NRC Runners of the Month – Melanie & Liz Staudt and Kim Bean

Melanie and Liz Staudt

Why am I not surprised?  It’s Saturday morning at Mama’s Java and I’m setting up for my interview with the illustrious mother-daughter duo, Melanie and Liz Staudt.  They have barely gotten in the door and what do I overhear, them befriending a random patron and of course, inviting them out to NRC!

TMLStaudt1hey admit this happens quite a bit, but there was a time when these two actually made fun of runners!  Shocking, I know, but in their defense they’d tell you to peruse a gallery of race photos and notice the ratio of smiles to faces in pure agony.  (touché)  Plus, these converts didn’t have a lot of positive experiences with running before NRC.

Melanie, mother to Liz, remembers her family’s vocal embarrassment of her grandfather who would go running out on the farm roads in his shorts and undershirt in the 1930’s.  This fun-poking, unfortunately, set the tone for her outlook on the sport for much of her life.

Liz, who didn’t start running until age 27, adds that before the NRC C25K program, neither of them had ever heard of such things as interval running or pacing.  When her PE class had to run a mile she would go as fast as she could and when she couldn’t keep running, she just walked the rest of the way.  After a while, she came to believe that she was just “not a runner”.  It was huge to learn how to use walk breaks to enable you to go further, longer.  Now she is a “running” encyclopedia (literally) who researches training plans, gear, nutrition and more recently, injury recovery plans and Marathons/Half Marathons in all 50 states.

Melanie busBut before we hear where they’re going, let’s hear about where they’ve been.  Melanie is hip now, but she was what some might consider a hippie back in the day.  In her 20’s, she and her dear friend, Lynne, and their 2 cats traveled across the country in a full-on school bus; well, when it wasn’t broken down.  (This could be a whole other article!)  It was a great adventure and one they’ve shared many a laugh remembering together!  Eventually, she got married and on December 31,1983, she moved to TN with her husband and toddler, Kate.  Melanie remembers the move to Nolensville well.  They endured that first winter in their new home heated with a wood stove and green wood!  While she still relies on her wood stove, she now has a heat pump and says it has come in handy for cooking pancakes when the power goes out. (yum!)

A few years after their move, Elizabeth (Liz) was born.  She grew up playing in the fields out by their home and playing basketball led by Coach Ken Moore (fellow NRCer).  After high school, Liz headed to St. Louis for school where she studied English.  In 2010, Melanie was diagnosed with cancer and Liz came home to care for her during treatment.  It was a tough time, but Melanie won her fight with cancer and as she grew stronger, the bond between these two “roomies” grew tighter.

Liz motocycleAfter her Mom’s recovery, Liz moved to Chattanooga to study Biology, but was sidelined by a serious motorcycle accident.  One day while riding her motorcycle to work, a car hit Liz as she was going through an intersection.  Miraculously, Liz survived.  Still, after several days in the hospital and a year-long recovery from a broken hand and ribs, lacerated spleen, severely lacerated knee, and numerous cuts and bruises, Liz had put on approximately 20 pounds.

Liz wanted to get back in shape.  Then she heard the magic words, FREE C25K!  Liz was determined to do the NRC C25k program, but the night of the meeting her new motorcycle died.  She called Melanie and said, ”Will you go to the meeting for me and take notes?”  So, of course, she made her way to Town Hall.  Melanie had begun walking to help her through her cancer therapy.  So, when she heard there would be a walker group, she decided, “I am doing this!”  Liz caught the last 10 minutes and then they both signed up that night!

Liz remembers expecting her Mom to walk the time trial and then seeing her get caugLiz first halfht up in the excitement and running!  Liz trained with the 3:1s and Melanie with the 1:1s.  As a result of the experience, they gained new friendships, finished and set goals for maintaining 3 miles, and found a core group to keep Mon and Wed night runs.  Plus, both came back to help with the 2014 NRC Couch to 5k Program as volunteers!

Liz’ favorite race she completed is the Carmel Half 2014!  Beyond her goal to finish she had a dream goal of finishing under 2:30.  It was a perfect day and she came in under at 2:27 – NRC finish line fist bumps and all!

Melanie’s favorite race so far is the Middle Half 2014.  It was her first Half Marathon.  The course was flat and cool, the Middle Halfweather was misty and Liz coached her to the finish.  Liz even timed her Gu, opening them and everything, to make sure she met her goal on race day!  Melanie had thought it might be her first and only Half, but Liz has already signed them both up for another in Arizona this October.

When it comes to communication, Melanie tends to describe the forest, while Liz is searching for the specific tree.  Their hilarious commentary is just enough out of character to remind you these “girls” are not just sugar, but a little spice, too!   And they have more than proven they have each other’s back; like when they run separately, Melanie says Liz always does a loop back to check on her.

Melanie overlookCurrently the two are on the IR list together.  With Liz having knee issues and Melanie suffering from tendonitis in her hip and hamstring issues, they have been gaining strength and making their way back to running, slowly, but surely.

For Liz, she likes the results running brings.  For Melanie, she likes the social aspect.  Both love the empowerment that comes from crossing the finish line and knowing you have done something most will never do.  As for future goals, Liz is on a mission to race in all 50 states!  She’s done 3 states already, (MO/TN/IN), and plans to do 3 in 2015 including the Lake Powell race in AZ.  She’s contemplating Downhill at Dawn and Rocket City (cue peer pressure!).Liz skydiving

Belied by her mod-hippie style and nose ring, Liz is a self-proclaimed nerd.  She likes to read sci-fi and fantasy books and has the Star Wars Half in CA on her bucket list.  She is also a beer snob, ah hem, I mean connoisseur, and was recently honored with her very own plate at The Flying Saucer in Nashville for imbibing 200 different brews.  She also enjoys biking, kayaking, and skydiving with her boyfriend, Richard.

