This week’s East Nasty of the Week is a Potato2Tomato 5k coach, a staple on Wednesday nights, a great mother, and so sweet and humble that she tried to convince me I had the wrong person when I reached out to her about being awarded the prestigious ENOW. Even though she doesn’t think she’s a “real runner”, she definitely has a lot to say about running!! Ladies and Gentleman, it is my extreme pleasure to introduce this week’s East Nasty of the Week — Amy Smith!
Amy is one of those rare birds who is actually a Nashville native. She graduated from McGavock High School and was crusing 2nd Ave back when it was a two-way street and Sbarro was a two-story Wendy’s. In high school, Amy was a tomboy through and through. She really feels like her high school experience could have been different if someone had just handed her a hair straightener. Her first love is softball; she started playing softball at 6 yrs old and played all the way through high school (kindred spirits!). Amy also played volleyball and basketball in middle and high school. Pre-season basketball conditioning was her “least favorite thing ever” because of all the running. They had to run a mile in under 8 min — she once got it down to 8:14 and says it hasn’t happened since then. Amy remembers one time she and a friend got in trouble on a softball trip, and the coach made them do suicide/line runs in the parking lot of the hotel. Her friend finished way before she did, and eventually her coach told Amy to stop. She thinks he was tired of waiting for her to finish. Direct Quote from Amy: “He was such an a-hole… (you can leave that last part out. Or print it. If you want his name I’ll give that to you too 🙂 )”
After high school, Amy went to Union University in Jackson, TN. While she majored in Sport Management, she did absolutely no physical activity in college except for some intramural softball and one really bad season of flag football. She was in a sorority, Zeta Tau Alpha and also worked as a waitress all 4 years (tip your servers, please!) so there was not a lot of time for much else.
Sticking with her athletic theme, Amy is the Director of Ticketing for the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl and Nashville Sports Council (two companies, one staff). The NSC recruits sporting events to come to Nashville, such as the SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament, the Women’s Final Four, the NHL All-Star game, etc. However, 95% of her job is ticketing the Music City Bowl. Bowl week at the end of December is one of Amy’s favorite times of the year. December is a very busy and stressful time, but at the same time, she loves it. Nothing makes her feel better than breathing a huge sigh of relief once everyone gets inside the stadium for the game. Amy also put in 5 years with the Nashville Sounds at Greer Stadium as the Community Relations Manager. So, do you like sports, Amy??
Amy started her running adventures late in 2012. While she was pregnant with her second child, Adelyn, her husband, Cheyenne (more on him later!), started to take up running again. She found it to be extremely RUDE that he would start a fitness regimen whilst she was just getting bigger and bigger by the day (Amy’s words, not mine!). A few months after she had Adelyn, Amy was inspired by him and decided to give running a try. She worked on a couch to 5k program. She went at her own pace and eventually completed it after 7 months! She took things very, very slowly and went with a pace that didn’t make her want to quit. However, shortly after she started running, Cheyenne set a goal that he wanted to run a half marathon in all 50 states by the time he was 50. She figured she could either go to all of these places with him and wait an hour and a half for him to finish, or she could get her butt out there and do it too! Amy figured the second option was probably the best so she started taking her running a little more seriously. While she doesn’t run in every state they go to, she does currently have 5 half marathons/states under my belt (NH, CA, KY, MI, FL)!
Amy has two big accomplishments in running and can’t choose between them. The first is when she completed her first half marathon in November of 2013. She wanted to do it in under 3 hours and did it in 2:56. Yahtzee! She says she doesn’t know if she’s ever cried as hard as she did that day. According to her, she was always the slowest person on all of her teams growing up, and if you had ever told her she’d complete a half marathon, she wouldn’t have believed you. She was so proud of herself and says she rarely feels that way. Who knew running was so emotional? 🙂
The second was in January of this year. Amy and Cheyenne went to Miami for a half and full marathon. They went with friends Mark and Melissa King. Melissa (Melly) is one of Amy’s very best friends who also became her running partner during the P2T in 2014. Melly pushed her, kicked her ass, and wouldn’t let her take a pee break until mile 6. Because of her, Amy PR’d that race — beating her previous best time by 11 minutes! Cheyenne ran the full that day in Miami; according to Amy, he’s Superman. So it was a great day for all 3 of them, PR’s all around!
