“What the mind can conceive, it can achieve.” ~ Napoleon Hill
Our female NRC Runner of the Month, Traci Boswell, knows this all too well. At one time in her life she never would have thought of running a marathon, but once she set her mind to qualifying for and running the Boston Marathon nothing could break her focus on achieving her goal.
Traci hails from Tullahoma, TN, went to Franklin County High and ultimately, Vanderbilt. Her only stint out of state was when she spent about 18 months going to college in North Dakota, but it didn’t last. Nothing against ND. Traci says it was a neat place to live, she just missed TN too much.
We certainly couldn’t imagine NRC without her, but just for kicks I asked if she had to live somewhere else where it’d be and she said, “I think it would be San Francisco. I love the weather and there is so much to do there!” We’d hate to think about those Wednesday Night runs…talk about Hill Yeah!
As a kid, Traci had yet to find her inner competitor. She played church league basketball, but never made the school team and ran track for one year in junior high until the mile event wore her down. She ran briefly after graduate school and ran her first half marathon at the Country Music Half in 2007 but…(wait for it…) she hated it! Not only that, she didn’t run again for a long time.
Running didn’t become a steady part of Traci’s life until the post-baby era of her second child. After her youngest was born in 2010, she turned to running to lose the baby weight. The motivation was there, so she got serious about running again and this time it stuck!
Running alone wouldn’t have brought her to NRC. No, it was all because of NRCer Jonathan Davidson’s invitation during an evening run through the neighborhood that Traci decided to join a group run with NRC. She showed up for her first Saturday run at the old Mama’s Java. She met Joe Singer and a slew of nice people, so of course she fit right in!
Her favorite NRC charitable event is definitely Miles for Amelia. The event, which benefits families who need life-changing renovations to accommodate wheelchairs and other needs, and is comprised of a silent auction, track lapping mileage challenges and lots of NRC hijinx, is such a fun day for an awesome cause. Plus, Traci would point out that running on the track makes visiting with friends so much easier!
Outside of running Boston, I asked Traci for a favorite NRC memory and she was hard pressed to pick just one. “I think the first time I saw the true heart and spirit of NRC was at Carmel in 2014 when everyone waited for our last marathoner and ran across together,” she recalls. “But any race with NRC is awesome, especially Hoggin-N-Joggin! And of course, NRC parties are the best!”
Crediting the pacing skills of NRC president, Scott Alexander, Traci clocked in a big PR at Middle Half in 2015. And her favorite award is from the Oak Barrel Half 2016, where she got a half-barrel lid for 1st in her age group! Her most scenic half marathon was in Kauai, the oldest of the Hawaiian Islands, but arguably not the flattest!
Spurred by NRC encouragement, Traci worked hard to qualify for and run the 2016 Boston Marathon, but it was kind of an unexpected aspiration.
“I initially never even wanted to run a marathon,” Traci said. “But once I finished my first marathon in 2013, I decided to make Boston my next goal.” With the goal firmly set in her sights, Traci qualified in Chicago in 2014 but had to better her time at the Albany Marathon in 2015 to guarantee her spot.
“Being at Boston is indescribable. It is the ultimate dream for most marathoners, so just being there was so emotional,” says Traci. “And getting to run every step with my running ‘spouse’ Andrea Klint just made it that much more special!”
But none of this would be possible without having friends that are willing to meet her at 4:30 or 5am, so that runs are done before work or kids wake up. It is so important in keeping her run/life balance in check.
Thankfully, her husband, Bo, is her biggest supporter. When you’re reaching for goals like a Boston qualifying time, this is pretty much mandatory! Bo takes on extra duties with the kids sometimes so that Traci can train and race, but always with a smile. Their boys, Turner (8) and Weston (6), also love to run and sometimes tag along.
With the 2016 Indianapolis Monumental Marathon just over a month away, Traci learned she was injured with a stress reaction of her second metatarsal. She is boot-bound for a few weeks, which means she has to bail on Indy, where she was hoping to requalify for Boston. Still, she is keeping it in perspective… she’s thankful it isn’t a stress fracture!
She’s shifted her current training goals to healing and preparing for the inaugural NRC 10 mile race, the Rollin’ Nolen. Still, I bet Traci is already scouring the Internet to pick a spring marathon to try and requalify for Boston. Once she’s added that notch to her running belt, don’t be surprised if you hear her recruiting for her bucket list race – a female ultra team for Ragnar Napa Valley!
One of the nicest NRCers you’ll ever meet, Traci is also a prime example of what you can accomplish if you set your mind to something. Working towards her goals is not always easy, but when the going gets rough, Traci has her family and NRC friends for motivation and support. We’re so glad to have Traci as part of the NRC crew and look forward to seeing more amazing achievements!
ROTM Speed Round
If you could learn anything in one day it would be… To swim competitively – I would love to do triathlons.
You own how many pairs of running shoes? 4 pair of Adidas Boost and a pair of trail shoes.
Hobbies outside of running? (yes they exist) – Hike, ride bikes with my family and read.
If you could go back in time… I would love to go back to the 1980’s. I was too young to really appreciate it. Fun fashion trends, great music, Ronald Reagan was President, and things seemed so much simpler then.
Our male runner of the month can be quoted as saying, “100 miles… it really isn’t that far.” And that is a big statement especially for someone who has only been running about 5 years! But Keith Kettrey is not trying to brag. One of NRC’s biggest encouragers, Keith is a remarkable example of how anyone can achieve their goals through strength and determination.
