What a difference two weeks makes! Instead of worrying about frigid temperatures and getting blown into the Potomac River off Hains Point like I before the Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run, my race-day weather concerns for the 2016 GW Parkway Classic were focused on sunshine and allergies. It ended up being a great day for a gorgeous run down the parkway. I didn’t push hard enough for a PR, but I did my best to run fast and finish strong.
Although I’ve run this race many, many times, this was the first time I’ve had to navigate the point-to-point logistics on my own, because my husband/sherpa was out of town. Usually he drops me off near the start and meets me at the finish, but this year I had to park near the finish and take a bus to the start. While that meant leaving the house earlier than usual, everything went smoothly.
I set my alarm for 5:00, hit the snooze button until 5:07, and got dressed in my race gear (Altheta top, CW-X compression shorts, Zensah compression socks). I put on my “throw-away” sweat pants and jacket, started the coffee maker, and took Tiger Lilly out for her walk. As I enjoyed my first cup of coffee, I decided I wasn’t ready to eat breakfast yet, so I made a PB + honey sandwich to eat on the way. After one more visit to the bathroom, I gathered all my gear, and was on the road at 6:07.
I didn’t encounter any traffic on my way to Old Town, but it took me a few minutes to find a parking place. If I had a smaller car and/or better parallel parking skills this step wouldn’t have taken quite so long. 🙂 I decided to leave my sweatpants in the car, but kept my jacket since it was still chilly–in the low 50s.
I was in the bus line by 6:30 and on a bus by 6:40. They had “coach” style buses, so we were warm and comfortable for the ride to the start. We arrived at the start at about 7:10, and I headed straight from the bus to the porta potty line (which wasn’t too bad), and then from there to bag check.
I made it to the Mt. Vernon Visitor Center just in time for the multi-chapter Moms Run This Town group photo. I’m sort of in the middle, behind a woman in purple and next to a woman in pink.
That’s a lot of BAMR’s!
By now it was 7:45. I made my way to the Mt. Vernon Estate entrance gate for my traditional pre-race photo (above), ditched my space blanket, and lined up with the 8:00 pace group.
2016 GW Parkway Classic Race Recap
The crowds quieted for the singing of the National Anthem, and then the race started promptly at 8:00 am. As I started running, I pysched myself up to run hard and finish strong. I know this course so well I could visualize what each stage would bring.
I knew the first mile would be downhill and fast. I knew the next four miles would have rolling hills and that it would be mostly downhill after mile 5. I knew miles 6-7 would be downhill/flat and somewhat shady. I knew mile 7-8 would be flat and sunny and mentally hard. I knew mile 8 would be mentally easier as we headed into Old Town. I was ready for the last hill at mile 9, and the push to the finish after that.
My splits don’t quite tell the same story,
but they are more even than they have been in the past.
Although miles 8 and 9 were my slowest miles I felt much stronger during that part of the course than I had in previous years. I remembered how much I struggled through those same sections of last November’s USATF 12K and was thankful to not be fighting demons in my head to just to keep running. When I saw the split clock at mile 9, I knew I wasn’t going to beat last year’s PR, but I hadn’t been pushing for that. I was happy to be feeling good as I topped that last hill, and was ready to conquer the last mile that stood between me and the Port City beer garden.
My official finish time was 1:22:25–
1:40 slower than 2015 but 6 seconds faster than in 2014.
The GW Parkway Classic organizers avoid the problem of post-race food greediness by handing out water and snacks to runners as they come through the finish area. I accepted my snack box and a banana, collected my bag from the bag check area, and enjoyed my Optimal Wit IPA in the beer garden. After finishing that and my banana, I made my way back to my car and headed home for my last Epsom salt bath of my 2016 spring race season.
I think this race recap is long enough for the Weekly Wrap link up hosted by Holly and Tricia, so you’ll have to wait to hear about my runs in Chicago and the Hot Power Fusion class I took with Deborah. 😉
What do you like to eat after a race?