Years in the making.

I wasn’t into sports in high school and even talked my way out of PE because I couldn’t be bothered to exercise. I hated running and avoided it any chance I could get. When I went into to college, I partied my a** off and lived a very unhealthy lifestyle. I drank a lot, ate terrible, and didn’t care about my overall health. It was later in life that I found running, or how I see it running found me.

In 2014 I decided to sign up for my first marathon. With very little training and not a clue of what I was getting myself into, my only goal was to finish. It was one of the hardest races I’ve ever ran. I remember saying to myself, “I will NEVER run a marathon again, why the F did I sign up for this?!” After completing the race, I felt a sense of accomplishment and pride in myself I had never experienced before. In those moments when I was walking and thought there was no way I could finish, something deep down inside me continued to persevere.

The following year I signed up for my second marathon and made it a personal goal to qualify for the Boston Marathon. I was more determined than ever and wouldn’t give up trying. I ended up getting injured weeks before the race due to poor self-care and changing jobs took away from training. But still, I felt I was going to BQ. On race day, I decided to try a new GU flavor, new long sleeve thermal (because it rained and I freaked out) and last but not least a new ankle wrap. Yup, I was THAT person. During the race I was a sh*t show. Not because of my time, but because I made a lot of mistakes along the way that I could have prevented. Even though I didn’t get my BQ, I never felt defeated. I took it as a lesson learned and decided I wanted to keep trying.

I went on to sign up for two marathons in 2016, still determined to work as hard as possible to earn my spot at Boston. On my third attempt at BQ’ing (Big Sur I ran for fun) I FINALLY qualified!!! I was literally throwing up as I crossed the finish line, and tears of joy fell down my face. Everything I had worked toward at this very moment had come together. After celebrating and enjoying a huge personal improvement, I then realized I most likely needed a bigger time cushion to assure my entry. I would be lying if I didn’t tell you I felt crushed. I was burnt out. I didn’t want to run another marathon. After not running for a month, I decided once again to attempt another marathon with an even faster time. This training cycle came with many obstacles along the way. Throughout the years, I faced so much self-doubt, fear and other people trying to bring me down, telling me I wasn’t going to do it. And at times, I thought I wasn’t going to either.

At Mountains 2 Beach marathon, I ran the best race of my life. I felt strong, collected, and knew that nothing would stop me from achieving my dream. As I crossed the finish line, all I could say was, “I did it, I did it, I did!” Every single mile, every bad run, every workout helped me achieve a huge accomplishment. It finally happened. You can never understand the power of self motivation, inner strength and persistent heart until you give something your all. Good things take time, and when it’s meant to be, it will happen. Stay patient and enjoy the ride. It WILL happen, because it happened to me. Above all, NEVER EVER give up. Tomorrow morning at 7 am, I get to register for the 2018 freakin’ Boston Marathon!!!!! Nothing is guaranteed but I know I have given it my all and feel content with where I am. ❤️

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I CAN do hard things.

Monday morning as I laid in bed with achy legs, I couldn’t help but think yesterday was all a dream. I was a flood of emotions when the reality set in that I qualified for the Boston freakin’ marathon. I’ve checked my official time over and over again just to make sure there wasn’t a mistake. Just to make sure there wasn’t a mix up. The weekend of CIM: trying to keep it together

The Friday before CIM was a rough day to say the least. Literally, everything went wrong and I was overwhelmed with stress. The next day I really had to focus on having a good attitude and resting as much as possible. I tried to not think about the race too much and have a normal night eating carbs and watching Dateline with Dan. My happy place.

At 3:30 am my alarm went off and  I felt calm, excited, and ready. Once we arrived at the start line, we warmed up as usual and ran a mile before the race. Yes, I’ve become THAT person. I know, right.?! I asked my coach, “why the heck are we running before a marathon?!” As if 26.2 miles wasn’t enough?! His response, “Oh so you will be warmed up and ready to run on pace for 26 miles??” Touche Chad, touche. The start and the first 10 miles

Lining up at the start line of the marathon was a surreal moment. I stuck by the 3:33 pace group knowing that was my goal for the day. I needed to get a 3:35 to qualify for the Boston Marathon and 3:33 was my goal. For the first 10 miles I felt really good. I even had to tell myself to slow down and use that energy later because I knew it was going to get harder. I had my music playing and I was hitting my goal marathon pace with with even splits, just like my coach recommended. I saw my grandparents, and aunt and uncle at mile 8 and it made me so happy. Every year they are always at mile 8 and I can look forward to seeing them and their cheering faces. Mentally, I was feeling very strong. I would tell myself things like, “You can do hard things, trust your training, you got this.” I knew things were going to get harder and I would begin to approach the hillier part of the course. In my head, I was breaking down the course by 5’s. I was trying to not count down miles, but rather take it one mile at a time.
Mile 10-20: Time to put in the work

