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

First and foremost, let’s get something straight – the term “race” can be very intimidating for anyone who isn’t super competitive, experienced or confident in the activity at hand. BUT, what many new runners aren’t aware of, is that “race day” is totally synonymous with “an exciting, organized running event with high energy and community atmosphere that gives the runner an opportunity to push a little more than usual and prove to themself how physically strong and self-willed they can be.” So, going forward, let’s just call it a running EVENT. 🙂

This Sunday, April 9th, is the Prince Rupert 1/2 Marathon, two-person 1/2 Marathon Relay, and 8K Road Race hosted by Rupert Runners. You can find everything you need to know by clicking the link, but for extra simplicity, HERE is the registration form! Both routes are out-and-back, 21.1km course starts at 1pm and 8km course starts at 2pm. The reason this post is focusing on the 8K distance in particular is because as you may or may not know, the Learn to Run Clinic has been in full swing now for seven weeks, and eight kilometres may now be a very realistic distance for participants to tackle, whether it’s running, run/walk intervals, or even signing up with the intention to walk and testing out a few short jogs along the way. That’s right, WALKERS ARE WELCOME! Come one, come all. Also, lots of other runners are coming out of their winter hibernation and 8k is a sweet distance if you aren’t down to run a half marathon at this point or split it with someone.

So, what can one expect if deciding to participate? First, I advise you to register before hand. This simplifies things for you, and it’s a huge help for the event directors and volunteers. This form can be filled out and given with cash or cheque made out to Rupert Runners to any of the club execs, dropped off on Tuesday or Thursday this week between 5 – 5:15pm at the CHSS track before Learn to Run starts (even if you aren’t participating) or, you can mail it in. There will also be an in-person sign up and bib/shirt pick-up from 10am-noon at the Civic Centre this Saturday, April 8th, the day before the event.  All runners who register before Sunday will be entered to win this Momentum Jewelry Motivate Wrap for yourself or to give away as a gift. #swag

Once you’re all signed up, you can relax until Saturday, go down to the Civic Centre between 10-noon and pick up your bib and souvenir shirt, or you can get it on race day. Again, it’s easier for you and everyone else to grab your stuff before the day of the event. If you don’t live in Prince Rupert, see you Sunday!

Sunday Runday!

The 8K begins at 2pm on Sunday, so sometime prior to that you’ll decide what you want to wear on your run, taking the weather into consideration and planning to leave something in your vehicle/a friend’s vehicle for after you finish. You may want to bring your own water bottle too, even though there will be water and snacks provided after. There is a big awards ceremony for overall and category winners, plus TONS of door prizes, so stick around! Once your body cools down you’ll want a hoodie or jacket, and maybe some sweats. When you’ve decided what top you’d like to run in, you’ll pin your bib onto the FRONT of your shirt (or shorts/pants if you prefer.) The bib goes on the front because as you are finishing the course, the volunteers in charge of timing need to be able to see it. Four safety pins will be provided to you.

Bibs also make good keepsakes!

Other things to pay attention to on Sunday are staying hydrated before and after you run, and eating something decent a few hours before hand. And use the bathroom before, washrooms available inside the Lester Centre as well as the Civic Centre.

Since the 1/2 marathon and relay start first, at 1pm, this is a great opportunity to get down to the Lester Centre (where it all starts) nice and early to give yourself time to take in the energy of the event, yell really loud as 1/2 runners take off, chat with your friends, and warm up. Oh, and to park, if you’re driving. Please, don’t think that warming up for a race means you are “super hardcore” and trying to win or break records or something. Warming up is necessary to prevent injury, feel ready, and so that you don’t give your body a rude awakening sending it from resting to a high heart-rate in just a few seconds! Try an easy little jog part way down Wantage Rd or even in the Lester Centre parking lot, then twirl the ankles, try some leg swings front to back and side to side while hanging on to something for support, the runners’ warmup that Kerrie demonstrates sometimes, and then some stretching is okay after your muscles are no longer cold.

When 2pm approaches, 8K participants gather in the little undercover drop-off area right in front of the Lester Center main entrance. This is the same place the first race started, so if you are there early you can see how it goes down, but it’s nothing fancy or complicated whatsoever. You’ll see a giant timing clock set up and cones and volunteers in vests. Once you begin, you’ll be running out onto the highway keeping to the right side of the road, and staying on that side after turning around at the 4km half-way point, which is just a little further than the turn off to the Industrial Site. There is no crossing of the highway. WOOO. If you think you’re nervous, try converting it to excited.

 

The Course!

Think of this course as SIX parts. Six manageable chunks, many of which you have already run if you take part in Learn to Run. /  \  /  \  /  \

 

1/6: Lester Centre to BCHydro

  • not the time to giver’, this is a time to see how you feel, settle in, find your breath
  • yes, it starts on an uphill, but you got it

first part

nice work Cookie aka Superman [Phuong Nguyen Photo]

2/6: Hydro to the SPCA

  • downhill, yayaa
  • if you’re feeling a little out of breath from that first incline, this is a great place to let your heart rate and breathing stabilize. Relax. This is fun. Unclench your jaw and fists haha.

8k

enjoying the descent! [Phuong Nguyen Photo]

3/6: SPCA to the half-way turnaround point

  • there is a water station here! Have some! and thank the volunteers 🙂
  • if you are in Learn to Run, you’ve already run this hill! Yep, you did it last Tuesday! I was there.
  • think about maintaining your effort level, not your pace. Shorten your stride slightly and use your arms to work your way up the hill.
  • keep a tall posture, don’t hunch – it squishes your lungs

4/6: Half-way mark back down to the SPCA

  • turn around and run back down that glorious hill you just tackled!!
  • look around, take it in. We live in a beautiful place! and this is fun.
  • stay in control of your body on the downhill. Engage your core.

