Prince Rupert 1/2 Marathon!

Ahhh. Hi. I am sooo disappointed about today 😦 but, one thing that’s way worse than plain disappointment, is being disappointed in one’s self, and that I am not!

Today was very painful for me, literally. Nothing went as planned after about 6k, and I definitely don’t have the cushion of confidence I was hoping to be sitting on going into marathon training (tomorrow), but what can ya do? It was still a beautiful sunny day and an awesome crew always comes out for this event. I am glad I got to be there, regardless. Here’s how my morning went:

Had a decent sleep, got up, had the usual oatmeal and coffee, got ready and then went to set up my portion of the course with husband. Felt a tiny bit hungry between course set-up and heading to the race, so I ate a blueberry muffin. After talking with Coach Andrew, I realize this was probably the worst idea ever because of the sugar, but who really knows.

I felt great and did my very legit warm-up of a light jog, drills, stretches and a bit more easy running. The race began and I felt pretty good, though my breathing was not under control. This happens sometimes on this course since it starts on an incline, plus I was so excited, so I didn’t worry about it. Everything felt decent for the first 6k aside from the fact that I couldn’t seem to get my heart rate down, but at 7k I was like, fuck, I have to go to the bathroom. (I wasn’t like, fuck, I have to go pee…) Runners talk about poo all the time and if you don’t like it, this is not the blog for you. Having to go poo in a race is THE WORST. Especially when you already went at home!!!

I picked up the pace to give myself some time for the pit stop, was quick, and came back on to the course. It felt like my stomach was caved in like when you’re so hungry your belly button is touching your spine (LOL) and my energy took a dive. I knew a big downhill was coming, so I kept at it and told myself I’d regroup on the decline and get past this. As I continued to run my stomach went absolutely haywire and I had a really brutal stitch under the ribs on both sides and a stabbing pain in my lower left side.

Stomach cramping isn’t something I deal with often, but when I do it’s usually pretty minor and I know how to breathe through it and make it go away. Not today. Holy hell. I was in so much discomfort going down that hill that I actually got a bit scared. It kept getting worse and as I got closer to the halfway point where volunteers were I was considering my first DNF. DNF means “did not finish”.

Made it to half and stopped, and I was pretty sure I couldn’t keep going. I felt emotional about it, since the thought of not finishing a race made me really sad, and my throat closed right up and trying to breathe was really scary. Sorry for freaking anyone out and thanks for being so nice to me. After resting for a minute, I decided that it was okay to accept that what I wanted to do today was NOT happening, but dropping out was not okay with me.

Going back up that big hill I mentioned earlier (the course is an out-and-back) even really slowly, hurt so badly. I walked a lot and tried to stretch my sides but nothing was helping. It felt like I had the strength and posture of Monty Burns and like there were knives stabbing into my abdomen. I’m laughing really hard about this now because that description is perfect and really funny, but it wasn’t funny at the time. Once I got to the top, my friend and race director Kathy was at her spot manning an intersection and again I thought, this hurts so fucking badly and I can’t even breathe in all the way, I’ll just stay with her and cheer.

Then my very special friend, Kerrie, came up the hill and she said now was the chance to run together. It was her first time running the back half of the relay. I love this chick so much and she lifted my spirits. I love you Kerrie! AND I still kept thinking about how heartbroken I would feel if I didn’t finish the race. So I joined Kerrie and we plugged away at the remaining 8km together, I walked quite a few times but caught back up, and wondered if I had appendicitis. This also makes me laugh, but I was legitimately wondering that and having visions of an ambulance coming to get me.

I am so proud of Kerrie, she fucking owned her half of the relay and she pretty much saved my life. Sorry for fucking swearing so much. ahahahahahah

I said I was disappointed, but not disappointed in myself, and I mean it. Diarrhea attack and feeling like I was getting stabbed in the gut like Arya Stark got stabbed by the waif, that was terrible. Refusing to DNF when it very seriously crossed my mind two or three times, that makes me feel so much better about this shitty run. I physically could not run any more than I was, let alone any faster.

Tomorrow is a new day, and the official start of a huge adventure with Lifelong Endurance. Pump up the JAMmie, week 1, day 1. I can’t wait for the 10 miler at the Tenacious Ten in Seattle with my badass lady gang in two weeks, and for another shot at the half marathon on May 6th at BMO Vancouver. This is random but I find sometimes it helps to say really obvious things out loud so here are a few:

“I can’t change the way today unfolded, so I’ll move on.”