My friend Jill met me at mile 10 and I literally couldn’t tell her enough, “I’m so happy to see you.” Jill ran me through some hilly miles. We chatted back and forth at times, and someone even said, “I don’t know how you two are talking right now?!” I responded, “Just a casual run with my friend” lol.  Jill was the best pacer a girl could ask for.  She was attentive and stayed right on pace. She calmed me when I was breathing heavy and told me to “relax.” She even-handed me water over and over and would constantly check on me. At some points we didn’t speak at all. We ran through the hills together and she made it easier for me to feel strong when I was beginning to doubt my strength. We initially planned on running miles 10-17 together but as we approached mile 17 she asked me if I wanted her to stay until mile 20, and I without a doubt answered, “yes please, thank you so much.” I remember seeing my coworkers Lisa and Jeff along the way and it really gave me the extra energy I needed to remain strong and focused.  Around mile 20 we saw Dan waiting to take over pacing and they switched off.

Mile 20-22: Some of the happiest miles of the race

Seeing my husband at mile 20 was a wonderful feeling. He was so happy for me and kept telling me how well I was doing. To be honest, I think he was a little surprised. In my past marathons I always struggled prior to seeing him and never met my time goal. We cruised through miles 20-22 and I was delighted to see my dad in front of Loehman’s plaza cheering with his coworkers and apparently making a Facebook live video. After passing him, I saw my friends from the Fleet Feet Racing team and yelled to Dan, “there’s my friends!!!” I was so excited to see them and I could feel their energy. Seeing my friend Jen and Cindy made me feel a sense of comfort and ease. Their smiling faces and cheering was the breath of fresh air I needed to keep going. I Felt like I was flying. We passed “the wall” and I was ecstatic. I even said, “F  you wall, woo hoo!” I think I may have jumped up at this point. After passing the wall we were greeted by  my dad and nephew who were cheering me along and telling me the rest of the family were coming up. Seeing my family on the corner of Fair Oaks and Howe Ave was one of the most special feelings. They were screaming and jumping up and down. It put a huge smile on my face and I couldn’t have been more happy in that moment, and tears of joy fell down my cheek. My husband saw how excited I was but reminded me to relax and use that energy to tackle the Sac State bridge ahead.
The last hill and fatigue setting in

Approaching the bridge I started to feel my legs get more and more tired. Seeing the Team Ride coaches on the bridge was awesome. I was waiving and smiling at them. Dan kept giving me water and coaching me along the mile, but noticed I was beginning to drop my pace. He kept telling me to “pick up the pace, let’s go.” When we got to East Sac I literally  just stopped. Dan had no idea I was going to stop, and neither did I. I was starting to doubt myself and I knew the road ahead was still very long. He turned around and said, “what are you doing?” I screamed back, “I just need 5 seconds, give me 5 seconds.” He said, “you don’t have 5 seconds. These 5 seconds can be the difference between a BQ and disappointment let’s go, NOW!” I was a mess. I may or may not have cussed him out a few times, but no matter what he would never let me give up on myself.  He grabbed me by the hand and holding hands I started moving again. It’s like he was recharging me with his positivity and coaching.

Mile 23.5: Cowbell corner and starting to want to quit

Approaching mile 23.5 I was in pretty bad shape. My face was telling everyone exactly how I felt. I saw my friend by Sacred Heart and she yelled, “keep going Tiff, Goooo!” I was so happy to see Mariana and Henry. Her yelling that at me was just what I needed to push through. I could hear the cowbells from afar and I knew my Volee friends were going to be coming up. I kept telling Dan, “My friends, Oiselle, they will be there, I hear them.” He was leading the way yelling at me, “well let’s go then, let’s see your friends.” I saw my volee friends and started to tear up when we locked eyes. I was struggling and seeing them made me feel like I was going to be okay. Mile 23 was my slowest mile the entire race. I went from a strong 8-8:05 to an 8:44 split. My legs felt exhausted and I kept questioning myself in my head. I would tell myself, “I’m so tired, this is hard, I can’t, yes you CAN, you can and you will.” I was mentally beginning to give up. Dan knew I was struggling and kept yelling at me and pushing me to keep moving and never ever stop. I saw my friend walking and visibly upset as we approached the end of East Sacramento. I panicked for a second and took every ounce of energy in my body to yell, “C’mon let’s go! Follow me!!” As much as my friend needed to hear it, I needed to hear it too. Dan was shouted, “babe c’mon you need to finish this.”

