My boyfriend Mike is my go-to racing buddy, and not just because he is my boyfriend. It is because I have yet to meet another person who is as nuts about racing as I am. This spring alone we have run five races together including two back-to-back 10 milers in one weekend. We don’t run even close to the same pace (he is SUPER fast and really impressive) but it’s great to have such a dedicated racing buddy. I sometimes joke with him that he’s all business on race day (I may have even referred to him as No-Fun-Mike from time to time) but it’s all in good fun. He is an amazingly supportive racing buddy 🙂
This past Sunday, Mike and I are ran the George Washington Parkway Classic 10 – Miler sponsored by Pacers. If you live in the DC area I seriously suggest checking out / participating in any of the Pacers racing events. They are always extremely well organized, which I hold paramount in racing. This weekend’s race was held on the ten mile stretch of the George Washington Parkway from Mount Vernon to Old Town, Alexandria. The course was GORGEOUS – through the trees / suburbs outside DC with views of the Potomac River. It was also pretty challenging! While the point-to-point course had a net downhill grade, the rolling hills still proved a fun challenge.
Parking was a breeze (at least for us). We got there amazingly early because we’re kind of anal and don’t like to be rushed. We parked on the street in Old Town at 5:45 am, boarded the shuttles to the starting line, and arrived at Mount Vernon at 6:10 am. Annnnnddddd then we had almost two hours until the start of the race. Luckily, Pacers provided some AMAZING pre-race ammenities at Mount Vernon. Some examples are below:
PLENTY of bathrooms… lines were amazingly short even right before the race. CHA CHING.
Food was available pre-race including free coconut water from the people of Vita Coco.
FREE COFFEE!!!!! And that was great because it was cold / raining and I ❤ coffee.
There were also space blankets, which were totally clutch because, as mentioned above, it was cold and raining. I personally won’t be deterred by rain, especially a light rain like Sunday. I just throw on a hat to keep the rain off my face and I am good to go. Luckily, Pacers had gear trucks, so I was able to keep my fleece on until 7:45 am when we checked our bag and made our way to our respective starting positions.
Mike lined up in the 7 minute mile corral, and I lined up at the 10 minute mile corral. I was supposed to be taking this race “really easy” because my marathon is this weekend but, as I kind of expected, I couldn’t hold myself back! The road was totally closed for the race so there was plenty of space. Even though I lined up with a slower group, I quickly broke through to the 9:00 – 9:30 group. There were a shocking number of spectators out considering the weather, and that certainly helped me maintain my pace. Pacers had well stocked water / gatorade stations about every two miles with bathrooms (I didn’t stop, but the lines didn’t look awful). They also have a clock at every mile, which I think is a really great perk. I wear a Garmin Forerunner 210 so I know my pace / time, but, if I didn’t, I think this would be a very welcomed feature. The race felt like it flew by and, even though I was starting to feel a little tweak in my left hip flexor from all the hills, I managed to maintain my pace to cross the finish line in 1:32:30 (My previous 10-mile PR was 1:37:01 so… I basically killed it!).
The post race festival was held on the water in Old Town Alexandria. I think we would have stayed longer if it wasn’t raining / cold because it was set up really well! There were bathrooms, water, gatorade, bagels, granola bars, and bananas (that, like all race bananas, needed another 5 days to ripen before I would consider eating them… but I’m weird about bananas). We even got a sugar cookie with a big green leaf on it because it was Earth Day! There was beer available too but we didn’t venture into that area. I occasionally enjoy a post-race beer, but we were heading to a beer tasting event that afternoon so I didn’t think a 10 am beer was necessary.
Run a Pacers event, you won’t be sorry!
For those interested, Mike ran 1:07:41, just off his PR (which he set at the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler earlier this spring).
He rocks 🙂