Today I started a 30-day yoga challenge at the studio I used to teach at, Zihkara Yoga! My reasoning for signing up for this during the final 3 weeks of marathon training is that it will help me battle the taper-crazies, and feel strong and stretched and ready to race! I’m trying to go to as many Yin classes as I can, but even a sweaty flow class feels good on the body.. taking it easy!
TUESDAY May 2nd
9km easy with Sam & Rheannon
Invigorating Midday Flow with Tobie
WEDNESDAY May 3rd
Earlybird Spin with Karen at K2 Cycle Fusionum holy CRAP I forgot how challenging spin is!!!
Morning Flow with Tobie
Warm Yin with Deirdre
(2x yoga…can’t make a class on Saturday!)
THURSDAY May 4th
3k up, 8 x 800m working at 3min50sec reps, 2 min rests, 3k down. YES!!!!!!!!!!!!! This went really well ahahah
Warm Hatha Flow with Shannon
FRIDAY May 5th
Morning Flow with Mandy
9km (very) easy in my living room on the treadmill!
SATURDAY May 6th
32km comfy pace with Sam & Crystal! BEST LONG TRAINING RUN IN A WHILE!
Oiselle shorts passed the chafe-test, they’re safe for race day. Fueling went well, Huma Gel all the way…well and Sport Beans and Honey Stinger chews and Clif Shot Razz…also pretty excited to try out the Endurance Tap I ordered earlier this week. No blisters or other issues with my rhino feet. Oh, and best of all, NO PIT STOPS.
No yoga, doubled up on Wednesday to make up for today!
SUNDAY May 7th
Flow to Bed with Mandy
Oh look, Sam & Crystal again hahaha
THREE WEEKS TIL THE CALGARY MARATHON!!!!!!!! feeling good! Sub-4 I’m coming for you!!
This morning’s long run was interesting. It had some qualities that could easily have lead me to decide that it wasn’t very good, or even BAD, and then proceed to freak out. Gut problems started around 6km. Accumulated fatigue resulted in a pace that was a little discouraging. Then side stitches on both sides. Lastly, the option my coach gave me for an up-tempo finish wasn’t looking good, and then didn’t happen.
Despite the latter, I didn’t have to force myself to look for positives today, they were apparent. I did, however, need to make a conscious choice to focus on them and to form a list of all the great things that came of this training run. Being with my best run buddies was a game-changer as always, but in the end, making that choice is what allowed me to NOT let a tired, crazy-stomach run with many walk breaks get into my head and trick me into thinking negative (and total bullshit) things about training like:
“I’m not ready”
“I suck at this”
“I’ll never reach my goals”
“Worst run ever.”
Here is the list. Maybe it will give you some ideas the next time things aren’t going as planned on a long run, which I have come to find happens as often as not.
I have a sore, ripped-open blister on the inside of my big toe and it’s been bothering me even when not running, BUT I tried a blister cushion bandaid and it stayed put and was legit! I didn’t have pain or notice it during the run, or at least not enough to let it piss me off.
No chafe! I confirmed that my favourite Oiselle shorts, which I’d like to wear at the Calgary Marathon, can withstand 26k. I’ll put them to the test again next weekend for +30km.
I had no specific muscle or joint discomfort. Often I’ll get painfully tight calves and/or achilles during the first kilometres as my body continues to warm up and find the groove. My left ankle also tends to get really achey from old soccer and volleyball injuries. Today, everything felt good, aside from general tiredness.
. Love the new Salt Stick chewable tablets I picked up at REI in Seattle last weekend. Once my stomach wasn’t going buck wild anymore I tried a couple. Small, not chalky, good flavour and great reviews so I really wanted to test them out on a long run, and I really wanted to like them! Success.
Renewed appreciation for outhouses! Not just for avoidance of pant-pooing, but because a time will come when a stop during a race is required, and in that case, efficiency is needed! A pit stop can be made in a minute and I have realized it doesn’t necessarily have to effect overall time by much!
I spent hours on my feet, working on endurance and simply getting it done. Yes, I was instructed to run the last 6km up-tempo IF feeling good, but I just worked on completing the prescribed distance. General goals of a long run (increase aerobic base, improve running economy, build confidence in distance and duration) were achieved.
