June 25th, 2018 | Fitness, Diet & Health

Summer Fitness Challenge Athlete Profile: Eric Cote #AmazfitChallenge

Being a father of three, it’s not always easy to find the time to train. The evenings often mean being a taxi driver for the kids’ activities. That’s where I was, six years ago. Going up a flight of stairs was leaving me out of breath. I had some minor health issues, mostly due to inactivity and being overweight. It was time for a change.

The easiest thing to fit in the schedule was running. I didn’t like it, but it was easy to just put a pair of running shoes and go for a run whenever I had some time. So, my wife and I started running. To be sure to keep going, we registered for a 5k race, three months later. We had no choice but to train.

The first month was hard. I was so out of shape. Week after week, I was seeing an evolution. I was feeling better and started losing weight. The race came, and we both ran well. Then something clicked: I started to like running, so I kept doing it. I decided to try a half marathon next Spring. I ran outside all winter and did my first half in May of 2013. That was a manageable distance in my head and in my schedule. Friends of mine were training for a marathon and I thought they were crazy.

Fast forward in 2015, after an awful half-marathon, I asked my wife if she would run a full marathon with me for our wedding anniversary. Without a sliver of hesitation, she said yes. That’s when we started training more. What’s strange with running is the more you do it, the more you want to do it. I was hooked. That’s also the year I discovered trail running and learned that there were races longer than marathons: ultramarathons.

So, September of 2015, I ran my first marathon with my wife, and two weeks later, I ran my first trail ultramarathon. It was 33 miles with over 8000 feet of elevation gain. I don’t need to tell you how much my legs hurt the week after that, but I loved the experience so much. I felt like Superman. Nothing could stop me.

That’s when I took the decision: 2018 is the year I will turn 50 years old, so I will run my first 100 miles race to celebrate that. Three years should be enough. The ultimate goal was set. Here we are in late Spring 2018 and I’m two months out from my race. Over the last few years, I ran many ultramarathons ranging from 30 to 70 miles. I already ran over 1,100 miles this year with close to 100,000 feet of vertical gain. I trained in the snow with temperatures below -25° last winter. I ran in every conditions possible over the last three years. I also lost 50 pounds, and I’m in the best shape of my life. Despite turning 50 last April, I feel younger than 10 years ago. How did I stay motivated? Over the years, I learned to love running, especially in the mountains. It’s where I feel alive. Setting a big goal like that helps keeping the motivation to train. It’s frightening but so exciting at the same time. Having a good training plan helps a lot too. When I see a 90 minutes run in my schedule, I just have to do it. Having a running wife helps too. When I see her go out in the rain, it leaves me no choice but to do it too.

The race I chose is the Maah Daah Hey 100 in the badlands of North Dakota, on July 28th. I chose it because of the beautiful scenery. It’s a point to point race of 106 miles with over 12,000 feet of elevation gain. That means many hours on my feet. That also means I need a watch that will last a long time. The Amazfit Stratos is the perfect choice for that. I used it for an 8 hours training run a couple of weeks ago and drained only 22% of the battery. That means I should get 35-36 hours out of it. The cutoff time for the race is 36 hours, but I do hope to finish before that. That race is my summer goal, but it’s also the start of another adventure. It marks the beginning of a family road trip in some of the most beautiful National Parks of the United States. We will go hiking in Yellowstone, Grand Teton and Glacier National Park with the kids. No schedule, no rush, no stress… just being outside and playing in the nature. I will have so many tales to tell you and beautiful pictures to show, but that will be for another time. Now, I must go back to my training.

What goals did you set for yourself this summer?

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Eric Cote, Osteopath, photographer and blogger.

Husband and father of three, he has a passion for running and mountains. He fully assumes his geek and foodie status.