How Running taught me to give fewer F*cks

What’s uppp! Summer is almost officially here, the days are long and there’s so much daylight before and after work to get outside and have fun! By fun I don’t just mean running, but that’s mostly what I mean ahaha. I’m really pumped about something happening on June 24th. Kelly Roberts and Oiselle have declared that day Global Sports Bra Squad Day. You can read about it HERE. The positive messages behind this amazing day really got me thinking about how running has boosted my confidence in so many different ways. Recently I had an experience that really showed me this. It was actually the day I joined the #sportsbrasquad. Myself and other #rupertrunners will be hosting our own Global Sports Bra Squad Day social run in Prince Rupert, so if that’s where you live, stay tuned.

About ten days ago I ran the Calgary Marathon and for me personally, it was REALLY hot out. I live somewhere very mild with a lot of rain and up until then I had never run in a sports bra before. The 25 degree weather in Calgary was starting to get to me on my three mile shakeout run the morning before the race, so I decided then and there that I’d join Kelly Roberts’ #sportsbrasquad at the marathon and run in just my bra. One less thing to worry about – feeling disgustingly hot for over 42 kilometers! When I arrived to the race, most people around me were wearing tank tops or racing singlets, some were even wearing long sleeves, and there I was in my small shorts and favourite race bra (Lululemon’s Stuff Your Bra…PLEASE MAKE MORE). It wasn’t even hot out yet, it was 7am. That’s when my inner critic started up.

I’m 32 years old and most days I feel like I’ve had enough time to accept the uniquenesses of my own body, meaning the parts that are NOT my favourite. However, insecurity arises in many forms and can pop up anytime, anywhere. Whether these insecurities relate to size, shape, weight, complexion, whatever, we are always hardest on ourselves. A friend can tell me something she doesn’t like about her appearance, and I don’t know what the hell she’s talking about. On the other hand, I complain about things that people have complimented me on. Prime example: I have huge calves from walking on my tippy toes until I was twelve (just way too excited all the time) and I hate them, but other people have told me they like them and they’re nice. When I look in the mirror on a non-confident day, I think they look so ugly and gross and like man legs (no offense, guys). I didn’t start wearing shorts until I was in my late twenties, except for at soccer when below the knee was hidden by shin pads and socks. Why do we pick out shit we don’t like about ourselves, but then look at others and see them as nothing but strong, beautiful, unique and natural? This topic is enough for a whole series of posts! Anyways, that morning when I left the hotel, all I cared about initially was not overheating once the sun was high in the sky, so I headed to the marathon with my bib pinned to my sports bra.

Then I arrived at the race, tossed my throwaway layer after warming up, and started comparing myself to other people. WHY DO WE DO THIS??? What was making me feel uncomfortable on this day were thoughts coming from various categories under the big umbrella of worrying about what other people think, not so much about my own body, but about not wearing a shirt. Here are some of the things my inner critic was throwing at me:

“put on some clothes, you’re half naked”

“you must think you look pretty good to wear no shirt.”

“stop trying to be hardcore like Shalane and Kara.”

“it’s not even hot you’re just trying to look cool.”

Years ago, I would have probably freaked out, begged for my checked bag to dig out a shirt and re-pin my bib, and then SUFFERED even more than I did anyway in the heat that day. Guess what. It’s not years ago, it’s now. Suzanne Fetting came to mind (if you don’t know who I’m talking about, read THIS) and I immediately stood up to these ridiculous thoughts that were coming up.

“put on some clothes, you’re half naked” – Inner Critic

“I’m about to run 42.2 f*cking kilometers and it’s going to be 25 degrees by the later stages of my race. I don’t give a flying f*ck if someone thinks I’m scantily clad.” – real Me (I know, I swear a lot. YODO)

“you must think you look pretty good to wear no shirt.” – Inner Critic

“I have been training for months and my body feels stronger than it ever has. Also, I’m here to run, not to look good.” – real Me

“stop trying to be hardcore like Shalane and Kara.” – Inner Critic

“Hardcore isn’t a look it’s a feeling, but if this ends up helping me stay cool and FEEL hardcore, BONUS.” – real Me

“it’s not even hot out you’re just trying to look cool.” – Inner Critic

“Let me explain a second time since you weren’t listening. I don’t feel like roasting, and I’m going to be REALLY warm by 7:03 am. Also, define cool!?” – real Me

I ran my race, it wasn’t my day and the heat affected me regardless. But guess what? I was way more comfortable that I would have been with a sweat-soaked tank stuck to my skin instead of air. Also, multiple runners said to me “I wish I was as smart as you and went shirtless.” Yes, man in full-length sleeves, you do wish that, don’t you! Why I was able to just not care in the end, is because running has taught me that I am strong, capable, mentally-tough, confident, and it has proven to me over and over again that I can and do believe in myself – and most importantly, that NONE of this has anything to do with what other people think about me.

The bra story is just one of many examples of how I’ve realized that running helps us get better at not giving f*cks. There are so many instances where, as a runner, you’re presented with perfect opportunities to tell that inner critic to shut up. Each run is practice!

When I first started running, I was so concerned with what I was going to wear, who might see me, what I would look like out there…I’d be cruising down a busy street and see people walk/drive by and glance at me, and my brain would invent thoughts like:

“I must run funny, bet that’s why they’re laughing.”