“I will not eat anything except oatmeal before a race, just in case that muffin was a contributing factor, and if I feel a little hungry, just be okay with it.”

“I still fucking love running and I know what I’m capable of.”

As I’ve said before, YODO. You only die once, and it wasn’t today. Congrats to everyone who had an awesome run! Many of my friends PR’d and placed! I am so proud of you all and I’m so glad we had a beautiful day and a very organized event!

love you all! Congratulations everyone ran so well today, THAT makes me happy!

my girl Jess, 3rd place in the 8k!

Kerrie with her relay partner, awesome job you guys!!!!

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the Universe WANTS me to qualify for Boston!

Hi!

A few weeks back I put my BIG 2018 goal out there. Mission: axe twenty minutes off my best marathon time to run a 03:31:18 and qualify for the 2019 Boston Marathon. (under the guidance of my incredible coach at Lifelong Endurance, Andrew)

One thing I didn’t mention was that right around the time that this BQ-attempt training cycle is set to commence (end of March/beginning of April), I’d be moving away from home and starting the very condensed two-year Registered Massage Therapy program! Yeah! I am going back to school!!!

I don’t let much get in my way when it comes to goal-chasing, but I fully expected that the most intense training block of EVER, combined with a full course load, studying and homework would be extra challenging!! Bring it.

All plans were in place. I’ve given notice at work. My replacement has been recruited, which gives me peace of mind as I live in a somewhat hard-to-staff location. My husband and I were set to move me down to his (AMAZING) Mom’s house the week before my program began…

AND THEN THIS HAPPENED. Alleged arsonist arrested in Kelowna.

I know. Someone pretty much tried to BURN DOWN MY SCHOOL. WHO does this kind of shit?? Thanks to this turd, the school has been forced to reschedule my RMT class as well as a nursing cohort, from March to September. The damage requires a pretty extensive renovation inside as per fire inspection and it will affect classroom space for the small facility. Sigh..

After receiving the email about the postponed start date, I had a short and minor “moment”. Holy shit. I quit my job and my replacement is already hired! I’m almost ready to move! I bought the MEC Okanagan 5-race value pack! (LOL.) I had a bunch of events I planned to drive to from Kelowna. Now I will have five-ish months with no full-time work!?!?!? A stay-at-home cat-mom??

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But then, I stopped and calmed down. Okay truthfully, I flip-flopped from super worried to neutral for a couple days. But NOW…I am PUMPED.

The four months that I will be training for a 03:31:18 are ALL MINE. I have to say it again. MY FULL-TIME JOB FROM APRIL THROUGH JULY WILL BE TO LIVE AND BREATHE MARATHON TRAINING. WOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

Of course I’m NOT going to sit on my ass and not work. Aside from being a casual relief pharmacist I’m planning to go to my favourite place in the world and help my friends with their bees (yeah, I’ma be a fkn BEE KEEPER) and pick up any other random non-pharmacist work that I feel like in the mean time. If you need your house cleaned, get at me. But my prime focus for the months leading up to Jack & Jill’s Downhill Marathon on July 29th, will be TRAINING. YES!!!!!

All the running! Strength training. Cross training. Spin, swimming, hiking, yoga. WOOOOO! Rest days! RECOVERY! BLOGGING! Can you tell I am seeing the good about this monkey wrench that got thrown into my plans?? You guys. I was always determined, but now I have been given the opportunity to launch a serious attack.

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So thank you, Universe. I’m being forced to trust the process, stop planning quite so far in advance, and go with the flow. Oh, and to confront my addiction to buying every colour of ProCompression socks. I’m being given the chance to put everything I have into the biggest, scariest, most seemingly impossible goal I’ve ever set for myself with respect to my passion for distance running. I can and I will!! Oh, and I’m gonna blog the shit out of this journey, so stay with me!

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BIG 2018 Running Goal!! I confess.

HEY. How are ya? I’m good. It’s my birthday. Hehehehe

When I started training to run my first marathon, the goal was to complete the training (which I had failed to do twice previously) and then run the race feeling strong and finish proud.

I did it! That day was indescribable and gave me the strongest sense of accomplishment I’d ever experienced, to that date. The thing about goals is that once we achieve one, it’s very natural to think, “what’s next!” – and that’s awesome. That’s what happened to me IMMEDIATELY after the 2016 BMO Vancouver Marathon. The medal went around my neck, I chugged some chocolate milk and within half an hour I came back down to earth and thought, “I’ll do that again and I’ll do it faster“.

