This week’s East Nasty of the Week is a dual threat runner on the roads and the trails, has two of the cutest (and fastest dogs) you’ll ever meet, and was a pace leader for East Nasty’s 2016 half marathon training group. I’m so excited to announce Donica Elliott as ENOW!
Donica is definitely not “from around here”. She was born in Kotzebue, Alaska, which is north of the Arctic Circle (?!?) and was raised in Washburn, WI. She, along with brother and sister, was home schooled so she had what she considers to be a unique and wonderful childhood. Donica and her siblings hung out with an interesting crew of home schooled kids, and most attended an alternative school once a week where the parents taught extracurricular classes like Tai Chi, speech writing, CPR, and law. Donica was obsessed with music, particularly banjos, and animals throughout most of her childhood and high school. Her banjo teacher lived about two hours away but was closer to where Donica’s dad worked in the ER. Donica would go hang with Dr. Dad for 24 hours at the ER, followed by a road trip the next day for banjo lessons. While Donica played music, her dad would run for two hours with the teacher’s dog. Sounds like a win-win-win!
Belmont University brought Donica to Nashville where she graduated with a degree in Music Business. She really enjoyed her time at Belmont even though she only lived on campus for a year and didn’t take part in much of its social scene. These days, Donica is the Senior Director at All Eyes Media, which is a boutique music publicity firm based out of East Nashville specializing in tailor made national, regional, and digital press campaigns. Their clients include Jason Isbell, Widespread Panic, Sarah Jarosz, Parker Millsap, and Lucinda Williams. Seriously, Donica is a good person to know!
Donica says she always ran growing up but never really trained for anything — so it was never much fun. She started getting back into running in 2008 or 2009. However, she and her family were always at races because her dad raced marathons, triathlons, and ultras with his friends for as long as she can remember (It runs in the family! Get it? . . . ). One of his best friends (Jerry) was continually stopping by their house to give updates on the cross country team’s times and various PRs of the locals. He even called Donica on her wedding day to give her the local marathon results (Ok, that’s just adorable).
Since her return to running in 2008-2009, Donica has raced tons of half marathons, marathons, and ultras herself. She says the biggest running accomplishment of her running career would have to be finishing two Stump Jump 50ks, the hot year and the wet year. #HotWetWild
As for East Nasty, she heard about the group when she started attending boot camp at the East Park Community Center. All she knew was there were a lot of bad asses in the group at that time (2008). She only started running consistently with East Nasty two years ago when she quit working Wednesday nights at Music City Roots.
Donica’s favorite part of East Nasty? Meeting like-minded people, especially people in their 30’s who still want to be active and have fun! She also finds it very inspiring to be around athletes who she says are better than she is. It helps keep her motivated. Finally, she also enjoys helping to build a healthy, active, and caring community of runners here on the East Side. According to Donica, some people go to church, she runs.
Her most memorable East Nasty experience includes being a pace leader at the Country Music Marathon this year with her friend (and fitness inspiration/iron woman/fellow ENOW) Bree Roy. They had a small but dedicated group of runners who she really enjoyed getting to know this Spring. And though she doesn’t know if it counts, she says the first epic road trip to the Rock Creek River Gorge race with fellow East Nastys Beth, Bree, & Alicia was also (expletive deleted) amazing. As a participant in this event and witness to the epicness of that day, it most certainly counts, Donica!
Her fellow pace leader, Bree, had a things to say about this week’s ENOW (Warning: if you’ve ever spoken a word to Bree, you know there might be a colorful word or two coming up): “Donica is one of the most solid girls you’ll find out there. While she’s badass for obvious reasons — loves dogs, Bud Light Limes, and anything adventurous– she’s also the most dependable, easy to talk to, and fun as hell people I know. She’s got a calm demeanor, but a fiery spirit. Just the friend you need and want. Love that bitch and her little dogs too!” In case you missed out on the East Nasty training, their pace group was nicknamed “Runs with Bitches” because their dogs Rula, Ava, Roy, and the “biggest bitch of them all, Rudy”, all trained with the group as well. As for a “funny story”, Bree says, “I plead the 5th on telling any stories, but I got a great one that includes too much bourbon, a urinal, and thinking Donica got kidnapped.” I’m sure our imaginations won’t even be as great as the actual true story . . .
Donica’s other hobbies include playing bluegrass music, trying to train her dogs, and running trails to keep her sane because working in the music business is crazy.
Congratulations, Donica!! Thank you for all that you do for East Nasty, our running community (both trail and roads), your unwavering positive outlook on running and life, and for being an amazing East Nasty of the Week!!