GW Parkway Classic 10 Miler Race Recap


The GW Parkway Classic 10 Miler has been on my bucket list for years now. It’s an interesting race because everyone I talk to that has done it raves about it, and yet it’s not massively popular; you can usually sign up for the race right before it with no problems. Part of it, I think, is that the race doesn’t involve the iconic DC monuments; perhaps the other part is that it gets overshadowed by the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler which is usually right around the same time.

This year, I decided: why not do both races? It was time to cross the GW Parkway Classic off my bucket list once and for all. I signed up with Matt a few months ago when Pacers running store (who organizes the race) emailed out about a Cyber Monday deal, and planned to have it be my 10 miler PR (personal record) attempt race this spring.

From the start, the race was super well organized. It’s a point to point race from Mt. Vernon north along the GW Parkway (which is right along the Potomac River) to Old Town Alexandria. To get to the start, you can either get dropped off at Mt. Vernon or drive to Alexandria, park near the finish line, and take a free race shuttle down to Mt. Vernon. We opted to take an Uber from home to the start so we could sleep in a little, but our friend Pete took the shuttle and said it was well organized. When we arrived at the starting area on Sunday morning, I was impressed that they had food (bananas and bagels), water, coffee, AND space blankets for everyone waiting to start. Awesome! It was chilly so we appreciated the blankets.

We had plenty of time to use the facilities and check our bags before heading to the starting line.


Matt, Pete, and I lined up together in the 7:00-7:55 min/mile pace area. We had discussed before the race and decided we’d all run our own races. Pete’s faster than both of us, and Matt wasn’t sure if he would be faster or slower than me, so we decided to do our own thing.

At 8 a.m. sharp, we were off! The boys took off ahead and I settled in for the ride.


My goal for this race was to set a new official 10 miler PR. As you guys know, at the Cherry Blossom 10 miler 2 weeks ago I would have set a new PR (my projected finish time based on my pace was 1:18:00), but the course was short due to an emergency that caused part of the course to need to be re-routed last minute, so we only ran 9.4ish miles. I wasn’t originally planning to race Cherry Blossom, just to run it for fun, but my friends I was going to run with had to cancel last minute, so I decided, why not race? I felt GREAT during that race – I was honestly really surprised that my legs had a 7:52 min/mile average pace in them, though it was a bummer to not set an official/real PR due to the short course. (Though obviously the emergency mattered way more than us all not getting to run the full 10!)

That said, I was hoping to basically do yesterday what I did 2 weeks ago – hold steady at around a 7:50ish min/mile pace and finish under 1:18:46, which was my 10 mile PR from 2 years ago.


Right from the start of this race, I knew it was going to be a challenge. Where two weeks ago my legs felt fresh and strong, yesterday it felt really tough to maintain the pace I was aiming for. In addition, while Cherry Blossom is nice and flat, the GW Parkway Classic is most certainly not. Even though it’s a net downhill race, there were some serious rolling hills the entire time that made it hard for me to maintain a steady pace and zone out.

I did my best to hold strong on the uphills and make up some time on the downhills, but my pace was a little all over the place.

  • Mile 1: 7:28 (lots of downhill)
  • Mile 2: 7:43
  • Mile 3: 7:53


It did end up being a lovely morning for a race, though – especially given that the forecast originally called for rain. Beautiful views, too!



At this point in the race, I did my best to focus on not giving up and taking the easy way out. I reeeeally wanted to slow down, but I was not ready to give up on my PR. I forced myself to keep pushing it, reminding myself that it’s not supposed to feel easy, right? After two mile splits that came in slightly over 8 minutes, I worked to get my legs back into the game. I could do this!

  • Mile 4: 8:06
  • Mile 5: 8:03
  • Mile 6: 7:43
  • Mile 7: 7:51

Even though this course was beautiful, I definitely found myself missing the crowds and cheering from the downtown DC races. I could have used the mental boost!


Around this point in the race I was trying to figure out the math in my head. If I could hold strong, I thought I could still PR, but I knew it would be close. My watch mileage was coming in a bit off from the mile markers, which made it hard to calculate. I focused on continuing to push it and not allowing myself to slow down!

