The 31st GW Parkway Classic Race Recap

After my PR at the Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run, I set my sights on another course PR at the GW Parkway Classic. I don’t usually set a specific pace goal so far in advance, but after running a 7:52 pace at Cherry Blossom, I thought I could run an 8:ish pace on the GW Parkway course. It wasn’t easy, but PR’s never are!  

31st GW Parkway Classic

To tell the full story of my GW Parkway Classic race recap, I have start with the week before. I followed my plan for running back-to-back races, and took it easy the week after Cherry Blossom. During my long run last Saturday, I felt a fire in my left shin that I’d never felt before. (I’ve had various running injuries, but not shin splints.) Since the point of pain is rarely the source of the problem, I used my foam roller and found a knot in my calf that was the likely culprit. The pain was bad, but most of the tears were emotional, as I feared that I would not be able to run the rolling hills of the GW Parkway classic. 

31st GW Parkway Classic Shirt

I like how they worked the Pacers logo into the t-shirt design.

I turned to my Moms Run This Town group for advice, and spent the day icing my shins and foam rolling my calves. I was able to book a massage for Sunday, and my massage therapist spent 90 minutes focusing on my legs. When I picked up my race packet at Pacers, I asked if they had an instant fix for shin splints, and was shown some exercises to do with a fitness band–now that’s great customer service! 

My legs did fine during an easy run on Tuesday, spinning class on Wednesday, and a pre-race track workout on Thursday (16 X 100M sprints), so I was cautiously optimistic again. Still, I decided that a lurking injury was a good reason to break the “nothing new on race day” rule and bought my first rolls of KT Tape(<<Amazon Affiliate Link).

KT Tape

Friday and Saturday I taped for plantar fasciaitis (an injury I am all to familiar with!) and on race day I taped for shin splints too. Who knows if it made a difference, but my feet and my shins were fine!

The day before the race I stalked the weather forecast. It starting off showing a 70% chance of rain, but was down to nearly 0% by the time I went to bed. I was expecting it to be overcast, but was greeted by blue skies at the start!

31st GW Parkway Classic StartThis race is still small enough for runners to line themselves up by pace.
I was surprised at how little “jockeying to be first” I saw. 

31st GW Parkway Classic Mt VernonLooks like I wore the same shirt two years ago …

My husband dropped me off at 7:30, I jumped into the Moms Run This Town group photo at 7:40, got my traditional photo at the Mt. Vernon entrance, and slid into the corrals at 7:45. The announcer was enthusiastic as usual, telling us that it was “A great day to be running down the parkway!” He also said more than once that “We will get 10 miles out of you today!” I took that as a reference to short course at the Cherry Blossom and laughed. After a lovely rendition of the National Anthem we were off at 8:00 sharp. 

Saturday night I had re-read my recap from last year, decided to aim to beat my 8:15 pace, and vowed to do better with overall my pacing. I set 8:00-8:10 as my general goal pace, knowing the first mile would be faster, but hoping I could hold it through the rolling hills of the next four miles, pick up my pace during miles 6-7, and push through miles 8-10. I followed that plan pretty well:

7:47; 7:58; 8:01; 8:01; 8:12; 7:52; 8:05; 8:10; 8:25; 8:07

I could tell that my pacing was much better than last year. I felt much stronger through mile 8. My calves started acting up during mile 9, but whenever I felt a ripple through my muscles I took a deep breath and told them to relax. I made it up the last hill at mile marker 9, and held a steady pace to the end.

31st GW Parkway Classic Finish

My Milestone Pod (<<Amazon Affiliate Link) says I ran with a 100% heel strike
and this photo backs that up!

I got my medal and post-race snacks, and met my husband at the Port City Beer Garden. Between the gorgeous weather, yummy beer, and endorphins from my PR, I was nearly giddy!  

