When telling people about East Nasty, I have often heard them say, “The only way I’d run is if something big was chasing me.” Well, this week’s East Nasty of the Week used to say the exact same thing, and now he is one of our fastest runners out there. Ladies and gentlemen meet Jay Tift.
Although his is originally from Macon, Georgia, Jay has spent most of his time post-high school above the Mason-Dixon Line. As an undergraduate he attended the University of Puget Sound, in Tacoma, Washington, where he majored in Psychology. After that he moved cross-country to the Pocono Mountains, right outside of Scranton, Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, the real Scranton is not nearly as cool as the show The Office portrays it to be on TV. Up there he worked as a Director of Programming, running conferences for everything from 5th grade field trips to corporate management retreats.
In the summer of 2007, Jay moved to Nashville with two of his buddies to start their own company for corporate training. At the same time he started graduate school at Belmont, working towards a Masters in Education, focusing on leadership and organizational change. He says that he wanted some actual credentials on paper, versus having to explain to people of his qualifications. Apparently the education bug has bitten young Jay Tift though, because once he finishes this degree, his intentions are to start full-time towards another master’s degree this fall, focusing on human development counseling. His goal is to become a youth therapist.
Wanting to get in better shape, Jay decided to give running a try. And like his own version of The Biggest Loser, Jay lost 30 pounds within the first couple of months! Since then he has, like so many of us, become addicted to it. When that big winter storm hit Nashville a couple of weekends ago, Jay (along with J.P., Chuck, and Jenny Magill) did not let the ice covered streets and greenway stop them from putting in a run on both Saturday and Sunday.
His favorite race ever, and also his best, was the 2009 Chicago Marathon. He finished in 3:26:58, beating his own personal record by 29 minutes, and was even 3 minutes faster than the goal time that he set! He also recently put up a “somewhat decent” 2-mile time trial for Speed Sessions. He finished with a 12 minute-flat time, meaning an average of 6 minutes per mile!
So let the story of Jay Tift be a lesson for the rest of us who did not grow up running track and cross-country. You too can still be wicked fast!