“I probably look like I’m struggling.”

“people are gonna know I’m new at this.”

“shit, people might see me taking a walk break and think I suck at running.”

“I don’t look like a runner.” (WHATEVER THE HELL THAT EVEN MEANS)

But after getting out there more often, I believed in myself more and more, and realized I do it for me, and me only. I was too busy working hard and taking care of myself to worry about other things. The stress-relief that cardiovascular activity can provide is amazing, and all of a sudden you feel more relaxed and the problems that seemed big, now seem small. Ahh, yes, less f*cks to give about molehills, save them for the mountains!

We become stronger. We start to feel more empowered. You’ll come to realize, as I did, that people may notice you running, but not negatively! Maybe they’re looking to see if it’s someone they know. Or because they feel guilty that they aren’t out exercising. Or because that new bright-coloured gear is so nice AND helped them not run you over! In most cases, it’s probably just curiosity. The BEST part though, is getting home from a run and realizing you didn’t think any of those silly things. The only thing on the radar was footfalls, breathing, Macklemore and spending some sweet ass quality time with yourself.

I stopped caring (in the good way). If you haven’t already, you will also stop caring. Every single run is a reminder of how amazing it feels to be strong, capable, driven, and most of all, excited to ask yourself “holy shit, what ELSE can I do if I can do that?” This is self-care people. Self-care increases self-love, and self-love decreases the giving of f*cks. HEY SELF, I CARE ABOUT YOU. YOU ARE AWESOME. YOU ARE FUN. YOU ARE STRONG AND SWEATY. ALL CHALLENGES: ACCEPTED.

Running is also a form of self-expression. Run where you want, when you want, wearing what you want. The opinions of others are completely bogus. Period. This becomes oh so clear as the sweaty journey continues.

It’s about you. It’s not about anybody else. Imagine a free activity that leads people to increased health and feelings of happiness, accomplishment, confidence, positivity AND to put a high value on how they FEEL about themselves, vs. what other people might THINK about them. OMG it’s real. It’s called running. Thanks to whoever invented it 😉

@jammiekomadina

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The Taper is Real! Omgg

Hi. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

HEY! I have an idea, let’s train hard AF for like, months, and then a few weeks before the BIG race, back off on the training and try not to freak out about the imagined tragedy of losing all fitness and mental preparation by the time race day arrives. LOL.

Welcome to the marathon taper! Any marathon training plan has one. I myself am one week out from running my fourth marathon. The taper is the final weeks before race day where the runner runs less and rests more to be ready to perform at the event. Seems legit. But ask any runner who has done it and they’ll tell you some shit!

I like resting. I love sleeping, now that I’m getting better at it. And when I push my feet into the ground and take a deep breath, I know I’m prepared. BUT, the mind can play many tricks during the final stretch and it’s maddening but hilarious at the same time. This is sometimes known as the Taper Tantrums. This is my fourth episode of the Taper Tantrums, as in, it happens every time. I know I’m not alone here, hopefully you can relate if you’ve run a marathon before. If you plan to run a marathon in the future, don’t say I didn’t warn you hahaha. Here are some of the best tricks the marathon taper has up its sleeve, and which I am currently falling for! I’m a bit dramatic at times, makes me laugh at myself, and it helps me feel better to talk about it comically. Everything is going to be okay!!!!

 

“I’m out of shape and my body is made of lead.”

Not true, even if it feels that way. Training peaked two weeks ago and there haven’t been many really hard or fast runs lately, which leads to doubting pace capability and tenacity, for me. On another note, I just tired myself out for months, so no shit I’m tired! Thank God my coach reminded me of that! Mentally, my brain is aware that it’s time to slow down a bit, but that sometimes doesn’t make sense as the race approaches. Must keep working just as hard! Wrong. Thankfully, in reality, fitness is NOT lost in the taper weeks. It has been studied and proven, and I (mildly) doubt that that research is a consipiracy theory.

 

“I don’t remember how to run.”

Running along, thinking, “wtf, how do my feet normally land on the ground? Where do my arms usually swing? I feel like I’ve never done this before. Damn, I’m uncoordinated.” HAHAHA I don’t know where this comes from, but I’m guessing it’s just one of the many elements of the fear of not being ready. I definitely know how to run, I’ve put in over 1100km this year alone. Running is a method of terrestrial locomotion allowing humans and other animals to move rapidly on foot. Sounds manageable.

Screenshot_20170521-125123-01

 

“I’ve gained weight.”

Probably. Running less, sweating less, eating more, especially carbs, storing water… It might be a pound or two. In my case this is true, but who cares, and it’s not abnormal. If it bothers you, just don’t try on your pants or shorts with the tightest waist band at this time.

 

“Who am I?”

Hahahhaa.

 

“Wow, I have pains in every area of my body!”

I remember hearing about these phantom pains while I was training for my first marathon and approaching the taper. Makes sense though. Work your ass off for months, then fear something will go wrong before or during the race. For me, suddenly my almost 20-year-old ankle injury is saying hello a lot more often, and my left knee, which I’ve never injured or had issues with “feels off”. Hahah just STFU, body.

 

“Maybe I should eat more.”

