Race Review: the California International Marathon 2017!

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 figure out that it was a very popular, fast, net-downhill marathon in Sacramento, California which claims the be the “fastest course in the West”. It seemed like 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 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! ahahaha

Fast forward two more great marathon experiences (Victoria and Disney), two other disappointing ones (Calgary and R’n’R Seattle) and a SOLID 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 to Vancouver on Thursday. The joys of living in the middle of nowhere ๐Ÿ™‚ My new friend Nancy and I split a cab to downtown and it was about thirty bucks USD between the two of us. I had awesome 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. YES.

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 and L Street, but more about that later.

The CIM Expo was sweet! The giant C I M letters immediately after entering was a sweet photo spot, 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 this swag is very 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 very 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 WICKED. 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. #runnerd

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 where Hannah was holding down the fort, and then I 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 am so glad I went in bed at that time because I somehow managed to sleep pretty solidly for like 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 4ยฐC 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 huge 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 with Dr. Lesko 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 buddy 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!

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!

 

Kim โค

But I had to go pee again!! By now the porto lines were LONG and slow. Since I am 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 Disney 10k 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 pretty 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 pretty 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 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 lines. 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”, 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. So emo!!!! I took note of passing the 30k marker since Clark was making fun of me for being Canadian and running in kilometers, 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 a 10k. I also knew that aside from some bridge around 35km, the rest of the course was 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 over 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. So awesome. 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 turn 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! Almost there!! Hung that sharp left, kept pushing, and just as I was making the final left turn into the finish 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 kick to the finish, which I don’t think was 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 SICK!! I was in a happy daze and put on the cloth jacket given out to each runner and got a stranger to take my pic in front of the Capitol. I felt like I was on drugs I was so woozy and weak but so so so happy!!! I nailed my “B” goal of 3:51:xx for a twenty minute improvement on my previous 4:11 personal best! YASSSSSSSSSS!!!!

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 a little 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!!!!

Before the CIM, there was only one marathon I’ve run so far that I really want to run 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!!

 

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Holiday Party Season – 101 opportunities to get wasted! (but you don’t have to if you don’t want to)

Christmas parties!!!!! Holy shit. Back in my (drunk) day, this was the time of year where I’d metaphorically roll up my sleeves and brace myself for a bender. To party. A verb that meant something different to me back then. I still really like going to celebrations over the holiday season, it’s so much fun and there is always the bonus of awesome snacks ahaha! Now that I have almost two years of sober experience, and one-and-a-half alcohol-free holiday seasons, I’m going to tell you a little bit about how and why I am still as pumped for December as I was when I still liked to “rage.” LOL.

These are my opinions, obviously, but I think you might agree with at least a couple things here.

What makes the holiday season parties extra special? Many of us consider this the best time of the year because it’s so festive! Out of town friends come to visit, people come home from University, family gatherings are happening left, right and centre, pond skating and fires with hot chocolate, etc, etc. There seems to be a social event every single day and night over the Christmas and New Year season. A few things immediately stand when I start to envision going to a holiday party or get together.

First, festive outfits! Particularly party dresses, or maybe a collared shirt with the possibility of a tie, if you’re not into dresses. One of the best parts about going to a staff Christmas party, an annual Boxing Day shaker, or even a pre NYE happy hour, is getting dolled up.ย  Possibly wearing something brand new that you’ve been saving, and putting in the effort to look extra special. I love buying a dress, or borrowing one from a friend that I’ve never been seen wearing, taking a brush to my hair (LOL) and taking my time doing my hair and makeup while listening to cheesy Christmas tunes and having a fancy drink as I get ready…which leads me to…

Holiday drinks! Rum and eggnog. Bailey’s and hot chocolate. Hot apple cider. Mulled wine. Party punch. Holiday mimosas. OR, for lots of people, their usual, just dumped into a Santa mug or a stemmed glass with a glittery snowflake on it. Guess what else can be dumped into a Christmas mug or wine glass with a dangly Christmas decoration? That’s right, whatever the fuck you want! Ahahaha! It’s the same process, regardless. Pick out what you feel like drinking, bring it with you to the party so you aren’t a huge freeloader (seriously, you can’t go there and drink ALL the soda water, others brought that for mixing with their vodka) and when you arrive, find a place to “stash” your shit, and proceed as usual. If you’re thinking, “I only drink beer, people will know and hustle me.” then grab some non-alcoholic Beck’s or Grolsch from the grocery store. Go ahead and dump it into a red solo cup if you must.

A third thing that I immediately think of when I think of Christmas parties – TAXIS. I don’t know why taxis don’t go hand in hand with all parties, maybe people are less organized during the rest of the year or more inclined to leave their vehicle overnight because they don’t have a ton of shit to do the next day. Who knows. Anyways, I don’t know where you live, but where I live, there aren’t usually enough cabs to go around during the holiday season. Also, let’s just say I wouldn’t want to sit in the back seat of some of these moth-eaten antiques in a new dress, or one I borrowed from a friend. Plus, they’re expensive. If you decide you don’t want to drink at a Christmas party, you’re able to drive yourself to said party, and home, or wherever else you want to go. Oh, and you get to brag when you go through road-blocks! “Have you had anything to drink tonight?” ahahah, why no, officer, I haven’t since I ruined Christmas in 2015!

Those are the main things that I can think of that really set going to a Christmas party vs. a regular party apart in my mind. Maybe a random elf hat or party game. Christmas parties have more food, which is AWESOME (and provides enough calories, without adding in alcohol) but yummy food has nothing to do with getting pissed. They often have beautiful Christmas trees, stockings, and maybe other festive home decor, but that also has nothing to do with drinking. The company is usually bang on, since it’s a time of year where it seems that even the people who don’t usually go out, do, and everyone seems to be in a warm, jolly mood, tossing out well-wishes in all directions. This has nothing to do with booze either. The season is fun because of good people and good vibes.

