Category Archives: Member Of The Month

A monthly spotlight of NRC members making a difference and meeting their goals.

NRC Runners of the Month – Alfred Eller and Jeff Mucci

There are some pretty amazing people among those rarely spotted on NRC’s Facebook page and behind the scenes of NRC events. This month we’re excited to get to know a little more about two long-time NRCers, Alfred Eller and Jeff Mucci, who have individually done more for the club than you might realize.

Alfred Eller

Alfred was born in Macon, GA and grew up cheering on the Bulldogs every Saturday with his Mom, Dad and younger brother, Adam. He was, and is, a huge Georgia fan and has continued the tradition using his MacGyver-like skills to broadcast games even when on location for running events such as Ragnar, Ragnar Trails and the NRC Holiday Party! Not all of his NRC friends are Georgia fans and there can be some serious smack talk out on runs, but Alfred does his best to stay true to the saying, “Friends don’t let friends wear orange.”

In high school, pretty much the only running Alfred (or Frado, as his friends call him) did was from marching band, jazz band or concert band rehearsal to class, but he could play a mean trumpet! A little hidden talent trivia – he practiced so much that he actually learned how to make a ping pong ball stay hovering over his lips just from buzzing the air! (This could add a whole new challenge to our NRC party games!)

Alfred went from Macon to Atlanta before accepting the offer from his then employer, Publix, to open their first store in Franklin, Tennessee in 2002. Then, in 2006, a girl named Rachel who lived in his apartment complex caught his eye. He asked her out on a date and in his trademark, tendency to over-prepare, he scoured her MySpace page (did I mention this was ’06?) and saw that she liked sushi and well planned dates – so plan well, he did.

He picked a nice seafood restaurant in The Cascades of the Opryland Hotel complete with a live new age band set into the landscape with (I am not kidding) each musician playing on their own lily pad! Awkwardly, dinner was a hit in more ways than one – they were just getting to know each other when they were hit on by a couple of swingers, which ended up being a big laugh!

Then after dinner, they went to the adjoining bar for a drink. They’d been sitting there for a while and Rachel kept giving Alfred suspicious looks, thinking something in her drink was making her dizzy. Finally she figured out, that fancy Opryland bar was rotating! They made it through the first date and became inseparable!

With the historic backdrop of the Union Station Hotel, Alfred and Rachel were married. Together they have two amazingly bright and funny boys, Kingston and Beckett, who represent NRC NexGen at races and events throughout the year. In fact, Kingston completed all of the NRC Grand Prix races this year along with Mom and Dad, to receive a Streaker Award and both boys crushed the NRC 31 day Winter Streaker challenge! They love spending time with their cousins, taking family trips and outdoor excursions from camping to kayaking.

Working retail and all the time spent on his feet used to serve Alfred well as its own training program. He ran sporadically in the past, but in 2011 he got more serious about it. That was also about the time that the running group he and Rachel were meeting with downtown disbanded. As a result of intense Facebook stalking of the NRC page, Rachel decided to show up at Martin’s to try NRC for a run. She quickly got Alfred to come out too and the rest is history.

Since then, Alfred has completed 6 half marathons, tons of Ragnar and Ragnar Trail races and even more 5Ks and 10Ks. Out of all of those races, Ragnar Chicago is way high on the list of must-runs for its part road/part trails course with beautiful scenery and amazing beachfront finish line and tiki bar! Another favorite race is the Heroes in Recovery in Leipers Fork, which the Eller clan took part in as a family. He’s also a pro at spectating races with both boys in tow!

Alfred jokes that he’s Chairman of the NRC Volun”told” committee for social events and races! Alfred enjoys supporting Rachel, who is in charge of organizing NRC events and he is always willing to pitch in when NRC needs a hand.

The NRC Holiday Party is his favorite annual event. Why? It’s one of the only times to hang out with NRCers and their non-running significant others in real clothes! He’s helped with them all, but a special memory he’ll never forget is catching a glimpse of the graceful dance moves of Roy and Dar Tamez silhouetted in front of the white lights of the Christmas tree one year.

As for goals, he touts the NRC Grand Prix as a big help with his current focus, improving his 5K from a 31-minute to a 27-minute time. (Nice work, man!) One day he hopes to travel out west to complete the Ragnar Zion. His positive personality just fits Ragnar, plus he digs the team aspect of the relay and doing his part to make it to the finish line.

Alfred can’t say enough about the good things happening with NRC. Especially coming from out of state to Nashville he appreciates how, through NRC, there is always someone you can trust to help give advice, running related or otherwise. This is not something he takes for granted, and we certainly don’t take him for granted either!

For all the ways you have helped NRC over the years and your ability to help lift up others, we are so grateful to have Alfred Eller as a member of NRC!

ALFRED ELLER – ROTM SPEED ROUND

Favorite scary movie: Rachel and I have seen all the SAW movies together

Favorite Halloween treat: the “taxes” we exact from our kids candy

Hobbies: Golf, sporting events, getting outdoors; I’m also a Cub Scout leader for the boys’ troop and volunteer regularly at their school.

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Jeff Mucci

If this NRCer had to do a marathon down a frozen river in ice skates, he’d probably medal. Born and raised in St. Louis, a city known for its hot bbq and cool hockey team, Jeff Mucci started skating when he was 3 years old and grew up on the rink. He played soccer and baseball, too; but hockey was king. He was on teams all the way through high school, coached for 10 years, and still plays when he can. Even now, there’s a special kind of escape he can only find on the ice rink; one that running can’t cure.

Jeff says the camaraderie of hockey is a lot like the close friendships he’s made through the running club.  Whether it’s the road or the rink, all different personalities come together to support each other and do good things for the community. But not all running clubs are as philanthropic as NRC.

“It’s great that the club has a focus on charity work,” says Jeff. “The generosity of NRC is overwhelming. Plus, where else can you run through a high-five line of 20-30 people and have members who are not even running a race come out to spectate and volunteer, like at the Flying Monkey and our local NRC races!”

Prior to moving Nolensville, Jeff attended Southwest Missouri State (now Missouri State) in Springfield, MO. While earning his degree, he also earned a special place in the heart of the newly crowned Apple Butter Queen, Miss Wendy Cook. Jeff just happened to live in a co-ed dorm where Wendy was R.A., as well as a reporter for their school paper. Little did Jeff know that his favorite column (the one he was clipping and sending in the mail to his long-distance girlfriend) was written by Wendy.

Not until the paper started adding headshots of their writers did he piece it all together and get the nerve to call out to her as she was passing by one night in the stairwell of the dorm. It would be the beginning of a beautiful relationship and his words will forever go down in Mucci family history: “Hey, Miss Apple Butter Queen!”

Jeff and Wendy have four amazing children who each excel in their endeavors! Maddie (24), Josh (21), Nick (19) and Max (12). When Jeff’s not running, he loves to camp and boat with the family. One of his most memorable family trips was when the whole crew flew to Vegas, then hit the road to sightsee their way to San Diego and up the coast and back. It was 14 days of pure, Mucci family hilarity and quality bonding. Now, with their older children out of the house, they will have even more reasons to hit the road and explore along the way!

By trade, Jeff is a retirement planner and enjoys helping people attain their future goals, but you may not know that it’s his neighborly voice you hear in every local Financial Engines commercial on the radio!

For the last 8 years, Jeff has been Race Director for the Change for a Chance 5K, working with a dedicated team of volunteers. Eventually the race became the goal race of the NRC Couch to 5K Training Program, and just this past year, was officially adopted by NRC! The now NRC Nolensville 5K has raised over $60,000 for individuals in need. That’s not including this year’s $7000 donation to the Nolensville High School.

“At first we thought it would be cool to make the 5K course hilly, like a badge of honor,” laughs Jeff. “After the feedback from the first race year, we learned pretty quick we were wrong. So, we changed the course to make it flatter and then, of course, NRC and the C25K was a big reason we were successful.”

As for his personal running story, there was a time when a 5K would have totally ruined Jeff Mucci’s day. Like literally, he would run 3 miles and be sore and exhausted the next 24. He’d been running off and on for 10 years before he decided in 2012 to really get in shape and get serious about running.

