This week’s East Nasty of the Week (ENOW) started running with us in 2012, has two dogs, loves bootcamp & plays drums in a band (!!). Nasties, it is my pleasure to introduce you to Grace Gibson!
Grace was born in Laurinburg, NC. Growing up, she was a tomboy. She went to summer camp 4th through 9th grade, where she was introduced to the outdoors and adventure sports, like rock climbing, canoeing, caving, and hiking.
Grace graduated from Clemson University in South Carolina with a BA in Graphic Communications and a minor in Business. She moved to Nashville after college for her job. She works as an account manager for RR Donnelley, a global communications services provider.
Grace’s first (failed) attempt at running was in 2010. She started a couch-to-5k program on her own. Her only goal for the 5k was to complete it without walking, which she did in 38:38. The experience was so miserable that she didn’t put on her running shoes again for nearly 2 years.
Her second (successful) attempt was in 2012. Grace had started a bootcamp class in the spring of 2011. The class started off with a 1-2 mile run. She was overweight and out of shape, so she walked on the track upstairs while the class ran outside. Grace never had any aspirations of becoming a “runner”, she just wanted to be able to run the 1-2 mile warm-up with the rest of the group. Famous last words…
Once she was able to run the 1-2 mile warm-up, she started running farther and farther. Friends from bootcamp kept talking her into running races. By August 2012, she ran a sub-30 Tomato 5k (her first race since 2010), followed by the Shelby Bottoms Boogie and Viva La Diva.
Grace trained for her first half with East Nasty last year. In the spring of 2013, she ran 3 half marathons in around a month-and-a-half period: Oak Barrel, Country Music, and Scenic City Trail in Chattanooga. By this time, running felt great and the bootcamp girls talked her into her first marathon, St. Jude, which ended up getting cancelled, but she was able to run her first marathon a week later, on her birthday, no less!
Misty Adfield, East Park bootcamp instructor & East Nasty member says: “Grace is a trainers dream client. She is determined and dedicated to her training, and the hard work it takes to accomplish goals and better herself. Everyday she is inspiring others around her to do the same. She is a loyal friend, and the definition of motivation. Congrats Grace!”
Sticking with it is Grace’s biggest accomplishment in running. She says that running, especially distance running, is a sport that she never thought she’d have the stamina to do. She is most proud of her half marathon PR last spring in 1:52:10 because she trained the hardest and most consistently for it and it paid off — exceeding her goal of finishing in under 2 hours.
Grace has lived in East Nashville since 2009 and became aware of East Nasty from the bumper stickers and occasionally driving home from work through the sea of runners on Wednesday nights. She started running with us last spring as part of the CM half training. Kim Stokes-Lanier was a major influence in turning Grace into a runner. Kim, a fellow bootcamper, would run with Grace in her early slow days of running outside.
Fellow ENOW, Kim Stokes-Lanier nominated Grace for ENOW and has this to say: “I first met Grace at the East Park bootcamp during a warm-up run. She claimed she wasn’t a runner, but asked a lot of questions about running & training during those early morning runs. Needless to say, she signed up for East Nasty CM half training with the 2:15 group and NRC track workouts (ha! She’s a Fasty!). Now she’s the 2:15 Saturday pace leader for CM half training and helps out on Thursday night workouts. Yep, that’s Grace- quietly, unassumingly encouraging and helping others… but you should know that she’s also in a BAND (ha, wouldn’t a guessed that one!). And I’m sure she’s got a lot of other tricks up her sleeves that hopefully she’ll continue to reveal to the world because the world really needs a lot more people like Grace Gibson!”
Never having to run a long run alone is what Grace enjoys most about East Nasty. Knowing she has a group of people to share in the pleasure, or the pain, of the run at hand makes getting the miles in easier and more enjoyable. Grace says, “The solidarity of the East Nasties is really amazing. There is such a special camaraderie that exists within this group that I have never experienced anywhere else. You won’t meet a nicer and more welcoming group of people — regardless of how fast you are, how often you run, how long you’ve been running, or what you do in your life outside of running.”
Grace’s most memorable East Nasty experience took place a few weeks ago when she got sick during the Thursday night speed session and broke off from the group. When she finally made it back to the yellow house, she found that most of the group was waiting on her and a few had even doubled back to search for her. While she felt horrible that so many people were waiting around, it was amazing to know that they had her back. No runner left behind!
When Grace isn’t running, or writing the world’s longest ENOW post, she enjoys going to concerts, playing the drums with Carbon Copy, backpacking, traveling, and otherwise gallivanting around with her boyfriend Jeff and dogs Jake and Tobias.
Congrats, Grace! Welcome to the ENOW club!