I arrived at the start around 5:30-ish and made my way over to check in. I visited with Diane and Shannon as well as getting a “before picture” (thanks again for that, Shannon). Start time was closing in, and this was one of the few times I wasn’t anxious at all about getting started (I usually get a bit anxious before long runs, whether races or self-supported). Perhaps it was a combination of the friendly and familiar faces at the start as well as kind of feeling less prepared than I had a month ago. That may seem backwards, but feeling unprepared, I was just in it to finish and didn’t have any other big goals in mind. When asked if I had a goal, I just went off my last 50K time and added on….maybe 7 hours? I don’t have a strong track record for estimating the time it will take me to do trail runs. Usually, I grossly underestimate the time. For this one, I actually overestimated - hey, I will take it!
Apparently, this is my blue period, for trail attire. Thanks to Shannon for the before picture (above).
The race got started of course right into climbing, first out of the park, through the bench neighborhood, and then along the Bonneville Shoreline trail over to the mouth of Dry. I had trained quite a bit for the start and for the climb up dry but between allergies, losing old dog family members this Spring, and the busy nature of life, I had definitely slacked off in the final month or so before the race. I alternated between jogging and power hiking up Dry, as when I fail to find my groove with the uphill jog, I can usually power hike faster while keeping my heart rate low. I followed close behind a few folks who had settled into a similar pace and was passed by a female with an amazing powerhike. I marveled at her extra long and smooth strides. I am pretty sure I met her at the last Logan Peak and she was recovering from a broken hip or something similar (or it was her doppelganger). Either way, impressive.
I cruised through the first aid station as I am an “everything but the kitchen sink” sort of packer and definitely needed to eat/drink off some of this extra pack weight. It was fantastic to run with Tara along the South Syncline as well as off and on for the rest of the race. I had run part of the S. Syncline in the past, but it was always under a bit of snow so for this effort, it felt like a new trail. It certainly did not disappoint! The wildflowers and ridge views were breathtaking and the break from the uphill climb was perfectly timed.
Photo above - Tara coming around the bend, along the South Syncline Trail
Thanks to Tara M for capturing a few photos of me (above) heading down the South Syncline trail.
Eventually, the single track became more of a two track, and the ups and downs turned to more consistently up. Being familiar with a portion of the rocky road just above the Providence Canyon quarry, I had expected Welch’s Flat road to be much worse (like ankle breaker worse). It actually was quite nice for the most part. The road wound around and for a moment we could see the Logan Peak tower in the distance. This was the stretch of the course that I had not ever been on, so I assumed the peak was roughly half way. Within the last mile before the second aid station, my quads started to cramp up. I took two salt tablets and mentally crossed my fingers that the aid station would have bananas. That combination often resolves cramping for me if addressed quickly. The salt seemed to help immediately.
Along this stretch, I also had the opportunity to meet (for the first time in person) the smiley and speedy, Lee L!
Arriving at the second aid station, I grabbed a couple bananas, potato chips, and topped off my water bottle. I passed along my thanks to another awesome set of volunteers and continued up toward the peak. This stretch of road may be the most deceiving as the tower appears to be so close, however, there are some nice long switchbacks before arriving at the summit. It was fun to exchange encouragement with those who had already summited and were on their way down. They all looked refreshed and enjoying the downhill. I was already looking forward to that. Along this stretch, I heard my name from a familiar voice as Lacey came up for a visit and then passed. I also saw Diane shortly after her summit along this stretch, looking strong and making her way back down the big switchbacks. I think it absolutely made the race to share the start, the trail, the summit, and the finish with friends.
I hit the shed up there, as I thought that was the official requirement and snapped off a couple pictures as well as admired the alluring ridge line that wondered off toward Providence Peak.
Tara and Lacey on the Logan Peak Summit, still smiling!
It was time to change gears and settle in for a mostly downhill cruise. It took my legs a bit to figure out what I was asking of them, and soon enough I found myself back in the last aid station at the base of the Logan Peak road. I scarfed down a few more bananas, still trying to keep the leg cramps at bay, as well as potato chips and a small cup of coke. I like coke, but it doesn’t taste much better than during a long run. The subtle burn of the carbonation as well a little sugar kick felt great.