Wendy, who continues to be his biggest motivator, had been running with NRC and encouraged him to join, which may or may not have involved pushing him out the door on a Wednesday night. He loved the social aspect of it and since he knew Scott and other NRCers through his work with Change for a Chance, he took the opportunity to learn from their knowledge and experiences to help him improve.

He has run with lots of inspiring NRCers through the years, including Jimmy Stitt who kept him laughing through his first half marathon and Ray Sadler who braved early dawns to help him get his miles in prepping for Chicago this year.  Jeff is also famous for his part in the amazing NRC baby Scott photo (see right).

In 2015, Jeff ran his first ever marathon, the St. Jude’s Marathon in Memphis, TN. He still remembers the incredible feeling of achieving his goal and how moving it was seeing the cheering faces of the children of St. Jude’s as he passed through the hospital section of the course.

He just recently completed his second 26.2, the Chicago Marathon, and in spite of the heat had an amazing time complete with a PBR break and selfies! Just a week after, he piled into a van to run Bourbon Chase 2017 with 11 other NRC over-achievers. As races go, Jeff holds the Heroes in Recovery race in Leipers Fork in high regard. He has done it every year, even getting his oldest, Maddie, and youngest, Max, to run with him.

Downhill at Dawn Half Marathon is a Mucci tradition. Jeff and Wendy have been meeting long time friends from AL and SC at Ridgecrest for many years for this race (well food and laughter too!) Then, started sharing it with NRC, because of it’s beauty and location. Now, NRC takes quite a few podium spots at this race!

While he has played hockey his whole life and has never lost a tooth or broken a bone, in his 10 years running he’s had two surgeries! A foot surgery, he jokingly calls the Kelli Alexander foot surgery, and a repair of his MCL. What he learned is that it is critical to take your time and to not push it getting back into running.

“Every time, you will come back stronger,” says Jeff. “But, it’s easy to run too much with all the NRC Kool-Aid being passed around.”

Belied by his cool, calm and collected attitude, he admits rarely does he NOT look like death in race pictures! Jeff says he’s looking to do more destination races, from a half marathon in Vegas this April, to just picking a cool city/race and having fun.

More than anything, he plans to keep his base up, stay injury free, and give back to other NRCers by helping them train for their big races. He may just join you on a run, so be sure to congratulate him on NRCer of the Month!

JEFF MUCCI – ROTM SPEED ROUND

Favorite Scary Movie: JAWS, it still affects me

Favorite Halloween Candy: $100 Grand Bars

Hobby: Golf, my handicap has gone up with each kid, but my Dad and Grandfather taught me growing up and it’s a tradition

NRC Runners of the Month – Marta and Bruno Dedieu

From Australia to Venezuela to Japan, NRC has recruited runners from all over the globe on its way to world domination. Recently I got to delve into the stories of two such NRCers of the Month who add to the richness of our international diversity, adding France and Poland to our ranks. Bruno and Marta Dedieu are charismatic and fun to be around. Throughout their experiences they have approached life with a sense of wonder, diving head first into new challenges and inspiring others to dream big. I sat down with them to learn more about their lives, loves and running.

Bruno and Marta Dedieu

NRC: Let’s start at the beginning. Where were you each born? 

B: Montgeron, France; 14 miles from downtown Paris. We had a beautiful forest behind our neighborhood and my high school was an 18th century castle. From 3 years old to my college years, we’d go twice a year to ski the French Alps and spend the summer in the south of France where we could swim in the river or sea every day. Great memories!

M: Legnica, Poland. I was surrounded by family, lots of cousins. Growing up, our country was in the midst of changing regimes from a communist-style, planned economy into a market economy and it held its first partially free and democratic parliamentary elections since the end of WWII. Although I was only a kid, I was aware of changes going on around me.

NRC: We know you run now, but growing up what were your interests?

M: Starting at 10, I played basketball for my school. I also was a member of my high school track team (not by choice). Every first year student was required to participate in a timed race and I came in second! So, anytime there was an event, I was selected to run in it.

B: I played basketball, tennis, Rugby and, even though it was not as popular in France, baseball and softball. My co-ed softball team won the French Championship in 2005. Running then was only part of training for other sports.

NRC: What brought you to the U.S.? What other travels have you done?

B: I started travelling solo at age 16 to the UK, then to the US at age 18. During my trips to Florida through a host family I grew to love America. The American dream and belief that anyone can succeed if they put their mind to it, intrigued me. I’ve been to many countries in Europe, Canada, the French West Indies and Asia.

M: When I was 16, I joined our local folk dance group and participated in multiple shows across Europe. I moved to France in 2003 to work at EuroDisney. It was supposed to be a 3-month job, but it turned into 6 years!

NRC:  EuroDisney! How cool! What was that like?

M: At Disneyland Paris (EuroDisney), I started as a parade dancer and finished in the VIP Relations office, where I got to organize the visits for big events as well as private tours of government officials (Nicolas Sarkozy), celebrities (Michael Jackson) and anyone else who was willing to pay a hefty price for a private guide!

B: I worked during the opening of Eurodisney, but I did not meet Marta then. I held titles like Steam Train Conductor and Steamboat Captain in the French Magic Kingdom, which was fun, and went on to take part in the Walt Disney World College and International Program, working at Epcot and other Disney parks in Florida.

NRC: It’s a small world after all! So, when did your paths finally meet?

B: At a “EuroDisney” barbecue, at a friend’s house. I was making my rounds chatting with everyone.

M: I noticed him talking to a guy who was known as kind of a Disney “geek” and so I assumed Bruno was too. I would eventually learn that Bruno talks to EVERYONE! A few days after the party, my friend got a call and it was Bruno calling to speak with me! We had a long conversation. Bruno mentioned he was planning to run on a trail not even a mile from my home and I agreed to meet him after work one day. As it happened, that day I had to work late. I decided to walk anyway and mid-way in I bumped into Bruno. He says he was running late too, but I joke that he kept running circles until I showed up.

B: While we were still on the trail, it started to rain! Since Marta lived so close, she invited me to take shelter at her house and have a cup of tea. I don’t drink tea (what I call colored water), but I accepted to spend more time with her.

NRC: No way! Your first date was on the running trail! Talk about foreshadowing. So what brought you stateside?

M: A month later, just as we were falling for each other, Bruno got word that his Green Card application had gone through! He had applied annually for several years because of his experiences and interest in the U.S. Ironically, I’d also gone through the process of getting a VISA to visit the U.S. as a tourist and was looking forward to seeing America.

B: I knew that I’d found my match in Marta. I couldn’t imagine moving to the U.S. without her, so I proposed. We celebrated with two weddings, one in France and one in Poland where we had a church ceremony and then everyone feasted and drank for 2 days!

NRC: How was life in the U.S.? How’d you end up in Nolensville?

B: We first moved to Florida in 2008. The job market in the U.S. was in decline, so the engineering leads I’d established prior to moving were not there when I arrived, but I eventually found a position in Dubuque, Iowa.

M: I got a job, too – at the Dubuque Airport, which only had 4-flights per day! It was a small staff, so I did everything from the ticket counter to de-icing planes! Between the brutal Iowa winters and it being so remote (the hottest shopping was Kohls), we were ready to move when Bruno found a Project Manager position in Nashville in 2012.

NRC: I heard the move wasn’t without hiccups, or labor pains, to be more accurate. Weren’t you due to have your first child?
M: Yes! My due date was supposed to be Bruno’s first day on the job in Nashville! Little Emma decided to take her time and it was two weeks after that when she arrived. We only had a few weeks to get the hang of parenthood, before we had to move into our apartment in Nashville. We lived there until we found a home in Nolensville.

NRC: Marta, you’re an NRC Couch to 5K Class of 2015 graduate. How did you hear about it?

M: In 2015, I saw an advertisement for the NRC C25K. I signed up with all the good intentions in the world (the kind that hell is paved with, LOL!). On a whim, I went to the first meeting with reasons it wouldn’t work. I didn’t have childcare, but someone said there were these amazing young ladies who were offering to watch kiddos on those nights! Running had never been fun for me in the past. I thought, “Why would this be different?” Then I saw this woman (the indomitable Wendy Mucci) standing on a piece of furniture, waving her arms and yelling something encouraging and I thought, “OK, these people are fun!” Then, I started talking to the older gentleman sitting near me and found out it was the Mayor… who had just run a marathon! So I was hooked.