If the fast approaching holiday season has been giving you anxiety because you’re nervous about the possibility of losing your dignity and/or debilitating hangovers, take it from me, a retired professional. Going out at this time of year and skipping the alcohol CAN be done. I’m living proof. Drive yourself (and your very lucky friends) to the party. Drink something that tastes good from a festive glass. Look fresh vs. sloppy in photos! Look as polished (and stain-free) when you leave as you did upon arrival. Drive yourself to the next party. And the next. Drive yourself home. Wake up having washed your face and brushed your teeth, and not immediately turning to Google for tips on how to not look like shit at the next party, which is of course tonight, even if it’s a Sunday.

I’m pumped for the festivities to start! Not only that, I’m excited for daytime events like fires, freezing cold hikes and Christmas tree hunting while not feeling like a bag of shit. Good tidings to you! Email me if you want!

ย @jammiekomadina

 

the RUNVAN Fall Classic 1/2 at UBC!!!

I always love visiting Vancouver, but this time was extra awesome because my best friend is back in the city after a year of teaching in Hong Kong! We hadn’t seen each other since my wedding in August 2016!! Sarah happened to move right back to where she lived before she left the country, so we picked up where we left off in the West End. Love!!

The Fall Classic is a run I mostly wanted to take part in because it’s a perfect three weeks out from my fall goal race, the California International Marathon (CIM) on December 3rd, and because it’s in Vancouver. I love Vancouver! Ten years of my life were spent living in this fabulous city, and it is also the most accessible city to race in for those of us living in Prince Rupert. Perfect.

On Friday the weather was spectacular and I had an easy 6.5km to run in the morning along the Seawall which had me reminiscing about my first marathon, the BMO Vancouver Marathon in May 2016, which is also a RUNVAN event. That marathon is epic, and I try not to use the term epic. But it is! Run it. I plan to again one day!

My friend Becca and I went back to our old hood on Main for lunch at Slickity Jim’s and to browse around (currently on an unofficial shopping freeze) and then grabbed my bib and RUNVAN gloves from the package pickup at Forerunners! The gloves are awesome and SO MUCH BETTER than an ill-fitting race shirt!! Next up, Sushi.

pardon the shitty pic

On Saturday after a day of brunch at the Score on Davie and browsing around downtown, I went for a little jog and some strides (east on the Seawall this time) and then Sarah and I had one of our ritualistic Thai dinners before a lazy evening. Flatrunner and chill.

The University of British Columbia is where I got my degree and it’s a REALLY beautiful campus. And hilly. It was so nice to go back there as a non-student on Sunday morning to go do my favourite thing ever! The weather was supposed to be pretty rainy but not very cold, or for me, borderline warm at 8 degrees haha. I decided on long sleeves and shorts, tall Sac Stripes Procompression socks, no mitts and free ears, but a hat on my head for a rain forcefield if necessary. Turned out to be pretty bang on choices.

I went into this race with a few options, one being to really go for it if I felt good that day, OR, to practice my goal marathon pace for CIM if it wasn’t feeling like a day to run a hard 21.1km. If I did feel good, the “A” goal was of course a PR, ideally 01:49:xx, since my current half PR is 01:50:48 but a sub 1:50 would be soooo nice! After coach Andrew and I checked out the course on Strava, we both kind of felt that it would need to be a super best-case scenario, based on the profile and the fact that I wasn’t really resting up for this race, but running it as a tune-up for CIM.

dang, UBC!

He entered a ballpark perfect-day-goal on Training Peaks of 01:50. I went in without much of a taper, feeling strong and healthy but with lack of sleep, and my main priority was to do my very best, not “cook myself” on the first hills, and to flex my mental muscle in this dress rehearsal for CIM.

Car2Go was my transportation of choice and I left the West End just after seven on Sunday morning to arrive on campus, park and walk over to the Nest by 7:30. The half marathon start was at 8:30 am and runners wanting to utilize the free gear check (me) were advised to arrive at least an hour early. Apparently like twenty volunteers were late from their volunteer meeting and the gear check wasn’t ready to rock until closer to eight but this didn’t cause me a single problem. It was quick and easy, plus the AMS Student Nest (the new, fancy and massively improved SUB that didn’t exist back in my day) was the start and finish venue, so all of us runners were warm and dry with real washrooms and lots of room to hang out!

There weren’t corrals, but this race is pretty small, so when it was 8:25-ish I went into the starting area and found a spot somewhere between the 2:00 and 1:45 pacers. We started on time and it was time to run a half marathon!

The first three kilometers were super downhill and I ran by feel, faster than my goal average pace, but not pushing, just running controlled on the significant decline. I remember hearing UltraThai from November Project congratulate everyone around us on a good job up the first hill, I think that was a little after 3km. I was thinking, sweet, that was child’s play. Then came another downhill all the way to the turn around point of that out-and-back portion. The long (longest) uphill after the 5km turn around wasn’t too bad, it was definitely long but not steep. Since this course is almost two exact loops, all hills were run twice, and the short but steep hill in kilometer 10 shortly before the timing mat, and then again in kilometer 20 was just mean! LOL. The second time I even walked a few paces, I just felt so heavy and my heart rate was cray. MY SEVEN SECONDS wahhhh why did I do that?? By the time I was finishing up loop two, the hills had added up and I was ready to be done.

It was awesome running the big downhills a second time, shortly after crossing the 10k timing mat, and it was also wicked to finish on a short but significant down slope back to the Nest. My pace for the last 350m was like 4min/km! I wanted a PR SO BADLY!!! It was hard to tell by my watch since I ran 21.35 km in total, so my average pace wasn’t going to be accurate for 21.1. Maybe I should start manual lapping.

Alas, I came up seven seconds short, but I am SO HAPPY! That course was not easy whatsoever! It really tested my mental strength. All those hills accumulated and had me feeling pretty cooked around 17-18km, but I repeated “later-fun” to myself and had some really great runners around me reminding us all that we didn’t have far to go now! I finished REALLY strong, and had I run the tangents better I’d have gotten my sub 1:50, as Training Peaks tells me! My official chip time was 01:50:55 and I’m PUMPED on that and so was coach Andrew! I also know for a fact that I were were to run a half marathon on a fast, flat course at this point in time, I would get that official sub 1:50, no questions asked!