My second to last mile was an especially tough one thanks to more hills and the fact that my legs were definitely losing steam.

  • Mile 8: 7:49
  • Mile 9: 8:05


Once my watch beeped that we were in the final mile and we headed into the outskirts of Old Town, I did my best to really pick up the pace for one final push. I love the last mile of a race mentally because you can really give it your all knowing that you are almost done!

  • Mile 10: 7:32


My watch beeped mile 10 before the actual finish – guess I should have run the tangents! At this point I realized, oh crap, my calculations are off and I don’t know about this whole PR thing after all. I blazed through the last 0.14, giving it all that I had. I was pretty wiped by this point but I didn’t want to give up!

  • 0.14 mile nubbin pace: 6:58
    Finally – the finish line!


I sprinted my little heart out. By the time I finished, my watch said 10.14 miles and an average pace of 7:48 minute/miles – again, I must have been running on the outside of the course a bit since my watch distance went long.


As for my official time? 1:19:08. I missed a PR by a mere 22 seconds. I’m really proud of myself for pushing it and not giving up, and it’s amazing that I can run that fast/run at all, but it was definitely hard not to be disappointed. I was SO close, argh! If only my math skills while running were better – maybe I would have realized that I was little off. But then again, with the way my legs felt, I’m not sure how much more I could have pushed it. So who knows! I did my best to just focus on the fact that wow – I ran really fast and really far. That’s pretty awesome. :)


Here are my official results. Apparently I ran the second half slightly faster than the first – I felt like I was slowing down, so that’s good news for my endurance!


I was also proud to have another medal to add to my collection. Pretty, right?


After the finish, I met back up with Matt and Pete, who both crushed the race! Matt ran a 1:15:18 – amazing! I was so proud of him – all that soccer has been paying off big time for speed!

I found the post-race area to be just as well organized as the starting area. When you finish, you get your medal, a water, and one of these cool snack packs!


I’m never hungry right away after running hard, but about 20 or so minutes later I ate the chips and hummus. Yum!


Bag pick up was well organized and quick, too.


The three of us hung out for a little while stretching – it had turned into SUCH a beautiful morning!


And then we decided it was time for brunch! Pete drove us over to Del Ray, where we put our name in at the Del Ray Café and then walked around a bit while we waited. We decided to grab coffee at Bon Vivant Café/Farm Market, plus a chocolate milk for me and Matt to share. I also bought a couple interesting looking granola bars to try later! This place was really cute – definitely want to go back and eat there sometime!

bon vivant farm market del ray

About 20 minutes later and we got a table at Del Ray Café. Love this place – so cute and cozy!


I had a smoked salmon and sautéed spinach dish topped with two over easy fried eggs. Plus potatoes, salad, fruit! I also stole some of Matt’s bacon. Hit the spot!


Because let’s be honest, sometimes the best part of running is the brunch that follows, right? ;)

Who else raced this weekend, in DC or elsewhere? How did it go?

GW Parkway Classic 10 Miler Race Recap originally appeared on fANNEtastic food | Washington D.C. area Registered Dietitian | Recipes + Healthy Living + Fitness on April 27, 2015.

The post GW Parkway Classic 10 Miler Race Recap appeared first on fANNEtastic food | Washington D.C. area Registered Dietitian | Recipes + Healthy Living + Fitness.


Chipotle goes GMO-free: a brief comment

Chipotle’s announcement that it will only be sourcing GMO-free ingredients is eliciting much press (see the article in the New York Times, for example).

Here’s what I’m telling reporters:

No, this is not a safety issue. GMO corn ingredients were not making Chipotle customers sick.

Yes, this is a matter of trust. Chipotle customers are offended that GMO foods are not labeled and that they have no choice about whether to eat them.

The GM industry has fought labeling since 1994 when the FDA first approved GM foods for production. Even then, there was plenty of evidence that the public wanted these foods labeled. But the industry is still pouring million of dollars into fighting labeling initiatives.

