August 21, 2012

A Midsummer Night’s Run 2012 Race Report

by pyrad
Categories: Race Report
Tags: ,
Comments: 4 Comments
Date Event Goal Time Chip Time Gun Time
2012/08/18 A Midsummer Night’s Run 3:30:00 3:30:48.1 3:31:29.3


This is my second time running A Midsummer Night’s Run. When I ran it last year it was way too hot and I had a major stomach issue. This year, I was hoping that I could finish strong and enjoy a fun, catered training run. I wasn’t looking for a personal best, and I’m still pretty happy with my 3:16 30k from Around the Bay this spring. I imagine that pacing is a nice way to keep myself under control while still pushing myself a little bit.

My race bib for A Midsummer Night’s Run. My name is listed as “Pace Fairy”

There were a few factors that had me worried that I might not be able to pace the 30km in 3:30 successfully. My tendonitis injury from a few weeks before limited my training.My longest continuous run this season was only 17km. However, I was doing the weekly mileage correctly but split up the long runs into two shorter runs.

I was even worried about the speed. My long runs were usually alone so I didn’t think twice about taking long walk breaks or even standing still. To pace successfully I would need a walk-adjusted race pace of 6:40 min/km. However, the Wednesday before the race I did 10km without walk breaks at 6:40 min/km, so that helped me feel more confident about it.

I’ll write more about my wings in another post. The short summary is that I wanted unique wings so I spent a lot of time and energy making them. The design evolved a lot as I worked on it. I’m particularly proud of this photo I took the night before the race. I wanted a silhouette to share as a photo, but after a few tries, this result was WAY better.

I may make demonic summoning part of my usual race preparation…


…and a tutu is required attire for the “Pace Fairies.” At least the pacer organizer was nice enough to provide them.

The biggest mistake I made with the wings was to make them easy to dismantle. I wanted to be able to disassemble them for transport. Regrettably, the same joints that were for dismantling came apart during the race.

The tutu was provided by the gentleman that organized the pacers for this race. I didn’t make it. I wasn’t even sure how to put it on!




I never know how to eat for this race. The 5:30pm start puts it firmly at everyone’s dinnertime. I just had an extra-large lunch and hoped that my gummies would sustain me.

Some of the Square One Running Room team before A Midsummer Night’s Run 2012 (Photo credit: Carlos Fraile)

We had a big group out from the Square One Running Room. However, we weren’t too organized. In previous years we all knew who was going long before. This year most of us signed up independently and found each other as we got closer to race day. At first it was just 7 from my clinic, but it grew to 14 before race day, and over 20 doing various distances when we arrived and recognized each other before the race.

It’s probably a bad sign that one wing is already broken BEFORE the race (Photo credit: Carlos Fraile)

I always enjoy the pre-race atmosphere: Runners milling about, chatting, resting and warming up. There’s an electricity in the air with all the anticipation. This race was particularly interesting because of the variety of costumes on display.

I’d like to think that the sign is a medieval battle axe rather than a ‘wand’ (Photo credit: Bob Didier)

While getting ready, I got to meet Nicole! I feel bad that all I could say was that I thought she’d be taller (sorry Nicole). Apparently a few other people from dailymile saw me rocking my wings and tutu.

First 6km

That’s me right in the middle. Look for the wings… (Photo credit: Bob Didier)

I seeded myself in the back of the 30k crowd with my sign up high. There was also a 3:30-continuous pacer. I remarked to her that if we pace properly we’ll be passing each other a lot.

After about 1km the mass of runners started sorting into pace groups. I noticed a really big gap ahead of me. I was worried my wings were blocking people before realizing they were following me. We hit the first kilometer marker at almost exactly 6:40!

By the second walk break, my left wing had broken and was hanging from my pack. It wasn’t going to fall because the electrical wires were holding it. Someone in my pace group was nice enough to tuck it into my pack. I was kind of looking forward to running the rest of the race in a “One-Winged Angel” Sephiroth style. Regrettably, the right wing broke by 6km and someone tucked the other one between my back and backpack. At this point I’m just lugging around dead weight on my back 🙁


Around Half-Way (Photo by Zoom Photo)

This next section of the race was quite comfortable. The pace on my Garmin varied from 6:25 to 6:45 min/km, which was well within tolerance. At this point the 3:30 continuous pace group and my group of about 7 (3:30 run/walk) were passing each other regularly which implies we were on the right track.

