The Spring Thaw 10 miler has become one of the most clutch spring warm up races for many runners in the Pittsburgh area. The race also offers 15 and 20 miler options and since it’s just a loop course if you signed up for the 15 miler but just isn’t your day, you can cut off at 10 miles. And if you’re having a good day, you can certainly keep looping to get in more miles. Anyone who finishes at least 10 miles gets a medal and if you finish 15 you get gloves and 20 nets you a neck gaiter.
For me this race was all about the mental challenge of the North Park lake loop. The lake loop and I don’t necessarily see eye to eye. In fact, I hate it. I absolutely hate running at North Park and try to avoid at all cost. Well, since my 50k is 6 loops of the lake, I looked at the Spring Thaw this year as a way to get mentally prepared for those 6 loops in my future.
I was looking forward to the race as I had planned to run with Lauren and even Jeff was planning on coming out for a loop with us! Since the race starts at 10am and Elite Runners and Walkers puts on the race, I decided to head over early and help with morning registration. The look on Lauren’s face when she showed up to get her bib was priceless. She was pretty shocked that I was actually there that early, since I am pretty notorious for rolling up to a race very last minute.
The weather that morning was pretty cold and the wind was pretty bad. Of course I struggled with layers and if I could have changed anything, I would have grabbed a more wind proof layer. The worst part though was that the wind kept turning as we turned with the loop. I swear if we had a head wind but turned 180 degrees, we still had a head wind.
I seemed to take reigns on the first loop of the race. I did the 4:15 run/0:45 walk as I wanted to continue the practice of that and Lauren seemed to be good with that. I was feeling good and since it was only 10 miles that day, I went out a little quick. Our average for the first loop was 11:09 and we definitely pulled back miles 4 and 5.
As we were coming down the last hill of the first loop, Jeff was running up to meet us. He commented that we were running fast and so it was decided we’d pull back the reigns a bit more. I tried to take a step behind Lauren and let her set pace for the second loop. We ended up dropping down to 11:30 for the second loop.
I truly love running with Jeff. As much as I rag himself sometimes about his coaching mid-run, running with Jeff is just awesome. He is a great coach and I value what he always says. This run though was a little more special. Jeff had recently been going through some tough times and as much as I know running is sometimes the best therapy, being with friends during a run is just five thousand times better.
Once we collected our medals, which were not as great as last year’s medal, we headed over to the Rose Barn for some pizza. We all chatted a bit more and then decided to head out. Lauren and I actually had to get ready as we had plans for beer fest that night. I have to say that running a nice, easy 10 mile race and following it up with drinking al the beer you want, truly makes for a fabulous Saturday.
I went into that race knowing it was going to be about the mental win against the lake loop and I have to say, I think I won, but it was the great company that kept me distracted. Maybe next year though I can go in and go for a 10 mile PR. My current PR actually is from that course (shocking, right?) and I definitely would love to break that 1:40 mark in a race one day. Maybe next year.
Official Finish Time:
51/59, F 30-34