My Pro Compression socks were good to go, and I may want to wear these on race day so this is good news. I love my CEP and Tiux socks too, but I find the PC ones less hot. My feet are gross, chewed up and sensitive and seem to hurt from so many different sock materials and thicknesses…strange since my feet are comparable to the skin of a rhino. LOL. Anyways, no issues with blisters, callouses or painful friction. And, tall socks can’t slip down the heel. Another win.
We beat the rain. Aside from a little at the very end which was refreshing, the weather was super cooperative precipitation and temperature-wise. So satisfying to have a long run completed by 9am and to have taken advantage of the nicest part of the day.
It’s almost May. The Calgary Marathon is less than a month away. My brain is already trying to freak out. No! The next four weeks of the training schedule have been and will continue to be examined suspiciously. I have added Calgary to my Weather Network app and have been checking it approximately every eight hours ahahahaha, it doesn’t even show May 28th yet!!! It is so easy to let doubt creep in, instead of having confidence and trusting in the training that has been put in and ignoring the uncontrollable factors. This goes for anyone approaching their goal spring race. Shout-out to all the people running BMO Vancouver next weekend, you know who you are! Lets pick positive things to focus on. I will if you will haha.
Today’s training run is very meaningful to me because I actively decided it was good and not bad. It’s like that basic saying, “man I really regret that [run]…SAID NO ONE EVER!”
For all people appraching a big race, lets think about the good stuff!
I “became a runner” when I was 28 years old. What I mean by “became a runner” in my case, is I upgraded my grade 11 volleyball shoes to some half-decent runners, started getting out there on a (fairly) regular basis, and signed up for a race to hold myself accountable. I also joined a clinic so I could learn stuff and not do it alone, and we trained with run-walk intervals. Prior to this time, I went for jogs here and there, maybe a couple times a year, usually hungover and dying, with the exception of one summer when I ran a local trail quite consistently to help myself deal with a breakup because sweating helped me feel more sane. I will tell you now, the more consistent you can be, the easier it gets and the more you will get addicted. Duh. But so good! Getting started is the hard part of course, as it is with most things that require effort!
Getting into running is simple and complicated all at the same time. It’s simple because all you really need (until you get addicted, hehehe) is a pair of running shoes, some clothing that is made to sweat in, a sports bra if you have boobs and a hair elastic if you have long hair. If you really want to know how far you go or what kind of pace you’re moving at, there are like a billion free apps to install on your phone, you don’t need to go get a fancy GPS watch.
What is NOT simple about it though, is that it’s HARD (forever) and a process that takes patience and a strong will. In the end, however, these things are what make it awesome. You’ll see.
I’ve been running and training regulary now since the spring of 2013 and looking back on the journey so far, there are quite a few things I can recognize that would have been really helpful to know at the beginning! There are tons of specific tips out there for sure, advice about gear, form, training plans, etc, but here are some of the more general things I would tell my former runner-self if I had the chance.
Warming up in some way or another is not only necessary, it will make your run WAYYYY BETTER!
Think about your heart. When you walk out the door at a resting or close to resting heart rate and then start running right away it’s like “SURPRISE MOTHER F#CKER!!! GAHAHAH WAKE UP WAKE UP WAKE UP” and that’s brutal! And rude! Now think of your muscles. Cold. Rigid, maybe still sleeping depending what you’ve done so far that day. That’s mean, and unsafe. Do your body a favour (and your mind) and warm up because starting a run from ground zero SUCKS and makes it WAY harder and way more likely for things to hurt and injuries to occur.
Start with a dynamic warmup of some kind; at least a brisk walk until you start to feel warm and alive, or begin jogging at a pace that, for you, is ridiculously easy. And not for sixty seconds, think more like ten minutes. Ya, ten whole minutes. Leg swings, lunges, skipping, grapevine, backward jogging, high knees, butt kicks, gentle jumping jacks, you have a lot of options! Dance party??? I am not even lying, sometimes I just go into our bedroom and put on my music and pretend I’m in a Jimmy Falon lip sync battle. Minimum three songs. Do what you need to do, it will make the rest of the run far more enjoyable!!