5/6: SPCA to Hydro

  • This is a sneaky hill, not steep, but still a hill. You can do this. Clinic runners have already defeated this hill. I was there.
  • Tell yourself it’s the last uphill
  • Once you get to that Hydro turn off, which is now on your left, it’s all downhill to the finish-line.

coming back

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

  • getter done
  • smile! Phuong will probably be taking pics!
  • be proud of yourself!

race

half marathon finisher killin’ it [Phuong Nguyen Photo]

Cross the finish line, which is exactly where you started, and keep moving so you don’t get in the way of any runners behind you. Make your way to some water and a snack. Take some pics! Do some stretching, walk around, and find those warm clothes you packed for after you finished kicking ass. That’s right, YOU KICK ASS!

 

Jamie’s 8 Reasons to Run the PR 8K Road Race

  1. Because you are stronger than you think.
  2. To be part of a community event
  3. To get some exercise
  4. There are over $1500 worth of really awesome door prizes! (local too)
  5. Get out of your comfort zone, it’s good for us! Do something different
  6. To feel proud and ride an endorphin-high ALL day on Monday
  7. Do something outdoors now that Spring is here
  8. WHY NOT?

 

If you have any questions that this post isn’t answering, contact me! Hope to see you on Sunday! If you know anyone who may benefit from reading this, please share! And one more time, here is the registration form 🙂

prhalf

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

Why Oiselle is Awesome (+training Recap Mar. 27-Apr.2)

So, see this racing singlet? I’m pumped to race in it going forward and to rep this company because they are wicked! Oiselle is a Seattle-based running apparel company established in 2007. The apparel is made by and for women athletes. and they’re brand is about success not just in athletics, but in life! Oiselle’s mission is to build a family, or sisterhood of support, at all levels from beginner to pro. It’s always growing, and part of that sisterhood is the Oiselle Volée, which is the team of amateur runners I’m now part of and what the singlet above represents. “We are only as strong as the bonds we build. We work hard to raise the bar in terms of how women support other women, fostering strength and leadership – not just through healthy competition but in daily actions, big and small.” Oiselle encourages savouring wins, owning losses, speaking up for what we believe in, supporting each other and setting big goals and going for them, hard. “Go fast, take chances.” They also have a professional team made up of incredible women who are are making a difference in the world of athletics (girl crush, Kara Goucher), AND a team of emerging elite female athletes who make up the Haute Volée team. These ladies are working hard to compete at the highest level of their sports and have the support of Oiselle and the Volée along their journeys.

The reason I chose to join the Volée is because some of the things I believe in most (goal setting, growth, pushing our limits, running as a way of life, women building each other up, equality, etc) line up exactly with the messages that Oiselle conveys. I can’t even wait to head to Seattle in three weeks for the Tenacious Ten, which is presented by Oiselle, and to run in this girl-power event with my friend Whitney and a bazillion other people who care about all the stuff Oiselle represents! And to wear the freakin racing shirt!!!!

I should probably mention that their gear is the best. Just don’t order lots at once or you will get unpleasantly suprised with duty charges from Canadian customs..

Favourites: mini stride shorts, new satellite tank, flyte tank and flyte long sleeve. I find the bottoms fit big, so I order a size down than usual.

 

Weekly Training Recap

MONDAY March 27th

Planned: 4k EZ, 3k hill climb @5% with max heart-rate goal, 4k EZ

Actual: 4k EZ, 3k hill climb w/ a couple breaks and trying not to die, 3k struggle shuffle

this day was the final evidence of some burnout happening, I let Coach Andrew know and we planned the following three days SUPER easy and a Skype for the following morning

TUESDAY March 28th

Skype with Coach! Aside from talking about resting, we are planning some fun stuff for the Fall marathon training cycle in preparation for the California International Marathon in December; things like REALLY “scary” goals and lots of coverage of the process, training plans if you want to join in and run this race (excellent choice for a first marathon, they even have their own first-timers program) and tons of training tips to follow along with and get to know Coach Andrew and the rest of the crew at Lifelong Endurance!

Hard nap.

11.84km easy – average heart-rate 150
5.5km on my own, a little >6km with the Learn to Run Clinic (10min run/1 min walk)

stretching

WEDNESDAY March 29th

60 minutes in the pool + stretching + many naps

I don’t trust the swim data – I was indoors!

THURSDAY March 30th

more naps

11.7km easy total – some hard hills, HR wasn’t as low, but kept it easy effort

8km on my own + just under 4km with the Learn to Run Clinic

FRIDAY March 31st

back in the game! Timed intervals, sooooo sweaty!

“I was just going really fast” face

3k super easy warm-up, [4x 5 min @ 7:35/mi, 3 min recovery jogs], 3k cool down – amazing. Felt strong af.

 

SATURDAY April 1st

Long run as workout: 16km (10 miles)
3mi easy, 2mi fast, 2mi easy, 2mi faster, 1mi closing hard

Pit stop at the end of the 3 mile warmup, looks like I stopped completely when I turned around at halfway, and then quick calf stretch and had to grab my headband off a post at around 8 miles because I was overheating from the start and ditched it earlier because it’s SPRING NOW WOO! No gloves today, either! I’d love to run this workout on 10 miles of flat, but we must work with what we have.