I didn’t have anything specific in mind, but a mentor of mine suggested working towards a sub-4 hour marathon within two years. Challenge accepted. Since I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, I found a coach to help me. Enter, Coach Andrew.

Looking back, I don’t know if I actually believed I’d reach that sub-4 goal, I just knew I needed something badass to work towards because that’s how I roll these days. Last month I achieved it under the guidance of my AMAZING coach, and now I’m thirsty for more! LOLOL.

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Andrew in the early 90s

The things I’ve learned about running, racing, and about myself as a runner over the last year and a half  working with Lifelong Endurance can’t be explained properly in this post. It would end up WAY too long. All I can say is now I believe in myself, and that it’s possible to work towards goals that seem scary or out of reach, and to achieve them!

December 2017! Chip time: 03:51:18

Now, I have set a new goal that scares the living shit out of me. Hahahaha

I’ve been a huge fan of Kelly Roberts ever since I first came across her in the social media world back in 2016 while becoming a full-blown running convert. If you don’t know who she is, look into her, she’s awesome. You may be familliar with Run, Selfie, Repeat, or #SheCanAndSheDid. That’s Kelly. She has been on a mission over the last couple years to accomplish her self-proclaimed impossible goal of running a Boston Qualifying time (BQ), and she recently declared that 2018 is time for “BQ OR BUST, TAKE 3“, her third attempt at her badass goal. She wants to break 3:30! Get it, girl! This time around, she has encouraged the rest of us to join her in the pursuit of an impossible goal, whatever it may be.

I want you to recruit your #BadassLadyGang and make your impossible possible right alongside me. Whether your goal is to cross your very first finish line or qualify for Boston right next to me. – Kelly Roberts

Guess what I have to say to this? OKAY!!!!! I’m in!!!! I accept!

So what’s it going to be? Well. I crossed the finish line of my first marathon in 04:40:50. Now, I’m sitting with a PB of 03:51:18, which means that over the course of my journey I’ve managed to shed over forty-nine minutes off of my marathon time in 17 months. HAHAHA 17 months.

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Now, I want to try to somehow hack off another twenty minutes. Yes, you read that correctly. LOL. Because it’s crazy and scary and might be impossible. YODO. Since I am a math geek, I’ll go with exactly 20 minutes for my calculation, which would leave me at 03:31:18. Possible? Yes it is physically possible. Plausible? Mmm, sure!

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if you don’t know who this is, we can no longer be friends.

This is my impossible goal. 3:31:18. This is also a Boston Qualifying time (drool) for my age and gender, with a 3 minute, 42 second buffer. The qualifying standard is 3 hours, 35 minutes. What’s that mean? See below.

OMG but what if I fail? “Oh, waaah, I’m in the best shape of my life and feel strong and fast and probably ran my fastest marathon”. HAHA! In the miraculous case of success here, the cut-off for Boston 2019 could be the biggest ever (like it was for Boston 2018…3 min 23 sec!!!!), and a 03:31:18 might not make the cut. Would I be devastated, should I reach said goal and then be denied an entry to what is arguably the most prestigious running event on earth? NO. Disappointed, oh hell yes, but devastated, NO. Just like I will be okay with missing the mark completely. I just want to try. To give it all I’ve got with Andrew’s guidance.

I say this because never in eighty-nine billion years would I have even imagined attempting to run a sub-3:35 marathon. If I accomplish my goal, I might dissolve into a puddle of pure ecstasy and never be able to run again anyway! Plus, there are many other marathons to run and Boston’s to qualify for, one each year, actually.

How will I do this?? Not totally sure, but key aspects will involve Andrew’s sorcery, my commitment to running, cross training, diet, rest and recovery, and a carefully-selected course. Jack & Jill’s Marathon in North Bend, Washington, is where this shit is going down. Stay tuned!!! I’ve got about seven months.

thanks for the inspiration, and the pic, Kelly πŸ™‚

Thanks for reading! What are YOUR impossible goals for 2018??

Other things on the 2018 agenda include the BMO Vancouver 1/2 Marathon (email me if you’re going to be there running any of the distances that weekend!) and the Scotiabank Vancouver 1/2 as well!!! Get at me!!! I’ll have something cool to show you later in January that you might love! Here are all the upcoming events.

talk soon!

RUN 2017 – recap & lessons learned!

