2016 GW Parkway Classic Race Recap

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.

2016 GW Parkway Classic Race Recap

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.

2016 GW Parkway Classic

Great signage! 

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.

2016 GW Parkway Classic MRTT

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. 

2016 GW Parkway Classic

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. 

2016 GW Parkway Classic

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?

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34 Responses to 2016 GW Parkway Classic Race Recap

  1. HoHo Runs says:

    That’s a wonderful finish time! Congrats on such a strong race. I love the “pee” sign. It needs to be up high in a crowd! Great thinking on somebody’s part. I always enjoy partaking in the local fare offered after a race: red beans & rice, gumbo, BBQ, spaghetti, biscuits – whatever it is. Thanks for linking with us Coco.
    HoHo Runs recently posted…Back Home (WW # 38)My Profile

  2. Nice job! I knew you would crush it! Gorgeous day for it and such a difference from Cherry Blossom. Love the pee sign 🙂
    Deborah @ Confessions of a mother runner recently posted…The Fit Foodie Race Weekend is Coming-Run with me GiveawayMy Profile

  3. Great job on your ten miler. Looks like you had good weather for the race!
    lacey@fairytalesandfitness.com recently posted…Weekly Wrap and a Race I forgotMy Profile

  4. Diane says:

    Wow, that’s great that your group had such a great showing. So many of you! You ran such a great race at a great pace! Congratulations!!
    Diane recently posted…Sand and Dirt – Beach to TrailMy Profile

  5. Carla says:

    I don’t even run and I’m tremendously impressed the whole thing Sherpa free 🙂
    You know me. And I’m not proud of that fact 🙂 but I’m also not a runner runner – – I fear I have made that a perfect excuse to pass on the race this year.
    Carla recently posted…Praying for what we do not want.My Profile

  6. Marcia says:

    Congrats on a strong race Coco! I do love when they just give you a bag of food like that at the end. Makes it so much easier to carry too. Chicago races that require a shuttle to the start like that give me pause. I really have to want to do them to be willing to allow all the extra time riding the bus entails.
    Marcia recently posted…Weekly Wrap: Good, Bad, DeliciousMy Profile

  7. Sonia says:

    Congrats on a good race! Looked like a nice race day too. I like the snack box idea. It leaves plenty of food for everyone.
    Sonia recently posted…Diva Half Marathon Race RecapMy Profile

  8. Steena says:

    Congrats! I love that the 10 mile races you do give you a medal! There’s only one 10 mile race here, I’m not even sure if it comes with a t-shirt.
    Steena recently posted…A Good 13.1!My Profile

  9. Michelle says:

    Congrats!!!! You are super speedy!!!!
    Michelle recently posted…Going on 7…weekly wrap!My Profile

  10. Tamieka says:


    I always want to do this run but this year it was football and fashion shows that made it not possible. I will keep hopes to run it one year!

    Great run…isn’t amazing how the weather is SOOOO different than 2 weeks ago!

    I like a good hydration drink and granola bars after a race.

    Have a great week and see you at coffee 😉

  11. Chaitali says:

    Great job! It looks like it was a beautiful day for the race. I may consider this one for next year 🙂 The point to point logistics kind of scare me off but maybe I can convince Mike to be sherpa for me.
    Chaitali recently posted…Weekly ReviewMy Profile

  12. We don’t fully respect the ease of having someone there with you to help with the logistics of getting to, parking and from the race until it’s not there. All this is my husband’s job. Sounds like it worked out well for you and congratulations on a strong race and a great time Coco! Appreciate the recap and linking up with us!

  13. Great job Coco! You ran such a strong race. And what a great group shot – so many mother runners – I love it!
    Michelle @ Running with Attitude recently posted…Weekly Wrap – RtR week 7My Profile

  14. Great work! That Porta-Potty sign is amazing – love it!!!
    Michelle @ Run4Life recently posted…Coastal Delaware Marathon: Travel Adventures (Part 1)My Profile

  15. Jenn says:

    Congratulations! It’s great when you can feel strong during a race! Sounds like it was a great event, overall.

    I usually like a banana and a chocolate milk after I run. Beer is great, too.
    Jenn recently posted…weekly recap: 4.17 – 4.23My Profile

  16. As a slow runner who sometimes gets cheated out of the post race goodies, I do appreciate a race that either hands them out or is well stocked.

    After a half, if it’s warm, I love a sundae!

    Sounds like you ran a very smart race.
    Judy @ Chocolaterunsjudy recently posted…Delmar Dash Race Recap 4/3/16My Profile

  17. This sounds like a great and very well organized race! I like that they have a box of post-run goodies already picked out for you. Usually it’s such a rat race after crossing the finish line!

    Nice run, too. You did a great job with pacing!
    Amy @ Life to the Full recently posted…Training Week 16: Third “Blogiversary” + Blogger PerksMy Profile

  18. Sounds like a great race and I am always impressed with splits that are so similar. I am really crappy at keeping pace and they are all over the place.
    Karen – Fit in France recently posted…Weekly wrap : its officially overMy Profile

  19. great job on your race! I love the pee sign! Sounds like a nice race, different when you have to navigate the whole thing by yourself! I am always hungry after a race – I am looking for REAL food 🙂
    Mary Beth Jackson recently posted…Taper Week- ClermontMy Profile

  20. Congrats on your race! Still pretty darn speedy to me! It’s nice when you have a race that you know well and you don’t have to worry about what’s coming next.
    Janelle @ Run With No Regrets recently posted…Goals for the Broad Street RunMy Profile

  21. Meagan says:

    Congratulations! Those are pretty even splits, especially given the variations in terrain you described. There’s nothing like an ice cold beer after a race 😊 As far as post race food, I usually reach for orange slices and pretzels.
    Meagan recently posted…Strange DreamsMy Profile

  22. Pam says:

    Congrats on your race and a strong finish. It looks like you had a perfect day to race and a beer post race is always a winner. I really hate when runners are greedy and take too much from the post race treats area. I think handing out the snacks is the best alternative although it definitely requires more volunteers.
    Pam recently posted…London Marathon Race RecapMy Profile

  23. Pingback: Love Run Half Marathon Training Week 3 Recap | Run With No Regrets

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