Howdy, folks. I’m obliged to introduce you to a couple of NRCers of the Month who are as much at home on the running trail as they are on a sawdust covered dance floor. You bet your fuel belt, this month the spotlight is on two boot scootin’, road runnin’ fools in love – Tim and Dena Lloyd!
Dena was born in Springfield, TN and has lived in Tennessee all her life. She moved to Rutherford County in the second grade where she’s stayed ever since. Her mother actually named her Raydena. If it weren’t for kids teasing her about her name at school, we’d probably still be using her full name, but ultimately she shortened it to Dena and that was the end of that. All grown up, Dena is one of the nicest people you’ll meet, but don’t let her petite frame fool you; she is one tough cookie. She’ll do anything for a friend, is always good to crack a joke on a tough run, and is the quintessential devoted wife, mother, and grandma (aka: Nina)!
Tim was born and raised in northeastern Ohio, about 45 minutes west of Cleveland. He lived up in New Hampshire and Massachusetts for a short time, before moving to Nashville. Tim has a hilarious, dry sense of humor and a flair for sarcasm. He works hard, but loves to travel and enjoys taking in the sights with Dena when they can.
Like the heartaches depicted in sad, country songs, both Tim and Dena have been in previous relationships before. Following the ends of those relationships, they each found escape in country music out on the dance floor. Just when they were least expecting it, they also found true love! Back then, there used to be a dance hall down on Thompson Lane called, Rodeo’s, where Tim would go kicker dancin’. One night, he asked a girl to dance and she said she didn’t know how. But, as he turned to walk away, she stopped him and said, “but my friend does” pointing to Dena who was quietly sitting in the shadows.
Tim took Dena’s hand and they danced the entire night! That was 20 years ago! From that night on, Tim swept her off her feet, one two-step at a time, for the next 2 years. Dena remembers one night on the dance floor with Tim as the Shania Twain lyrics played, “I’m waiting for the perfect moment, looking for the perfect phrase,” and then being inspired to tell him she loved him for the first time! Isn’t that romantic?!!!
Dena has worked 8 years with Williamson Medical Center in the HR department and is currently pursuing a business management degree. Tim is a Sr. Electrical Engineer at Nissan and is celebrating 30 years there in January. Needless to say, you can see that they love their jobs, which is good for NRC, because it means they’re not going anywhere!
From time to time, they’ll throw on their boots and go dancing. They also have Titans season tickets and enjoy hanging at the games. You may be surprised to know they are wine connoisseurs and have even followed their passion to Napa Valley. Just for fun, they love taking rides in Tim’s new Jeep with the top down. Of course, they make lots of time for their family! They have three beautiful daughters between them, Ashley (27), Chelsea (27), and Chelsey (24), plus 4 granddaughters, Fallon, Mylan, Reagan, and Jayda. And this is all when they aren’t running!!
I couldn’t believe it when they told me how long they’d been running! You see, Dena was never an athlete growing up and Tim ran a little bit during junior high, but not consistently. Surprisingly, terms like “body glide” and “compression socks” have only been a part of their vocabulary for the past 3 years!
In February of 2011, something happened that changed the course of Tim and Dena’s lives forever. Tim was at work and visiting with his Dad who had stopped by. All of a sudden, Tim felt his heart racing for no reason. He knew he was having extreme heart palpitations. He had never experienced anything like that before and he was scared. His Dad asked him what was wrong and Tim started to describe what he was feeling, but it was only a matter of minutes before he lost consciousness and passed out. When he came to, they said he’d been out for about 30 seconds, but it had felt like an eternity to Tim. He had thought he was done.
He spent one night at the hospital getting tests run to find out that it had not been a heart attack; rather they believed it was an arrhythmia, but couldn’t pinpoint any one reason. This drove Tim crazy with worry about when and where it would happen again. He felt like a ticking time bomb. Finally, after six weeks dealing with constant stress and anxiety about it, he made a decision to use his experience for good, and stepped out of his sedentary lifestyle and get healthy. That’s when he started running.
A huge motivation for him was his daughter Chelsea. She had taken up running before him, doing her own Couch to 5K. Inspired, he Googled “Couch to 5K program” and both he and Dena began training together in their neighborhood. They remember the challenge of that first week, walking a minute and running a minute. Little by little they got stronger and by week eight they were able to run their whole workout. Tim took to it immediately.
