Wildwood Trail Marathon Race Review– Wildwood MO

I ran the Wildwood Trail Marathon in Wildwood MO on Sunday.  It was my 47th marathon (or longer).  I’m a runner who loves to run.  I love the trails and the serenity.  However, I’m not a real trail runner.  Let’s not squabble over the fact that “if I run trails, then I’m a trail runner”.  You know what I mean.  I’m a road runner.  I enjoy the road under my feet.  A solid surface that does not move.  One where I probably won’t trip over something that I can’t see because its covered by a forest of leaves.  One where sharp rocks don’t jut out at every step.  One where if I fall, I won’t stress about sliding down the bluff in the process.  Road runner.  Yep, that’s me. 

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Now that is has been clarified that I’m a road runner, my report follows. 

The Wildwood Trail marathon is self described as scenic & fast.  Good for road and trail runners, experienced and beginners alike. I’ve ran a lot of road races, plus my fair share of trail races.  So I feel well versed and able to give a realistic point of view.  Scenic, yes, in spots.  It’s a beautiful run thru the woods.  This race, unlike others I have ran, consisted of a lot of rock based trails.  Most trail runs are on dirt trails.  Wildwood has a lot of rock.  Not to make this too simple but the bluffs are made of rock.   The dirt wears away & only rock is left in spots.  Second pic below shows it well.  That looks like a well worn dirt trail, right?  No.  Its solid rock.  Somewhat smooth surface in some spots.  Jagged rocks sticking out in other spots.  Pics below are from the Bluff View Trail.

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The race started at a school, right off the Hamilton-Carr paved trail.  Then we hit a crushed stone & dirt type trail called the Al Foster Memorial Trail.  This lead us to the first detour, the Bluff View Trail which was about 2 miles into the race.  That’s where things started to get interesting.  The trail (seen above) was 2.5 miles of single track, some slanted to one side or the other, winding up the Bluff for an awesome lookout.  The Bluff View Trail provided some of the most scenic views of the day to the Crescent Valley below.

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After climbing the Bluff Trail, we made a small loop & returned the same way we went up. I must say that after staring at the course map for days, I really didn’t understand it.  But thankfully, the race was marked very well and there was never a question as to where we were headed.  Course map below.  One note, it would have been super helpful if the course map had mile markers.  For those of us unfamiliar with the area, we never really knew where we were at any given moment.  I had the map in my head but as you are climbing, climbing, climbing and maneuvering the switchbacks, everything is very focused.  It would have been great to know that I just had to manage the climb/terrain until mile x, then I would get some relief. 

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December can be tricky but we had a beautiful day with the sun shining on us.  Made me happy.

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Dry trails.  Leaves cushioning the rock.  And a few breathtaking views.  After the Bluff Trail, we hit the Rock Hollow Trail with the infamous Zombie Heights.  This was by far the toughest section (on the map it’s the tall section of zig zags, middle of the map) and I was zombie like, just watching the ground and trying to navigate the terrain.  Rock, switchbacks, lots of technical sections, all on a single track of rock and/or dirt.  We spent a lot of time hiking in this section for safety reasons.  My legs felt good but I can only go as fast as I feel safe.  I’m not a super coordinated person.  I’m not exactly clumsy but I do try to be careful.  So we saw a lot of 20  minute miles in this section.  Took forever to get thru it.  This was approximately mile 6 through 14.  Pics below of this section show the varied terrain.

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After Rock Hollow and Zombie Heights, we had a nice flat section back on the Al Foster Memorial Trail heading to Sherman Beach.  Easy terrain.  Well packed.  Fast section. 

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Sherman Beach was a hot spot.  By the time we got there, a lot were already headed back to the finish.  Lucky them.  But this was an important area.  First, the only port-o-potty on course was here. It was also the 3rd & 4th aid station.  And this is where the cut-off happened.  Once passing thru the Sherman Beach aid station (mile 15.5ish), there was a 7.5 mile loop.  We had to be back to that aid station by 2:30pm or we wouldn’t be allowed to finish.  Technically we had plenty of time.  But if we ran into a section of 20 min miles, then the cutoff was in jeopardy.  I must say this is the first time I ever really thought about a cutoff (in any race) and it was stressful! 

