ENOW – Barry Olhausen

August 15, 2016

ENOW – Barry Olhausen

With another Tomato 5K in the books for East Nasty, we thought it would be appropriate to introduce and thank one of our favorite Potato to Tomato (P2T) coaches and East Nasty of the Week, Barry Olhausen!

Barry Olhausen group 7

2015 P2T Coach for Group 7

Barry was born at Smythe’s Clinic in Tiptonville, Tennessee in Lake County which ironically later became the funeral home. His hometown is Ridgely in Lake County, and he still has a house there. Other than college, Barry spent his first 52-years in Ridgely. The county just celebrated getting its first red light, and before you ask, yes he pretty much does know everybody there.!

In middle and high school Barry was not necessarily known for his athletic achievements. Just after running his first Country Music Half-Marathon in 2015, he and high school classmates went on a reunion trip to Chicago. As Barry sported his commemorative tech shirt, the running joke (get it!?!) was, who would have thought that 45-years after graduation Barry would turn out to be “Most Athletic”. Truth be told, back then, and pretty much now, he was more of the club-joining, after-school-job, Sunday-school-attending, book-reading, friend-reliant type.

 

Barry Olhausen 2015 CMHM

In the starting corral for the 2015 Country Music Half Marathon with Happy Running People

The University of Tennessee at Martin is Barry’s alma mater which were Vols when he started then became the Pacers before his graduation and now are the Skyhawks. Not surprisingly, his roommate is a lifelong best friend (it happens to all of us who become his friend). When asked about his college experience, Barry said, “It was a humbling experience to learn that I wasn’t nearly as smart or as well-adjusted or as sure of the world as I assumed myself to be. I learned that beer tasted pretty good, that it was pretty helpful to actually attend class, that the world is vast, diverse, and complex, and that even away from home people are generally pretty nice. “ Some great teachers challenged his thinking and helped to his next step in professional life.

A public educator for decades (Barry is old if you haven’t figured it out yet), he considers education it to be the noblest profession. We agree! Currently he works for the Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents (TOSS) as Assistant Executive Director. Prior to this he taught middle grades, was a district administrator and then, Director of Schools in Lake County and later served as the Executive Director of Instructional Leadership for the Tennessee Department of Education. It is Barry’s honor and pleasure everyday to interact with and be inspired by school leaders across the state.

Barry’s love for running started because he was trying to be like the cool, young, skinny kids at work. About 5-years ago, around the age of 59, he signed up for Mayor Dean’s 5k challenge (his group coached by Nashville Running Company’s, Lee Wilson). Later, he tried the C25K Tom King training through NRC (coach, Mike Clark), followed by the East Nasty C25K (coach, Juanita Taylor). He realized that were it not for such superstar coaches and finding a group of people to enjoy running with, he would have never stayed with it. You hear that, East Nasty, it’s you who make running so awesome!!!

Barry Olhausen NRC 2013

2013 NRC C25K Tom King training group

Without a doubt, Barry’s biggest accomplishment in running happened 3- years ago when he was asked to coach in the East Nasty P2T training. Making it up Mt. Nasty the first time was an awesome achievement and finishing a half marathon in 2015 was a thrill, but nothing has given him more satisfaction than working with other fledgling and new runners. He will tell you that he gets far more out of it than the participants do, but scores of East Nasty, Lasty Nasty, and Happy Running People runners know the real truth – Barry is a great friend, extremely patient, has a generous smile and soul, and encouraging and showing up for others is his super power.

Barry learned of East Nasty about 5-years ago through those young, skinny, very fast friends at work and immediately assumed there was no way on God’s green earth that he would ever, EVER be a part of such a group. It never even entered his consciousness. But today Barry happily reports that of the many groups he’s been a part of (professionally or recreationally), East Nasty is the most nurturing and supportive. It’s like his very own personal version of “Cheers” – where everyone knows your name and you always feel better after being there.

So raise a glass and cheers to you, Barry, our ENOW!!


ENOW — Cheyenne Smith

June 13, 2016

Cheyenne Smith goes by a lot of names/descriptions – Amy Alder Smith’s husband, shirtless wonder, Greek God, crazy guy that pushes a double stroller up Mt. Nasty. Now, he can add one more moniker to the list, East Nasty of the Week!

