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

Tips: How to get back on track after summer.

ICYMI:  Here is the article I wrote for RunHaven.com on “How to get back on track after summer”.  To read the entire article click here: How to get back on track after summer.

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Running is a lot like marriage.

ICYMI:  Here is the article I wrote for RunHaven.com on “Running is a lot like marriage”.  To read the entire article click here: Running is a lot like marriage.

Even though marriage and running can seems worlds apart, they are in fact similar.

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#RunningforCarbs #ByeGirl

Spotlight on running friends: Amanda

Running with friends makes you accountable and faster.

Every month I will post about one of my running friends. My first post is a very special post about my best friend and sister Amanda. Amanda has been running since 2011 and participated in many 10ks and half marathons. She is one of my favorite people to run with because she pushes me to be faster.

Her running story is truly inspiring. She began running with our family and continued running before and after the birth of her daughter Rosie (my god daughter). Throughout her pregnancy she was consistently walking and even walked the day before she gave birth. She may be small but she is one tough cookie.

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I wasn’t able to run this particular race because I had just had surgery but Rosie and I walked the 5k and cheered her mom from the sidelines. Rosie was proudly sporting her medal and was pretty nervous waiting for her mom to finish.

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Running with a friend helps push me to be a faster runner. There is something about running with someone who has the same goals as you and will actually wake up early on a weekend just to run. Amanda has a pretty busy schedule and anytime she can fit me into it for a run is a nice treat. I love running with her because she pushes me to be the best runner I can be. When I feel I can’t do something she always encourages me and holds me accountable to the goals I set.

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This is the race Rosie earned her first half marathon medal! Amanda and my cousin Aaron took turns pushing her throughout the course. The pic below is Rosie after the race. It’s tough being pushed throughout San Francisco and she was refueling her carbs. Just like her auntie, she clearly loves bread. Even Rosie runs for carbs. IMG_1221

Watching my sister pass the finish line for this half marathon was emotional. I was really happy for her because she made it a goal to complete this half with her daughter and she did it!

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Another race we both did together was the Davis Moonlight half marathon. This was one of the most difficult races because it was over ninety degrees throughout the entire race.  Amanda and I decided for our post race meal we wanted In-n-Out burger which we deserved after sweating our booties off. We even opted to go inside to pick up our order so everyone could see our new medals because-hello we needed to show off! “Yes we did just run 13.1 miles, thank you!” We didn’t stop there. We then decided to get hats and take pictures with the nicest employee! Oh the things you do on a post-run high…

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Embrace running friends and appreciate that others are as crazy as you. I used to be a solo runner but sharing my time with friends who run, my life has drastically changed for the better. I can only hope that I give all of my running friends the same encouragement as they give me. It’s not every day that you meet people with the same hobby and goals. So, go give your running friends a big high five and a piece of chocolate, they will love you for it.

#Byegirl #RunningforCarbs

Let’s address the camel in the room.

ICYMI: With the warmer weather approaching that can only mean one thing: running shorts season. Here is the article I wrote for RunHaven.com on “How to avoid camel toe while running”.  I am now embracing my new nickname camel toe girl. To read the entire article click here: http://runhaven.com/2015/05/18/how-to-avoid-camel-toe-while-running/ . Yes, that’s my photo.

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#RunningforCarbs #ByeGirl #NoToeZone

When all your running friends are moms.

In honor of Mother’s Day, today’s post is about moms. Running moms. I’m in the age group where my friends are either getting married, having babies, or already have babies. It’s just become part of our running schedules to coordinate times based on babysitting availability.

What do you do when all of your running friends are moms? Most of my closest running friends have children. Some weekends I’ve tried to schedule a run and no one can meet me because they have plans with their families. As selfish as I may want to be, I get it. I really do. Here are a few tips for keeping up with training when all of your friends have kids. I’ve included pictures throughout this post with all of the running moms in my life.

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1. Be flexible.

Okay so you don’t have kids. Wonderful! But all of your friends do. As busy as we (people without kids) get, their lives are that much busier with the coordinating of all things children. Be flexible. It’s easier for you to work around their schedules.

2. Understand that sometimes plans change.

For runners without kids let’s just call us RWK (since everything’s more fun in abbreviations), we plan these long runs with high expectations. Maintaining a certain pace, GUs at mile five, meet at 8am sharp, have the same meal before every run. As simple as life can be for RWK, our friends have a lot more going on. Moms are more concerned with feeding their kids and getting out the door unnoticed. Be understanding and don’t expect things to always go as planned.

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3. Listen.

Runs are our homes away from home. Nothing is better than having a stressful week and meeting your running friends to chat about the stressors in life. Moms are managing several schedules and juggling day to day activities. Sometimes they just need a listening ear. Be that friend and be aware when it’s time to talk about yourself and when it’s time to just listen. I used to always run with my earphones. I now make a conscious effort to not wear them with certain running friends so we can catch up.

4. Don’t be sensitive.

It’s happened to me more than once that  everyone is planning on meeting Saturday morning at 8am and at the last minute everyone cancels because they want to hang out with their kids. I have to remember that one day I’ll be on the same boat and it will all make sense. Until then support your friends and don’t be sensitive. Their kids are cute and why wouldn’t they want an extra cuddle on their day off instead of running 10 miles?

5. Support them.

Life can get so busy that we forget to support each other. A lot of my running friends are at different fitness levels. Some have just had babies, some push their kids in jogging strollers, while others bring their kids to the gym with them. Always find ways to compliment their workouts and support their progress.

