I'd post a photo of rain but why get any drearier?
It's been a wet and cold late spring. Fortunately I had summer when we were in Scotland!
I had a friend in town visiting from Illinois. He's one of those crazy people who have participated in the Barkley Marathons not just once but three times! It's an event with some crazy traditions (no announced start date or time) and super difficult course (5 times a 20 mile loop with limited support stations). This friend really doesn't have trails around where he lives and still manages to get either 2 or 3 loops completed. That is excellent considering only 13 runners out of 900 have finished the prescribed course within the cut off time of 60 hours!
The Grand Ridge trail system is newly redone and opened to the north. Last year, I did a 5 mile course mid-week and was pretty happy to go out for this race again. It's got all the fun stuff for a trail run. Straight up for a mile and technical trails through pretty forest. Still these trails are much more runnable than some as they are wider and have fewer roots. Fun stuff. And don't forget the RAIN! It had been pouring all day and during the race, the skies opened up again. I don't think I've been so wet in a long time!
The friend was game and free for a tuesday night event. Of course there were a lot of no-shows for the race as it was really wet. That was pretty nice for this event. We start out on a rail trail for half a mile and then straight up a technical trail with switch backs. Last year it was crowded. This year I was better able to just go my own pace. It also helped that the friend (who is faster) was just planning on running with me as he has been more in maintenance running mode. I had something to chase for all 5 miles.
the trails were not bad considering the rain. There had been a really mucky area last year which I think was redone this year. I didn't have to stop to retie shoes which threatened to come off last year in shoe sucking mud! And the best part? The friend had a gleeful smile on his face the entire time he was running. He (and I) were having a blast.
He pulled away the last couple miles which was great. I could just concentrate on maintaining the good effort and watching my step on the steep downhills. And done! I heard "2nd female overall" and sure enough i was the second female to come in. I was about 5 minutes faster than last year too. The overall female winner set a course record and was about 15 minutes ahead of me but still, i will claim the 2nd overall title and first in age group. After all I showed up!
And the friend had a great time. It was wonderful showing off our amazing trails even in the rain.