PUMP up the JAMmie – Day 22: F*#k Off, Fear.

When I was a raging piss tank I didn’t really have fear on my radar. I basically had zero sense of self and did the same old things, day after day, unknowingly living in a shitty little comfort zone. I wasn’t conscious of it at the time, but I was strongly avoiding making changes, and the unknown. These are two of the most common fears.

Nowadays, sober, I’m almost hyper-aware of the feelings that come up when I decide to make a change, try something new, or challenge myself. With change and the unknown comes fear, in some shape or form. Suzanne Fetting taught me how to view fear differently and how to approach it head-on. These days, when something I want to do brings up anxiety or vulnerability, I truly see it as simply a chance to tick that fear the fuck off my list. If the inner critic was a living, breathing thing, I’d punch it in the jugular. Worrying, approval-seeking, rationalizing, procrastinating and victimizing are things I just do not have time for anymore. Quitting drinking is the biggest thing that helped me get away from those self-sabotaging behaviours. I hope that by sharing some of the random shit that goes through my head, maybe someone else will feel inspired to stop letting fear hold them back from doing what they want to do, big or small! My current marathon mission comes with many forms of fear, but I’m talking about life entirely, not just trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

Here’s one from recently:

Until two weeks ago when my friends and I went to Seattle for the Tenacious Ten, I had never rented a car, driven in a city other than Vancouver, across the border, or in the States. Terrifying!! LOL. To some, this may sound very odd. I hate driving a vehicle I’m not used to. Also, driving anywhere unfamiliar has always been one of those things that can cause me anxiety. Maybe it’s from growing up in a small town with four sets of traffic lights, no such thing as rush-hour or freeways, and never the need for directions. Who knows. I wanted to drive to Seattle from Vancouver for the race because it was cheaper than a second flight and I’m saving money for school, but more so because I wanted to cross this fear off the list! In July, when I head to Jack & Jill to Pump up the JAMmie, I’ll also be driving to Washington State (possibly alone), and I didn’t want it to be the first time!

When I moved to Vancouver for University over ten years ago, I didn’t have a car. I got accustomed to the transit system and therefore avoided city driving. When I graduated, I bought myself a brand new VW Golf yet continued to take transit a lot of the time because I had no self-confidence and driving in the city made me SO panicy. Eventually, I drove in the city regularly, but never 100% confidently. Then, I moved back to small town comfort! (NOT to avoid city driving, LOL!)

Last weekend I finally said fuck it and did what most others would do – drive to where they want to go! My friends helped with directions and I probably annoyed the shit out of them being so anxious, but it’s done and now I can drive to the USA and not shit my pants about it. Woo. Done. What was I afraid of?? Why did it take me until the age of 33 to do this? Because I used to unknowingly let fear restrict me; all I did was get drunk and never do much outside the box of mediocrity that I was existing in. I was oblivious to living fully and doing what I wanted to do, big or small-scale. I’m not being mean to myself, I am seeing the growth for what it is and appreciating where I’m at now. Yay, new life.

Fears I’m currently wrestling with:

I’ve wanted to do something different, career-wise, for years before I actually started making change happen last fall. Even though I loathe my current field of work, for a long time I believed what my inner critic told me and in turn, was too scared to act:

“You spent years getting this degree, this is what you do now.”

“This education was expensive, you can’t walk away.”

“You make so much money, just learn to live with the job.”

“Changing careers will require moving away temporarily, and you can’t do that when you’re a homeowner and have a spouse.”

“You could run out of money as a student without income. Way too risky.”

“You are too old to go back to school.”

“You’re selfish.”

FUCK. OFF. INNER. CRITIC!

School starts September 17th. I’m a bit scared, but it’s not holding me back. I look forward to being a student again, even though I have thoughts about being the old person in the class, fear of being a driver in a new place, and running out of money. LOL. Know what I have to say to all of this, though? WHO CARES. Don’t dwell, just do.

I hope that you can join me in screaming (in my head, cause I’m at work) BRING IT ON, FEAR. Seriously. Bring it on, any kind, really big or so small it seems ridiculous. It scares the crap out of me that I’m going to try to run 03:31:18 in the marathon this summer. What if I fail? Will someone laugh and say, “I knew she couldn’t pull that off“? Will I be able to withstand the training? Will I be confident and mentally tough enough to truly put forth my best effort, come marathon day?

I am scared, but these days it just feels like adrenaline. I’m not being held back by it, like the old me. Suck it, fear. There is no time to waste! Capitalize! Do you have something you didn’t do for a long time because it made you nervous, uncomfortable or anxious?? Or that you still haven’t done? Tell me about it.

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the Universe WANTS me to qualify for Boston!

Hi!

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

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

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

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

AND THEN THIS HAPPENED. Alleged arsonist arrested in Kelowna.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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BIG 2018 Running Goal!! I confess.

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

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

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

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

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

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Andrew in the early 90s

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

December 2017! Chip time: 03:51:18

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

thanks for the inspiration, and the pic, Kelly ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 10-15Kย 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:ย 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.ย 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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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 lessonย 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.ย  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!

ย @jammiekomadina