You will definitely think it’s impossible
Yeah, I know…dammit! But ask yourself this question honestly: “why would I expect it to be easy or natural?” Do you do other forms of endurance training? Unless you are an avid cyclist, swimmer, rower or wrestler, just to name a few endurance sports, then your body probably isn’t conditioned to have its heart-rate jacked up for an extended period of time! Keep that in mind and give yourself a break. Start your running journey with run-walk intervals or at a pace that feels easy enough to hold a conversation. I realize you may be alone, but if you don’t feel like you could comfortably talk to a friend who was with you, or on the phone, then slow down or take a short walk break until everything feels more manageable. Once you finish your run, or walk-run-walk-run, take a sec and jot down how it went – what you were doing, for how long and how it felt. I guarantee if you keep at it and look back through your workout log in a few weeks you will notice surprising progress!
The first 10-20 minutes are almost NEVER awesome
I know. You warmed up like I told you to, and now the first couple kilometers still suck. I HATE YOU JAMIE YOU LIED TO ME. No, I didn’t. I’m telling you now that even once you warm up your muscles, lungs and heart, you still need to find your groove, your rhythm, your breathing rate. It’s just the way it is! Some days it will come easy, but most days it takes time. And not just at the beginning, forever. Accept it!
Approach each and every run knowing it will be a test of your fortitude
There are those days where you head out onto the road or trail and it feels like a dream and you’re running, smiling, thinking “damn, I am a RUNNER! I run the world! I am basically Meb Keflezighi!“…yeah that’s the exception run, not the rule.
Running is hard. You are exerting effort. If running were effortless, everyone would do it and you, the person reading this, wouldn’t be reading these tips and I wouldn’t be writing them down years after starting my journey but still finding them super relevant. So I’m telling you now, head out thinking about how you are about to face challenge and get stronger and more awesome. Don’t head out hoping that this is going to be one of those runs that feels like child’s play, you will likely set yourself up for dissapointment.
NO ONE is driving by thinking, “lol. Look at that wannabe runner.”
If someone does notice you, they’re probably thinking one of these things:
“f*ck I’m lazy. I need to do that.”
“f*ck I’m jealous”
“That sweaty, hard working, heavy breathing individual is so cool!!”
If you are taking a walk break, who cares??? People go for walks! People stretch. People go for speed walks with colour-coordinated outfits and 80’s sunglasses and sweatbands and headphones, there is nothing odd about a person wearing workout clothing and walking. Anyone driving by in a car is less cool than you are, in my opinion haha.
Running is the shit! You get to compete against yourself! Make hills your bitch. Sweat out a stressful experience from earlier in the day. Set goals and work towards them. Progress! Learn! Strengthen your bones, muscles, cardiac and respiratory systems so you can live longer and kick peoples’ asses at all sorts of fun shit in the future! You can do it any time. Outside, on a treadmill, on a trail, beach, wherever! If you have been thinking about getting into running or you’re just getting started, or if you’re back from a running hiatus, keep these things in mind and go be badass and prove to yourself that you can do it, one step at a time. I BELIEVE IN YOU!!!
When Oiselle announced that they’d partnered up with the Snohomish Running Company to host a race, I wanted to register immediately. Oiselle is my fave running apparel and girl-power brand, and the SRC, I learned, is an event production and promotion company with a goal to empower all runners and walkers of any ability to reach new goals and heights through a premium running experience before, during and after their events. Sounds like a good combo to host a racing event called The Tenacious Ten!
In January I joined the Oiselle Volée team, and I knew the inaugural Tenacious Ten would be a perfect opportunity to see what Oiselle is all about in real life, and in the city the company is based, Seattle! I knew I’d get the chance to meet some of the other Canadian runners, including our team leader, who I am in contact with on the team portal and get a feel for the Oiselle community for my first time at a race.
After travelling solo on my last big race trip and having an awesome time, I wasn’t worried about going to Seattle by myself if that’s the way it worked out, but my friend Whitney was stoked when I told her about it so we started planning our weekend! Airmiles tickets booked, accommodations arranged on AirBnB; we were set. Just had to wait three months for April to arrive haha. It did! Friday started early (like 4 am early) and our weekend was exciting, hilarious and interesting right from the beginning.
