is no time to think about how much I hurt; there is only time
to run. - Ben Logsdon
Steens Rim Run: 20th Anniversary Running of the Steens
the van, heading home on the day after he ran the Steens,
17-year old Ben announces he feels much better today. He bonked
pretty hard after his Steens Rim Run effort of 59.54. Vanilla
Thunder (aka Manciata) "double clutched" his breathing
between miles four and five, two breaths in for every breath
out (see this and other definitions in our 10kTruth
Runnerspeak dictionary). He crossed the line in 62.32
and placed first in the soft 40-49 division. Regan, who has
biked, not run, this summer, finished in 66 something making
a respectable joint effort by the 10k Truth Team; although
not quite the powerhouse it would have been if the Rage had
come along. Next year, Rage?
The night before
the race, Team 10kTruth camped on the Steens, down a meadow
road below Jackman Park. Other runners camped around the mountain
that night, including Team EEB from Iowa. Of that University
field trip group, a hardy six signed up to experience 10k
Truth as served up Steens Mountain style. Later they told
us that they decided to run Steens despite what they'd read
about it in the 1999 10kTruth.com Race Report on the year
of the blizzard.
Team EEB member placed in his age group. Another one of their
runners looked at the pale, gray ribbon of mountain road disappearing
in the distance as he hitched a ride back to the start after
the race was over and said with disbelief, "We ran that?"
The longest distance he'd ever run before was eight miles,
and that was in Missouri! By the end of mile two, he said
he could no longer breathe. He walked until he caught his
breath then began to run again, one foot in front of the other,
not looking up, just listening to the sound of his feet on
gravel (which some compare to the grinding crunch of cartilage
in damaged knees). He finished in a very respectable 74 minutes
over the 10k distance with its 2000 foot elevation gain. Manciata
inelegantly says, "Bodies are meant to do shit."
Team EEB did some that day.
Report: Steens Rim Run 2002 by Ben Logsdon
AM August 3rd My eyes snap open. I attribute my early
awakening to the soundness of my sleep. The magical pillow
I accidentally borrowed from Uncle Bruce aided me greatly
in that endeavor, although I heard a string of four letter
words from his tent when he discovered that his pillow was
missing the night before. Through the translucent fibers of
my tent I witness an inspiring pre-dawn sky above the mountain
ridge. It runs along the ridge in a mixture of rose and yellow.
The fresh mountain air is clear, unlike the suffocating smoke
that filled the valleys the previous day. I slip out of my
sleeping bag and quickly throw some warm clothes on. I walk
towards a tree to empty the quart of water I drank before
going to bed. The mountain proclaims a challenge. I ruthlessly
day, Ben was the first to rise, jazzed for the race ahead.
The registration table was set up early, so our runners signed
in and we had time for a jaunt up to the Kiger Gorge Lookout.
go through registration quickly, luckily my uncle is a great
guy, and loans me some money to pay for a t-shirt and registration
fee. (I forgot my wallet) Breakfast is a bowl of gruel, and
water. Always light and always at least 3 hours before the
race. Race time isn't until 10:00, but the walkers kick off
at 9:30. There is a certain amount of anger necessary to run
this kind of race, and at the moment I am trying to find something
to get mad at. Mostly
though, I enjoy the view of the glacial valley from Kiger
Gorge lookout, about 3 miles into the course.
drive the red wagon up to the lookout to change and enjoy
the view. Normally we go there after the race is over, but
we have time to kill. We drive back down to the starting line
so that the runners, Uncle Bruce, Uncle Regan, and I, could
warm-up and give the support van plenty of time to get to
the top. The course is impressive, and this is only amplified
by the searing pain in one's lungs while attempting to run
AM Only thirty minutes until the race starts. I'm wearing
my lucky Palmer cross-country jersey and red Adidas shorts,
as well as my Adidas Supernovas (mountain running shoes).
I scope out my potential competition, looking for people in
my age group who I might be able to take down, or who could
take me. At first the field looks pretty small, but by 15
minutes until start time more and more people appear. I feel
the excitement coursing through my veins as I jog up and down
the road before the start line. The apex of my summer is this
little jaunt to the Steens, and I am soaking up every second
AM The race starts in five minutes and the runners are
lined up. I look around and see the nervous anticipation apparent
in some faces, whereas others hold a determined demeanor.
I feel a little nervous myself. A million thoughts run through
my head. Time slows down for me. I watch the gun held high
in the air, and the words, "Runners to your mark," ring out.
In the next second I feel the space hanging between my heart
AMCRACK! Like a tape in slow motion switched to fast
forward, everything shoots forward. Initially I am caught
in the tide of runners. As soon as I recover my wits I maneuver
around the runner in front of me and break away from the pack,
trying to follow behind the leaders by about 15 meters. A
voice in the back of my head wonders if I am going out too
fast. Probably, but I feel pretty good. I vividly remember
the Steens Rim Run from 1999, when
I was running in a blizzard in below freezing temperatures.
