My first Boston Marathon!…that a Volcano in Russia almost foiled (VERY long post)

I still can’t believe this has even occurred (for many reasons, LOL). For real, it feels like yesterday I quit drinking, started training for the BMO Vancouver Marathon in December of 2015, and completed it on May 1, 2016 in 4:40:51. At the time, I couldn’t run even one kilometre at the pace needed for a BQ (not that it was a goal, yet), which was 3:35:00 or under.* But I knew what the Boston Marathon was at this point, and I was very intrigued. *Since then, the standard across all divisions tightened up by 5 minutes, but I also aged up into the 35-39 category

My journey to a BQ was a long, undulating process, but I made it happen exactly six years after that first marathon, in Eugene, with a 3:33:22. On September 21st, 2022, I found out I was IN for Boston 2023. The planning began! I am a huge planner, which makes the first part of this recap HILARIOUS (now). Training went great, and my coach, Jim, had me feeling very prepared. I finished work on Thursday, April 13th before noon, and headed to my own massage, feeling ecstatic to head out that same afternoon to fly to Vancouver out of Terrace, which is the next town over from where we live, about 1.5 hours drive. We would arrive in Boston on Friday evening via Toronto, with the race being on Monday, Patriot’s Day. Everything was perfectly planned!

So I get out of my massage to find a voicemail. It’s WestJet. Our 7pm flight from Terrace to Vancouver (and a luxurious over-night at the Fairmont) was cancelled, and rescheduled to the same time on SUNDAY. Cue, tachycardia. I frantically called back, and was told by the agent, who was as confused as me, that it was apparently due to weather. It was nice out! I was fighting against hyperventilation. My husband assured me that we would figure it out, and that we could even drive to Prince George (8 hours away) to fly out, if needed.

After a very long time on hold, the amazing WJ agent rebooked us in the last seats on a flight out of PG to Vancouver the next morning at 6am. Perfect! The flight tomorrow to Toronto (then Boston) wasn’t until noon!

We drove to Terrace, had a fantastic-as-always dinner at Don Diego’s, taking our sweet-ass time since we had like eleven hours to get to PG, and then continued driving east. Meanwhile, my friend texted me, A VOLCANO?? WHAT ARE THE CHANCES??? I found this confusing but also funny, since you know, we had sorted out our travel. I didn’t actually know what she was talking about so I Googled and found this on CBC, and at the time, the article only mentioned Rupert and Terrace, and nothing about ME.

As we’re driving towards PG, I get another email from WestJet. Hello, Jamie. Your itinerary may have been impacted… Pardon my language, but are you fucking KIDDING ME????? The Prince George flight was cancelled as well!!!! My eyes probably bulged out of my head and I asked my husband in a high-pitched voice “are we driving to Vancouver??” For anyone who isn’t familiar with Northern BC, we live right on the west coast, and to get to Vancouver by vehicle one must first drive 8 hours east to Prince George, and then another at least 8 hours south/SW. We were in for an all-nighter. Just what a runner needs four days out from the marathon. At this point, my buddy from CBC had called, and that article was updated…

We arrived at YVR long-term parking by 9am the following morning, two exhausted dirtbags with bloodshot eyes, severe headaches and definitely bad breath. My husband, the saint, did most of the driving and I’m so thankful, but we did take turns a few times. We successfully boarded the flight to Toronto, complete with other Boston marathon runners – you can tell because runners are total dweebs (I mean that in the best way) and usually wear their oldest Boston Marathon jacket over race weekend, or in this year’s case, anything from 2013, which was the year of the bombings and so it was the ten year anniversary of that tragedy. The flight landed a little late, a bit after 8pm, and the connecting flight was to depart at 9pm. Tight!

BUT GUESS WHAT?? Customs at Toronto Pearson Airport apparently closes at 8:30pm, so there was a text waiting for me when I switched off airplane mode. We were automatically rebooked to Boston for tomorrow (Saturday) at 9pm. Along with every other person on that massive plane who was connecting to the US. Oh yeah, I also started to feel extremely ill on the plane, complete with a giant dry heave that terrified all nearby passengers…

We f’d around getting information, complementary hotel, meal vouchers, hotel shuttle, etc, and were finally at least sitting down and eating at 10:30pm in the restaurant at the Sheraton. Uh-oh. I bolted for the restroom. Power-barfing, and apologizing in between heaves to the woman in the stall next to me. What is happening to me!?!?!?! I have no clue, but I did feel a lot better after that, minus an agonizing headache that didn’t resolve until Monday…

We finally made it to Boston on Saturday night. Though we both felt like ass, we MADE IT. The Uber to the Holiday Inn Bunker Hill was so fast and inexpensive, and my spirits were lifting by the minute. WE’RE HERE! I kept reminding my husband, LOL! He thinks I’m nuts. We walked to a nearby Brazilian steakhouse that was open late and seemed easiest, and then gratefully went to bed.

So, originally, the plan was to go to the Brooks shakeout run with DES LINDEN on Saturday morning (wahh), then check out the B.A.A. 5k festivities and cheer for our friend Adam (who got 7th in his AG!). Then we’d go to the expo to get my package and be tourists the rest of that day, saving Sunday for doing jack shit, my usual marathon-eve routine. Instead, it was now Sunday…we met Adam and Karmen for breakfast at Stephanie’s on Newberry St, attempted to go to Marathon Sports to check out the swag (way too busy, not surprisingly) and then hit the expo. Since it was my first Boston, I have no clue if that was a slow process or not, but the line to go in was very long and it wound through all sorts of areas and stairsways and hallways to get to the actual spot inside the convention centre. When I got my bib, I got emotional and teared up a little. Blue wave!!!! I was so tired and also overwhelmed by the absolutely massive crowds that we did not stay in the expo to visit any of the vendors, aside from Maurten, because I’d signed up for one of the special marathon packages and needed to pick it up. I’m a bit mad that after looking forward to this for so many years, I was too tired and irritable, and in pain, to fully experience the expo… but I’ll be back.

The rest of Sunday feels like a blur. My headache was so bad, but I did manage to get out for a 20 minute run and strides, and despite how exhausted I was and the pain I was in, I was getting fkn PUMPED. The weather on Patriot’s Day varies so much from year to year, and aside from wind from the east, it was looking pretty great for a northern BC runner! Some rain and about 11 degrees celsius. I was thanking the gods for anything but heat.