Midtown: My face said exactly what I was feeling

Running along L street I had to try my hardest to stay motivated. I wanted to quit, hell I wanted to walk. I looked down at my watch when  I noticed I was losing time. For the longest time I was sticking behind the 3:30 pace group and suddenly saw them pass me. I began to freak out and yelled at Dan, “where is the 3:33 pace group, are they behind me?” He was yelled, “don’t worry about that right now, keep moving and let’s do this.” I saw my coworkers around Sutter and wanted to stop and stay with them. I wanted to cry and fall down. I felt really weak at this point.  As we passed by they yelled, because they saw how much I was struggling, “we love you Tiffany.” My heart was so happy. I knew we were getting closer to the Fleet Feet Sacramento Aid station and that I would see more of my coworkers soon. I saw Dusty and Staci and looked over to them with a look that said, “please help me.” Dusty gave me a dose of tough love and it’s what I needed to hear. He yelled, “How bad do you want it?” At that moment I had to ask myself, “how bad do you want it Tiffany?” Dan kept counting down the streets and at this point I couldn’t really hear him anymore. I was in a weird place mentally. We saw the 3:33 pacers pass us and I felt like I was seeing my dreams slip farther and farther away. Dan wouldn’t let the gap between the pacers and myself get too big. He kept telling me about “how hard I worked and he wasn’t going to deal with me upset because I gave up on my goal this close to the end.” He kept asking me what time I had on my watch and I ignored him. He kept telling me to go faster, and I yelled with frustration, “I’m doing the best I can!” At this point, I had picked up my pace but I wasn’t at my targeted pace. I saw how close the end was and I questioned if I was going to be able to do it.  Dan grabbed my hand and forced me to move faster. He yelled, “what the mind can conceive, the mind can achieve.” He had made signs with motivational sayings the week of CIM and posted them around the house. This was the one saying that stuck with me the most, and I needed to hear it at this moment.

The race to the finish line

I saw my coaches and suddenly knew I was approaching the finish. You know when they say “run with your heart?” That statement has never been more true than the last half mile of the race. I had to dig deep, and run with what little energy I had left in my body. My legs were exhausted, and mentally I was done, but the heart is a powerful thing. I raced as fast as I possibly could with every ounce of my heart I had left. My arms were all over the place and I could hear my family yelling my name. I could see the clock and see my goal getting closer and closer. I ran as fast as I could. As I was beginning to pass the finish everything went into a blur. I felt my body need to throw up. I moved to the left side of the finish and began throwing up. I felt like I couldn’t breath and was crying. My body was in shock. A woman came over to me and told me we needed to move me over and I asked her “to stop my watch.” I had no idea what time I had finished at. I didn’t think I hit my goal, especially after seeing the 3:33 pacers pass me. I laid a few feet away from  finish line, collapsed forward. As I began to stand up I could feel myself dry heaving and very light-headed. Again, I stumbled past the crowd and fell to the floor and threw up water and bile. My husband rushed over to me. As I sat in vomit, completely exhausted he received a text with my official time. He looked at his phone and showed it to me and yelled, “You fucking did it babe!! You qualified for Boston, YOU DID IT!!” A flood of emotions took over both of us and we started crying, I couldn’t stop crying. We hugged and held each other and it’s like at that moment we were both relieved and happy it was over. For the record, Dan was NOT crying haha. Dan had something in his eye that generated tears and he was NOT, I repeat NOT crying.


Warning: Ugly crying face above

Finally, I stood up and drank some water and began to feel better. I saw my family waiting in the cheer section. My parents shouted at me, “Did you get it, did you get it?” I broke down sobbing and said, “I did it!!! I qualified for Boston!!!” I hugged my mom, dad and sister and we cried together. This was the first marathon my sister has ever been to and it was a special feeling having her there. My parents were ecstastic and my mom cried as much as me! Being greeted by my family at the finish is always one of my favorite highlights. We all hugged, we cried, and we laughed. My niece and nephew who are only two and four were so excited to see me. My nephew asked me to carry him and my niece wanted to wear my medal, I love these two so much. My friend Mariana and Henry met us at the finish and we cried and hugged. She has heard me complain and talk about everything running for months, and always encouraged me to never give up and go for a BQ, even when I doubted myself.
I am a Boston Qualifier!!! What I learned.

For anyone who knows me or has been following my journey for sometime will know the journey has not always been easy. My first marathon in 2014 I finished at 4:57, a year later my second at 4:29, and my third 4:17 in April 2016. Initially, my coach and I decided my goal for CIM would be to try to run a 3:45 marathon. It was a big push from my last finish in April. After running Urban Cow half marathon and talking to my friend who encouraged me to go for it, I asked my coach if I could try and train at a 3:33 marathon pace. We decided we would try it out and in a few weeks evaluate how it was going. I had two separate injuries during this training cycle (my IT & hamstring) and we didn’t know if it would be possible to get hit my GMPs during the marathon. I missed runs because I needed rest and would email my coach weekly asking if I should change my marathon goal. Every week, he said no. No matter what, he would never let me quit and calmed my nerves even when I would go into panic mode (which was often).

