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!

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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 they remind me that the choice is mine to either be the boss of my run, or to let it boss me around.  (And to consciously choose option A).

and

The Divide-and-Conquer strategy, 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, “I am in charge“.  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 I 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, but I find they happen far less now that I have more confidence in my ability to be 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 🙂

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 can’t just leave the house sober and hope for the best; you have to be armed…” – 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 🙂 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 life… minus the doses of liquid poison 🙂 – 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 you’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 isn’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

 

Six-day [Sober] Trip to Montreal!

I love going on trips now WAY more than when I was a booze-hound. I feel like I can do like, one hundred things each day (if I want), I remember everything, I’m present and experience everything thoroughly, and as a bonus, I feel way less guilty spending money shopping and dining. Since the cost of alcohol, everywhere, all day and night, is no longer a thing, I don’t feel like going on trips drains my bank account the same way it used to! This was the first time I’ve gone away for longer than a weekend in a while, and it was exceptional. I am so glad I didn’t get pissed the whole time and come home feeling like it went by in the blink of an eye, like I needed time to recover from the trip, or like I didn’t do any of the things I’d hoped to! Here is a recap of my trip and some of the things I noticed or felt grateful for while I enjoyed it alcohol-free.

The trip started with a full travel day, which is fairly standard for someone who lives in Prince Rupert if going anywhere further than Vancouver. But, since planes and airports are awesome and not having a hangover is also awesome, I enjoyed my nap on flight number one, my solo breakfast at YVR, Starbucks, and another long nap on flight number two. Although sleeping on a plane is far from comfortable or good quality, it is fucking fantastic compared to what I used to do on planes, which was cry on the inside because I forgot a water bottle, had low blood sugar and was clinging to life, and then proceed to go partly unconscious with cotton mouth and hope I wouldn’t twitch out and smack my neighbour. Gross ahaha.

I arrived in Montreal after midnight where my sexy husband who was working there temporarily greeted me, and we took an Uber to the apartment near downtown which cost $36. I seriously don’t know what I did before Uber. Where we might go out that night didn’t even cross my mind – I was exhausted from the long day. This is interesting to me because before, when I was obsessed with partying, I would somehow power through my exhaustion because the thought of going to bed early was unthinkable and I’d torture my body, forcing it to stay awake and drink and socialize with whoever, when truly I should have been sleeping!

Saturday morning we were up early and stoked for our first day together in the city. Up early on vacation? It’s a thing. Back in the day this was a foreign concept to me, but now I prefer to capitalize! We went for a half-hour walk to assess the lineup at an apparently very popular brunch place called L’Avenue on Ave du Mont-Royal E, but the lineup was like the Roxy so we found another spot along St. Denis. Nothing to write home about but regardless, summer weather with my love, no hangover, food and coffee and I was happier than happy. I already loved Montreal after that first morning of walking around. Everywhere I looked there was a park or some sort of street art, and I love parks and street art!

We did some more exploring, and then eventually made our way down towards Parc René-Lévesque to pick up our bibs for the 10K race the following day. Of course I found a race during the visit!

Such a beautiful area, and I was excited to go back there to run in the morning! Anywhere with a water view is my kind of place.

Before dinner I went for a short run around our neighbourhood which happened to be the general area of the Montreal Mural Festival that took place in June! I think exploring alone is so exciting and I was honestly overwhelmed by how much I was enjoying this new place already.

I found some neat art down back alleys and along the sides of buildings. Street art is so cool. It makes me mad that I never used to appreciate this sort of thing, but I’m glad I do now.

Later, we relaxed at an outdoor patio on Rue Sherbrooke, ate paninis and had a beer (alkoholfrei German wheat beer, for me), people-watched and then called it a day. It was a long day and we needed to be up early. Either way, going to bed early on vacation is UNDERRATED!..even when it’s hotter than you’re used to and roll around all night sweating.

Sunday we Uber’d to Parc René-Lévesque and it was so nice out already! A bit too hot for me for racing (northern BC spoiled brat in the running world), but a beauty day and the event site for the Demi-Marathon Bonneville de Lachine had a fun energy right off the bat. The warm-up in the start chute was awesome and kind of funny for us non French speakers (not that it was exclusively Français) and the course was GORGEOUS. I highly recommend checking out this park, event or no event! Wish I had more pics.

Do run this race, though, if you’re around for it! Ten kilometers for breakfast, check!

Our anniversary was off to a good start, and we were both done running before 9am. So much day left!

