How I became a giant in 24h.

It all started over a beer on New year’s eve. My aunt told me about this race she had been running for the last two years. She said it was crazy enough that it would be “my kind of thing”: a trail race, in a cross country skiing club, with only 35 participants, and a poutine at the end. The trail is a 4.2km loop that you run/walk as many time as you possibly can, in 24hours. It’s called: “Le trail des géants », french for “The trail of the giants”. I was sold!

An ultramarathon, […], is any footrace longer than the traditional marathon length of 42.195 kilometres (Wikipedia)

I did not go crazy on the training but it quickly became obvious that I needed to add a few long distances training into my schedule if I wanted to survive this challenge. Away from my weekly runs, I decided to subscribe to the Ottawa Marathon (42.2km) on a 50 day’s notice. Later in July I walked a 56km training to test my legs and my kit. Many lessons were learned during that day helped me on race day.

The race

I was the first participant to show up at the Skinoramik cross country ski club on Saturday Aug 3rd. There were only a few clouds and the weather was really nice. I setup my tent, cooler and laid out my gear (Clothes, headlamp, blister kit, spare shoes etc.) in preparation for the hours ahead.

My home during the race

It was 12h11 when I started my GPS watch and began running in a trail I was going to get to know pretty well over the next day.

Going through an easy part of the trail. Photo: Joannes Gouin

At supper time I had completed 9 laps and 38km before we sat together to eat an amazing pig roast. At midnight, most of us met to walk 1 lap together; my 15th lap. I went to bed around 2h30am after a couple of beers from my favourite brewery, Le Trefle noir. I slept for almost 3 hours before heading back on the trail, coffee in hand, for the last 5 laps I needed to reach my goal of 85km (2x marathon).

It’s also important to take a break sometimes…

My aunt had managed to catch up with me to walk my last lap and since there was still time, I decided to join her for her last lap (She completed 12laps, reaching her goal of 50km). These 2 laps, were definitely my favourite ones. My legs were hurting, my feet were ready to quit, but It felt good to have someone with me and share those special emotions together.

She said it was crazy enough that it would be “my kind of thing”

After a quick shower, they served us an AMAZING poutine with bacon and what was left of the pig roast. #fooddrunk.

THE poutine!

My final marks were 91.6km for 21 laps. This is how, on the eve of my 40th birthday, I became a giant.

Here are few links that inspired me during the time leading to that race. I hope they inspire you as well.

Audio book: Can’t hurt me

Youtube video Where dreams go to die

Ever since I am back from the race, I have been shopping for a new challenge and I have an eye on a couple of races. Do you have any to recommend?

Disclaimer: This blog was originally written for my Social Media course COM0014 and posted to the Algonquin College WordPress blog.

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