I settled on a crop top, the trusty leopard-print pocket shorts, my half-tinted Goodrs that have served me well as both rain and snow goggles, and I decided on no hat because I HATE being hot. I’m the runner who is generally warm unless it’s close to zero. Downpours weren’t forecasted….turns out I shoulda worn a visor, but it wasn’t a huge deal.

Our hotel had a buffet dinner for the marathon, which to be honest was far from impressive, but since all I wanted to eat was pasta and red sauce, it worked out perfectly. I didn’t sleep very well, but it was about as good as one can hope for on the eve of any marathon. I got up at 5:30 and went downstairs to get one of the grab-and-go paper bag breakfasts that the hotel provided. Although our stay at that hotel was pretty great, they need to work on their marathon weekend game. The bag breakfast didn’t even have a banana or bagel in it, the most stereotypical runner foods! Anyways. I ate a bagel and had coffee in the actual restaurant when it opened at 6, with a runner named David from Ireland who was so wonderful. The blue wave bus loading time was 8:15 for going to the start in Hopkinton, so I had decided to walk to the T station at 6:45 to get to the Common where the busses are, but realized I could easily get an Uber. This resulted in a much quicker commute, and after an extremely fast and easy gear-check, I was able to meet up with Karmen and Adam at the corner of Boylston and Charles! She still had her phone at that point, and I had mine on me all day, so that’s how we found one another. I was about to ride the bus to Hopkinton for the first time with one of my best friends!! As we walked to the bus, I hear, JAMIE!? and turn to see my Instagram friend, Michelle, waving! So great to see her in the flesh, and also hilarious because Karmen always says “Jamie knows EVERYONE” hahaha.

They give “strongly suggested” bus loading times for the different wave colours, but we knew that the only thing you actually CANNOT do it move up a corral in the actual starting area. So, I got on a bus with Karmen and other white wave bibs. The bus ride went by really fast and our driver seemed to be on a mission. I’ve heard multiple stories of busses getting lost on the way to Athletes’ Village, but this driver knew what was up. After exiting the freeway and rolling into Hopkinton, I started to really understand this town’s pride in being the start of the oldest and most prestigious marathon on earth. I saw Marathon Elementary School. I saw StartLine Brewing. And then I saw a cheer station in a front yard and asked Karmen if we were driving on the course. No, she said, these people are literally just so pumped that they are cheering for the busses. Wow!

We arrived at Athletes’ Village, which was what I had envisioned – a big high-school field with lots of big event tents and about 1000 porto-potties. We’d just walked through the arched entrance gate thingy when who do I see? David from Ireland, hahaha. Karmen jokingly rolls her eyes as I see another person I know amongst 30,000 runners, across the continent from where we live. LOL.

We got in line for a bathroom, which took a while but not outrageously long, and then laid out our garbage bags under a tent to sit down and wait.

I now know that I should have put on my race shoes prior to the 1km-ish walk to the start line (I was wearing an old, retired pair in case it was muddy and/or pissing rain), and also applied my “body glide” i.e. silicone-based sex lube, everywhere before the walk. But now I know! I changed my shoes on the walk by stepping to the side of the sea of people making their way to the corrals and it was really awkward, and I forgot to apply the glide before but had it in my throw-away hoodie pocket so I did that right before my corral was released. It felt rushed and frantic, but it all worked out. I also accidentally got rid of my throw-away gloves in the hoodie pocket when I tossed the sweatshirt! But it wasn’t even close to cold enough for me to need gloves, thankfully. Last note, silicone-based sexy lube is the best thing ever for a rainy race! I legit didn’t even have a speck of chafe anywhere on my entire body after this race, and it PISSED at times, and it was muggy at other times and I was sweaty and salty AF.

We were off! Holy shit. I am running the Boston fkn Marathon!!!! I knew it would be crowded, but not THIS squishy! The road at the start in Hopkinton is NARROW. The first kilometre was one of my slowest of the day and it was a bit frustrating. I planned and vowed to obey speed limits, but not to this degree. Oh well. After everything that happened to even get here, my grip was pretty loose on the whole situation.

It took me at least 5k to finally get a bit of a rhythm, but I wouldn’t say I felt great, even considering all the significant downhill in the first 7km. Again, oh well! I was running just under 5:00/km at this point, which was the goal, and letting myself speed up naturally on the steeper declines without upping the effort. I also was very distracted in a good way, because THIS RACE IS SERIOUSLY INSANE. I wish I could accurately remember everything I took note of while running. Some stuff that I do remember from early in the race were so many people in their front yards, freaking out with noise makers and BLASTING music! They all had massive signs and banners right from the get-go, and certain clubs, teams and groups had wild cheer stations set up. I even saw a big cheering crew at the Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall. Some spectators had their own aid-stations set up for us in their yards or businesses, and there are already official aid stations at every mile (after mile 2)! People were wearing costumes to cheer and I saw a little kid dressed up like a car dealership wacky-waving-inflatable-tube-man just going buck wild in his front yard ahahah!! The course was completely lined with supporters. I’m sure there were some, but I remember no gaps in spectators.

In Framingham, the crowds seemed to get VERY thick, and it was absolutely overwhelming! My throat kept closing and I would get choked up, feeling so grateful as spectators would make eye contact and scream “YOU GOT THIS” and “GO CHEETAH SHORTS” and “YOU’RE AWESOME!!!!!” etc, etc. I couldn’t wrap my head around the volume of spectators nor the volume of their cheering, especially still so far out from Boston. The commuter train went by at one point, in the same direction we were running, and the passengers were like sardines, literally pressed up against the windows freaking out and cheering as they blasted by, banging on the windows from inside. It made all the hairs on my body stand up!! The aid stations were so long and it was very easy to get a cup of water and then a cup of Gatorade within the same station because they were so long, and all those volunteers were incredible and so enthusiastic and supportive! This event has close to ten THOUSAND official volunteers, FYI!