After some time at the finish area we took a walk along the Lachine Canal (love) to get away from the busyness of the race area and call a ride, but we came across a bus stop that would take us to a metro station. Transit adventure! Going on transit is tolerable when you don’t have a headache or nausea! It’s worth mentioning that I found the transit system, especially the metro, very easy to use in Montreal! I went all over the place with no problems whatsoever.

After a quick regroup at home it was time for standard procedure after any race: epic meal time! We went to Chez Jose on Duluth for brunch, and so should you! The hot sauce. Yum. And what a cool, funky spot! Going for brunch as a sober person is something I place a high value on. I remember brunching back when I lived in Vancouver and I always felt like (and looked like) shit, praying for a refill on my water, guzzling Caesars to try and feel better and then having yet another really expensive bill because alcohol is so effing expensive. Then the day would turn into “Sunday Funday” and I’d feel like shit on Monday morning. So over that!! Food tastes so much better non-hung, and so does coffee. I also find I can eat my meal instead of just a few bites. Hmm. More food, a better experience and more money to go shopping after and not feel guilty.

We waddled towards the river and came face to face with the fantastic Montreal pride parade along René-Lévesque Boulevard! Seriously such a party. I didn’t know that Fierté Montréal was during my trip and it was such a fun surprise!! We walked for hours it seemed, after a long parade detour, and then it was time for more food, so we hung out and ate nachos on Rue de la Commune after finally making it to where we wanted to go after breakfast. More coffee in the sun in a gorgeous city.

I am obsessed with the Old Port.

After a late afternoon nap I went for a short jog to shake out my body and then had another early bed time. I stayed up late from like 2001 to 2015 so now I really like sleeping ahahaha.

My Monday morning began with a sweaty flow class at Moksha Yoga Montreal! I can’t even tell you how happy it makes me to go to any Moksha studio (Moksha is where I got my 500hr RYT) and the Montreal location was fabulous. I think you should go there and check it out! I left there in a bliss trance and walked home, then spent the rest of Monday basically running around everywhere, checking things out along the way. I never thought I’d be going to yoga at 7am on a Monday on a holiday. Or being a daytime warrior.

Parc La Fontaine

Got myself a new Ciele hat from the Mile End Lululemon, saw many more amazing murals, picked up some totally necessary glow in the dark Vazees from New Balance on St. Catherine, then had solo lunch and coffee near the Old Port and explored the quays.

We went to the AMAZING Cafe Parvis on Rue Mayor for dinner once husband was done work. The girls at Lulu recommended it and I loved this restaurant! It’s a romantic little cafe with a unique, fresh menu. Love the string lights and flowers on the patio! I also love how most of the restaurants we went to on this trip, Cafe Parvis included, have kombucha on the menu. It’s an interesting non-alcoholic option. Not drinking doesn’t mean just having water wherever you go!

Tuesday I was up early as usual, and after breakfast at home I took the metro from Place-des-Arts to Papineau and ran across the Jacques Cartier bridge into Jean Drapeau Park.

Cool spot definitely worth checking out, in my opinion, since I am a freak about parks! Thank God there are drinking fountains in this park because it was humidddd. If I’d had even a lick of a hangover, I would have actually died.

After my planned 7km I took a rest/figured out where exactly on Île Sainte-Hélène I was, and then ran a few more kilometers along Pont de la Concorde, past Habitat 67 (not as cool as I thought it might be, but still cool to see) and back into Montreal towards the Old Port. The views today were unreal!!!

I came back to home-base area and had myself a massive classic poutine at Dirty Dogs on Boul. St-Laurent! Oh and a huge milkshake. YUMMMM.

I digested as quickly as I could because husband was almost home from work and we were going to Orange Rouge in China Town for dinner. This place is seriously awesome and my favourite place that we had dinner on my trip. It’s mostly share plates and we sat at the bar and had a really good experience there with awesome service! I am like drooling right now thinking about the duck confit dumplings and the quail. Go there, you won’t regret it! I pay attention to the food I’m eating so much more these days. YUM.

As I was about to go to sleep I realized tomorrow was Wednesday. Wednesday is a November Project morning in cities that have a tribe. EFF YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So, I got up extra early and was at Nelson’s Column (the monument at Place Jacques-Cartier) by 6:29 am where NP MTL uses the Old Port as a sweaty playground.