I learned that with consistent training/good coaching, a strong support system, my family, and whole lot of determination anything is possible. If someone were to tell me last year I would become a Boston Qualifier at this CIM I wouldn’t believe them. When I showed up to the start line I was a new person, a runner I had never been before. I was strong, focused, and determined to run my heart out. There were so many times when people doubted me or even made me question if meeting my goal was possible. Heck, on some days I didn’t think I could do it. I’ve learned that dreams really do come true and we are much stronger than we think we are. I’ve learned that I can work through anything I put my mind to and to never give up even when things get hard. The two-year journey to reaching my goal was some of the most valuable life lessons I could have ever imagined. Dream big guys, and as always never stop running with heart. 

Put me in, coach.

 Running for Carbs blog just turned one! A year has flown by so quickly and it slipped my mind that I’ve had this blog for an entire year. At the start of 2015 I made it a personal goal to start a running blog and try and post at least once a month. Some months it’s easier and some months it’s harder but with the ongoing love and support it’s kept me motivated to keep writing. With that said, I will be celebrating by fundraising $2,500 for the charity Water For People and running the New York Marathon in November!!! To celebrate Running for Carbs one year anniversary it was only obvious that I would try to achieve a goal I thought would be impossible. That’s the beauty about running, it allows us to reach the impossible and motivate ourselves to reach for new goals.

Team Water For People will be running all of NYC’s 5 boroughs to support Water For People and mirror what millions of people around the world do everyday–walk long distances to collect clean water for their families. Not Everyone runs a marathon, but Water For People believes that everyone should have access to clean water and proper sanitation Forever.

Your donations go directly to Water For People to finance their water and sanitation programs in Africa, India, Central America and South America–programs that grow out of their belief that Everyone should have access to clean water and proper sanitation Forever.

Water For People is an international nonprofit humanitarian organization dedicated to creating reliable, safe drinking water resources, improved sanitation facilities, and hygiene education programs in the developing world; it currently operates in 10 countries: Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda, India, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Bolivia & Peru. The organization’s unique business-oriented approach works to establish partnerships between local and national government institutions, nongovernment organizations, private enterprise, and entrepreneurs to enable local communities, districts, and municipalities to plan, build, finance, maintain, and operate their own safe water and sanitation services. Water For People puts long-lasting solutions and 100% coverage of a region with safe water access for everyone at the forefront of its strategy. It fosters innovative solutions to water and sanitation problems that are adaptable worldwide, and through monitoring and evaluation of its program impact for at least 10 years post-implementation, Water For People ensures that its work is sustained by local partners.

I am asking all of you to please donate $26.2 dollars to help me achieve my $2,500 goal. If you are unable to donate 26.2 please donate whatever amount you are able to afford. Any donation will be helpful I achieving my goal. On top of working full time (40 hours a week), being a student, and training for marathons, I have taken on a second job to help me pay for the expenses of my trip to New York. I truly believe in this cause and will do everything in my power to meet my goal. Thank you for your support!

#RunningforCarbs #TeamWaterforPeople

 

 

A little kindness goes a long way

  
I know my blog is typically about running but for the first time I want to share with the running community and anyone who reads my posts about a topic that weighs heavy on my heart.

A few days ago on my lunch break while leaving the post office, I met a man who was sitting on the floor with his belongings. He asked if I had any spare change and I, of course, never carry cash. I was hesitant-unsure if I should offer him food or “politely” ignore his request. I decided I would offer him lunch and walked over to the pizza place a few doors down. As we were walking and talking I learned that his name is Randy and he has been homeless for five months. He’s maybe in his fifties, wearing a worn hooded sweater and jeans. He explained to me that he has a job interview in a month and was hoping it would change his situation. When I asked him why he wasn’t staying at a homeless shelter he said there weren’t very many in the area and sleeps wherever he can. I felt a bit naive to think there were numerous local shelters and that he could just go to one and sleep in a warm bed. In a perfect world that would exist. We ordered him a personal pizza with all the toppings. He was so grateful and appreciative of the meal. He told me he was hungry and God has been looking out for him the past few months because kind people like me were buying him food. He told me he understands why people don’t want to give him money and he’s very happy to accept food.

I got back into my car and as I drove off I  had this feeling that there was more that I could do to make a difference in this man’s day. I pulled up next to him and he came to  my passenger window. I addressed him by his name and asked him what items I could pick up for him at Target to help him get through the next few days. Words cannot describe the happiness that showed on his face. The first thing he asked for was laundry detergent so he could wash his clothes for his interview. I told him that of course I would get him that and asked him if there was any food in particular that he wanted. He was so excited and said, “Fish sticks or nuggets would be great. There is a man who lets me cook food at his house sometimes but I can’t stay or sleep there because of his family.”