Every town had the most incredible crowd support (so far, Hopkinton, Ashland, Framingham, Natick) and every step was amazing! I saw Santa, Big Bird, Thing 1 and Thing 2, a giant bumble bee, kids sports teams, groups of senior citizens, people offering Kleenex or paper towel for spills, sweat, etc, others offering popsicle sticks with vaseline for anti-chafe, and handing out snacks like orange slices. There was live music, drum stations, cowbells, confetti, bubbles…

Then, around 20k in, as we were approaching half-way, you could hear and feel a sort of shrill, electric rumble in the distance and in the air. I heard someone actually say, What is that? Is that the Wellesly students?? and we all realized that yes, that’s what is coming up! The Wellesly scream tunnel is iconic. Yeah, it was my first Boston, but I’ve been researching this race and its history for eight years. Until 1972, the Boston Marathon was a mens-only event, and Wellesly is an all-girls college (pretty sure it still is today, too). The scream tunnel at this college is a staple in the marathon, and it was bananas for real. Must have been, at the very least, a half km long. Runners stopped for kisses, got a million high-fives, and those students had some of the best signs, though I can’t remember any specifically. Every one of those hundreds and hundreds of cheering students must be voiceless! It literally hurt my ears!

Around km 24, my gut spoke up in the unfortunately familiar fashion. I have to say, I am getting extremely frustrated with the fact that in probably 12 of the 15 marathons I’ve now run, I’ve had a sudden and urgent need to go #2 at some point in the race. It’s so inconvenient and I can never feel normal after the pit-stop. I won’t get into it, but I have some new ideas on what to adjust next in my ongoing quest to avoid the poo-mergency in the marathon. So, I started silently telling my GI tract to STFU as we were approaching Newton Lower Falls, where I wanted to enjoy cruising down the 26th kilometre (huge downhill) before it was time to get through the four Newton Hills that I trained so hard to manage. I followed my plan of running the hills 100% based on a moderate-level of effort and ignoring my Garmin, and that went really well, but I just could not get back on pace in the segments between the hills. I was feeling far from how I wanted to at this point, despite my fuelling being on point. I was definitely feeling some resentment towards the cluster-fuck of a travel journey it took to get to this race and how it sabotaged my week of the race lead-up. That, plus my left calf bordering on spasm at every step, and now really needing the bathroom, I was feeling a tad beat down. BUT, I’d set a multitude of process goals for this race, on top of some time goals, and I decided that no matter what, feeling okay in the last 8k was top priority, as well as enjoying the BOSTON FKN MARATHON!!!!

I whipped into a porto-potty in the 33rd kilometre, after the 3rd Newton Hill but before Heartbreak Hill. It made me laugh thinking, there is no way in hell I’m stopping ON Heartbreak Hill for anything, especially not a deuce. Sense of humour still intact – great sign, haha. Running up Heartbreak Hill was just as I imagined it to be! At this point a few total downpours had happened, and everyone was completely soaked. It was kind of steamy, a little windy, and I could hear Running Up That Hill by Kate Bush just blasting from somewhere to my left up the hill! Like for real, not just in my head. The spectators lined both sides of the road, and were so encouraging!! At the top. there was an actual banner that said something like “you have conquered Heartbreak Hill!”

My calf was not letting up, and I was feeling a bit weak, but I knew I could absolutely sustain my ultimate goal for this race, which was to enjoy that last 8km! Someone handed me a pickle from the sidelines at one point, and I was soooo thankful for the salty goodness! Again, I thought about the fact that I was running the Boston fucking Marathon!!!! The signs started getting really good, and weird. SMILE IF YOU AREN’T WEARING UNDIES! (I was, so I made a sad face and the crew just lost their fkn minds ahahah), TOENAILS ARE FOR LOSERS (classic favourite), WICKED RUNNAHS (lots of Boston accent signs), and a new one that I saw TWICE and it made me laugh… WE HAVE BEEN TRYING TO CONTACT YOU ABOUT YOUR EXTENDED WARRANTY…wow even while running Boston they’re trying to get ahold of you. LOL.

The students at Boston College were just out of control crazy cheering, and it seemed as we ran into Brookline that the crowds had not a single gap whatsoever. Totally nuts!!!! Next up, BOSTON! Because it was pissing rain off and on, and a bit windy and almost misty at times, I didn’t even notice the Citgo sign until I was almost at it! This is probably a good thing, since everyone says it sucks seeing it from like a mile away, and knowing it’s a mile to go but not until you’re actually right underneath it! By now I was really pushing my body to keep working, running with a slightly altered (and awkward) gait to avoid the calf spasm, but otherwise still enjoying every step!

I thought to myself, soon I’ll be running under Mass Ave, swooping up from the underpass, and taking the two most famous turns in all of this sport. The shrieks for “CHEETAH SHORTS” and “CANADA!!!” (I had a temporary maple leaf tattoo on my leg) seemed endless and Boston as a whole was like actual electricity. The crowd from Fenway park (post-traditional-Patriot’s-Day RedSox game) was wild. Everything was amazing, but also a blur of intense volume and energy. I have never experienced anything like it. I was pretty sure I could finish under 3:40 at the rate I was going, and made that the final mission. A totally respectable time, within 6 minutes of my PR, and a time I never would have dreamed of running back in 2016 when I first became a marathoner.

Then, it was real, and I was running under Mass Ave. Next up, RIGHT ON HEREFORD. I’m fucking turning right on Hereford!!! Hold back ugly cry. Next, left on Boylston. I’M TURNING LEFT ON BOYLSTON!!!!! My face as this is happening…

Running down Boylston street was my dream come true. It reminded me of being at our local parade as a small child, where it felt like there were hundreds of thousands of people lining both sides of the street, 5 or 6 deep. Except now it was really that way. It’s a long stretch running down Boylston and my experience went into slow motion. I choked up as I finished the race, pushing as hard as my dumb calf would permit, and crossed the line in 3:39:21! After the travel stress, sleep deprivation, violent stomach illness, headache from hell and the challenges within the race itself, I honestly couldn’t be happier with this performance, especially mentally!

My highlight of the entire day was in the finish chute, after making my way, in total bliss and awe, towards the space blankets, medals, snack bags, water, and hundreds more wonderful volunteers. An older lady, proudly sporting her official Boston Marathon Volunteer jacket, asked me loudly and enthusiastically with a huge smile, “Was it hahd ?!” and I nearly cried as I told her, yes, it was hard (fighting back the urge to practice my Boston accent back to her). Yeah, it was HAHD! Pahk the cah at Hahvahd Yahd!

Though hectic, loud and overwhelming, it wasn’t hard to retrieve my gear back from the school busses (more unreal volunteers, thank you!), and then to reunite with my husband, who had actually been spectating on Hereford but I didn’t see him. I was so happy to see him!!!!! He’s the real MVP for enduring the trip and spectating for hours, watching the elites go by with Karmen’s husband Adam, and watching all day until I went by! This guy isn’t even a runner, but he’s wicked smaht πŸ˜‰ and knows better than to not come with me to my first Boston!