Arriving at the Terrace airport (more than an hour early), Air Canada told us we didn’t have seats on the flight we booked in January because we hadn’t checked in online. Since when is this a thing? What about people who aren’t internet savvy or don’t have computers or smart phones?? The flight was oversold (again, how the eff is this even a thing? Happens all the time with Air Canada..) and if we didn’t get on, we could go tomorrow (Saturday), they said. Uh, no. Anyways. After an hour of trying to stay calm and me checking my heart-rate on my Garmin (lol) while mildly freaking out, an agent let us know we were “in luck” and had seats. It seemed she felt they’d done us a huge favour! Sorry for the rant but I can’t even believe all of that. So thankful my Calgary Marathon trip is with West Jet!!! Poor form, Air Canada!
We made it to YVR and then SeaTac where we cabbed straight to the Watertown Hotel for bib pickup. It wasn’t busy and getting our race stuff was very simple. The Tenacious Ten trucker hats are legit, although I would have picked a different colour if given the choice, and we also got a bunch of temporary tattoos for race day. Whitney had bought a race shirt too when she registered and it’s really nice! There was a pop-up shop of Oiselle gear, but we were heading to the store so we continued on.
From the hotel we took another taxi to the Oiselle flagship store in University Village and got down to business, aka shopping.
We hit Lulu as well (more success), and then took Whitney’s first ever Uber ride to our AirBnB in Fremont! She looooved it and on the way we enjoyed howling with laughter at the shirtless frat boys playing beer pong on a patio. LOL. ‘Murica.
I’m not going to get into too many details about our accomodation, but it wasn’t exactly what was expected. Shirley the dog greeted us along side our host, and let’s just say the house smelled strongly of Shirley and looked like a chaotic vintage museum…BUT, it was a fifteen minute walk from Gasworks Park where the race started and finished, the neighborhood was awesome, and the place was fabulous in its own ways, as was our host, Lisa. 🙂 Oh, it was also steps from the Fremont Troll. Ahh. Next, pizza time at Tutta Bella and early bed time!
On Saturday we were up at six to get the day rolling. WOOOOO RACE MORNING SO EFFING FUN!!!!!!!! I was so pumped to rock the Volée singlet for this race! Breakfast was a mocha protein shake, banana, melon and bakery biscuit, and then we put on our bibs and fake tats and hit the road on foot to Gasworks Park. I brought a disposable bottle of Nuun with me for the walk.
What a sweet place for pre and post race! This park is beautiful! It has a great view of Lake Union and surrounds the remains of an old gas plant! The weather was cooperative too. This is NOT my pic, obviously, but here’s Gasworks.
I met the Canadian Volée members for a team pic and then Whitney and I went into the stage area to join in the warmup, lead by some guys from Kinetic Sports Rehab. The warm up was full, fun and people were into it, and then it was time to make our way to the starting area!
The start was self-seeding based on the min/mile pace a participant planned to run. I squeezed in a little ways behind the 8 min/mile sign and then chatted with Shannon from the Washington Volée and listened to the music blasting. No throwaway clothing was needed, not cold at all. It was a narrow mass start of all the 10k and 10mi runners (about 1200 people) which made the first 100m or so fairly congested, but after that it was smooth with lots of room. This course is not flat, but I would not call it “hilly” by any means and in my personal opinion as a Rupert Runner, there were zero significant hills. I can see how someone from a very flat area could find this course a bit hilly, so please keep in mind my opinion of the profile is subjective to where I live! In the last few hundred metres of the 10 mile route we had to run around a big grassy knoll, up and down some very short but steep hills (you can see it in the pic of the park) but I still didn’t find it “hilly”. It was great! My Garmin registered an elevation gain of 66m.
There were just a few water stations but that seemed adequate, a few small but inspiring cheer stations with lots of cowbell, and enough course directors and arrow markers (big bright stickers on the ground) to keep things organized. The route was really nice, and running over the bridges was soooo sweeeeet. The out and back portion of the 10mi course was on a bike path and I enjoyed seeing other runners both ahead of me and behind me, and hearing and giving encouragement.
Finishing in the park was so perfect! The short but steep hills around the grassy knoll seemed so cruel at the 10 mile mark of the race but I joked about it with the volunteers who were giving us our last directions. Whitney and my friend Justin were both at the finish when I crossed and we got a pic with the amazing COWBELL medals!!!!!
This was a race size that made it easy to find someone you were looking for and easy to get a Porta potty. It wasn’t overwhelming, but there were enough runners to create a really good vibe! The DJ was WICKED and I’m pretty sure he was playing Ma$e and Nelly just for Whitney and I while we hydrated, snacked on donuts and Picky Bars, Snapchatted like it was going out of style and stretched in the stage area.