2016 River Gorge - On the Rocks

2016 Rock/Creek River Gorge 10.2 Miler

Cheyenne grew up in Middle Tennessee in the four red light town of Woodbury. His parents still live in the house where he was born. As a youngster, he was a “nerdy jock”. He has always been active and had trouble sitting still so he would bike all over town to visit friends (because they lived in BFE). He played basketball from kindergarten through high school (he still wears the b’ball shorts to prove it!). However, he also stressed over grades and had such crazy thoughts like “B’s are bad”. Cheyenne was also “one of those guys” and had perfect attendance throughout high school. He was the student body president, class VP, FCA “something”, and was even the Tennessee Beta Club President. He says in hindsight that maybe he was just an active dork. Your words, dude . . .

Following his stint as Mr. High School, Cheyenne headed for college at Western Kentucky University, and the experience was a lot like high school except that he gave up all of the silly clubs and became highly active in the “adult beverage consumption society” (Maha has applications behind the bar at 3 Crow for anyone interested in the post-collegiate, East Nashville chapter). However, all of those carbs provided the necessary energy to do some weightlifting and intramural basketball throughout his college years. Don’t worry, though, he still stressed over grades and managed to negotiate a summa cum laude and a B.S. in Architectural Science.

2016 Snow Day - Mush

2016 RunWILD mush run through Shelby Park 

What does Cheyenne do these days? Apparently, he’s “sort of like Barney Stinson in that nobody really knows what [he does].”  For 11 years, he has been a designer/project manager for a boutique hospital construction company.  In addition, he is the owner/principal of a residential design company focusing mainly on the designing and drafting of additions and renovations to older and historic homes and infill housing. So, basically he’s “legen – wait for it – dary”. 

As for running, September 28, 2011 is Cheyenne’s official runaversary. Until then, he would get a random wild hair about once or twice a year for a few days at a time, crush a few runs, and then stop. Since 2011, he’s been more “serious” about his running, and the accomplishments keep piling up. According to him, “new [accomplishments] always seem to replace the old ones as the journey continues, but it started out as overcoming the fear of calling myself a runner instead of a jogger, then completing a half marathon and then a full marathon. Maybe one day I’ll do an ultra so that I can join the cool kid club with you.” You’re already in the cool kid club, Cheyenne, but your ass is definitely doing an ultra if I have anything to say about it.

2016 River Gorge - RunWILD

Part of the RunWILD crew at River Gorge 

Cheyenne found the awesomeness that is East Nasty from the “google box”, and his very first run was the Bongo to Bongo 2 weeks prior to the 2013 Country Music Half which, at that time, was his longest run ever. Then, he started running more consistently with the group when he and Amy moved to East Nashville in the fall of 2013, and East Nasty was a big factor of why they chose East Nashville. Heck yeah!

2013 Country Music Half - so fast, so blurry

2013 Country Music Half — So fast, so blurry, so wet

His favorite/most enjoyable part of East Nasty is the annual post-Country Music Marathon party and seeing so many like-minded people gather and celebrate another season of running accomplishments. However, Cheyenne has a few ideas on how to make sure East Nasty runners stay out of the street and cross in the crosswalks . . . which involves firing paintball guns at rule breakers. He says “if you could get the powers that be to create that new ‘running etiquette enforcer’ position then I would most enjoy having the opportunity pick off disobedient runners with a paintball gun.” (I think that will definitely be mentioned at the next board meeting.)

His most memorable experience with East Nasty is the inaugural Tabata classes at East Park back in 2013 where he met his first batch of Nasties. And this year’s destination race was a pretty good time too! Finally, when he’s not racing around the country, rocking dad duty, or hanging out at NRC with a red solo cup, Cheyenne enjoys renovating their 100 year old home and building furniture (just like Magic Mike?!)

Tabata - Susi selfie

Tabatas! Susi Selfie

Cheyenne’s wife, Amy, is a fellow ENOW and an integral part of East Nasty’s couch-2-5k program. When I interviewed her for her own ENOW post, she couldn’t stop gushing over Cheyenne’s contributions to East Nasty and her running. Here’s what she had to say: “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.”

2015 Miami Marathon - the wifey and Melissa King did the half

2015 Miami Marathon 

Personally, I’ve run with Cheyenne off and on for almost 3 years. Even though he’s a self-proclaimed introvert, chatting with him and listening to his stories make the miles fly by. As of this year, he’s jumped into the trail running scene, and it was awesome to be there as he dove headfirst into this new challenge and to see him grow into a seriously, legit trail runner. So glad you drank the kool-aid, dude!!

Congrats on ENOW, Cheyenne!! So well deserved!

