This report is very much over due and I am sorry. Normally I would simply skip the report at this point, but I feel this was a great race and deserves recognition.
April RAINN was an inaugural race, put on by Grunt Girl Racing. Some of you may recall I did a race last fall called Shatter the Silence. Well, this is like the sister race to that event. Both races raise awareness of sexual abuse and assault. April was sexual assault awareness month. Part of the fee went to the Rape Abuse Incest National Network (RAINN).
The course itself was run within the beautiful Cuyahoga Valley National Park. One of my favorite places both because it is close to home and because I find it challenging yet more sightly than challenging. I arrived on time for the event and gathered my packet and other needed items before trying to talk to Gale a little before the run. She was of course being as social as ever and I made my way to other people. I met a wonderful girl/woman name Katrina and we chatted a bit before the start.
As the signal went off to begin, my only goal was to enjoy myself. Right away though, I found that I was feeling GOOD and STRONG. Running up hills I used my small steps/high turnover and the fact that I was familiar with the course helped too. Naturally, I regretted my layered look not more than a mile into the race…but I suppose I’ll never learn. The course was set as a double loop, so I knew what to expect for the second part. Nothing was out of the ordinary on the first lap. I passed a few people, a few people passed me too. I knew I took off away from Gale early on, but I did not know how much and I was afraid to look behind me to figure it out.
Along the way I played leap from with Niall a few times. I could hear him coming for me with the bells on his shoes! Probably left over from some themed run in December. I tried to dance along the rocks and smiled and waved at fellow team members as I went past in my matching shirts. Near the end of the loop there were a few downed trees. The first was easy to get over (for me) I simply used a small nub to step my foot on as I launched my other leg and the rest of my body over the trunk. Then an easy hop over the next one and back on the trail. this break actually was nice as it stretched parts of my body and kept some of the numb toe issues at bay.
The second time through I found myself getting impatient/excited to finish and I think I even tried to push/pull Niall over the first log. I was like “Here we go!” and sorta oophed his leg. Yes, that is a real word!
I wondered how my other friends and people I knew were doing. Near the start I quickly chatted with a girl named Amy (I think) (sorry) who shared this was not only her first trail run, but first race EVER! Yikes! I hoped Gale was doing OK and I wondered is Katrina’s knee was holding out for her. Coming through the water stop a second time I didn’t get any fuel. I knew I was near the end. I tried to push it up the asphalt hill as I watched Niall dart off into the distance, but I didn’t want to hurt myself either. The “Finish” sign was in sight, but Garmin told me it wasn’t the end. So I was cautious…good thing too!
When I neared the banner I was informed I still had half a mile to go! Down into the trees and dirt path I went, knowing there would be a hill when I turned around. K saw me and offered to run in the last part. I appreciated this, because I love a distraction, but I also like to make new friends. We took the corner cone and started back up the hill. This was the exciting part and I thought I’d be seeing Gale quickly behind me. The longer I didn’t see her the more my emotions were mixed. Excited I could possibly be doing SO WELL. Scared she was hurt or in distress. Luckily I saw her before I crossed into the timing zone.
I stayed behind to stretch and cheer her in! She was so happy for me for having such a great race! She came in almost 5 minutes behind me. WOW.
Afterward more people talked and we visited a few vendor booths. There was some juice there, I forgot who it was now…but they showed how much sugar was in the different sports drinks. Makes me a lil sick to think about it…but then again not sick enough to stop using them!
Very nice race for a GREAT cause and I look forward to visiting the paths again the fall for Shatter.
Official Garmin break down