June 28, 2008

I ran in the Logan Peak Trail Run.  This was a tough 28-mile run on single-track and dirt roads up and around beautiful Logan Peak above Cache Valley in Northern Utah.   I would compare this run to a tough 50K event.   The elevation gain is over 7,000 feet and we had plenty of snow to run through.

It was probably silly for me to enter this run because I had not yet fully recovered from running the Bighorn 100 just one week ago, but I felt up to the challenge.   My main reason for running this course was to preview the first tough 11 miles of the new Bear 100 course that will go end-to-end from Logan to Bear Lake.

I drove up with Jim Skaggs, Jill Bohney, and Mark Ellison.   I was going to treat this as a recovery training run, but still hoped to do pretty well.   Looking at the times last year, I thought I could finish in 6-6.5 hours.  

At 6:00 a.m. we were away, over 40 runners.   I started out in front to stretch out my legs, running with Leland Barker as we ran through some foothill neighborhoods.   On an uphill, Leland started walking and said to me, “I’m already tired.”   I laughed, “If you are, we are all in trouble.”   Brian Beckstead caught up and congratulated me on my Bighorn 100 finish last week where I smoked Phil Lowry during the last 50 yards.  We laughed about this.   Many would tell me all day that they could not believe I was doing this run so soon after running a 100.

As we reached the trail, I stepped aside and let the true frontrunners go on ahead.   We first ran along the Bonneville Shoreline Trail and then started to ascend up Dry Canyon.   Mark Ellison caught up and I said, “Here we go!”   The climb was long and fairly steep for the next four miles as we ascended several thousand feet.   Mark climbed on ahead.   My legs felt heavy and I was content to not push it too hard, making sure my heart rate didn’t go crazy.   Halfway up, Jim Skaggs caught me and I stayed within shouting distance of him for the next couple miles.

I thought about this climb.  This would be an interesting start to the Bear 100.   I concluded that not pushing it too hard would be important.    I reached the first aid station a 1:18, didn’t stay long and started the long counter-clockwise run around Logan Peak.   The rolling single-track was a welcome change from the tough initial climb.   As the vegetation cleared, I could see a running in white far ahead.  I set my sights on him and with each turn was getting closer. 

Finally we reached the first significant downhill.  Little by little, I started feeling better and better, finally losened up, so I pushed the run down faster.   The trail was soft, wonderful and the views were fantastic.  I kept thinking how wonderful the new Bear 100 would be. Finally I caught the guy in white.  It was my training buddy, Mark Ellison.   I was full of energy, so I blasted past him on the next downhill.  He said, “go get it!”   “I will try for awhile.”    I continued to blast down the hill and eventually caught up with several runners including Jim Skaggs at about mile 10.   I pushed on ahead.   This was the high point of my race.   I felt great, marveling that I could even run after last week.   At about mile 11, I noticed the road where the Bear 100 course would leave this course.   I could envision myself running on that road in September.

I arrived at the aid station below the road up to Logan Peak.  The volunteers were fantastic and knew what we would need.  Next up was a six-mile out-and-back up to the top of the high 9,710 peak.   Snow appeared more frequently and I was soon running through snow banks and mud.  It reminded me of the Riley Point section of Bighorn 100 last week.   I slowed as I wondered if I was on the right road.  Jim Skaggs caught up and we concluded that we were doing fine.   Where were the front-runners?   Surely we should have seen them by now.    Within about 1.5 miles of the top, they came running down.  Leland, Brian, and others, were looking great.  I wished I had that energy.  Oh well, another day.    Jim and I pressed on.   He pushed it pretty hard and arrived at the top about 3 minutes before me.   The last section up reminded me of the snow ridge climb at Squaw Peak 50.  

Once I touched the tower, I quickly turned around and started bounding down the snow very fast.  Within a minute, I passed Jim and a couple other runners.   This downhill run was great fun, bounding down snow, and prancing down fairly technical rocky trail.   At one point my foot sank very deep into the snow, causing me to trip forward, doing a full face-plant in the snow.   It was pretty funny, but I felt fine.   I returned to the aid station and continued on without seeing Jim.  But after a mile or so, on the road climb ahead, I looked back and saw Jim almost catching me.    I wasn’t ready to be caught and the downhill ahead saved me.   I pushed it fast.  Soon it turned into some rolling, mostly downhill single-track that was fantastic and went on for a couple miles.   It was great fun, but I was starting to get tired.   The downhill went on and on.  I wished that it would continue, but I knew we still had some climbs ahead.

When I finally hit the climb, I could tell my good energy was gone.   It started to feel like mile 80 last week and I slowed.   In a field that looked like a lettuce field, Jim Skaggs caught up and passed me.   I tried to keep up, but failed and watched him go.   Finally I reached the top and knew it would be all downhill from here to Dry Canyon and the finish.   But my legs would only take me at average speed.  There would be no more blasting down the hills.   I had about five more miles and 3,500 feet to descend.   A woman runner who I had passed on the initial climb passed me running very strong.   Finally I returned to the Dry Canyon aid station.   The guys there were kind and realized that I was pretty tired, still impressed that I could do this after a 100-miler.   Just four more miles.    I took it fairly easy, stopped to clean out a shoe a couple times, and finally reached the neighborhoods.   It was a very hot day down at the bottom. 

I looked behind me, but couldn’t see anyone chasing me, so I took it easy.   The park appeared and to kind cheers I ran across the finish line.    I finished in 6:25, in about 14th place.   Mark Ellison finished four minutes later.  Jim had finished 12 minutes earlier.  Jill finished about a half hour later.  I recovered well and felt great.   No ill effects.  No stomach problems all day.  It had been a great, fun, recovery run.   It will probably be my last long run before Tahoe Rim 100 in three weeks.

Logan Peak is a great event.   Come try it next year!