 


ENOW: Nina Stroud!

September 28, 2015

This week’s East Nasty of the Week tries to “stay under the radar” but because she’s great at running and even better at giving back to the community, that couldn’t happen. It is with great pleasure that I introduce your newest ENOW – Nina Stroud!

Nina came into this world unique and awesome. She’s the third child in a set of triplets (two girls and one boy), and she was born and mostly raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. According to Nina, she was the nerd of the bunch. She loved to read all the time, do research, and write stories. She was that kid that would cry when she missed a day of school (what?!). However, she fell in love with track in middle school. Both of her parents ran in school so they used to watch track and field competitions on tv together. Nina ran in citywide meets and would compete in 100m dash, 200m hurdles, and 4x100m relay as the third leg. In high school, she was back to the books and academics and was involved with the school newspaper, yearbook, Novel book club, and many other “nerdy clubs”.

Nina and family

Nina and family

A couple of months after graduation in 1993, Nina’s dad was relocated with General Motors to Nashville. Since moving here, her family has always lived in the Priest Lake area and still does. She had never heard anything about East Nashville until meeting her husband who was born and raised in East Nashville. His father grew up on Forrest in a little white house behind the post office. Her in-laws and extended family are still residents of East Nashville so she feels like it’s her second home (that plus a little running group, right, Nina??). Nina and her husband, Damon, have two daughters, McKenzie and Brooklyn, a son, Damon, and a granddaughter, Zari. She says they all keep her pretty busy. So does her teaching gig at Harris Hillman School Exceptional Education. The students who attend school there have multiple disabilities and are medically fragile. After subbing for a couple of weeks, she was offered a permanent position, and she’s been there for the past six years. She says she’s in a classroom with 8 of the best 9­th-11th graders you will ever meet! They keep her sharp, smiling, and most of all, humble.

Nina and her daughter Brooklyn after Tomato 5k

Nina and her daughter Brooklyn after Tomato 5k

As for running, Nina always had a goal to run a marathon. A fellow ENOW, Shelley Norton, would always tell her about a running group called East Nasty. Never in a million years did Nina think she could run with them. Shelley encouraged her to do the Potato to Tomato 5k training during the summer of 2012, but Nina didn’t want to do it alone so she begged her “sole sister” Misty Cross to join her. They’ve been running buddies ever since. Nina also had the great luck of starting her running career during the summer of 2012 – one of the hottest summers in Nashville’s recent history with record high temperatures! Nina says that was one of the most grueling training sessions ever! Thankfully, Nina had hard-working and driven coaches such as Susi Willis, Joy Howard, Kim Koch, and Mike Clark! Susi even encouraged her to move up to a faster pace group.

Nina's first set of coaches

Nina’s first set of coaches

Susi’s knowledge, kindness, and encouragement had a lasting impression on Nina. She wanted to give that back to someone else so she paid it forward. Nina has been a P2T coach every year since and then some. She became a run coordinator for Black Girls Run, an organization that encourages and inspires African American women to live a healthy lifestyle and is a running buddy for Girls On The Run, an organization dedicated to encouraging girls in grades 3-­8 to achieving goals through training for a 5k. She volunteers every year with Achilles International for their Hope and Possibility 5 miler, which brings together able­bodied runners with athletes with disabilities to complete their race. Finally, she coaches her daughter’s track team for Nashville Youth Athletics. WHEW! Who feels like they need to go volunteer a little now?!

IMG_1965

With Colleen, Beth, and 2014 trainees

Nina’s biggest accomplishment in running is helping a person gain the knowledge and love for running that she has and then seeing that person cross that finish line for the first time. There is no greater feeling. As for what she enjoys most about East Nasty, it’s the laid back atmosphere. Everyone is welcome. You can walk, run, do intervals. You can bring your dogs, kids in strollers…no pressure…just get moving! Her most memorable East Nasty experience is being chosen as an ENOW. She says it’s unbelievable, and she feels so unworthy and like the most unlikely candidate. (Wait, I’m sorry, Nina. Did you not just read the previous paragraph?! You’re superwoman, girl!) She can’t stop smiling because she’s so “under the radar” all the time.