Carb loading for a marathon generally starts about three DAYS out, not three WEEKS! It is not necessary to eat every carbohydrate in sight as the race approaches. For me, I just need to remember to eat if I’m actually hungry, and to eat a balance of carbs, fats and protein, NOT adopt an all-carb diet (even though that sounds magnificent.)

 

“I better check the Weather Network hourly for the 14 days before the race.”

Hourly, times 24 hours/day x 14 days = 336 weather checks, and that’s only because the app only shows two weeks into the future. At end of the day, the weather is one of the things on race day that we CAN’T control. Maybe it makes me feel more in control knowing what to expect if the race was suddenly SWITCHED TO TOMORROW, but what will be will be. Let it go, Jamie, and person reading this who is approaching marathon day.

 

“I’m not ready.”

Hello there, Self-Doubt, you asshole, it’s been a while.

conversation with Coach Andrew, who is not an asshole.

Backing off the training naturally can result in decreased confidence in the ability to perform well, or to even simply survive 42.2km. Add in pressure from the self possibly to hit a specific goal, nervousness and everything else I’ve been telling you about, and it can be hard to believe in yourself/myself! Trust. Your. Training. I’m ready. You’re ready. Oprah was ready in 1994.

 

The marathon taper affects people in different ways. I’m trying not to let it get to me, and I suggest you do your best not to let it get to you either, because race day is coming and it’s f*ckin go time. If you are dating, married to, best friends with or work with a tapering marathoner, please try to be encouraging and patient. I apologize on behalf of all of us!

@jammiekomadina

Things I wish I knew when I first started running

I “became a runner” when I was 28 years old. What I mean by “became a runner” in my case, is I upgraded my grade 11 volleyball shoes to some half-decent runners, started getting out there on a (fairly) regular basis, and signed up for a race to hold myself accountable. I also joined a clinic so I could learn stuff and not do it alone, and we trained with run-walk intervals. Prior to this time, I went for jogs here and there, maybe a couple times a year, usually hungover and dying, with the exception of one summer when I ran a local trail quite consistently to help myself deal with a breakup because sweating helped me feel more sane. I will tell you now, the more consistent you can be, the easier it gets and the more you will get addicted. Duh. But so good! Getting started is the hard part of course, as it is with most things that require effort!

Getting into running is simple and complicated all at the same time. It’s simple because all you really need (until you get addicted, hehehe) is a pair of running shoes, some clothing that is made to sweat in, a sports bra if you have boobs and a hair elastic if you have long hair. If you really want to know how far you go or what kind of pace you’re moving at, there are like a billion free apps to install on your phone, you don’t need to go get a fancy GPS watch.

What is NOT simple about it though, is that it’s HARD (forever) and a process that takes patience and a strong will. In the end, however, these things are what make it awesome. You’ll see.

I’ve been running and training regulary now since the spring of 2013 and looking back on the journey so far, there are quite a few things I can recognize that would have been really helpful to know at the beginning! There are tons of specific tips out there for sure, advice about gear, form, training plans, etc, but here are some of the more general things I would tell my former runner-self if I had the chance.

 

Warming up in some way or another is not only necessary, it will make your run WAYYYY BETTER!

Think about your heart. When you walk out the door at a resting or close to resting heart rate and then start running right away it’s like “SURPRISE MOTHER F#CKER!!! GAHAHAH WAKE UP WAKE UP WAKE UP” and that’s brutal! And rude! Now think of your muscles. Cold. Rigid, maybe still sleeping depending what you’ve done so far that day. That’s mean, and unsafe. Do your body a favour (and your mind) and warm up because starting a run from ground zero SUCKS and makes it WAY harder and way more likely for things to hurt and injuries to occur.

Start with a dynamic warmup of some kind; at least a brisk walk until you start to feel warm and alive, or begin jogging at a pace that, for you, is ridiculously easy.  And not for sixty seconds, think more like ten minutes. Ya, ten whole minutes. Leg swings, lunges, skipping, grapevine, backward jogging, high knees, butt kicks, gentle jumping jacks, you have a lot of options! Dance party??? I am not even lying, sometimes I just go into our bedroom and put on my music and pretend I’m in a Jimmy Falon lip sync battle. Minimum three songs. Do what you need to do, it will make the rest of the run far more enjoyable!!

 

You will definitely think it’s impossible

Yeah, I know…dammit! But ask yourself this question honestly: “why would I expect it to be easy or natural?” Do you do other forms of endurance training? Unless you are an avid cyclist, swimmer, rower or wrestler, just to name a few endurance sports, then your body probably isn’t conditioned to have its heart-rate jacked up for an extended period of time! Keep that in mind and give yourself a break. Start your running journey with run-walk intervals or at a pace that feels easy enough to hold a conversation. I realize you may be alone, but if you don’t feel like you could comfortably talk to a friend who was with you, or on the phone, then slow down or take a short walk break until everything feels more manageable. Once you finish your run, or walk-run-walk-run, take a sec and jot down how it went – what you were doing, for how long and how it felt. I guarantee if you keep at it and look back through your workout log in a few weeks you will notice surprising progress!

 

The first 10-20 minutes are almost NEVER awesome

I know. You warmed up like I told you to, and now the first couple kilometers still suck. I HATE YOU JAMIE YOU LIED TO ME. No, I didn’t. I’m telling you now that even once you warm up your muscles, lungs and heart, you still need to find your groove, your rhythm, your breathing rate. It’s just the way it is! Some days it will come easy, but most days it takes time. And not just at the beginning, forever. Accept it!