Keith is originally from Columbus, Ohio and a huge Buckeye’s fan. It’s hard not to be a big Ohio State fan when you grow up three miles from the campus. It was even harder for him to move from Ohio to Tennessee in 1991, but having family and a future at the Saturn (GM plant) made it an easy decision and one that he’s never regretted.
Facebook lists his occupation as “Mofo in Charge at Supreme Commander of the Universe” – LOL! He jokes, but in all seriousness he had the high-pressure job of answering and dispatching emergency calls for Williamson County for over 8 years, before moving on to the administrative side of Public Safety this past February.
“It’s tough being Supreme Commander, but someone has to do it!” Keith laughed. When asked about his days (and nights) in dispatch, he added, “It was very rewarding being able to help those in need and sending the appropriate help. Believe it or not, starting a running program was instrumental in helping me to remain calm in high stress situations just, as handling those calls has helped me with my running. Whether it is hitting the wall at 20 miles or managing a critical medical situation over the phone, it is really just a matter of remaining calm and managing it until you get to the finish line or the proper help arrives.”
Unfortunately, it was a medical emergency that helped motivate Keith to get active and start running. In the spring of 2010, he was about 60 pounds heavier and sedentary. Then one morning while at the dispatch console he experienced a “wake up call” of sorts. As a result, he learned he had some medical issues to address, heart disease being one of them.
As fate would have it, his grandson was putting on a 5k as part of his senior project that fall, so Keith made that his goal and motivation to change. Who would think 5 years later he would be a running machine!
NRC first caught his eye in the old Nolensville Dispatch. He emailed Scott Alexander for information, but it took him awhile to build up the courage to attend one fall night in 2011.
“I’ll never forget it. Everyone one was so welcoming, even though I was certainly anxious about being able to keep up with anyone,” said Keith. “A very nice lady named Amy [hey that’s me!] kept me company as we chatted and ran around the neighborhood. I’ve been hooked ever since.”
Now, Keith can be spotted all over Nashville and beyond participating in races and runs. Without a doubt, his favorite memory was training for and completing the Black Warrior 50k in winter 2015. He and fellow NRCers Rachel Eller, Tara Underwood, Gina Loyd, and Geoffrey Mason spent tons of miles and time together training for that event.
He recalled, “It was heartbreaking knowing Rachel trained so hard with us and an injury kept her from the race. It was also so rewarding to see Geoffrey finish his first 50k! Tara will probably never forgive me for following her for so many miles before taking over the lead and helping us both get to the finish. And what can I add about running with Gina that hasn’t already been said – the most positive runner ever! That time will always be special!”
Keith’s favorite NRC charity event this year so far was Miles For Amelia (MFA). Having a 10-mile race in Lincoln County didn’t stop him from taking part either. Nope, he drove like crazy to finish the morning out running track laps for MFA. Also, he and his wife Chris were able to donate two Rollin’ Nolen 10-mile race entries!
Stand out races for Keith include his first marathon in October of 2013 in Columbus, his first 50k less than a year later (March 2014) in Mississippi and his first run of over 50 miles in October 2015 at the Senoia Running Festival.
In 2016, Keith is on fire! He has participated in an incredible slew of races, taking 1st place in his age group at the Cummins Falls Half Marathon in February, besting his 2015 time by over 20 minutes at the Strolling Jim 41.2 mile race in May and took 3rd overall male in the Midsummers Night 6 Hour Ultra in June. Riding this momentum, he hopes to complete his first 100-mile run at the Darkside Distance Festival in October!
Now there is a rhyme and reason to Keith’s perpetual motion. In fact, he has a specific purpose for every training run and a race. His motivation for going for 100 miles is his grandkids. He added, “I want to show them that at no matter what age you are, you can dream big and accomplish whatever you put your mind and effort toward.” His bucket list race is the Pony Express 100 in Utah.
His beautiful wife, Chris, is a fun-loving NRCer, too. Known for her smile, wit and generous spirit, she is also Keith’s biggest encourager!
“I would never have accomplished what I have so far if it hadn’t been for the love and support of Chris,” Keith admitted. “She has supported and crewed me on many of my long races, encouraged me to try new events, tended to all my pains and injuries when I needed her and always had the magic words to keep me going when I’ve felt like giving up.”
Between them, they have five kids: Noel (45), Stephanie (43), Amy (41), Ryan (39) and Megan (32) and 15 grandkids ranging in age from 22 years to 8 months, two of which are now serving overseas, and they are both quite proud of them! They’ve been truly blessed! Their kids like to joke that they have some “special jackets” for them to wear in some “nice rooms” to spend time in when they finally decide to hang up their running shoes. They obviously inherited their parents’ sense of humor!
Whether he’s donning his American flag gear head to toe on the race course or cheering others on from the side line, we love the inspiring and invincible Keith Kettrey! From his Ohio roots to his love for his adopted state of Tennessee to 100 miles looking “not that far”- we are blessed that Keith’s journey brought him to NRC!
ROTM Speed Round
If you could learn anything in one day it would be… learn how to speak Spanish.
You own how many pairs of running shoes? 8 pairs of road shoes and 6 pairs of trail shoes.
NRC would never guess… I’m definitely a lover of hard rock and alternative music.
Hobbies outside of running? (yes they exist) Traveling (especially cruising) and reading fiction and history