on roller skates shortly before my turnaround.  After jogging a bit my  "impress the ladies" instinct  woke up. After being married for  over 11 years I still have it. I still could not see them, but I figured if I go about 5:40 pace I'd catch them pretty fast. So I ran a 5:32 mile passing them about half way, then eased off back to 7:20 or so.

Night Sleep Time: 6.00Nap Time: 1.50Total Sleep Time: 7.50
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. 2 miles with Hyrum. Dropped him off then ran with Jeff. Originally thought of doing a 5 mile tempo at 5:30 pace, but Jeff had some fatigue and tenderness in the legs, so we decided to do a 2 mile shakeout instead at 5:30 pace along the course of our standard 5 mile tempo. Turned out that Jeff was feeling better than he thought, so 5:30 quickly became 5:20 and then 5:15. Jeff was itching to go when I was doing my quarters. We ended up doing 2 miles in 10:39 with the splits of 5:24 and 5:15. Got some moderate cross-wind. 5:15 felt good behind Jeff, but not so good otherwise. On the way back we did 0.5 to feel the 5 K pace in 2:32 (1:17, 1:15) into a rather strong headwind with Jeff leading the way. The pace was not even as Jeff was trying to adjust for the effects of the headwind so we would still hit 5:00 pace in spite of it. Last 200 in 36 into a headwind felt too fast, but no surprise. Dropped Jeff off and ran some more. Total of 15.1 in 1:58:40.

P.M. 1 with Julia in 11:38, 1.5 with Jenny in 13:12, 0.7 alone in 5:04, and 2 with Benjamin in 15:37. Benjamin appears to be back to full health - running strong and volunteering sub-8:00 pace.

Night Sleep Time: 7.75Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.75
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Started out with Jeff and Hyrum. We ran 2 miles in 16:31 with a pickup at the end at about 5:20 pace for 0.15. I wanted to see how much juice Hyrum had left, and challenged him to pick up the pace. He did quite well.

Then Jeff and I ran another 2 miles and ended up back at my house again. We were supposed to meet Ben Crozier but he never showed up. We looped around the block for 1.75 miles waiting, finally decided to go. Then Jeff noticed that he had only 30 minutes left, so we picked up the pace to about 7:00 so we'd make it back in time. We did 0.5 pickup on the trail to feel the 5 K pace. The target was 2:30. Jeff took off pretty quick and I felt it immediately. No wonder, 17 seconds for the first 100 meters. So we eased off but not much. Hit the quarter in 73, and then did one more in 73 to finish in 2:26. This pace hurt, definitely not sustainable for the entire 5 K (it would be nice if it was, that would give me 15:10), but I felt could finish OK if I started this fast.

Dropped Jeff off at 10 miles, went for 5 more. Saw Sarah on the trail, ran about 0.8 with her. Then added some more to finish 15.

Jeff and I are racing in the Law Day 5 K on Chad's firm's team. Whenever a corporation gets interested in competitive running, I am always willing to do something to support it. Who knows, one step at a time maybe one day we will have something similar to the Japanese corporate running program or maybe even better. I have never heard of a Japanese runner going under 27:30 in a 10 K, but they have had 11 guys go under 2:08, with 3 of them going under 2:07 in the marathon. The population of Japan is 127 million. In the US we have had 7 people run 27:30 or faster in a 10 K, and only 2 go under 2:08 in the marathon, one of them being Khalid Khannouchi and the other Ryan Hall. The population of the US is 301 million. Clearly the Japanese are doing a lot better in the area of carrying the 10 K speed to the marathon, and I believe having a corporate level running program is an important part of their success.

A.M 2 - Ted told me about a race at the Rock Canyon Elementary that Jared was going to run in. I figured Benjamin would like to participate somehow especially since Jared was involved, and asked if they would let Benjamin run. Ted did not think they would, but he thought they might let him just run along and pace Jared. However, when we got there, we were told Benjamin could be officially in the race. So we signed him up. I was not sure which grade Benjamin would be in, and under the stress I completely forgot the correspondence between ages and grades in the US school system. Not that I remember it very well when I am not under stress to begin with as we home school our kids and let them progress at whatever rate they are ready for. Which happens to be quite a bit faster than their public school peers. So figuring that Jared and Benjamin would be in the same grade, I asked Ted which grade Jared was in. He said 4th. So I wrote 4th grade on Benjamin's tag. Later it turned out that Jared was actually in the 3rd grade, but it ended up not mattering for two reasons - a) Benjamin beat everybody except one 6th grader, and b) since Benjamin was not enrolled in the Rock Canyon Elementary they were not going to give him an award. Being a mature 9 year old and knowing that it would be just a medal or a ribbon he was not particularly disappointed, though, especially after I told him he was going to get a carob bar at Good Earth for his performance. How about this: Awards provided by AskSasha.Com/FastRunningBlog.Com?

The race was advertised as 2.5 miles, but ended up being 2.33 miles long according to Ted's GPS. The participants were kids from 6th grade down. The course was not fast at all - first 0.6 and last 0.2 on grass, the rest on asphalt with some serious uphill and then downhill to come back. Everybody started out very fast as expected, so Benjamin worked his way through the crowd in the first quarter mile of the race. Finally he passed Spencer Jarvis paced by his uncle Karl, a serious challenger his age to watch out for, and moved up on Joe Rowberry, the 6th grader that eventually would beat him. Joe had a quote from Prefontaine on the back of his shirt - "Most people run a race to see who is fastest. I run a race to see who has the most guts." And he raced accordingly - very competitive.

