A Conversation with 7 Bridges Marathoners Jean Paul and Devin Vaudreuil

Father and son, Jean Paul and Devin Vaudrieul, will be running in this year's 7 Bridges Marathon
Father and son, Jean Paul and Devin Vaudrieul, will be running in this year's 7 Bridges Marathon Jean Paul Vaudrieul
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Meet Jean Paul and Devin Vaudreuil, a father and son duo participating in this year’s 7 Bridges Marathon on October 18th. Although they’ll be running in different age groups, they’ve trained together, motivated each other, and will celebrate together at the finish line (if all goes according to plan).

We caught up with Jean-Paul to discuss why the 7 Bridges Marathon is such a special event. 

How will you spend the day and evening before the race? Do you rest, or try to distract yourself, or just go about business as usual?

The day before the race is always a rest day. We go to church on Saturdays so we usually meet at my sisters’s house afterwards for lunch and then take a short hike in the afternoon. I try to not eat too much and typically carb load two to three days before.

What superstitions do you have before a race? Any funny food predilections? Favorite socks or shoes?

I don’t have any superstitions. I do, however, go to a thrift store and buy a 50 cent sweatshirt to keep me warm before the race and then toss when I’m ready. I’ve been running in Hoka shoes for a about two years now and love them. I try to buy a new pair a few weeks before the race so I can break them in and yet have the maximum support and cushion.

Some people approach a marathon in sections such as the first 10 miles easy, the second a little harder, and the last 10k as aggressive as possible. Perhaps your training hasn't been all you hoped and you'll just get out there and hope for the best. How do you plan to approach the race?

I’ll be approaching 7 Bridges as an indicator race to test my current fitness for what I hope will be an eventual Boston qualifying time. Consequently, I want to do well, but not to push too hard. On the 7 Bridges course, we hit mile 18 just as we’re getting on the Riverwalk to head back downtown to the finish. I usually know how I will do at that point. If I’m feeling strong, I’ll push it then. I don’t normally consume caffeine in any form so I’ve gotten in the habit of using gels that contain it for the latter part of the run. Though it often gives me a boost, it is certainly not a full proof method. I’ve used it in long training runs where I was especially tired and didn’t notice a significant improvement in my pace or energy level. Other times I have. I’ll also just hope for a good day.

In the middle of a hard race with the devil on your shoulder telling you it's time to quit, how do you keep going?

There are very few races where I didn’t have that little devil on my shoulder at one point or another. I’ve learned to ignore him for the most part and work through the pain and fatigue. I think you’ll find a strong stubborn streak in most long distance athletes. I know some athletes get through it my repeating that they’ll never do something like this race again. Of course, that’s a promise rarely kept.

What is your post race routine? How will you (and Devin and his friends) celebrate?

We’ll probably celebrate by going to Provinos or Tony’s Italian Restaurant. Although, in hot races my body craves salt so we usually end up at a Mexican place. Oh, and donuts will no longer be off limits for at least a week.

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