That was the most exhilarating experience of my life. The
pain was so great that the pleasure that came from it was
AM I cross the cattle guard and reach the first mile
marker in 9 minutes. I definitely went out a little quick,
but not as bad as I thought. The nice thing about Steens is
that the grade of the road isn't that steep, it just goes
on and on and on. Kong, on the other hand, has a very steep
grade, but is only about half as long. The pain starts to
set in about halfway through mile two. Running
Kong has its advantages. It makes all other runs pathetic
in comparison. I just keep thinking about the pain of Kong,
and how the pain of Steens is nothing in comparison.
AM I can't believe that I'm only 2 miles into the race,
and I've already slowed down to 10 minutes a mile. About five
people have passed me and I know the initial adrenaline rush
wore off long ago. It is definitely time to pick up the pace
and try to gain back some lost time. I initially dreamed of
breaking 55 minutes, but those delusions were quickly fading
into desperate hopes of breaking 60 minutes. There are many
different levels of pain. Just as I start to get used to one
pain (a searing fire in my side), wondrous new pains develop
in my knees, and foot. There is no time to think about how
much I hurt; there is only time to run.
AM I gain back some lost time in the third mile, and
now I am only halfway through the race. I brute force it up
a nasty hill to the watering station, where I wet my throat
with a plastic cup of water. Water in a 10k is only good for
eliminating the dry throat experience, which is even more
intense at 8000 feet. The air is noticeably thinner, and I
have to intake more air per stride than I would at any normal
elevation. The hill after the third mile marker is fairly
tough, but most of the hill climbing is over by now.
AM Pain, pain, pain! Time to kick it in baby, this is
where it counts. Any sucker can run two miles, and some change.
I remember how the first time I ran up this mountain I had
an epiphany about pain. The pain of the blizzard for the first
four miles compared to the clear, cool windy final two miles
was like running out of hell into the heavens. I overloaded
on pain, and ended up with a strange giddy feeling. And I
was really hungry. During this race though, I 'm not that
hungry and I am more focused on speeding up for the last two
miles so I'd have a chance at breaking 60 minutes. The hill
up to the five mile marker is one of those hills where I choose
not to look up as to keep myself from being completely demoralized.
"Oh God, I'm only half way up this forsaken hill," is what
I don't want to be thinking. Once I reach the top of the hill
there is a really nice downhill. I start to pick up the pace,
and I feel good.
AM I reach the five mile marker and breeze by the water
station. The last mile and a quarter of the race is uphill,
and I push as hard as I can. Pain takes a hold of me, and
wrings me dry, killing me little by little. "I hurt...I hurt...I
hurt," is all I can think. Where the hell is the 6th mile
marker? I really hate the walkers who don't move out of my
way, they hog the middle of the road, and even when I pant
down their neck they ignore me like they own the whole road.
AM I reach the six mile marker, and I can see the last
quarter of the race. There is a turn that is about 200 meters
from the finish, but reaching the turn is the most painful
part of the race. My vision blurs as I round the corner and
beat it up to the finish. I keep glancing at my watch, and
I realize I am barely going to break 60 minutes. I cross the
line at 59:54, and stumble through the finishers' chute. Finally
it is over, and I'm standing a mile above the Alvord desert.
Uncle Bruce and Uncle Regan finish in the next five minutes.
Vanilla Thunder speeds up at the end in fear of being passed
by someone. I'm just glad the pain is over.
Ben, "from Palmer, Alaska, not Fairbanks,"
places third in his age group.
As we drive from Crane Hot Springs in the middle of Armageddon,
we realize that the mountain gods frowned upon Vanilla Thunder's
first place finish in his "soft" age division, and were now
punishing us with a lightning, hail, wind, and rain storm
of epic proportions.
Race Report: 1999 Steens Rim Run
is one of Oregon's most pristine and treasured wilderness
areas. While I had lived in Oregon since 1959, I had never
been there until I chased Bruce's rented V-10 van in the Dodge
Dakota almost clear across the state to get there. I'm glad
I opted for the V8 (318), which had no trouble keeping up
with "The Big Red Unit" as the rig was named for this particular
rounds the last turn and heads for the finish line
of the Steens Rim Run
believe Bruce lives on the west side of the "latte curtain"
(his metaphor for the Cascade Mountain Range) only for
economic reasons. In his heart, he is an east-sider. I
felt somehow I had been let into a piece of his life not
everyone gets the chance to experience: (1) Playing golf
on courses where the word "green" does not appear anywhere
on the score card for good reasons; (2) local rules do
not allow relief from hay bales and; (3) running a 10k
race that STARTS at 7,835 feet elevation.