Their help with pacing was a game-changer for me. I’d always thought running was about pushing yourself to go as fast as you can all the time. Because the NRC C25K program helped me focus on keeping a comfortable pace, I finished the race strong.

B: Marta convinced me to sign up for the 5K race. It was supposed to be a one-time thing. I only did one training run and I got a time of 25 minutes! Marta convinced me to go to the C25K celebration potluck and I met Scott Alexander. I remember Scott mentioning Boston Qualifiers (BQs) within the group and I thought, “I have no idea what that is.” But, I researched it and was amazed at the level of performance of these athletes. Everyone was very nice and I started coming on Wednesdays.

NRC:   So, Bruno, how did you go from not even knowing about the Boston Marathon to running in it?

B: The first time I ran with NRC, I was about 20 feet from the fast pack chasing Jason Loyd, David Dye, Joe Relyea, Eric Waterman and others trying to not get lost. That was my goal every Wednesday. I may have gotten lost a few times, but by December I was able to hang with them. I signed up for the Birmingham Marathon with the dream of getting a BQ and trained hard. Race day came and I had a strong first half, which allowed me to play it safe and maintain my pace. I only sped up once to pass one guy on my way to the finish line and was well within the time limit for my BQ! It was an amazing feeling to BQ on my first marathon after only 9 months of running!

NRC:  Bruno, that’s amazing! I understand you also got a PR and BQ at Boston! Your training and hard work has definitely paid off. How did you and Marta balance everything with your growing family?

B: Marta sacrificed a lot while I trained for my BQ and for Boston. I’m very grateful! In 2016, we had our second child. Marta wasn’t able to run through her pregnancy, but since having our daughter she is back to running and often is pushing a stroller, too!

M: Even though I started running 2 years ago, it has been tough. Still I am excited to be back into running. Our girls love playing with Miss Claire and Miss Jessica on Wednesdays so it makes it easy to take the time and run! I’m working towards some goals of my own. My results are still not where I want them to be, but I am very proud I was able to improve my 5K PR by 2:30 minutes this summer!

NRC: Since participating in C25K, you both have mentored and coached each year. You’ve made many close friendships and become a part of the fabric of NRC. In fact, your fabric choice of hot pink running shorts even got a mention in the NRC Holiday Party skit! What does it mean to you to have this type of community feel in a running club?

M: Since we have no family in the U.S. it means a lot to us. Everyone with NRC is encouraging. You feel accepted, connected and supported. We could not have met our goals without NRC.

NRC: At the 2016 NRC Rollin’ Nolen race, Bruno, injury kept you from running, but you took photographs instead. I distinctly remember you lying on the pavement to get some shots! Any favorite moments you captured?

B: There is one – two skilled runners (Diego and Hunter) chasing each other over the Nolensville hills with nature as their witness. This photograph tells the story of this race, something I’m searching for in my photos.

NRC: While you’ve both had injuries or circumstances slow you down at times, it is clear that you are determined when it comes to your goals. So, what’s next?

B: PR for Indianapolis Marathon, Boston 2018, then 5k/10k 2018 season. Maybe Chicago, too next year?  Sky’s the limit for NRCers.

M: For now, my biggest goal is a sub-2 at the Middle Half, but I’m seriously considering a full next year.

NRC: You two were both part of the Disney family and I’m sure you’ve seen many, if not all of the Disney movies. I’m curious. Which Disney character is your favorite?

B: Simba – we have a similar life story more or less.

M: Stitch – from Lilo and Stitch because of his mischievous, yet lovable personality.

NRC: Aw. Funny! Well, you both bring such energy to our running family and we are excited to shine a light on all you have accomplished. Congrats! We are so glad to have you as part of NRC!

 

ROTM Speed Round: Marta

Non-running Hobby?  I like to read a good book. I also love photography and would like to get back to dance once I have more time!

Happy Music: 90s and early 2000s – reminds me of my teens and twenties!

Dream Buy: a private jet to travel around the globe!

Must-have gear: running watch – just got a Garmin Forerunner 735XT for my birthday, its awesome (Thank you, Love!)

ROTM Speed Round: Bruno

Non-running Hobby?  Video games / Photography / RC flying (my last flight was two years ago…)

Music that motivates:  Sirius XM BPM (Dance Music – Channel 51)!!! It gives you the right cadence!

Dream Buy:  Time – to just train, rest and race at peak performance (with no job constraint) Just to find out my true limits and race around the world.

Must-have gear: Garmin Forerunner 935!

NRC Runners of the Month – Elizabeth Story and Daniel Underwood

Elizabeth Story

There are a lot of reasons NRC is proud to recognize Elizabeth Story as our female Runner of the Month. Her petite frame and soft-spoken demeanor may allow her to fly under the radar, but those who run with her know she is a tough competitor with a big heart.

Born and raised in Costa Rica, Elizabeth enjoyed the unique experience of peace and freedom growing up in a small Central American country with no army, many natural areas, and the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans both within a 3-5 hour drive. It may be a bit different terrain, but now living in the Smyrna area, she still gets outdoors as much as possible going on nature hikes with her family.

As fate would have it, Elizabeth met her husband, Fabian, during a visit to the States. In 2004, she had traveled to Nashville to help a cousin with her newborn and perhaps through divine intervention, while at a church service, Elizabeth met her match! After she returned home, the two lovebirds stayed in contact. Five months later, Fabian flew to Costa Rica to visit Elizabeth and propose which garnered a big “yes” and a first kiss! They were soon married and Elizabeth moved to Tennessee.

They have two adorable boys (Thomas, 8 and Landon, 5) who keep them laughing and on the move. Her family likes that she’s active and doing what she enjoys, but it can be hard to take time away. “Landon especially gets excited when I tell him I’m going to run a race and bring some bling home,” she laughed. A NexGen recruit, Landon has even made it out with Elizabeth to a recent NRC run!

Outside of running photos, Elizabeth posts so many yummy recipe videos on Facebook that you might think she is always cooking something new, but she says that’s not the case. “I just love watching cooking shows and posting recipe videos,” she admits. “My favorite thing to make is soup. It’s so easy!”

Growing up Elizabeth always enjoyed exercise, but had never run. As an adult, she joined a gym, but ended up quitting after getting sick and missing too many days. At that point, she knew she wanted to be active and had always wanted to give running a try, so she decided to start.

A friend suggested she run with a group that runs the greenway in the Hermitage area, but it wasn’t a good fit. “They made you sign a waiver and it was going to be a bit of a drive,” she explained. “Then, [my friend] said she thought there was a group that runs from Nolensville Town Hall, so we met up there one Wednesday. I remember my second run with the group, Elizabeth Schaub and others were so welcoming.”

Now regularly spotted on the road with NRCers Anthony Shelly, Mattie Goostree, Wendy Gurley, and Katherine Cain among others, Elizabeth is clearly an inspiration to their group. When I reached out to members of her NRC running crew, it was clear they appreciate the dedication of this caring wife, working Mom and talented runner.

She is a great running friend who loves to tell you about her home country Costa Rica, good food, and clothing companies that don’t make the right sizes for runners muscular legs! She loves to run in the heat, power up hills like they aren’t even there, and really turn up the speed at mile 8 of every half. She loves her boys! She also works with ESL (English as a second language) students for Rutherford County and I know she has a strong faith in God.” – Wendy Gurley

“People may not know that she has an autistic son. She is always positive and great at taking care of her family and herself at the same time. She is sneaky fast too, training at an easy pace and then killing it in the races. She loves talking about food during a run, and we usually have to do something about that when the run is finished. Just a lot of fun to run with.” – Anthony Shelly

“She’s one of the easiest people to be around and encouraging when you need it. She sticks with you on the training runs and then smokes you at the race! She’s small, but speedy!” – Mattie Goostree

Since finding her running groove, Elizabeth has participated in lots of memorable NRC moments, so picking her favorite is not easy. “I really enjoyed C25K – how they kept us motivated and pushed our limits, but I also loved the encouragement everyone gave me on my first half marathon… the high fives and the cheering at the finish line! So awesome!”