We went to Shake Shack for an easy and low-key dinner with Karmen (now exclusively pronounced Kahmen) and Adam. Everyone was exhausted and we didn’t have a reservation anywhere fancy or trendy anyways. This was a great choice, and smashing cheeseburgers and vanilla milkshakes brought me to happy tears!

We stayed in Boston for two more full days, moving to an AirBnB near State House. We explored Newberry Street, walked the Freedom Trail, checked out the Boston Public Library, and I got to meet Des Linden after all, at her book signing on the Tuesday! We ate lobster rolls and clam chowder, took pics with the bronze duck and ducklings sculptures in Boston Common, went to Fenway Park for a RedSox game and strolled the Public Garden more than once. There were some amazing meals, a lot of walking, and even a live CBC interview over the phone on Daybreak North! Check it out here. It was completely astounding how many strangers congratulated me on the marathon, just from seeing me in my celebration jacket. I’ve wanted one of these jackets for so many years, and wearing it around the city for the days after the race was a true testament to what it means.

Nothing could have sabotaged this experience from me! Not even an ash cloud from a volcanic eruption in Russia, missed flight connections, illness or sleep deprivation! Although I didn’t have the race I envisioned, my experience at the 127th Boston Marathon was, without a doubt, extraordinary. I’ll be back!

Thanks to everyone who has been so supportive of this goal of mine. Your enthusiasm and encouragement really means the world to me. xo

Boston Marathon…one month to go!!!

Holy actual shit.

I still can’t believe that in 4 weeks tomorrow I’ll be starting my journey east to run the most iconic road race in existence. The dream to run Boston started so long ago…almost 7 years! At the time, it felt too far-fetched to ever actually happen. Having finished that first marathon, BMO Vancouver, in 4:40:50 (6:40/km), I’d need to take 66 minutes off my time to even qualify for Boston with a 3:35 (5:05/km), and depending on the year, more than that to actually get into the race! Maybe one day…

Here we are, March 2023, and the 127th Boston Marathon is in 32 days and I am fkn running it! It doesn’t feel like that long ago that my husband and I did our Oregon Coast trip, sandwiched around the Eugene Marathon where I got the BQ. This is crazy.

Sometimes I re-read different sports psychology and other motivational non-fiction books I’ve collected over the years, and there are so many notes written here and there on the page margins that say shit like, “BQ!!!” and “get the fucking jacket” and “do it to represent Rupert Runners.” It’s fun looking back and knowing I kept at it and made the dream a reality!

This training cycle has been different than any other in a few ways. First, I’ve enjoyed the work more than ever before. The ego-checking that was required after the hysterectomy last summer has allowed me to absolutely savour very-easy running, and in contrast, the hard work has felt so great. Secondly, I have never done more strength and stability training in my life, and I feel STRONG. Combine these things with my amazing coach Jim’s attention to detail and course specificity, and my excitement for this long-term goal, and it’s been unreal.

Since the weather is a total gamble in spring in New England (check out this article I found about the weather history of Boston Marathons), my specific pacing plan will be finalized the day or two before the race. I do however have an overall goal, regardless of conditions – manage myself all the way up until and through the Newton hills so I can feel (relatively) good in the last 8k and soak up every last drop of my first Boston experience.

The hay is almost all in the barn. A few more big sessions, a taper, and a cross-continental journey coming up. Stay tuned wooooooooo

The Rookie’s Guide to the Rupert 8K Road Race and 8 reasons to participate!

First and foremost, let’s get something straight – the term “race” can be intimidating for someone who isn’t super competitive, experienced or confident in the activity at hand. BUT, what many newer runners aren’t aware of is that “race day” is totally synonymous with “a fun, organized running event with high energy and community atmosphere.” So, going forward, let’s just call it an EVENT πŸ™‚

This year, the first Sunday in April is the Prince Rupert 1/2 Marathon, two-person 1/2 Marathon Relay, and 8K Road Race hosted by Rupert Runners. Find everything you need to know by clicking the link and following us on Instagram and Facebook. All routes are out-and-back, meaning the finish line is the same place as the starting line, which is at the Lester Centre. The reason this post is focusing on the 8K distance in particular is because the Learn to Run Clinic, hosted annually by Rupert Runners, is uaually in full swing now since mid-February. (Note: Unfortunately, we are not hosting this clinic in 2023 due to lack of volunteers.) Eight kilometres may be a very realistic distance for new runners to tackle, come April. It could mean running, doing run/walk intervals, or even signing up with the intention to walk and just testing out a few short jogs along the way. That’s right, WALKERS ARE WELCOME! Come one, come all. Also, lots of other runners are coming out of their winter hibernation and 8k is a sweet distance if you aren’t down to run a quarter or half marathon at this point in the year.

Once you’re all signed up, you can relax until the Saturday before the event, go to the package pick-up location (place and time TBA) and pick up your bib (participant number), your shoe-tag (our new timing gizmo) and souvenir shirt (if you register before March 8th!). We only offer Sunday package pickup for out-of-town participants, so make sure to visit us Saturday, and details will be provided to you as a registered participant.

Sunday Runday Overview!

The 8K begins at 9:20am this year, after the 9am half marathon and relay start. Sometime prior to event day you’ll decide what you want to wear on the day, taking weather conditions into consideration. Also, plan to leave something in your vehicle/a friend’s vehicle/inside the Lester Centre for after you finish because you will likely get very cold once you’re cooled down and sweaty. You may also want to bring your own water bottle or other beverage/snacks, even though there are always some light goodies provided.

Common question: Do I wear the race shirt in the run?

Answer: a general running rule is never try anything new on the day of an event. Clothing, food, shoes, etc. But in the end, it’s totally up to you!

There is an awards ceremony post-race for overall and age group winners, plus door prizes, so stick around! Once your body cools down you’ll want your hoodie or jacket, maybe some sweats and my personal favourite, a toque! When you’ve decided what top you’d like to run in, you’ll pin your bib onto the FRONT of your body. The bib goes on the front because as you are finishing the course, the volunteers in charge of timing need to be able to see it clearly. Four safety pins will be provided to you. Your orange timing tag will go on your shoe – the laces feed through the holes and it sits flat on the top of your foot. Do not put your timing tag anywhere else – not in a pocket, a sock, etc. It must sit flat on the top of your laces or it won’t work.

Bibs also make good keepsakes!