A medal was handed to me seconds after crossing the finish line, and then I caught my breath and found the snack table. Juice boxes, oh hell yes. There was tons of other food too, but I wanted to get inside. I chatted with a girl who was near me during the last section of the race and then made my way indoors. Included in our registration was amazing food on top of all the bananas, juice and other snacks outside; a food tag on the bottom of the bibs gave us the choice between pizza, sushi or chili inside the Nest. If you know me, you know what I chose. ‘Zaaaaaa.

It was so perfect to have a big, warm, beautiful building to go into immediately and use a real toilet and not begin to freeze. So grateful! By this time it was raining pretty hard. I easily got my checked bag from the covered area just outside the entrance I initially arrived through on University Blvd, changed into dry clothes and destroyed a slice of pizza. I found a Car2Go less than 500m away and was ready to head back to Sarah to spend our last afternoon of the weekend together. I left UBC super impressed with this event and with a great sense of accomplishment from pushing through that course. Many times it felt really hard and more than once, for a split second, my brain tried to trick me into changing gears to full marathon pace. But I didn’t. Yahooooo.

Post-race epic meal time: BANDIDAS, bitches. We drove over to Commercial Drive (another one of my old hoods, nostalgia overload) and had the best meal possibly of my life!!!! We were ravishing, as Sarah would say (*ravenous) and the tortilla soup and Wolf & Goat tacos were to die for.

Fall Classic weekend was a success!! I already knew that RUNVAN knew how to put on a good event, having run the BMO Van Marathon last year, but they impressed me again with the Fall Classic! Well organized, great swag, fantastic start/finish venue and although very challenging, A GORGEOUS course!!!! Thank you, RUNVAN!

Being the Boss of the Run (Thriving vs. Surviving)

Remember I used to talk about that fake club, the Slow Sucky Runners Club? My mindset has changed SO much over the last five years when it comes to my attitude about myself as a runner, as well as what terms like “fast” and “slow” mean. I haven’t managed to fully escape and eradicate the club (sounding more like a cult?) but I am in no way a follower or a member anymore!

Starting out, and still at times, beliefs like “I’m not one of those naturals” or “it’s easy for others, but a struggle for me” can come up. It’s not uncommon. Comparing ourselves to others is hard not to do, especially in the world of social media where we mostly see the highlights of the lives of others, but live in the day-to-day highs and lows of our own. In reality, someone is always going to be faster, more consistent, stronger, look like a model in race photos, whatever. The sooner we can accept that, the better off we’ll all be. We all know that comparing is totally self-sabotaging, but not doing it is easier said than done!

As I’ve become stronger and gained experience (and it’s not linear, it goes up and down just like everything else in life) one thing has become very clear to me about running: a person can go out meekly for a run, believing it’s going to be hard and a struggle to the end because “I’m not a good runner“, OR, he/she/I can go out and fuckin own it.

I used to approach a run like I just needed to make it through; just get out and survive those kilometers. Before I even began, I’d give myself permission to walk any time (nothing wrong with walking, but decide at the time, not before!) because running was “really hard for me” (newsflash, running is hard for everyone) and I’d be anticipating feeling as fast and energetic as a pile of bricks. It was a pre-determined battle. Because I, Jamie, was not born a runner.

Me and my stubby legs and sometimes insomniac energy-levels, I wasn’t someone with runner’s genes! Subconsciously, I’d feel sorry for myself and go out to scrape by, with an attitude and energy in tune with not being good enough. Always a pile of excuses protecting me from trying harder and seeing what might happen if I got uncomfortable and investigated what the edge might feel like. These excuses also held me back from making any progress for a long time.

It’s not totally clear how and when this shifted; I’m sure it’s been many things along the way, and gradual. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen progress, since I figured out how to commit and try once I quit drinking. Maybe it’s simply been long enough for inevitable improvements to show up. Maybe it’s all the books I read about mental toughness, visualization, and all the non-physical parts of running. I’m certain it’s largely in part from the workouts and paces my coach gives me that initially have me wondering if he’s made a typo, but afterwards leave me exhausted, proud and in a bit of disbelief. Practice, practice, practice! It’s SO CLICHE but seriously, if we don’t even try how will we ever know if we can do hard things and be better than we’ve decided we are?? I’m so happy to now recognize the distinct difference between merely surviving vs. THRIVING. It’s been a process, but in a nutshell it’s an individual experience about confidence, curiosity and pushing myself.

Everything always seems to boil down to confidence! What we believe about ourselves. What we know about ourselves. What we tell ourselves about ourselves. I am hoping to keep this mental-momentum going and to keep building on it, and never go back to that old way of thinking about myself as a runner. No cults for me, LOL.

The two most significant things that are helping me with this are:

Mantras, because theyย remind meย thatย the choice is mine to either be the boss of my run, or to let it boss me around.ย  (And to consciously choose option A).

and

The Divide-and-Conquer strategy,ย which is also a tool for staying present and focused, and creating a sense of accomplishment over and over again along the way, NOT just upon getting home/crossing the finish/completing the prescribed distance at a certain average pace.

My rules for picking a mantra are you have to love it, believe it, and it has to make you feel something inside. Repeat a single word or phrase that has some serious meaning to you. One that has been really working for me lately is “I control this process“. Why? Because I know it’s true. I know that I have the choice to dig a bit deeper, find a better rhythm, slow down if I’m not going to have any gas left later, regroup, anything I can do to feel in charge of what MY body is doing and keep my mind attached to that. This leads to another good one,ย “I am in charge“.ย  Same idea, and also true. We control our own bodies, for the most part. If it’s really fuckin hard at a given moment, relax, check your form, SMILE, or maybe a resting bitch face would work better for you, throw in a surge if that might help. The runner is in charge. Repeat something powerful that helps you to check in and consciously tweak the situation. Mantras encourage presence, and staying present helps make the run YOURS. This doesn’t have to relate in any way to pace, PRs, winning a race or feeling as good as you did five days ago. It’s about being present in the current run.