Leaving Sherman Beach we had a short section of flat, well groomed trails.  Then we hit the tunnels.  Concrete, manmade tunnels.  I had to bend over and walk thru them, they were short in height and long in length.  A volunteer on a bike told us that he would see us in 2 miles, once we hit the tunnels.  Must say this might have been the longest 2 miles of my life.  The tunnels lead to the Cedar Bluff Trail.  Obviously a short 2 mile jaunt.  Not as technical as the Zombie Heights but we had to be on our toes. And we were apparently rushing because of the cutoff.  Both my run partner & myself fell in this section.  Hard.  Blood & bruises the result. 

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Once we were back to the tunnels, things got much better.  We hit a network of trails by the Meramec River.  These trails consisted of dirt & sand.  Well groomed.  Lots of people riding bikes, walking dogs & hanging out.

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And then eventually the Stinging Nettle trail which was a sand trail taking us back to the 4th aid station at Sherman Beach.  Well AHEAD of the cutoff.  Smile   Tamyra below on the Stinging Nettle trail.

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After Sherman Beach, there was an easy, flat run back to the finish on the Al Foster & Hamilton Carr trails.  Photographer caught us in this section.  Yep, I’m dirty.  I fell down somewhere along Cedar Bluff.

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This marathon was approximately 25.77 miles.  If you are a 50 States Marathon Club runner who is trying to run all the states, don’t use this one for Missouri or you’ll be short & it won’t count.  Trail runs are always questionable in distance since you go where the terrain takes you.  Very normal. 

So, was this race scenic & fast?  Yes. Obviously scenic.  But its also one of the faster trail marathons that I’ve ran thanks to several flat sections where you can run faster.  Good for beginners & experienced runners alike?  Maybe.  The flat sections help a lot.  But there was a lot of technical spots too.  Anyone can do it.  But they really have to be invested in it.  So yes, good for anyone as long as they are committed & ready to go the distance no matter what the trails present.

Overall, great race.  Great volunteers.  Only 4 aid stations.  Stocked with trail running basics:  Coca Cola, Ginger Ale, peanut M&Ms, cookies, pretzels, oranges, pickles, electrolytes, Hammer gels.  Water & Heed (a Hammer product).   This was a cup free event so everyone needed a handheld, water bottles or collapsible cups to utilize the fluids on course. 

Small event.  I had read before race day that there were 209 entrants.  Not exactly how the results panned out.  I’m not sure if everyone was listed but they show 89 finishers.  I was #81 (6 hrs 30 min).   3 DNFs.  8 DNS. Winning male:  2:52.  Winning female:  3:44.  So it was apparently a fast race for some.  Smile Cutoff was 8 hours.  Last finisher was 7 hrs 51 min.

SWAG:  Beanie, Hammer gels, Hammer Endurolytes, sample pack of Biofreeze, finishers medal & FREE race photos.

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That’s a wrap on this marathon!  If your interested in trail running, I’ll link to some of my other trail runs below.  The hardest I’ve done so far is the Eugene Curnow Trail Marathon in Duluth, MN.  That race is the warm up for the Minnesota Voyageur 50 miler.  God help those 50 milers.  They are tougher than me!  My second hardest trail marathon was the Dances with Dirt Devil’s Lake Trail Marathon in Baraboo, WI.  Easiest trail run/ultra was the Lakefront 50K in Chicago.  If you  need a fast 50K time, go to Chicago.  Race is on a paved path along Lake MI.  Fun.  Easy. 

Trail Race Reviews (minus the 2014 Huff 50K, which apparently I didn’t write up?!?):

Next up the 2017 Huff 50K on 12/30.  Then I rest. 

Happy Running, all!  ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

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Huff 50K Race Report – 2015

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My third Huff 50K is in the books!  As I mentioned on the TTF Facebook page yesterday, this is a race that just makes me proud to run.  Proud of myself for going back to a tough race year after year.  Proud of my run friends who brave the elements and trails, when they would rather be pounding pavement.  Proud of the other participants who are constantly encouraging and showing the newbies what trail running is all about.  Proud of the race organizers for delivering a great race over and over again.  The Huff 50K is a class act.  Pic below from top is the 2013, 2014 & 2015 belt buckles.  Maybe I should buy a belt?