It’s mid-December. How? I feel like yesterday I was in the final weeks of training for the Dopey Challenge at Disneyworld. That was in January! So much happened this year in my running life. Awesome races. Some necessary let-downs. Some massive breakthroughs. This year, I can confidently say I transitioned from believing that I was “just a slow runner, running solely for fun” (my protection from failure) to knowing that I’m making serious gains by saying fuck off to negative, self-limiting beliefs about my body and mind’s capabilities. I also made the game-changing adjustment from being results-oriented to process-oriented. Yes, it’s an ongoing adjustment, but serious progress was made! Nothing makes me as proud as this and I can’t thank my coach and Lifelong Endurance enough for all they’ve helped me achieve so far!

Here are some highlights of the year of running, and what I learned from it all. Some of this is great, some not so much, but it ALL contributed to growth. People say to be patient, which is so annoying, but it’s true and worth it! I look to seeing what happens in 2018.

January

Completed the Dopey Challenge at Disneyworld! I went for the bling, and to run the marathon (my third) on my birthday! I ended up finishing in 4:11, which put me into a position of having run a PR in each marathon so far. I was now officially OBSESSED with finish times! (This is bad). The only marathon I had actually run strong and smart was the first one back in May. The final 10-15KΒ of marathons 2 and 3 were brutal. It would take me about nine months to understand the lesson that: focusing completely on an outcome instead of the process, doesn’t work.

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February

Now I was training for the Calgary Marathon, which I have no idea why I signed up for in the first place. I knew nothing about the event or course, which is not a good way to pick out a goal race. The lesson I would come to learn:Β when gunning for a big goal, pick a course that is supportive of said goal!

March

Double 10K weekend! I was still very intimidated by “running fast”, and shorter races generally require faster running! In the first of the two, I realized that the pace I had been thinking of running on Sunday (the goal race) was a total sand-bag. I ran the Hot Chocolate Run pretty conservatively that Saturday but it got me into a good mindset for the next day. The WestVanRun 10K was the first race ever where my average pace was under 5min/km. 4:59 baby! That was a big breakthrough for me, mostly in the confidence department! I ran that race strong and smart from start to finish. The lesson I learned: don’t set arbitrary limits!

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April

Rupert 1/2 Marathon time! At this point, I had only just broken two hours in the half marathon the previous November at the Vancouver Historic Half. Also, I had a slightly negative attitude towards small, local runs in my community. I enjoyed the hype of bigger events and the excitement of runcations. Looking back, I think I also liked how anonymous it was, running in cities that I didn’t live in. I went into the Rupert 1/2 with zero expectations but ended up tucked in behind the two winners for the majority of the race! This was the smartest race I’ve run, up until that point. I finished strong and earned myself a near 7 minute personal best and a silver medal!! (Two golds were awarded to the winners, my friends Jessie and Erin, who crossed the finish line holding hands!) Another confidence booster! The lesson I learned: the race is what you make it. I can do my best any time I decide to. Of course this had me plugging my new PB into all the race calculators to see if I was on track for a sub-4 marathon…I was now fully convinced that I should be able to run sub-4 in Calgary next month. (This is bad).

Shortly after I ran a pretty strong in the end, but poorly paced 10-miler in Seattle. I was a little over-confident from the last race and ran too fast in the beginning, fading significantly after 10k. Still a great race, awesome weekend with my girl Whitney, and a unique distance, too, for us Canadians.Β Lesson: don’t go out too fast. It always feels good at the start. Don’t.Go.Out.Too.Fast.

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May

Calgary. Ugh. Hahaha. I went subconsciously knowing I wasn’t ready for sub-4, but still wishing for it. That doesn’t make sense! My long runs in training were done with the wrong attitude and execution. My obsession with improving and running a “fast time” was unhealthy! Calgary sucked for me. I knew from like 12k in that I was out of my league, with regards to this arbitrary goal. The heat didn’t help, either. It’s okay though, because it’s been a big part of this marathon journey so far! Lesson: goals should be challenging, but realistic and approached with confidence. We can’t do in a race what we haven’t done in training. (Physically, or mentally).

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Crystal & I saved each other on this day! So happy to be done.