Cheyenne heard about East Nasty first in 2013. They used to live in Pleasant View, TN, and he would stay at work late on Wednesdays to run with the group. They moved to East Nashville later that year, and he encouraged Amy to run with the group. She declined thinking she wouldn’t be able to keep up. He then told her about the Lasty Nasties, and her life was changed! The Lasties are her peeps. Everyone in the whole East Nasty community is amazing, but the Lasties have her heart. Beth McCaskill let Amy run with her group on her first night, and she was immediately hooked on East Nasty thanks to her, and everyone’s, kindness (and maybe Beth’s funny and smart mouth?? My words, not Amy’s). Through running with Beth, Amy also met Lindsay Clark. Lindsay stuck by her side on one really hard run where she could barely make it to the end, but Lindsay wouldn’t leave Amy. She’s been one of Amy’s best running buddies since then. Even though Amy had been running for a little bit, she still did P2T in 2014 so that she could keep running with Beth (who coached) and Lindsay.
What Amy loves the most about East Nasty is the camaraderie and the encouragement. Runners really are the nicest, most encouraging group of people she’s ever come across. Melly and Amy ran ‘The Nasty’ a few weeks ago, and it was POURING rain. They were so tired and were “dragging ass” to the end. But a lot of the Fasties that passed would say “keep going!” “you’re doing great!” “you’re almost there!.” They could see the desire to die in their eyes, and so many offered encouragements to them.
She really enjoys the nights where the Lasties beat the Fasties back to the yellow house. That’s really their only goal on Wednesday nights… get back to the yellow house before the Fasties. She says “Yes we know you start 20 min after us, but it’s still our goal. So if you’ve ever heard a girl scream “NOOOOOO” at you as you raced past her on a Wed night, that was me”. (Are you sure it was just “No”, Amy or was there an expletive or two involved?)
Amy’s most memorable East Nasty experience is coaching P2T this past summer. When Melly asked Amy to coach with her, Amy was pretty hesitant at first. She says sometimes she still doesn’t feel like a “real” runner. She can’t bring herselt to buy a Garmin because she doesn’t feel like she’s that legit yet. BUT she agreed, and they coached a group this summer. Amy is so glad they did! It was amazing to see the group (The F words) progress. The program just really proves that you can accomplish so much more than you think is possible. And it makes Amy even happier to see a lot of the Team F Words out on Wednesday runs and at the 5kto10k training. It was an amazing coaching experience. Melly and Amy are excited to coach again next summer and want to make Team F Word a P2T tradition.
Another memorable experience for Amy — “completing The Nasty and getting [her] mothereffing sticker”. Obviously.
Amy’s other hobbies include: eating M&M’s, napping, reading, listening to Christmas music, taking pictures of her babies and putting them on Facebook, and watching bad reality tv (How can you not love this woman?!).
Usually we have other people talk about our ENOW, but Amy’s so proud of her husband that she asked me to include a bit about him, saying “anything you write about me has to include a bit about Cheyenne. He is the one who inspired me to start running. He’s always been full of encouragement and telling me I can do more than I think I can. He’s taken kid duty three times a week so that I can participate in the P2T program for the last two summers. He runs while pushing our two 40 lb children in a double-stroller on Wednesday nights just so I can run too on those nights and he never complains. He is always more than willing to help me do whatever is necessary for me to get a run in. Without him I would have never in a million years started this journey and I definitely wouldn’t be able to continue without his help and encouragement. He is the best husband, father, and is my biggest supporter and very best friend.” If you don’t know who Cheyenne is then you’ve never been to East Nasty or are blind. Look for the shirtless wonder pushing a stroller. ‘Nuff said.
Congratulations on ENOW, Amy! You ARE a legit, great runner and an inspiration! With your kindness, determination, and sometimes dirty mouth, you have the East Nasty spirit!