It is my pleasure to introduce you to my friend, and our newest East Nasty of the Week (ENOW), Zach Layne! I got to know Zach earlier this year in New Orleans for the Rock & Roll Half. Zach is a great guy & a blast to be around. I highly recommend you sidle up to him at 3CB next Wednesday night and get to know him. In the meantime, here’s a little background to get you started.
Zach was born at Vanderbilt, but his hometown is Bowling Green, KY. He grew up on a small farm with cows, chickens, horses and a big garden of organic fruits and vegetables. When he was 10, his family moved to Spain for a year. Zach says that year had a lot of influence on who he is today.
Zach earned a degree in civil engineering at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, where he saw “a lot of live music, some great basketball teams, some terrible football teams, and learned to handicap a horse race”. He says that school was tough, but Lexington was fun. He moved to Nashville in 1998 to work at an engineering firm downtown. His family was also starting a business (All Season’s Gardening and Brewing Supply). Zach says, “More importantly, I moved to East Nashville in 2001. All my family lives in East Nashville, now. We’re pretty close, literally and figuratively.”
Zach is a civil engineer, but works for a software company, Esri. He works with local governments in Tennessee and Virginia, helping them use GIS technology to be more efficient. He recently started doing more at All Seasons, working on the digital strategy and helping with social media. He says, “It’s definitely more fun to talk to people about growing tomatoes or brewing beer than talking engineering or software.”
When asked about when he started running, Zach says he ran track for a few minutes in high school, but isn’t sure that counts. He describes running as something he always did to get in shape for something else, like snowboarding, and it was always short distances. He did some sprint triathlons in the late 90s and early 2000s, but didn’t really start running until 2011. The second East Nasty run he did was Benji, which was the farthest he had ever run without stopping.
Zach’s biggest running accomplishment is finishing his first marathon, the Harpeth Hills Flying Monkey, last November. He says, “I never had any desire to run a marathon until I cheered on some Nasties at the 2011 Monkey. It’s such a fun event; I wanted to be a part of it. I was very fortunate to get selected in the lottery. The time between the lottery and race day was an amazing journey filled with long runs at Percy Warner Park, ice baths, Cheyenne’s training rants, dry needles (thanks Brittany) and about 35 trips up Mt. Nasty. My goal was to finish, preferably in under 5 hours. I finished in 4:53. I’m hoping for good Monkey-lotto karma again this year.”
Zach learned about East Nasty in a Lockeland Springs newsletter, but a few years went by before he came out on a Wednesday night. He was running one cold, snowy Wednesday night in 2011 and passed a big group of runners wearing blinking lights going the other direction. At that moment, it seemed pretty silly to not to start running with East Nasty. He went to a Wednesday night run a few weeks later and never looked back.
Zach’s favorite part of East Nasty is the hills. Because he’s INSANE. Zach says, “It’s either the hills or that this amazingly diverse and supportive group of friends gets together every week to run through a really cool neighborhood that I’m fortunate enough to call home. It’s probably the hills, though.” Speaking of those friends, I asked Zach’s East Nasty family to describe him:
- Andy Moss, “Zach Layne in one word: fastidious.”
- Heidi Wilson, “Zach’s love for running is only outweighed by his love of jam bands.”
- Duane Stephenson, “Zach is always around to give an encouraging word when you need it – either pre-race, or post-run at 3 Crow. I’m inspired (or maybe just dumbfounded) by the way he challenges himself – anyone who runs the Flying Monkey Marathon as his FIRST marathon ever is definitely a guy you want on your side.”
- Cheyenne Price, “If you’re NOT friends with Zach, the problem is most definitely all you, baby! And he’s just as funny while running as he is to have beers with. Absolutely one of East Nasty’s greatest and most contagious friends.”
Asked about his most memorable East Nasty experience, Zach says, “Anytime I’m in a race, having that moment of doubt and pain and hearing, “GO EAST NASTY!” It’s memorable for me. Sometime it’s a close friend cheering and sometimes it’s random, but every time is memorable. NRC has a water stop at mile 20 of the Flying Monkey. There were a lot of East Nasties there helping. Duane Stephenson and Lee Wilson ran with me for about a minute. Duane stopped and looked at me and said, “OK, you’ve got a 10k left. You’ve got this. Go East Nasty!”
Zach has a 5-year old son, so when he’s not running, Legos have become a bit of a hobby again. Zach and his son have a lot of fun riding their bikes around East Nashville and Shelby Bottoms. Zach loves snowboarding. He started in ’94 and used to take 3-4 trips a year, but has scaled it down to one great trip to Whitefish, MT each year. Zach also enjoy triathlons and says that a Half Ironman is on his to-do list. He says, “Is there a 70.3 with a mass beach start, gnarly open-water swim, downhill bike with the wind at your back, and a run like the 11.2 at Percy Warner? That’s the one for me.”
Zach, congrats and welcome to the ENOW club, buddy!