I was reading Davy Crockett’s blog history the other week and noticed a race he had done last year called the Logan Peak Trail Run. It caught my attention because it was A) not too far away and B) less than 50 miles. I went to the website and started looking at the map and elevation profile and mentally said – “No Way! That sucker has way too much uphill!”
However, the race teased at my mind for several days and I finally gave in last Tuesday and decided to see if I could still register. On Wednesday I found that I could still enter if my registration made it to Logan by Friday. After sending off my registration, I called my aunt up in Logan and asked if I could spend the night at her house before the race so I didn’t have a 2 hour drive that morning.
Friday night I got to Logan and was interested to find that I was mentally psyching myself into a tizzy (all technical terms) about the elevation. It was very scary to me because I knew this would be my most challenging race ever. Luckily, my aunt lived a little less than a mile from the starting line – so I didn’t have to go too far on race morning.
I headed up at 5:20 on race morning and was delighted to see my friend, Clark Hirshi, in the parking lot. Gave him a hug and visited a little before picking up my race packet. I also said hello to Jim Skaggs, Matt (aka Twinkies) from the FastRunningBlog, and Kyle and Lindsay Lauck (Lindsay and I were planning on encouraging each other during the uphills). I also saw Paul and Celeste Collman and wished them well.
At 5:50 a.m., the race director gave us some last minute information, walked us down to the starting line and counted down to the start of the race. We were off! The first half mile or so was on road and uphill, so I quickly fell into my place near the back of the pack. I introduced myself to Cole and Ray – two guys that we would play leapfrog with for the first half of the race (we were fighting over last place).
The race left pavement and turned on to the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. As the racers turned the fenceline onto the trail I was able to see all 70+ runners in front of me – for one last time. Shortly after getting onto the BST, I caught up to Lindsay and Ryan and we ran together for another half mile or more until Ryan said goodbye and took off at his own pace.
Lindsay and I were soon all alone heading up the hills. We knew we had a lot of uphill to face all day, so for the first 5 miles, mainly race walked as fast as we could. We were sucking air most of the time and knew it was going to be a long, long day. We could hear two guys behind us and around mile 3.5 they finally passed us. I was kind of glad, because Ray was a talker. Granted, his stories were interesting about Adventure Races, but I was kind of annoyed at the non-stop talking.
It was a great sight to finally get to the first aid station (which would later be the final aid station) a little before mile 5. I was wearing my Nathan running pack with 50 oz of water and at this point had my handheld bottle filled with Heed. Ate some fruit and packed my front pocket with M&Ms and peanuts and we headed off. At this altitude we were getting pretty cold, so kept our pace up. A little after mile 5 we were able to get to some sections of flats and downhills and ran all of them.
Right around mile 7 we hit the first snow patch. It was only about 7 feet across, but this patch was total ice and no way to dig in. Just before I got across my feet slipped out from under me and I fell hard on my butt (later I found a huge bruise and some cuts from this fall). Lost my handheld and sunglasses, but the sweeper behind threw them across to me. Lindsay pulled a little ahead on the downhill sections and then I would reel her in on the uphills. Cole and Ray would pass us on the uphills, then we would pass them again on the downhill/flat sections.
After several easier miles we started hitting the next big uphill sections. It was always nice to get any relatively flat sections, just to give our lungs a break.
At mile 11.5 we hit the next aid station and I was able to say hi to Matt/Twinkies who had just finished the out and back section. The next six miles was the out and back. During this section I was able to say hi to Jim Skaggs, Celeste Collman and then Paul Collman along with other runners as we cheered each other on. During the next six miles we had to cross several snow fields and lots more fun uphills.
The one snowfield was so steep that I finally just sat down and buttskiied to the bottom. It was actually quite fun and I could use my feet for steering. Other fields were less steep and we could run/walk across them ‘slip sliding away.’
There was a couple of jeeps that drove up towards the tower that was the turnaround point. They set up an unofficial aid station that I would visit on the way down.
It was nice to see the tower finally getting close. One last killer uphill push along the edge of the snowfield and I made it. I touched the tower at 4:52 – just under the 5 hour mark that I was hoping to beat. I waited for Lindsay to make it to the top and we took pictures of each other. Ray had told me that Cole decided to skip the out and back (we were told it was an option) and do a shorter race.
Lindsay Lauck celebrating the tower touch
Enjoying the view and catching my breath
After refueling and rearranging our packs, we headed on down for the second half of the race. I said goodbye to Lindsay since I knew she was fresher and faster on the downhills and figured we wouldn’t see each other again. (I did see her about a quarter mile ahead until mile 21 and then lost her after that).
Down through the snowhills again. I was able to follow some good tracks off to the side and avoid the slipperiest sections and stay out of a lot of the mud. I was using hands and feet to get up the steep section I had slid down before and saw lots of hand prints from others that had done the same before me.
Stopped quickly at the unofficial aid station and then back to the previous aid station and I headed around the next side of the mountain. It would have been nice to think I was done with uphills, but I knew there were a lot ahead of me.
On the other loop around the mountain, I continued to run all the downhills. I struggled a little more on the flats, but would force myself to run as much as I could (or trot or jog).
At mile 18 I was hit hard with a death march. There was just no energy there. I tried increasing my fluids, snacks, gels, etc. and knew that it would pass – but while you are in the middle of one of these episodes, it is hard to think logically. I kept thinking it ironic that Michael Jackson (who had just died) songs were coming on at the same time I was tempted to lie down on the side of the trail and curl up and die. Finally, around mile 21 the energy came back and I was able to think positively again and move better.
Was very surprised and pleased to see the last aid station suddenly come upon me. I sat in a chair for 5 minutes to regroup. They kept bringing me lots of fruit and I actually drank my first full cup of Coke in my life. Anything was welcome at this point in time.
Started down the hill. I had nothing left but would force myself to cautiously run the downhills everywhere I could. I was afraid of face planting and couldn’t relax enough to just let gravity pull me down the slopes.
As I came down through the mouth of the canyon it was interesting to hear two songs in a row come on my iPod – ‘Champion’ by Queen Latifah and ‘Anyway’ by Martina McBride and both of these songs were very appropriate and motivational and helped me move on.
Back on the Bonneville Shoreline Trail I had to slug it out over 3 more small uphills. I could see the park where we finished down below and knew I was going to make it at this point in time. Back on the pavement I hoped I was taking the correct turns. They had removed the course markers, but I was able to find my way back to the finish line. As I turned off the road and onto the sidewalk and uphill slope to the end, I was crying from the relief/stress of finishing this run.
It felt Soooooo Good to quit moving. Final time: 9 hours 14 minutes (I beat the 10 hour cutoff). Ryan and Lindsay had stayed to cheer me across and I enjoyed saying hi to them. Ray had gotten lost on the snowfields and finished about 5 minutes after I did.
I now have a coffee mug to show that I finished this tough course.
Forced a little food into me and went back to my aunt’s house and took a shower and laid down for a little bit. The drive home was very nauseating and it didn’t help that the freeway was closed with an accident. I finally found I could cope with the air conditioning blasting full on me while I drove (so much for not having windows in the jeep).
Sunday I was hurting pretty bad. It seemed to actually get worse during the day. Monday, the legs are not hurting as bad – but I think I picked up some small bug – or else it is exhaustion because I still feel like I was hit by a truck.
Will I do it again? Not sure. I would like to improve my hill running and endurance and prove that I can better my time – there is lots of improvement available. I learned a lot during the day and am proud of finishing and surviving. Right now – all I want to do is rest.