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

 

 

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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

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

 

You CAN’T do it.

I’ve decided to write a blog about the man at packet pick-up that really upset me. Here is some background information about our conversation.

Last weekend we picked up my race packet for The Buffalo Stampede ten mile race. Dan waited in the car while I quickly ran in. Or so I thought I would have. Packet pick-up is always exciting and usually takes a few minutes. I picked up my bib and headed to the shirt table where I was greeted by an older gentleman who asked me, “Is this your first time running the Buffalo Stampede? What is your time goal for the race?” I explained to him it was my first time running this race and I was using it as a training run with some people from the CIM (California International Marathon) training group.

I went on to tell him our training plan had us scheduled to run 12 miles that day so the goal was to complete the race and continue on for another two miles as a cool down. I told him that I joined this program with the hopes of qualifying for Boston at this years CIM. As I tried to make small talk and pick-up my items I was asked a few more questions. We then started discussing marathon training. He asked me if it was my first marathon and when I explained it wasn’t he asked me what time I had finished last year. As a runner I don’t like to share race times with people whether it’s my best race or my worst race, unless of course we have the type of relationship where you understand my running goals. To me, it’s just part of an unwritten, unstated runner code. When I said my last marathon time “was nothing to talk about” he insisted I tell him my time. Finally I did which was 4:55. I knew what his immediate response would be and was in disbelief by his feedback. He told me it was a really big time gap to try and qualify this year and that it more then likely was not going to happen. When I tried to explain that I am mentally much stronger and determined to work hard to qualify this year, he continued to name off the amount of Boston Marathons he’s ran and what his amazing times were, as well as the hundreds of marathons he’s completed in his lifetime. I didn’t ask but I politely smiled and responded with “That’s really admirable!”  Even the man handing out race bibs yelled over, “She’ll be fine.” Finally, someone lined up behind me and I had an excuse to politely leave the conversation. When I got to the car I told Dan about my conversation with this man and that it really bothered me.  Dan’s response was a typical husband response and was, “Who cares? Don’t worry about him!” I tried to brush it off and enjoy the rest of my day.

Later that night instead of being really excited about the race the next morning I felt myself making excuses as to why I would not run it. I didn’t leave out my running clothes the night before, and I didn’t set my coffee timer as I normally do the night before a race. All night I thought of simply not racing and taking the day off. I came up with a few valid excuses: my calves were tight, I was tired, I had way too much stuff to do Sunday.  In the morning, even though I had not done any of my pre-race rituals, I decided to join my friends and make the best of it.

Race morning I wasn’t the normal, cheerful self I am before a race. What that man said to me really bothered me and it started to mentally influence me. Once the race started I tried just focus on the 12 miles I needed to complete that morning. The first two miles I tried to keep up with my friends at a 7:50-8:00 min/mile pace. I decided by mile two that it was too fast for me and my calves were feeling really tight. I slowed down to a comfortable pace and ran two miles on my own. Mentally, I was giving up at mile four. I wanted to stop. I contemplated stopping and “ubering” my way back to my car. I even started looking for a police officer who could possibly drive me back. I text Dan “in pain might stop.”

 Since I was running and texting it actually was spelt “I bad pain night stop.”  To which Dan replied with a question mark.  At that moment I heard my friend Emily yell out and ask if I was okay. I also saw my friend Andrea and decided to run with her. She was just the motivation and energy I needed to stay focused and finish the race. We ran together at a comfortable pace until about mile eight. Without her I would have never finished. By mile eight I felt great and decided to push myself to run the last two miles of the race at a much faster pace. I literally said to myself out loud, “You’ve got this! You can do it!” I pushed through and finished strong. I even completed the two extra miles that I told myself I wasn’t going to do at mile four.


  
To my surprise I ended up finishing the race 2nd in my age group. I was shocked. My friend called me on the drive home to tell me to turn around. I had seen the results posted on the wall on my way to my car but didn’t bother to look at them because I was sure I wasn’t on there. To my surprise I actually placed. I doubted myself the entire time and was so bothered by that man’s negative comments. During the first half of the race I was in my head telling myself: that I would never qualify for Boston and everyone around me was thinking the same thing. That it was just too much time to shave off my first marathon and that ultimately, he was right, I was never going to be strong enough or fast enough to run 26.2 miles at an 8:12 pace. It was impossible.

This isn’t the first time someone has discouraged me from meeting my goals and it won’t be the last time but it was the first time I let it get the best of  me.  Since starting the CIM training group I have grown to be a stronger and more consistent runner. It is giving me the confidence and support I need to achieve my goal.