June

I felt ripped off and dissatisfied after Calgary so I frantically searched for another marathon to run! Stupid Calgary! LOL, just kidding. The Rock’n’Roll Seattle Marathon was three weeks later. I ran the first half with the 4-hour pacers, frantically looking at my watch and dreading failing again. Then, at half-way I had a GI disaster and the rest of the race I ran-walked in a “this is so unfair” head space. I fully admit it, I felt sorry for myself. I wondered why running comes naturally to others, but not me. I wondered if maybe I just wasn’t cut-out to run marathons. At least it was a gorgeous course and my weekend with Marcie was really fun! Finishing a marathon is a feat in itself, but I wasn’t where I wanted to be so I didn’t see it that way. This was destroying me mentally because I was chasing after something that I wasn’t prepared to achieve yet. Lesson: desperately chasing a goal isn’t the way. Build confidence through proper preparation and then stalk it down like a boss.

Let me say, I am so glad Calgary and Seattle happened. πŸ™‚

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crying on the inside ahahah

July

I ran easy through July, maintaining a good base but not doing any structured training. I’m proud of myself for this, because I am so goal-oriented that I seem to need a goal race on the calendar all the time and each week planned out! The CIM was on my December calendar, but the training cycle for that would start towards the end of August. Lesson: it’s important to take time to run just because you love it!

August

I ran a humbling 10K in Montreal. I figured that because over five months had gone by since that breakthrough in March, and since I’d been running more and training harder most of the year, that I should be able to run a PR. There’s that should again. I know better than to should all over myself! Suzanne taught me better! It’s not about what we theoretically could do, it’s what we ACTUALLY DO! Anyways, I went out too fast and obsessed over my watch instead of running the race! I was just thinking about the finish time! I still had no idea yet how to be process-oriented! So yeah, I blew up just after 5k and struggled to hold pace for the second half. Oh well, I really did learn a lot from how shitty I felt afterwards from burning out and totally giving up. The lessons I learned that day were: get that ego under control, a big ego is not your friend. And, dont’ go out too fast. I feel like I’ve heard that one before…

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September

I ordered a book called The Resilient Runner off Amazon shortly after that bust in Montreal. The book is awesome; simple and to the point, and it helped me focus on training one day at a time. I found some real consistency at this early point in CIM training when discovering how helpful it was to break up each run or workout into pieces to stay focused. I started running paces that I never thought I’d be able to. It felt so good to run “fast” (relative term, I know) and I hammered out each day’s prescribed run, feeling more confident weekly! This book really solidified the lesson to focus on what you’re doing right now, today. It’s really all you can do!

October

This was my month of shit-kicking all the workouts. I truly looked forward to every single run, but especially the tempo runs, interval workouts and even the scary track sessions. Coach Andrew had me run a fit test and it was a huge confidence booster! I held a pace for 20 minutes that, a year ago, I’d have laughed if someone told me I could one day run that pace at all, let alone for 20 whole minutes! Mindset was what made October so magnificent. I was believing in myself hard and making friends with being uncomfortable, learning the lessonΒ that by staying in the now and welcoming discomfort, really cool shit goes down!!!

November

The scariest long run of EVER was on the schedule – 30K progression-style run. I knew I could do it though, and I did. I had such an improved grasp on pacing by now and ran each 10K at easy, moderate, then up-tempo. WOOO!!! Finally, I felt like I could head out with a plan, and execute it. I was learning how to be in charge! I wrote a post about these feelings here, if you want.

Then, time for a tune-up before CIM: the RUNVAN Fall Classic. I wanted a PR badly, but the course looked challenging from a pacing point of view, so I went in with the goal to do my best and keep a strong mental game. It went well! I pretty much tied the Rupert 1/2 marathon pace, falling just 7 seconds short of a new personal best! I think I ran my fastest finish-kick EVER and really enjoyed treating the day as a dress-rehearsal for my goal race, now three weeks away. There was a point in the Fall Classic where I felt really tired and walked a few steps, two or three times. I was disappointed in this, but it reminded me that if I hadn’t walked, maybe I’d have a new personal record? Maybe! Lesson: shuffling is faster than walking. LOL. We are rarely incapable of running another step, unless collapsed on the ground unconscious.

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December

Marathon time. Ready! Now, I knew what it felt like to run strong and at goal pace, even after 2+ hours, because I did it in training! I knew how to start running easy, without thinking about the end. I had mantras. I had rituals. I was super excited about THE PROCESS. This was going to be an adventure, not a frantic struggle from the beginning to try to end up with a specific time on the clock!