I went into Target and decided to grab a few items every man needs on a daily basis. I picked up a pack of long men’s socks, laundry detergent, a travel size pack filled with a tooth brush, toothpaste, deodorant, razor/shaving cream, q-tips, and body wash. I also bought a first aid kit, a towel, and baby wipes. I headed to the food section and picked up fish sticks, nuggets, bread, ham, cheese, and hot dogs. I spent money on the basic every day essentials.

When I returned his face lit up and he said, “You really hooked me up!” I told him that I didn’t have a lot I could give him but I hope that it would help him out for the next few days. A woman who came out of the post office and witnessed our exchange said, “You are a blessing, a true blessing to this man” to me. With tears in my eyes I told Randy that sometimes people don’t realize how good they have it and situations like this put things into perspective. He said he could tell that I wasn’t doing this for any other reason than me having a kind heart. I told him I would try and find some sweaters my husband was willing to donate and visit him tomorrow. He thanked me over and over.

When I got back into my car I began to cry. I wanted to do more. I knew God had put him in my path today because this morning I prayed for guidance with a personal situation that had been upsetting me and was looking for some relief. It was in this moment I knew God wanted me to meet Randy to show me that everything was going to be okay and it could always be worse. I immediately contacted Joanne, a woman’s group leader at my church (Capital Christian), and asked her to help me find a shelter for Randy. She sent me the information to a shelter in the Elk Grove area that would provide him with dinner, a bed, and breakfast for a few days.

I decided to share this story with all of you not to brag about me helping others because this is something I always try to do. I would like to bring perspective to everyone that helping others is the most simple thing we can do. I don’t expect anyone to have the same religious views as me but to try and be more compassionate and kind towards those in need.  We don’t all have to go out and buy $50 worth of things for a homeless person but one small gesture can change someone’s  life. Daily stressors with careers and family can sometimes cause us to get angry about the things we don’t have. We should focus on the things we do have and count our blessings because things could always be worse. Don’t get me wrong, life can be really hard but I’ve never stressed about when my next meal would be or whether or not I would have a bed to sleep in. I’ve been blessed with a loving family and it’s our job to not judge others about how they got into that position but try and make a difference in someone else’s life no matter how small or big the gesture is. I challenge anyone that reads this post to do one nice thing for a homeless person. We may not be able to change the world but we can try and make a dent in it.

Thanks for reading everyone! xo

 

Meet U.S. Olympic Marathon Hopeful


I had the pleasure of being introduced to Kaitlin Gregg Goodman who qualified for the Olympic trials at the 2014 California International Marathon, with a 2:39 finish. At first I thought, “is this real life?” What an honor to share with all of you and ask questions only a carb loving runner would wonder. It’s not everyday you get to befriend an athlete that has a shot at becoming an Olympic marathon runner.

I recently caught up with Kaitlin while she was training in her hometown of Davis, Calif., for the upcoming Olympic trials and learned more about her life. Her story is truly inspiring and you will learn from a pro runners perspective that all miles good and bad are worth “running joyfully” through.

When did your love of running begin?My love of running began at an early age – my dad was a runner and I ran my first 5k with him at age 8 (well, I ran most of the way – there were a few walk breaks!). I wasn’t the most coordinated child (hand-eye coordination wasn’t my forte) but I could run fast, so when I reached junior high school, joining the cross-country and track teams was an easy choice. I’ve been running competitively ever since, and loving it.

How long is your training plan for a race this important?
I began my buildup for the Olympic Trials marathon back in November. 3.5 months is a little longer than normal for me for a marathon, but I wanted to have adequate time to gradually increase my mileage before the Trials. It’s been a long but great training segment!

What’s your favorite carb?
In training, my go-to carbs are PowerBar Berry Blast PowerGels – I’ll take one to four of these for fuel on a long run, depending on how far I’m going. The caffeine in this flavor is an added bonus
Post-run, breakfast pastries are my favorite “cheat” carbs, especially scones and muffins. I enjoy experimenting in the kitchen and trying out healthy versions of recipes for both. After the Olympic Trials Marathon, I’ll be devouring a donut! 🙂

How do you balance being married, running, and coaching?
I’m blessed to have a very supportive husband who is very committed to my running goals. He will frequently bike with me on my long runs (he’ll carry my PowerGels and water for me), so we get to spend extra time together that way. It’s tough when my training or races take me away from our home in Providence, so I’m very thankful for FaceTime when we’re apart.
Coaching is easy to balance with my own running because it doesn’t feel like work to me – it’s really fun for me and I love watching my athletes hit new milestones and reach their goals.
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What inspires you when you have a bad run?
When I have a bad run, I think about a friend of mine who is currently battling cancer. She fights every day and approaches cancer with courage, through the good days and the bad ones. She has a positive attitude and such strength, and she continually inspires me to keep pressing on.