SUNDAY April 2nd

Easy 8km along the 8k road race route next weekend! 

Great week!!! Local race coming up next weekend for me! The Prince Rupert 1/2 Marathon (& 8k), which follows a 14 mile (22.5km) training run on the Saturday, so we will see what happens!
 

Three weeks out from the Tenacious Ten in Seattle!

oiselle

Eight weeks out from the Calgary Marathon!

calg

Running Past Self-Limiting Beliefs! (+ scary goals for spring race season)

WOOO it’s officially spring in less than a month, and spring training is well underway. Where I live, we have just four local races per year. Each is awesome in its own way, but I am extra excited this year. Our first one is April 9th and if you’re interested you can read more about it here #rupertrunners yayaaa

If you keep up with this blog at all, you may be familiar with the “category” I originally put myself in as a runner, which I now identify as the “slow, sucky runner” category, which isn’t even a real thing, by the way. If you run, you’re a runner. The terms slow and fast are totally relative and mean completely different things to different people. I do my best not to use the term slow anymore, because it is often used negatively, plus slow for one person is light speed to another. Running is running! However, I know I’m not alone when I say that right off the bat I decided I was slow, non-competitive and simply running to cross finish lines, stay fit, feel proud and collect bling. That’s it. And there’s nothing wrong with that! But looking back now, this was my way of protecting myself from failing, although I couldn’t tell you what that means exactly, and my way of avoiding doing difficult, scary stuff like trying new things and pushing through and past comfort zones. I didn’t even try to run faster until last summer!

Looking back now, this was my way of protecting myself from failing, although I couldn’t tell you what that means exactly, and my way of avoiding doing difficult, scary stuff like pushing through and past comfort zones.

I spent a large portion of last Fall working with Suzanne on extinguishing (or taming to the best of my ability) some self-limiting beliefs. Being a slow, sucky runner was one of mine that we focused on a lot, which really boils down to the Trump of all self-limiting beliefs for the majority of people, which is “not being good enough.”  When a person is born, he or she doesn’t have any beliefs about themself, the world or about life yet; we develop these beliefs over time based on our experiences and our interactions with parental figures and other authority figures such as teachers, coaches and care-givers. We then can find ourselves as adults with some very unhelpful ideas about ourselves. As we wrapped up the limiting beliefs unit (which was unbelievable, by the way,) the so-called finale was when I went to Vancouver to run Try Events‘ Historic Half with some friends. I got the chance to execute my race the way I wanted to based on everything Suzanne and I worked on together and it was a huge breakthrough race for me!

Here’s the story. In 2013 I ran my first half. The training was with Team in Training and I was very inconsistent. Despite half-assing the program I crossed the finish-line at the Nike Women’s 1/2 Marathon in San Francisco in 02:32:xx and got my first taste of the complete race-day experience. Absolutely incredible! At the time, I knew nothing about pace or how long it took different people to run 21.1 km. I ran it to complete it, and in my opinion that’s exactly what should be done the first time around, whatever your first goal race is. I got a lot better with consistency and trained through the following spring to run the BMO Vancouver 1/2 in May 2014 and finished up with a 02:10:54. I was surprised and very happy with that 22 minute improvement! A new PR! (Personal record.) But I was still running totally within my comfort zone. By that time I’d gotten myself a watch for running (loved my Garmin Forerunner 10) and it was during that spring that I developed a full-blown complex around paces per kilometer that had a 5 in front of them. I for some reason decided that 05:xx/km was really fast, too fast for me to maintain, and that I was content staying where I was, pace-wise. These numbers are irrelevant to my point. Running faster was scary, hard and uncomfortable. So scary. But I decided it was okay because I believed I was just running to log distance, stay in shape, collect bibs and finisher’s medals and enjoy the camaraderie of running. At races, before even starting, I accepted that I was just there to participate, take it easy, let the “fast people” do their thing and be a part of the running community. The next three half marathons I ran I did not improve my finish time nor my race day experience, largely because of the things I believed about myself as a runner.

At the Historic Half, I didn’t believe that shit anymore, or was doing my very best not to believe it. I was focusing on new, inspiring beliefs that had real evidence. I proved to myself that I am not in fact a “slow, sucky runner” but that I am strong, and continue to get stronger every day. I can run faster and for a longer period of time than I believed was possible just a few months earlier. The sub-2 hour half was mine! This is just the beginning of a whole new mindset! If you are someone who has decided to believe something like I did about yourself, I encourage you to examine that belief and start to do what you can to change your thinking, which will in turn change your actions and your reality. Taking myself out of the slow, sucky runner category was the first step to seeing some great results and loving my sport of choice even more than ever!

Taking myself out of the slow, sucky runner category was the first step to seeing some great results and loving my sport of choice even more than ever!

side note: I am not saying that races are solely about finish times or about trying to win. What I am saying is that they’re the perfect opportunity to test the limits and prove to ourselves that we can do hard things that previously seemed out of reach or impossible.

