Alrighty, well here it is. I can’t avoid it any longer. I’m NOT running CIM. “Oh no, what happened?!” is what you’re probably wondering. Nothing, nothing happened. For over a year now, I have been pushing my body to its limits and bottom line, I’m exhausted. After working for years to finally meet my goal of qualifying and getting into the Boston marathon, it left me in this weird space of, “what’s next?” For us runners, it’s always more, more, more! Faster times, new PRs and another race to conquer. For weeks during training I could tell that my runs felt “different.” I didn’t want to give up and feel like a failure because I’ve had hard training cycles before, but this was different. I didn’t want to listen to the voice deep down inside that told me my heart wasn’t in it. Quitting wasn’t an option! Until one day I set out to run 10 miles with my husband biking next to me and he could tell I was struggling. I ran 8 and he said it was time to go home. I was pissed. The schedule said 10, and if it says 10 you HAVE to run 10. He looked at me and said, “if you could tell yourself three years ago you were going to qualify for the Boston Marathon twice, would that be enough?” “Of course,” I responded. “Let it be enough.” I realized after this conversation I was avoiding the truth within myself. My heart wasn’t in it. I didn’t want it that bad and it showed in my runs. Running wasn’t fun for me anymore, and every time I headed out to run mile after mile, a little of my happiness seeped away. I finally decided to stop marathon training and stop running altogether. YES, I stopped running for over a week! And guess what? I survived! I actually didn’t miss it. I would feel like a complete hypocrite if I always preach about, “listening to your body & always RUN HAPPY” yet I wasn’t doing either. My body needed a break and it became very obvious when I didn’t miss going out for runs. Taking a well deserved off season from now until January is just what I need to get ready for the Boston freakin’ Marathon! Don’t get me wrong, eventually I’ll start running again, but when my body feels it’s ready. I will still be joining in on all the CIM festivities and spectating so HARD! So from one runner to another, always take care of yourself first and listen to your gut! Your instincts are there for reason. Races will always be there, but your health and happiness can never be taken for granted.
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. ❤️
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.
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.
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!
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
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.