I closed off 2017 in the best possible way – by running 42.2km from start to finish, smart and focused. When it was time to think about the final stretch (hint – when I got there) I powered through to the most rewarding experience of my running life. In November, I told Coach Andrew I had a boner (sorry, that’s what I said though) for a time of 03:51. We talked about an A+ perfect-day-ever goal of sub-3:50, but I told him about the 3:51 because it felt attainable yet very challenging, AND because I love math, it would be an exact 20-minute improvement over my personal record at Disney. We knew I was in the range of 3:59-3:49 for sure, unless disaster struck.

I finished in Sacramento with a 03:51:18. A twenty-minute, nine-second personal record! It’s funny because even though I love this SO much, it doesn’t really matter in the end. I ran the whole race, never walked, squished all negative thoughts, fought through the final 5km when it started to get really hard, and finished as strong as I could. I didn’t really think about my finish time until the final mile! Every lesson learned all year came into play at CIM. You can read about the CIM here if you are interested, it’s a fantastic event!

 

So that was 2017! I’m stoked for whatever 2018 will bring as I continue to work and grow with Coach Andrew and the Lifelong Endurance team. I have some fun races lined up and some SCARY AS SHIT (BUT REALLY AWESOME) GOALS!!! Those will come in another post. Coach Andrew and I are going to lay out some cool adventures, and it might be fun for you to follow along and see how it goes, or even join in on the training and/or racing adventures with us! Stay tuned and Happy New Year to you!!!

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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

 

a First-Timer’s Triathlon recap! and how it relates to CONFIDENCE

Endurance sports are so addicting. To push the body, brain and spirit and see what, as a trio, they’re capable of is so friggin awesome. If you know me, you know I’m pretty in love with challenging myself physically, but I also try to get out of my comfort zone often and test myself mentally and emotionally. This wasn’t always the case, but after working with Suzanne Fetting off and on for years, plus a lot of other growth in the last five-ish years, I have a very different perspective on trying new things that scare the crap out of me in one way or another! BUT, that doesn’t mean that this kind of stuff comes easy. I’ve come a long way in the confidence department, but I’m still human and trying brand new things makes me feel vulnerable and nervous! So here’s how the whole process went down, and if you decide to do a triathlon or any remotely related thing that’s new to you, I hope this will help you!

The Tyhee Lake Triathlon is an event I’ve heard about for ages, long before I became a runner, and I always thought of triathlon as something that other, cool, hardcore people did. Not me! Last year, my good friend Breeann participated and I was so inspired by her hard work and courage to accept such a cool challenge that I saw as extremely intimidating. In March when she suggested I come join her at it this summer, I didn’t think twice and just said yes immediately; I once knew how to swim quite well, I can ride a bike and I’ve been running consistently now for years. Then I proceded to ignore the fact that I had agreed to do a triathlon and I pushed it to the back of my mind for a couple months because it was too uncomfortable to think about. LOL.

Once spring marathoning wrapped up it dawned on me that I might want to get my ass in gear. I swam at the pool quite a few times (a challenge in itself) and was happy to learn that I still knew how, but I was VERY suprised at how extremely difficult it was from what I remembered from my childhood and adolescent swimming lessons.

I went to spin class two to three times a week for about a month and a half, borrowed a road bike from a friend, and then a couple weeks ago did a sort of practice-tri with a bunch of girls. We biked 20km out to a lake, swam approximately 800m (the opposite of fast, and with rests..but I felt I could survive the 750m distance) and then ran a 5km out-and-back before biking back home.

AWESOME. I knew I could do it! I did one more practice swim in my wetsuit* the weekend before in a different lake, and that was it. Triathlon was going down! AHHHHHH.

*The reason I bought a wetsuit (after much research) instead of borrow is because I want to do more swimming at the cabin whenever I can, and I knew for a fact I wouldn’t invest in it and only end up using it once. Don’t think you need to buy a wetsuit! It wasn’t even mandatory in Tyhee Lake because the water temperature was warm enough. If you are interested, however, I got the BlueSeventy Sprint full suit from a Canadian site, triboutique.ca

The week before the race, I started to really question myself. Sure, I can swim, bike and run well enough, but I didn’t have a clue about the logistics. Triathlon seemed way too hardcore for me. Why do we decide we aren’t good enough for something we’ve never even tried? What do I do with all the gear? What are the rules?? What do I wear under the wetsuit??? I am going to screw up and look dumb for sure. Breeann, who my sister and I were going to visit and stay with, was no longer participating in the team category like she had planned, and I thought, maybe I’ll just do a tri another day and spend the whole weekend with them. That was totally me trying to make an excuse because I was scared! I had also subconsciously hoped that my sister would bail on our weekend away so that I could use that as an excuse not to go. Didn’t happen, thankfully!