Other things to pay attention to on Sunday morning include staying hydrated and eating breakfast a few hours before hand. Bland is good! A few ideas are oatmeal or peanut butter and banana toast. You can use the bathroom before, washrooms are available inside the Lester Centre as well as the Civic Centre.

Since the 1/2 marathon and relay start first, this is a great opportunity to get down to the Lester Centre nice and early to give yourself time to take in the energy of the event, cheer as these runners take off, chat with friends, and warm up. If the parking lot at the Lester Centre is congested, there is a ton of parking down below at the Civic Centre and ball fields.

Please, don’t think that warming up for an event means you are being “super hardcore” and trying to win or break records or something. Warming up is necessary to prevent injury, feel ready, and so that you don’t give your body a rude awakening sending it from resting to a higher heart-rate in just a few seconds! Try a short, easy jog down Wantage Road or even just in the parking lot, then twirl the ankles, try some leg swings front to back and side to side while hanging on to something for support, grape-vine, high knees, butt kicks, whatever gets you warmed up, and then some stretching is okay after your muscles are no longer cold.

When start time approaches, 8K participants gather in the little undercover drop-off area in front of the Lester Center entrance. This is the same place the half marathoners started, so if you are there early you can see how it goes, but it’s nothing fancy or complicated whatsoever. You’ll see orange cones and volunteers in vests, and at least one person shouting (probably me, LOL). Once you begin, you’ll run out onto the highway keeping on the right side of the road, and staying on that side after turning around the cone at the half-way point, which is just a little further than the turn off to the Industrial Site and will have a water table and volunteers. There is no crossing of the highway. WOOO. If you think you’re getting nervous, try converting that to excited!

Finally, when you arrive back at the finish line, you’ll run right across the big, bright blue timing mats into a coned-off funnel, and a sweet little volunteer will take back your shoe-tag. They’re $50 if we don’t get them back and registration for any further event will not be available if it is not returned. Thanks in advance!

The Course!

Think of this course as SIX parts. Six manageable nuggets to focus on one at a time.

1/6: Lester Centre to BC Hydro Yard (up)

  • try not to fly out of the starting area! It’s not a sprint πŸ™‚
  • this is a time to see how you feel, settle in, find your breath
  • yes, it starts on an uphill, so all the more reason to start conservatively

first part

[Phuong Nguyen Photo]

2/6: BC Hydro to the Frederick St. junction (down)

  • downhill, yeah! A reward for your initial climb!
  • if you’re feeling out of breath from that first incline, this is a great place to let your heart rate and breathing stabilize. Relax and enjoy the gentle descent.


enjoying the downhill! [Phuong Nguyen Photo]

3/6: Frederick St. to the half-way turnaround! (up)

  • slow and steady, maintain your effort level, not necessarily your pace
  • shorten your stride slightly and use your arms to work your way up this hill
  • lean into the hill but don’t hunch – it squishes your lungs
  • there is a water station at the half-way point if you need it! πŸ™‚ This is located just a little past the Industrial Site turn-off

4/6: Half-way mark back to Frederick St. (down)

  • run back down that glorious hill you just tackled!!
  • look around, take it in. We live in a beautiful place, this is fun and you rock!
  • stay in control of your body on the downhill by engaging your core and leaning forward a little (leaning back creates a braking motion and is counter-productive)

5/6: Frederick St. to BC Hydro (up)

  • This is a sneaky hill, but not too steep. Stay focused and you’ll be rewarded soon!
  • Tell yourself it’s the last uphill!
  • Once you get to the BC Hydro yard, which is now on your left, it’s all downhill to the finish.

coming back

6/6: Ya buddy. Back to the Lester Centre! DOWNHILL TO THE FINISH!!!

  • if you are feeling good, give yourself permission to go a little faster now
  • smile and be proud of yourself!


half marathon finisher killin’ it [Phuong Nguyen Photo]

Cross the finish line, which is exactly where you started, and keep moving so you don’t get in the way of any participants who might be coming in behind you. After a volunteer retrieves the timing-tag from your shoe, make your way to some water and a snack, usually in the lobby. Giving your body calories and hydration after working hard is very important!

Take some pics! Document your accomplishment! Do some stretching, cheer in some more participants, and get those warm clothes on you packed for after you finished kicking ass. That’s right, YOU KICK ASS!

Jamie’s 8 Reasons to participate in the Rupert 8K

  1. Because you are stronger than you think
  2. Take part in a community event
  3. Get some exercise
  4. There are some awesome door prizes! (local, too!)
  5. Get out of your comfort zone, it’s good for us all! Do something different!
  6. To feel proud and ride an endorphin-high ALL day
  7. Play outside in (hopefully) Spring weather
  8. WHY NOT? here’s the registration!

If you have any questions that this post isn’t answering, contact me and I’ll find answers for you. Hope to see you there! If you know anyone who may benefit from reading this, please share! Lastly, we ALWAYS need volunteers, and it is possible to both take part in the run AND volunteer, so please consider helping out so we can keep these great community events! Anyone who solely wants to volunteer is very welcome to and can sign-up here!


cross your fingers for weather like 2016! [Phuong Nguyen Photo]


Throwing it back to….Race Recap: the 2017 California International Marathon!

Since I’m running CIM for the second time in just ten days, I came and revisited this recap I wrote in 2017 when I first ran it. That was my 6th marathon, and coming up next weekend CIM 2022 will be my 14th! I think I might write a pre-race post sometime in the next few days, but for now it was fun reading this post from five years ago!

Five years ago…

In 2016, after I ran my first marathon and guzzled the runner Kool-Aid, I took note of this hashtag that I continuously saw on Instagram: #runCIM. What is that?? It didn’t take me long to learn that it was a very popular, fast, net-elevation loss marathon in Sacramento, California which claims the be the “fastest course in the West.” It seemed a LOT of people thought very highly of this CIM, and lots of people went there with hopes of a PR or BQ, so I added it to my very long list of marathons I want to run some day. Then, I discovered my coach was running CIM 2016. So were other people on my Instagram feed. I WANTED TO RUN CIM TOO! So I registered for 2017!

Fast forward two more great marathon experiences (Victoria and Disney), two other disappointing ones (Calgary and R’n’R Seattle) and a great sixteen-week buildup, and it was time to head to Sacramento!!