Group 2 pace leaders: Sam, Mike, Misty, and Nina

Group 2 pace leaders: Sam, Mike, Misty, and Nina

Nina loves racing, but somehow they always seem to be in bad weather or when she’s injured. She started running in extremely hot weather, but her first Country Music Half was 2013 – the year it rained the entire time. She had never run in that type of weather ever and was not prepared. Her next race was the Hot Chocolate 15K in February of 2014. It was 20 degrees but felt like 12 with wind! She tried another CMM 1/2 in 2014 and ran with a severely bruised shin. Ouch! She says she hasn’t given up yet. She’s signed up for the Middle Half in Murfreesboro and hoping for good weather and to PR. She also signed up for CMM 1/2 next year where her goal is to be under 2:30. You got this, Nina!

Nina and her best friend/"sole sister," Misty Cross after CMM 2013

Nina and her best friend/”sole sister,” Misty Cross after CMM 2013

When Nina isn’t being super mom, giving back, running/racing, she enjoys genealogy and tracing her roots.

Congrats on ENOW, Nina! We are so thankful for everything you do for the running community, and I couldn’t think of anyone more deserving!


ENOW — Katherine Knight

July 27, 2015

This week’s East Nasty of the Week is an avid triathlete (including an Ironman), a long-time member of East Nasty, really, really, really ridiculously good looking, and just celebrated a birthday! I’m so excited to announce your ENOW – Katherine Knight.

Most in her element . . .

Most in her element . . .

Katherine (or Kat) was born in Birmingham, AL (see, told you she was awesome). Her family moved to Nashville when she was 3 so she considers herself legitimately “from here originally”. Up until high school, Katherine says she was the quintessential “book nerd” and was incredibly shy. She only played junior varsity sports because she was absolutely required to do so. P.E., and everything associated with P.E. (including running), was excruciating torture for her. In high school, once she was no longer required to play any sports, she absolutely did not — unless mock trial is a sport (sorry, Kat, it’s not). In fact, she can hardly recall voluntarily exercising until at least her mid-20s. Even without the sports, she came out of her shell very quickly in high school (USN) and was, you know, kind of a big deal in statewide Model United Nations/Youth In Government activities. She also started getting really, really into music (not a musician, just a fan) and more or less looked and dressed like it. So, to sum it up, Kat’s high school experience was basically a 90s romantic comedy – a hot nerd who didn’t play sports.

Sonoma:  Michelle, Jen, me, Rebekah, wine, we clean up nicely!

Sonoma: Michelle, Jen, Kat, Rebekah, wine, they clean up nicely!

After high school, Kat went to the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA and then headed directly to law school at Vanderbilt. Although her college degree is a dual major of Russian Studies and Government, her true double major was probably “independent record store employee” and “campus coffee shop manager.” She really did work at a record store, and it was very similar to “High Fidelity.”  Law school was more or less what you would expect, and she was ALL ABOUT IT (girl, at least somebody was). Currently, she’s an in-house senior attorney at Dollar General Corporation; more specifically, she manages labor and employment litigation and compliance for the Company nationwide.

Kat attempted that whole running/voluntary exercising thing a couple of times a few years ago, but she had middle school flashbacks and still completely hated it.  Her “official” running start, i.e. the day she decided to take it outside and hasn’t really stopped since, was just after her 35th birthday 3 years ago – July of 2012. All of a sudden, the awesomeness of running clicked. She says she’s not fast so she pushes her limits by signing up for more and more ridiculous adventures. Since July 2012, she’s run three half marathons, two full (Flying Monkey) marathons, three half ironman distance triathlons, one Ironman, and she’s training for a second Ironman in November. I mean, seriously?! Go big or go home, Kat!

Practice swim before Ironman Maryland, trying not to panic, with Jim and Coach Daniel

Practice swim before Ironman Maryland, trying not to panic, with Jim and Coach Daniel

From a pure racing standpoint, her biggest accomplishment in running would have to be crossing the finish line at Ironman Maryland last September!  Beyond that, and a lot more importantly, running has just completely changed her life. She really started running at the encouragement of a friend to help herself overcome some very difficult personal experiences.  At that time, she also would have told you that she was not, and would never be, anything resembling an athlete. According to her, the true greatest accomplishment in running lies somewhere between finding a path of immediate mental survival and, simultaneously, breaking down long held ideas about herself that she was terrible at sports, terrible at running, not athletic, etc. That saying “running is cheaper than therapy” is not just a bumper sticker; if anybody out there wants to talk about better living through running, come find Kat! Sometimes the nature of what she’s doing still strikes her as COMPLETELY surreal. With a resume like yours, you are officially an athlete for life, Kat!

