LES CHÈVRES AT THE HARRICANA ULTRA-TRAIL

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November
2022

For the first time this year, we presented a trail running program with the possibility of participating in a race at the end of the program. A few Chèvres dared to take the plunge by registering for the 28 km Harricana Ultra-trail (UTHC).

Our Chèvres team composed of Marianne, Carine, Caroline, Aurélie, Emilie and Florence have embarked on the adventure!

After eight weeks of training with lots of elevation changes and intervals, the gals are ready for the big day. To break down this kind of race, enjoyably and far from performance pressure, some chèvres who participated in the UTHC share their experience.

Marianne

How did you get started in trail running?

I started running a bit naturally, which I have been doing since I was about 18 years old. Being a great lover of nature and the outdoors, it was more natural and enjoyable for me to run in nature. At first I didn't even know that it was a discipline in itself, I just wanted to run in the woods! And little by little I saw that trail running was a practice of its own, and it is now booming!

Why register for an event like the Harricana Ultra-trail?

It motivates in a consistent training plan, it supports perseverance and it's a great goal to prepare for. And the satisfaction is enormous when you accomplish it! It's also a great way to learn more about the trail running community!

Any advice for a woman who is just starting out in trail running? or for a woman who might be intimidated to sign up for this kind of event?

Go at your own pace and have fun! The only person to compare yourself to is yourself! We need to push ourselves, but respect our own limits, set realistic goals for ourselves, train accordingly, and above all have fun in nature!

Aurélie

What was your state of mind when you started the race?

I started the race with a certain amount of excitement, even stress (positive), it's so much of an unknown that awaits you; the course; how your body will react; the time it will take; the right food management, etc. But really and concretely my race started with a big handshake with my teammate, Emilie, saying: Let's do this! But really and truly, my race started with a big handshake with my teammate, Émilie, saying: Let's do this! After that, once the signal was given, the stress went down and the fun started!

Why register for an event like the Harricana Ultra-trail?

I believe that registering for such an event is a source of motivation and especially allows you to feel a great sense of accomplishment when you cross the finish line after all those hours of training. And for real, wow! What a great event! It's so motivating and inspiring to see such a great community of runners!  

Any advice for a woman who is just starting out in trail running? or for a woman who might be intimidated to sign up for this kind of event?

Practice, practice, practice. When you start a race like this, the more hours you have in your body, the more reassuring it is. When you train, you get to know your body, detect its signs and be able to manage your energy and efforts well. And I also believe that technique and reflexes come with practice.

Émilie

How did you get started in trail running?

I have a hard time remembering when I actually started trail running, but I'd say around 17 is when I remember going to the mountains as an activity. Trail running/mountain running will follow eventually...

Why register for an event like the Harricana Ultra-trail?

Beyond the distance or the race itself, it's really a unifying event, inclusive and that promotes meetings and mutual aid, which we don't necessarily see in other traditional sporting events. People encourage each other, talk to each other on the trails, it's like a big group hike! Okay maybe not, but the atmosphere is really friendly.

Any advice for a woman who is just starting out in trail running? or for a woman who might be intimidated to sign up for this kind of event?

Fun first! If you make sure you have fun, you will want to go outside and run. If you adapt your activity according to your energy and listen to your body, it will be easy to go to the mountains and run sometimes faster, sometimes slower. It will be much more beneficial for your mental and even physical health, because in the end it is much more rewarding to adjust your activity according to what you really want to do at the time. Also, there is no sub-distance or finality in trail running. If you feel like doing a shorter or longer distance, it has to be for you and no one else, you don't have to put pressure on yourself that it has to be more. Less but better as in everything is really valid :).

Florence

How did you get started in trail running?

I started trail running last year, with the goal of moving faster, seeing more scenery, and getting more miles on the trail. I started out quite slowly, only running the downhills at first, then gradually the flats, then I got the hang of it! It's one of the few sports that makes you feel like you're flying while hopping on the rocks of the trail.

Why register for an event like the Harricana Ultra-trail?

I think you should sign up for a UTHC race for the beautiful Charlevoix scenery you see on the course, the festive atmosphere throughout the race and to give yourself a little personal challenge! It's motivating to train when there's a fun goal at the end!

Any advice for a woman who is just starting out in trail running? or for a woman who might be intimidated to sign up for this kind of event?

One piece of advice I would give would be to go at your own pace and that you don't have to be running all the time for it to be considered trail running. In the end, the real secret to trail running: it's mostly fast uphill hiking.

Carine

My review of UTHC

When I arrived, I felt a bit imposing and wondered what I was doing there. I put myself in the 4h+ group because I have the feeling that I'm going to do it in 10,000h. I find myself at the front of the starting line, anxious. Finally, we leave!

I chat with people, maybe too many, but I don't care, I'm not here to win, just to finish it and I'll be happy. The race is over, I pee in the forest. I'm still chatting. I am apprehensive about the famous second climb, I wait for it, I wait for it...only to realize that obviously, we already had to pass it. I was a little too careful for nothing. The mega descent is still violent on the thighs.

You can hear the screams at the finish. That's it, that means I'm going to finish my first real trail race! I speed up, realize that there is a mini climb at the end and don't want to slow down in front of the applauding people - I have my pride anyway - but I really would have liked to walk this part.

I pass the finish line, very proud and my thighs burned! In short, a great experience!

Caroline

My review of UTHC

I love running and hiking, why not combine the two? I don't really have the physique for the job and I'm not at all interested in comparing myself to others, but I do like to compete against myself.

My first goal was to finish the race with all my pieces in the right place and a smile on my face. With Les Chèvres, I found the spirit I was looking for in my preparation: fun, physical and mental health, no competition or pressure to perform and lots of good advice to make this adventure a success. I was feverish the morning of the event, a mixture of apprehension and excitement, proud to be there. It went great; my body, my head and my heart were ready, a great success for me.

To my surprise, I was not alone in my kind of race, not only super athletes lined up for a start, but also ordinary people who measure themselves against the mountain. Trail running is demanding but so rewarding. It's not just about running, in trail running you run when you can and you walk when you should (advice from a pro) and then it's like life, ups and downs that follow one another. Almost spiritual, an ode to the wonderful human machine that can do much more than we think it can.

Our experience in a few words: pride, fun and exploration!

In the end, the Harricana Ultra-trail is a beautiful and friendly race with a festive atmosphere from start to finish. The trail running community is one of the most welcoming. This kind of race is perfect to keep you motivated throughout your training, without necessarily having a performance goal.

Happy trail running, les Chèvres!

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