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This event is at Chain O Lakes State Park in Albion, IN.  It offers a 50K, 50K Relay & a one loop option (10.8 miles).  Lots of choices.  The trails are well groomed, wider, not single track like many trials.  This is a great event for beginner trail runners and a great course to run side by side with a friend/partner.  Aid stations are spaced about 4 miles apart and there are bathrooms and/or port-o-potties at 4 of the 5 aid stations.  This is huge and not the case with all trail races.  I would recommend carrying your own water to manage hydration between aid stations.  Trail shoes are recommended by not required.  I like to use gaiters over my shoes to keep leaves and debris out of my shoes/socks but these are not a necessity either.  This is a very user friendly trail event.  No fancy equipment required.

There were a few changes for 2015 both at the organizational level and on the course.  I think everything went very smoothly.  My brain struggled with the new course, always trying to figure out which way we went last year, but I just followed the pink markers and it went well.  No idea if this course was easier than years past but this was our fastest year thus far at Huff (6:50 finish).  There were a lot more markers this year and even a few spots where they put up tape so that runners didn’t get off course inadvertently.  Nice touches that I really think helped the comfort level of the newer trail runners.  I never had an issue before at this event but I’m an “eyes to the ground” trail runner so that I can watch my footing and the trail markers.  The new course and markings allowed for more social running without fear of missing a turn off.  I think Huff is a social trail race.  So many people sign up because their friends are going, even if they have never ran trails before ….. and that’s why its FUN.  New course below.

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Great aid stations.  If you haven’t ran an ultra or trail marathon before, you might want to do so just for the food.  There is candy, m&ms, twizzlers, cookies, fig newtons, pb&j quarters, potato chips, pretzels, soups, boiled potatoes with salt, coke, water, gatorade, lemon bars and one spot was even grilling hamburgers.  So much food.  I didn’t bother carrying any gels and my tummy thanked me for eating real food.  Spirits were particularly high on the first loop.   Myself, Tamyra & Julie getting ready to tackle the hill in the background.  Hills, smillz.

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We ran the first loop in 3 hrs 15 minutes, which was my goal.  Then I thought we could hit the second loop in 3:30 but I was off a bit, took us 3:35, which is still good in my book.  That second loop gets really LONG.  It’s almost like you cross the mat at halfway and they add a couple bricks to each leg.  The hills suddenly seem steeper and each mile drags on a bit more.  But we just kept moving thru each mile (marked signs at EVERY mile!) and toward the next aid station.  It worked.  We didn’t rush.  This isn’t really a race for us but more of an experience.  So if someone need to walk or potty, we stopped.  We probably spent too much time at a couple aid stations but oh well.  Over all, we kept moving!   And we tried to keep it fun.  When Julie’s hubby started texting her (probably wondering if we were done yet!  Ummm, no we were not done!), I insisted we stop and take a selfie to send him.  Hi, Joe!   I was getting ready to stick out my tongue but we snapped the picture first with my crazy face.  That’s about right, I was feeling kinda crazy that far into the race.  I think we were probably around mile 28 at this point.  The craziness had definitely set in.  Tamyra, Me, Julie.

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I’m very thankful that Julie came back for her second Huff this year.  I know she didn’t love it last year.  She doesn’t love trail running at all but we still do a couple trail marathons each year.  Totally my fault. It always seems like a good idea at the time.  Smile  And this was Tamyra’s first ultra.  Her third marathon distance event (or longer) since November 7th in Indy when she ran her VERY FIRST marathon.  She took a leap of faith and followed us to Tulsa for the Rt 66 Marathon, and then to Huff.   2 marathons and 1 ultra in a 6 week span.  She’s definitely a tough chick and I’m proud to call her a friend!  Great job,Tamyra!!!

The swag.  Huff always provides good stuff.  This year we got a cotton tee, a Huff Santa Hat, a portable charger & a key chain with a thermometer.  Then here is a close up of the belt buckle that was received at the finish.  Most 50Ks don’t offer a belt buckle, but rather a finishers medal.  So it’s a nice touch for Huff to give the buckle and that’s probably why this is one of the largest 50Ks in the US.