 

Approach each and every run knowing it will be a test of your fortitude

There are those days where you head out onto the road or trail and it feels like a dream and you’re running, smiling, thinking “damn, I am a RUNNER! I run the world! I am basically Meb Keflezighi!“…yeah that’s the exception run, not the rule.

Running is hard. You are exerting effort. If running were effortless, everyone would do it and you, the person reading this, wouldn’t be reading these tips and I wouldn’t be writing them down years after starting my journey but still finding them super relevant. So I’m telling you now, head out thinking about how you are about to face challenge and get stronger and more awesome. Don’t head out hoping that this is going to be one of those runs that feels like child’s play, you will likely set yourself up for dissapointment.

 

NO ONE is driving by thinking, “lol. Look at that wannabe runner.”

If someone does notice you, they’re probably thinking one of these things:

“f*ck I’m lazy. I need to do that.”

“f*ck yeah!”

“f*ck I’m jealous”

“That sweaty, hard working, heavy breathing individual is so cool!!”

If you are taking a walk break, who cares??? People go for walks! People stretch. People go for speed walks with colour-coordinated outfits and 80’s sunglasses and sweatbands and headphones, there is nothing odd about a person wearing workout clothing and walking. Anyone driving by in a car is less cool than you are, in my opinion haha.

 

Running is the shit! You get to compete against yourself! Make hills your bitch. Sweat out a stressful experience from earlier in the day. Set goals and work towards them. Progress! Learn! Strengthen your bones, muscles, cardiac and respiratory systems so you can live longer and kick peoples’ asses at all sorts of fun shit in the future! You can do it any time. Outside, on a treadmill, on a trail, beach, wherever! If you have been thinking about getting into running or you’re just getting started, or if you’re back from a running hiatus, keep these things in mind and go be badass and prove to yourself that you can do it, one step at a time. I BELIEVE IN YOU!!!

@jammiekomadina

Don’t forget to contact me if you have any questions!

My Interview with Kate from The Sober School <3

In early 2016, I was amongst the first group of students to complete an online course created by Kate, creator of The Sober School, called Getting Unstuck.  I’ve mentioned this course before, and The Sober School and Kate, and how much participating in the program helped me when I decided I didn’t want to drink alcohol anymore.

There are now multiple groups of people who have completed this course and Kate is really on a roll with her program, it’s amazing!!! She is adding a mini interview series to the Getting Unstuck course. Every Sunday, part of the lesson will involve an interview with a graduate of the course, talking about their experience of sobriety. I feel really proud that she picked me as one of the people to interview and it was really interesting answering the questions. Revisiting this stuff was pretty cool after almost 500 days! Here’s what we talked about.

This is Kate!

Kate: How were you feeling about your drinking before you joined the course, and what made you decide it was time to stop?

Jamie: “Before joining the Getting Unstuck course, I felt like I had serious issues with alcohol and I was stuck in a vicious cycle that I wanted to break for a really long time. Over ten years. When I drank I’d adopt a “YOLO, who f*ckin cares” attitude and disregard everything: next-day responsibilities, money, my physical and mental health, relationships with friends, family and significant other. Priorities temporarily didn’t exist. I also had a lot of friendships that weren’t really based on anything except drinking.

Then, when I wasn’t drunk anymore I’d be totally swallowed up by loneliness because a lot of the “fun” I’d been having was fake. I’d experience extreme guilt, anxiety, depression and shame and reality would set in and those priorities that went out the window mattered again, and my life would feel out of control. I would have physical symptoms like nausea, shakiness, acid reflux, dizziness, low blood sugar, irritability, etc and I would tell myself I had to stop treating my body and mind this way. I felt needy and paranoid about the tiniest things when I was hungover and I would research how to quit drinking all the time but never found anything relatable until I found Kate’s blog.

I knew it was time to stop for a long time, but then I basically wrecked Christmas and had to sit and deal with myself for 8 hours at work on Boxing Day and it was actual torture. I finally decided enough was enough and took some action.”

Kate: What was early sobriety like? How did you feel during the first month or so?

Jamie: “At first I was obsessed. I’m like that though, I usually approach new things 100%, not sure if that’s healthy or not, but whatever, it was the way I knew I could succeed. I read Kate and Belle’s blogs all day, every day when I wasn’t busy doing other things, and I went on Amazon and bought a bunch of books. I also went out and did a big grocery shop to stock my new non-alcoholic beverage cabinet at our house. I read every article I could find about non-alcoholic drinks and I was meticulous about planning out the social events I was going to go to and what I’d bring with me to drink. Non-alcoholic beer was pretty much my saviour. I went out sometimes, but I usually went home early when I was feeling awkward or annoyed by drunk people, or if I noticed that the situation was genuinely not that fun..which I’ve found happens a lot!

I made sure my now-husband knew how serious I was about this sober mission. It helped that I simultaneously started training for my first full marathon and I used that as a way to get people off my back when they’d ask why I wasn’t drinking. The first month or so it was a project that I was fully engaged in and committed to. I had to be excited about it or it would be a chore and I’d have failed like I did a hundred times before. Every time I arrived home sober it was a win. And every morning I woke up without a hangover was one too. Once it became more natural, it was a little anti-climactic because I no longer had to focus all my energy on being sober. I had gained some momentum. But I adapted, obviously,, and transferred my focus to the bigger picture of my life and what I wanted to do with it. Hands down, planning what to drink instead of booze was the number one thing that helped me at first and still does.”