A natural at the sport, Elizabeth has amassed some cool running accomplishments. In her first 5K, the 2013 Chance for a Change, she placed in her age group. In her first Half Marathon, the 2013 Middle Half, she started with a goal of simply finishing and came in under 2 hours! She went on to PR by 5 minutes on the same course the very next year! Just months later, she earned her 26.2 sticker at the 2014 Rocket City Marathon and she PR’d her marathon time by 12 minutes just two years later in the Greenway Marathon! Plus, she just placed 1st in her age group in the Purity Moosic City Dairy Dash 5K.

Along with celebrations, she’s faced challenges as well. She suffered an IT band injury in training and had to learn to rest and add strength exercises to her routine. Elizabeth’s friendly advice to new runners is simple, “Run your own race and don’t compare yourself with others. You are awesome at your own pace and level.”

Well, Elizabeth, we think you are awesome, too! Your ability to pour on the speed is just as motivational as your inspiring spirit and love of life! Be sure to say hi and give your congrats to her at our next NRC run.

ROTM Speed Round

Favorite Spring thing? Tulips

Ice baths – Yay or Nay? I have done one! I prefer warm baths with Epsom salts!

Surprise fact: I learned to drive when I was 22. My husband taught me.

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Daniel Underwood

Our male Runner of the Month, Daniel Underwood is not your stereotypical pace-chasing runner and that’s just fine with him. Rather than starting out slow and gaining speed, his initial obsession with keeping up with Jureks of the world has shifted to more of a Galloway “run, walk and have fun” mentality.

Case in point, Daniel’s first Half Marathon six years ago is now (and could quite possibly remain) his PR. A late adopter of the sport, Daniel didn’t start running until 2011 when he decided to train for his first race, the Country Music Half Marathon. He excelled in his training and ran an impressive time on a tough course, but since then he’s decided that going all out just isn’t for him. Daniel’s experiences dealing with some major injuries may have had an impact.

“I had ACL reconstruction about 17 years ago. The doctors have told me that since my meniscus was severely damaged, I should stop running. I have decided that when the knee goes, I will just get a bionic replacement. I also tore my hamstring from the bone 4 years ago and had a nice 6-month rest from running. The recovery took a year of Physical Therapy and had me in the best shape of my life, just in time to run my first full marathon.”

Having fun running is easy now that Daniel has found a core group through NRC who run using an interval method. Daniel now enjoys every mile with family and friends!

Fellow NRCer and funnyman Ken Moore has trained with Daniel over many miles and describes him this way, “From my perspective, he has always been dependable and committed to a task. I should also mention he is the only male in a house of ladies and does what he is told.”

Completely outnumbered, Daniel is married to Tara Underwood (also an amazing NRCer) and they have two bright daughters, Haley (14) and Caroline (11), and a Weimaraner named Maggie.

With both Daniel and Tara running, sometimes keeping a work-home-run balance seems impossible. But, Daniel and Tara do what they can. Now that the girls are older, the happy couple gets to run together more. Plus, they’ve found that since destination races take a lot of coordination to do without kids, it’s better to just make it a fun, family trip!

He’d like to say his hobbies outside of running are reading classic novels and helping the poor, but the truth is his free time is family time. Goofing off with his daughters and making crude potty jokes is what he can be caught doing most of the time!

A native of Decatur, AL, he initially participated in sports that did not require running shoes, like bowling, baseball and tennis. Academically, his inquisitive mind and knack for problem-solving led him to obtain his degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Alabama – Huntsville. And, he’s a huge ‘Bama fan. When opportunity knocked in 2008, Daniel accepted a position with Nissan near Nolensville, TN.

He first heard of NRC after Tara signed up for the NRC Couch to 5K program. He decided to try it and see what the club was about.

He remembers being super nervous at his first run because he thought that to be in a running club, you had to be fast and he was not. Finding kindred spirits with fellow runners Kenneth Moore, Kelli Alexander, Rachel Eller, and Elizabeth Pfeiffer and others, he has helped solidify a 4:1 interval group for NRC.

His favorite NRC memory was definitely completing his first marathon at Carmel and coming through the famed NRC high five line! It’s also the relationships that keep Daniel coming back to NRC!

Daniel has participated in lots of half marathons, so many that honestly they seem to run together. The races that stick out the most are his full marathons in Carmel, IN and Little Rock, AR. He admitted, “The race and location details fade from memory but the relationships with the people that travelled there are what stick with me.”

Daniel’s current training goal is to not become a couch potato. He broke it down this way, “I have no time goals. I have found that the slower I run, the more fun it is.” As for bucket races, he’d like to do an international race as an excuse to travel.

All non-competitiveness aside, make no mistake that Daniel Underwood is a badass – whether he’s braving trails with the NRC Hellcat team for Ragnar Kentuckiana in weather so cold he would have “split open a Tauntaun for warmth” or experiencing the Runaliciousness of downtown Little Rock in the rain in his most recent full marathon.

His witty and funny personality (who says engineers don’t have a sense of humor?) mixes in well with the wise-cracking characters he runs with. (I wouldn’t be surprised if their sides were more sore from laughing than their legs were from running!) Run slower… and less… to live longer. That’s his current running plan and Daniel’s having a blast doing it! Be sure to congratulate him on your next NRC run!

ROTM Speed Round

Favorite Spring thing: Watching my daughter play soccer (before it gets too hot)

Ice Baths – Yay or nay: Nay. I do long naps.

Super-power: I am a champion jump roper (at least I was when I was in the 5th grade)

 

NRC Runners of the Month – Mary Beth Moore and Brian Petak

Mary Beth Moore

Just six years ago our female NRCer of the Month was recovering from a broken femur. Yep. Femur. After surgery and pins in both her hip and leg, getting back on her feet would not be easy, but Mary Beth Moore was determined. She set her sights on local charity 5K, Change for a Chance. It would be the first of many momentous finish lines and her introduction to NRC.

Mary Beth is a Nolensville native and in her roughly five decades in the close-knit community, she has seen a lot of changes in the landscape. She attended grade school at the Nolensville Historic School building before classes were moved to the Nolensville Recreation Center building. Now, thanks to community efforts, the Nolensville Historic School is on the National Register of Historic Places and with more people craving the small town charm of the area there are numerous schools and a full service recreation center all serving Nolensville residents with more growth to come.

“Honestly, I never thought I would be a part of such a great club, especially a running club,” she confessed looking back on life before NRC.

With limited options for athletics growing up, Mary Beth took baton twirling and piano lessons for several years. At 5’ 9″, she was a shoo-in for basketball her sophomore year, but quit the next year because they switched the girls court from a half court to full court like the boys. The extra running on the court and in practice was a deal breaker. If her sophomore self could only see her now.

A regular kingpin, Mary Beth was a card-carrying member of several area bowling leagues back in the day. In fact, it was the glow of lanes that lit the scene for her first date with her husband, Kenneth. The two will celebrate 34 years of marriage this year.

Mary Beth has always been an “on and off” walker for exercise. Walking the track at the ballpark while her boys practiced baseball and football. She knew Scott and Kelli Alexander from youth sports events over the years. So, when she learned about NRC at the Change for a Chance 5K she told Kenneth to check it out.

“He kept encouraging me to come and try intervals,” she said. “But, I had to practice on my own first.”

After building her confidence, she decided to participate in the NRC Couch to 5K Program in 2014. She was put in the 4:1 intervals group initially. It was a challenge for her and while she pushed herself and was able to keep up, she made the decision to train with the 2:1 interval group. She met her goal and finished strong!

As will happen with us runner types, somehow Mary Beth went from the couch to 5K to a Half Marathon! In spite of back injuries that had her doctor recommending she ease up on her mileage, she committed to running the Carmel Half Marathon. Kenneth was already training for the full and she was making the trip with him, so why not!

2015 was a big year for Mary Beth. Back to back weekends doing Half Marathons – Carmel and Country Music. That year she also did the Nashville Running Club four race, 6-mile trail series and four 5Ks!

Still, her proudest accomplishment was the Carmel Half, which she completed in 2:41:33 – a personal record for her that year. She credits a lot of her success to several dedicated training partners who kept her company across the miles throughout their training including Suzanne Wolff, Stefanie Waterman, and Rick and Melissa Sears.