I’m telling you all of this because self-limiting beliefs are a HUGE LOAD OF SHIT. Do NOT believe that you are not or cannot become as strong as you’d like to be! After I ran my first full marathon in 2016 there was a shift and I knew I was capable of more than I was giving myself credit for. Once I started experimenting with different kinds of speed work and doing workouts from my coach that intimidate me and make me uncomfortable (or even almost puke at times, lol) I realized that blasting through my perceived barriers was part of the exhilaration of being a runner! With all of this, and with Suzanne‘s help, I finally began to believe new positive and true things about myself and my capabilities instead of untrue things that held me back. We really do set our own limits. What we believe becomes our reality. Do not put yourself into a box. Don’t label yourself as a “back-of-the-pack’er” or “just average” or even as a runner who “places sometimes.” Try as hard as possible to shake off those preconceived ideas and GO FOR IT every single day. That’s my goal this season: to fully believe that I can keep getting better and better and continue to surprise myself by reaching new milestones – not every single race, but as often as possible.

That’s my goal this season: to fully believe that I can keep getting better and better and continue to surprise myself by reaching new milestones – not every single race, but as often as possible.

 

Really “Scary” Goals

(will be revised as races approach, and Coach Andrew might make them even scarier)

West Van Run 10km – March 5th

  • don’t go out too fast
  • say yes instead of no to discomfort
  • average pace goal 5:15 (totally bull. I wanted to, knew I could, and DID run faster than this. 4:59/km average pace!!!)

Prince Rupert 1/2 Marathon – April 9th

  • be mentally tough – don’t let the monotony of a road I run almost every single weekend psych me out or mess with my beliefs
  • approach “the big hill” as confident as ever
  • average pace goal 5:30, try for a final km split of 5:00

(this is not a sandbagger goal, I am running a 14 mile (22.5km) training run the day before and this is not a goal race of mine. If it were, I’d aim for more like 5:20/km average)

Tenacious Ten 10 miler – April 22nd

  • don’t go out too fast
  • 5:10-ish pace goal
  • be excited instead of nervous for this new and unique race distance
  • let the West Van 10km be a confidence booster!

Scotiabank Calgary Marathon – May 28th

  • STAY PRESENT and run the kilometer I’m in
  • trust my training
  • negative split the marathon for the first time
  • sub 5:40/km average pace goal

 

Remember those t-shirts that were an absolute must-have in the 90’s, NO FEAR? I want one. And that will be the end of this post. NO FEAR of discomfort, “failure,” new challenges or trying really f%#&ing hard.

nofear

 

Life: Some of the Worst things People say or ask. Whyyyy

You know those times in life when you’re left standing with a puzzled look on your face, crafting a delayed response to a question or comment someone made a few moments earlier that was dumb, unhelpful or even downright insulting? Yesterday at the gym I found myself in this situation and it inspired me to write about a few of the dumbest ways that people ask and say things to others – without thinking first! And often to people they don’t even know very well!

WHY. Seriously. Why is it necessary for a person to offer up their opinion in question or comment form when it wasn’t requested, needed or wanted? I’ve had conversations about this with others before, so I know I’m not alone in my confusion regarding this topic. This is a rant, really, but I hope it’s relatable and I hope we can all learn from it, because I know I’ve accidentally been “that guy” before. It happens. But COME on. And, the worst is when we come up with the perfect come-back after it’s too late. Dang.

 

“You look tired.”

sheldon

Ahaha, why, thank you! WTF? This is like going up to someone and saying, hey how’s it going, you look shitty today! Everybody has a bad night’s sleep here and there, or a hectic week or even just an off-day! What purpose does it serve to point out to a person that they aren’t looking as fresh as usual? Extreme confusion. Quit saying this to people! It’s not nice.

 

“What are you doing working on such a nice day!?”

seth

What the serious F kind of question is this??? HAHAHA. Well you see, I got up this morning and it was supposed to be my day off, but I saw how nice it was outside so I immediately phoned into work and said, “Hey! It’s super sunny today so I think I will work instead of having the day off!” Hahaha are you kidding me? For those people who work for someone other than themselves, do you wake up in the morning and decide then and there if you will be working or not on a given day? NO. People have schedules and they don’t usually come with a special “great weather clause” to accomodate a warm sunny day. Jesus. And in the case it is someone who is their own boss, they’re probably working because there are things that need to get done, or their business has hours of operation!

 

“Where’s Jamie? Did she move?”

melissa

I’m dead serious, people ask my colleagues this when I’m not at my place of work. She’s not here, so she must have moved. WHAT? LOL. Have they not heard of a day off? Do most people who work with the public work seven days a week, every single day of the year? I have nothing else to say about this. Except that it leads me to the next one, this usually happens at the grocery store or while doing other errands on a day off…

 

“What are you doin’ off work today?!”

chelsea

People get days off sometimes.

 

“Why don’t you have have a boyfriend/girlfriend?”

rock

How do you? hahaha. Hmm. Maybe this person you’re rudely cornering likes being single, hasn’t found the right person yet, won’t settle, isn’t looking, just got dumped or really looks forward to being in a healthy, happy relationship but it just hasn’t fallen into place yet? Go away. And, why does it matter!?!?!?!!!?!?

 

“What are you doin’ workin’ on the weekend!??”

arya

Uh. It’s the year 2017. I’d say the majority of businesses, or at least half of them these days, are open more than just Monday to Friday. At places that the general population (including the person asking) expects to be open every single day, someone has to work on the weekend. Sometimes that person is me. Like, do they think I’m some A-hole who forces another employee to work every single weekend (as if, and impossible) while I go do whatever I want each and every Saturday and Sunday? Wrong. And please, don’t make the pity face. Days off during the week are some of the most peaceful and/or productive days in history. Ask any server, nurse, shift-worker, flight attendant, pharmacist, retailer or restaurant owner, just to name a few. Or, if asking someone who does work for themself, maybe there’s stuff that needs to get done!