I read a bunch of articles online about what to expect in your first tri, packing checklists, and basic overviews of the transitions and felt a little more prepared but my nerves kept growing. My inner critic was taunting me. This is a bad idea. You don’t know what you’re doing. You didn’t prepare enough. The transitions are too foreign and scary. You’re a runner, stick to running. You’ll probably get a flat tire. Are you trying to be cool in your new wetsuit, poser? Now it was July 4th and the triathlon was on the 9th. I went online and registered and said I’m f*ckin doing this!

Friday afternoon my sister and I hit the road to Telkwa (tied for favourite place on planet Earth, with Mudge Island) and the whole time I babbled about how nervous I was because I’d never done a triathlon before. We stopped in Terrace and my new best friend at the bike shop showed me how to change a flat tire and sold me a little kit for under my bike seat. All I had to do was ask. Back on the road! More freaking out about getting a flat. My sister is a good counsellor! The bottom line, of course, was basically shut up and go have fun.

On Saturday morning I went for the most gorgeous and peaceful 20km dirtroad run and it boosted my confidence and left me feeling a little better about the situation.

Yes, I know a long training run doesn’t usually precede an endurance event, but I registered for this with goals of doing my best, learning and getting out of my comfort zone, not to go out and try to win it.

My sister picked me up as I reached the pavement at Highway 16, and we headed to the Bulkley Valley Farmers’ Market where we ran into a friend from Rupert who I knew was going to be there. She told me that two other girls from home had decided to come and do the triathlon at the last minute! I now had accumulated FIVE friends there. This made me feel really excited and slightly less nervous! Oh, but of course a sly comment from the inner critic, You are probably the only one who’s never done this before. (Untrue.)

You, reading this, might be thinking, wow this chick is sure being dramatic! If you’re the type of person who was born with amazing self-confidence and doesn’t bat an eye at the thought of trying something brand new, that’s awesome, but I know I’m not the only person who feels highly susceptible to things like failure, embarassment, being flustered or looking like a total ass when attempting something for the first time. So yeah. Onwards!

Sunday morning came and I went through my basic checklist.

  • sandals and warm clothes for before/after
  • my longer 5” tight running/biking shorts & crop top (for under wetsuit)
  • wetsuit, goggles, cap, towel
  • runners, socks (I refused to use the clip-in biking shoes this time around..)
  • bike, helmet, water bottle, spare tube & kit, sunglasses
  • Spibelt to store a couple gels and a cliff bar
  • hat for my run

We left early and got to the provincial campsite around 7:30.Β  The welcome email that I received sometime overnight told me I could check in and sign a waiver at 7:45, and that bike check began at 8 o’clock. I didn’t know what the hell bike check was and allowed that to make me feel awkward, but then once I was there and checked in (leaving with a badass Jiffy marker’d 51 on each arm and lower leg, hehe) I realized bike check was just a line up to have a bike guy give your ride a once-over and send you over to put it on a rack anywhere you wanted. I looked around to find out what to do next (who knew) and saw that some people had already organized their gear right beneath their bikes, so I set up my towel, runners, socks and running hat on the ground and put my sunglasses and fuel belt inside my helmet.

united with Rupert chicks!

Once that was taken care of, I felt one hundred times better. Now all I had to do was swim, bike and run, and not rush in between, because I knew that would screw me up. Each time I went to the washroom I met someone who was also doing their first ever triathlon! I wasn’t alone! I took my time and got into my wetsuit, braided my hair, put my goggles around my neck and took my cap with me to the grassy beach area to jump around a little and warm up.

My sis took my sandals and that was all that needed to happen before start time!

The swim began and right away my heart and breath went berserk. I breast stroked for a bit and did little stretches of front crawl, but it was very slow going. I felt pannicked like I was going to get seriously left behind (not that that would even matter!) but I just tried to relax.Β  In a worst case scenario, there were people in little rowboats as well as SUPs who were there to help and even offer a rest! I didn’t require that though. No kicks in the head, no choking on water, I just kept at it. By the first buoy (250m) I felt very happy that I was 1/3 done. Not going to lie, most of the swim was a struggle for me, but by the 3/3 250m stretch I felt a lot better and everytime I commited to my front crawl for as long as I could manage, I noticed that I caught up to other swimmers and even passed a couple! Woohoo! I swam until my hands brushed the bottom and felt so happy and proud that I completed step one!