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Huff is a great race.  I highly recommend it.  Grab some friends and run a loop OR two.  Next year, Huff will be on December 17, 2016.  Then the 2017 race will be returning to the first Saturday after Christmas. 

Side Note:  If you’re in the woods, State/National Park or not, DO NOT litter.  A general rule of hiking, backpacking and trail running is that if you pack it in, you pack it out.  I saw A LOT of litter & debris on the trails this year.  Very disappointing.  Someone has to clean that up or Huff could get fined, get belittled by other races or worse yet, lose their permit to run at Chain O Lakes.  Please respect your environment.  Don’t drop GU packs, kleenex, hand warmers, cups of noodles, or your SWEATSHIRT on the trail cuz you are tired of carrying it.  The aid stations are close enough together that it isn’t a stretch to hold onto your trash for a little bit longer and dispose of it property.  Please.  Respect your trails or they will be gone.  Help protect the trails for all of us, our kids, and our grandkids to come. Thank you!

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2013 Huff Race Report, must have neglected to write one for 2014.  Ooops.  Smile

** Happy Trails ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

Happy Thanksgiving & Let’s #OptOutside for Black Friday

Happy Thanksgiving

Hey, all!  The holidays are a wonderful time of year, full of traditions.  Some of us start our day with a local Turkey Trot while others are already warming the kitchen with the smell of homemade pumpkin pie.  I want to wish each and every one of you a joyous Thanksgiving!  I’ll be thinking of you all and hoping that you are surrounded by friends, family and someone who loves you!

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The holidays are full of tradition.  When I lived in IL, I would always host a Black Friday run at Waterfall Glen.  There wasn’t a hashtag for #OptOutside.  There wasn’t a big corporation behind the movement to get people outside.  Nobody was talking about health, wellness, fitness, friends or family on Black Friday.  No, they gave their thanks on Thursday and moved on to retail madness on Black Friday.   Some big retail chains are saying NO this year.  REI in particular started the push to #OptOutside for Black Friday by giving all of their employees the day off with pay.  Many other retailers has followed suit.  I encourage all of you to #OptOutside for Black Friday.  Let’s wait for Cyber Monday to get all those amazing deals for our little angels, from the comfort of our home, where we can shop in our PJs.  That’s what I’ll be doing. 

If you need a place to go on Black Friday to #OptOutside, I’ll be leading a group run at Pokagon State Park, in Angola, IN.  Details HERE.  If you don’t want to follow me, then you can follow Lilo.  She promises an AMAAHHHZING trail run!  Or if you aren’t close to us, then REI has a link HERE to find a place to #OptOutside.

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** Let’s Hit The Trails With Lilo & #OptOutside on Black Friday ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

Eugene Curnow Trail Marathon–Duluth MN

As most of you know by now, I’m on a quest to run a marathon in every state.  And I’m on a budget.  As a result, I’ve pretty much given up running races that are less than the 26.2 distance.  I’ve also pretty much given up running marathons in state’s that I’ve already “checked off” unless the race is free.  I pick races based on my (and Julie’s) calendar.  I don’t stress about the course.  Or the weather.  Or the details.  It’s an adventure.  The bigger, the better.  The more the merrier.  Join me!!

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We picked our Minnesota race because Julie said she wanted to knock off MN this year.  I can’t say this was my first choice for MN because, well, we are road runners!  But alas, it   fit into our weekend warrior calendar and it was super affordable at a mere $35 entry fee.  You absolutely can not beat trail races for the price, the hospitality, the fun and the level of commitment that they give to each and every runner.  The Eugene Curnow Trail Marathon wins the TTF Award for the “Best Bang for the Buck” in 2015.  I don’t even care that it’s only July.  They already won.  $35 entry fee = $1.34 per mile.  Our race took forever 7 hours & 37 minutes = $4.60 per hour.