I follow NP quite closely on social media and have been a fan for a long time, but I can’t say enough good things about my first actual experience. Do you think I’d have made it to something like this, something so up my alley, if I were out super late partying the night before, and dehydrated and dead tired when the alarm went off? Unlikely.

#justshowup

If you don’t know what November Project is, Google it and familiarize yourself and then hit up free fitness and a hundred new sweaty friends next time you’re anywhere that has a tribe. Trust me.

After the workout I had a 10k tempo run to complete for Coach Andrew, so I got that done along the Promenade du Vieux-Port and down by the clock tower. Gorgeous place to run! You may think I’m crazy but this was truly my IDEAL morning. How the times have changed gahaha.

Next on the to-do list: TATTOO. Well, first a gigantic baguette sandwich, and then Tatouage Electric Ave. Located on Rue Beaubien E, I picked this shop after lots of research through blogs, Instagram and portfolios online. Arno was my man and he did not disappoint. Mark my words, I will return to Montreal to get more art from Arno!

Something worth mentioning is that while I was getting tattooed, I didn’t feel like garbage or put my body into an even more traumatic situation by showing up to my appointment hungover, shaky, dehydrated or run-down. This is probably the tattoo that has healed best for me, and I’m confident this is because I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been. I’ve had some tattoos in the past that took so long to heal. Like overly sore in the scabby phase and just felt like a gross owie for too many days. Not this time. My body healed this tattoo like a boss.

In the evening we headed to Little Italy for husband’s birthday dinner at Il Piatto Pieno, a place highly recommended by one of his co-workers. It seemed like a nice place, and the menu looked delicious, but there were only a few people there when we showed up (around 8:30 pm, not super late or anything) and the service was bush! The server asked us to order as soon as possible and tossed a basket of bread on the table. The appy and pizza we ordered looked like someone threw it together in the dark and the pizza was most definitely not finished baking. Lol. Good thing we aren’t too sensitive! Whatever, win some, lose some. Little Italy seems like a wicked area with a million restaurants and I wish we had time to go back! Next time.

Thursday (rest day) we slept in and then made it back over to L’Avenue and since it was a weekday, there wasn’t a huge line!! This place was worth waiting for. I definitely recommend. I had sweet and salty eggs benny, it was served on sweet and crunchy french toast and I almost died and went to heaven. Go there!! It was loud and busy and great, and I totally understand why there was a lineup down the block when we tried to go on Saturday!

We ventured up and down Mont Royal (once we could move again after breakfast) and that is something you must do in Montreal. The walk (I wouldn’t call it a hike by any means) was easy but nice and the view spectacular. This is not my pic, I didn’t have my phone!

The rest of the day was spent having coffee, returning to the Old Port (again!) in the evening to be touristy and just cruisin around on foot enjoying our last evening.
Friday morning came early and once again, I was reminded of, and felt grateful for the simplicity of waking up to a non-hangover on holidays and, despite being tired, not needing to survive the day of travel. I felt so fulfilled by the six days spent in Montreal; it actually felt like I was there for more like two weeks! Of course there are things I didn’t do due to a lack of more time, but I didn’t feel like I ripped myself off once in any way.

I could have gone back to work right away feeling totally okay with that, BUT I’m still off til after Labour Day so time for another adventure where it feels like there ARE enough hours in a day, and I don’t need ANOTHER week off afterwards to recuperate 🙂

One of the coolest things I’ve noticed since becoming a non-drinker

Hi! It’s August! WTF?

Where I live we haven’t had much of a summer so far. We don’t usually get a ton of warm and fabulous weather up here on the north coast of BC, but it looks like a streak of sunny days may have finally arrived! Ahhh get outside, ASAP!!

Driving to work today I was thinking about how I just had four days off and now it’s my turn to work the coming weekend, which happens to be August long weekend. Sigh. But, after the initial thought about this not being ideal, I started to observe the ways my feelings toward a situation like this one have shifted since I kicked booze out of my life. Let me explain.

A year and a half ago (or any time prior) if I discovered it were my turn to work over a long weekend I would become plagued with anxiety, victim-like thinking and FOMO. If you aren’t familiar, FOMO is the fear of missing out. In the past, in my opinion a party weekend was hands-down the best thing ever. Like, ever. Since getting drunk and wild was my favourite thing to do, as well as part of my identity, the thought of missing out was actually torture.