What goes through your mind during a qualifying marathon? Do you have a mantra? (other than “running joyfully” while on a run?)
The marathon can be a really emotional race, and I had so many thoughts going through my mind during my qualifying marathon at CIM. Before the race, I dedicated different miles of the marathon to important people in my life – a mile for each of my siblings, a mile for friends who’ve supported me, for family members, a mile for my husband. These dedications helped me focus during the race, thinking about specific special people rather than the pain. But the later miles were quite challenging, and my mind was filled with self-doubt, wondering if I could do it. At the end of marathon, when I made the last turn onto the home stretch toward the Capital, I was overwhelmed with joy – for reaching my goal and qualifying for the Olympic Trials, and also that the race was over – I was so relieved to be done!
When racing, I often repeat “calm + controlled” to myself in the early miles to make sure I don’t go out too fast. In the later miles, when the going gets tough, I tell myself “one mile at a time” – it helps me to break it down and focus on the mile I’m in at the moment, rather than getting caught up on how much farther I have to go.
 
For beginning runners what would you tell someone who just signed up for their first race?
First, congratulations! Second, find a friend or group to run with – running is social and so much more fun with a training partner. If you have questions as you’re getting started, be it about workouts, fueling, or race strategy, don’t be afraid to ask questions of fellow runners, or seek out the expertise of a coach.
Mostly, just have fun out there – racing should fun, not a chore or something you “have” to do. So embrace the training and enjoy it!
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Do you have a pre-race ritual you always do? A meal you always eat?
The night before a race, I like to have a meal of a salad and pasta with chicken. Before bed, I’ll have a small piece of dark chocolate and then will watch some Netflix to take my mind off the race and calm my nerves.
The morning of a race, my go-to meal is two slices of wheat toast with peanut butter and honey. And COFFEE – a must for me! I’ll eat this about 2 hours before I warm up. An hour before the race starts, right before I warm up, I’ll have half a packet of PowerBar Energy Blasts (my favorite is the Strawberry-Banana flavor since it has a little caffeine) and some water. Then it’s go-time!
 
If you weren’t a pro runner what would you be doing?
If I wasn’t running professionally, I’d be working in public health. I’m really passionate about helping people live healthy, active lives. I’ve previously worked in corporate wellness and next fall I’ll be going back to school to get my Masters in Public Health at Brown University.
To learn more about Kaitlin visit her page at: Running Joyfully

I’ll quit when I’m finished!

This is by far the fastest post race blog post ever. Should I write the word post again?!  I just finished marathon #2 and am writing in bed with sour cream and onion Pringles and a bag of sour worms. I’ve already eaten a sandwhich, fries, and a soda. I feel like I can eat ridiculous amounts of food today and I’m really looking forward to an all out carb binge. FINALLY! Beware: lots of tears ahead, I’m a crier.

Let’s see where do I begin?!

Pre-Race vibes

I worked the information booth at the CIM expo the last two nights and enjoyed every minute of it. The excitement was contagious and was surrounded by all my running friends. I even made a new friend named Doug who gave me free foot massages under the table. (See pic below). Okay I know it may seem very strange but he told me he use to work with elite athletes until he got very sick and could no longer work. He was a very sweet older gentlemen and seriously changed my feet. I had zero foot pain during the race, but then again I guess that’s what a two hour massage will do to you. lol

Race morning

I had my alarm set for 4:30 but ended up waking up before my alarm. I was way to excited and immediately checked the weather. Dan dropped me off at Fleet Feet where I met our training group. It was so much fun riding the bus with friends. Everyone was so excited and the bus driver was even playing Christmas music. At one point we were listening to Rudolph the red nose reindeer and we all said “Yipee” at the same time. Haley and I sat together because DUH and chatted the entire way. Once we got dropped off to the start area we had an awesome tent with lots of delicious food and drinks. It was amazing! Oh and we even had our own porta potties. Talk about convienent!
 The start line

 I made my way to the 3:55 pace group. It was great to see Jamey (the pace group leader) and  a familiar face since we had ran with him on a 14 mile training run a few weeks ago. It was packed and raining but it was okay because we were about to start the race. David Guetta’s “Titanium” was playing and I knew it was a good sign that great things were in store for me.

The first 13 miles

I was feeling wonderful the first half of the race. I felt strong even though I was soaked and my headphones weren’t working. I was embracing my pace and felt unstoppable. I saw my grandparents and aunt and uncle around mile eight and from the videos I looked so happy and enthusiastic. They were so cute with their signs cheering me on. They are the BEST. Dan met me somewhere along the way and I gave him my headphones since they weren’t working.