This—and the rise in sales of organic foods—are a direct result of the industry’s own actions.


In the studio

in detail ana de costa 09 In the studio

A limited edition Asprey’s tea set from the 20’s, a guillouche enamel hand held mirror by Mappin and Webb and a handpainted teapot from China are just some of the unique artefacts that fill jewellery designer, Ana De Costa‘s east London studio. Her passion for collecting was ignited by her father, who travelled the globe, bringing back an exotic object from every place he visited. From him, she learnt to appreciate craftsmanship, luxury and design and it is these qualities that are inherent her work. Having re-launched the ‘House of Ana de Costa’ with a collection based on motifs from Henna designs we talk to Ana about the new direction for the brand.

Tell us about how you got into jewellery design.

I have always been attracted to beautiful things. The fascination began when I was a child. I used to sit with my grandmother and she would take me through her old jewellery boxes. Whilst studying art and design for my a-levels, I became fascinated by decoration and surface patterns. A visiting lecturer saw my work and suggested I try jewellery design for my final project. It was the defining moment in my journey, and I went on to study jewellery design at Central St Martins in the early 2000’s.

in detail ana de costa 06 In the studio

After graduating from Central St Martins you worked for Shaun Leane – what influence has he had on you and your work?

Shaun is a dear friend, mentor and supporter. He inspired me to think big and network like crazy! He taught me, that to stand out from the crowd, you have to create a niche aesthetic that you ‘own’. The way Shaun conducts himself in business had a huge impact on me – he is always professional, respectful and conducts himself with an air of grace.

in detail ana de costa 13 In the studio

in detail ana de costa 02 In the studio

in detail ana de costa 14 In the studio

You have just re-launced and rebranded the company. What inspired the new direction and what was the concept behind the design?

We relaunched “Ana de Costa” as “The House of Ana de Costa” to educate our clientele about our heritage. It also enables us to branch out into creating objet d’art under the umbrella of “The House’. For the branding we incorporated my father’s family crest. It looks quiet regal and denotes my linage, whilst working perfectly with the unique visual identity of the brand.

in detail ana de costa 10 In the studio

in detail ana de costa 12 In the studio

Describe the brand in three words

Avant garde, luxurious and timeless.

in detail ana de costa 01 In the studio

in detail ana de costa 07 In the studio

You have an amazing collection of antique furniture and objects, what is your most treasured item?

This was a passion ignited by my father. He travelled the world when I was a child and used to bring back exotic presents for my mother. I purchase a special item from everywhere I travel, be it pearls and Tahitian mono oil from French Polynesia or a beautifully decorated tea pot from China. Every piece I own tells a story and holds special memories but my most treasured item is a tiny mother of pearl bible which I found in a flea market in Rio, Brazil. It is almost 200 years old!

in detail ana de costa 04 In the studio

What was the inspiration behind your latest collection?

‘Spiritual Henna’ is inspired by henna designs typically worn by Asian brides on their hands, feet and arms. Its is also inspired by some of Gandhi’s most powerful quotes such as ‘we must be the change we wish to see in the world.’

in detail ana de costa 05 In the studio

in detail ana de costa 03 In the studio

Do you design with anyone particular in mind?

I design predominantly for women. My clients range from women in their early 20′s to women in their 70′s. The thing these women have in common, is an understanding of luxury and a appreciation for beautiful objects.

in detail ana de costa 15 In the studio

in detail ana de costa 16 In the studio

How do you describe the way you style the jewellery you wear?

I have an 18-month old baby so anything that dangles or is remotely sharp is a no go at the moment! I am currently wearing a stunning pair of 1ct natural Colombian emerald studs which I made for myself as a post baby gift. I also wear my diamond engagement ring, my signet ring featuring my fathers crest and two gold bangles in rose and yellow gold. I sleep in all my jewellery, it never comes off – not even during childbirth!

in detail ana de costa 18 In the studio

What’s next?

I am launching a special capsule collection of limited edition pieces this summer. The pieces will feature pearls of the highest quality that I sourced in Bora Bora and Tahiti.