“At the end of the Carmel race and coming to the finish line, I was so overwhelmed by all of the NRC members cheering and high fives, exhausted, and feeling quite proud of myself,” she laughed. “I got to see what the inside of a race medical tent looks like! I could not breathe!”

Since the end of that year, Mary Beth has decided that walking is right for her and now she is a part of a growing group of NRC walkers. Her regular Facebook posts and consistent presence are a big motivator for her fellow walkers, but in turn she says she depends on her friends Marion Mitchell, Nancy Foust, Deborah Chapman, Suzanne and Stefanie to hold her accountable and make the miles fun!

Mary Beth participated and ranked in the top ten females for the 2016 NRC Summer Grand Prix challenge. Her fastest walk was the Smyrna 5K where she was able to keep a 13:36 pace on the fairly flat course. A self-proclaimed, Real Housewife of Nolensville, Mary Beth is all about her family! She, Kenneth, and their two sons Rusty and Andy all took part in the inaugural NRC Rollin’ Nolen 10 Miler.

“They ran and I walked. Well, I ran down a couple of hills,” she joked. “This race was so cool. A couple of the roads I had only been on a few times in my 50 years in Nolensville. Never thought I would run (walk) the streets of Nolensville!”

She’s training for the 2017 Hot Chocolate 15K in Nashville and has succumbed to the peer pressure to sign up for 2017 Oak Barrel Half.

So, if you think that you can’t join NRC because you think you have to be a “runner”, you’ll have to find another excuse.

“Anyone can be a part of this group. You don’t have to run,” said Mary Beth. “Walking is great exercise. I have met so many new people and friends that I would not have met without this club.”

From our weekly runs to our charity and social events, Mary Beth is a great example how NRC is not just a running club or a walking club, for that matter. It is an encouraging community, so no more excuses. We’ll see you next Wednesday!

ROTM Speed Round

Post run splurge: Since Saturday is my long walk day, my favorite splurge is having breakfast and coffee at Mama’s Java. And I do like M & M’s!

Favorite TV shows: Survivor and The Middle

Hobbies: Keeping Kenneth out of trouble, helping out with family when needed and playing with and taking care of our high maintenance dog, Macy!

_____________________________________________________________________________

Brian Petak

Brian Petak is a modern Renaissance man. Not only is he a skilled runner, but an incredibly talented pianist with a natural gift of sharing his faith through words and inspiring others. His adventures have taken him across the globe and granted him access to some amazing once in a lifetime experiences. We knew his fellow NRCers would want to know, so read on to discover the many sides of our male Runner of the Month, Brian Petak!

Our story starts on the shores of Lake Michigan. A die-hard Green Bay Packers fan, Brian lived in Racine, WI from about age 5 until he moved to Nashville. While he misses being right on the lake, he doesn’t miss the harsh winters. I may be wrong, but that could be due to him being the oldest kid in a family that didn’t own a snow blower. Just sayin’.

In 1998, while on staff at a church in WI, he heard that Fellowship Bible Church was looking for a music and worship pastor. As a musician and songwriter, this seemed like a great opportunity to move closer to Music City. Through this role, he has expanded their music program and now oversees their Global Outreach Program traveling to cultivate partnerships in places such as South Sudan, Uganda, Peru, Germany, Jordan, and Russia. He gets in runs when able, like his run on the snowy streets of Moscow in sub-zero weather this past month!

“Honestly, my faith is at the very core of who I am,” Brian explained.  “I’ve made so many mistakes in my life (and still do!), but God has changed me from the inside out, replaced my guilt with an eternal hope, and given me a fresh start.”

Brian also loves music. To constructively channel his energy, his Mom handed him over at 4 years of age to a fledgling piano teacher. He was a natural, and has continued to develop his talent in both classical music and jazz improvisation ever since. He’s played the piano for two U.S. Presidents – George HW Bush & Gerald Ford; as well as VP Dan Quayle, and one of his songs was performed on stage at the Ryman Auditorium with a 200 voice choir and full orchestra!

Brian is also an accomplished songwriter and has been fortunate to have his several songs published over the years. In fact, he and his wife Heidi co-wrote a Christmas musical for kids which, of course, had to get the stamp of approval from their four youngsters.

With four boys between the ages of 7 and 14 there is never a dull moment in the Petak household. Josiah, Jonathan, Joshua, and Justin love regular sing-a-longs with Dad and packing up the family Pop-Up Camper to head outdoors and hike, fish, and swim. As his kids get older, he hopes to do more backpacking.

Not so long ago Brian was climbing Colorado’s 14ers – mountains over 14,000 feet in elevation. He has climbed seven of the 54 peaks so far, so he and his crew have some work to do!

As for running, Brian never ran consistently until 2008 when a couple friends jokingly told him he needed to get into shape. He trained for the Music City Half Marathon, and lost over 35 pounds in just a couple months. He finished the half marathon and thought to himself, “I’m halfway to a marathon – why not keep going?” So he ran his first marathon a few months later.

“I really didn’t know what I was doing,” Brian admitted. “Since NRC, I’ve really studied and researched training technique and nutrition, continually trying to improve. But the greatest benefit has been the friendships.”

Brian started running with NRC in the winter of 2012-2013 while training for the Music City Marathon (MCM). He ran a few times with John Pryor and a group who kept talking about the Carmel Marathon in Indiana that fell the week before the MCM. Brian was training for a PR and at the NRC Wednesday Night Run the week of the Carmel Marathon, John convinced him he was more likely to PR in Carmel than in Nashville. Three days later, he was in the Pryor’s minivan on the way to Carmel. Brian ran a 3:29 marathon and gained some close friends who continue to inspire him to run today

A certified fastie, Brian has earned stellar times at several races including a 3:37:00 at his first marathon, the 2008 Fox Cities Marathon (Appleton, WI), a 3:25:09 (PR) at the 2015 Erie (PA) Marathon, 20:14 (PR) at the 2016 Run Rock Roll 5K (Nolensville), and 2nd place age group at the inaugural Rollin’ Nolen! Plus, I don’t know what’s more impressive, his three-peat of consecutive 1st in age group awards at the 5K4MLK, or his ability to eat and run which earned him 2015 Hoggin n Joggin’s 1st place male Iron Hogger!

Currently, he’s training diligently to get a marathon PR and wipe away the memory of his 3:25:09 finish time which caused him to miss a BQ by 9 seconds! His bucket list includes a trail ultra, a 50K, and a 50 miler.

A few years ago, Brian made a conscious effort to get more involved with NRC. Brian volunteered his musical talents to play at NRC’s inaugural Giving Thanks Dinner for Nolensville public servants and at the year-end bash.

But, he said it would be really hard to top the experience of delivering the NRC Angel Tree gifts to Tusculum Elementary School first graders, many of whom are from refugee families who come to the U.S. with very little in the way of possessions.

“Seeing the joy on their faces is something I’ll never forget,” he added. “NRC is such a giving community, and it was special to be able to represent NRC that day.”

We’re proud to have Brian representing NRC and blessed for all the many strengths he contributes that make our club better.

ROTM SPEED ROUND

Favorite post-run calorie splurge: Kettle-cooked potato chips and pizza!

Favorite book: Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. I highly recommend it. Re-reading Endurance about Earnest Shackleton’s 1915 attempt to sail to Antarctica and be the first to traverse over the South Pole on foot.

Hobbies: Music, there is nothing like sitting down at a piano and playing… working on a new classical piece… writing a song… And I love seeing my boys learn piano, saxophone, violin, and guitar.

NRC Runners of the Month – Marie Berry and Ryan Dickson

im-finishMarie Berry

You know that person who drives you to run faster, farther and harder… that is our female Runner of the Month. Marie Berry is that no excuses kind of runner. She can dish out serious, gauntlet-laying smack talk, and somehow, you don’t want to sock her for it. From her years in the Navy to her experiences facing down threats to the active lifestyle she’s come to enjoy, she doesn’t just talk the talk – she walks (and swims, and bikes, and runs) the walk!

Marie grew up in Hendersonville, TN the third child of four. She joined the Navy and served eight years. She was stationed at VP-17, Barbers Point, Hawaii for four years and was deployed to 10 different countries. While stationed in San Diego, she had a LT who “forced” her to choose between improving her enlistment status, applying for Officer Training or going to college! Well, college won, setting her on the road to becoming the amazingly social, computer geek she is today.