Kate: What’s life like now?! What do you love most about alcohol-free living?

Jamie: “Now, I feel like my life is what I wanted it to be like before I quit booze. It’s what I was looking for but never found long-term. I would drink for all sorts of reasons that I didn’t recognize at the time, like to feel confident, free, alive, pumped up, to “give zero f*cks”, be funny, social, etc. Once I figured out that I didn’t need liquor for any of those things it was like a light bulb went on.

Everything is more authentic now. I hang out with people I can have good conversations with, I do my favourite things with a clear head and not feeling like shit, and I’m generally just a way more efficient person with way more time and money. What I love most for sure is that I never ever feel guilty and depressed about being irresponsible the night before and spending too much money and treating my body like a garbage can. And I feel like I’m way more grounded. Life is just really good.”

Kate: What sober tools are in your toolbox? How do you deal with emotions or situations that you might have previously drunk over?

Jamie: “The most important tool I learned is playing out the situation to the end when I feel like drinking. Asking myself, “do you really want to wake up tomorrow dehydrated with all your makeup still on and a smaller bank account, a migraine, nausea, the shakes and on the verge of an anxiety attack all day long?” NO, I don’t. My other tools are non-alcoholic beer and virgin Caesars as my go-to drinks, or soda with lemon. Drink something you like! Another tool is I buy something I want and then remind myself: this costs the same amount as a night out back in the day, but this is useful and will last – not get guzzled away. Rewards are important. It’s also really fun to get ready to go out and wear something new and remind myself that I’ll look healthy, happy and my makeup will be good the whole evening instead of gradually getting smudgy, getting a red face, wine lips and droopy eyes and looking like a trainwreck by midnight and possibly embarrass myself or do something I’ll regret.

When it comes to emotions, I no longer have such extreme emotional experiences as I used to when I was drinking all the time. I feel more grounded and resilient as a whole. But when I do have a shit day or something stressful or overwhelming is happening, I usually just go for a run or have a nap or talk about it with a friend or my husband. Getting drunk and postponing dealing with things is WAY worse than just taking a deep breath and handling it head-on and in my right mind.”

Kate: What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve had to deal with since you stopped drinking? How did you overcome it?

Jamie: “The biggest challenge was initiating the decision and sticking to it at the beginning. Change is really hard. That involved learning about why I thought I wanted/needed to drink.  Nowadays, very rarely, when it randomly feels like summer or I smell campfire and get caught off guard, I get a random urge to start day drinking or “get f*cked up” but then I think rationally about it and I’m like wait, that’s just an old reflex, no I don’t. Gaining momentum at the begining was hard because it was new and different. People question you. I still question myself. Occasionally I have moments where I think, am I missing out and being antisocial because I’m chilling at home on this particular Saturday night?? I have felt unsure and sad for a split second, but then I remind myself of how good my life is and I get over that moment of uncertainty. I socialize in tons of other ways and I still go to parties when I feel like it!

These days I don’t really feel like there are many challenges. It’s simple now because it makes sense. I don’t enjoy feeling like shit! Sobriety is like a secret weapon that makes my life amazing and no one can take it away from me. When people ask me if I’ll ever drink again, I don’t even think twice about saying no. It actually makes zero sense to me now, to drink alcohol. It serves me in zero ways.”

Kate: Tell us about something wonderful that would never have happened if you’d still been drinking!

Jamie: “I wouldn’t have run 3 full marathons (so far!) and be training for my 4th with the goal of breaking 4 hours this time! I wouldn’t have the healthiest, most amazing marriage I can imagine. I wouldn’t have a life that feels good, manageable and organized the majority of the time. I wouldn’t have the opportunity to be a role model for other people who are or were in my previous situation. OH and I wouldn’t have taken my best 2 vacations of my life so far; a week long health retreat in the Mayan Riviera, and Walt Disney Marathon Weekend in Florida.”

Kate: Do you have any tips or advice for people taking the Getting Unstuck course right now? What do you wish you’d known, when you were on the course?

Jamie: “My advice is to commit to it fully and even if one of the exercises or discussions doesn’t feel important or relevant to you, just go with it because it’s all valuable. What I wish I’d known when I was doing the course was that one day I’d be proud of what I was doing, and not unsure and embarrassed. But all of that comes in time.”

Kate: a few quick-fire questions:

My favourite sober book is…”Unwasted – My Lush Sobriety by Sacha Z. Scoblic”

My favourite quote is … “always changing, but I love quotes about running from amazing female elite marathoners like Kara Goucher, Deena Kastor, Shalane Flanagan, Paula Radcliffe, etc”

My favourite alcohol-free drink is…. “Virgin Caesars and fake beer! Ginger beer too, and a super easy one is soda with lemon.”

My favourite sober treat is … “online shopping for running gear, fancy baths with candles and essential oils and a good book or Instagram, going on running trips to out of town races!”

