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Posted On February 1, 2006 By In Interviews And 865 Views

Logan’s Run

At 19, Logan Sherman is the youngest ever to win the Dallas YMCA 8 Mile Turkey Trot when he crossed the finish line in front of 25,000 other runners this past November. A month later, he also won the Dallas White Rock Marathon Half Marathon for the second time. Having won it two years ago at the ripe old age of 17, he has also likely set the record as the youngest to win that race as well.

At 5’ 10” 137lbs, it’s validation for someone who was nicknamed “Jelly Roll”, ten years earlier, because of his lack of fitness. It’s also “an outlet for all my emotions. Love, fear, excitement. It’s emotionally beneficial and it’s physically rewarding. It’s scary to imagine not being able to run. ‘Every passing second is a chance to turn it all around,’” he says quoting the movie few others saw, Vanilla Sky. Logan is now hitting a point in his life and in his running that, at times, only he believed was possible despite some of the people around him. “Everyone I’ve met has changed me, either for the good or bad. But I’m grateful because it’s made me who I am today.” Logan is home grown, born in Dallas, February 28, 1986. He graduated from Pearce High School in 2004, after making headlines because of a controversy where it appeared other area coaches underhandedly conspired to cut Logan out of the final state championship meet where he was slated to set a new  state record on his way to winning both the mile and two-mile events. He’s very forgiving about the ordeal. “Somebody messed up. Someone made a mistake,” is how he sums it all up, but does admit it was a tough time. “We had to go through a lot. Back and forth to Austin, the travel, the lawyers…” He looks down and shakes his head, his hair barely grown back after he shaved it all off in August. Logan’s dad is the esteemed Dr. Allan Sherman, 58, a very well-known podiatrist in the area running community. Dr. Sherman is also an accomplished runner. “I’m somebody who enjoys running.” (He has run over 50 marathons with his first being the 1978 Dallas White Marathon in three hours and 28 minutes. Dr. Sherman’s PR is 2:48. He has also done Boston twice and run 15 fifty mile ultra-marathons, all of them at the Jackson 5-0 which is no longer in existence. “I started because my father had a heart attack at 42,” says Dr. Sherman.  Previously, there had only been one person in the family who was athletic. Dr. Sherman’s maternal grandfather had been a sprinter in the 1920’s and 30’s, who attempted the marathon once, but was unable to finish. The grandfather died at 83 of stomach cancer, Dr. Sherman says. “I dedicated my first marathon to him.”)

Two older sisters round out Logan’s immediate family.

About his dad, Logan says, “My dad had been a huge runner, running marathons and ultra-marathons. He would always encourage us to run. But it wasn’t until about the 7th grade that I figured I could be a good runner if I put effort into it.”

Having a foot doctor as your dad has its benefits. “Obviously, that helped a lot with me being a runner. He kept me away from a lot of injuries.” Dr. Sherman is from New Jersey, graduating from the University of Akron, Ohio first, then going on to Ohio College of Pediatrics in Cleveland. He moved to Dallas and went into private practice in 1971.

Logan’s mom was born in Alabama. According to Logan, “After high school she wanted to move out and explore. She was a model for a while and ended up taking a job as a flight attendant. They met when she was stationed out of DFW. She needed to see a podiatrist, was sent to my dad, and the rest is history.”

While Logan was in the first grade, his parents divorced, and he went with his mom back to Alabama. But by the time Logan was nine, he says he was out of control. “I was way over weight and needed some structure. As a kid I always pushed myself to try to be a better athlete. I was overweight and terribly insecure. My nick name in elementary school was ‘Jelly Roll.’ So I moved back in with my dad.  I’ve been living here ever since.” His mom still flies, preferring the international routes.

Logan was taken with sports at a young age, participating in baseball, soccer, and ice-hockey. (On the ice, he played all four years of high school in the defense position, as one of the teams

better players. But says he spent an inordinate amount of time in the penalty box for roughing and cross-checking. “I had a bit of a temper.” The Wednesday before the State Cross Country meet, as a senior, he was hit into the boards extremely hard. The opposing player was called for a Boarding penalty while Logan lay motionless on the ice and then writhed in pain. He got up and ran the State meet three days later but says he was hurting internally and physically from the check. He never told anyone, something that would become a theme when he experienced pain.)

Leading up to the 7th Grade, Logan would “act out” his father says. “Of course, every time he did, the coach would make him run laps.” Logan told his dad he wanted to run track that same year. “He was very overweight,” Dr. Sherman says. “The first time, I offered, ‘Don’t run because I run. Follow your passion.’” Logan said he still wanted to go out for the team. “I started running as a means to lose weight and get in shape for ice hockey. One day in PE, I disrupted the class or something like that. So the coach told me I could run two miles or serve a detention. I was so scared my dad would find out. So I ended up running the two miles.” Logan laughs heartily thinking back on the day. “It was extremely hard. But for some reason, I decided that I would give track a try from that [experience.]”