As a runner and triathlete, she draws a lot from her Navy experience. She explained, “My military family kept me strong and helped shape my mental fortitude that I use today to train and push my body past what my immediate limitations present.  We can always do more than what we think, we just need to believe and have the courage to step forward.”marieabouttoswim

Marie’s fitness experience amounted to youth basketball and Navy PRT (fitness tests which for her included a pre and post cigarette) until a major surgery got her thinking about her health. She reluctantly signed up for her first 5K, the 2006 Octoberfest which ended up being an unseasonably, cold morning. “I thought I am going to cough up a lung,” she laughed. But she got a free beer after, so she was hooked!

Since then, Marie has made a lot of healthy changes. Signing up for her first full marathon, she thought she was going to have a nervous breakdown, but her friend and seasoned runner, Glen Dodson, kept nagging her to commit, so she did. She’ll never forget their first 20 miler.

“It tried to take us down,” she joked. “It was HOT, HUMID, we didn’t have enough water, and I was still learning how GROSS some GUs can taste. One went in and came right back up—so I choked and choked and all Glen said was “YOU GOOD?” I knew right then we were going to be good training partners!”

marieamyMarie has been a long-time supporter of Fleet Feet Brentwood. It was at a Speed Sessions that I first experienced Marie’s inescapable motivation and she became a fast friend. I mentioned NRC and although Marie is mainly an early morning runner, she makes it out whenever she can.

She’s an original member of the NRC Ragnar Team – Blood, Sweat, and Beers. Ragnar TN 2011 was the origin of some awesome one-liners including, “Cut their heads off, Marie!” and a video recap set to LMFAO that (thanks to many awesome NRC voters) won a free team entry!

Marie enjoys a challenge, which is good, because she’s had her share. In the past three years, she has had five surgeries and has come back stronger every time earning her the nickname, “Bionic Woman.” The biggest was back surgery to address an injury that had plagued her since childhood. After surgery, Marie couldn’t walk without the assistance of a walker in the hospital, but she never lost her competitiveness. One time, she passed another lady on a walker in the hallway and of course, she marked a “Kill” down on the white board in her room when she got back!nrc-immd

It took months of PT and activity to build her strength back. There were mentally and physically miserable days. She couldn’t stand seeing other people run but, she knew one day she would be back. Her support system of friends were invaluable and in low times, Marie leaned on some key inspirations: her Big Goal (Ironman); her small goals (showering without assistance and wearing shoes that tie); and several mantras, like “I ‘GET 2’ exercise” also etched on her RoadID!

Stronger and maybe even a little taller, Marie went on to complete her first Ironman in October 2016 in Maryland under some heinous conditions. Rain and wind wrecked havoc on the course and made it too dangerous to swim.

“I got blisters on both feet around mile 7 of the marathon. So that meant a lot of walking!” She admitted, “I thought a lot about the last 3 years of PT and how this was nothing compared to that. I thought about my doctors and PTs and how they helped me continue to move forward. I thought about what I really wanted from IRONMAN and mostly I thought about all of the LOVE… family and friends went out of their way for weeks to help me succeed and a special video from friends helped motivate me through the finish.”

Crossing that IROimfinish2NMAN finish line, Marie was elated, but it was bittersweet. She couldn’t help her disappointment about the swim cancellation and dreaded comments about it, but anyone who’s smart knows IRONMAN is more than one race day. It’s a road less traveled of commitment and sacrifice. She’s already signed up for Puerto Rico 70.3 followed by a 2.5-mile channel swim from St. Kitts the next weekend, and she is narrowing down her pick for an IRONMAN in 2017!

A big reason Marie has been able to overcome so much is the support of her partner, Kat. The two have been together for over 23 years. From kayaking with Marie’s Nashville Aquatic Center crew on cold lake swims at sunrise to leaving helpful notes when training has them both on different schedules, Marie said, “Kat is a motivational activist. Her support is second to no one!”

Marie Berry is a running, biking, swimming beast! She’s been through a lot, but has made a lot of great friendships and memories along the way. We’re glad she is a part of NRC and wish her all the best in her future goals!

ROTM SPEED ROUND:
Favorite holiday guilty-pleasure: Mom’s Homemade Turtles
Running in place at stoplight: NO WAY
Hobbies outside of running: Travel, reading how-to articles and listening to TED talks.


ryan-dickson-w-brianneRyan Dickson

Standing over 6 ft. tall with one foot in college and the other taking steps to start his career in Tennessee, our male Runner of the Month quickly made a name for himself when he joined NRC. I’m not sure if it was his obvious youth, his boyish humor or his bold summer runs (sans shirt) that earned this twenty-something the moniker, “Young Ryan”, but clearly Ryan Dickson doesn’t seem to mind.

Born in the Detroit suburb of Sterling Heights, Michigan, Ryan admits growing up he was more of a mathlete than an athlete. His knack for math led him to the University of Michigan, from which he graduated with a degree in Actuarial Mathematics, and while he loves him some Michigan he decided to settle in middle Tennessee where he worked summers for his uncle.

Because he grew up tall and thin, people just assumed he was in shape, but that was not the case. In fact, he had to resort to taking a shortcut during the mile fitness test in 9th grade. But, that all changed after his first 5K. He wrote a short piece about his transformative 5K experience, which won him scholarship funds, and he has also shared it with NRC Couch to 5K trainees as inspiration for their journeys:ryan-dickson-mile-for-amelia

Going into 10th grade, my mom insisted that I join the cross-country team. She said, “It will look good on your college applications.” I wasn’t a fan of the idea, but gave it a shot. The first ‘practice’ I was able to attend, however, was the first race of the season, which I was made aware of when I arrived. I had gone out jogging on my own a few times in the week or so leading up to this, but I knew immediately that I was screwed.

The gun went off and adrenaline kicked in; at that moment I was determined to not fail. Unfortunately, I had no comprehension of how far five kilometers is, and adrenaline only got me to about the two mile mark. At that point, I could do nothing but walk along the course (a dirt trail through the woods) gasping for air while guys who were better prepared flew past me.

ryan-dickson-joe-louis-arenaWhen I finally jogged across the finish line, I was in 89th place out of 89 with a time of 29:40, and although I didn’t realize it at the time, I was hooked. Following that race, I practiced regularly and was able to drop five minutes off of that time in two weeks, and eight and a half minutes over the three month season. 

More importantly than my time, however, is that the 5K changed the course of my life for the better. Not only has it led to me becoming a healthier and happier person, but I also met some of the best friends that I have that day. We still meet up regularly despite living in various parts of the country and have now done the Detroit Turkey Trot 10K together for 12 straight years.

Ryan admits he can get a little competitive. His 5K PR, a 20:02 set in November 2005, still eats at him, but not just for obvious reasons. He had trained months to get a sub 20 in preparation for the fastest cross-country course on the schedule. He kept pace with his main training partner, also named Ryan, during the race and knew it was going to be close. Although, they both failed to meet their goal, his friend edged him out by one second and a year later, got his sub 20. Sadly, his teammate passed away in a tragic car accident during his first year in college.

Now, when Ryan reflects on that PR, he is reminded about what’s important. “Every time I think about that race and how frustrated I was to miss the mark,” said Ryan, “I realize how little those few seconds of time mean in the grand scheme of things.”

Ryan has accomplished much since joing NRC. In training for the 2013 Carmel Half, he got into the best running form he had ever been in and he attributes that to his fellow NRCers keeping him accountable and motivating him to run faster.

“I had a chance to run the Tom King Half the month before Carmel,” Ryan recalled. “Andrea Klint, who these days I would be lucky to keep up with for more than half a mile, was running her first half marathon and I decided that trying to stay with her and Zack would be a good training run for my Carmel attempt. As we got closer to the finish, it was clear that Andrea was going to far surpass her goal, and that I would also have a new PR (to be broken the next month at Carmel)! That is oryan-dickson-canoene of my favorite NRC race memories, and probably the best I have ever felt while crossing a finish line.”

As you might expect, this millennial is also big in the NRC social scene! From lawn chair lounging post-Miles for Amelia to paddling NexGen NCRers in the right direction at the NRC Canoe Trip to sunset selfies at NRC Arrington potlucks, Ryan enjoys the fun, community-conscious feel of NRC.

