NRC Runners Of The Month – Lisa Singer and Mike Owsley

It is time again to spotlight our latest NRC Runners of the Month.  This month, we get the chance to know two of our favorite people a little better.  Who are they?  Well, both of their spouses have had the honor of being selected as Runners of the Month before so now it is their turn in the spotlight!!  Ok…..time to let the cat (or in this case, the runner) out of the bag.

LISA SINGER (interview by Scott Alexander)


If you have been with NRC for any length of time, you already know Lisa Singer.  In fact, on your initial visit to NRC, chances are that Lisa (and her husband Joe) made a point to come up and introduce themselves and welcome you to the club.  If you don’t know Lisa, you probably became aware a couple of weeks ago that she is one of our favorites when you saw post after post on Facebook about Lisa and her race in New Orleans.  Yep, we love Lisa and NRC is lucky to have her as part of our club!!

Lisa Singer started running in her early 20’s in Germany.  She and her ex-husband would run around a little town called Ansbach.  One of her first races was what Lisa called a Wolksmarching event.  In this event, you walk, run, and march a 10k distance.  According to Lisa, the best things about this event were the beer tent at the finish line and the tiny cuckoo clocks that were given to everyone who completed the race!!

After she got married to Joe, the two of them moved from Tullahoma to Lenox Village.  Lisa loves the area because it is convenient to both of their jobs and for the kids (who live with their mom in Springhill).  It is also convenient to NRC as well as to the new running club in Lenox Village, the Southside Runners.  Lisa wanted me to mention that this club, led by NRC’s Jamie Shea, meets on Thursday nights at 6:15.  Jamie….Lisa said that you owe her for the free plug!!

When I asked Lisa how she found out about NRC, she told me that Chuck Hargrove (a great guy and highly visible runner in the Nashville running community) posted something about NRC on his Facebook page in May/June of 2011.  Lisa said that she and Joe showed up about two weeks after finding out about the group.  She remembers that the group consisted of about 10 people at the time and that it was David Dye’s first time out with the group as well.  How does she remember this?  Well, Lisa remembers David being very excited about finding the group and, as all of us know, David Dye is a hard person to forget!! : )

I asked Lisa to give me the top 3 races that have been the most fun/rewarding for her.  Here was Lisa’s answer in her own words:

  1. New Orleans Marathon, for obvious reasons…  I can say that I came within two minutes of qualifying for Boston in my first attempt.  We had you guys back here cheering us on & we had eight runners with us that made the trip so memorable.  We would totally do that marathon again in the distant future after we’ve run a few races in other states.
  2. Chicago Marathon, the fact that Joe got his Boston Qualifying time there is enough reason to be number 2.  That is the happiest I’ve ever seen him.  I’m betting that ranks right in behind the births of Jessica & Joey. LOL!  We truly appreciated the support via facebook for that one.  I was shocked when I looked at his race photos & he was posing as a dragon while running through Chinatown after he knew he had his Boston qualifying time sealed.
  3. Indianapolis Monumental, we ran the half but looking back maybe I should’ve run the full.  That was the most effortless half marathon I’ve ever run.  Flat as a pancake, 34 degrees at the start, & I didn’t start breathing hard until mile 11. We walked right out of our hotel room to the start before the sun came up. It was very cool to watch the sun rise & look at the lights of downtown Indy.  I was stoked that I ran a 1:48 four weeks after running Chicago.

Great answer Lisa!!  Now that we know about Lisa’s top 3 past races, I asked her what her plans were for this year.  Like the majority of NRC, Lisa will be going to Carmel, Indiana in April.  If the weather is to her liking, she will let Joe pace her while doing the full.  If the weather is not ideal, she will probably drop back to the half.  As most of us know, Lisa runs long distances better when the temps are well under 55 degrees.  If Lisa doesn’t get her Boston qualifying time in Carmel, she will be looking at another marathon in early fall.

Speaking of other marathons, I asked Lisa if she had the chance to run in any marathon which one would she choose?  The answer was LONDON (with many exclamation points!!).  She said that she and Joe are looking to do this sometime in the next 2 to 4 years.