We stuck around for about half of the awards announcements which were hosted by Oiselle founder and CEO, Sally Bergensen, and Oiselle’s “master of shenanigans” Dr. Sarah Lesko. It was nice that the announcements started promptly at 9:30; there wasn’t much waiting around at all. One thing that will stay with me forever, was when Sally said that “everyone is invited, but you are the ones who showed up“. It’s true. We showed up to race and be awesome and did just that. Official chip time results were accesible on multiple computers available to the runners which was so convenient, so we got our results and then took the walk back to our place to clean up and chill out.
I am happy with the race I ran! Although I didn’t do a very good job at pacing (went out too fast in the first kilometers, sagged in the middle, wasn’t able to shit-kick the end..) I am still content with my overall time and that I felt strong during almost all of the race. I din’t have any soreness or injuries, gut issues or any other unwanted suprises while running. Also, I experienced what I needed to to really understand the importance of holding back at the beginning! As for hydration, next time I’ll run with my handheld water bottle because I’ve decided I officially dislike drinking from the little cups and always spill all over myself and swallow air or choke!
What I gather from talking to other runners is that the results look a tiny bit fast..most people said their official time was close to a minute faster than Garmin time, which was true for me too… but we go with official results! Hahaha so here is how I fared and I am very good with it, and feeling stoked to make a precise pacing plan with Coach Andrew for Calgary in less than FIVE weeks!!!!!!
Whitney and I spent the rest of the weekend winning the tourist Olympics! We ate everything, went to Pike Place (and of course the first Starbucks), met Loounch the Bull Terrier, gave REI all of our money and then wrapped up our day with the most delicious Caribbean sandwiches at Paseo and then gelato at the Fainting Goat, all in Fremont. You need to go there! Also highly recommend Roxy’s Diner for brunch, which is where we ate on Sunday morning! Our final Uber ride back to SeaTac from Fremont was about thirty bucks.
The weekend in Seattle for the Tenacious Ten was SO good. Weather was awesome, Uber’ing around was simple, the race was a wicked experience and the “tourist Olympics” was a success! I would definitely recommend the Tenacious Ten to anyone in the area or anyone with a special place in their heart for Oiselle and/or Seattle. The race is quite small and many people only like to travel to massive events, but I will return to this race again if my schedule permits it!! Excellent vibes and lots of girl power, even though it’s a co-ed event!
Recovery day from Rupert 1/2… much needed! Lots of stretching.
TUESDAY April 11th
8km easy – spent the first few kilometres literally trying to get away from a cute little dog who wouldn’t stop following me! I liked running with him but didn’t want him to get too far from wherever it is he lives..
WEDNESDAY April 12th
30 min of strength and stretching because that’s just all that happened
THURSDAY April 13th
Track workout! – 3km easy, 6×800 & 2×400 with 90 min rests, 2km easy
Omg. Kicked my ass. Need to work on pace consistency on the intervals, but awesome workout and really good confidence builder!
FRIDAY April 14th
Planed: 6.5 km easy with strides at the end
I didn’t read the file so ended up just running 4 easy miles… duh
SATURDAY April 15th
14km as workout – 4 mi (6.44km) easy, 4 mi working hard towards threshhold, 3 min rest, 1km hard
Awesome run!! I sometimes wish really badly that we had a 4 or 5 mile FLAT spot in town or on the highway, but this is not the case…BUT it’s great training so whatever. That was hard. Last kilometer was more like “whatever I had left” combined with a brutal side cramp that came out of nowhere on the 3 minute rest but oh well! Feeling ready to race next Saturday!
SUNDAY April 16th
60 min crosstrain planned, opted for a recovery pace trail run with husband and we walked the steep hills to really keep it easy and the heart rate low
This week felt like a blur. I have been completely preoccupied with the Boston Marathon and all the coverage happening for the race, which takes place tomorrow! Speaking of the Boston Marathon, it’s basically my ultimate dream above all else to qualify and run it…
2019. That’s the plan. I am going to make that happen. Mark my words.
In early 2016, I was amongst the first group of students to complete an online course created by Kate, creator of The Sober School, called Getting Unstuck. I’ve mentioned this course before, and The Sober School and Kate, and how much participating in the program helped me when I decided I didn’t want to drink alcohol anymore.