🙂

 

WOW!! I loved answering these questions and being so sure about my answers. I remember sitting at work on Boxing Day 2015 wishing that I could fast-forward to a time where everything felt better and I felt healthy and grounded. In about a month it will have been 500 days since I had any alcohol at all, and it seems to have flown by, looking back. If you relate to anything you’ve read here, I encourage you to check out Kate’s website, The Sober School. It is awesome. And if you have any questions or need a hand, contact me!

@jammiekomadina

Real Talk: Shit Happens (training recap Mar. 20-26)

MONDAY March 20th

Flat-to-Hill repeats! 9km total (treadmill)

4km easy, [8 x 1:30 flat-to-hill reps, 1:30 recovery jogs], cool down jog. So good!!!

TUESDAY March 21st

10.5km easy with the 6am lady crew + extra stretching. Love those chicks. We love “morning pace” haha

WEDNESDAY March 22nd

60 minutes in the pool swimming lengths!! Ummm swimming is SO HARD. Unexplored territory since the 90’s!  + foam rolling

THURSDAY March 23rd

11.4km easy with 6am lady crew + extra stretching

Learn2Run Clinic – 6km run/walk intervals. Spring weather!!!

FRIDAY March 24th

Timed intervals! 11km total (treadmill)

3km easy up, [4 x 5 min @ 7:35/mi, 3 min recovery jogs], couple cool down kms. BOOM.

*notice how the week up until now has no real kinks worth mentioning..

SATURDAY March 25th

4.5km death march with frown on face, quit 12km early and walked home…

Background info: I am a terrible sleeper. Even when I was little I had trouble falling and staying asleep. The situation has improved a lot in the last few years, especially since I quit drinking, but I still have a hard time getting enough quality rest on a regular basis. More often than not, I go to bed early, fall asleep for a few hours, and then roll around fake sleeping until 5:30 or 6 when I get up.

This morning (Saturday) I dragged myself out of bed for my “long run” of the week, which actually isn’t that long at all, and I had an off-feeling that was building since last night. All week I wasn’t getting enough rest. My training load is up there right now too. Normally I do a very good job of operating on not a lot of sleep, but it caught up to me this week hard.

The scheduled was for 10 miles, or 16km, with a fast finish in the last 5km for a Zone 4 heart-rate, and I was really looking forward to it earlier in the week! I look forward to 99% of my runs and really love getting them done before work, it’s so satisfying, but by the time I left the house just after seven this morning, I was beyond dreading it, and I wasn’t meeting anyone which didn’t help. The dread built up as I got dressed, had coffee, got my shoes on…it was just one of those days where I did NOT want to go anywhere. You know the kind. What I wanted was to be able to take the day off work, get back into bed with my husband and sleep for a really long time and do the run later or tomorrow. “Poor me” was the theme of the morning.

I hit the road anyway, planning to get it done, feeling heavy and slow on my feet but telling myself that it’s always like this for the first 10-20 minutes. It will pass. I’ll feel energized soon. I get to warm up for 10 kilometres! The wind and rain will stop pissing me off as soon as I find my groove. I’ll wake up! But after just about 5km and a couple walk breaks (I think I was walking with my eyes closed?) I started having a conscious debate in my head (you know the one):

Fuck this shit.

But doing it now is always way better than saving it for later!

But I am so tired. I feel like the walking dead. I could go to sleep on this sidewalk

You have to be able to push past this kind of shit.

I have no energy, and I never quit, so today it’s fine to just go home this one time..

You will be so happy after work if you already did it!

It’s supposed to be nicer after work though, and maybe I’ll have more energy.

But quitting sucks and you will feel shitty for giving up. That’s the worst.

It’s only 16km. It is easy to reschedule. Later or tomorrow are both options.

And then I stopped running, turned left instead of continuing out the highway where I was headed, and walked home pouting. FFFFFF!

I was in the worst mood! I hate giving up and I know I could have powered through, but it’s easy to say that after! I showered, went into my bed for the sixty minutes I had before it was time to get ready for work and actually slept, got up sadly to a second alarm, was a total asshole to my husband, and left in a miserable mood, looking as lovely as I felt. LOL.

Things I learned from this by Saturday afternoon

  1. even though I have far fewer “shitty runs” than when I first began running regularly, they can and do still happen, and will. They happen to everyone. Don’t forget.
  2. It’s okay to reschedule things around “life” which includes being exhausted.
  3. It’s really dumb and unecessary to let a bad run affect my mood for any longer than it takes to shower and change.
  4. The belief that “I’m a bad sleeper” doesn’t serve me. “I love going in my bed and resting as much as I can” is better. Also, naps are good for me. Nap more.
  5. Lack of sleep can make a sub-optimal situation seem far worse than it actually is.

Oh, and ordering a new pair of runners and registering for an inexpensive 10km race six months away is mood boosting…hehehe

Things I learned, generalized

  1. Shit happens and always will. Try again.
  2. Be flexible
  3. Let it go.
  4. Do what you can.
  5. Reality checks are helpful and necessary.

The point of this reflection actually boils down to things like being flexible, letting go of things that didn’t go as planned, and trying again when the first try wasn’t a success.