Kat found East Nasty through some fellow legal beagles. She knew Jennifer Eberle and Steve Lund from the Nashville legal community and saw them posting about the group on Facebook. Her first run with East Nasty was in September 2012 shortly after her running “career” began, and it just so happened to be The Nasty, thus beginning the trend of doing ridiculous running activities much earlier than she probably had any business doing them. Only Fitting!!

Every good photo needs a Mike Tarrolly photo bomb.

Every good photo needs a Mike Tarrolly photo bomb.

It will likely come as no surprise that the best thing about East Nasty is the very close friendships that she’s developed with some of the most incredible people she’s ever met.  A non-exhaustive list would, of course, include Jennifer Eberle, Rebekah Shulman, Duane Stephenson, Becky Alley Pendleton, Michelle Allen-Parker, Kristin Matthews, Lenny Bertoldo, (her now triathlon coach) Daniel Hudgins, and the guy who got her into this triathlon business, Jim Schwan (yeah, I’ve heard Schwanny is good at talking people into making bad decisions. Of course, there’s a difference between fire ball shots and triathlons . . . ).

On the Muncie Half Ironman Bike course, July 11, 2015

On the Muncie Half Ironman Bike course, July 11, 2015

As for her most memorable East Nasty experience, Kat says there are so, so many, but the most memorable would have to be celebrating her birthday last year in a vacation house in Sonoma with a bunch of East Nasty friends, running the Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon, followed by some good “wine tourism.” East Nasty is really a place where you can find “your people.”  Speaking of “her people,” Jennifer Eberle had this to say about Ms. Kat:

“Kat is the most determined person I know. We started swim lessons together in anticipation of dipping our toes in the triathlon world. Instead of starting with a sprint tri, as I did, Kat set her eyes on a full Ironman, which she completed successfully in the Summer of 2014 at IM Maryland, despite a pretty wicked crash resulting in a concussion. She has her sights on IM Florida this year, and I’m certain she will crush it! She’s also a super awesome employment law attorney at Dollar General and a fellow OR Pinot lover. Some of my best memories with Kat are our 2013 half marathon wine race in OR and our 2014 half marathon wine race in Napa (and we PR’d at both races).”

Looking dubious before the 2014 Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon with smiling Andy, Becky, Jen, Rebekah, Michelle and JP

Looking dubious before the 2014 Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon with smiling Andy, Becky, Jen, Rebekah, Michelle and JP

Besides signing up for every crazy endurance event under the sun, Kat is still fairly music obsessed. In addition, she’s on the board of the Nashville Adult Literacy Council, mentors law students through the Belmont Inn of Court, travels through National Parks, collect wine, and reads historical non-fiction.

Having gotten to know Kat better over the past couple of months, I can tell you she is an independent, tough as nails, and overall cool chick but is still so kind and welcoming – and is the perfect embodiment of the East Nasty spirit! Congrats, Kat!


ENOW: Scott Bell!

June 15, 2015

ScottBell_1

This week’s East Nasty of the Week is a self-described Trail Donkey, has run more miles in one day than most of us run in a week or even a month including his most recent finish at the Bryce 50 miler, and is a part of the Ginger brotherhood. As someone who looks to this guy for advice and inspiration, it’s my extreme honor to introduce your newest ENOW, Scott Bell!

Scott grew up in the booming metropolis of Murfreesboro, TN so he’s a native Middle Tennessean. Though it’s hard to believe it now, he says he wasn’t a big hit with the ladies in his middle school years. He had a red fro, braces with Orlando Magic colored rubber bands on the brackets, and  weighed 90 pounds  (apparently, think Scott Farkus from “A Christmas Story”). He swam for his local country club and was decent in AAU basketball & soccer. He played freshman basketball at Riverdale High (third string point guard) and  was a mean 5’8, 105 lbs. As he began to (sort of) grow out of his awkward phase, he stopped playing sports and discovered his new found love for having crushes on girls who were too cool for him and reciting movie quotes at bonfire parties.

Scott and family

Scott and family

After high school, Scott attended MTSU (Middle TN State University). Most of his closest friends planned to stay local for college, and he figured his options were fairly limited being that he wasn’t exactly valedictorian of his HS. His college years were pretty typical of the traditional college experience of parties, class (most of the time), not much direction, lifting weights, etc. He graduated in December of ’04 with a B.B.A in Marketing.  Scott has been in outside sales for the last 9 years. One thing he’s always been able to do fairly well is relate to folks of all different shapes, sizes, colors, etc. He’s definitely not an 8-5 office “worker guy”, and sales allows him to be out and about doing what he does best (as Drew Jones says)…talking trash. Currently, he is the Southeast Territory Mgr for The Genesis Agency. They specialize in working with specialty running shops to provide top notch apparel and nutrition. Scott says it’s awesome to be able to work in an area for which he’s so passionate. Being a rep in the running industry is new to him (coming from a corporate sales background), but he plans to stay in the industry for the long haul!