The aid stations were stocked with coke, ginger ale, sprite, powerade (BLUE!!!!), ice, ice water, pretzels, M&Ms, candy, fig newtons, sandwich cookies, frosted oatmeal cookies, gingersnap cookies, potato chips, watermelon, bananas, salt, salt capsules, and a ton of stuff that I can’t remember.  I probably ate/drank more than the $35 entry fee.

There was also an army of volunteers who encouraged us, filled our water bottles, wiped our tears, recorded our numbers, pointed us in the right direction and handed us paper towels & wet wipes in case we needed to go to the bathroom clean up.

The race started promptly at 6am at the Lake Superior Zoo.  There was no big start banner.  No chip timing.  No pomp.  No circumstance.  But there were people making announcements to get us in the right spot and there were bathrooms. Runners came to run and everything else is left on the trail.

The first 2.5-3 miles of the race climbed the ski trails of Spirit Mountain.  Once we started hitting nice roads and fancy bridges we knew we were close to the top!

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Then we started seeing the ski lifts and we came out of the trees for breathtaking views of Lake Superior in the early morning fog.  Absolutely amazing.

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The trail was very well marked with orange ribbons.   I never once questioned our direction.  Organizers spent a lot of time clearing trail for us rather than just using ordinary trails already cut in the parks through which we ran.  There was a lot of planning to get us from Duluth to the finish in Carlton, MN on this point to point course.   It was a creative path.  A difficult one.  Not the most technical of all that I’ve ran but extremely hard and probably the most fun so far (and that’s saying a lot cuz we ran the Dances with Dirt Devil’s Lake WI Extreme Trail  Marathon last July).  Take a peak at the various terrain from steep trails along ridges, to roped off trails to help us navigate the terrain & not fall …..

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To hills, both up and down as far as the eyes could see.

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Beautiful ferns.  Bridges.  Obstacles.

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Water crossings.  Mud.  Roots.  Rocks.

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Parks.  Rivers.

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Every step of this was amazing.  And hard.  Very hard.  But we smiled and laughed almost the entire 7.5+ hours.  If you are a trail runner, the Eugene Curnow Trail Marathon is a must.  If you are an ultra runner, then this race is just a warm up for the MN Voyager 50 Mile Trail Ultramarathon at the end of July.  Like what you see in these pics?  Try the Voyager and you’ll get to run it twice.

As you know from the above post, we finished.  And were happy to see the car and some clean clothes at the end of the race.  To our surprise, we also received a very unique handmade finishers medallion and a gender specific soft, tee.  Nice!

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I’m forever grateful for the good friends I’ve made over the years while “on the run”.  A special thanks to Julie for running some of these crazy races with me!  I can’t wait til we tromp off into the woods for the next adventure!  IMG_7590

** Maybe We’ll See YOU On the Trail ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

Fox Island …. Ft Wayne, IN

IFox Island Nature Perserve

7324 Yohne Rd.
Fort Wayne, IN 46809

As you  know, I like to explore new trails.  I particularly like ones where I can take the kids and a dog (or two) and get everyone out of the house just stroll along in the fresh air.  Fox Island County Park is one such place.  See excerpt from the Allen County Parks Department webpage below:

Fox Island is a 605 acre park located in southwest Allen County. Within this park, 270 acres are dedicated as State Nature Preserve, which protects areas having unique plants, animals or geographic features. Hundreds of species of animals and plants live at Fox Island because of the relatively natural condition of most of the area, with its habitats of marsh, seasonal ponds, wooded sand dunes, wetland forest, old fields and restored prairie. The park contains the largest contiguous forest in the county and a glacial sand dune

When I moved to Indiana, just north of Fort Wayne, many people suggested I visit Fox Island for running.  After reviewing the maps and website, I was thinking it would be a better place for a family excursion verses a running adventure for myself.  There are 7 miles of short trails winding thru the forest but they are flat and perfect for a family hike.

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The trails never venture too far from a road or intersection.  There are markers throughout the park identifying trails, trees, plants, flowers and even a bit of history.  Some trails are dirt, others grass.

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Wildlife is buzzing on and off the trail.  Perfect destination for the family and most trails are groomed well enough for a 3 wheeled jogging type stroller. 

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And there are bridges.  And a beach on Bowman Lake for playing and swimming (stock photo).  Plus fishing areas.