Port City Beer Garden

Here are my official results:

31 GW Parkway Classic Results

I’m pretty proud of that relatively even course split and shocked at my division placement! I’m also glad to have 6 weeks off before my next race–the Lawyers Have Heart 10K

Does your weather forecast change by the hour?

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26 Responses to The 31st GW Parkway Classic Race Recap

  1. So glad that your shins and calves held out throughout the race. Amazing pacing!
    Abby @ BackAtSquareZero recently posted…Running Favorites – Q & AMy Profile

  2. way to go! i love that they made the reference to the short cb run. today was a great day for a good run 🙂
    Courtney @ Eat Pray Run DC recently posted…Life Lately, Vol 2My Profile

  3. Jennifer says:

    Very cute about the t-shirt! I didn’t notice until you pointed it out. Glad you had a good race today. I am thinking about the Lawyers Have Heart 10K for this year – I’ve read your previous recaps.. hope there is beautiful weather again this year 🙂
    Jennifer recently posted…Friday Five – Blogs to Read IIMy Profile

  4. Kim says:

    Hope that your legs are feeling OK now that you have had a little time since the race!!!
    Kim recently posted…Some Days You Have to LaughMy Profile

  5. HoHo Runs says:

    Hooray for a blue sky start! I hope your shins feel better now. What an awesome pace! Congratulations on another awesome 10 miler.
    HoHo Runs recently posted…Making PeaceMy Profile

  6. Carla says:

    OH HOW I LOVE the next to the last photo (the one of you running.)
    Carla recently posted…I’ve found connection.My Profile

  7. Nice race! It looks like you have Mizunos on your feet. Good choice for heavy heel strikers. Keep up the good work and take care of yourself!
    Jason @ SaltmarshRunning recently posted…Have I Said Too Much? The Truth About RunningMy Profile

  8. CONGRATS!!! Great race and I’m glad your shins held it together. I love that picture of you towards the end. You’re so focused. And deservedly giddy at the finish line – great job!! recently posted…Monday MusingsMy Profile

  9. Chaitali says:

    Great job on the race! I did the Pike’s Peek 10k Sunday morning and made the mistake of checking the weather Saturday morning but not checking again. I was completely overdressed for the Sunday morning weather 🙁 I’m planning on Lawyer’s Have Heart too.
    Chaitali recently posted…Weekly ReviewMy Profile

  10. misszippy says:

    Great job, Courtney! You are on a roll this spring. Sounds like a perfect day for you.
    misszippy recently posted…Mondays on the run (pacer edition)My Profile

  11. Woohoo! Way to go on your PR! You are going to have a great racing season. Take care of thos shins though, Shin splints can be nasty 🙁
    Sandra Laflamme recently posted…A little inspiration to reach a little higher . . .My Profile

  12. Awesome job! Can’t believe I didn’t see you at the group photo meet up?!
    Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes recently posted…It’s a BIG race, Go Run IT: Paris Marathon Race RecapMy Profile

  13. Congrats!! And so glad that your shin felt OK during the race and I hope that it’s still feeling OK.
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted…Top 5 Running MomentsMy Profile

  14. You ran a great race! Congrats!! Hope your shins are doing ok now.
    Michelle @ Running with Attitude recently posted…April RunfessionsMy Profile

  15. Congrats on a great race and glad your injuries didn’t bother you. Looking forward to the coffee date.
    Karen – Fit in France recently posted…Lots to learn : marathon race recapsMy Profile

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  17. Gary says:

    Shin splints are awful, especially just before a marathon.
    My doctor recommended a golf ball muscle roller for my shin splints, great tool for massaging, worked surprisingly very well helped and me recover faster than any other treatment! trust me your going to want to check it out!

  18. Gary says:

    Shin splints are awful, especially just before a marathon.
    My doctor recommended a golf ball muscle roller for my shin splints, great tool for massaging, worked surprisingly very well helped and me recover faster than any other treatment! trust me your going to want to check it out!
    Gary recently posted…How to Get Rid of Shin SplintsMy Profile

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