Saturday was the perfect day for a race. It was sunny, cool, and just a little bit breezy. The temperature rose quickly, jumping from about 36 at 7 AM to 40 by 8:30 AM, to over 50 b y the time the race was over at 10:30 AM.
The Fred Kurz 10 Mile is a unique race, handicapping the start times of each runner with the goal of having everyone finish at the same time. Runners submit two recent race times, and are then given start times based on their estimated finishes. The earliest runners began at 8:30 AM, and the goal was to have everyone finish at 10:30 AM. My start time was 9:30 AM, which was perfect as my "A" goal was to run under 60 minutes.
I had one other runner starting with me, and she was also aiming for a sub-1 hour finish time. The race started at Wayzata Central Middle School, went on a sidewalk for about half a mile, then turned on the Luce Line Trail, a crushed limestone rails-to-trail path. The young lady I was running with started out at a good clip, running ahead of me for about the first mile. Deciding not to keep up with her, I ran my own pace, and at about a mile I ran past her.
Around two miles in I began passing runners who had earlier start times. I knew there were a few runners who had a later start time than me, so my goal was to not be passed. At three miles I was on pace for a sub-60 minute time, averaging about 5:55 a mile at that point.
At the turnaround, the wind was now at our backs, and I knew if I could keep the pace I would break 59 minutes. I was now passing a lot of runners, and had yet to be passed. Passing a runner I recognized, I said, "Way to go, Kurt!" He told me I was only the second runner who'd passed him.
With two miles to go, I thought I might have an outside chance of setting a new 10 mile PR, so I really tried to push it. Coming into the last mile, I knew my "A" goal was in the bag, but if I could run a really fast last mile, a PR wasn't out of the question.
I turned off of the trail and onto the sidewalk. Still passing runners, a minute later the finish line was in sight. Seeing the clock, it looked like it wouldn't be a PR. I'd run about as fast as I could, so dropping 15 seconds or more off the last two miles just wasn't going to happen. I came across the line at 58:32, making my "A" goal and missing a PR by 13 seconds--just over 1 second per mile.
Though it wasn't a PR, it was my best race of the season so far and the first time I've hit an "A" goal in a long time. I ended up finishing third overall and winning the 30-39 age group. My prize was a sweet MDRA hat. I'm feeling good about this early season, coming so close to a PR as I haven't set a PR since 2013. I hope this will be a good jump start to the season and lead to some PRs this year.