I arrived around 10am on Friday morning after a very early alarm in Vancouver and two flights, connecting in Seattle, to get me there. This was of course after my initial travel from home in northern BC to Vancouver on Thursday. The joys of living in the middle of nowhere πŸ™‚ My new airport friend Nancy and I split a cab to downtown and it was about thirty bucks USD between the two of us. I had good luck right off the bat – there happened to be a room available for me at 10:30am when I got to the Holiday Inn Sacramento Downtown! Check-in was 3pm and I went there just intending to drop off my bag, get lunch and then hit the race expo at noon, but I ended up with a way better situation which was shower, nap, Starbucks, expo, lunch.

The location of the Holiday Inn (one of the host hotels) worked out really well for me. It was about a mile from the Convention Centre where the Expo was held which made for a nice walk to stretch out my plane legs.

Also, bus pickup “B” (runners are encouraged to take the free busses to the start of the race) was like fifty metres around the corner at 3rd & L Street, but more about that later.

The CIM Expo was sweet! The giant C I M letters immediately after entering was a cool photo op, as well as the race course map and the giant poster with each of the thousands of runners names on it. (Mine and Karmen’s names fit in the same photo!)

Bib pick-up was by last name and it was quick and easy. We were also given a nice reusable CIM bag, CIM ankle socks, a runner’s belt thingy, and a buff-style headband. All of the swag is legit. I like all of it aside from the belt thingy, it’s just a little fanny-pack’ish for my liking but I’m sure some people would find it useful.

Around the first corner, going with the flow of the sea of people, were a bunch of tables for the relay runners, so I continued past to the race shirt table and was given my shirt. IT’S GREAT. If you know me, you know I loathe 99% of race shirts. Always too short or flared out at the bottom, or with a choking neckline. But this shirt! A long sleeve half (maybe quarter?) zip, navy blue top that wasn’t short or flared out at the bottom! Finally. I even wore it on the trip home.

I cruised around and discovered that I didn’t have to go to Fleet Feet Sports to find the Goodr Sunglasses I’d been wanting because they were selling them at the expo! The Flamingos on a Booze Cruise are finally mine!

I visited the Oiselle booth and then checked out the event merchandise which was pretty awesome, but not so fantastic that I had to further break my shopping freeze. After a lay down at the hotel, I suited up for four easy kilometers around my area and over the Tower Bridge.

Bedtime was seriously like 6:30pm and I’m so glad I went in bed at that time because I somehow managed to sleep pretty solid for almost ten hours!! Friday is sleep night, and sleep night was a success.

Saturday morning was the CIM Shakeout Run!! It was nice having the ten minute jog to the convention centre to wake up a little, and it really did wake me up because it was cold that morning! Around 4Β°C I believe. Perfect for running once warmed up, in my opinion. In the lobby where everyone met, I met Steph (@runstrongrun), Amy (@runaissancewoman) and Vanessa (@vancesa) and we chatted for a while before it was run time.

The route was simply loops around Capitol park, each lap being about a mile, and runners could do as many loops as they wanted! There was a big group pic outside and I got to say hello to Elyse (@milestomedals) and have a hug.

I linked up with Amy and we got to know each other on the jog and she told me this would be her first marathon. Solid crew at this shake-out!

I went back into the expo after the jog, chatted at the Oiselle booth and browsed around for a second time.

The afternoon consisted of candy from Andy’s Candy, PIZZA at Pizza Rock with my friends Karmen and Adam who were both running the marathon as well, and then more naps, pad Thai from Lotus Thai, and early to bed for some classic “fake sleeping” that I specialize in on all race eves. LOL.

My alarm was set for 3:45am, but since I wasn’t sleeping anyway I got up just before 3:30. This gave me more than enough time to make my oatmeal with hot water from the Keurig, eat my rice from the Thai restaurant, get my race kit together and layer up with throwaway clothes.

My check bag I had packed the day before. I left the lobby at 4:40 and was in the lineup for the school busses by like 4:43. The bus situation was so easy and organized, but I was also there a good fifteen minutes before the 5am scheduled departure to Folsom. My new bus friend Eric and I chatted on the whole ride to the start area, which took about 45 minutes if I remember correctly. He was running his first marathon and had bought a brand new BMW the day before but got his dad to drive it home. His finish celebration would be driving his new car home!

Once arriving at the start line, runners are allowed to stay on the busses to keep warm, or get back on any time. I ditched my check-bag right away (fast and easy), went pee in one of what looked like thousands of PortoPotties, and then got back on a random bus for a bit because it was pretty cold. At 6:30 I went to the corner by 7-11 for the #WeRunSocial meetup and by the time we were done visiting and taking a group photo it was time for me to go find the 3:52 pace group!

Steph ❀

Kim ❀

But I had to go pee again!! By now the porto lines were LONG and slow. Since I’m Canadian and don’t give a F, I peed behind a bush with a bunch of men (LOLOLOL) and then jumped into the starting area with the 3:52 pacers, Clark and Carolyn. There’s no way I’d have been able to use one of the toilets in time before the gun so good thing I’m a free spirit.

Go time!!! It was chilly and I kept my long sleeve shirt on for the first few kilometers before I ditched it. It was such a beautiful morning though! The first part of the race is in a fairly rural area and people were having fires in their front yards, holding signs and ringing cowbells. It’s also pretty downhill for the first mile which was really nice for a warm up. It was a bit congested and I tucked in tight behind Clark and Carolyn and rode their rhythm as I warmed up and enjoyed the “holy F I’m running a marathon today” energy. Our pacers were amazing and so great about reminding us to fuel and hydrate often and early. I started on my first Nakd bar around 6km, and hit the first water station with no spilling, even though I had my Nathan handheld. My plan was to drink from all stations that were easy to get at plus from my own bottle whenever I felt like it, eat my bars and also take the Cliff shots from the four fuel stations since I have lots of experience with that brand. I needed to get plain water from the stations since I had Nuun in my handheld. I am really glad that I had it because some of the hydration stations were SO crowded!

A lot of my run was a blur, that’s just the way it is. I was just focusing on staying calm, relaxed and present, and trusting the pacers to get me to at least half-way before I would likely break off on my own. I truly believe I saved SO MUCH valuable energy by running with them because I didn’t look at my watch once until probably 25km, and I didn’t have to obsess about my pace on the hills. Speaking of hills…

This race is a net-downhill, and yes there are lots of glorious stretches of mild downhill, but there are also a lot of rollers and tons of flat. It made for excellent variety and using all different muscles, and it also provided the opportunity to take an inventory of running form and breathing because each hill was always followed by a mild downhill to recover. I LOVE THIS COURSE SO MUCH!!!!!!

