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!

Runners Body Collective – a CANADIAN running lifestyle brand!

Happy new year! Hope you had a fun and safe holiday season!

I want to tell you about this new Canadian clothing brand that has come into my life because I love it so much. Runners Body Collective! Kristin and Neil are a wife and husband who have created this brand together. They believe in all bodies being runners’ bodies, and that the spectrum of runners includes everybody from casual walk-joggers to ultra marathoners, and everyone in between!

All of the clothing is made from ethically-sourced bamboo and organic cotton. SOFT!!!! SO soft! I have also found that all my items, so far, fit really well and are extremely comfortable, not to mention unique.

So far my favourite items are the Run Fast Hoodie and the Run Canada Shirt.

Not only do I love all the garments that I’ve worn so far, it’s so fantastic to be able to order runner’s lifestyle clothing like this and NOT HAVE TO PAY DUTY OR OUTRAGEOUS INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING COSTS!

Runners tend to love swag, and to take the love of running into our non-sweaty clothing. Runners Body Collective is the perfect lifestyle brand for us Canadian runners who want to rock our passion during a run or when NOT running πŸ™‚ Check them out!

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Feel free to use code JAMIE15 for 15% off your order! And check back often as they add more items! I hear hats maybe be coming soon!

@jammiekomadina

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Β @jammiekomadina

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

“I’M NEVER DRINKING AGAIN.”

 

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

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

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

 

Saturday, December 26th, 2015

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

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

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

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

“you can’t just leave the house sober and hope for the best; you have to be armed…” – Sacha Z. Scoblic

December 26th, 2015

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

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

December 27th, 2015

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

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

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

December 31st, 2015

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

January 1st, 2016

Ran the resolution run and felt like one million dollars.

January 4th, 2016

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

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

January 5th, 2016

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

January 8th, 2016

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

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

January 16th, 2016

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

January 17th, 2016

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

“Being sober is easier than thinking about drinking.”

February 14th, 2016

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

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

February 15th, 2016

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

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

Dear radiant, well-rested, grounded Jamie!!

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

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

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

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

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

February 16th, 2016

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

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

February 18th, 2016

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

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

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

February 20th, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

End of February 2016

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

March 2016

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

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

I like this new feeling of freedom

April 2016

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

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

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

May 1, 2016

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

May 12, 2016

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

view from me and Meg’s room!

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

June 2016

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

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

August 2016

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

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

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

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

September 2016

Interesting email:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fall 2016

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

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

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

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

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

not everyone feels awesome,
but TrixeeK does…

from TrixeeK (day 331):

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

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

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

Christmas 2016

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

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

Alcohol isn’t some magic thing that bonds people together or seals friendships. Bonding with people is about listening, sharing, caring and connecting. Those things have nothing to do with booze. – Kate

NYE 2016

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

New Years Day 2017

My second non-hungover resolution run. So good.

January 2017

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

Spring 2017

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

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

June 2017

Marathon #5

Summer 2017

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

Today

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

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

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

@jammiekomadina

trixie