Speaking of running, Scott started the sport in July 2011. He moved to East Nash in 2009 and always saw the East Nasty stickers but had no clue it was a running club. He was a gym guy (beefy with horrible endurance). Drew Jones is a buddy of Scott’s and always tried to get Scott and their friend Joel Meredith to come out for a Wednesday night run. Finally, one Wednesday, Joel said, “come out there with me…it’s only 3 miles dude. Surely you can run 3 miles”. It was the Little Hollywood Route, and Joel was wrong. One mile in with a pair of basketball shorts on, Scott was literally kicking rocks with his heart beating in his  throat.  It was a true lesson in humility and totally humbled Scott.

Scott has come a long, looooong way from that first East Nasty run. His greatest running accomplishment is finishing the Pine to Palm 100 mile Endurance Run (trail/mountain) in Ashland, OR which contains  24,000 ft of cumulative gain, 24,000 ft of cumulative elevation gain, 48,000 ft of change. NBD, right?

Scott loves the community aspect of East Nasty and owes a lot to it. The (free) training programs helped him get his start in running. The 2012 Country Music 1/2 was the first race he ever really trained for with EN. Miller and all the runners were like his new posse. Without East Nasty, Drew Jones, and Joel Meredith, Scott says he simply would not be where he is today. Ninety percent of his running is on trail now, and basically 100% of his races are trail/mountain ultras, but he still tries his best to come out to run with his EN posse on Wednesday nights. It’s always a great time!

So what’s his most memorable East Nasty experience? One night when it was about 20 degrees out, Will “The Thrill” Arnold was running alongside Scott in a pair of khaki pants and suspenders with no shirt. Will started randomly asking him questions as they approached hills. When he got Scott to the point where he could barely breathe, Will smiled and said, “you see what I’m doing? I’m making you better”. Scott still remembers little things like this. That’s when he knew he had found “[his] people”. Eclectic, wild, & just good folks.

Those of you who know Drew Jones know that he’s kind of shy and you can barely pull a word out of him. However, he did have a lot to say about his buddy and fellow Ginger: “I have known Scott for about 10 years and he is a great guy. What you see is what you get with Scott – he is always the same. Always happy, always friendly, and always positive. You would think that with all Scott has accomplished in running that he has been running forever but that is not the case. He has only been running for 4 years, and in that time, he has put in tons of miles and dedication to the sport of running. Scott used to be a big fan of hitting the gym and the weights. He has shed lots of pounds and plenty of muscle since becoming a runner, but he says he has never felt better. Scott is a great ambassador for running and the positive things it can bring to your life. Since his very first run with East Nasty back in the summer of 2011, Scott has been all in on running. He has run 5k’s , ½ marathons, marathons, 50 k’s, 50 milers and a 100 miler … all in four years. It was probably destiny that Scott and I would become friends one day as we certainly look alike. On more than one occasion, we have been asked if we are brothers and the response is always the same “ we are Ginger twins “. Scott’s greatest strength when it comes to running is his dedication. Running in ultra-marathons requires a lot of time and consistency, and Scott has learned that over the years from other ultra-running buddies like Joel Meredith and Jobie Williams. Scott is a perfect example of what running should be: enjoyable and fun. He is one of my closest friends, and he always makes my runs more fun when I join him for an East Nasty Wednesday or a run on the trails at Percy Warner. Outside of running Scott is a big family guy. He talks about his wife Nicki and his 3 boys all the time. It is very easy to see when you are around Scott that his family is what brings him the most happiness. I’m glad running found Scott Bell and I know many others that would agree.”

Scott & Drew (or is it Drew & Scott?)

Aside from running for hours in the mountains, Scott has a “red hot smokin’ wife” named Nicki, who is a fellow EN and three boys (Calvin, Johnny, & Jack) ages 13, 10, & 3. He hangs with them, rides his longboard, and can throw down on a grill!

Congratulations, Scott! You’re proof of just how far East Nasty can take us! And thank you for taking time out of your pool time in Zion for answering my questions!


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.

Running-Medals

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!


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!