Future running goals for Lisa?  I knew the answer to this but, as a good interviewer, I had to ask the question, right?  The answer was obviously qualifying for the Boston Marathon.  According to Lisa, this is the only goal that she is focusing on right now.  I can speak for all of NRC in saying that we know that you are going to do this Lisa!!!!

In ending my interview with Lisa, I asked her to give me some advice that some of our newer NRCers can use.  Once again, I am giving this to you in Lisa’s own words.  Here ya go:

I’m going to give you more than one. ;-P

Listen to other runners who have been there & done that with speed training, long runs, nutrition, etc… Everyone is different in how their body responds to training.  I’m an example of that.  I do not run my long runs 30 seconds to a full minute slower than my goal pace like most long distance runners do.  I have done what works best for me & it got me my first sub 4 hour marathon.

In your first marathon, do what the majority of first timers are doing. When you are training for your 2nd, 3rd, 4th, & so on you can experiment with what works better for you. What I’m saying is be conservative with your first marathon so that you can avoid injury.  After you have that “base” mileage, you can experiment.

Listen to advice about nutrition.  Amy Klotz told me how she fueled during her Carmel marathon & what she ate in the mornings. Joe & I have been eating spaghetti with lots of bread almost every Friday night since last summer.  I eat a lot of oatmeal, a banana, water, & coffee before I do my long runs.  I allow a full hour for my breakfast to settle before we leave to run..

Never underestimate the value of GOOD carbs.  I have learned that bread does not make me fat, it makes me faster. LOL!

Never underestimate the value of a good chiropractor & massage therapist.

Never underestimate the value of a good running store.

Never underestimate the value of a core group of runners who are willing to pay money to track your races. LOL!

Lisa…as long as you are racing, NRC is going to pay money to track you!!  Thanks Lisa for all that you do for NRC and congratulations!!

MIKE OWSLEY (Interview by Amy Owsley)


The NRC male Runner of the Month isn’t what you’d call a “seasoned professional”, I mean; he has just barely worn the tread out on his running shoes!  With only a year and a half of running under his belt, you could say he is a newbie to the sport.  You could also say, that he is one of the nicest guys in NRC, but I’m biased!  My husband, Mike “the Bearded One” Owsley (“ow” pronounced like “ouch” which is what he said after the first time he ever ran a mile) made the decision to take up running just after his 40th birthday.  He wanted to combat the rut he was getting into, coming home every night and plopping down on the couch for night of TV.  He credits me for being a good example and the NRC crew for making him feel welcome on those first evenings he came to eat post-run at Mama’s Java (MJs).  Now a NRC regular, he runs Wednesdays, Saturdays and even sometimes on Sundays with the new NRC Smyrna edition, but I bet even those who’ve chatted it up with him during and after runs may not know his story, so here it goes…

Michael Louis Owsley Jr. was born in Charleston, S.C. where his father “Big Mike” was stationed in the Navy.  After moving to Newport, Rhode Island and then to Lexington, KY, his family ended up in Owensboro, KY where he spent his formative years.  Funny story, when Mike was in the seventh grade he got a call from a girl in his class.  His Mom answered the phone and when the girl asked for Mike, his Mom questioned, “Big Mike or Little Mike” and the girl answered, “Big Mike, the one in seventh grade!”  So we know now where the origins of his ego began!

When Mike turned 8, his Mom had his brother Andrew, fulfilling his demands that his sibling not have freckles and not be a girl.  He was an active kid and played on basketball and football teams and played tennis for fun, but swimming was his main sport throughout childhood.  He started swimming at the age of 12 on a summer team through their Country Club.  He was a natural and liked it so much that he endured the cold waters of morning swim training to compete on his high school team.  While he competed in all strokes, his forte was Freestyle.  During that time, he worked for his Dad in the family drugstore, Dennis & Akers, pitching in wherever he was needed and delivering prescriptions to the homebound.