Next: the Divide and Conquer strategy. Over the last year and a bit that I’ve been working with Andrew, it’s become very apparent to me that I LOVE and thrive on the runs that have instructions. Why? Because I’m paying attention to what I’m doing and breaking it down into smaller pieces. A track workout with x repeats of x distance, shooting for this pace or time. Or a medium-distance run made up of a warm-up, intervals and recoveries, and a cool down. It’s easy to head out for a long training run and think, “well shit, here I go to run _____ kilometers, I won’t be home for hours” and then the brain proceeds to wander. It came to me that Iย can make my own tasks or goals within any run, and own each of them, one by one. A goal for a certain kilometer split. This many minutes at an increased effort, followed by this many minutes at a recovery pace. Whatever. Chop it up and conquer one thing at a time. Boss, boss, boss.

Shitty runs do happen, it’s inevitable,ย but I find they happen far less now that I have moreย confidence in my ability to beย in charge! A book that has contributed greatly to my changed mental approach is The Resilient Runner by William Peters. It’s nothing fancy and it’s straight to the point. I highly recommend. Happy running! Oh, and just because, here ๐Ÿ™‚

Have a good day! Share if you like it xo

@jammiekomadina

 

Positive Feedback just made my day!

An acquaintance just approached me to tell me how my sober-related blog posts have helped her nearly eliminate booze! She told me that what I write about is making a difference in her life, and others. My heart is like exploding! I share what I do because there was a time when I needed that so badly, but couldn’t find anything relatable for a long time! Nowadays there are way more people pumping up sobriety’s tires and it’s so cool!!

I remember when I felt extremely embarassed by my thoughts about knowing I had issues and needed to stop. It felt like I was a big freak who had all these uncommon problems that stemmed from drinking too much, too often or both. These days, sobriety is a movement. People are getting tired of feeling like shit and being told by media, society, etc. that alcohol is required for everything! As a sober person, I now notice constantly how obsessed society is with alsohol. If you take a second and pay attention, you’ll see too. It’s annoying! And ridiculous. Celebrations, fun times, dealing with stress, coping with loss, relaxing, rewards, crafting, dinner parties, cooking, surviving parenting, and the list is endless! And sorry but what the fuck is beer-yoga?

Alcohol does not cause problems for all people, but it does for way more than I ever thought. I know this because people talk to me about it now, because they know they can. I love that! Congrats to you, if you’ve recognized that it’s better for you, as an invidual to cut down or give booze the boot. Clear headed, bright and shiny for the win.

Current Fall Running Favourites!

It’s FALL!!! A runner’s favourite seaon! For many, fall marathon or other distance training is well under way. The weekly kilometers are getting up there. As the window of daylight continues to shrink, the temperatures slowly drop and the runs get longer and/or more frequent, I start to find it more obvious the gear I reach for on the daily. These are my current go-tos that I have been turning to regularly. I love to try new gear, fuel and apparel all the time, but I have been noticing that I have been coming back to these six items again and again in the last few weeks!

Altra Escalante

These shoes. They are so unbelievably comfortable!!! And so light! They make me feel like I am running with the freedom of bare feet, but with cushion to keep me feeling energized and springy, and obviously protect the soles of my feet. Also, the square-shaped toe box allows my toes to take their normal (extremely unique, lol) positions vs. being squished together, which can lead to blisters! It didn’t take me more than a few runs to transition to the zero-dop of Altra runners, but I have always been a forefoot striker so that may explain it a bit…give yourself time to transition, as they suggest, especially if you are a heel striker. I just ordered a second pair in blue. Yessssssss. Here’s a bit of info on heel-to-toe drop if it’s something you aren’t familiar with.

Nathan Fireball Hydration Vest with double flasks

I hadn’t used a hydration vest on long runs in the past, but lately I find if I’m going for any more than twenty kilometers, which I am every Saturday because it’s FALL MARATHON SEASON, it’s way smarter for me to have two water bottles, plus a place to put my long sleeve when it’s time to come off (and it always comes off…such an over-heater) and a few extra pockets for lots of fuel and some toilet paper. I don’t live somewhere with water fountains or places to stop in for water on the long run, so this is an excellent piece of gear! I was skeptical of chafe when I wore this vest over just a tank for the first time, but it never happened! The longest run I’ve been on with the Nathan is 30km. It took a tiny bit of getting used to because it’s obviously bulkier than being vestless (duh), but it’s super comfy, obviously adjustable, and I think it might even result in me running along a little more smoothly to minimize vertical oscillation (and sloshing of the water in the bottles when they’re no longer full). There is room for a reservoir in the back pack part, but I have yet to use that option. Another wonderful thing about this vest is it has some reflective detailing. When the long run has to be squeezed in before a weekend shift at work, I am thankful for any extra visibility.

nathan

don’t have the water bottle in there in this pic, was using that pocket for my phone!

Oiselle Firecracker Reflective Long Sleeve

I just got this, but I’m already in love! It keeps my neck/collar-bone area warm and my arms and hands (with the thumb holes to keep the sleeves over the hands), but the cropped style doesn’t leave my torso sweating and steamy, wanting to rip a layer off less than a kilometre in. The material is thicker than a shirt, but not like a hoodie or half-zip, AND it’s beautiful. I’ve been layering it on top of a super thin tank and it’s great for early morning or evening runs. The paintbrush pattern is reflective, which was my number one purchasing point. Living in Northern BC means that even now in early Fall, it’s pitch black at the beginning (or all, depending on the distance) of an early morning run, and it’s dusk by the time I hit the road in the evening. I’m obsessed with reflective! I need to mention, the fully reflective Speed Tights I bought last season from Lululemon are AMAZING and beat out any other reflective item I’ve ever owned, hands down, but since I learned how much I love shorts (took like thirty years) I haven’t been wearing them yet this season. It’s not cold enough yet! #dontyouhatepants … oh, speaking of reflective paintbrush print and hating pants, I just ordered the mini-stride shorts from Oiselle in the same colour as this top. Ensemble?

Nakd Bars

I first bought these for a snack at work, but then brought one with me on a run because they are simple and taste good. The ingredients are just dates & nuts! I like taking two with me on a long run and taking small bites whenever I feel like it. I’ve been trying to find other fueling options that work for me because most gels are so sugary that my teeth hurt after, and sometimes they send my guts into a panic. I get so hungry on long runs! Soooooo hungry! So, these have been awesome for giving myself something to actually EAT vs. a gooey substance that doesn’t resemble food at all. I do still use Cliff Shots (razz) and Endurance Tap, but I think incorporating some chewable food is really working for me.

