FRIDAY the 6th of May 2011 at 9am I left Ottawa with my parents (Denis & Joanne) for Pittsfield, Vermont in The United States. Its a 5h drive that took a bit more then 7h. I wanted to stop a least every hour and half to stretch and shake of my legs. Once in Pittsfield I met up with my two brothers (Guillaume & Bruno) and two friends (Mike & Heather). They are all, part of my support crew. Before bed, i made sure to carbo load, stretch, foam roll and i revised my race game plan for tomorrow, with my twin brother Guillaume, before i hit the pillow at 830pm. LIGHTS OUT, LAST SLEEP!!!
SATURDAY its FINALLY RACE DAY. My bother woke me up at 4am. The race start is at 6am. I'm having a huge chicken sandwich, fruits and a protein shake for breakfast. Jamming to some 90s music were getting PUMPED for the race. Everything is ready to go! Before leaving the Hotel i took a moment for myself. I realized that only in the last 16 months, i have race in my 1st Half Marathon, my 1st & 2nd Trail Race (21 & 35km) and only 8 months ago i did my 1st Full Marathon 42km. And only 5 months ago i decided to start training for my 1st 100 Mile Trail Race. 160km in The Green Mountain in Vermont. Mud, rocks, sand, water, ridiculous climbs and downhills with a 24 000 feet change of elevation will all be part of those hardcore trails to make my 1st 100 MILER a bit more challenging. THAT'S NUTS! BUT LETS DO IT!!!
THE START. The 6 members of my support crew are all awake and are all at the starting line with me. Few minutes before the race start i took my twin brother aside and told him "Bro, there is no way i'm coming back home without finishing that race. If i can't run anymore, i will walk, if i can't walk, ll have to crawl. U CAN'T LET ME QUIT!!!" He knew all the sacrifices i have made in the last 5 months. Training more then 20 hours in a week, working a full time job 40-50h a week, making sure to get 8h of sleep every night and made sure my nutrition was on par.
THE RACE - 1st 50 MILES. I could say that i flew through my first 50 miles. Took me just a bit more then 9hours. I was in 2nd place on 28 runners. The race was a 10 mile loop that I had to repeat 10x. Which was awesome cause i could see my support crew and refuel every 10 miles. At the 50 mile mark i started to feel really rough and sick. I was not able to eat or drink a whole lot in the last 2 hours. I knew i had to fuel my system. I tried to eat and drink a bit, but a few minutes after i vomit two times. I had to try and run on an empty stomach. Refusing to stop i left with one of my pacer Mike for another 10 mile.
THE RACE - CONT: At the 51st mile my quads and hamstrings started to cramp very bad. Its was so painful!!! I manage to stretch them and massage them for a few minutes and kept running. anyways. That loop was the most painful 10 mile of my life. I have barely eaten or drank for the past 3-4 hours and my legs were killing me with cramps. Luckily i had Mike running with me ,i manage to get to the 60 mile mark still in 2nd place. That was the lowest point of my entire race.
THE BREAKDOWN. My body totally shutdown on me. I Could barely move. I was cramping everywhere, all my fingers, my abdominal and my legs. I couldn't eat or drink anymore without vomiting, i was so cold even tho it was 18 degrees and had the biggest headache. Lying in the grass, on my knees, head down, a few meters away from everyone my twin brother came and see me. I was in tears, i felt that physically i was defeated. On the other hand mentally i was still strong. I ask my twin brother "what should we do?" He told me "the reality is, you can't keep going without eating or drinking. Lets go rest for a few hours, then will eat and then will go on. Your well under the pace we were aiming for. We have lots of time to spare."
After an hour of lying down in the back of the van my body started to relax and i fell asleep for an hour. When i woke up i did not have a clue how body was going to be. Luckily i was able to eat and drink again. I felt like a million bucks. At 930pm after 2h30 i've been lying down i told my brother "bro go get my gear i'm going out there and i'll finish that last 40miles." My support crew were just AMAZING at that point I couldn't done it without them. I know how hard it is, to see someone you care so much and love in so much pain physically but mostly to see someone working so hard for something and realizing that they might come short. There supportive and positive attitude kept me going.
THE LAST 40 MILES: At 10pm i was back running in the dark and cold trails of Pittsfield with one of my pacer Mike, currently in 7th place. Let me tell you that running in the mountains when its pitch black its a whole different ball game. Cruising into the trails with our headlamps Mike and I did the next 20 miles in a very fast pace. We were catching up! At the 80th Mile my Dad jump in with me to run the next 10 miles. I told my crew i wasn't stopping to sit, eat, or change shoes or socks. I knew at that point that a 3rd place finish was maybe possible, which was my Ultimate Goal. My Dad did an amazing job. He was making sure to light up the trails for me running with a powerful flashlight. I'm bless to have a "Pops" like him. To run with me at 2am, he have not slept all day in those crazy trails, let me tell you its not every dad that would of done that for is son. So we manage to finish that loop in a good time also.
THE LAST 10 MILES. Me and my twin brother left for my last 10 mile at 5am on Sunday morning. We left 2min after the 3rd place runner. We were currently in 4th. My 6 fabulous crew members were all there to witness the departure of my last 10 miles. My Mom, her presence was the only thing i needed from her, just to have her there, was HUGE for me. Mike ran 30 miles with me, mostly during my toughest moments. Mike is an incredible runner, training partner and mostly an awesome friend. Heather, Mike wife's, was so supportive always there at every 10 mile check points with her positive attitude to cheer us on. I'm lucky to have her a friend also. My older brother was the one that was keeping everyone on there tip toes. and making us laugh during rough times. He have not slept a minute during my race. He was thinking of every little details and always in a good mood and meeting me at every check points. He was the biggest fan. Just amazing! My Dad ran 10 miles with me. He did a terrific job before and during the race. He was pretty much the manager in the crew. My twin brother Guillaume, my best friend ran 20 miles with me even tho he had a hip injury. It was an honor and important for me that he run's trough the finish line with me.My last 10 mile was one of my fastest loop. After a physical breakdown and none stop 30 mile i manage to kill my last 10 mile to complete my first 100 Mile Trail Race with a 3rd place finish with a time of 24h51min.
THE REWARD. I got my 100 Miler Finisher buckle and a 3rd place medal on my first attempt at the age of 24. Did i win money? NO! What i have won is now i know I CAN DO ANYTHING i set my mind and heart to. I CAN transform all possibilities into realities. THINK, DREAM, BELIEVE, CREATE and LIVE IT!
A huge THANK YOU to my support crew and each and everyone out there that was supporting me. Family, friends, co-workers, clients you guys played a huge part in a life changing experience. I couldn't done it without you guys.That experience in Vermont was just a BEGINNING to a big journey!!!
NOW AN ULTRA RUNNER!