 

“You have really (insert unneccesary observation about someone’s appearance)”

amy

Example from my experience: “You have really short legs.” Crazy, I haven’t noticed in the thirty-two years that I’ve been alive! Let’s estimate that I have looked in the mirror once daily for my entire life. Obviously it’s been many times on some days, and zero times on others, like when I was a baby, but just to simplify, let’s go with 11,721 times. I’VE NOTICED. There is a very good chance that something noticeable about a person may be their biggest insecurity. Don’t point it out! What purpose does this serve? Hey, you have short legs, have you heard about that leg-lengthening potion on Dr. Oz? F off hahahaha.

 

“You’re not going to like that tattoo when you’re an old lady.”

betty

First of all, how does this concern you in any way, person making stupid comment? It’s the 21st century; we, the people who get tattoos, are fully aware that they are permanent. That’s the point, haha. We are also fully aware that as living beings, as days go by we age and our bodies, including our skin, change. We also do not care. I’m sorry that you are so concerned with what others think, but lots of others are NOT. Give your head a shake. Personally, I have no idea if I’ll be wearing tank tops and shorts when I’m elderly, but I’ll decide for myself when the time comes and I’m not going to ask some random person if they think it still looks “good”, whatever the hell that even means.

 

“So, you got married! When are you going to have babies?”

fran

How do you know the person in question even wants kids? Why are you assuming that this person’s next item on the to-do list is to reproduce? How do you know this person is capable of having children? Why do you think the person wants to discuss this with you? Maybe they had a miscarriage, abortion or hysterectomy yesterday. Why do you think children are what automatically follow marriage?? I could (and likely will) write an entire blog post just about this question. STOP.

 

“Do you work here?”

eric

HAHAHA. No, I’m just wearing this embroidered jacket/vest/apron/lanyard and name tag to pretend I work here and look cool.

 

And, the comment from a fellow gym member that got me writing this post:

“I’ll tell you right now, you’re gonna mess up your back stretching like that.” (Or any other remark lacking supportive, helpful or positive feedback)

Interesting. First and foremost, who asked you? Not me! Next, how do you know more about my body than I do? For anyone who’s into yoga, are you familiar with Supta Virasana, also known as sleeping/reclined hero pose? I am (that’s the pose I was in) and the reason I’m familiar with this pose is because I’ve been doing it for eight years, originally taught by certified instructors. I’ve been teaching this pose myself for four years, because I am a certified yoga instructor with over 570 hours of training. Also, I don’t have a “messed up back” from doing this stretch and if I did, I probably wouldn’t have been able to run the seven half marathons and three full marathons that I’ve completed more recently than the day I began practicing this yoga pose, plus hike, jump, twist, bend and do the movements off The OA. Just sayin. Unless someone is in a dangerious situation, asks for help, or is putting others around them at risk, it’s likely safe to just keep to yourself. .

supta

 

Let’s think before we speak. Not doing so can lead to exremely annoying interactions. Sometimes it can even create things like self-consciousness, sadness, anger, embarassement, frustration or simply putting a damper on what has been a good day so far. I am NOT saying I’ve never commited a single one of these crimes. What I am saying is that as human beings we can all do each other a favour by keeping our observations to ourselves at times, or before speaking asking ourselves, is this question/remark:

  • helpful
  • supportive
  • constructive
  • positive
  • welcome
  • open-minded

Or, is it:

  • meddlesome
  • presumptuous
  • useless
  • insulting
  • intrusive
  • biased

Have a great day!! And good luck out there bahaha

Spotlight on the woman who teaches people how to create their ideal lives, Suzanne Fetting!

Have you ever wanted to make a serious change, or set of changes in your life but you either don’t know how, procrastinate making them happen, or just simply ignore the feeling all together? Have you ever compared things about your own life to someone else’s and felt numerous forms of discomfort because you want your life to be more like what their’s appears to be? I highly doubt anyone can answer a straight-up “no” to these questions. I can’t, and for a VERY long time my answer was a straight-up “yes”to both.

I was doing the things above NON-STOP in my twenties but didn’t know how to create the changes I needed to get closer to being genuinely happy. I was a stick in the mud. At one point, I found myself in such an uninspired place that I started to actively search for help. Maybe it would show up in a self-help book, or an inspirational speaker’s seminar or a course, but I was ready for anything because I was so tired of feeling the way I did; shitty with no goals and lack of excitement for daily life. Can you relate to this? Finding yourself in a place that maybe isn’t even necessarily bad, but could be so much better??

Deciding I wanted to feel better was enough to get the ball rolling, because during some relentless Googling in 2011, I came across a “Women’s Confidence Workshop” being held by a woman named Suzanne at Trout Lake Park in East Van. The tag-line was Find your Inner Strength! I had no clue what this meant but I signed up for the Absolute Confidence workshop anyway because I was desperate for some improvement, in any shape or form. I’m so thankful that I did, beause I ended up building a relationship with the best role-model I’ve ever met in my entire life. Over the next six years, including today, she has taught and continues to teach me how to create the life I want. This blog post is to shine a spotlight on my friend, Suzanne, possibly the most empowering teacher and mentor someone could hope to find!!!

So far, this post is a bit vague. Yeah, of course most people have had low parts of their lives..and yeah, lots of people would like to feel better than they already do, and everybody would like to have a life they truly love. Duh. Let me tell you a bit about Suzanne.