A big part of Mike’s life is music.  His Mom’s side of the family is very musical.  His uncles and cousins still sing and play together at family gatherings to this day.  Mike was into music from his early years reaching up to hit the piano keys first, eventually taking lessons and then moving on to bass and guitar.  He formed his first group at age 14 playing keyboards in an 80’s band – of course it actually was the 80’s (cue up picture of Mike with mullet)!  The name of this band was “The Edge”.  A sign of the times, Mike said he remembers how he loved his synthesizer because it had a helicopter sound effect.  Oh yeah!  In his next band, no one wanted to play the bass, so Mike took it up and played it in many future bands.  Most recently, he played guitar and sang lead in his own Rolling Stones cover band!

He came to Nashville after auditioning for the band, Audio Adrenaline, and clinching a spot as an auxiliary musician on their tour.  Mike traveled with them on the road for about 4 years and got to visit lots of cool places all over the U.S., Europe, Brazil, New Zealand and Australia.  He met his match (me, of course) in the summer of ’99 and we were inseparable.  We married in October of 2001 and soon after he gave up life on the road to settle down.  The music didn’t stop there.  Mike and I formed a punk rock band called, American Chills, which allowed us to do music and spend time together. After several years and many more adventures, the band split up.  Although not currently in a band, Mike says he will always play music and is still up for jamming with friends and playing out when opportunities arise.

Mike loves Nashville.  He says, “Nashville is the perfect size city.  Large enough to have lots of different things to go see and do, but still small enough to have a small town feel and friendly people.”  Nashville is also one of the best cities for runners!  Mike started running after his 40th birthday which was only just a year and a half ago.  One of the reasons he said was because he saw me running on a regular basis and staying in shape and was inspired.  He decided he wanted to get out and do more.  He said, “I never imagined running with a “running club”, but meeting up with the group at dinners after the runs, I got to know Scott and several others and they are just good people!”  Once he got it in his head he was going to start running, he built up a base doing short runs around the neighborhood on his own.  Then one night he decided to meet me at MJs after a Wed night run and got to know the NRC crew.  He did that for a while and it was just the motivation he needed to keep going and ultimately, start running with the club.

Now, Mike is no stranger to races.  He has been a spectator for all of my races and my biggest cheerleader over the years.  So, when he decided he wanted to do the Carmel Half, he knew a little of what to expect.  He printed off the Galloway training schedule and stuck it on the fridge, making it official.   He loved the run/walk combo and the plan’s philosophy on how walking is okay and even encouraged at times.  The first race he participated in was the Rudolph Red Nose Run 5K as part of his half training.  Then in April 2011, he completed the Carmel Half in 2:15 – a great first time if I do say so myself.  He had a great experience doing that race with NRC!  Since then he also did both races at the Franklin Classic with me and he plans on doing more half marathons and getting a sub 2 hour PR down the road.

Right now, though he is taking some time to be Daddy before committing to any major training plans.  He is proud papa to our son, August, who will be 3 months old on March 7th.  Every spare minute he has is spent with August reading books, playing music for him or doing “tummy time” (which is also an NRC dance move – LOL!)

When asked, Mike said his favorite place to run would be out at Crockett Park Greenway, because of the scenery and his favorite pieces of running gear are his Under Armor shirts (no chaffing).  He admits that he really likes the benefits of running sometimes, more than the running itself, but he gets so much from the social aspect and fellowship, too.  His dream place to live would be Kauai (where he spent his honeymoon) with its ideal weather and beautiful surroundings.  He loves the ocean and, those who know him would agree that, his personality fits the laid back tropical feel perfectly.  You may not know that Mike is a huge Stephen King fan.  He has read every book he has written and considers the Dark Tower series among his all-time best books.  When he’s not being Daddy, running, reading, or playing music Mike also likes to complete Do-It-Yourself projects around the house.  His most recent project was remodeling his kitchen.  He said the whole project was full of new experiences and he learned a lot of what to do and what NOT to do.  He also told me not to get any ideas for new projects for a while. (okay, okay.)

So, next time you see an awesome stroller (thanks NRC!) out at our runs, it is very likely that Mike is the man behind the wheels.  As you buzz by, be sure to say hi and congratulate him on runner of the month!