There are now multiple groups of people who have completed this course and Kate is really on a roll with her program, it’s amazing!!! She is adding a mini interview series to the Getting Unstuck course. Every Sunday, part of the lesson will involve an interview with a graduate of the course, talking about their experience of sobriety. I feel really proud that she picked me as one of the people to interview and it was really interesting answering the questions. Revisiting this stuff was pretty cool after almost 500 days! Here’s what we talked about.
Kate: How were you feeling about your drinking before you joined the course, and what made you decide it was time to stop?
Jamie: “Before joining the Getting Unstuck course, I felt like I had serious issues with alcohol and I was stuck in a vicious cycle that I wanted to break for a really long time. Over ten years. When I drank I’d adopt a “YOLO, who f*ckin cares” attitude and disregard everything: next-day responsibilities, money, my physical and mental health, relationships with friends, family and significant other. Priorities temporarily didn’t exist. I also had a lot of friendships that weren’t really based on anything except drinking.
Then, when I wasn’t drunk anymore I’d be totally swallowed up by loneliness because a lot of the “fun” I’d been having was fake. I’d experience extreme guilt, anxiety, depression and shame and reality would set in and those priorities that went out the window mattered again, and my life would feel out of control. I would have physical symptoms like nausea, shakiness, acid reflux, dizziness, low blood sugar, irritability, etc and I would tell myself I had to stop treating my body and mind this way. I felt needy and paranoid about the tiniest things when I was hungover and I would research how to quit drinking all the time but never found anything relatable until I found Kate’s blog.
I knew it was time to stop for a long time, but then I basically wrecked Christmas and had to sit and deal with myself for 8 hours at work on Boxing Day and it was actual torture. I finally decided enough was enough and took some action.”
Kate: What was early sobriety like? How did you feel during the first month or so?
Jamie: “At first I was obsessed. I’m like that though, I usually approach new things 100%, not sure if that’s healthy or not, but whatever, it was the way I knew I could succeed. I read Kate and Belle’s blogs all day, every day when I wasn’t busy doing other things, and I went on Amazon and bought a bunch of books. I also went out and did a big grocery shop to stock my new non-alcoholic beverage cabinet at our house. I read every article I could find about non-alcoholic drinks and I was meticulous about planning out the social events I was going to go to and what I’d bring with me to drink. Non-alcoholic beer was pretty much my saviour. I went out sometimes, but I usually went home early when I was feeling awkward or annoyed by drunk people, or if I noticed that the situation was genuinely not that fun..which I’ve found happens a lot!
I made sure my now-husband knew how serious I was about this sober mission. It helped that I simultaneously started training for my first full marathon and I used that as a way to get people off my back when they’d ask why I wasn’t drinking. The first month or so it was a project that I was fully engaged in and committed to. I had to be excited about it or it would be a chore and I’d have failed like I did a hundred times before. Every time I arrived home sober it was a win. And every morning I woke up without a hangover was one too. Once it became more natural, it was a little anti-climactic because I no longer had to focus all my energy on being sober. I had gained some momentum. But I adapted, obviously,, and transferred my focus to the bigger picture of my life and what I wanted to do with it. Hands down, planning what to drink instead of booze was the number one thing that helped me at first and still does.”
Kate: What’s life like now?! What do you love most about alcohol-free living?
Jamie: “Now, I feel like my life is what I wanted it to be like before I quit booze. It’s what I was looking for but never found long-term. I would drink for all sorts of reasons that I didn’t recognize at the time, like to feel confident, free, alive, pumped up, to “give zero f*cks”, be funny, social, etc. Once I figured out that I didn’t need liquor for any of those things it was like a light bulb went on.
Everything is more authentic now. I hang out with people I can have good conversations with, I do my favourite things with a clear head and not feeling like shit, and I’m generally just a way more efficient person with way more time and money. What I love most for sure is that I never ever feel guilty and depressed about being irresponsible the night before and spending too much money and treating my body like a garbage can. And I feel like I’m way more grounded. Life is just really good.”
Kate: What sober tools are in your toolbox? How do you deal with emotions or situations that you might have previously drunk over?