Joe pulled away from Benjamin on the uphill around 0.7 into the race. Then Benjamin started to close on the downhill, and eventually closed the gap to 7 seconds with about 0.7 to go. Then Joe looked back, got concerned, and found some juice to start pulling away. He ended up beating Benjamin by about 20 seconds. Benjamin finished second in 16:22, which is 7:01.46 average. Spencer was third about 20 seconds behind.

P.M. 1 with Julia in 11:38, 1.5 with Jenny in 13:18.

Night Sleep Time: 7.75Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.75
Race: Law Day 5 K (3.107 Miles) 00:17:09, Place overall: 5
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Law Day 5 K 17:09.4, officially 4th, fitness wise 4th as well, 5th if you use a non-chip way of determining who cross the finish line first. Details below.

Jeff and I volunteered to run for Chad's law firm's (Manning Curtis Bradshaw & Bednar) team. Let me use this chance to put a plug for them. Aside from my own AskSasha.Com one man show that has been sponsoring the Fast Running Blog and my 120 mile weeks and a few small business owners that have donated to the Fast Running Blog I have never dealt a non-running business that was so supportive of competitive running. If you are in need of legal services (I understand they specialize in business law and commercial litigation), I would recommend visiting their website. My impression of them is that they are the type of people that care to excel and are willing to put their money where their mouth is.

Chad took us for a tour of the course. for a warm up. It was well marked except one spot. And that was the very spot when I would get lost later.

Our team consisted of Jeff, Josh Steffen, his wife Megan Call, and Johanna Nielson in addition to myself. We were racing BJ Christensen, Grant Rotunda (Westminister College), BJ's brother Ed, and two women I do not remember the names of. The course was a beast - uphill for the first 1.7 miles, some of it very steep, lots of turns, which really hurt once you got going downhill as you could not use that speed very well. Also the downhill was in short bursts.

Knowing Jeff's increased level of fitness we had hopes that he'd be able to neutralize BJ's advantage if not beat him outright. Jeff and I took it fairly easy early on to keep him from starting out too fast. About half mile into the race we used a flatter section to come up on Josh, Grant, and Ed. We hit the 1 K mark in 3:24. Not bad for the uphill. Shortly before the mile mark there was a short downhill section. I felt good, so I moved up and pushed the pace to give Jeff a break and get him going at the same time before the major uphill. First mile was 5:26.

Ed and Grant dropped back, Jeff and Josh pulled ahead. I tried to take it easy on the uphill, but still managed to get myself into some serious leg fatigue. Jeff dropped Josh but could not quite close on BJ. Josh had a 7 second gap on me around 3 K mark. 2 K in 7:00, 3 K in 10:29. I guess there was more uphill there than I realized. We started going downhill shortly before 3 K, but I had a hard time shifting gears, and the turns were really messing with my rhythm. 3 miles in 11:16. I started screaming like a wild animal to get myself going. Interesting that I could and actually found it helpful. It tells me that it was not the breathing that was limiting my speed.

I think the 4th kilometer was too long, and I do have an idea why. Up to that point it followed the certified route. Then it could not follow the certified route any longer because of construction on the U of U campus. I hit the 4 K mark in 13:54. This gives me 3:25 for a downhill kilometer. I'd be willing to believe to a point it except the next one with about the same amount of downhill was 3:15 including the additional 10 seconds from getting lost, so really more like 3:05, and I am quite certain it was not that much faster. I would guess we added about 10 seconds going around the construction.

Shortly after the 4 K mark I approached a confusing spot. Because of fatigue and the high speed I did not see the chalk-written arrow on the road showing which way to go, and also due to fatigue I was disoriented and did not remember which way the course was supposed to go. I eased off trying to figure out what to do, then headed the wrong way, then saw no cones or anything and stopped. Then the volunteers yelled at me and showed me the way, and during that time Grant passed me and gapped me by a couple of seconds. I closed the gap in about 0.2 or so, and then passed him. I think I was able to gap him by another second or so right before the final turn. Then I said I am not going to give him even one tenth of a second on the kick and just floored it. But he kicked as well and edged me out at the finish line. However, my leg with the chip crossed the line 0.1 of a second before his did. So he outleaned me but I outchipped him. Since there was no difference between 4th and 5th, and for the team purposes we had won either way, it did not matter.

We got $20 gift certificates to the Salt Lake Running Company for our team win. 

Went for some more miles with the team, and then later on with just Jeff and Chad. We ran to Liberty Park and did a 3 mile tempo in 17:28 with the splits of 6:00 - 5:51 - 5:37 by Chad's  Garmin. Ran  back, total of 17.5 for the run.

P.M. 2.15 with Benjamin in 17:27, about 1 mile with Julia by time (11:00), 1.65 with Jenny in 14:21.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Night Sleep Time: 45.58Nap Time: 2.00Total Sleep Time: 47.58
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