The section through Old Fair Oaks Village around kilometers 15 and 16 was a nice boost, it felt like I was at Oktoberfest or something, lots of bands and spectators and such a cute little area! The turns through that section of the race obviously weren’t helpful for GPS distance, but it kept it interesting and was a nice distraction since the majority of the course runs in long straight stretches. I honestly don’t even really remember much between that village and getting to the half-way timing mat. I know I took note of some really pretty trees, and talked a little with a woman from San Diego who was running with the same pack. The last short, steeper hill that I recall was just before half-way.

I remember I felt really good, like so good it was almost scary, up until like 32-34km and even after that it never got bad, just regular marathon feeling. Even so, I felt the pace group was a good idea to stick with for a while beyond the half marathon mat. There was a stretch somewhere between half-way and “the Wall” where we ran up a long but very gradual hill that seemed to last for a really long time. But, each time there was a hill that had me starting to feel fatigued or less in control, a gradual downslope would follow and give me time to regroup and lower my heart rate. I felt strong running through “the Wall”, (there was actually a wall display, I’m not just using quotes annoyingly) which I swear was further along than the 20 mile marker but maybe I just can’t recall properly. There was a big cowbell crew at one spot that I initially thought was Oiselle and something hit me and I got all choked up ahaha. Crying while running a marathon is awesome. I took note of passing the 30k marker since Clark was making fun of me for being Canadian and running in metric, and soon after that is where I started to run without being latched on to the pace group. I looked straight forward and kept steady. Kane had told me to think of him during kilometer 32, and I did, and continued to remind myself that it was now time to just simply run 10k. I also knew that aside from some bridge around 35km, the remainder of the course would be very flat.

Divide and conquer. Get to the bridge. Laugh at the bridge. Run on pancake-flat to the State Capitol! I passed many people on that last tiny bridge-hill (which doesn’t feel tiny when you’ve been running for 3 hours..) and then I said my inspiring runner friends’ names, my husband’s name, coach, and told myself “I can run 5km. I can run forward. Running is faster than walking. Moving forward will get me there sooner than if I stop.” My feet were on fucking FIRE and I was ready to be finished.

The actual Oiselle cowbell station was so loud and awesome and I choked up again running through them around mile 23. Amazing. Once turning onto J street (my hotel was at 3rd & J) after that bridge, the street numbers start to countdown all the way into downtown, from 57th street. I knew there was another left-right move onto L street, where then there were 20ish blocks to run until the sharp left on 8th, and left again onto Capitol Mall (the finish stretch) towards the Capitol building! RUN TO 8TH STREET JAMIE. Later-fun. Later-fun. Later-fun.

There was a drum line, and tons of spectators, the energy was awesome! I picked out a guy in a bright yellow shirt and rode his pace for a bit, then did the same with another runner. FINALLY I was at 8th street!! I was running right where Amy and I had run and chatted during the shakeout run the day before! Almost there!! Hung the sharp left, kept pushing, and just as I was making the final left turn into the chute, I heard “JAMIE!!!!!” and I saw Karmen and Adam shouting for me! F*CK YES!!!

where’s everyone else? ahaha

I put forth my best effort to kick to the finish, which was NOT my fastest ever, but that’s good because it means I was finishing on empty, the last piece of the plan!

I crossed the finish and got my medal, which is massive and beautiful!! I was in a happy daze and put on the cloth jacket that was given out to each runner and got a stranger to take my pic in front of the State Capitol. I felt like I was on drugs I was so woozy and weak but so so so happy!!! I achieved my “B” goal of 3:51:xx for a twenty minute improvement on my previous 4:11 personal best!!!

I found a sunny patch of grass once I (very easily) retrieved my checked-bag, and took my time changing into some warm clothes, chugging water and eating a banana. Karmen and I texted a bit, she’d had a good day and Adam a GREAT day!! We didn’t find each other though, I find after the race I’m too stunned for much. I hung out and chatted with other runners and once more looked at the race merchandise (and refrained) and then walked like a snail along the final stretch of the course along L Street cheering before I hit up Starbucks for a venti white chocolate mocha with extra whipped cream. Then I zombie walked to my hotel in bliss, texting coach Andrew!!!

The California International Marathon is the best marathon experience I’ve had, so far! I’m sure this has at least something to do with the fact that I had a near-perfect day, but aside from that, the logistics and energy of this event plus the fantastic course makes me understand why it has such a great reputation. High fives to the Sacramento Running Association for hosting a bang-on event! The expo was great, the swag impressive, shake-out run super fun, start-line transportation was stress-free, the course was great (I wouldn’t call it scenic, but just great) and the medal is gigantic and beautiful!!!! I would not consider this a downhill course by any means, just FYI.

Before the CIM, there was only one marathon I’ve run so far that I really want to do again, which is the BMO Vancouver Marathon. Now, I have two. I plan to run CIM again in the future and I encourage you to check it out because it lived up to its reputation in my books!!

Hello, Fall!

Wow, it’s November!? Just over 2 weeks ago I was on my paddle board barefoot on the ocean, in short shorts and a t-shirt, and today on my run it was -2 and I wore PANTS.

Such a sharp corner the season took but I like it! Every year at this time I go through a period of “darkness” emotionally/energetically/spiritually, but once I take the time to accept the cold, dark season and some of the moody things that come along with it (or at least for me, anyways) then I can really settle in to the cozy season and feel genuinely happy about it.

before Fire practice

I was walking home from the firehall tonight in the dark, zero-degree weather and taking a second to feel really grateful that I’m still sober after all this time. A long-time friend was asking me for some support on the subject today and it was a good personal reminder to check in with my own sober journey. Yesterday was 2500 days booze-free, and this Christmas will be SEVEN years. As I was walking home it was so quiet and there is a perfect first-quarter moon lighting up the dark night, and this maple tree in my neighbour’s yard was rustling in the wind… I’m not sure if I noticed that kind of stuff when I was still partying all the time, I can’t really remember.

On the hysterectomy front, there’s literally nothing to report. I feel like I’m almost, if not right back to, pre-surgical fitness and the only thing I’ve noticed during this marathon training cycle that’s different is the amount of sleep I need. I can nap any time, any place, for any amount of minutes, and I can sleep 10 hours a night if time permits. Maybe I didn’t sleep enough while I was recovering from the procedure, or maybe I’m just getting old. LOL.