Jamie: “The most important tool I learned is playing out the situation to the end when I feel like drinking. Asking myself, “do you really want to wake up tomorrow dehydrated with all your makeup still on and a smaller bank account, a migraine, nausea, the shakes and on the verge of an anxiety attack all day long?” NO, I don’t. My other tools are non-alcoholic beer and virgin Caesars as my go-to drinks, or soda with lemon. Drink something you like! Another tool is I buy something I want and then remind myself: this costs the same amount as a night out back in the day, but this is useful and will last – not get guzzled away. Rewards are important. It’s also really fun to get ready to go out and wear something new and remind myself that I’ll look healthy, happy and my makeup will be good the whole evening instead of gradually getting smudgy, getting a red face, wine lips and droopy eyes and looking like a trainwreck by midnight and possibly embarrass myself or do something I’ll regret.
When it comes to emotions, I no longer have such extreme emotional experiences as I used to when I was drinking all the time. I feel more grounded and resilient as a whole. But when I do have a shit day or something stressful or overwhelming is happening, I usually just go for a run or have a nap or talk about it with a friend or my husband. Getting drunk and postponing dealing with things is WAY worse than just taking a deep breath and handling it head-on and in my right mind.”
Kate: What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve had to deal with since you stopped drinking? How did you overcome it?
Jamie: “The biggest challenge was initiating the decision and sticking to it at the beginning. Change is really hard. That involved learning about why I thought I wanted/needed to drink. Nowadays, very rarely, when it randomly feels like summer or I smell campfire and get caught off guard, I get a random urge to start day drinking or “get f*cked up” but then I think rationally about it and I’m like wait, that’s just an old reflex, no I don’t. Gaining momentum at the begining was hard because it was new and different. People question you. I still question myself. Occasionally I have moments where I think, am I missing out and being antisocial because I’m chilling at home on this particular Saturday night?? I have felt unsure and sad for a split second, but then I remind myself of how good my life is and I get over that moment of uncertainty. I socialize in tons of other ways and I still go to parties when I feel like it!
These days I don’t really feel like there are many challenges. It’s simple now because it makes sense. I don’t enjoy feeling like shit! Sobriety is like a secret weapon that makes my life amazing and no one can take it away from me. When people ask me if I’ll ever drink again, I don’t even think twice about saying no. It actually makes zero sense to me now, to drink alcohol. It serves me in zero ways.”
Kate: Tell us about something wonderful that would never have happened if you’d still been drinking!
Jamie: “I wouldn’t have run 3 full marathons (so far!) and be training for my 4th with the goal of breaking 4 hours this time! I wouldn’t have the healthiest, most amazing marriage I can imagine. I wouldn’t have a life that feels good, manageable and organized the majority of the time. I wouldn’t have the opportunity to be a role model for other people who are or were in my previous situation. OH and I wouldn’t have taken my best 2 vacations of my life so far; a week long health retreat in the Mayan Riviera, and Walt Disney Marathon Weekend in Florida.”
Kate: Do you have any tips or advice for people taking the Getting Unstuck course right now? What do you wish you’d known, when you were on the course?
Jamie: “My advice is to commit to it fully and even if one of the exercises or discussions doesn’t feel important or relevant to you, just go with it because it’s all valuable. What I wish I’d known when I was doing the course was that one day I’d be proud of what I was doing, and not unsure and embarrassed. But all of that comes in time.”
Kate: a few quick-fire questions:
My favourite sober book is…”Unwasted – My Lush Sobriety by Sacha Z. Scoblic”
My favourite quote is … “always changing, but I love quotes about running from amazing female elite marathoners like Kara Goucher, Deena Kastor, Shalane Flanagan, Paula Radcliffe, etc”
My favourite alcohol-free drink is…. “Virgin Caesars and fake beer! Ginger beer too, and a super easy one is soda with lemon.”
My favourite sober treat is … “online shopping for running gear, fancy baths with candles and essential oils and a good book or Instagram, going on running trips to out of town races!”
WOW!! I loved answering these questions and being so sure about my answers. I remember sitting at work on Boxing Day 2015 wishing that I could fast-forward to a time where everything felt better and I felt healthy and grounded. In about a month it will have been 500 days since I had any alcohol at all, and it seems to have flown by, looking back. If you relate to anything you’ve read here, I encourage you to check out Kate’s website, The Sober School. It is awesome. And if you have any questions or need a hand, contact me!