FlipBelt Classic (now that I have one that fits properly)

Initially, I decided that I wasn’t a fan of the FlipBelt because it would slide up from my hips to my waist when wearing any sort of semi-slippery material pants or shorts. I gave my first one away. Then, the spring marathons came and I didn’t have anywhere to put my gels, phone, and whatever else I needed to have on me on race day. So, I invested in a size smaller and now I am all about the FlipBelt! It stays put 99% of the time, and it’s like adding that pocket big enough for a Samsung in a Lifeproof case that all pants and shorts should have, but only like 1% actually do. There is an elastic leash inside the belt with a clip to attach a key or fob and not worry about it falling out, since there are no zippers on the FlipBelt classic. I can store my phone (in it’s bulky case), my headphones for if/when I decide I want them, and whatever else I’m bringing with me that I haven’t put in my vest, if I’m wearing that too.

There are even flat water bottles you can purchase that slide into the belt! I have the larger one and I can slide it in right at the small of the back. Not my top favourite way to carry water, but an option I have used often. The main thing is my phone stays flat against the lower abdomen, doesn’t bounce around and is easily accessible for safety, music, runfies or whatever!

ProCompression PC Racer socks

Not only do I love the squeeze and supportive feeling provided from compression socks, I LOVE THE COLOURS. I am a bit of a shop-a-holic…but I don’t really give a shit if I accumulate tons of stuff that revolves around my biggest passion. It’s fun! For a long time I was strictly about either above-the-calf socks, or regular socks. One or the other. I decided to try the shorter ones to mix it up and I really love them!

racer

woo these ones are on the way!

They aren’t as warm, which is good for sunny Fall afternoon runs, and I feel like they give even more support in the calf/achilles area than the tall ones, which is a place I need it. Variety: the spice of life!

 

One thing that isn’t on this list (yet?) but I am stoked to review is the Lightning Layer from Oiselle, which is also en route. It’s like a non-ugly safety vest for running. I’ll let you know how that is when it shows up! I hope your Autumn running has been as enjoyable as mine has been so far! If you’ve already raced, I hope it was AMAZING and congratulations! And if you’re still training for an upcoming event, I’M EXCITED FOR YOU!!!!

Timeline of a farewell to booze: Day 1 until Today!

I last drank alcohol on Christmas Day, 2015. The following day, I sat at work with one of the worst psychological hangovers I’d ever had. Yes, I was also physically hungover. I was suffering from lack of sleep. I was shaky, dehydrated and on edge with a severe headache and extreme gut-rot. My emotional hangover was what was really killing me, though. So many times I’d tried to quit drinking. I had an impressive collection of reasons that supported my desire to eliminate alcohol from my life, but I kept failing and going back to the same old shit.

Alcohol made me feel like garbage. Looking back, drinking too much and too often was probably one of the main reasons I had depression off and on throughout my twenties. It was also the influence behind pretty much every bad decision I made from my mid-teens until the age of 30! Decisions that jeopardized my health, happiness, safety, finances and dignity. Whoa, this is getting dark!

People, myself previously included, love to say things like “oh what? you don’t drink more than anyone else I know!” or, “that’s so funny, don’t even worry about it, everyone does dumb shit when they’re drunk!“, or, a favourite, “if you have a problem, then so does everyone else I know!” I now know that trying to make someone feel better about their own unique situation with booze by playing it down is not helpful at ALL. These kind of consolations just postpone change. Rationalizing was one of my biggest problems…one of the things that kept me stuck for a long time.

So, anyways, I sat there on Boxing Day, 2015, mentally beating the shit out of myself because I had once again drank myself into a state of maximum anxiety, regret and self-disgust. I’d behaved like a fucking clown all day on Christmas, started a fight about I don’t even know what with my fiance (we are married now, I didn’t mess that up!) continued the fight once we got home from dinner, “slept” upstairs in a spare bedroom (by slept I mean passed out, as my booze-soaked turd of a body transitioned from drunk to hungover) and then came-to in the morning, feeling like the neediest chick on planet Earth who was shaking like a leaf and paler than a White Walker.

Was this the final straw? I had said it SO many times before. Many of us have. I bet you know what it is before you even read it…

 

“I’M NEVER DRINKING AGAIN.”

 

And then, have a caesar or a Bailey’s and coffee and roll with it for another day…or spend a day in bed in sweatpants watching Netflix and eating shit-food, telling yourself that this is normal, that everyone does it sometimes. Ya, some people do do that sometimes and it’s okay for them! But if you are relating to this you probably do it more often than you’re comfortable with and dislike how it affects you, and don’t want to justify it anymore. That’s a good thing to recognize.

Quitting drinking, for me, was a huge, highly involved process. If you know me personally, you know that any new venture I approach is precisely researched and then seriously invested in with most of my time, and lots of my money. I didn’t go about quitting drinking any differently. These are pieces of my process; some of the things that happened along the way. Some of it is pretty personal, but I don’t care. I knew if I wanted to stick with it once and for all, I had to constantly care and consistently commit. Some of this may seem a bit extreme, and possibly even make you laugh (it makes me laugh, looking back on some of it) but it’s how it happened and what it took for me to succeed so I wouldn’t change a thing!

I hope you’ll see that it is possible to be a non-drinker, if it’s something you are interested in, of course. I also hope you’ll see that the process is the opposite of easy or fast, but very worth it! I have thrown in my favourite sober quotes that I picked up along the way.

 

Saturday, December 26th, 2015

Decided that was it. I was becoming a non-drinker. Enrolled in Getting Unstuck, a six week online course that was starting on January 4th, created by Kate at The Sober School. (More later). I needed to hold myself accountable.

I signed up for the BMO Vancouver Marathon on May 1st, 2016. The 18-week training program would need to commence on Monday. Hey, why not lay another super challenging endeavor on top of an attempt to go teetotal!? I guess I was looking to make drastic changes.