The course signs started doing something funny at this point: They seemed to be coming 200-300m early according to my Garmin. At this point my Garmin said we were about 1 minute ahead of my “Virtual Partner” which I had set to 7:00 min/km.

Someone in my pace group remarked she could see “fairy dust” on the road. At first I thought she was bonking, but then she explained she was commenting on the many pieces of costumes that were falling on the course: Little streamers, plastic butterflies and such. As we passed the 5km runners I noticed a lot of them in fairy costumes had lost one wing. Durable costume design is a must!




The part on the Leslie Spit sucked. Right after entering Tommy Thompson Park around 12km, the first 15km runners passed us. And they kept passing us throughout the spit. I moved my whole pace group well to the right of the path and had us stand no more than two wide, but the 15k runners passed us left, right and even through our pace group! Not long in we also started having to pass the walkers on the course.

At the lighthouse around the halfway point, the terrain becomes a very uncomfortable gravel. Around that turn I lost all but two people in my pace group.

I’m actually a little glad that my wings broke. I had quite a wide wingspan and with the crowds on the Leslie Spit, a lot of people would have run into them.

I wonder if anyone who did the race remembers a phone number. I remember passing a pair of runners around 20km. One had a sign on her back that said “My friend is single: Call 416-_______” with an arrow pointing to her friend on her right. Her friend was a pretty blonde. Did anyone get the number?

We passed the 21.1km pad around 2:24, which I’m pretty happy with.


23km to finish

It was pretty nice to split off from the 15km runners because it got a lot less crowded, but a little more lonely.

On another note, during long runs, Gatorade tastes like the fruit of the Gods! The volunteers did a great job keeping the water stations well stocked.

Around 24km I passed the 2:45 pacer who was on his way back. He remarked to me that “the course catches up.” After Ashbridges Bay Park I noticed the 27km sign aligned almost exactly with my Garmin. The 300m gap was gone.

Crossing the finish line. The wings light up!!
(Photo by Zoom Photo)

Somebody remind me to bring a headlamp for next year. It was so dark as we left the park that I couldn’t see my watch. That’s particularly bad as a pacer because I didn’t know how fast I was going!

With about half a kilometer to go, I took a walk to repair my wings. I was determined to finish the race with my wings attached and lit. However, I think that little extra break lead to me being about 45 seconds late (oops).

Post Race Thoughts

I’m super happy that I finished the race comfortably, happy and pretty much on time. I’m told that a pacer should finish within 2 minutes of the posted time. I think I did good!

In addition to meeting Nicole, I also briefly saw Heather and Alice on the course, and apparently Sam saw me. I also got to meet Dave Emilio in person, a very impressive runner who organized the pacers for this race.

The biggest thing I’m excited about is that my stomach behaved. I’m happy with my honey stingers and I think I’ll use them for the rest of the season.

A Midsummer Night’s Run 2011 and 2012 medals

I am glad to have a few new trophies for my collection. The new medal is really nice. It would be nice if the 30k was slightly different from the 5k and 15k, but at least it’s different from the year before. And I kept my sign from the race too.

My pacer sign from the Oakville Half Marathon 2011 and A Midsummer Night’s Run 2012

This race really put some wind back in my sails (or wings), and has motivated me to push hard through this last bit of the season.



Comments closed


  1. macnic says:

    Hi Paul – really nice to meet you IRL and don’t worry about thinking that I’d be taller – I always think I’m taller too! LOL. Great job pacing and sticking with it. I’m glad you’ve found a fueling strategy that works as well. Congrats on a race well run!

  2. Henry says:

    Are you sure your Garmin doesn’t have backlight? Mine is activated by tapping the power button.
    Great pacing, and glad you figured out a working race strategy! I still demand the complete wing failure analysis though…

    • My Garmin has a backlight, but there are a couple of reasons I didn’t use it: The first reason is that it drains the battery really fast. The second was that I had locked my bezel because my pace band kept activating it, so I couldn’t activate the backlight.

      And yes, I’ll have a full technical-spoof report about the wings soon 😉

  3. […] successfully pacing A Midsummer Night’s Run, I have a great boost in motivation. You could say I have a new wind in my sails (or […]