Suzanne is a coach who helps people uncover things about themselves (good, and not so good things) that they may not know, or be very in touch with. Things like:

  • passions
  • core values
  • goals
  • FEARS
  • self-sabotaging behaviours
  • beliefs formed about ourselves when we were little
  • people-pleasing
  • saying “no”
  • self-doubt

With her, a client works on strengthening the positive things, identifying negative things, and then figuring out productive ways to blast through barriers that are standing between them and absolute confidence in life. I’ll share the first testimonial that I wrote for Suzanne to elaborate a little on what I’ve already said. This was written in 2012 after working with her weekly for about nine months. Our sessions were on Skype for convenience, in case you’re thinking “well I don’t live in Vancouver.”

“Before hiring Suzanne, I was in the middle of a difficult emotional experience. Also, long before this particular situation, I had a low mood almost all the time and was living day to day worrying about the past or future and not enjoying the present at ALL. I had a lack of hobbies and passions and was totally unfulfilled with life. Prior to my work with her, I felt like I had no real purpose. It was like I was waiting for someone or something that would change things.

Developing confidence is important to me because it leads to finding your authentic-self. Working on this with Suzanne has taken me from where I was (the “dark place”) to where I am today, which is loving my life and enjoying everything I do on a daily basis, big and small. I know what I like and want, look out for #1 and feel fulfilled because she helped me uncover what excites and motivates me and what my unique gifts are. I was also able to finally give up the ways I allowed other people & my own thoughts to affect me negatively. Instead of waiting for life to change, now I make it happen by getting to know myself and creating opportunities. I actually feel really good nearly all of the time because I do things that I love and spend time with the right people. I’ve also learned to truly enjoy my own company which is really important, especially for someone who lives alone.

Working with Suzanne on a personal level is great. She’s welcoming and non-judgemental while always holding you accountable. She has great ideas and exercises and does a professional job running her business, always staying open-minded. The most important things Suzanne has taught me about are self-awareness, personal responsibility and how to really identify what matters to me most. My life is honestly different now; it was a major transformation and it’s not just me who notices. My friends and family also see that I have a completely different outlook and love life. I feel authentic and confident and every day is a good day.

If you’re thinking of hiring her, go for it. You will be amazed with what she’ll help you discover about yourself and the ways it will change the way you feel and live.”

So now you might be thinking, yeah okay well what does she teach people to make all of these great changes happen? Really good question with a very long answer, but I’ll try to be concise about the most important things I’ve learned from Suzanne and how she goes about coaching her clients.

Self-confidence, or a lack thereof, can be traced to the root of almost all personal successes as well as problems. This is not an exaggeration. Suzanne has shown me that the components of confidence, which include things like self-awareness, self-concept, assertiveness, belief systems, and personal responsibility are skills that can be learned and used to live the life I want and avoid most issues or challenges I face or used to face in daily life. Question: If you haven’t been taught how to change a tire, ride a bike, or cook a turkey would you expect to just magically know how to do these things? We, the adults of of today, are born in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. The majority of us didn’t grow up with a mentor who specifically taught us how important it is to know and like ourselves, value our uniqueness and take responsibility for our own happiness, so can we really expect these things to be totally second-nature? Sure, for a handful of people these things may come naturally, but if you aren’t in that handful, don’t beat yourself up. Suzanne is that mentor.

confidence2

An appointment with Suzanne is not like going to a counselor or therapist, it’s like having an exciting meeting with a friend who helps you crack open your brain, heart and soul and dig into the source of the issue(s) at hand. Need an example of an issue? Fear of going somewhere alone to meet people, going through a transition at work or home, doing things to please others before yourself, blaming someone else for your unhappiness, feeling you cannot be happy until you find a partner/have a baby/win the lottery or lose weight, fear of public speaking, saying you want to do something over and over but never taking initiative, believing things about yourself that aren’t true, feeling bored with life, not knowing how to stick up for yourself, etc, etc, etc!

After boiling it down together, she then provides the client with the tools needed to face these issues directly and learn to overcome them or manage them. That’s the homework. The sessions involve the investigation, and the homework is where the client takes responsibility and does the work; the reading, writing, monitoring, practicing and executing of the methods introduced during the session. It is up to the client to create new habits and make the magic happen under Suzanne’s guidance. And then report back to her! And when you do, she’s the most excited, supportive, enthusiastic person you could imagine having a personal discussion with.

Here are a couple more testimonials, also known as success stories, for you to read if you want some more examples of what Suzanne does for others! A very good friend of mine’s is here  and my own (more recent, from 2016) is here. I highly encourage you to read these. This woman is freaking unreal.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
– Steve Jobs

I wanted to write this post about Suzanne because she taught me how to create the life I want, just like I said in the title. She is the BEST. Everyone deserves to feel happy the majority of the time, and like they’re the boss of their own life. If you feel like you’re in a bit of a rut or need some assistance with things like prioritizing yourself, figuring out your passions, learning how to enjoy your own company, fear of “the unknown” or having more confidence in any area of life, think about connecting with her! Her business is something that I talk about daily to friends, acquaintances and complete strangers. I’ve had people ask me “how did you get so good at giving zero fucks?” and I just tell them, SUZANNE TAUGHT ME HOW. (She did’t call it that, though. LOL.)

She taught me the skills and wisdom necessary to create new habits and stop holding myself back from being the happiest and most inspired version of myself possible. It’s a good feeling! I want people to know that it is not necessary to settle for feeling less than wonderful.