I really hate the feeling of quitting, who doesn’t? But, life is life, and in this particular situation I have more than enough time to give it another go before Monday. For those of you for whom endurance training is not a passion, you might be thinking that I’m a drama queen who has attached an extremely odd level of importance to the scheduled run I didn’t complete (yet). I won’t get into it too much, but the goals I’m working towards and the schedule I’m following from Coach Andrew are really important to me, and what I love the most when it comes to extra curriculars. The point of this reflection actually boils down to things that apply to any situation in life, like being flexible, letting go of things that didn’t go as planned, and trying again when the first try wasn’t a success. You don’t see a ton of content on social media platforms about shitty, unsuccessful anythings, so this is just my account of what actually went down in my life this morning to keep it real haha. I have officially decided to go for sushi with my sister after work, go to bed early, and start over tomorrow.

You don’t see a ton of content on social media platforms about shitty, unsuccessful anythings, so this is just my account of what actually went down in my life this morning to keep it real haha.

SUNDAY March 26th

Planned: 60 minute cross train (active recovery)

Actual: 16km – last 5km up-tempo into a Zone 4 heart-rate

Nailed it! 11km by feel, 5km up-tempo. Every day is different. Things that were very helpful this morning, however, were bright colours, a new playlist with some House of Pain, Aqua and Coolio, and actually sleeping last night! The weather was very cooperative too, but that’s just pure luck of the draw.

An interesting observation is that the first five days of my week were bang-on and awesome. Then one day of shitting the bed on a run and everything seems crappy. Lame! Focus on the positive. And this is why I am doing a weekly recap now, because the big picture of this past week was really REALLY good. Don’t let a shitty run F with you. Or a shitty day or meeting or exam or gym sesh. Have a good Sunday!!!

 

Four weeks out from the Tenacious Ten in Seattle!

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Nine weeks out from the Calgary Marathon!

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Sober Project Update: How I get buzzed lately. (I haven’t had alcohol in 444 days).

It makes me sad when I think about the fact that for fifteen years of my life I incorporated alcohol into as many situations as possible, no matter what I was doing or who I was with. This is not an exaggeration. Don’t worry, then I get really happy because it’s not like that anymore. I try all the time to understand why I (and bazillions of others,) feel like alcohol is essential for a good time, or even an “alright” time. It’s so fucked up.

Living is how we learn things about the world and about ourselves, and we all do it at different times and rates and in different orders, but now that I’ve had a significant time away from booze and can see that I used it to blur the lines of life for so long, I have a new perspective and I’m just sharing a piece of it with you in case it’s helpful in any way. I’m not an alcohol hater and I’m not trying to preach, just sharing.

Before I began the sober project at the end of 2015, I didn’t really know I was doing it but I was constantly trying to use booze to feel more confident, care-free, relaxed, funny, adventurous or warm and fuzzy, just to name a few feelings that we are socialized to believe alcohol provides, or enhances. Why? I either didn’t have the personal resources to create those feelings on my own, at the time, or it could just be that I never tried! Drinking, I felt, was fully required to enjoy, succeed at or simply handle:

  • basically any meal with friends, family, acquaintances or strangers
  • work functions
  • meeting new people
  • a day off
  • bike riding
  • catching up with someone
  • time spent at the beach
  • cooking
  • shopping
  • casual walks or exploring
  • campfires
  • flirting, dating, romantic experiences
  • coping with loss
  • being the passenger on a road trip
  • winding down or de-stressing after work
  • boredom
  • watching TV shows, movies or sports
  • playing softball
  • golfing (yes, I’ve golfed a little)
  • riding a bus, train, ferry or plane
  • holding conversation at social functions with people I had nothing in common with
  • cleaning the house
  • enjoying a bath (or sometimes shower)

Okay, that is like the longest list ever. It’s SO EMBARRASSING!!!! (my opinion). I feel like I could sum up it all up by saying something like,

“hello! I have no real hobbies, interests or passions and I’m so uncomfortable in my own skin/head that I partially numb myself to all experiences! I also don’t like my friends or family (or myself) enough to enjoy spending time with them in my right mind!”

HAHAH like wtf!? Okay that’s an extreme statement and I’ll stop being mean to myself now, because that’s not cool. I was just trying to make a point. Most of the things on the list above are really fun, if you actually like the task or activity at hand, the people you’re with, you are in the right mood and have an open mind. It’s so simple now that I have a new frame of reference. Alcohol was decreasing the authenticity of all my experiences and therefore my life as a whole, as well as my future. For real. I feel like I’ve made the discovery of a lifetime!

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Kate is right!

I don’t care if you think this is corny or me attempting to stick up for sobriety because it has a bad rap for being boring and lame. Additionally, I understand that many people do not have issues with alcohol and everything I’m saying might be making you raise your eyebrows. This is just my experience, but the feedback I’ve gotten from previous posts about my counterproductive relationship with booze tells me that I’m not the only person who feels this way about alcohol. So back to the point. Now, I get a buzz by actually fuckin experiencing things in the raw. Undisguised, intense and unedited real-life shit!

Legit conversations with people I like and who I find interesting, vs. what I used to do at social events which was make small talk with anyone and everyone, as many of us created a false sense of camaraderie around drinking alcohol. Instead of sleeping in and feeling like shit, getting up before it’s light out to run, get fresh air, maybe see the sunrise and sweat my balls off with my friends before half the time zone has even woken up. Laughing at seriously funny shit and remembering it clearly later. Being by the ocean, on the lake or up a mountain, and fully experiencing my surroundings instead of chugging fireball and being half checked-out of the moment. Feeling fresh, happy and energetic in the morning, ready to start an awesome day because I don’t have a dehydration headache and I washed off my makeup before bed. Getting to enjoy a coffee with my amazing husband, hangover-free. There is way too much to go on and on about here!