The path from the shore to the transition area was a very short but steep hill and running more than a few steps didn’t seem to be happening so I focused on unzipping my suit and pulling my arms out as I made my way up the hill to the bikes, also taking off my cap and goggles.

Getting my feet out of the ankle holes wasn’t as easy but I got the thing off and partially dried my feet, put my socks and shoes on and attached my Spibelt around my waist. I’m glad I put the belt and my sunglasses inside the helmet or I would have forgotten them, I know it! As I was getting organized I realized some of my friends were around me doing the same things. Woo! Sunglasses on, helmet fastened, bike off the cross bar it was hanging on, and then I was wheeling my bike to the very clearly marked mount-line to hop on and start part two! Weeeeooo!

Once I was riding I started to really calm down. Biking seems much more second-nature to me than open water swimming, so I just enjoyed going fast on Karen’s super cool road bike that I borrowed and worked as hard as I could on each uphill, downhill and flat. I noticed that I was very much in the moment which isn’t always the case for me in a race setting. This made me really happy and I continued along as fast as I could with my quads feeling sore from my run the previous day but a huge smile on my face. I am not an experienced cyclist by any means and I’ve never been in a bike race, so I learned a lot on this one ride alone! The course was rolling hills and I loved figuring out the best gear to be in and what level of effort to throw down! Love learning shit! The turn-around point was definitely where I would have had a mishap if one were going to happen, but I went slow around the sign and then got right back at it for the 10km back to the lake. Ripping down the hill back into the transition area in the campsite was fun except the speed bumps really forced me to slow down. Didn’t want to launch off any jumps baahaha.

Shannon and I at T2

I reached the mount/dismount line and wheeled my bike back to it’s spot and hung it up, took off my helmet (which apparently is the one thing newbs forget to do and start running with it still on) and threw on my hat. It was time to run 5km! Running! My thing!!!

Lead. Legs. Holy. Shit. HAHAHA I have never felt my body like that before. It felt like I had no feet! My energy level and breathing felt normal, but my legs were like Gumby. I kept going, observing this interesting quality of my body that I’d never experienced before, and it got easier. A muscle in my right lower leg that I still haven’t identified was SO tight it was just about crossing the line between discomfort and pain, but I was careful as I ran. Even thought it was only 5km, it was SO challenging and the two water stations (and cowbell) were very much appreciated. Aside from one moment near the turnaround where my leg was really bothering me, this run was so amazing! I didn’t have a clue what kind of pace I was running since I started my watch on “other” at the start of the swim and left it alone for the duration of the race, and it was on a screen that wasn’t making sense. I absolutely loved that my only job was to do my best. I wasn’t comparing this run’s pace to any other run.

01:40:10 finish for me, whatever that means! lol

Finishing the race was amazing!! The support at this race is really awesome, and the number of spectators was impressive for a northern BC endurance event! I felt strong til the end, and when I crossed the finish I felt so accomplished. This was the most fun thing ever! Like, I love marathons and all running events a lot, but this was a whole nother level of cool. I wish I could put into words the feelings that come over a person at a time like this. Pride, excitement, a little disorientation, sometimes a bit of overwhelm and teary eyes. INCREDIBLE!!! Immediately in love and wanting to do another in the future!

Imagine I had’ve given in to feelings of insecurity, uncertainty and fear of the unknown. Imagine I bailed on the tri just because my original partner in crime wasn’t able to take part and I didn’t want to be “alone.” Or if my sister for some reason wasn’t able to go away that weekend and I decided I wasn’t going to go either. Or if I were still a piss-tank and a weekend away only involved getting drunk. NO. I don’t want to imagine because that was one of my favourite days of my whole life! Not only did I get to take part in what I now consider one of the coolest events I’ve ever taken part in, I got to do it with five amazing friends and I made a couple new friends, too! I thought it was going to be terrifying, but like most things, it’s was only scary until I got there!

I will re-visit this experience the next time I’m psyching myself about something just because it’s unfamiliar to me. I will remember that my body is extremely capable, even though I remind myself almost daily of this, but hey that’s just the way it goes for some of us.

Do not let fear stop you from having the best day or best experience. Remember that people like to help, so ask questions and give yourself a break. Observe others. Remember that you will rarely be the only person doing something for the first time. And lastly, remember that extremely cheesy but true quote that I don’t really want to include here but I’m going to anyway..

comfort

@jammiekomadina