Wednesday, May 27

May 26, 2015

Potato to Tomato 2015

Nobody really finds distance running on their own.  What I mean is that very few people wake up one day saying, “hey, I want to run long distances…”   Usually we are cajoled into running by a coach, a teacher, a friend or a parent.   Sometimes running was a necessary evil to be a part of a team sport, or to lose weight.    But after a while running gets under your skin as you experience the fitness, the accomplishment and the community that comes along with distance running.    Now it’s your turn to be that person who introduces someone to running…

Every year we have a free couch to 5k program to help non-runners become runners.   Our goal race is the East Tomato 5k in August, so we call our program Potato to Tomato.   Our program has been extremely successful because we meet 3 times per week for 8 weeks, and have over 30 volunteer coaches.   The information/registration page is up and active.  (It’s a tab at the top of our main page).   Pass the link on to anyway who is looking to add running to their lives, or if you need a group to help you get going again, sign up yourself!   Our first training session is June 13, so don’t delay.

Route #9

6 am or 6 pm at the corner of 11th and Holly.   Remember, if you are a Lasty Nasty (a run/walker) you need to be ready to roll by 5:45.   (Check out the Lasty Nasty Facebook page for more details.)

It could be raining, and not only do we run in the rain – we love it!    But be extra diligent about safety on rainy nights.

And here’s a wet shoe tip: after running in the rain, take the insoles out and fill your shoes up with newspaper.  Cram as much in as your can.  The next morning, your shoes will be bone dry and the newspaper will be soaking wet.

Run #9 LP Field

ENOW: Ralph Booker!

May 25, 2015
Ralph and his Ralphie Girls, Shelley and Denise

Ralph and his Ralphie Girls, Shelley and Denise

This week’s East Nasty of the Week would definitely be a contender for “Friendliest” and “Best Smile” if we had East Nasty superlatives. He’s a Wednesday night staple and even has his own running entourage, affectionately known as the “Ralphie Girls”. It’s my extreme pleasure to introduce your ENOW, Ralph Booker!

Ralph ran the gamut of small town Tennessee when he was growing up. He was born in Columbia, TN and went to elementary school there until he was 12. His family moved to a farm in Duck River, TN in Hickman County, and he went to middle and high school in Centerville. While in high school, Ralph was quite the jock. He played basketball, sprinted for the track team for a year, and played a year of tennis. After high school, Ralph moved to the Boro and graduated with a BBA in Computer Information Systems from MTSU. Ralph retired as a Technical Sergeant (TSGT) after 21 years with the TN Air National Guard in 2013 where his military job was a photographer. Currently, Ralph works as a Programmer Analyst for the state of TN. He has worked for the state for 24 years.

Ralph and LeeAnn at the Middle Half in 2014

Ralph and Leeann at the Middle Half in 2014

While Ralph is now an avid runner, this wasn’t always the case. In 2007, Ralph decided to make some healthy changes in his life. He quit smoking after 20 years and started running in 2008. Ralph was like Forrest Gump– once he started running, he did not stop. His first half marathon was the CMM in 2009, and that would be the first of many. In fact, his most rewarding running accomplishment is having completed 11 half marathons. As for his best half marathon, that would be 2012’s CMM half. He had a super speedy time of 2:04.


All of Ralph’s running medals!

So, just how did Ralph find out about the incomparable East Nasty group? As per usual, a couple of friends told him about East Nasty, and peer pressured him into joining. He started running with the group in January of 2012 and hasn’t looked back. His favorite part of the group is the socializing and camaraderie with East Nasty members. Far and away, his most memorable times have been spent with his good friends Denise Leaver, Shelley Norton, and Dawn Bogic, nicknamed by Ralph’s ex girlfriend as the aforementioned “Ralphie Girls.”

East Nasty Wednesday night run

East Nasty Wednesday night run

Speaking of the Ralphie Girls, let’s hear from two of them about our newest ENOW.

Denise Leaver had this to say about Ralph: “Ralph is one of the most loving and kind people I know! He’s been with so many of us through life’s ups and downs, encouraging us, and making us laugh! He perseveres with his running and workouts, and is always challenging himself to do the next race and to rock that race! I love Ralphie to pieces! So proud and happy for you, Ralph! Oh and he’s an awesome karaoke singer!”

Shelley Norton also said this: “It’s actually really hard to put into words what an amazing person Ralph is. All the time we have spent together running, talking, dancing, eating, and drinking and most of all laughing, has made Ralph one of my closest friends. I admire the fact that he is so determined to keep running and stay in shape for is sweet daughter. Wow, do I love this guy!!”

Aside from running, Ralph’s hobbies are photography and traveling (and, apparently, singing a mean karaoke). However, even with all of his running accomplishments, the best moment of his life was when he became a father for the first time in October 2014 to his beautiful daughter, Annika.

Ralph and his beautiful daughter, Annika

Ralph and his beautiful daughter, Annika

Congratulations, Ralph, on all of your running success, fatherhood, being loved by many, and for being this week’s ENOW! And on this Memorial Day, thank you for your service!