He remembers his first race “as if it were yesterday,” he says. “My first race was for the Spring track season of the seventh grade. But it was a 1200 meter race on the track. They shot the gun and my friend stepped on the heel of my shoe in the first 40 meters. My shoe came off and I didn’t know what to do, but I kept going. I ended up winning the race by about 100m with one shoe. After that everyone called me ‘Shoeless Sherman.’ I wasn’t running a whole lot and definitely not on a schedule yet. I trained a little to get in shape, but it was seventh grade. I ran a 5k maybe a couple months before that and my dad ran by my side. I was slow and last in my age group.”

That first year he won district. “When I started playing ice hockey, I lost some weight. And then I decided to start running, too, at about the same time. But for the most part I would say [I was] insecure. I was horribly scared of spiders. I think emotionally I was really scared about being alone. In high school I always surrounded myself with people to get rid of this fear. But I think I’m over that. Now I believe you can learn a lot about who you are by being alone. I’ve changed a lot since high school. I think I’ve fixed a lot of the things I wasn’t happy with. ” Logan prospered. Later on in high school, he would be the only student in Richardson to make State in Cross Country all four years and then, make State in Track all four years, as well. Logan was Captain and Co-Captain of Cross Country and Track teams, made the National Junior Honor Society, and was chosen for the First Team, All-Boys High School, for Cross Country, four consecutive years. Not bad for someone with a bad attitude and weight problem. Those types of people make great comedians, but lousy athletes.

But it was not a straight line to success. There were some stops and starts. “I started running with a group towards the end of eighth grade. I don’t remember the name of the coach or the group, but I think they ended up falling apart. So I stopped going to practice with them. Thanks to my dad, I found TERRY JESSUP, a very well-known coach here in Dallas. I went to his camp the summer before the ninth grade. [This was] the hardest part of my career, by far. He put me on a schedule and I’ve worked with him ever since on high mileage and the Lydiard system. I’ve also gotten a schedule from John McKenzie. He’s coached high school and college. Both coaches are extremely smart and I loved learning all that I did from both of them. Everything I’ve accomplished today I owe to them.”

For his part, Terry Jessup laughs when remembering his first meeting with Logan. “Here was this fat kid. All I could think was, ‘How’s he going to run?’ But he did!”

Not surprisingly, Logan credits his dad as his biggest influence. “He’s always been there for me and pushed me when things got tough. He introduced me to Mr. Jessup and Mr. McKenzie. He’s taken care of all my injuries. Sometimes I try to get a second opinion because he’s my dad and all. But he always seems to have the right answer. I was also inspired by a lot of the high school runners when I was young, my coaches, and classmates.” “He’s a really good kid,” the proud father says.

As time has gone on, his training has improved along with his knowledge and respect for the people he runs with and the training itself. The summer before his senior year, on his own, Logan decided to run three weeks of 100 miles per week. “The summer before my senior year in high school I did three back-to-back 100 mile weeks and got mono. My cross country season suffered. But I thought I knew it all back then and wasn’t following a schedule by Terry or Mckenzie. The miles were kind of just jogging and not really training. ‘Easy miles” is what Terry calls it. But now I’ve been at almost six consecutive months with 100 miles a week, only stepping under that for surgery and tapering for races. But for most of it right around 100 miles a week, this time on a schedule. I’m smarter about it. I’ve added intensity so my legs don’t get used to long slow miles.”

His first year out of high school was at Texas A&M College. He transferred in January to Colorado State University in Ft. Collins (after being recruited by Arkansas University and Georgia Tech) for his sophomore year with a 3.5-3.7 grade point average. Once there, he will be training for indoor and outdoor track through the spring. He says he may come back next Fall for the Turkey Trot or the Half Marathon.

This past summer, Logan got resolution to a problem only he felt and knew. Though he had experienced pains in his heart, light headedness, and shortness of breath since his freshman year of high school, not even doctors could find anything. Everything was normal, they would tell him. Logan never knew when or what triggered the debilitating nature and physical response. It made it hard to diagnose and harder for others to believe there was a problem. Some speculated it was all in his head. “They said there was nothing wrong. But the problems persisted. I ended up running through them, all through high school feeling it in a few races.” At A&M, he finished second at the Penn relays. Two weeks later, his pulse was 177. He didn’t feel well. It appeared Logan was alone in his condition and on its solution. Nevertheless he continued to persevere. “I hate people who make excuses. So I pushed through high school and college, not saying anything to anyone.”

What he was feeling was a heart flutter, a valve in his heart not operating correctly. This past summer, he fell to his knees during a normal run. His dad says he was ashen white, when he saw Logan. His heart beat was 240 when it should have been 150-160. “It felt like the heart was blowing a valve and not sending the oxygen to my muscles. Therefore, I was losing all the energy in the parts of my body that were working.”

