It’s my pleasure to introduce you to our female runner of the month, Diana Parmley! If you’d met her in the starting corral of her first race, you would have been taken by her bright smile and no-holds barred laughter that is straight up contagious. She also admits that you’d have found her rocking all cotton clothes and sporting shoes that were 2 sizes too small! After she crossed the finish line of that first 5k, the sweat-laden clothing and toe-torturing shoes were simply not enough to keep this determined optimist from deciding to do a Half! From there, Diana has navigated her way through more miles than she could have ever imagined. In fact, she conquered the Carmel Marathon this past April (wearing an NRC tech shirt and appropriately fitted shoes, of course)! If you met her now, you’d find she’s the same endearing young woman, flashing the same ineffable smile. Still, she has gathered some great stories along the way, which I know you want to hear – so let’s get to it!
Diana moved to Nashville from Long Island, NY where she grew up with 5 siblings in a close-knit family. Her parents are from Puerto Rico, and they made sure that their children took part in the rich culture and heritage. Spanish was spoken at home and their kitchen was frequently filled with the delicious aromas of traditional Puerto Rican dishes. Diana’s father is a preacher and her family was very involved with their church, which she feels had a really positive influence in her life. She has lots of happy memories of her childhood, but a few family vacations have earned “the bomb” status – fun times at the beach in Florida and the amazing trip her family took to Puerto Rico!
At 18, Diana left New York and moved to Nashville to attend college at Lipscomb University. She obtained her degrees in Mass Communication and Spanish landing a job with a major company as a national sales trainer. Because of her position, she got to travel and see a lot of cool places. Most of all, she found that she enjoyed the teaching aspect of her job the most and when her employer had to make some cut backs, she decided to go back to school to become a teacher. After some serious studying and student teaching, Diana was offered a job in Nashville Metro Schools as a first grade teacher!
2013 was Diana’s first year teaching, but she has weathered it like a pro. It wasn’t always easy and she admits, especially working with children, you never know what might happen, but at the end of the day she can feel good about the work she is doing. She sincerely loves her students and it is obvious, from the Facebook posts of happy gifts like fresh picked flowers from the playground and sparkly signs that say, “Our teacher is the best!”, that the feeling is mutual! Kids can see through the hype and they know that Mrs. Parmley goes above and beyond to make sure that in spite of whatever challenges they may face, they have the ability to succeed in her class.
Diana met her husband, Jason, in 2007 when she happened to move into the same townhome complex. When she would drive by on her way home, Jason, (who is friendly, outgoing and one of the funniest guys I’ve ever met), would always be outside waving at her. She would wave back and drive on, until one day, she decided she had to meet this guy and so she stopped and said hi. They became friends and later started dating. The two got married in August 2011 in a special ceremony officiated by Diana’s father in Puerto Rico. Diana has also grown incredibly close to Jason’s son, Isaac, who she loves like her own. Running may become a family activity, as Diana disclosed that Jason holds sprint race records his home town (I see a NRC track team happening!) and Isaac has even recently picked up running. When Diana was signing up to do one of her favorite races, Ellie’s Run, Isaac decided to take part in the Ellie’s Kids Run and… he got 1st place! Congrats, Isaac!
Thanks to NRC bling, she started meeting up with NRC back in 2011, just a few months after she began running. One day while Jason was working out at Prairie Life Fitness, he spied the logo on the shirt of fellow NRCer, Shawn Berkau. He asked about the club in Nolensville saying that his wife was looking for a group to run with and obviously Shawn made a great pitch for the club, sealing the deal. Diana remembers coming to NRC, that first time, at the old Mama’s Java. There was not as many people running with the crew then, but still her stomach was in knots. She remembers thinking there was no way she would keep up with these serious runners with “water bottles attached to their hands”! To her relief, Shawn said, “Stick with us!” and they stuck together the whole route. She has kept coming back ever since.