Wednesday, May 20th: Trivia

May 20, 2015


There are always lots of great reasons to join our weekly runs, but this week there are two additional ones…

Wear Test

Pearl Izumi will be at NRC starting at 5:00 p.m. with shoes for you to try.  (This is by far the best way to try a new pair of shoes: run in them.)   They will have the new N3 and M3 shoes to try.

The Run

6a.m. or 6p.m. at the corner of 11th and Holly.

Coldest Beer in Town

Coldest Beer in Town

This week’s run is the new and improved Rick’s Market (coldest beer in town).  Notice that we run up the Lillian greenway.

Post Run Trivia

After the run, head to NRC for trivia.   Winners will received a new pair of shoes, and there will be beverages and snacks for everyone!

Wednesday, May 13: Volunteers and Clean Up

May 13, 2015


Seeing the Mayor in an East Nasty shirt made me think of one thing: our responsibility to be good citizens in our neighborhoods and great advocates for the running community.   This mindset is what I think distinguishes East Nasty from other running groups, and I think it is a mindset that is shared by our mayor.  Community focus is the foundation that this group is built upon, and if that ever goes away, we should just disband!   So what does that mean?   We need volunteers to help with two couch to 5k programs, and after the run this week we’re going to give back to the neighborhood that has been so good to us!

1) Alley Clean Up.

After our run tomorrow, everyone needs to get into groups of 2-3, grab some bags and gloves and go pick up trash!  This is one way that East Nasty gives back to our great community.  And all you need to bring is a willing spirit.  We will give you gloves, trash bags, and a map that highlights your section of the neighborhood to clean.   This should only eat into about 15 minutes of our post-run fun!  As you are cleaning, specifically look for empty Gu packets, crushed cups and other things that are often left behind after a marathon.

2) Potato to Tomato Training Program

Each year we offer a free community couch to 5k training program.  The program starts in June and the goal race is the East Tomato 5k, which raises money for the YMCA.  Usually we have around 200 people join this program – which means we need your help!   We could use about 10-15 more volunteers.  If you are willing to be a volunteer coach, please email Susi Willis at for details.

3)   Calling all East Nasty women!

For the past 3 years East Nasty women have coached residents at The Next Door ( ) in preparation for the Heroes in Recovery 6k in September.     Residents of The Next Door have recently come out of incarceration and are in treatment for addiction and co-occurring disorders. Leading healthy lives through exercise is a HUGE part of their recovery!!  And to see these women set a goal they can’t even begin to think attainable and KNOW through our training that they WILL cross that finish line is an experience beyond words for both the women and the coaches.
We will follow a Couch to “6K” training schedule and will train early in the morning!
Training Days and times:
6am Monday
6am Wednesday
8am Saturday
We need a minimum of 3 coaches per day. Committing to one day a week is ideal and a tremendous help!
PLEASE consider joining and be a significant part in changing lives through volunteerism.
Contact Heidi Huerta with questions or to sign up.

4) Wednesday’s route.

Run #7: Little Hollywood.  6 am or 6 pm at the corner of 11th and Holly.

#7 Little Hollywood

ENOW: Kevin Howard

May 11, 2015

As an East Nasty runner and coach, husband to the amazing Joy Howard, and most recently, MARATHONER, our latest East Nasty of the Week (ENOW) needs no introduction. Kevin Howard was born in Indiana but grew up in the small Tennesse town of Cookeville. In high school, he was the shy band-geek who played no sports at all. However, he regrets he never went out for track in high school. After his stint as high school band geek, Kevin studied English/Journalism at Tennessee Tech. While there, he discovered fraternity life but, miraculously, still managed to get a degree. Graduation day, he moved to Nashville and hasn’t looked back. Kevin is now a Realtor with Keller Williams. He works all over Davidson County but concentrates in East Nashville.

2014 CMM Half Finish -- At the finish Line of Kevin's first half marathon

2014 CMM Half Finish — At the finish Line of Kevin’s first half marathon

Although it may not seem like it, Kevin wasn’t always such an avid runner. He ran a couple of 5Ks in the 90s, but marriage, buying a house to renovate, and starting a family kicked running and most of his other hobbies to the curb . . . until a couple of years ago when he caught the running fever and the only cure was East Nasty.

2013 P2T Group: “Group 4” of 2013 P2T training and the coaches that put up with all the whining about a few little hills, Lauren Caswell and Brad Mitchell

2013 P2T Group: “Group 4” of 2013 P2T training and the coaches that put up with all the whining about a few little hills, Lauren Caswell and Brad Mitchell

Speaking of East Nasty — just how did Kevin get involved in our group? His wife, Joy Howard, took up a challenge that Kristine Mylls proposed to their book group to join in on a couch to 5K program (And here I thought book club was all about the wine). From there, Joy started coaching the C25K group and pulled their daughter, Emma, into the program in 2012. In 2013, Emma and Kevin both signed up, and that’s when running became a family affair. Bonding with “Group 4” of that training session gave him the incentive to venture from 5ks to 5 miles and eventually to train for Country Music Half. So, in a little under a year, sticking with the East Nasty training programs, he went from zero to 13.1, found an incredible training group, and formed some fantastic friendships. Propelled by peer pressure, Kevin and his “Group 4″ ran the NOLA Half Marathon, and, on a bet, he and fellow East Nasty Jeremy Taylor committed to running their first full marathon. AH, peer pressure and bets — the stuff running dreams are made of.