Once my depression subsided enough to think, I journalled like it was my last day on earth. I collected ideas about fun, non-alcoholic substitutes mainly for parties but also for at home. I placed an order on Amazon for $242.61 worth of Belvoir Fruit Farms fancy fruit cordials. LOL. Then I ordered another $100+ worth of some other syrups from SplitTree. I never drank cocktails so I have no clue why I thought I was going to become a mocktail master.

Continued by going to Safeway on the way home and buying what seemed like a lifetime supply of club soda, non-alcoholic beer, Bottle Green presse, lemons, limes, clamato juice, dealcoholized wine and anything else I found that wasn’t water and didn’t have booze in it. Half of this shit I’d never noticed before!

“you canโ€™t just leave the house sober and hope for the best; you have to be armedโ€ฆ” – Sacha Z. Scoblic

December 26th, 2015

Started reading the Sober Journalist Blog, which was Kate from The Sober School‘s blog before she created The Sober School site. I read this blog beginning to end, then read it again. I studied it and made detailed notes.

I made a list of every single thing I recall that I’d ever done while drunk that made me feel negatively. It was a long list and I felt like shit making it and re-reading it, but it was like ammo for my mission.

December 27th, 2015

Continued Pinteresting like a fiend, pinning my favourite booze-free ideas for sangria, punch, mocktails, etc. Here’s a link to that page, I haven’t updated it or even consulted it any time recently, but it’s there when I need it and it’s great!

I also journaled for approximately 741 hours and continued to do this daily for about eight weeks straight. I kept journalling after that, just not as obsessively because it wasn’t as necessary once I got the hang of all this.

I celebrated having gone to a very fun annual Boxing Day party the night before and getting weird AF with my friend Robyn, drinking juice and soda out of red solo cups. Then I drove home. First win. This win was easy though. Because I still felt so terrible from the last episode, there was no way I was drinking alcohol at that party.

December 31st, 2015

My first sober NYE!! I drank soda with lemon at the first big event because the only other non-alcoholic options were pop. That place was too annoying for me because it was overcrowded and the drunk people were too much for me at this point. This was still brand new to me. I was out. I’d made a big jug of fancy, sparkly juice for any after-party we might go to, so when we decided to leave and go to a friend’s house I was set! Oh and I drove there AND HOME. And didn’t look like a train wreck in the photos from the end of the night!

January 1st, 2016

Ran the resolution run and felt like one million dollars.

January 4th, 2016

Made it to day 10. Previously, this was around where I’d decide that I was totally able to moderate alcohol consuption.

Started the Getting Unstuck course! When I first got obsessed with The Sober School website (during a previous attempt at becoming a non-drinker) this course was “coming soon” so I signed up to be notified once it materialized, and I ended up in the first-ever class! This online course was so incredibly helpful. The accountability alone was exactly what I needed, but the tools and new habits I learned for changing what I believed about alcohol were invaluable. You MUST check out Kate’s creation!!! Changing what we believe about booze and what it “does for us” is key if you want to get away from it, or cut down.

January 5th, 2016

Wrote a letter to myself that would be delivered in the future via email as a homework assignment for Getting Unstuck. I’ll share later.

January 8th, 2016

My first sober birthday! I turned 31! Well, the first one in like fifteen years…sad but true. I made a giant, fancy alcohol-free sangria for myself and it was amazing. I had a very good time, but was also relieved once all our friends left and it was bedtime. Going to bed when tired? What an idea. Some of my drunk friends liked the sangria so much they wanted some to mix with their vodka. It was obviously really good!

Note: one of my bestest friends brought me a 6-pack of non-alcoholic Becks. That’s a supportive friend. Thanks Jana.

January 16th, 2016

Ordered Sober is the New Black and The Sober Revolution: Women Calling Time on Wine O’Clock to add to my small but growing sober book collection! I treated these things like textbooks!! Neither of the above were that great, but still worth reading when you’re obsessed with focusing on the task at hand. All reminders, studying and learning helped me. Best book so far, Unwasted: My Lush Sobriety by Sacha Z. Scoblic.

January 17th, 2016

Signed up for Belle’s 100 Day Sober Challenge. I learned about Belle’s site, tiredofthinkingaboutdrinking.com, from Kate. Check her out she’s amazing. I love the “Two Eiffel Towers” podcast. So funny.

“Being sober is easier than thinking about drinking.”

February 14th, 2016

Completed the Getting Unstuck course! All six weeks! Since I stopped drinking on Boxing day, this was now 51 days booze-free! I was in disbelief and never felt better or more proud of myself. I was starting to get the hang of it. Not drinking is pretty normal once you get over the belief that alcohol is required for fun.

One of the things that I was very aware of now: I now knew how to handle that window of time on a Friday after work where it feels like time for a drink to decompress from the week, or to get the weekend going. It used to be such an automatic association, but by now I had new ways of relaxing and transitioning.

February 15th, 2016

Received the email that I wrote to myself on January 5th, here it is!

The following is an e-mail from the past, composed on January 05, 2016. It is being delivered from the past through FutureMe.org

Dear radiant, well-rested, grounded Jamie!!

CONGRATULATIONS! you paid a significant fee for this course and actually STUCK TO IT! not that it’s about the money, but just saying, way to not waste it. Way to have the resolve to stay away from alcohol because it is not necessary, and give and receive support for 42 days with a group of strong, brave women from all over the world with similar goals.

How nice are you feeling, being migraine free for over 50 days now? Not having grey skin or unnecessary anxiety at work? How incredible is it to go to a party, enjoy yourself, AND drive your truck home safely (and legally)? No walking/running or getting a ride to your vehicle in the morning!..or afternoon..or a few days later even.

You must feel so fuckin fired up getting those Sunday long runs done with energy, a stable heart rate, and legs that feel strong and fit, not like lead. You also completed EIGHT 6am Buti Yoga classes with Karen since you went teetotal! You have completed your 500 RYT certificate because you have been so productive instead of a procrastinating sack of hangover!

The wedding planning must be coming along well, especially without silly drunk fights, as well as shitty moods due to impatience and sensitivity from alcohol.

You are doing this. You are experiencing a life you truly love without having alcohol in it. This is something to feel very proud of. Your chakras must be in line as fuck. Namaste!