Recently, Diana wanted to support her NRC friends who were training for a full marathon. She wanted to see what it felt like to run past 13.1 miles, but didn’t see a marathon in her future. Every Saturday, she would take every step with them on their long runs even though she was convinced she didn’t want to do a marathon and was not signing up. Each run, one of her friends would say, “Diana, why don’t you just sign up? You can do it!” And for a long time, Diana just laughed it off still honestly, not believing that she could. It wasn’t until their first time to run 18 miles that she believed. After running 3 and half hours she had expected to be miserable, but she felt great! Together, this crew made it fun! During that run, Diana remembers fellow NRCer, Elizabeth Schaub, not asking, but telling her, “You are doing Carmel!” It was that total confidence in her and the constant encouragement from her friends and family that made it possible!
Diana has completed many races since taking up the sport from the Middle Half to Hoggin ‘n’ Joggin. She was part of the notorious Relay Rutherford team, “Dangerous Curves Ahead” and gives back through mentoring the runners group, “We Got the Runs,” of the NRC 2014 Couch to 5K program. When she is not running, Diana loves to cook. She likes trying out new Paleo recipes and healthy meals for her family. She is very active with her church and when she has free time, enjoys searching for unique teaching ideas on Pintrest. A couple fun facts you may not know about her include: she’s a morning person who loves to sleep in; and, if she had to be a piece of running gear, she’d be shoes, because they enable you to go wherever you want to go! Just like running may take you to places you have never been before and even, sometimes, to tough places mentally and physically; afterwards, you feel empowered.
Diana says she is glad to have NRC and the friendships she’s made mean a lot to her. We are glad to have her, as well. Grateful is an understatement in describing how we feel about Diana finding NRC! Her positivity, fun-loving nature and kindheartedness exemplifies the spirit of NRC! Be sure to tell her congratulations on being chosen NRC female runner of the month!
There’s an old saying, “Even if you win the race, you still have to bend down to receive the medal.” At 6’2”, there aren’t many who could reach high enough to bestow a medal upon our male Runner of the Month, but that is not why I think of him when I hear this phrase. Humility among those who achieve greatness is rare, especially in competitive sports. In fact, one of the reasons we all love NRC so much is that everyone is praised and accepted, regardless of their pace or previous accomplishments. Still, we often hear of less experienced athletes who encounter an air of separateness and even condescension from the top contenders. These are things you will never get from Eric Waterman. He has accomplished greatness and has harnessed his ability to perform at such a high level, but you would never hear it from him.
Case in point, I admit that I didn’t know a whole lot about Eric before our interview. I knew he was fast and could bust out amazing times, often while pushing his 3-year old son in a stroller. In all my questioning, never once did Eric mention a race time, pace, or ever being awarded a place in any race. Honestly, I had meant to get all the “deets” on these things, too; but, Eric has such a quiet, unassuming way about him, he always seemed to answer my question without giving me the goods! As we wrapped up, his wife Stefanie and son, Jeffrey, joined us. I happened to ask if there were any other memorable races or accomplishments, and it was Stefanie who spoke up and reminded me of some of his most phenomenal finishes. We will get to those soon, but first let’s learn a little more about the man behind the stroller.
Eric was born in Nashville and has lived in Davidson County all of his life. As a kid, Eric wasn’t winning any races; in fact, the most running he did was chasing a ball up and down a soccer field for a few seasons. Just after high school, a friend talked him into a blind date with a friend of a friend in Hendersonville. He picked up the young, Stefanie (who was still in high school at the time), and they joined a group for a night on the town. Afterwards, he called her up and they kept in touch knowing there was a definite connection. They went on to have a few more dates before Stefanie concluded he’d passed the test and they became exclusive. They married in 2001 in a gorgeous, intimate setting at Cheekwood Botanical Gardens. Surrounded by the beauty of the Wills Perennial Garden, they said their vows. The two enjoyed a long “honeymoon” until their family grew in 2010 when little Jeffrey was born.