One last note with respect to cost. Working on ourselves is an investment. It makes life better for the individual, but also for that person’s friends, family, partner and colleagues. Do you own an expensive pair of jeans, a snowmobile, electronics, go out for dinner sometimes, take a vacation occasionally or love to buy multiple pairs of sweet ass Nikes or RayBans? We spend our money on ourselves all the time. This is the same idea. It’s just not a garment, toy or glamorous trip. If you are feeling the slightest pull to contact Suzanne, DO IT!!!! Treat yo self!!! Or someone you care about! Or even just tell someone you know about her, because she’s the best and helps change lives ❤

suzanne

www.absoluteconfidence.com

 

 

Bell Let’s Talk – Joining the Conversation

Jamie: Today is Bell Let’s Talk day. If you aren’t sure what this is, it’s a Canadian campaign to help reduce and hopefully eliminate the stigma associated with mental health, and to promote care, access to care, workplace health and research. My friend Whitney and I have been talking about this today. She is the other author of this post, I am just too computer illiterate to figure out how to add her as an author.

Whitney: Bell Let’s Talk Day is an initiative that’s raised over $80 million for mental health programs since 2010 and is making major moves to create a stigma-free society – so amazing!  To learn more about how you can contribute, check out http://letstalk.bell.ca/en/

Whitney: Sometimes we surprise ourselves in the best possible way, and this morning was one of those times. When I realized that today was Bell Let’s Talk Day, I knew it was my chance to share my story.  Jamie’s blog was the first platform that came to mind, since her transparency and bad-assery in general have been majorly inspiring to me lately.  I messaged her a few hours ago to ask if she’d be willing to hold a space here for me, and for the memory of my dad, and she was really into it! Thank you Jamie!

Here are Bell Let’s Talk‘s initiatives:

In September 2010, Bell Let’s Talk began a new conversation about Canada’s mental health. At that time, most people were not talking about mental illness. But the numbers spoke volumes about the urgent need for action. Millions of Canadians, including leading personalities, engaged in an open discussion about mental illness, offering new ideas and hope for those who struggle, with numbers growing every year.

As a result, institutions and organizations large & small in every region received new funding for access, care and research, from Bell Let’s Talk and from governments and corporations that have joined the cause. Bell’s total donation to mental health programs now stands at $79,919,178.55 and we are well on our way to donating at least $100 million through 2020.

Jamie: As a healthcare professional, plus being someone who has worked through multiple major depressive episodes as well as a history of anxiety and insomnia, this campaign means a lot to me, and I like to learn why it means so much to others who have been affected in totally different ways than I have. This is how we can become more open and more supportive to those who need it, regardless of if it is someone with a mental illness or someone who is part of that person’s support network. Driving the conversation to help reduce stigma and promote awareness and understanding is such a crucial step towards change.

I remember a specific period of time when I was very depressed, and the person I was dating at the time would say things to me like, “I’m not going to hold your hand every day of your life,” “snap out of it!” or “stop being so miserable.” I have tears in my eyes now from writing that, because anyone who has ever suffered from a mood disorder knows full well that all you want is to go back to feeling like yourself again. Reactions like that from others come from lots of different places; misperceptions, fear, frustration, total lack of understanding, impatience, the list goes on and on..

Did you know that all of these and more are considered mental illness?

Earlier today, Whitney asked me if I was familiar with Bell Let’s Talk and I was happy that someone I know and love was talking about it! Whitney is going to share her experience with you here on the blog. This is us joining the conversation.

Whitney: The piece that you’re about to read below was my part of a Partnership Education Presentation (PEP) put on by the BC Schizophrenia Society in 2014.  The BCSS is an organization that provides tools and support to people and families dealing with all types of mental illnesses, not Schizophrenia alone.  I won’t get into detail here about all of the amazing free benefits they have to offer, but please click the link or get in touch with me if you’d like to know more.

My name is Whitney and I am here to talk to you about what it’s like to be a family member of someone with a mental illness.  This is my first time speaking in public about this, so please bear with me.  

I feel fortunate to be here to share my story, and hopefully to help break down some of the stigma surrounding mental illness. While preparing what I wanted to share with you, I was having a hard time getting started.  I decided to start with the end in mind.  I asked myself what I wanted you to take away from this short presentation today.  These are the messages I came up with:

Mental illness is exactly that, an illness. Like so many illnesses, mental illness can be managed, but not cured.  It is something that many families, including my own, will always struggle with. Dealing with mental illness is a marathon, not a sprint.  If there is anything that I’ve learned over the course of this journey, it’s to celebrate each small step in the right direction, day by day, and week by week.

There are resources and there is hope.  Prior to becoming involved with the BCSS, I was not so aware of where to turn for help for both my family member and myself.  There are many advocates and organizations in our area who are eager to help those who need it.  I can’t stress enough how much of a difference these people have made for me over the past couple of years.

10 years ago, my father was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder.  Because of his illness, he cycles through periods of extreme mania (highs) and extreme depression (lows).  He must take a variety of medication each day.  His medication, despite it’s side effects, keeps him stable, somewhere in the middle of the two extremes, and he is able to carry on with his every day life. He is a great dad, grandpa, brother, uncle and friend to the many that know him.  

I was devastated when my dad was first diagnosed with Bipolar.  I didn’t know anything about it, and didn’t understand how long it would last or how we could make it go away.  His doctor explained it best to me, by explaining that my dad and his sickness are separate.  My dad is not his sickness.  When he is healthy and stable, he is my dad.  When he is manic and acting out in an irrational, scary and unreasonable way, that is his sickness.  This message has always stuck with me, and it’s something I must remind myself of often, even 10 years later.