For far too long I made the mistake of believing that booze made things more intense. Woooo let’s get pissed and have the best time! Wrong. Not drinking intensified everything in my life and it’s indescribable. Events, emotions, relationships. Not every intensified feeling is positive, don’t be fooled, but even facing shitty stuff head-on and coming out on the other side unscathed with some new wisdom and no hangover is pretty sick.

So that’s my non-drinking update. Yes, it’s stil going really well, and yes, I’d recommend it. No, I don’t miss having drinks, and no, I’m probably not going to ever drink again. My life is better and more fun and exciting than ever before. Okay, and I’m so sober right now and overwhelmed by how happy I am, I’m like crying. That’s some intense shit man ahahahahah ✌✌

“Everything you want is on the other side of Fear”…or in this case, Five.

I’ve told you about this before. Back in 2013, I subconsciously joined a non-existent club called the Slow Sucky Runners Club. Next, I developed a complex around running paces per kilometer that start with five. Anything below 6:00/km I classified as “too fast” and “too hard” for me. The numbers really don’t matter, this is just my example of something ridiculous and NOT REAL that I decided to believe about myself. Do you have a belief like this?

How can that be scary? Well, not being able to do something we want to do can be really scary. Fear of failing, not being good enough, etc, are common fears among many of us, not just relating to running or athletic performance. In running, the only way to fail is to give up. I am not giving up. And what does enough even mean? Good enough for what!?

Last Sunday, at the West Van Run 10km, something cool happened. It didn’t happen to me, I made it happen! I went in with a similar mindset to the Historic Half race in November when I broke two hours for the first time in the half marathon; I felt confident in the work I’d put in and I knew what I was capable of. I wasn’t thinking negatively about myself, I was believing good things and ready to try really hard and make good things happen. But first, rewind a bit.

I wrote exactly this in a recent post about self-limiting beliefs and upcoming race goals:

 

West Van Run 10km – March 5th

  • don’t go out too fast
  • say yes instead of no to discomfort
  • average pace goal 5:15

 

I’m calling myself out right now on the third bullet point. What a load of shit! I knew I wanted to run faster than 52:30 in this race, I wanted to run something closer to 50 minutes, with a very deep, secret goal to get down into 49:something. But I low-balled. Just in case I didn’t pull it off. WHY? After giving it some thought, I know it’s because if I didn’t do it, people would know because I shared it online. Because I thought I’d feel embarrassed that I thought I could run that time but I actually couldn’t. Because I’d have to admit to myself that I, on that given day, in those given conditions, didn’t manage to run as fast as I hoped to, although I knew it was physically possible and realistic. All kinds of inner-critic crap.

Just reading those reasons truly reminds me that it doesn’t matter if we set goals and don’t reach them on the first try, or second or third, or even ever! The point is that we are trying. I know deep down what is difficult yet realistic for myself, and so do you, for yourself. I also know that even though something may be possible, I still need to execute when the time comes to perform, and that isn’t always guaranteed to happen because I am a person, not a machine or a robot. From now on, when I share goals I’m going to triple-check with myself that I’m not bullshitting. If you read something I share and you think, “she’s bullshitting, that’s a sandbagger goal” then please, call me out. I’m going to go and edit that post with the spring race goals.

I didn’t go out too fast in the race on Sunday. I listened to my body, but also took full advantage of all the little downhills and wasn’t too conservative. I kept a close eye on my watch to make sure I didn’t make a rookie mistake and accidentally run a sub-5 minute kilometer early on. I reminded myself to respect the distance, like my friend Jeph told me to remember, and forced myself to keep holding back a bit. I trusted my training, and myself. My pace was pretty even up until around the seven kilometer mark and I told myself after that to start chipping it down. I definitely said yes instead of no to discomfort in the last couple kilometers. Mile repeats on the treadmill came to mind. Very hard, but manageable! The last 800 meters were basically gross, but I’ve gone there in training and I just focused on the fact that faster = being done sooner. I kept telling myself “you’ll be done in a sec!” and “today is the day” and “do it now.”

 

Shannon Banal Photography #westvanrun

 

The stupid fear of 5’s can piss off because I’m over it. My last three kilometer splits were 4:48, 4:40 and 4:30 !! Who am I? I’m myself, not that runner I decided I was before who never went out of her comfort zone. The times don’t matter. It’s the fact that I, and that we all, can do things that our inner critics tell us we cannot.

 

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Shannon Banal Photography #westvanrun – hmm my pain-face is a little misleading LOL

Guess what my average pace was, overall? 4:59/km hahaha! That’s right, not anything in the 5’s, 4:59/km! So yeah. Everything I’ve been wanting, or at least some of the things I’ve been wanting, like to trust my training, believe in myself and run my best 10k, were just on the other side of some fear. Where I’m at right now, it was just on the other side of FIVE. I know that what intimidates me will change over time, depending on where I’m at with running and what’s going on in my life; lots of what I want will be on the other side of other “scary” things. But what I have learned is that it’s not scary to try harder, it’s actually really fun and VERY rewarding.

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woo! like my Momentum Jewelry bracelet? I’ll have one to give away soon…