The Steens Rim
Run, as the Coop says, is "one for the runners punch card."
While Coop could not make this particular trip, I'll bet he's
not far behind me. Runners who finish are rewarded with a
spectacular view of the Alvord Desert that is literally 5,000
feet straight down. But, the key is, finishing. The course
record is 43:07 by Justin Wadsworth of Bend (1998) and 54:02
by Julie Verte, also of Bend (1997). Sound slow? Come and
run it, baby.
Bruce's 14 year old nephew, Ben, and I arrived at the start
and our support team took the vehicles to the summit/finish.
Today, we would be trading our normal warm up for a "stay
warm" in the pickup. It was damn cold outside. It was also
Ben's first race. I guarantee, he will never forget it.
and Ben get ready for the race before the support van heads
up the mountain. Little do they realize what's brewing on
top of the Steens.
Not too long before
the start, the clouds descended and the wind started blowing
real hard. None of us were adequately prepared for this kind
of weather. All of us had planned on wearing shorts, but that
changed in a hurry when it started to snow. I thought August
in eastern Oregon, right? It's going to be hot over there.
I didn't think
I would ever seriously consider wearing sweats in a race.
Regan and Ben did not have any and Bruce kept the conversation
short and to the point: long pants. I gave Ben a sweatshirt
and an extra pair of gloves I had. It was all I had in the
pickup. Regan gave him his hat, leaving
him hatless. "No way," I thought. I dug out a poly tank top
and he devised a head dress out of it that would keep his
head warm. I can honestly say I gave Regan the shirt right
off my back.
While all of this
was going on, Bruce was also planning on running hatless.
I found my son's "Kidsports" baseball hat under the seat and
he gladly put it on. He looked at me with his sad puppy face
and said, "I love you, man."
It was pretty
quiet and not too festive in the 'ol Dodge, as we all looked
outside with dread.
Rage with storm clouds above the Steens in August 1999.
We sat with the
heater on till the last possible minute before we jogged over
to the start. Amazingly, the starters gun got stuck enabling
us to get a few more moments of pleasure from the 30 mile
an hour head wind that was blasting corn snow into our faces
like buckshot. When the gun finally went off, all heads went
down and started boring into the wind.
yards into this thing, I had one of those ice cream headaches.
I got to think everywhere Bruce goes, bad weather follows
(Jasper to Banff Relay earlier that year, Civil War Relay,
whatever…). I hammered the first mile in just over nine minutes
and I worked hard for it. The wind was howling straight into
our faces and we were climbing at a rate of about 350 feet
per mile. By my estimate, I was now at about 8,100 feet, the
air was getting thinner and my back was getting sore from
bending down into the wind to keep my eyes from burning. I
passed walkers, some with young children who amazingly were
not crying, which partially explains why the valley boys can
never beat anyone on the east side of the "Latte Curtain,"
especially when it comes down to a guts race.
It was amazing,
but I was working my butt off and was not getting anywhere.
My second mile was a blistering 9:15. If guessed right at
where 5k might have been, breaking an hour on this puppy was
no longer something I was thinking seriously about. The runners
got a little relief as the course angled slightly away from
the direction of the wind. Actually, by this point, I was
not warm, but I was not freezing anymore as long as I kept
Just about halfway
through mile5, I saw Ben's family car coming down the course.
This was unusual because they don't let cars on the course
after the race starts, and now several were on their way down.
His obviously concerned mother rolled down the window and
said the race had been cancelled. My wife chimed in from the
back seat and said there would be no vehicle at the top waiting
for us and to abandon the race.
I did not question
it and ran around and jumped into the other side and down
the hill we went to pick up the other two. When we got to
Bruce, he gave me one of those "you weanie, can't you handle
a hysterical support crew?" looks, asked where the red van
was after they tried the same story to get him in the car
and quickly turned his attention back to the race. I jumped
out of the car like his wimp lackey and chased him up the
same hill I just worked my butt off running up. When I saw
Cory waiting at mile 5, I knew it really must have been bad
on top. Later, they said it was a virtual whiteout. Amazingly,
just as I joined Bruce back in the race, the clouds broke
and blue sky appeared. Bruce and I finished in 1:04. Regan
and Ben finished shortly thereafter.
Mike and their "blankie" at the finish of
the Steens Rim Run 1999
Mike, Ben and Regan group portrait after the Steens
Rim Run 1999
The winner finished
in about 48 minutes and was not wearing a shirt.
All I could get
out of Bruce the rest of the weekend was some disgusted glances
in my direction…muttering something about some doughy handed
valley boy needing a ride during 10k.