CIM is in less than 5 weeks and I’m feeling pretty damn good, though less focused on race day goals. This build has been so fun, and like a science experiment, just observing the reunion with running after the six-week break and what my body went through. I am possibly more excited than ever to actually run the marathon, and it feels like a really low-pressure situation and I love it.

CIM is feeling low-pressure and like a victory lap with respect to the hysterectomy, but also because… my BQ from Eugene is taking me to the 127th Boston Marathon on April 17th, 2023!!!!! It is happening! I started long-term fantasizing about one day running the Boston marathon in May 2016 after my very first marathon – so long ago that I can’t even link to a race recap! LOL. What a journey it has been, and it of course does not end with Boston, but my dream has come true – I’M GOING!

It’s hard to believe that all my visualizing and manifesting and wacky witchcrafting has, or will soon, become reality! Since Eugene I imagined a qualifying cut-off time of <90 seconds (I ran 1:38 under the standard of 3:35:00 for my AG), I visualized travelling to Boston, feeling the celebration jacket on my skin, conquering the Newton hills, turning left on Boylston street, and so much more. I familiarized on Google maps. I bought a yellow crop top. I wrote a packing list on September 17 in my journal, which was three days before I actually found out I was IN! I just knew it.

WOW WOW WOW. So pumped. I’ve heard about so many runners’ “road to Boston” stories, and I think I’ll summarize my own soon as a way to reflect but also to demonstrate that progress is not linear and each person’s marathon journey is unique. But my message on this right now is: keep going, don’t quit and you can hunt down your goals over time! Never stop believing πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

Now, it’s time to enjoy fall running in reflective clothing, finish the last couple hard weeks of this build before the taper, and then perform the post-hysterectomy marathon experiment!!! Have a fun Fall!


Runner’s Hysterectomy Journey – 8 weeks later, and summary of activity during the 6 week recovery period!

Hmm, so somehow it’s 8 weeks later and I’m in Prince George again for a follow-up appointment with my surgeon tomorrow! Life goes by so fast, it’s crazy. I have been running since August 19th, which was day 39 of healing. I felt good and went for it, taking it easy on my favourite 5k trail. Since then I’ve done a 75 minute and two 90 minute long run efforts (on top of usual easy running during the week), and I have a 1:45 coming up this Sunday! Things are feeling totally fine, just slightly more challenging than pre-op, which is to be expected, all things considered. I’ve gone back to work a little bit over the last couple weeks, and will be returning full-time next week. Yay, money.

So many exciting things have happened since I had the operation, which is cool because as I’ve said before, I didn’t exactly anticipate this summer to be an “exciting” time! I was selected as one of the first Canadian ambassadors for ATHLETIC BREWING!! Athletic Brewing, in my opinion, is truly the world’s best non-alcoholic beer!! If you want to check it out, my link is HERE and my 20% off code for your first order is JAMIEK20 – I like the Freewave hazy IPA the best, but everything is good, including the All-Out Stout, which I wasn’t sure I would enjoy!

I also got an inflatable SUP from my husband for an anniversary gift, which I LOVE and will be a great core-building tool! We added a (new to us) Peloton bike to the basement sweat cave, which will be priceless during the northern BC fall/winter season, and will help me stay on top of cross-training and the general cycling situation in preparation for IRONMAN CANADA next August! I can’t believe it. I am registered for a 140.6! Next week Boston 2023 registration opens up, and this alone is the most exciting thing I will ever be eligible to do. HOLY SHIT. Fingers and toes are crossed.

Yesterday I did my first official workout back with my coach, which was 20 minute warm-up, 4x3min @ goal marathon pace with 90 second easy rests, 15 minutes warm-down. It was harder than I’d have liked it to feel, but completely manageable. As I told my coach yesterday, I feel patient with my body but also very determined and optimistic! Twelve and a half weeks til CIM!

It’s been a serious confidence booster looking back at all of the activity I did during the first 6 weeks post-op. This is similar to the confidence journal I was using during marathon training! I’ve mentioned that as a runner, to me a week begins on Monday. So, even though I had the surgery on a Tuesday (12th), these weeks still run Monday through Sunday. Here’s the whole summary, and for reference, the yoga sessions included some single-leg strength and stability work.

Week 1: July 11th – July 17th

  • Swimming (day before operation) – 550m open water
  • the last run (morning of operation) – 7km
  • Walking – 20km – longest walk 4.85km
  • Yoga – 30 minutes – longest session 20 minutes

Week 2: July 18th – July 24th

  • Walking – 50km (927m gain). A few kilometres were hiking. Longest sesh 10km

(most of that was in Mexico and the heat really increased the intensity! Highly recommend)

  • Yoga – 1 hour – longest session was 25 minutes

Week 3: July 25th – July 31st

  • Walking – 58km (1205m gain), 1.6km was a very steep hike – longest walk 12km
  • Yoga – 68 minutes – longest session 30 minutes

Week 4: August 1st – August 7th – the week the hiking really began!

  • Walking – 24km (400m gain)
  • Hiking – 38km (8.5 hours, 2400m gain)
  • Yoga – 53 min – longest session 20 minutes

Week 5: August 8th – 14th

  • Walking – 30km (300m gain)
  • Hiking – 24km (5 hours, 1680m gain)
  • strength session with light weights: 15 min

Week 6: August 15th – 21st

  • Walking – 12km
  • Hiking – 8k (1.5 hours, 240m gain)
  • Jog-walking & jogging – 35km (4 hours)
  • SUP – 1 hour

Whoa. That makes me happy!

I’ve been using the Peloton to add more time in the aerobic zone without adding too much running too soon, and I’m pumped that Masters’ swim club starts up again next week! My plan is to swim twice a week, continue with the 5-6 running days/week with my coach, and throw in a spin class and/or strength training on the days that I run workouts or long runs, keeping the hard days hard and easy days EASY.

OH. I forgot one more exciting thing. I got my VDot Distance Run Coaching certification while recovering! I plan to make a separate post all about it, but I am very excited to start offering coaching in the 5k to marathon distances in the later fall, in preparation for spring race season!

If you are reading this and have a hysterectomy coming up in your future, please stay optimistic. The time off has proven to be an incredible period of mental rejuvenation, variety in activity, a chance to get some shit done that might not happen otherwise due to busy schedules, and generally an excellent time for learning and self-reflection.

Reach out if you need to!


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