February 16th, 2016

Signed up for Belle’s Sober Jumpstart Class (7 days) to keep the momentum going. There was no way I was going to allow myself to slip back into old habits now, after how much I had learned and 50+ days of success.

“Why not moderation? Moderation doesn’t work for people like us, plus we’ve tried that already.” – Belle Robertson

February 18th, 2016

Here is a random piece of an email to Belle..

It makes me pretty mad when people are like “haha ya right you quit drinking” or “until when? ” or “that’s lame” but I feel like now that I have some momentum and confidence in sobriety, I just stand my ground and tell them “no seriously,  I quit drinking”. And then in my head I tell myself I’m unique and smart and a good role model for someone I might not even know yet, or ever. 

Some people are really hard to tell though, like the in between bestest friends and acquaintances..like we know each other well but not close enough to have done things like hikes or movie nights or play on a sports team or anything sober, really. The people who all our encounters involved drinking. Those are the people hardest to tell. But my life doesn’t revolve around “going for drinks” anymore, which will naturally remove those kind of relationships from my life I guess, unless we can find other things we want to do together. Right? Is that how it works? We can go for dinner and not drink if we like each other enough. So many people I used to hang out with I don’t even know if I actually like anyway or if they like me, it was just people to drink with. That makes me feel ashamed of myself..

February 20th, 2016

here’s a piece of another email from Sober Jumpstart day 5

Oh my god. Most glorious experience last night. Driving home at 1am from a party where I shit you not, I drank about 6 liters of perrier with lemon and hibiscus syrup, I went through a road block and the cop asks me if I’ve been drinking and I told him 

“No I have not, I actually haven’t had anything to drink for 8 weeks! 56 fucking days!”

And he said: WHY? He asked me why!!! Seriously police officer?? Before I could respond he looked at my ring and asked oh are you getting ready for your wedding?

I told him NO I am not not drinking because I’m getting married (WTF?) I’m not drinking because I don’t want to. And I’m training for a marathon. And I enjoy driving my own truck home from a party and not paying for a stinky ass rickety Skeena taxi.. And I hate feeling like shit. Bottom line I went through a road check and had no anxiety, and got to brag. Thanks for everything Belle.

I had a lot of fun, but what it did cumulutively to my life wasn’t worth it. – Toby Maguire

End of February 2016

Started listening to some of Belle’s sober audios on runs. Amazing. Try it. Or any podcast for that matter. Run, Selfie, Repeat?

March 2016

Still viciously craving carbs. Apparently this can last up to sixty days, but my carb obsession has never subsided…maybe it’s because the kilometers keep increasing.

Ran my first 32km training run and couldn’t believe it. On a Saturday morning. Who is this person?

I like this new feeling of freedom

April 2016

Got to 100 days on April 3rd ๐Ÿ™‚ Decided to sign up to be sober penpals with Belle for the rest of the year. It’s good to have someone checking in on you, or someone to vent to! Like one time, a hipster gave me ginger beer that was supposed to be 0% but then I found out it MAY have been 2% or something, and I freaked out! But she told me that isn’t falling off the wagon, it has to be by personal choice.

from my journal on April 15th: “day 112, NBD!

First sober camping trip! Did my final long run before race day on the Sunday of this trip! Sixteen kilometers on fresh, unfamiliar road with sheep and cows watching. In the past, I’d go on weekend trips intending to complete a training run, but NEVER EVER did.

May 1, 2016

Ran the BMO Vancouver Marathon on May 1st. I had wanted to run a full marathon for years. This was the third marathon I’d registered for, but the only one I had actually run. I trained my ass off and couldn’t have done it if I were still drinking all the time because I didn’t prioritize health, training or resting enough to properly prepare to run 42.2km. I also think the training helped me not drink! It worked both ways. I just kept feeling healthier and more energetic along the way. It’s crazy the things on the to-do list that started getting ticked off my list. Alcohol really puts a damper on productivity!

May 12, 2016

Flew to Tulum, Mexico for my first ever real, booze-free vacation! I went to Amansala resort on a fitness retreat and did yoga, zumba, pilates, kick boxing, HIIT and ran for like, 6 hours a day, all day long for a week with a whole bunch of amazing ladies who I’d never met before. Oh, and relaxed too, hahah. We all became such good friends. The food was healthy, fresh and detoxy. The days started early with meditation in a sunny, yoga hut looking out at the ocean, and we went to bed early in our little treehouse-type of rooms!!!!

view from me and Meg’s room!

INSANELY AWESOME!!! This wasn’t a dry retreat, but it was for me. That being said, I think I saw a couple people have one margarita or pina colada over the course of the week. It was definitely about the company and activities and everyone was there for self-care. The Temazcal was one of my favourite things we did, and I remember thinking about how if the old me went in a sweat lodge, there would be alcohol coming out of my pores. I returned home from vacation for the first time (as an adult) feeling rejuvenated.

June 2016

First sober Seafest! Partied my balls off (party = wear non-exercise clothes, some makeup, MAYBE brush hair, get weird, dance, laugh, give zero fucks) drinking O’Doul’s at the bar and someone said to my cousin, “Jamie’s really on step tonight!” and she informed them that I was double-fisting non-alcoholic beer! LOLOLOL. Stayed until the ugly-lights came on and drove myself home in my own vehicle, feeling anything but ugly!

Also, first sober Slo-Pitch tournament!! Was it as fun as drunk ones? Yup. Did I drink some O’Doul’s and fake wine out of the bottle? And twerk? Yup. Nothing was different except I didn’t feel like shit on Monday.

August 2016

Another camping trip, this time with friends, not my whole family. It was just as fun as usual and I did all the same things plus more.

Got married to the love of my life. Was present for all of it. Didn’t look like a goblin in any of the photos after the ceremony due to getting pissed.