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I may not be ready for kids at the moment but I love that all of my friends are at this stage of their lives. Everyone’s reasons for running are different and I appreciate my running friends with kids very much. I learn a lot from these women and it amazes me how they can juggle life so effortlessly. For all of you running moms keep up the hard work. Like everything in life I hope by using these tips it helps others treat their friends and family the way you would want to be treated when you decide to venture into motherhood. Happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms in the world.

#ByeGirl #RunningForCarbs

Gotta keep up!

On Sunday, April 19th, I ran the Zoo Zoom 10k which helps fund the Sacramento Zoo. I decided to sign up at the last minute and since my cousin Aaron was in town from San Francisco, he joined me. I was a little nervous about this run because I over indulged the Friday and Saturday before the race. When I say over indulged I mean, I went kinda crazy.

I’m not much of a drinker (because I drank ridiculous amounts in college) and for some reason decided to drink Friday night when I went out with our family. Poor decision #1.  Around midnight that night, I also thought it would be a good idea to head to a local restaurant called Petra’s for a chicken pita, fries, and a soda. Poor decision #2. Petra is delicious but drinking and late night eating are never a good combination. Saturday morning instead of going on a run as planned, I walked over to Hot Italian for their breakfast pizza. Poor decision #3.  Now, I’m not saying that any of these things are poor decisions on any regular weekend. Enjoying a few drinks here and there along with delicious late-night eats is always fun. However, the weekend of a race-not so fun. My poor decisions one, two, and three, left me wondering if I should rename my blog “Running for Junk” instead.

On Sunday morning, I made sure we got to the race super early since Aaron hadn’t registered yet. I hate being late and not having enough time to visit the porta potties multiple times. The weather was perfect and we made it early enough to watch the animal costume contest as well as the start of the 5k race.

The picture above cracks me up because Aaron suggested I tilt my head back since I was wearing a hat-clearly, I didn’t get it. And what’s with my odd little grin?

On our way to the car to drop off some of our personal items, we saw my running buddy Abby! She was running the 5k with her daughter Stella (who is in the stroller and was not feelin’ our photo op). Abby and I run together almost every weekend and it’s always a treat to see her, unexpectedly, at races.I have a pretty good idea of how fast my cousin runs since we’ve completed several races together (two half marathons in San Francisco and a Thanksgiving Day 10k). I really had no specific expectations for this race-I hadn’t set a goal. I just thought it would be a beautiful day, to spend time with my cousin, doing something we both love. We started the race together and I soon noticed we were running at a 7:50 min/mile pace.  I was really just trying to keep up with him. I think he was going at a “slower” pace to take it easy on me. Meanwhile, my little legs were working hard. I told Aaron with excitement (and shock) that if I stayed with him I may set a personal record. At that point, Aaron wanted to help keep me on track and continued to lead the way. He stayed about two steps ahead of me which kept me motivated. It was pretty funny that I decided not to wear my earphones because Aaron didn’t have a pair but we quickly realized that we were not really in the “talking and running” mood. We were FOCUSED!

I typically run with music but this day I focused on my breathing and soaking in every minute of the beauty that surrounded me. Running for me is a great time to reflect on my blessings. Many times while running I name all of the things/people I am thankful for and feel inspired to keep moving.

 Overall the race was terrific! I got a PR for both my 5k and 10k.  Aaron and I couldn’t stop smiling and I literally could not thank him enough for motivating me. It’s a very rewarding feeling to finish a race strong. It made me realize that I run better and faster when I go into a run with zero expectations. After my last half marathon, I felt disappointed because I had not finished “fast enough”-which is silly I know, since I STILL completed 13.1 miles. I’m convinced that not setting any expectations for the ZooZoom and feeling relaxed and grateful, is why I was able to set personal records in both distances.

   To my surprise I ended up placing 4th in my age group. I was shocked when I saw this! I started singing and dancing to Dan while we were driving. I’m in a tough age group: 25-29. It has really fast women and for once I was a part of that group. It felt good knowing that my hard work day in and day out is paying off. I wasn’t the fastest and know about a dozen people who can beat my time but I was still proud that I was able to achieve top 5 at a race.

 

  Later that evening, Dan and I went to a food trucks event for dinner-as a treat for my run. I ended up back at William Land Park where Sacto MoFo was hosting a food truck night. There was live music, bounce houses, picnic areas, and of course FOOD. I couldn’t decide what to eat-everything looked and sounded delicious!  We walked around in circles until I finally let my belly do all the talking and we decided on sea food. I ended up ordering a lobster roll. Back in my flight attendant days, everyone would rant and rave about lobster rolls (specifically the ones from Boston) and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Sadly, I was disappointed. Our meal cost about $35 and we were both still really hungry afterwards. Dan ordered cajun shrimp tacos. Poor guy was sadly disappointed as well. Even though our food truck experience wasn’t great we still had a good time chatting on the grass and enjoying the beautiful weather. I hope the lobster rolls in Boston are much better than the one I had.

I do a lot of self-reflecting on days when I run. Before the race, Aaron and I sat in the car and talked about what it felt like completing a marathon. We both agreed that it was the hardest thing we’ve ever done and our legs hurt in places we never knew could feel pain. Our conversation ended something like this:
Aaron: “I just feel like if I can do this…”
Me: “You can do anything?”
Aaron: “Exactly!”
Me: “Me too.”

I’m fortunate to have family and close friends who share my love for running. This feeling, both Aaron and I shared of accomplishment, will forever be embedded in my heart. I can apply it to any aspect of life and that’s one of the magical things about running. And ultimately, if I can do it, you can do it too.

#RunningforCarbs #ByeGirl