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Fox Island has a beautiful Nature Center with a classroom, which is available for rental.  We went on a Friday night and if I remember correctly, there was a scrapbooking event in the Nature Center.  I neglected to get a photo of this area because Michael was super excited and starting running toward the docks behind the Nature Center which have a great view of the pond, wildlife and the surrounding trails.  Even if you have a member in your group who isn’t able to walk the trails, you can always drive them to the Nature Center and have a look around in that area without doing much walking.  Very nice. Scenic.  Handicap accessible.  And peaceful unless you have a 5 year old screaming and yelling with excitement

There is an entry fee for Fox Island.  When we were there, nobody was at the gatehouse taking admission but we stopped and dropped our $2 per person fee into the drop box.  I did notice that most were just driving in without paying and while it’s easy to do that, I always try to support these types of forest preserves because I know that funding is hard to come by and I enjoy being able to explore new areas.  Without funds, places like Fox Island will close and be lost to the public.  If you drove in and forgot to leave your entry fee, you can join or make a donation to the Fox Island AllianceWinking smile

See you on the trail!

Amanda – TooTallFritz

Pokagon State Park–Trail Running

Trail running can be intimidating but it doesn’t need to be scary if you know what to expect.  I’ve ran the trails at Pokagon State Park multiples times now and have found it to have some of the best trails in Northeastern Indiana.  Why?  The trails are accessible year round.  There are a variety of trails from easy to hard, with varying surface types.  All  trails are short and within close proximity to a road, or the Pottawatomi Inn.  Trails are well groomed and wide enough to run with a friend.  Best of all, the trails are marked well.

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And if weren’t paying attention to the last couple of signs, then look at the “You Are Here” maps,  or notes/maps on particular points of interest, which are scattered throughout the trail system.

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Pokagon is a place you can go with your family for hiking, swimming, camping or horseback riding.  Or you can run for fun or even train for a marathon or ultra.  It’s good for short distance runners AND long distance folks.  I’m particularly excited to get Aby and some of her Cross Country friends up there this summer!  

I usually park at the Potawatomi Inn and start on one of the trails which begin at “The Inn”.   If it’s dark, I run on the roads within the park until the sun comes up.  Got a great pic last weekend of some of the holiday lights.

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At this time of year, there is little traffic in the early mornings.  It’s a good time to tour the campgrounds, roads and paved trails while there isn’t too much hoopla.   Bathrooms are still open but lacking toilet tissue.  There will be a few scattered campers and park workers moving about in their vehicles.  And the Inn will always have guests who are coming and going. You will not be alone. 

The two trails which are easiest to connect with are those which lead to/from the Pottawatomi Inn.  Trails 1 & 3.  Trail 1 is easy to find by going down by the beach and it picks up to the side of the playground.  A nice easy trail that is in the woods with views of Lake James and some of the houses which surround the water. 

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Good trail for beginners or seasoned trails runners.  A couple hills but nothing scary.  If you have a young Cross Country runner, or a new 4 legged friend to train, this would be the perfect trail developing an excitement about trail running while still keep everyone close to people, park roads and The Inn.  Well traveled trail.  Bonus, if non-running family members want to go with you to the park, they can play on the beach and playground while you take a short trail run.  Big win for everyone!!  Trail 1 & 3 highlighted in yellow below.

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Trail 3 starts in the parking lot of the Potawatomi Inn, in the Northeast corner.  You can park your car and be on the trail in 30 seconds.  In my opinion, Trail 3 is the heartbeat of the entire trail system at Pokagon.  You can access every trail in the Park, plus the Beechwood Nature Preserve loop via #3.  If you ever get lost, run towards 3 and you’ll eventually start seeing signs for The Inn which is why I suggest you park your car there.  The trail starts in the woods, runs across some wetlands with a few cute bridges with benches for sitting.  Great trail, not too technical. 

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Then #3 leads wherever your heart desires, just check the map and go!!  Since most of the trails are loops, if you have a long run to do, you can run most of the trails without backtracking or even thinking too much about what to do, or where to go.  I see a sign for a trail, I just take it.  It generally loops me back to the trail I was standing on when I saw the sign.  Super easy trail system, I promise!!