Around 6 years ago, my parents divorced.  While they are still on good terms with each other, it was hard on all of us, and it was especially hard on my dad.  It was hard on me too, to know that he would now be living on his own.  Who would make sure he was taking his medication?  Who would make sure he was eating properly and looking after himself? Growing up, you never believe (or want to believe) your parents when they tell you that you’ll be looking after them one day.  My sister and I had to step up and become my dad’s advocates.

Every two years or so, when he starts to feel he doesn’t need them anymore, my dad goes off his medication.  From then on, it’s a slippery slope into a manic episode.  He stops eating and sleeping through the night.  He starts having coffee and smokes for every meal.  It’s scary for us because he loses track of time, his concept of right and wrong, loses contact with us and acts without any consideration of the consequences.  He often behaves in a way that puts himself in danger.  He can sometimes scare people, and at times like these, he scares me.  It’s an awful feeling to be scared of one of your own parents.  I remind myself over and over – my dad is not his sickness. He just has a sickness.

Through working with his healthcare team, reintroducing his medication, and at times, hospitalization, he eventually slows down and becomes somewhat stable again. What usually follows is a period of depression.  He goes from the highest high to the lowest low.  I find trying to help my dad cope with his depression can be frustrating.  It’s important to be patient, with him, and with myself.  One part of me wants to call and invite him out everyday, urging him to get out for a walk around the block or a cup of coffee, but the other part tries not to become a nag. No one wants to be nagged everyday, especially when they aren’t feeling like themselves.  It’s not easy to see someone so down, and to feel helpless.  It is at down times like these when I really try to focus on any positive improvements.  Sometimes just the fact that he returns a phone call or accepts a dinner invitation is enough reason to celebrate a nudge in the right direction.

I have learned a lot since my dad’s diagnosis.  I have learned a lot about bipolar disorder, the treatment options available, and a lot about myself.  I have learned what his warning signs look like – what to look for when I think he’s taking a turn for the worse.  I have learned how to be strong when I have to be, and how to ask for help.  I have learned that the ways that I deal with all of this are not always the same as my family members, and that’s OK.  We all deal with things differently and what works for one of us may not work for another.

Up until last year, I felt stressed out a lot when it came to supporting my dad and being involved with his health care. No matter how much I did, I always felt like there was more that I should be doing.  Then a friend saw an ad for a program called Strengthening Families Together, a 10 week program put on by BCSS for family members of those with mental illness.  Even though putting myself out there and registering for the program was completely out of my comfort zone, I am so happy that I did.  It was comforting to connect with other people in similar situations, and to share my own experiences in a place that felt safe and free of judgement.  I learned about local resources and coping mechanisms that I hadn’t explored before.  One of the most important things that I took away from the program was the importance of self care.  None of us are able to help care for another person if we are not taking care of ourselves.  For me, it was an eye opener and a chance to make some great connections in the mental health community that I would not have met otherwise.  I started to look at helping my dad as more of a responsibility, and less of a burden.

The tricky thing about mental illness is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution.  There is not a treatment that will work for everyone.  There is not a blanket cure.  Finding the right combination of medications or the right program and combination of activities for someone can be a long and drawn out process.  Many times it is trial and error.  Many times what works for them changes over time.  There are a lot of ups and downs.  As a family member, it can seem like forever when you are waiting for things to take a turn for the better, but the good days are worth waiting for.  

I know that there is only so much that I can do for my dad, and there are still many days that I wish I could do more.  I am starting to get more involved within the mental health community.  I am glad to have the opportunity to help dissolve the stigma around mental illness.  I try and take good care of myself, so that I am able to take good care of my dad.  Each day I count my blessings.  I am lucky to have my dad in my life, lucky to have a lot of support, and lucky to have the opportunity to keep growing and learning how to cope with all of this.  For me, one of the best ways of coping has always been sharing my story.  Thank you for having me to share my story with you today.

Whitney: My dad passed away in October, 2015.  I miss him every minute of every day, but talking about him keeps him close.  He taught me so much, forced me to live outside of my comfort zone, and being there for him when he needed me helped me grow in ways I never thought I would.  He definitely wasn’t perfect, but he was the perfect teacher in many ways. What I know for sure is this  – we all have mental health, whether we are ill or not – and we need to talk about it to understand one another.  If you or someone you love is struggling – you are not alone.  If you think no one cares, or no one can relate to what you’re going through – you’re wrong.  You might just not have found them yet.  Keep going.  Keep talking about it.  I’ve become a huge mental health advocate and there are so many ways to get help.  I’m here if you need someone to point you in the right direction. Jamie can put you in contact with me.

Jamie: Twenty percent of Canadians will personally experience a mental illness in their lifetime, and basically everyone will experience in one way or another, indirectly, through someone in their family, a friend, in a relationship or a colleague. Like Whitney, I am am also an advocate for mental health. People do not want to be alone in navigating this kind of stuff. If you want to talk about it with me as a pharmacist and/or friend, acquaintance or stranger, please be in touch!

Whitney: When I first gave this speech, I was 28 years old, I was 8 months pregnant, I was struggling with my own self-care, and I honestly never thought I’d make it this far, especially without my dad by my side.  He taught me about unconditional love, the strength of community, and that it’s OK to ask for help.  He taught me the importance of showing your true colours, and that at the end of the day, everyone’s human.  Thank God for that.  Thanks Dad.