ENOW: Scott Bell!

June 15, 2015


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.


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!

ENOW — Alicia Hunker

February 23, 2015
The Hunkers

The Hunkers — at Green River Ordinance’s performance with Train and “John Legend and The Roots” in Philadelphia ( Her most memorable band wife moment to date not including his Grand Ole Opry performance)

Our newest East Nasty of the Week is an amazing teacher and runner, the wife of a rock star, and one of my best friends (or my “Boo Boo”). I’m stoked to introduce Alicia Hunker as ENOW!

Alicia grew up in Dallas, Texas. As anyone who’s ever met her can imagine, she was quite the social butterfly. She was involved in every school organization, played Varsity volleyball and soccer, and ran Varsity cross country. Most importantly, she got to take classes with her best friend and husband Denton Hunker. They became best friends in 7th grade and have been inseparable since (cue the “aws”). Alicia’s killer soccer skills led her to St. Mary’s University in San Antonio. She now teaches 6th grade Algebra.

Crashing fellow East Nasties, Bree and Eric's, date

Crashing fellow East Nasties, Bree and Eric’s, date

While she’s always been a runner, Alicia did not voluntarily run any distance over 5k until her Junior year of college when she got injured and couldn’t play soccer for a year. She decided to run a marathon that year (2005) with Team in Training and has been hooked ever since.

Post-East Nasty pint night at NRC

Post-East Nasty pint night at NRC

Alicia’s biggest running accomplishment will be completing her 6th (official) marathon. However, it’s really her 10th marathon — she has run 4 others with bibs of injured friends, because what kind of runner says no to a free race?! She’ll also be completing her first ultra-marathon (North Fork 50k) in Colorado this June. Those are definitely some killer accomplishments! Alicia’s currently trying to convert to trail running…no broken bones yet, so it’s working out pretty well so far!

Alicia and RunWILD crew at Bearwaller Gap

Alicia and RunWILD/Newton crew at Bearwaller Gap

In typical Alicia fashion, she found out about East Nasty from fellow East Nasty Heidi Huerta a few years before even moving to Nashville. While her husband Denton was here recording a record, Alicia met Heidi at Lululemon, and naturally, the topic of running came up. The Hunkers knew they would eventually need to relocate here, and Alicia just had to find the right running club before they could make the move. She started running with East Nasty on June 5th 2013 after living here for 4 days! Alicia loves the Easy Nasty community…they’re her Tennessee family! She’s met her best friends in town through East Nasty, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. They rock her world! (Get it? Her husband’s a rock star)

Green River Ordinance show at 3rd and Lindsley

Green River Ordinance show at 3rd and Lindsley

She says one of her most memorable East Nasty Experiences both involve running in the rain and were both with the lovely Beth Meadows! (I hear she’s an OK gal) The first was at a normal East Nasty run, and it was lightly sprinkling so they decided to go for it! As soon as they started running, a storm broke out. Even though they were nearly struck by lightning, it made them laugh their faces off the entire way back. PRs were definitely set for run #7 that night! The second was Alicia’s very first race here in Nashville which she ran with Christa Poremba and Beth on July 4th 2013. A torrential downpour occurred during the entire 10k. Denton came to take pictures of everyone soaking wet and to cheer! Even better, Christa, Beth, and Alicia all placed in their age groups!

Soaked and posing at Fourth of July 10k in 2013

Soaked and posing at Fourth of July 10k in 2013

Lastly, her drummer husband, who she has been trying to get to run for all of their dating/married relationship, is an official runner thanks to all of their East Nasty friends. She never thought that would happen, and she says dreams really do come true!

As for her other hobbies, she loves her dog Pickles, family dinners with her friends, foreign films, and loving people! She also loves supporting her incredibly loving and talented husband, Denton Hunker. They have been married almost 7 years and have been best friends since middle school! He is the reason they moved here, and they haven’t regretted it ever since. (#HunkerdownTN) She also loves Legos and has a Lego Engineering Club at her school. Alicia’s extremely passionate about and in love with her job. It’s her personal mission to be an advocate for educational equality. She’s lucky to get to work alongside fellow East Nasty Laura Villines at school.