Ran my 30k training run on wedding day because I felt so fucking good. Didn’t have a hangover the next day. Survived what I had anticipated to be one of the biggest challenges that I would eventually face while learning to be a non-drinker, but it was easy because..

alcohol is NOT an essential part of life. And sobriety is not some parallel universe where all the rules are different and you have to do everything a completely different way. Sobriety is just your regular lifeโ€ฆ minus the doses of liquid poison ๐Ÿ™‚ – Kate

September 2016

Interesting email:

Just went out to huzzie’s garage to grab a few sodas that I knew were out there…open the mini fridge, there’s a wide assortment of random ciders, craft beers, etc left behind from our wedding.

it’s so strange, like there’s no way in HELL I will drink, I am fully aware that I don’t realistically want to, won’t, should not, will not, can’t, not gonna happen, but I still walked out of the garage with my sodas and said to him as he was washing his truck

“I obviously am not going to, but I’d love to guzzle everyone one of those random drinks in there and get right pissed falling down drunk.”

I can laugh at this, being where I am, but seriously it’s just such a good reminder of the “drink now” voice and the tendencies people like us can have. Like omg drink IT ALL, but what happens when it’s all GONE?? then what? fuck it fuck it fuck the dinner plans, fuck the laundry and the early morning plans and the run tomorrow and all other commitments let’s just drink all the drinks!!!

I am so thankful that I will not go there. What a LAME place to go, that stupid careless place where nothing matters but getting drunk and laughing too loud and thinking I’m  funny and such a star. NO THANK YOU!!!!!!!

It’s way easier to stay sober than to get sober!

Fall 2016

Didn’t really think about drinking at all. Trained hard for the Victoria Marathon in October, got myself a shiny sixteen minute PR. Continued to train for the Dopey Challenge in Disneyworld in January. My energy levels were at an all time high and same with my ability to get shit done.

Stopped journalling about not drinking, it’s all shit about running after that!

First sober Halloween. I had so much fun making my costume, getting ready, going out, but the party wasn’t overly fun, so when I had enough I left and had a good sleep!

If you drink at a boring party, it just means youโ€™re drunk at a boring party. – Kate

Here’s something that came up though. LOL. An email from Belle. Pretty sure this went out to over three thousand subscribers. TrixeeK is me, obviously. Trixie is from the movie Problem Child 2, and K is for Komadina, if you must know.

not everyone feels awesome,
but TrixeeK does…

from TrixeeK (day 331):

“hello from day 331! I was telling my friend about the “sober car” analogy and I suddenly really wanted to email you. My car is fucking RIPPING ahahaha seriously like a crazy driver! I can’t believe how natural it has become. But wait, actually, yes I can believe it.

I can believe it because of course it feels natural and amazing to never be hungover. To feel fresh as a fuckin daisy pretty much all the time and to never have that poisonous anxiety-guilt-nausea-low blood sugar-shaky hands feeling. GROSS.

I can’t believe I have enough momentum to feel super confident and not think twice speaking the sentence “I don’t drink.” So many people ask, will you drink again after one year? and the only thing I can think of to say is “why?”

Christmas 2016

By now I had my go-to party drinks, or things I liked to drink, if anything, while sitting around visiting at home with friends/family. It wasn’t something I had to think hard about anymore. I accepted that I didn’t usually feel like staying late, and that parties aren’t actually that fun sometimes. It all depends who is there and what is actually going on. A large majority of parties are just people standing around talking about nothing interesting.

Celebrated one year without any alcohol! I woke up on Christmas Day at Sparkling Hills Resort in Vernon where my husband and I spent Christmas Eve. I drank some dealcoholized wine in the biggest bathtub ever, ate good food, went in like twenty different saunas and felt amazing.

Alcohol isnโ€™t some magic thing that bonds people together or seals friendships. Bonding with people is about listening, sharing, caring and connecting. Those things have nothing to do with booze. – Kate

NYE 2016

Ended up at a house party at the exact same place as last year! I was excited to get ready to go out, like I used to, but without the wine in the bathroom with me. Once again, had a fun night with great people, ate spectacular appies, and went home when I felt like it. I drank sparkling water, juice, soda and fake wine because I like the taste. That’s the trick, drink stuff you actually like!

New Years Day 2017

My second non-hungover resolution run. So good.

January 2017

Travelled to Orlando area and had the time of my life running every day at Disneyworld Marathon Weekend, ran my third and fastest marathon to date on my 32nd birthday, flew back to Vancouver and had a luxurious sleep at the Fairmont YVR. There’s no way in hell I could have trained for and run 78.3km in four days if I were still letting booze fuck up my health, motivation and goals. I also probably couldn’t have afforded that trip, since Disney races are expensive AF and the CAD exchange has been weak.

Spring 2017

No thinking about drinking. Just running. Drinking, thinking about drinking, and being hungover takes up a lot of time. The amount of time I have now is crazy.

Ran marathon #4. Fully addicted and loving it. Did I replace my love of getting drunk with running? Possibly. I don’t know enough about psychology. But if that’s what happened, who cares?

June 2017

Marathon #5

Summer 2017

I am a busier and more productive person now. Busy is good. I have hobbies and goals and interests and shit to do. I don’t have time to get drunk. I completed my first triathlon and loved it! New addiction? Probably. So I bought a road bike! We are getting ready to move to a new house and it’s disorganized and hectic, but I can handle it because I’m a way more patient person now, and I worry almost never.

Today

I don’t think about alcohol anymore, really. It’s just not on my radar and not a thing in my life. Once in a very blue moon, if I’m caught off guard in a situation that used to involve heavy drinking, I’ll get a weird old habitual thought, just for a sec, like “I’d like to chug that mickey of fireball“, but then I’m like, wait a sec, that’s the worst idea ever. LOLOL. Cavities. Yummay.

I’m now a person who just doesn’t drink alcohol. It’s not a big deal. I filled my life up with way better shit than booze. Looking back, when I was obsessed with drinking my life was, in ways, very boring and basic, and full of mood swings or depression. I don’t care if it sounds cheesy, daily life has way more meaning now that it’s filled with a wider variety of activities, adventures and challenges.

I’m not trying to hustle you into sobriety nor am I judging anyone who drinks. I’m just saying that IF you find yourself where I did, it might make sense for you.  If you’ve considered it but it seems impossible, it’s not. See. Email me if you want. And please, if you like what you read, hit share xoxo

@jammiekomadina

trixie