To the man at the shirt table that told me I could not reach my goal: thank you. I’m taking your negative comments and using it to my advantage. What I didn’t explain to you because I didn’t feel it was necessary to explain to a complete stranger was that last year my goal was to simply complete my first marathon-whether I walked or CRAWLED across the finish line. THAT was my goal. To finish. Which I did and I did with pride. Last year I didn’t train anywhere near as much as the level of training I am doing this year but after finishing my first marathon I knew that nothing was impossible. It saddens me that I let you get the best of me. Luckily, the runners I have met and choose to surround myself by are some of the most motivating and positive people you can have in life.  I love being a part of the running community because we support each other through the good and the bad. Although you may not have meant for your words to hurt my feelings, they did, but not for long. I hope you will take this as a lesson learned to be mindful of the words you choose and learn to encourage others. I am proud of you for accomplishing so many achievements in your lifetime and I hope to one day be the same way. Until then I hope to help others stay positive and achieve their goals. I understand the journey to meeting my goal may seem impossible to you and even if I don’t qualify for  Boston this year as long as I work my hardest I’ll walk away with a sense of pride knowing that I did my best. The beautiful thing about running a marathon is that it makes the impossible possible and I will not let  you or anyone take that away from me. Thank you for the motivation to put my all into achieving the impossible.

Sincerely,

Tiffany James, Running (slowly but surely) for Carbs

#ByeFelicia

Motivational Monday: Don’t let doubt and fear take over your goals.

At the beginning of the year I made it a personal goal to work towards qualifying for the Boston Marathon. The first few months I was all about it. Nothing could get in the way of me qualifying for Boston. Now, well into the year, I have been starting to doubt myself. Not just doubt but become overwhelmed with the fear of not qualifying.  This year I will have to run CIM under 3hrs 35 mins 00 sec. Last year I ran my FIRST marathon at 4:57:40. That means I would have to shave off 1hr 22mins 40sec. How the heck am I supposed to do that?! Well, I’m going to try. After turning 27 and almost being married for four years, the number one question I get asked about life is: “when are you going to start having kids?” My response is always, “After I run Boston.” Now everyone knows that I will start (or start trying anyway) making mini-me’s after 2017.

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For most runners, Boston is the pinnacle of personal records. Sometimes when I think about the feeling of crossing the finish line and becoming a Boston qualifier I actually tear up. Most of my long runs consist of me visualizing myself crossing the Boston finish line and most of the time running a 7:30 mile. So why am I terrified?

It’s human nature to doubt ourselves and not push ourselves to our fullest potential. Over the summer I have been continuously running but with running injuries, heat, and just everyday life, I have become really worried about meeting my goal. I have even given myself an out: that if I don’t qualify for Boston at the California International Marathon this December, perhaps I can try to qualify at the Pony Express Marathon in May 2016. By mid-year, I found myself slowly letting the fear of not achieving my goal overtake who I am as a runner.

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Luckily, I didn’t let that last for long. I guess in many ways this post is a way for me to stay accountable and let all of you (the amazing readers) push me to work harder than I ever have. After a discussion with an inspiring running friend, it was just the motivation I needed to get back on track and not let fear and doubt ruin what I have been working so hard towards. I couldn’t sit here and write to you about running and being the best runner you can be while I’m being a chicken and doing the complete opposite.

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I have found that surrounding myself with friends who have similar running goals and family who support keeps me focused. Also, mentally training myself is just as important as physical training. Recently, I’ve had a few different people try to talk me out of qualifying for Boston because it was such a big leap. Taking 1:20 minutes off my marathon time is a huge deal. But if I let the “what ifs” and the slight possibility of me not meeting goal consume me I will never achieve a level of success I deserve.

One tool I feel that  has helped me immensely is visualization. Taking a few seconds during runs, imagining myself crossing the finish line, or exceeding my fitness goal will help me mentally stay focused and thrive on my positive outlook.  I’m confident all of these steps can help you too. Don’t let anyone including yourself stop you from achieving the best version of yourself.

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Crap, it’s my birthday.

Wait, did I miss something?! How is it already July?

Every year around summer time I am reminded that I am getting older. I feel smarter, more fit, and confident at my age now than I did in my early twenties. That’s the beauty of getting older. However, I didn’t always feel this way. Getting older used to terrify me. I think it’s because birthdays reminded me to stop and reflect about where I was in life. For me, I was never where I wanted to be or where I had imagined myself years before. We tend to set such high expectations of where we should be and then to make matters worse, we compare ourselves to others.

Four years ago I decided that instead of picking on myself and feeling sad about all of the things I hadn’t accomplished in life, I would set a new goal every year. A running goal of course. My goal was to run a distance I was not used to running and therefore I would feel a sense of accomplishment when I was done. So, in 2013, the week of my birthday, I ran 10 miles. At that point, my tradition started: to increase my mileage on my birthday by one mile each subsequent year. This year I added two more extra miles just because why not?

Even though I have run longer distances, I still look forward to my birthday run. Running has not only taught me how to be a happier and healthier person but creating a goal I can achieve every year makes me appreciate where I’m at in life-and appreciate growing older. Setting an attainable goal I can be proud of without any limitations allows me to celebrate “ME” and count my blessings.

2013

 

2014 

   
2015  

  
  
 Do you have any running birthday traditions? If not I challenge you to make one starting this year!

#RunningforCarbs #ByeGirl