Ryan met his girlfriend, Brianne, while still in college at Michigan, but they didn’t begin dating until a ryan-dickson-detroit-budsyear after they graduated. Now, Ryan and Brianne both run with NRC. When they aren’t running or participating in duathlons, they enjoy visiting new breweries, wineries, or distilleries or just lounging catching up on TV shows during which Brianne inevitably falls asleep – (Those crazy kids!).

Currently, Ryan is training for three Spring 13.1s – Oak Barrel, Country Music Half, and Downhill at Dawn. He also plans to do one or more triathlons in 2017, with the goal to complete a Half Ironman!

Ryan has been keeping NRC young since the summer of 2012, but we have been blessed to watch him grow as a runner and a friend! Here’s to many future milestones with our crew!

ROTM SPEED ROUND:
Favorite holiday guilty-pleasure: Procrastinating work
Running in place at stoplight: Not a chance
Hobbies, outside of running: been trying to read more and eat healthier

NRC Runners of the Month – Traci Boswell and Keith Kettrey

Traci Boswell

“What the mind can conceive, it can achieve.” ~ Napoleon Hill

tboswellkauaiOur 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.tboswelloakbarrel

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!

tboswellkidsrunOutside 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.

tboswellboston“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!

tboswellfamilyhogginShe’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.


Keith Kettrey

kettreysohioOur 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.”

kettreyjapanUnfortunately, 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.

kkettreyblackwarriorHe 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!

kettreysgrandchildrenNow 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 kettreysraceto 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

NRC Runners of the Month: Kara Molitor & Robert Petree

Kara Molitor

Our female Runner of the Month has been running with NRC since 2014 and in those two years has consistently crushed every goal she has set for herself. From running short distances on and off as a teenager to recently winning tokara-molitor-2p female in her first ever 50 miler, Kara Molitor has perfected her formula for success and even faced with a sidelining injury, shows she has the true grit to move on.

Originally from Rockford, IL, Kara and her family moved to Nashville in 2010. A week after they moved with boxes still all over her house she accepted her sister’s invitation to run a local 5K on a whim. She placed 3rd in her age group and decided, “I might actually be good at this!” She tried another 5K, actually training this time, and placed 1st in her age group! Six months later she ran her first half marathon.

I had the chance to run early miles with Kara on some of her first runs with NRC, along with Shyla Moss, Jennifer Chaffin and a few others. She was so friendly and her hot pink streaked hair showed she was adventurous too, but when she would talk about running, I could tell she was serious about her training.kara-molitor-5

She was coming back from a major ankle injury and training for her first full. In fact, she learned she was accepted in the lottery for the Chicago Marathon the day she got her boot off.

“I knew it was going to take motivation and support of others to get me through it,” said Kara. “That is exactly what I found at NRC!”

One of her favorite memories with NRC was participating in the Franklin Classic 5K/10K. Seeing all the members staying after they had finished their race just to cheer other members to the finish line; seeing people smiling, supporting each other and high fiving; it was amazing to see how a sport can bring everyone together. Then, there was the huge group picture!”

A few first races hold a special place in her heart including the 2011 Nashville Half Marathon, the 2014 Chicago Marathon and the 2013 Stump Jump 50K which she ran with her best friend and always brings back good memories because of how hard she had to fight to finish.

kara-molitor-12015 was a huge year for Kara, earning her many trips to the NRC PR gong. Possibly delirious from non-stop training and maybe a bit oblivious to how badass she had become, she won first female at the Stanky Creek 50K and didn’t even know until the day after! She also placed first in her age group in her first 3-day stage race. That same year she PRed at the Stump Jump 50K on a harder course and tough weather conditions and crushed her first 50 mile race in November, taking the first female trophy.

If you weren’t already reading this in a fetal position, that isn’t all. Her longest run on the road so far is the Strolling Jim at 41.2 miles and her road marathon PR is 3:59:14 at the 2016 Nashville Marathon. But her strongest race to date was the Music City Trail Ultra 50k, where she placed first female. “I have never felt so proud of myself,” she said.

Kara has definitely had her fair share of injuries. Overcoming a major ankle tendon tear, torn hamstring, and tendonitis in her knee and ankle, she’s learned how vital skara-2trength training is to prevent injuries, especially because of the way her body structure is naturally. She also learned her body takes better to the trails for running long distances.

Kara admits her husband, Russ, understands how much she loves running even though he thinks she’s a little crazy to pay to run and put herself through so much. Her son Jayson (10) and daughter Ella (8) don’t always love Mom being gone to train and race, but they are her biggest cheerleaders. Part of NRC’s NexGen, they have even run a few races of their own. “I think running has rubbed off on them,” she smiles, “and I hope to be a good example for them to never give up.”

Having just learned she has a stress fracture and will need to take a break from running for 3-5 months, her plans to take on the Barkley Fall Classic 50K at Frozen Head State Park in September, Stump Jump 50K in October, Dizzy 50 Miler in November, and possibly a 100K in December will be replaced by lots of bike riding and swimming. Still, she knows she will be back strong and one day she hopes to race the Western States 100.

kara-molitor-4Kara is a fierce competitor and not intimidated by mileage, terrain, elevation or injury. From road to trail and triathlon to cross-training, she boldly takes on every challenge and we’re proud to have her as a member of the NRC!

ROTM Speed Round
Fav Grillin’ Food: Burgers
Tunes or no tunes: If by myself, yes; current go to is “Wonderland” by the Ginger Runner.
We’d never guess… I have 9 siblings.
Hobbies outside of running: Baking, biking, shopping, anything fitness related or outdoors.

Robert Petree
robert-petree-5

If you know our NRC male Runner of the Month, you know running is in his blood. In fact, if he didn’t have red hair, you might think he was Kenyan. Inspired by his marathon-running Mom, Robert Petree has a natural running ability and competitive instinct that has helped him conquer some incredible achievements.

An Air Force brat, Robert was born in Hampton, VA and after several moves settled in Clemson, SC when he was 9 years old. One look at his Facebook page and you can tell he has kept his Clemson spirit even now!

Robert has always been a runner, but he distinctly remembers getting the competitive bug in 7th grade. Peer pressure drove him to his very first run of 4 miles, which took him what seemed like forever. He says he didn’t become “fast” until his junior year of High School when his work paid off.

He earned a spot as one of the top runners in the state of South Carolina, and then the college recruiters came running. His freshman year of college was beyond memorable! As the fastest kid on their team, Robert helped them qualify for NCAA DII Nationals for the first time in the school’s history.

The day that Robert’s wife, Erin, decided to start running was also the day the two officially started dating (coincidence?). After cheering Robert across the Cooper River Bridge Run 10K finish in Charleston, SC (the 8th largest 10k in the world), Erin said she wanted to try a 5K. Since then, it’s proven clear that both her robert-petree-4running and their love are here to stay.

“It’s amazing to see how far she has come in the past 5 years and how fast she has gotten,” said Robert. “She’s run more half marathons than I have and will be running her first marathon in October at the Chicago Marathon!”

Life was good in Charleston, SC, but when it came to finding a bigger city near family for settling down, Nashville was an easy decision. Robert can’t pin point exactly how he heard about NRC, but knows Scott Alexander greeted him that first Wednesday. The camaraderie and atmosphere left him and Erin intrigued, and they have been regulars ever since.

There are many reasons why he keeps coming back to NRC, but Robert admits, “Most importantly is being surrounded by people from all walks of life, fitness levels, and experiences that share the same passion you do. We have made great memories and friends through NRC and are very grateful for the experiences we have had so far.”robert-petree-1

Just for fun, I asked him to list a few of his running accomplishments and was amazed to learn his 1-mile PR is 4:20, his 5K PR is 15:55 and his 10K PR is 34:20! Equally cool, his first marathon was in Dublin, Ireland in 2011. It is not uncommon for him to place at races and the handy man he is, he even built a trophy case to keep his collection of trophies.

Running the Carmel Marathon in 2015 with NRC is one of his favorite memories with the club. The numbers that traveled for that race and the support we brought for our crew astonished him. “I knew NRC was a special club,” said Robert, “but it wasn’t until that weekend that I knew we were a part of group of amazing people!”