POOR ME!!! EVERYONE is going to have so much fun partying without me!! I’m going to miss out on all the craziness and the laughs and the drunk idiotic entertainment! This is unthinkable. What am I going to do? My friends are probably going to forget I exist!!! OMG. It’s so unfair that I have to work! I bet it’s going to be the MOST fun ever had on any weekend, EVER. Legendary memories will be made and I’ll be left out. If I can’t be with everyone, the long weekend should be cancelled!!!

I would feel some resentment towards my then-boyfriend and my friends for “leaving me behind” (lol) and then proceed to mope around, feel sorry for myself, whine about it and worry. Oh, but not without desperately trying to find others in the same “unbearable situation” as myself who might be staying around town and want to get together and “have so much fun” getting drunk while “everyone else” was at the lake, camping, festival-ing, etc. I confess that I’d even feel a little better when another person would tell me that they also had to work over the weekend. Misery loves company. What a dick I was!

Just too be clear, I’d prefer to be off this coming weekend. Duh haha. BUT, here are where things have changed:

First, for the record, if indeed completely free this weekend, I’d likely head to the lake and spend three days the way I prefer to lately, as a non-drinker. This is just a little different (but better) than the past. There is all the usual stuff but with a sober twist. Boating, possibly quadding, fires, maybe some bocce (all more safe and more memorable), going to bed at a reasonable hour in our trailer, which is SO comfortable and peaceful (when one can remember doing so)..then, my Saturday long run wouldn’t suck, because of the absence of cotton-mouth and a raging headache. I’d get back at the time most others wake up, so no missing out on breakfast! Coffee tastes amazing because it doesn’t feel like I beer-bonged hydrochloric acid the night before. The rest of the day in the sun is perfect, because I am not disgustingly dehydrated and don’t have a stomachache or migraine while ripping around in the boat or laying in the heat on the dock. Not forgetting to eat lunch is also great. Sober weekends, holy shit. Unreal. Glad I discovered them when I did, and not later!

So, wait. If I still love a good weekend as much or more than I did when I was a piss-tank, why am I not sad about missing out? First: with some sober experience under my belt, I no longer consider the only way to have fun as drinking a shit-ton of beer and fireball. Second: after I personally realized that there is a plethora of ways to connect with others, nature and myself DAILY that don’t revolve around drinking, I simply stopped caring about missing out on a long weekend or party here and there. Who cares? Try asking yourself that, it’s crazy. “Who cares?” I can extract the same satisfaction and other good feelings from almost any day of this life, it turns out! Who knew?

Day-to-day life without alcohol is filled with so much more energy, motivation and awareness that I don’t really give a shit if it’s a three-day-weekend or a weekday of work. Every day seems to offer me the same opportunity to feel good and capitalize on my free time, however much or little there happens to be. Life isn’t filled with such extreme highs and lows anymore. I don’t plod along waiting for the next super fun party, event or vacation. Having, for example, approximately four hours before and after work to make the most of, is fantastic and I look forward to those windows of time now just as much as I look forward to a full day off. Maybe it’s because I’m more present? Have more clarity? Anyways. A run before work in the sun (or the rain!) when the roads are empty because everyone else is out of town or still sleeping is just as serene as a run on any other day in any given place. And coffee at my kitchen table without a hangover is equally as peaceful as coffee on the porch at the cabin or by the campfire. In my right mind, I know that being away from my crew for one fun weekend isn’t going to result in anyone forgetting about my friendship or our future plans. It also doesn’t mean I won’t have my own amazing weekend!

I’ve come to find, and apparently other sober people I know have similarily discovered, that FOMO becomes minimal if not non-existent when a person takes away the blur of booze and begins to connect in more ways with the wide-spread opportunities of daily life around them. I love fun shit and I love fun people. I guess I just gave myself the chance to learn that my spectrum of fun is far more broad than I ever thought it might be. My appreciation for an hour of free-time now compares with a glorious, responsibility-free long weekend. Quitting drinking happens to be what changed my perspective.

So yeah. Removed booze from life – discovered that pretty much all days are great and have equal potential for good times –  noticed that FOMO isn’t real. Cool!

Of course I’d love to be off this weekend. Hell, I’d retire if I could! Gahaha. Do I predict a lame weekend? Absolutely not! I predict the exact opposite! Will I suffer from the depressing effects of the fear of missing out? Hell no. FOMO isn’t real unless you believe in it. Bring on sunny mornings, way too much coffee, relaxing evenings, sunsets and maybe a random unexpected adventure. Life is fuckin gooooooood.

@jammiekomadina