As I said, Alicia is one of my best friends. She is so supportive, considerate, and compassionate. From traveling over to Chattanooga to support me in a race to get well videos from her and Pickles to her every occasion cards, her thoughtfulness knows no bounds. As for her running, you couldn’t find a more dedicated and motivated runner and one who’s willing to jump into any race at any time! I’m so proud to call this week’s ENOW my friend! Congrats, Boo Boo!

ENOW: Nash Harris

February 2, 2015
Nash Crushing It In All of His Shirtless and Short Shorts Glory

Nash Crushing It In All of His Shirtless and Short Shorts Glory

East Nasties– this week’s East Nasty of the Week is one hilarious and speedy dude, an East Nasty staple, and one half of the running power couple, Leah and Nash. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s my extreme pleasure to introduce you to the newest ENOW—Mr. Nash Harris.

Nash was fortunate enough to be born and raised in the great state of Alabama. More precisely, he was born in Mobile and grew up in Bay Minette. In high school, he says he was just “an average guy” who played soccer and tennis all 4 years.  Running was, by far, his least favorite part of sports (Did someone have to run laps for goofing off?). His parents still can’t believe that Nash devotes such a large amount of time to running these days.

Young Nash ... pre-short running shorts

Young Nash … pre-short shorts

Nash attended Millsaps College in Jackson, MS where he played a season of SCAC tennis but quickly lost interest in all things athletic. During that time, he was far more interested in seeing Widespread Panic and throwing the Frisbee around. Currently, Nash’s main job is doing accounting for ADS Security based here in Nashville. According to him, it’s a regular 8-5 cube-farm environment. He also works for What Do You Run For? and Nashville Running Company putting on various races…including the Dry Creek Half and Full (Shameless plug alert . . . sign up at Pint Night at NRC on Wednesday for $10 off!)

As for when he started running, that didn’t happen until 2009. He clearly remembers being so self-conscious that he would only run either late at night or really early in the morning. His first race was the Tomato Fest 5k which he ran in a little over 30 minutes—a time that made him extremely happy back then. After that, he started taking running more seriously and trained for a half marathon, etc. Now, a normal week for him is around 40-50 miles, races twice a month when the weather is nice, and is lightning fast (My words, not his. He’s also very humble).

Nash with his fellow NRC Race Team teammates

Nash with his fellow NRC Race Team teammates

Nash’s biggest accomplishment in running has to be the network of friends he’s made over the past couple of years. To him, the only thing better than winning a race is knowing that there is always someone willing to trudge a long race out with you no matter the time or condition. Fortunately for us, he heard about East Nasty through his good buddy Seth Neumann. Nash’s running really turned a big corner after meeting him (and Alex Payne) and running with East Nasty on a regular basis.

His favorite part of East Nasty? Wearing short shorts and no shirt, duh (That’s our favorite part too, Nash). He says his most memorable East Nasty experience is an easy one — it’s when he ran with Leah Sawyer for the first time. As he tells it, it was a beautiful day, and he was waaaaaay faster than she was. (Author’s note: I also wrote Leah’s ENOW post. Her recollection was slightly different.)

Leah and Nash (Lash?)

Leah and Nash (Lash?)

Between school, work, running, racing, and putting on races, Nash doesn’t really have time for other hobbies. He does, however, like to cook with Leah which is probably the closest thing to a hobby for him. Speaking of his other half, Leah had this to say about Nash: “Describing Nash is an overwhelming task because he is so many good things. When I originally met him, I thought he was serious and shy. I was SO wrong. Nash is silly, genuine, hard-working, and kind. He makes me laugh every single day. He would do anything for his friends. He is immensely loyal. He listens. He is open-minded. He thinks of the details. He is smart and passionate. He does the right thing. He is deeply positive in the face of difficult situations. He cooks some of the best food I have ever eaten. He is FAST!!”