 Mile 14-19 THE WALL

I hit the wall very early on or should I say the wall hit me. Things got really rough around here. I was alone with no music and no friends. I started giving up on myself. I walked at some parts and even contemplated quitting altogether. At some point while walking I read my text messages from friends and family and said to myself out loud, “YOU ARE NOT A QUITTER!” Even if I crawled to the finish line I was not going to give up. Not one thing in particular hurt but I was feeling very exhausted and my legs felt like they had bricks attached to them. At this point GUs and my electro drink were not tasting good and I couldn’t stomach it anymore.

Mile 20ish: Suavamente and smiling faces

Around mile 20ish I saw my parents, my brother, and niece and nephew and started to tear up. I yelled, “I am so happy to see you guys!” I gave them each a hug and refueled with real food that I gave to my mom yesterday just in case I needed something else to eat. Suavamente was playing (my favorite Spanish song) and I even felt like dancing well slow dancing, okay more like wiggling. At one point my three year old niece asked me for some of my water and it made me laugh. They were a breath of fresh air and exactly who I needed to see at that moment. They were the cutest littlest fans ever and make my heart so happy!

  
  

Mile 21: I’m pooped

Dan got lost and couldn’t find the race. (Insert sarcastic comment here) Thanks that’s exactly how I felt. I mean hello?! This wasn’t my first rodeo but he finally found me before mile 21 since we were talking on the phone. Yes, I was on the phone while running. A lady thought is was hilarious and she even took a picture of me. Dan ran with me and encouraged me not give up and keep going. I was telling him I felt like crap and that I was going to throw up. I took out all my rage on him. “I hate my GUs, I can’t drink my drink, I’m tired, I want to walk!” Luckily, he knows how I am and kept pushing me the entire way. He’s such a wonderful supportive husband. We saw my grandparents, and aunt and uncle again on the corner and they were cheering me on with their signs and encouraging words.

 Mile 22-Mile 23: the struggle is real

At this point I was running and walking off and on. Everything hurt and I felt naseous. I saw two of our Fleet Feet coaches and Cami said, “But you look pretty!” It made me giggle and kept me going. At the Sac State bridge (the worst part of CIM for me last year) I saw fellow ambassadors Amy and Leo. Their positivity and humor made me feel good even though I was dying inside. Along the way I saw my friend Mariana and her family and I started to tear up. She was cheering me on and telling me to “not stop and keep going”. I told her “It was really hard” and she knew that we both knew I was on the struggle bus. I saw the 4:10 pace group leader pass me and I tried to stay with them. I couldn’t and I was okay with that.

Dan met me again at a spot that I had struggled with last year. Right before L street. In Dan’s words, “You didn’t look good and you were really struggling.” It’s true. I was. I felt like I could either pass out or throw up or do both at the same if that’s humanly possibly. I was with the 4:25 pace group for a few minutes but was struggling to keep up.  I kept stopping to walk but Dan wouldn’t let me. He left me at one of the hardest points of the race because he had to leave and go to work. Last year he ran the last few miles with me. I was pissed he was leaving me but knew this wasn’t about anyone else but me. It was up to me to finish the race and push my body.

Mile 24-26: Is it over yet? Please tell me it is.

The music was getting louder and we were finally in downtown. I have driven these streets so many times but after running over 20 miles down them it was getting really difficult to come up with positive mantras. The crowds were getting larger and I could see the end getting closer. Around mile 25 I saw a man begin to walk and I tapped his shoulder and told him, “Do not walk, keep going and finish this race!” He looked at me and smiled in a way that said thank you without saying it and he kept on running. It’s funny because I was having such a hard time finishing the race and wanted to walk too but knew he had been working really hard the whole race.

We were finally on the side of the capitol building and passing clubs that I once use to party at and now am running races past. There was a women who had been running the race by me for miles and she started to walk. Again, I tapped her and told her, “Do not walk, you got this and you are almost done!” She looked at me and asked me “Are we really almost done?” I told her, “You see those lights over there and around that corner that’s all you have left” and off she went. They both passed me and I was proud of them. My friend Abby screamed from behind “TIFFANY!” I was so happy to see her. She encouraged me to keep going and not stop and that I was her motivation, I looked at her and said “today you are mine, go girl!”

Approaching the finish

Out of nowhere my legs started moving. I noticed if I hurried I would make it before 4:30 which earlier I didn’t even think was possible. I was pushing and not going to let anything stop me from finishing. I turned the corner and gave every last ounce of what I had left. I heard my family yelling my name and looked over to them and cheered with them. The woman who I encouraged to not stopped, gave me a hug and thanked me. It was truly one of the best moments I have ever experienced at a race. At that moment I knew that running had taught me something very special. I met my family and told them the stories about the people I helped encouraged along the way and they all had tears fill their eyes. They were so proud of me.