It was now time to get back to the stretch of trail I was familiar with. I ran the road with a bit of familiarity as I had driven it before looking for this same two track last Summer. The difference was, of course, that I was in a car and it was about 11:30 at night. There was a short jaunt along the road, as well as the passing of some super cool motorized users as well as one asshat on a dirt bike who I had envisioned socking the first time he passed along the Peak road and gunned it spewing rocks at runners. My annoyance with him was immediately curbed by the lady who came by shortly after him on her dirt bike cheering every runner on with congratulations. Alas, I hit the two track. I cruised down this stretch feeling thankful to be back in familiar territory. Cow poo camp, looked lush and totally free of cattle and soon it was time to turn on to the North Syncline. This stretch is a nice combination of shorter ups and downs through duffy pine sections and then a few meadows blanketed with lovely wildflowers. I tried to keep Lacey's red shirt in sight as she seemed to glide through this section. Eventually, I lost sight of her. I knew there was another climb before hitting dry as I remembered this climb from last year’s Spring Hollow to Dry adventure. I also remember hitting it on tired legs and although it isn’t steep, I just was kind of out of juice for climbing at that point. I power hiked through the meadow while stopping only snap to a few photos.
After getting up and out of the meadow, there is a stretch of trail that is probably my least favorite, before hitting the spring/water trough. Due to run off and erosion, is V shaped and just tough to run (whether on tired or fresh legs). I think knowing the trail well enough to know it is brief helped with my mind set. I got through that, cruised on past the spring, knowing I was fine on water and well on my way to the fourth and final aid station before my favorite part….trucking back down Dry Canyon. I stopped for another banana and the fine folks at the last aid station topped off my water as well as warning me about an elusive root smack dab in the middle of the aid station trail. I thanked those folks again, and started likely my best effort of the race.
Although tired, my legs were still pretty responsive and seemed ok with maybe over-doing it on this downhill stretch. Perhaps, I over conserved earlier in the race or perhaps the downhill training I did in dry over the last few months was one of the few things that felt “old hat” to me. Either way, it felt amazing to pick up some speed and sail (for me anyways) down dry. Along the way, despite the legs still feeling great, I started to get a pretty intense side stitch. Deep breaths in and short fast and hard exhales seemed to work it out enough for me to continue my sprint down without doubling over. At one point, a leg cramp kicked in and my right leg seized mid stride. Luckily, with impeccable timing, I was able to push (bounce?) off a boulder with my left hand and continue down trail, basically just barely avoiding eating shit. I envisioned the tumble that I had just narrowly missed and continued down trail, with even more focus on foot placement.
At the mouth of dry, my side stitch returned with even more intensity. The stabbing pain was pretty rough but I didn’t just sprint down dry to walk the Shoreline Trail….back to the breathing routine and hoping it would subside for just a bit longer. I jogged and power hiked the first hill out of dry and managed to jog the rest of the way long the BST. On the way back into the bench neighborhood, I met Jared, the only person who has run the Logan Peak Race every year since it has existed. He complimented me on my effort coming down dry as he was one of the folks that I had manage to pass. We chatted for a bit coming back into the park and I just pushed to keep up with him as well as finish strong.
Well, 26.9-ish miles (according to my watch), ~7261 feet of elevation gain/loss, and a little over 6.5 hours later, another trail adventure is in the books…..powered by perfect weather, wonderful people, probably too much sugar (one day I will get that MAF fat burning stuff down), good tunes in my right ear, and a little bit of determination and training. I didn't take nearly enough photos, however, if I had, I would have never finished the race.
Photos above - Thanks again to Shannon S for the before and after pictures! In case it isn't 100 percent obvious, yes, I totally peed my pants during my last hurrah down dry. Apparently, those shorts hide nothing.
Shoes: Hoka One One Challenger ATR (this was definitely pushing the age old rule, don't change up anything just before your race, but I chanced it and they did well despite only a a few runs the week prior in the new shoes). I did end up with a blister on my pinky toe by the end of the race.
Pack: Nathan Vapor Shape
Sustenance: Tailwind (started the run with 400 calories worth in my handheld - tastes like a liquid version of a smartie), Kind Bars, Hammer Gel in a soft "GU Brand" reusable bottle, chips, 4 electrolyte capsules, and 2 small cups of coke during the final two aid stations stops. I also started with 2L of water in my pack so I didn't worry about running out in between stations and only topped off the handheld throughout the race. Side note, Hammer seems to make the re-usable bottle as well but it is a harder plastic. Both are currently available at Al's Sporting Goods.
Race website: http://www.buffalorunadventures.com/logan-peak/
Thanks to Jim Skaggs and all the race volunteers who always make Buffalo Run Adventure races a good time!