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2013 George Washington Parkway Classic Ten Mile Run

Today was the George Washington Parkway Classic Ten-Miler.  It’s a beautiful course that runs along the Potomac River from Mount Vernon to Alexandria.  I first ran this race in 1999 with my friend Miles, but didn’t return again until 2009.  It’s become an annual Cruiser event for the last five years, and you can read my recap from those years here.

Pacers, a local running store and the event organizers, gave out ribbons for us to wear in honor of the victims of Monday’s terrorist bombings in Boston.  I had already decided to wear my Boston Marathon shirt, and was happy to see Pacers making this gesture.

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I got up at 4:15 AM to be ready for the Cruisers when they arrived at our house to ride over to the race with Bill and me.  I have a big SUV that we call the “Cruiser Bus” and Bill was more than happy to drive four hot Cruiser Chicks to the race!  🙂

If you run in races regularly, you will appreciate this photo of me!  Of course when we arrived in Alexandria I was well hydrated for the race and had to GO!  As we walked from the parking garage to the bus lines, we walked past a Crown Plaza and decided to sneak in and find the rest rooms.  I’m such a rule-follower and chicken that I was sure we’d get yelled at, but as we walked in, the gentleman behind the front desk said, “Up the stairs and to your right.”  He is my new BFF!

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We got an email earlier this week saying that there would be increased security at the race.  We had just gotten in line when we got to meet FANY, a beautiful German Shepherd.  She and her K-9 unit commander were inspecting the runners as we boarded the buses headed to Mount Vernon for the start of the race.  FANY is a sweetie and it was obvious that she enjoyed the attention of the runners!  FANY is from the Czech Republic, and you can click here to read more about her and Sergeant Stone.

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Sergeant Stone and FANY

Once we got on the bus for our twenty-minute ride to Mount Vernon, we scored seats next to the potty!  We could tell that it was going to be a great day for the Cruisers!

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When got to Mount Vernon, we heard over the loud speakers that slower runners could start the race at 7:30 AM (instead of 8), and to check-in at the starting line.  Since Lolly’s and my racing plan was to run the first five miles and run/walk the last five, we decided to check-in and start early.  Everyone else (except Bill) decided that would be a great plan since we were freezing cold waiting for the race to start.  The lady took one look at my Boston shirt and said, “You realize that you have to maintain a 15 minute/mile pace, right?”  I told her my plan since I have been injured and she explained that, no, we had to maintain that pace and stay behind the bicycle leader until the rest of the runners caught up with us.  BUSTED!  We all decided that we didn’t want to maintain a walking pace, so we left and got in the long porta-potty lines; where we stayed until two minutes before the race started.

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Early Starters: maintain a 15 minute/mile pace, and stay behind this man

The Cruiser Chicks are ready to run!

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Beth (sporting her Paris Marathon vest), Lolly, Kim, Amanda, and I

As you can see, it was a beautiful day to run a race.  The temperature was in the high 30’s at race start, but warmed up to the mid 40’s by the end.  There was a cool breeze that felt great once we started running; before the race… not so much.

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And we’re off!

4,819 runners finished the 10-miler and 1,125 runners completed the 5K.  The early part of the ten-mile race is a gentle downhill, and after that it’s a pretty flat course with two short uphills in the last two miles.

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I mentioned before that the course is stunningly beautiful, and I’m sure you’ll agree now that you see this picture.  We ran on the George Washington Parkway, which was closed for the race; and we pretty much had a view of the Potomac River the entire length of the course.

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Typical view along the course

As Bill and Beth ran past our friend Barb who lives along the course, they stopped to say hi and give her Australian Shepherd Obbie some quick attention.  Unfortunately, Barb missed getting Obbie in the picture!

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Beth and Bill “with Obbie”

As promised Friday in my post Let’s Smile, I did get a picture of the grown-up Obbie.  He made sure Barb got him is this picture while he gave me lots and lots of kisses!

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Obbie, the official Cruisers’ mascot

Beth rocked the course and had to leave early to get back to work, so she isn’t in this picture.  She was the first Cruiser across the finish line, with Bill finishing one second behind her.  Amanda came in about two minutes behind them; and Kim, Lolly, and I finished pretty close together, (about 15 minutes after the others).

Lolly and I felt great and changed up our race plan at mile five and decided to wait until mile six to take a walk break.  When we got to mile six, we decided to run until one of us needed to walk.  Guess what!  That didn’t happen!  Confession: we did walk through all of the water stops and we took two very short (20-30 second) walk breaks up the two hills near the end of the course.  Other than that, we both felt good enough to run the whole race!

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Happy Cruisers (minus Beth) after the finish

Usually the GW Parkway shirt is my favorite of all the races I run, but this year’s shirt was a disappointment.  The print and logo design are very thick and feel like hard plastic.  It’s not that comfortable…

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It’s going to be a relaxing rest of the afternoon as I prep for a very busy week ahead!

Click here for a look back at the previous George Washington Parkway Classics races that we’ve run.

  • Questions:
  • What’s the most beautiful race course you’ve run?
  • Have you ever seen a K-9 and his commander at work?
  • What should Bill and I have for dinner?  I’m thinking Chipotle!
Happy Running! ~ Deb