What a perfect embodiment of the East Nasty spirit!! Congratulations on being ENOW, Nash!

ENOW: Melinda Morgan

January 26, 2015


Our latest East Nasty of the Week is known for her love of her friends, her love of her dog and her love of sharing astrological information on Facebook. Nasties, it is my pleasure to introduce you to your ENOW, Melinda Morgan!

NRC Winter Speed Session 2014

NRC Winter Speed Session 2014

Melinda was born in Gadsden, AL and grew up in Tuscaloosa. In middle school, she ran track and played softball and basketball. She was shy in high school and hung-out with a group of friends that she played rec league softball with. Melinda put herself through college, attending the University of Alabama. Putting yourself through college is stressful, but she had fun and continued playing rec league softball.

image (4)

You may be surprised to learn that Melinda is not, in fact, a professional rec league softball player, but instead, is the Operations Director for the Belcourt Theatre. Her running career started via East Nasty’s free 5K training. In the summer of 2012, she became a tomato, a runner, and an East Nasty. Potato 2 Tomato coach and fellow ENOW, Kim Stokes-Lanier, has this to say:
I first met Melinda when she was a participant in our Potato 2 Tomato 5K training group. She struck me as such a badass athlete that I couldn’t understand why she was training with us. I soon learned that she was a triathlete coming back from a shoulder injury, and just how stubborn and badass she could be! And super nice and kind, too! I love that she returned the next year as a volunteer coach and even now continues to help new runners, encouraging them to keep at it and become badasses themselves. She is a pleasure to know and I’m so glad that she shares her awesome self with our growing East Nasty community!
Cedars training ride with Karen and Cassandra

Cedars training ride with Karen and Cassandra

Melinda claims her friends as the biggest accomplishment she’s made in running, especially when it comes to training. Another proud accomplishment is doing the Cedars of Lebanon triathlon last May.
Melinda and Carrie at the Color Run

Melinda and Carrie at the Color Run

Melinda heard about East Nasty from her bestie, Carrie DuRard. Carrie knew Melinda was looking for a 5K training program and recommended Potato 2 Tomato. I spoke to Carrie and she had this to say about her friend:
Melinda is the runner that more of us should try to emulate. It’s not the pace of her feet, but rather the speed of her encouraging words just when you need them the most. It’s also the willingness to lend a hand and the never-quit attitude that she brings to the group.
After the Germantown 5K 2014

After the Germantown 5K 2014

What Melinda enjoys most about East Nasty is the friendships she’s made, and how positive, friendly and encouraging this group is for runners of all types. Her most memorable East Nasty experience is finishing her first run of “The Nasty” with Glenda Tetley.
Melinda and Susi

Melinda and Susi

 Friend and fellow ENOW, Susi Willis, has this to say:
Sometimes you meet a person, and feel like you have already traveled a lifetime with them. This is my experience with Melinda. Melinda and I met through East Nasty. I’m sure it was during our runs with Lasty Nasty on Wednesday nights that solidified the friendship. Melinda is one of THE MOST caring people I know. She is always good to lend an ear or advice to others – about running or otherwise. We’ve trained Couch to 5K-er’s together for a couple of years, ran races together, and last summer we hiked Mt. LeConte with our friends. One great outcome of East Nasty is friendship!!

Melinda running

When Melinda’s not running, she loves to hike. She also draws and paints a bit. Oh, and pro tip, she knows everything about every movie at the Belcourt.

Melinda, you are one of my favorite East Nasties. I’m so glad Susi nominated you. Congrats and welcome to the ENOW club!

ENOW: Shelley Norton

January 12, 2015
Right before running The Nasty three summers ago. Not sure why I'm smiling! ;)

Before running The Nasty three summers ago. Not sure why she’s smiling!