  
  
  
  

     
  
 I am truly blessed to have such a supportive family. We cried, we hugged, and we took lots of pictures. They knew it wasn’t the race goal time I had wanted but still made me feel very special and for that I will always have lots of wonderful memories.

What I learned

This marathon taught me more than I could have ever imagined. In the past when things get hard or I don’t like it anymore I just stop and go on to the next thing. But running has always been the one constant in my life. It’s made me realize I am much stronger both mentally and physically than I had thought. It has taught me that I can do anything and that my purpose in life is to help others and encourage them to do their best too. When the woman thanked me and gave me a hug suddenly everything made sense to me. Today wasn’t about pace or PRs today was about being the best version of myself.

Thank you all for all the lovely comments throughout my training and today. I write for you and hope to inspire you to run for carbs and be the best version of yourself! xoxo


#RunningForCarbs #ByeGirl

 

Hello? It’s me, running.

“Hello, it’s me, I was wondering
If after all these years you’d like to meet to go over everything
They say that time’s supposed to heal, yeah
But I ain’t done much healing”.


If you want to cry for no reason listen to Adele’s new cd “25”. It will make you compare anything in your life to the lyrics, even running. It’s guaranteed to make you cry or even sob. For instance the lyric, “They say time is suppose to heal”, and my response is “but I’ve taken two weeks off from running and I’m still in discomfort.” *Tears fall* Okay so  maybe not as dramatic but dealing with an injury weeks before a race can be very stressful.  

 I decided at this point I have two options: do nothing and have a pitty party, party of one, or do something about it and get better. After sulking and feeling really helpless about my calf/leg pain I finally made a doctor’s appointment especially since it wasn’t getting any better with rest.

I had x-rays taken on my right foot and calf. I have been so stressed out the past two weeks because I began to feel really anxious. Especially because I was out of town traveling for work for a week. When I don’t run I don’t feel like myself. I feel like a part of me is missing something. Not being able to run because of an injury requires  a lot of patience and time. Time to heal. When you are this close to a race you don’t have a lot of time. I found out that I do not have a stress fracture or calf tear. A huge sense of relief but I did have very tight muscles everywhere. Of course I blamed my twenty mile run but the reality of it was I haven’t been taking care of my body properly for months and it finally caught up to me. I needed to figure out my plan for the next two weeks.There are so many things to think about. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I will not be able to qualify for Boston this marathon and that’s okay.

 

  • Here are some things I really have to consider: Is it about a PR?

Most runners are so focused on PRing every race. My last marathon time was 4:55 and I knew after the Clarksburg 20 miler I could easily beat my old time but with my current leg/calf/foot situation I may not get the PR I worked so hard for.  Not every race has to be better in terms of time than the last. I strongly believe that there is something to learn from every race. Whether it’s learning about your body or just enjoying the time you had with your friends.

  • How would I feel if I had to stop and walk?

Last year I walked at different parts of the race. This year my goal was to not stop and walk and run the entire time and under a 9 min pace. Is it still worth racing even if it’s at a much slower pace? Of course it is! Races don’t always have to be about going super fast. For me, it’s about being the best version of myself and in order to be the best version of myself I have to take  care of myself. My experience at CIM will be no less if I have to stop and walk through parts of it. it may even enhance it.

  • There are always more marathons and CIM will be there next year.

This is the most popular thing I have heard people tell me. I think that the people that love and care about us the most want the best for us. Since I’ve visibly been limping and complained about the pain I’ve been in for the past two weeks of course they are going to suggest that I don’t run CIM.  Although this is very true there is a certain passion within a runner that only runners understand. After finishing last year’s marathon even though it may have been slow I felt I could do the impossible. I was once told I could never run a marathon because I wouldn’t commit to training for it. Not only did I prove them wrong but I also proved to myself that I could do anything if I worked hard and never gave up. So yeah of course there are more marathons but finishing CIM a race I said I will never run again will feel like I can do anything and that’s a very special feeling. After a lot of consideration I plan to listen to my body the next few days and still run the race. I created a revised version of our training plan for the next two weeks. I reviewed it with my running coach and feel it will help me get back to the aerobic fitness that will allow me to complete the marathon. Until then I will enjoy the ride and try and make the best of the situation. Even though my Boston goals may not happen this race I will continue to work towards achieving them and one day say I am a Boston marathoner. I can happily say the best thing I have gained from training isn’t my speed but it’s the friends I have created along the way. I may have started a training group because I wanted to become a faster stronger runner but what I  learned was so much more. The friends I have made are not only some of the supportive people I have ever met but they genuinely care about each others well being. There energy is contagious and they don’t mind talking about all the crazy things us runners talk about. So if I don’t PR at CIM I can at least say I have made friends that will be my friends for life and I believe that beats a PR any day.


#ByeGirl #RunningForCarbs