Some number of months ago, I “bumped” into Ward Moya as we frequented some of the same running blogs. Upon clicking through, I discovered that Ward lived in Fort Wayne — my hometown! What a coincidence. We exchanged some emails, started following each other, and yet another blogosphere running friendship was formed.
So on this trip back to Indiana, I made plans with Ward to get together for a run. He wanted to expose me to some Indiana trails since he knew I would be missing the dirt after a week of pavement pounding up here on the north side of town. I got up and out by 6 AM and met Ward at a high school on the south side of town at 6:30. He shuttled me down to Huntington, Indiana, for the run. The home of the Huntington Ultra Frigid Fifty (HUFF) 50K ultramarathon. Hell, I didn’t know they even knew what an ultra was in these parts! Apparently, this one is run in December. Yikes!
The route was simple…run around the lake. Its dammed up on the start end so we crossed that on the road and then continued around the lake. The trail is mostly doubletrack which is bedded with a mix of dirt and grass. Probably about 50/50. I don’t do much “cross country” style running so that’s what I felt like as we cut through the long wet grass as we made our way around the lake. You don’t actually run along the lake that much. Trees separate you from the water. The trail is windy which adds to the “heads up” factor but its nice and shaded and provided good cover from the increasing temps.
The loop is about 10.3 miles on the web site. So 3 laps for the 50K. I opted not to do that today as my hip was tweaky and I didn’t get an all day pass to go run. A single lap would do before it got too hot. I mistakenly forgot my water bottle in the car when Ward picked me up. But never fear, he had a backup bottle he offered to loan me but I opted for carrying a small disposable bottle in my hand and shorts. Worked just fine. Stomach was good this AM with only 1 GU to eat. Felt like that could have been an issue since I have been off all week food-wise.
Lots of bunnies and deer on this trail. Apparently, more than a few runners have been hit by deer during runs and races here. Oops. Otherwise, no big encounters. We finally made it to a campground along the lake where we refilled water and then only had 2 to go. The pace was nice and steady all morning and we kept it going all the way to the finish. When we hit the road, I could feel how wet my socks were after picking up all the moisture in the grass. Would have needed a shoe/sock change if another lap was in the cards.
Post-run, Ward pulled open the minivan (which I did not give him shit for) door and offered a clean towel, water and Gatorade. He was a full service host! A quick 90 minute run in the early morning and we both looked like we just stepped out of the lake. I will return to Colorado with an even greater appreciation for our lack of humidity. Ward shuttled me back to my car. We chatted about everything running but mostly his upcoming venture to Colorado where he will run the Pikes Peak Marathon. I gave him a few tips from my 2008 experience there. You gotta be a confident person AKA badass to come from lower altitudes to run a mountain race. I will be excited to see how he does! LT100 is the same weekend so I told him I should be finishing before he starts his race. Should be an exciting weekend for all! Go Ward!
Thanks for the run, Ward. Appreciate the hospitality and all. Hopefully, I can make it up to you at some point when you come back to Colorado again — after Pikes!
I went 10.75 miles with an elevation gain of 373 feet in 01:26:25, which is an average pace of 08:02. Heart rate average was 142. View my GPS data on Garmin Connect.