He ran his first race at the Memorial 5K that year and then the Middle Half that October. One of the perks of Tim’s job is that his company will pay for races! It was as simple as checking the box to run a full marathon, so he decided to just do it! He trained well, and ran the Country Music Marathon in April 2012! His first full was his most memorable race by far. Tim recalls, “What can you say? You never think you’re gonna run, let alone run a full marathon, and then you finish Country Music?!” He admits there may have been a few tears involved, but they were earned honestly over 26.2 miles.
Dena had a hard time getting motivated at first. After their DIY Couch to 5K training, she took a break. But, luckily she decided to not let Tim have all the fun and signed up with Fleet Feet for the Country Music Half training in January 2012. She, too, was hit hard when Tim had his heart troubles and knew that she had to support him in his journey to be healthier even though it would mean a major lifestyle change for her, as well.
Dena completed the Country Music Half and has done many more since, along with her first full this year! She will always remember her most memorable race, Carmel 2014 Marathon. Tim met Dena at mile 24 and saw she was struggling, Tim told her that they were going to finish this race in under 6 hours. Tim then coaxed her to run 1 minute intervals. She still gets emotional telling about how it felt to come down the final turn of the race, knowing she was one of the last runners left, only to find the entire NRC family cheering for her with their hands out to high five and Tim running in with her and the whole of NRC right behind! She finished in 5.55.42.
Some of their other favorites include their first road trip race in July 2012 where they traveled to run the Chicago Half Marathon. Plus, they have some great memories of running step by step together in the Middle Half, where Dena got her first PR with a 2:30 and Oak Barrel Half 2014 in Lynchburg, TN.
They are also Ragnar TN survivors! Fellow NRCer, Katherine Cain, was in their van and made a big impression on Tim & Dena. For one thing, it was freezing that night (around 20 degrees) and they were all piled in the van cheering. Katherine jumped out the van and caught every runner with a blanket at the end of their leg. Plus, she kept their spirits up by rolling her window down and yelling her trademark line, “I see you!!!!” bringing smiles and renewed resolve to her van mates.
So how in the world did they find NRC? Tim first heard about NRC while running with the Tin Roof 2 Running Crew. One of the Fleet Feet reps, Tammy (Sanders) McKinney, was in the NRC Facebook group and he decided to check it out knowing it was closer to home. He came out to (the old) Mama’s Java one Wednesday night to find a small, but mighty group of runners (this was NRC’s pre-panoramic group photo phase). One of the first times Tim came out he ended up running with John Pryor and he laughs that J.P. kept the conversation going the entire run and that he…breathed! J.P. turned to check on him every so often to see if he was OK (keeping up). He loved it, though and appreciated his “no runner left behind” attitude.
It was a while before he made it back on Wednesdays, but he did come out on some Saturdays. These gatherings were pretty small too, compared to now. We may have had less pace groups to choose from, but that just meant more courtesy loops! I personally remember Tim just crushing this one long run on a Saturday only to return to find that he was wearing the badge of honor fondly referred to as “bloody nips”! That’s when I knew Tim was one tough runner.
They really started running with NRC right when everybody had just done Carmel 2012 and the “Fab 5” had gotten their Boston Qualifying times. Tim was so motivated reading the posts online after the race and recalls telling Dena, “You’ve got to read some of these! They are really inspiring!” That got them excited to come out to NRC and had them looking forward to running Carmel!
They are now a big part of NRC and we’re so thankful for them! They participated in Miles for Amelia this past July and volunteered as mentors for both NRC Couch to 5k programs. Dena’s group was the Triple Threats and Tim’s was the Four Runners. This year, Tim mentored the 1:1 crew and Dena helped when schedules allowed.
The Lloyds love NRC! They say one of the greatest things is that, “you always have someone to run with. It doesn’t matter what day of the week, how far you want to go, or how slow or how fast, you always have someone to run with.” NRC has that family feel and does a great job of making sure no one is running solo unless they want to. Sometimes you come out wanting to run one pace, but it’s nice to know if you fall back you can always hang with the next pace crew. Most of all, Tim and Dena love the support and encouragement that is trademark NRC!
We’re so lucky to have this down-home, good-hearted pair in our club. Hope you’ll take a minute to seek them out at the next run, do a little do-si-do, and tell them congrats!