Hardest Trail  – #9.  This trail takes you up, Up, UP and eventually overlooks Interstate 69 before going back down to reconnect with Trail #3.

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Point of Interest – Hell’s Point, on Trail #3.  I expected it to be harder to get to with a name like Hell’s Point but it wasn’t too difficult, just follow the signs and run the trail.  Fun set of stairs and a nice view from the lookout!

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Hidden gem – Beechwood Preserve Loop, which is not part of Pokagon but accessible from Trail 8.  Lots of wildlife.  Short loop which is good for walkers.  Super secret parking lot off of 127 to access this area and make it a family friendly adventure (no strollers).  Even has a half loop sign if you want a shorter route.  One big hill if you do the full loop.  Yeah, I walked that hill!  Smile

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Easiest Trail – #7.  Grassy loop with a nice view of a wetland.  Lots of water fowl in this area.  Benches everywhere to sit and rest or watch the wildlife.

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Biggest attraction:  Toboggan Slides.  Open from the Friday after Thanksgiving thru February.  Yes, I’ll be taking the kids.  Looks super fun and slides pick up speed of 35-40 mph.  Sounds terrifying and exhilarating!  Image source

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Pokagon State Park is amazing, go check it out cuz I know you’ll love it as much as me!  It offers over 1200 acres of fun from water activities to hiking and trail runs.  Great fun for the entire family!

** I’ll See YOU On The Trail ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

Historic Auburn, IN – That’s MY Town!

I’ve been MIA for quite a while.  Moving the family, pets, a house and a pole barn stuffed full of cars and shit 200 miles away takes some time.  Actually finding a house takes a lot of time, then the actual MOVE is never-ending!  However, we are close to completion and it’s time to go explore this new town of Auburn, IN!   Let’s do this!!

Downtown Auburn Historic District

Auburn is a historically rich town known best for it’s work with the automotive industry; however, I’m here to tell you that there is a lot more to Auburn than cars!  The town is amazing.  It’s a small town that takes pride in its community.  The streets are well designed and groomed to make you want to stop driving and get out of your car for a stroll!  Lots of little shops, restaurants, antique stores, boutiques, ice cream & coffee shops around the square.  And flowers.  Lots of beautiful flowers and benches where one can stop and enjoy the views!  Plus there is a local farmers market on Wednesday’s & Saturdays!

Auburn Streets

Auburn hold frequent activities that are great for the entire family.  There are lots of old historic homes in the downtown area that are affordable AND cute (some may be for rent)!  Plus they still have a sense of community where Mom & Pop businesses not only exist but thrive.  Yes, both Mom & Pop still work the store, perform the service and are happy to chat when they see you in streets.  It’s a real sense of community with the courthouse sitting proudly in the middle of town.  And it still looks like a courthouse.  DeKalb County Courthouse below.

Dekalb Co Courthouse 

 Dekalb Co Courthouse_2

 

I spent some time “running the streets” today.  I ran thru town admiring the streets and businesses.  To the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum  and the National Auto & Truck Museum.  Even found the location of a time capsule buried on the property of the ACD museum (go find it!!).

Auburn Auto Co ACD Natl Auto-Truck Museum

 

But as a runner, my biggest find was a short local trail, the Auburn-Waterloo Bike Path, that I can’t wait to run again, again and again.  The entrance is hidden in plain site on North Street, just east of Indiana.  It travels from North Street to Betz (1 mile), then follows Betz east a few blocks and picks up the path on the east side of 427 heading north toward Waterloo.  Please note that 427 is Main Street, which turns into Wayne Street in Waterloo.  Total distance is 4 miles from North Street to the end in Waterloo.  Nice little jaunt.  And do be careful of broken sidewalks/pavement on the trail/sidewalk along 427.  

trail entrance_north & indiana Auburn Trail Auburn Trail3

Auburn Waterloo Bike Path Auburn Waterloo Bike Path_along 427

Run #1 in the done column in my new area of Auburn, Indiana.  Come run Auburn with me!!  Lots to see and do and it’s a great little town for the entire family!

 

** Run Auburn ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **