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Milton, Ontario, Canada

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A Midsummer Night's Run 30k Race Report (Pacer!)

On Saturday, August 16, 2014, I returned to run my third 30k race at the Midsummer Night's Run. It was also my second year pacing. Once again, I had the 3hr, continuous sign.

The weather for the day of the race was not nice. It was cold and threatening rain. I was so unsure what would happen, that I ended up packing a few different options for a top (there was no way that I wasn't going to wear my tutu!). My DailyMile friend, James picked me up at 2pm and we traveled downtown to the Canada Post outlet to park and get the buses to McLeary Park. Once we got there, the skies opened up and we took shelter under a tree (I also had a rain poncho). I ate my bagel and peanut butter and James grumbled about how early we were. Before we knew it, it was time to get my pacer sign, change into race clothing (I decided on the same outfit as last year - a tank, but added arm sleeves and calf sleeves) and chat with friends including my Running Room Marathon leader, Chris (who was pacing, but NOT in a tutu!), fellow pacer Mike, the pace fairy organizer, Dave and Kenny. I said my goodbyes to everyone and lined up. Just about three minutes from the start, the wind kicked up and the rain fell hard again. A general groan went through the crowd.

KM 1-10: We've got a big group

The 10/1 pacer and myself started together with a very big group. One thing about pacing three hours in a 30k run is that it is a milestone that many people will be going for. Its really nice to have those round numbers. We started out and by some miracle the rain completely stopped, never to fall again. We head out and before long, we are looping back around, seeing other runners and pace groups. Everyone is looking strong and I'm calling out to the other pacers I know and yucking it up with my group, "I'm no physic, but I think we'll be turning soon!" We are heading along Cherry Street and there is a lot of traffic so I'm saying "HI!" to all the people in cars with open windows. I'm having a great time, but am going a bit too quickly. I try to settle down because there is a long way to go. By 3k, we are into the Martin Goodman Trail and I'm pushing my arm sleeves down, so happy that I decided to go with the tank top. "Good thing it rained just enough to bring out the humidity!" My group agreed that it was humid, but there was nothing we could do but keep heading on. I did feel sorry for those who decided on long sleeves (or COATS!!!) and saw more than one person stop to strip off clothing. My fellow 3hr pacer, Nuno was wearing last year's long sleeved shirt and I don't know how he didn't melt. This first 10k felt really good. Easy and effortless despite the humidity and diverse landscape out toward the light house. Its always nice to run along the lake and I made sure that my group looked out to see the view of the CN Tower from the east. Nuno and I are pacing really well and we pick up some more people in this stretch.

 5:47-5:34-5:56-5:55-5:57-5:51-5:57-5:59-6:04-6:04 (GU). Time: 59:05.

Okay, 55 seconds in the bank. I'm not worried at this point because the course is always marked weird and after last year, I'd rather have time with 5k to go and not the other way.

KM 11-20: Just get me to halfway

Our group keeps hanging on through the tricky footing that leads us out to the lighthouse and then into Tommy Thompson Park. I am sad that there was no photographer here this year because in my first Midsummer, I got an awesome photo with the CN Tower in the background. Around 13k or so, I notice that the group is SUPER, SUPER quiet and I realize that everyone (me included) is just thinking about getting to that halfway mark.I'm also thirsty, but not desperate yet. I'm making sure that I drink at all the stations, but after taking Gatorade at the second station, I don't bother again because it was so strong. Once we get to the 15k mark, I announce it to the group, ".... and..... half-WAY!" and you could feel the relief. It was rather palatable for sure. We had some serious people and they obviously were trying to accomplish some major goals. We still have about 54 seconds in the bank at 15k, so I know we can take some more time at water stations and such. This is welcome for me and I begin to dump water down my back and drink two cups at each station. Its around this time that someone joins us and tells me, "You're too fast! You shouldn't be ahead of the run/walk pacer!!!" I try to explain that we play tag back and forth and finish at the same time, but that runner didn't get it. I know its hard to think sometimes when you're running hard so I leave it. I know I'm fine. Nuno and I are playing tag perfectly, exchanging splits, confirming that we are a bit ahead, but nothing out of the ordinary. The next time he passes, he christens us the "Tortoise" group to his "Hare" group. Its a nice bit of levity as we head into Ashbridges's Bay Park.
We didn't get a photo where we both looked good. HA.
5:58-5:56-6:05-6:03-5:59-6:01-6:04-5:58-6:11 (GU)-5:56. Split: 1:00:11, Time: 1:59:16

KM 21-30: I'm going to need medical!

We get to the half marathon split at 2:05:20 which is not bad. 40 seconds in the bank which I'm proud of. I know that the signs will likely get a little wonky and I just have to trust my watch. I've been pacing pretty well up until this point and I know that I can run another 10k in an hour. Except things start to feel REALLY BAD. It happens all of a sudden and I can't even really think. I know that we still have the group with us, Nuno is still pacing me on regular intervals and I'm not slowing down, but I just feel ... like shit. I'm getting a little light headed and think maybe I should walk, but I force myself to the next water station. I force myself to say thank you to volunteers and keep my head in the game. Basically, I decide that I'm not going to lose the plot. I'm going to force myself through the next 7km and I can collapse at the end and hit the med-tent. Thoughts are all a jumble and things are hazy (figuratively and literally as its getting darker), but looking at my splits I did fine. So odd. I always find that 22-28k in a 30k race is tough and this day was no exception. Of course around 28k this feeling fades as I see the end is near and I know that I am going to nail the pacer pace. by the time I'm back on Commissioners, I'm looking for that 29k sign and I see it hiding near a bus shelter. I head off the road and hit it and then I have to control my pace to the end. Nuno falls in with me and we start to yell at our group to finish strong. All of the bad feelings from the last few KMs are gone and it is time for Nuno and I to finish this thing as well.

And once again, I'm ecstatic with the end, especially when I know that I've hit the pacer time as perfectly as I possibly could. 

I had to repeat!
5:55-5:58-5:56-5:59-5:56-5:55-5:59-6:01-5:55-5:58-0:36. Split: 1:00:08, Time: 2:59:24

Once again, I had a fantastic time pacing this race (despite my few KMs of difficulty!). The real reward was after the race when Nuno and I walked through the finishing chute to get our medals etc and so many people came up to us to shake our hand and thank us for a great race paced. It was great to be part of someone else's special day and help them meet their goals. Pacing will never get old.


  1. Nice work bunny! Great recap and as usual, awesome race photos.

  2. Great pacing! Weird weather that day, glad it didn't pour rain on you the whole time.

  3. You are seriously like the worlds best pacer. I wish we had you instead of that other dude at MSNR! Congrats

  4. Great pacing job, Nicole!

  5. I love that you were able to recreate the jumping pose. I'd love to see them side-by-side.

    I always find the "tag back" between the continuous and run-walk pacers a little confusing. But it makes sense. The fact that you and Nuno were able to stay together is a testament to both of your continuous pacing!

    It's a little scary that you felt so bad from 22-28k. Sounds a little similar to some previous races you've done. At least it went away!

    Great job Nicole!!!


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