Melanie w ZeldaIf you’ve met Miss Melanie, you won’t forget her beautiful smile, bobbed silver hair, and kind, gentle demeanor.  This along with her wry witticisms and thoughtful perspective make her perfectly match for her career as a teacher.  This past year, after a total life evaluation, she retired.  Now she has time to see her oldest daughter and family more, and she has booked a trip to Greece!  She remains very active at church, playing piano for services and sharing her musical talents.  Of course, she’ll also have more time to run with friends!  In fact, she wanted to say thanks to all her running mates from C25K and NRC – with you, she logged over 650 miles last year!

We’re so very lucky to have these two wonderful ladies in our club!  Help me congratulate them the next time your out at a run and if you’re not running with NRC yet… watch out!  They’ll recruit you faster than you can order a cappuccino!

Kim Bean

Our male Member of the Month’s story starts in northern Alabama, Albertville, to be exact.  Not far from Guntersville Lake, known for its top-notch Bass fishing tournaments, this fierce and fun-loving competitor was born.

Kim runningEven as a child, Kim Bean got a kick out of pushing himself to the limit and taking on the next, new challenge.  This same drive prompted him to start running with NRC as a participant in the 2013 Couch to 5K program and now it has him enduring two, back-to-back marathon training schedules in hopes he will be one of the few selected to run the Flying Monkey Marathon this year.

What keeps him going?  Well, having supportive people with him and maybe the occasional Metallica or Dr. Dre song on his running playlist.  He’s had his share of injuries from plantar fasciitis, posterior tibia tendonitis, and a broken toe, too.  Still, the ability to encourage others towards their goals keeps Kim lacing up his shoes.

One of his first memories of running was when he was 13 years old and his Dad, a shade-tree mechanic, took him on a test drive after working on their truck.  The truck backfired as they approached a 4 way stop and Kim noticed a fire had started near the fuel tank.  He remembers yelling at his Dad to “Get out!” as he hopped out of the still-moving truck and ran as fast as he could down the road.  Yep, between his Dad and brother’s “knack” for setting things on fire, he had some good motivation for running over the years.

EventualKim and JJly, Kim moved to downtown Nashville for his career as an engineer.  Once there, he befriended his now wife, Dori, online and after a while, they decided to meet at… a Starbucks, of course!  Well, they hit it off and started spending more time together in person.  He took her on the Gen. Jackson and they spent that whole time getting to know each other more.  They’ve been married 6 years and have a rough and tumble 3-year boy, J.J. whose favorite word is, “No”.  Together they support each other through it all.

It was Dori who dragged Kim to a Spin Class as his initiation into the exercise world.  He came out in a pool of his own sweat, exhausted and sore, but somehow decided to go again.  He also started weightlifting and that became his main focus, but he admits he bulked up to a weight of about 320 lbs. in the process.  He decided something had to change.

In 2013, he started road-running solo in his neighborhood and it was hard for him.  He set a goal for himself and signed up for the Murfreesboro Middle Half almost 9 months away.  He knew he wanted to try it and knew he needed something to keep him motivated, even though a part of him thought he might not be able to do it.

c25kThen, family friend, Becky Christensen, told Kim and Dori about the NRC C25K program.  They both signed up and did the time trial. Kim still recalls watching people fly by him at the start and trying to stay steady so that he could finish strong.  He trained with the 2:1 group, chasing Amy K. and others around the Nolensville track in the heat of the summer.  His hard work paid off in endurance and weight loss.  By the time he ran the Middle Half in October (yep, he did it!) he was down to 290 pounds.  It took him 3:10 to finish and it was rough, but he accomplished his goal.Kim and Dori

Dori had started the C25K program, but stopped at the recommendation of her doctor due to pregnancy.  Tragically, Kim and Dori lost their little angel, Avery, the day after Christmas.  Through their strong faith and the help of family and friends, they found their way forward together.  At times, it was running that would allow Kim to clear his head and help him through a tough moment.  Dori is back to running and just recently ran 8 miles (her longest run so far) as part of her training for the Hot Chocolate 15k.

Whatever the goal, you can be sure that along the way Kim is taking time to encourage and motivate others.  Immediately following the C25K, Kim remembers running with Liz Staudt, Tom Ervin and Sammy Starks doing 3:1s and it helped keep him motivated after the C25K.  Then, the following year he served as a mentor for NRC’s C25K and had a great time with runners Catherine Hartsfield, Courtney Fuson, and Michael McGarvey.

He started heart rate training to prepare for the Middle Half at Kim and friendsthe suggestion of NRCer, Ray Whitford.  This required him to pace himself slower, so that he could ultimately run longer consistently. He has enjoyed the challenge this type of training has offered and as seen it pay off in his races.

While he has a love hate relationship with the hot and hilly Franklin Classic 10K, he says his favorite race so far was the 2014 Middle Half.  Not because of the blister-inducing wet weather, but because he took over 20 minutes off his time for a PR of 2:49.  Plus, the support from NRCers also made it a great experience.

Now he’s set his sights on a sub-30 5K and hopes to cross his first marathon finish line at the Flying Monkey Marathon.  He says if he can finish it, he’ll know he can do anything or that he never wants to do it again!  So, he’s starting early to avoid injury, cross training with yoga, and juicing (Spinach juice is a fave).

Ambitious, inspiring and always quick on the draw when it comes to being first to comment on the NRC Facebook page (he’s my pick for NRC Family Feud), we’re glad to have Kim Bean in NRC!  Congratulations and best wishes for your goals in 2015!