On a lark, he had already entered JAMES THURSTON’s  July 10 Bath House Duathlon at White Rock Lake. Logan entered as a relay team with a friend of his dad’s, Dr. ALBERT HERSH, 57. Logan would run two miles and then pass off to Dr. Hersh who would ride 10 miles before passing it back to Logan to run two miles again. Logan’s dad came along to watch. Logan and Hersh set a new course record smashing the old one by over 2 minutes, which had stood for over 60 races, since 1996. Their time was an incredible 43 minutes, 43 seconds. “It was a lot of fun,” Logan says. In celebration, he shaved his thick black hair. “I was looking at pictures, and figured I had had it this way for a while.” Whatever.

Hersh was also aware of Logan’s problem. He found Logan another doctor and who recommended yet another opinion. Enter Dr. CHUN who recommended Logan wear a heart rate monitor during his waking hours. The monitor would record all of the goings-on of Logan’s heart. And, lo and behold, the monitor found and recorded an extra node, called an ablation. “It was an extra nerve that ran to my heart which raises the heart beat,” Logan matter-of-factly explains. Dr. Sherman explains it this way: “It’s like you can’t get out of second gear. The engine is racing but it’s not being efficient.” Logan continues. “It wasn’t fatal. But if I wanted the problems to stop, I would need surgery.” Once learning that he could be cured, he was “relieved. But then it became surreal.”

This past September 23 Logan had heart surgery for five hours to finally correct a problem that had plagued him for his entire running career. Every accomplishment, every win, every personal record was done under the cloak of something he didn’t understand, and couldn’t explain or control. Now, finally, once and for all, it would be fixed. The problem would be solved, giving him new vigor and motivation to run his best.

The operation involved mapping out pathways of the heart, then entering Logan’s body through his neck and leg arteries to “burn off the problem,” Logan’s dad says. “This was high tech stuff.” Logan was restricted on his exercise for about a week. “They said to take off one week. Well…I was running four or five days later.” Exactly a week and day later, he went to the highly ranked Arkansas Chili Pepper cross country 10K, running an impressive 30:30.

As for his impressive, course record win at the duathlon, Logan now says, “The reason I ran so slow at your race was because I actually had the irregularity problem. It was so hot and humid that the nerve shocked my heart. I had to stop for a while.” (I’m sure this will make the other competitors in that race feel even better about losing to you, Logan. – PTN)

Logan enjoys all of his runs and races, but he has favorites, too. “I think every race is my favorite because you can learn from them all, of course there are going to be the races you hate and you wish you’d forget about. But, technically, you learn most from them.” But his favorite race to date occurred at the famous Penn Relays last year while he was at A&M College. “I had been running the 10K. But, I wasn’t performing. I had to impress the head coach because he and I weren’t seeing eye to eye. I was down in the dumps and depressed. I wanted to do something really good. It was my first 10K on the track and I went out there and ran competitively with a time of 29:41, which won second place. It showed me a lot about life. That when you’re knocked down, you always have another chance to pick yourself up. ‘Every passing second is a chance to turn it all around.’ Don’t feel sorry for yourself. Get out there and work your butt off. My favorite moment is when my shoes are off. I felt the greatest sense of accomplishment when I won the half marathon my senior year of high school with a 1:11. I thought it was the greatest thing cause it was actually one of the first races that I had run where there was prize money. I thought there were going to be a lot of talented runners. I ended up comparing my times to other half marathoners and even marathoners and being like ‘man that was slow.’”

Presently, Logan is enjoying the running in Dallas. “I’ve been running with a group of guys three times a week for tempo runs or any kind of fast work. And once a week for a long run. It’s really motivating when you can get with a group of guys who care about the same things you do and want to get better.” He especially is respectful of DUNCAN CRAGG. “Included in this group is Duncan Cragg. His brother Alistar Cragg runs for Adidas. I’ve learned a lot from Duncan this year. He’s almost 34 years old and one of the hardest, most talented runners I’ve ever met. Every morning I don’t want to get up or feel too tired to push myself, I say to myself, ‘Duncan is 33 and kicking my butt!’ So I have to be doing at least what he is doing. There are many other guys in the group that I love talking to and running with. I’ve learned a lot from them this year. Right now I’m working at Luke’s Locker. There is an awesome community there and I’ve met a lot of people from working there.”

Logan looks favorably on the Dallas running scene, saying the talent is deep but that it needs to step up. “Right now in Dallas I feel there are plenty of talented runners. As for the competition, I think there are guys that need to use their talent more. I feel a lot of people out there underestimate themselves. But for the time being, I love the competition here and there is an awesome running community here. I think inside the running community there is a lot of support. I’ve had a lot of the older generation of runners come up and support me in the races. And I’m very grateful for that. However, I think the city does not recognize the growth of the running community. It’s just so hard to find trails and good places to run where you’re not on cement all the time.”