Our newest East Nasty of the Week is an almost-native Nashvillian; two-time CMM full finisher; and budding cyclist. Nasties, it is my pleasure to introduce you to your ENOW, Shelley Norton!

Cross training with Will on Perkins Road in Leipers Fork.

Cross training with Will on Perkins Road in Leipers Fork.

Shelley was born in New Haven, CT. After her parents got snowed in at the hospital the night she was born, they decided New England wasn’t for them and promptly moved to California. Later, when Shelley was five, they moved to Nashville. In middle and high school Shelley couldn’t keep her nose out of books long enough to get actively involved in sports. She absolutely couldn’t get enough of studying, research and reading classics.

Her family was always active – hiking, cycling, swimming, etc. And her dad was a runner. They also travelled A LOT. Because of this, when Shelley was in high school, her parents found a program at UNL that allowed you to get college credit for your junior and senior years. It was an amazing experience that allowed her to do so many cool things that she ordinarily wouldn’t have been able to do at such a young age.

The Gang at the EN Christmas party.

The Gang at the EN Christmas party.

As Shelley continued her schooling at UNL, she began working as a fitness instructor at local gyms. She also travelled with the Southern Women’s Show doing presentations encouraging proper nutrition and fitness. Shelley now works as a personal assistant, a job she absolutely loves!

Shelley started running in 2005, although it took several years before she got serious about it. In fact, she ran the CM half four years in a row with almost zero training, which she does not recommend. She didn’t even own a pair of running shoes until a month before her first half and she still finished with a halfway decent time (2:11)! It finally dawned on her that with a little work, she could actually be a real runner!

Shelley, Denise and Randy in 2013 after running the Country Music full in the pouring rain.

Shelley, Denise and Randy in 2013 after running the Country Music full in the pouring rain.

Since getting serious, Shelley has accomplished: running CMM (full) twice; 23 minute PR at CM Half; placing in her age group at two 5K’s; and coming within seconds of finishing the Blvd Bolt before speedy Randy Neff, fellow East Nasty and great friend.

Shelley heard about East Nasty about five years ago through a small Monday night group that she and Denise Leaver both still run with. When I spoke to Denise about Shelley, she had this to say:

Shelley is such an amazing woman! Beautiful on the inside and out! She has inspired me so much with running – I would’ve never even attempted running a full without her shining example, enthusiasm and joy when she did her first full! She’s also inspired me as a person with her loving and gentle manner with everyone she meets. She has such a beautiful smile and great laugh! We run together so much, I can tell when she’s going to kick my butt on a particular run just by her posture! We truly support each other and it spilled over naturally to supporting each other through life’s ups and downs. I love her so much!

Besties! Denise, Shelley and Dawn.

Besties! Denise, Shelley and Dawn.

Shelley can’t imagine her life without East Nasty. Not only has it made her a better runner, but she has developed friendships with people that she now considers family. One of her most memorable East Nasty experiences is one the she is most grateful for – meeting her amazing boyfriend Will two years ago on his first night running with East Nasty. The very next week they started running trails and have been together ever since!

Will has gotten Shelley into cycling, watching soccer and snow skiing. They’ve gone to Colorado the past two winters to ski. Shelley also loves scuba diving, cooking, watching football, and is an avid reader.

Will and I on our ski trip in Breck, CO last month.

Shelley and Will on their ski trip in Breck, CO last month.

Shelley’s friend and running partner Dawn Bogic, had this to say:

I wish I had Shelley’s natural athletic ability. Before joining East Nasty, she ran the Country Music Half marathon a few times – without training. She also got sick during the training for her first full marathon and missed a few weeks, but still ran it and made it across the finish line. She’s competitive, so she always pushes herself to go farther or faster. She’s really sweet and a very good friend and has supported many of us, including many East Nasty friends, through difficult times.

Shelley, congrats and welcome to the ENOW club!