Dirt in Your Skirt Profile Series – Helene Dumais
Helene Dumais, a name that might not be known on the American circuit of obstacle racing but is well known outside the US in both Europe and Canada. This 33 year-old Montreal, Quebec resident is no stranger to the podium finding her way there 14 times in 2014 at various obstacle races. When not racing on several continents Dumais can be found not only training but training other people as a personal trainer and health coach. She is sponsored by Platinum Rig in Canada. She is not only an accomplished obstacle racer but also a well versed trail running. Right after her second place finish at the 2014 Ultra Beast she took some time to answer our questions (in her second language). If you didn’t know about Helene Dumais you do now!
How did you get involved in your sport?
At the end of my trail running season 2012, I slightly torn a muscle. I am in love with long distances, but I couldn’t plan my ultras for the 2013 season yet. So to test my running skills on a short distance, I registered for fun in a Sprint Spartan Race. I placed 3rd and fell in love with that added dimension obstacles bring to trail running.
Were you always an athlete?
No. When I was younger, I was into singing, dancing and acting. I then became a sommelier (wine expert) at age 20. I started trail running at age 23. Thanks to my boyfriend for my switch to running who was a semi-pro soccer player and dragged me out there to run! From that point, everything changed in my life… and at a very fast pace!
What are some of your athletic achievements?
To name just a few: TransRockies Run 2011, 2nd and 3nd place at the 58k Ultimate XC and actually, all my 2014 season in OCR where so far I managed to do 14 podiums with the last one recorded a few weeks ago: 2nd place at the Ultra Beast Spartan Race 2014 in Vermont.
What are your goals for the upcoming season?
My goal is to improve, become a stronger and a better athlete! I am very enthusiastic as I just started this sport and I know that I am far from having reached my full potential! 2015 will be made up of less competition than 2014. I’ll stick with the big ones where the highest level of competition shows up, so I can compare myself and it will help me to always aim for the top.
Who is/are your inspiration?
Kilian Jornet, Mike Horn, George St-Pierre and many athletes I met along my journey in the sport.
What is your most proud moment in sport?
Maybe because it is fresh in my memory, but my 2nd place at the Ultra Beast Spartan Race 2014 is one I am very proud of! It is a reflection of combined passions: Ultras and OCR.
What is your most proud moment in life?
I turned my life upside down at 23: I ended a relationship, I quit my job as a sommelier, I grabbed my backpack and left Montreal to complete a 870k hike thru the French Pyrenees called the GR10, all on my own. A very transforming experience.
How do you overcome a bad race or training day?
Being dangerously positive and always with a smile, combined with my coaching skills, I see a ‘’bad race’’ simply as a fact. With enthusiasm I look to identify why it went this way, so I can learn from it and improve.
What is your training routine like?
It varies a lot depending on my race schedule. I generally train 5-6 days per week when there is no race. I do specific work to improve my weaknesses and follow a periodization plan specifically designed for me by my coach Frederic Gueveneux. This includes trail running, intervals, long run, hill work, core work, grip, all the functional movements we encounter in races, etc.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in your sport?
Follow your motivation, respect a progression, hire a coach or join a group training so that you can evolve quickly and safely. Do not underestimate the importance of learning proper running form. Get yourself shoes that let you have a natural running form. Read an article I recently wrote on the subject: https://skorarunning.com/blog/obstacle-races-in-skora.
What is your favorite pre-race and post-race food?
The day before: a big salad of sweet potatoes and veggies with olive oil. Some chocolate too! Right after the race: fresh juicy fruits like watermelon or oranges. Later I often crave for pasta with veggies and a lot of parmesan cheese, I crave for salt. If I did a 11h48 race like this past Ultra Beast 2014… Give me anything as long as it is not a sport gel or a bar!
When not training and competing what do you do with your down time?
Down time? What is that? Haha! If I am not training or coaching I still like to spend time outdoor, spend time with the people I care in my life and I do like to write and sing.
What is your favorite quote to motivate you?
The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
What is the best advice a coach ever gave you?
Stop doubting about yourself; trust yourself.
If you could share some advice to the next generation of athletes, what would it be?
Keep moving forward. Be instinctive. Trust your full potential. Learn from others but be innovative too as there is a lot of space that hasn’t been explored yet. Focus on being healthy in every aspect of your life that can affect your athletic profile. Not just training, but eating, resting, having integrity in your relationships, your finances, etc.
What is/are the races you are most looking forward to this year?
The 2014 racing season comes to an end soon. The serious stuff is done; it is fun time now. Between the 5-6 races left on my schedule, completing a Trifecta Spartan Race in one weekend in France on October 11th and 12th will be an exciting challenge.
Any additional information you would like to share:
I hope I can inspire others to get out there and play! Feel free to contact me as I like to share my passion with others. www.helenedumais.com