Logan’s schedule calls for him to be running 6-20 miles per day, seven days a week, with two days doubling up on the runs.

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THE SHERMAN TANK

Logan Sherman’s Training Week

Monday      10 miles

Tuesday      AM: 12 mi w/tempo in the middle, PM: 8 m

Wednesday 10 miles

Thursday    AM: 12 mi w/tempo in the middle, PM: 8 m

Friday         6-8 miles, easy

Saturday     12 miles fast plus cool down miles

Sunday        16-18 miles at sub 6:00 pace

_________________________

 

What does Logan think about during all this training? “While I’m training, I usually like to plan out my day, think about problems that I’m having. I hardly ever think about school or any of that stuff. Usually about two seconds of a song will get stuck in my head and I’ll end up spending the rest of the run trying to figure out the other lyrics out.” But how do stay motivated? “The only time I seem to have a problem being motivated is when it’s cold outside. But for the most part, take advantage of running  with people… When school  is getting hard and I don’t have an opportunity all week to run with my boys I get extremely excited about running with them on the weekends. They just keep you fired up and on track of what you need to do. When I’m racing, I like to stay focused and key into how my form is holding up, especially in the late stages of a race. The key is to stay positive. When things don’t go my way in races, you have plenty of time to fix it or catch up. So keep calm.” Then he giggles. “But this doesn’t work in an 800 meter race.”

But his training is necessary of a champion. His personal bests are 4:16 in the mile, 9:05 in the two-mile, 14:36 for the 5K, a 29:41 10K, 40:43 at the 8 mile (set this season at the Turkey Trot), and 1:07:52 for the half marathon, also set this season when he won the Dallas White Rock Marathon Half in December.

Hey Nineteen

Logan also had other interests growing up. It wasn’t all about running he explains. “I always wanted to be in some type of construction. I love the aspect of working with something, hands on, and being able to see its progress every day. If you can work on something every day and watch its progression, it’s mentally and physically rewarding.” Someday, he says, “I want to have my own company in the construction business. I may even go into a partnership with one of my friends from high school. We talked about it a long time ago. I’m not sure how that’s going to work out. Just anything in construction. I’m only in the first couple chapters in my life. So, I haven’t accomplished too much. But I’ve learned a lot about myself and I hope that later down the road I will have a family and a job; that I would love to support them. Hopefully I have a while until I have to deal with all that.”

Outside of running, he enjoys “school, hanging out with friends and people I care about; movies, dates, eating, sleeping, and some video games.” His favorite band is Incubus, and favorite food is spaghetti. That’s nineteen.

Looking ahead to his running career, Logan would like to qualify for the collegiate nationals in the 10K this year. He would also like to run faster than 29 minutes for the distance. “So my main focus now is just on college and being the best I can be for now. After college, I’ll probably try some marathons and see if I have the ability to make the Olympics.”

In 2003, still a senior in high school, Logan won the Dallas White Rock Marathon Half, in 1 hour, 11 minutes (a 5:29 pace), taking home some nice change in the process.

In 2004, he was a year older, but not ready to ascend to be crowned Dallas’ best runner. He placed 10th at that years’ Turkey Trot with a 43:21 (5:25 pace). After all, he was only 18 years old. Logan needed another year.

In 2005, he won Dallas’ biggest race in 40:43 (5:05 pace). That made for a great Thanksgiving. But Logan wasn’t done. He then cemented his status by winning the Dallas White Rock Marathon Half a second time in 1 hour, seven minutes (four minutes faster at a 5:11 pace), beating out 1,768 others.

Long  may you run, Logan. Long may you run.

Chris Phelan has written, laid out, photographed, and published The Phast Times News since 2001. He’s crisscrossed Texas on his bike three times, swam 5 miles across Lake Ray Hubbard three times, completed three Ironman triathlons, and has represented the US in completion three times, and run with the Olympic Torch. He maintained All-American status for five years and has also biked across the country, 3600 miles in 30 days. The running/triathlon coach has PR’s of 2:27 marathon, 15:40 5K, 3:55 at the Hotter ‘n Hell Hundred, and 10:00:52 Ironman. Chris is the only person to have won overall and Master’s at Dallas’ Crosson Dannis road racing series, DRC road racing series, and the USAT/SMW duathlon series. In 1988 he began Dallas’ oldest track workout, 1998 started north Texas’ first treadmill class, and 2003 he founded the world-wide Ride Of Silence. He’s been twice nominated Master’s Road Runner of the Year, highlighted in a variety of magazines and is frequently asked to speak at camps and organizations about fitness. Outside of swimming, biking, and running, Chris has summited several mountains including Africa's Mount Kilimanjaro.