In case you can’t tell, Kevin’s a social runner (and apparently easily persuaded by peer pressure). By far, the most enjoyable thing about East Nasty for him is the camaraderie and support that running with the Nasties provides, regardless of ability, fitness level, age, or zip code. The community support aspect of the Nasties is the icing on the cake.

Family at 2014 Tomato: East Nasty proud at the 2014 Tomato 5K, with Joy and Emma Howard

Family at 2014 Tomato: East Nasty proud at the 2014 Tomato 5K, with Joy and Emma Howard

As for Kevin’s greatest running accomplishment — that’s easy! It’s finishing the Country Music Marathon a few days after his 54th birthday. However, he says it’s about more than crossing the finish line; it’s about the journey. I’d say it’s about the post-race beers, but the journey’s pretty memorable too, Kevin!

As with most of us, it was hard for Kevin to choose just one memorable East Nasty experience. Being the occasional rule breaker that I am (I may have crossed the street outside of a crosswalk once or twice on an East Nasty run — sorry, Duane!), I allowed him TWO of his favorite moments. The first was finishing the Tomato Fest 5K last year with the first group of new runners he had the privilege to coach over the summer, running with them as they crossed the finish line, and seeing many of them continue on and do the CMM half this year.

014 P2T Group: First experience coaching a P2T group with an amazing group of women, lead by Bree Roy and Rula.

2014 P2T Group: First experience coaching a P2T group with an amazing group of women, lead by Bree Roy and Rula.

The second has to be running with Jeremy Taylor up Woodland during the CMM this year, their first marathon. They didn’t feel like there was any way in the world they could finish until familiar East Nasty faces started appearing to provide support at the Nashville Running Company water stop. Kevin says they didn’t run across the finish line — the East Nasty running family pulled them across. He’ll never forget how that support and encouragement felt.

Full Finish: Finishing the CMM this year with Jeremy Taylor. At least the blurry picture hides the tears.

Full Finish: Finishing the CMM this year with Jeremy Taylor. At least the blurry picture hides the tears.

Besides running, Kevin doesn’t have much time for other hobbies. Between family activities, the insane Nashville housing market, their fixer-upper that’s still being fixed up, and long training runs, he’s all booked up.

I asked Kevin’s wife, Joy, to say a few things about him. “There are many things I could say about Kevin, but what stands out to me the most is that he realized that East Nasty is much more than running. It’s about building relationships and finding your tribe.  Running is what brings everyone together, but relationships bring us back.” Seems like the perfect summation of what this group is all about!

Congratulations, Kevin! You truly embody the drive, determination, and spirit that is East Nasty!

Wednesday May 6

May 5, 2015

Route #6

Route #6 is a little bit different than it used to be, so take a moment to check out the map, even if you are a long time east nasty…

6 a.m. or 6 p.m. at the corner of 11th and Holly in East Nashville.

New Route #6

Craft Apparel Night

Come to Nashville Running Company at 5 p.m. for a shirt wear test.   Craft makes some amazing stuff – both for cold and hot weather.   The Craft rep will have a variety of styles of shirts to wear, but she has a limited number – so be sure to get there early!

Pint Night

NRC’s monthly pint night at the East store will look different this week!  Bring in a toy or other item to benefit Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital in order to receive your pint! Click here to read more about their involvement with this cause and how your donations will help the children of Nashville! See you after the 6PM East Nasty run on May 6th!

4/29/2015 – East Nasty at the Basement East

April 29, 2015

The marathon has come and gone, but we are really excited about this Wednesday night!   So even if you are taking some time off running to recover, please join us tonight.   Here’s the deal:

Pre-Run (Shirts)

If you ordered a shirt/singlet and have not yet picked it up, Duane will be at NRC starting at 5. There are a limited supply of women’s pink tank tops for sale and a handful of extra yellow shirts and tanks. He will also have a limited supply of beer glasses for sale.  (That’s right, we have beer glasses this year!)

The Run (Walking Bridge)

Route #5: The Walking Bridge

6 a.m. or 6 p.m. at the corner of 11th and Holly in East Nashville.   Announcements start at 6:08 – Lasty Nasties leave at 5:45.

As you are running up Woodland, past East Park, look to your left.   That white building is the Basement East.  More on that below.

Run #5: The Walking Bridge

Post – Run (Music)

After the run, head down to 917 Woodland Street to the Basement East.   That night, along with drink specials, they will showcase 7 East Nasty-related musical acts all emceed by Drew Jones.   The first act will begin at 8 p.m.  There is parking at the venue, but the Basement East is less than a half mile from our meeting location, so you could walk – or you could park near the venue at 6 p.m. and jog to the run.   Whether you drive or walk – get yourself to the Basement.   I know some of the people who are playing, and we are going to hear some GREAT music.  Really great music.   And it’s all free.


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