As an adult, Eric has gotten into mountain biking, but unfortunately that does not end up with a very long season in Tennessee. Eventually he decided running would be a good option for his off-season training, but it wasn’t as long ago as you might expect. You may want to sit down for this, in case you’re as shocked as I was when I heard, but Eric didn’t start running until the fall of 2009!
A co-worker gave him the push he needed to initiate a running regimen and his feet first hit the treadmill at his local gym as he focused on working up endurance on his own. It’s still easy for him to remember those early 1-2 mile workouts where he’d have to walk most of the way. He used a Nike+ to help keep track of his workouts, but he admits he had no idea what he was doing starting out. He kept at it, though.
Eric started running not long before Jeffrey was born and so he doesn’t really recall a time when he wasn’t running with a stroller. He didn’t have a choice, so he just got used to it, building up his strength and endurance to accommodate the extra cargo.
Soon, Eric decided it was time to do a race. He had only ever run 5 miles consistently without stopping once before when he stepped up to the starting line of the Boulevard Bolt, a Thanksgiving Day race in the Belle Meade area of Nashville. He continued training and completing races, gaining momentum with each one. Before long, Eric signed up for his first full, the 2012 Country Music Marathon. He also joined his first ever group-training program with Fleet Feet. Joined by now fellow NRCers, Tim Lloyd and Jeff and Amanda Bennett, he found the program a big motivator to stay up with the training. In addition to work demands, life was especially busy at home with his young son, who was just 18 months around that time. All of the positive encouragement spurred him to sign up for his second full marathon before he’d even finished his first.
With his next race (the Chicago Marathon) in his back pocket, Eric arose on race day and gave it all he had. He had put in the training, but it just wasn’t his day. He summed up his experience as, “Awful.” While he didn’t attain the time he wanted, he accomplished his ultimate first-marathon goal, which was to finish. From then on, Eric hasn’t stopped reaching for new goals. Some of his favorite races are the Tom King Half Marathon, which was his first ever race with NRC and the Middle Half which he raced with NRC in 2013. He remarked on the incredible NRC support during those races.
Some of his most memorable races include the Brentwood Half. This was a big race for him! With his son in tow in the stroller, Eric placed 3rd overall! Others are the 2013 Josh Byers 5K where he won 2nd overall, the 2013 Change for a Chance where he won 3rd overall, and the 2014 Memorial Day Dash 5K which he finished 3rd overall in 17:54 also with stroller (that’s a 5:46 pace)!!! What’s his secret? Well, Eric eats oatmeal before every long run and race (somehow, I don’t think I’m eating the same oatmeal) and his favorite running fuel is Power Bar Mixed Berry Blast. His current goals are to get close to a Boston qualifying (BQ) time and to improve his race times overall.
Before coming to NRC, Eric did his research. He had been checking out our Facebook page while running with other area groups, the Southside Runners and the Tin Roof 2 Crew. NRC had a reputation for being fast among those groups, for whatever reason (maybe the letters BQ have something to do with that). Still, Eric said that it was meeting Scott Alexander and Joe Singer at these other running club gatherings that got him to come out to Nolensville. He says he was self-conscious that first night and was seriously afraid that he would not be fast enough. After the run and meeting so many nice people, he remembers most how welcoming everyone was not just during the run, but also afterwards hanging out. What keeps him coming back to NRC? There is just no other local running club that is quite as family friendly as NRC. Recently he has been mentoring the C25K runners group, “We Got the Runs”, volunteering his time to help encourage others.
This is all to say that we are blessed to have Eric in our crew. He trains hard and holds himself to high expectations, but regardless of the heights of his achievements he understands what it’s all really about. Give Eric a shout out the next time you see him and tell him congrats!
Brudtärna klänning: Välj brudklänning att uppmärksamma många detaljer. Såsom stil, chiffong tyg. De viktigaste egenskaperna enligt deras kroppstyp att välja, är det nödvändigt att uppmärksamma bruden.