Trobert-petree-3his past year he’s had to overcome his biggest and only serious running injury, tearing his hip labrum. What’s his biggest training tip? If something is hurting, lay off. If it keeps hurting, go see a specialist about it. He learned first-hand ignoring it doesn’t do any good and results in hurting yourself even worse.

His current training goal is to be healthy, fully recovered and pain free. He has received doctor’s clearance to run the Rocket City Marathon in December where he hopes to BQ. Aside for the obvious reasons, this is a big goal because his Mom ran the 100th Anniversary of the Boston Marathon along with many others. The ultimate race on his bucket list is the Hood to Coast Relay Race.

So, if you’re out running with NRC and an anvil falls orobert-petree-2ut of the sky attempting to squash a fellow runner, it is likely Wiley Coyote trying to catch Robert Petree. Seriously though, Robert brings so much to NRC through his friendship and support. We’re glad to recognize him for all he does for NRC and look forward to cheering him on in December!

ROTM Speed Round
Fav Grillin’ Food:
Grilled corn
Tunes or no tunes: I have never run with music. At the gym working out a song that gets me going is “Can’t Hold Us” by Macklemore.
We’d never guess…In high school, I hated the fact that I had red hair so I dyed my hair every color from black, brown, blonde and even dabbled into the frosted tips!
Hobbies outside of running: There’s hobbies outside of running?! Anything Clemson oriented, traveling, and hanging out with our lab/retriever, Sophie.

 

NRC Runners of the Month – Karen Miles and Rick Sears

Karen Miles redKaren Miles

Our female Runner of the Month took to running like a calf to a compression sleeve. She may be a latecomer to the sport, but once Karen Miles tried running on for size she discovered it was a perfect fit… and as her last name suggests, she is in it for the long haul.

Growing up in Antioch, TN, Karen was never involved in sports. She was in the color guard (flag squad) in high school which called for some pretty quick footwork at times, but that was about it.

In gym, she was the one who’d get as far outfield as she could in hopes the ball wouldn’t be hit her way. Boy, a lot has changed since then. Now as a member of the NRC, she is right up in the mix planning group runs and mentoring others to meet their training goals as she pushes herself to new PRs.

In 2012, when Karen heard about the NRC Couch to 5K from a friend, she thought it sounded fun.  She admits she didn’t have any real motivation to run, she just thought she would go see some old friends and socialize a little bit.

“When Scott [Alexander] e-mailed me about my time trial and said I was in the 3:1 interval group, I nearly fainted”, she confessed. “I told myself that he was crazy; there was no way I could run for 3 minutes!”

But she did, and akaren bibs copyfter her first 5K, the Change for a Chance 5K with her fellow C25K participants, she knew she was hooked. She has now been running for four years and has continued to build her stamina and strength with each new goal. Since joining NRC, Karen has trained for and completed several 5Ks, five 10Ks, ten Half Marathons and one Full Marathon!

Through NRC, Karen forged strong friendships. More often than not, you’ll see her logging miles with fellow NRCers Lisa Reasonover and Dena Lloyd – a triple threat when it comes to taking on a challenge. Case in point, through each other’s encouragement (read: peer pressure) Karen and Lisa decided to take on the Carmel Marathon! Dena agreed to help them train.

“It was mine and Lisa’s first full,” she recalled. “Dena was my mentor in the Couch to 5K, so having her train and run with me in my first full marathon was wonderful.”

Karen and DenaCrossing the finish line of the Carmel Marathon remains her favorite memory with Lisa and Dena and these three have run a lot of miles together. Thinking back on her final steps down the NRC high-five line, Karen remembers, “Words cannot express the feeling I had when I finished that marathon.”

I asked Dena what they talk about out there during all those hours of training and she said, “While training for a full, you get to know a person, their family and work life. During a training run she was talking about work and I asked her where she worked. Karen told me, but at that time I didn’t connect the dots. On another long run, she brought up work again and I finally realized I knew someone she worked with. We also live a half-mile from each other!”

Now, Karen is paying it forward. She is a welcoming regular NRC interval runner and is mentoring 2FAST, the 2:1 interval group, in this year’s Couch to 5K. She also participated with her crew in the 2016 Hoggin’ and Joggin’ relay, which raises money for the Nolensville Food Pantry. “It was an experience,” she laughs. “Not sure about the fried Mac & Cheese! It was a fun time for such a good cause!”

Karen Miles wedding copyHer family is very proud of her running and they now understand that her running schedule is a priority to her. Her positive influence has even recruited them to run with NRC!

Karen found true love in the eyes her high school sweetheart, Vince, and the two have been married for 32 years! Vince started running last year with the 1:1 interval group and is a Wednesday regular.

Karen and Vince have two children, Hannah (27) and Cameron (21).  You may have seen Hannah and her husband, Chris, along with their beautiful little 1-year-old girl, Reagan Marie, at a recent NRC run. Reagan is Karen and Vince’s first grand-baby, so having them all run with the crew is extra special time together.

“Being a grandparent is truly wonderful,” smiled Karen. And, being a grandparent who runs and is a great example of staying healthy and happy? In my opinion, that’s priceless!

Karen FamilyGetting her races in early this year, Karen has already completed 3 half marathons, so she has no current training goals. Her plan is to just keep running, which she has proven she can do regardless of summer heat, winter cold, rain or shine. She hopes to enjoy a few light months of running and then will train for her fourth half this year which she’ll run in October – The I Dream of Jennie Half in Coco Beach.

When Karen is not running she likes to read and shop (which can be a sport all of its own)!  The Coach Store is her favorite, but too bad they don’t carry running shoes! She also love spending time at the beach with her family.

Karen is one of those types of runners who keeps a sincere smile even when the going gets tough. She has faced injuries and challenges, but you would never hear her complain. She is positive, caring and an all-around great runner and friend. We are so glad she is a part of our NRC family! Congrats, Karen!

Karen – Speed Round

One thing you dislike about running: The heat

Dream car: 2016 Corvette

No one in NRC would guess… I got my belly button pierced when I turned 40.

Summer must-have gear: Sunglasses

Favorite movie: An officer and a Gentleman

__________________________

Rick SearsRick Sears Ragnar Hellcat

Zero. That’s the number of times our male Runner of the Month had ever gone running before he signed up for the NRC C25K in 2014.

13.1. The number of miles in a Half Marathon, of which he’s done eleven since completing the program and has more on the calendar for next year.

How do you get from 0 to 13.1 in less than two years? Well, for Rick Sears, it was a case of the right time, the right people and the right kind of running… intervals.

Rick hails from Shelbyville (pronounced ‘vul, not ‘ville) but was born in New Hampshire, with brief moves to Nassau, The Bahamas and Indian Rocks Beach, Florida. This could have something to do with his love of all things beachy even as an adult. In fact, to get him to embrace the move from the sunny beach city to a farm 10 miles away from town in TN, his parents resorted to bribing the then preteen with the promise of a motorcycle. It worked.

He met his awesome wife and running partner, Melissa, (also an NRCer) while in college at MTSU at the KA house, but it wasn’t until after he had graduated and she was a Senior that they started dating. Their first date was to Zanies Comedy Club in Nashville and they still make each other laugh everyday. Just to prove their love was above any superstitions, they got engaged on a Friday the 13th and the lucky couple will be celebrating their 30th anniversary on June 7th. Rick admitted, “Good thing it falls on a Tuesday or we would be running on our anniversary. When it’s Wednesday. We run!”

Rick Sears CruiseThey have two kids. Their son Drew (27) and his wife Brittany, live just down the road which is great because they are expecting their first child in November. This will be Rick and Melissa’s first grandbaby…and they can not wait! Their daughter, Morgan (25) lives in Knoxville and since graduating UT has been pursuing her degree in Registered Nursing at Lincoln Memorial University. Rick and Melissa are looking forward to celebrating her graduation with her in December.

As for running, both Rick and Melissa started at the same time, May 2014 as participants in the NRC Couch to 5K. Rick remembers, “I personally had never run in my life…NEVER. We had always walked but were not very deligent at it and would miss weeks, even months at a time. The timing of the C25K was perfect, we had been discussing finding something that would encourage us to stay more accountable.” Plus, he learned about the benefits of run-walk intervals and found it was the right kind of training for him.

He’s made many friendships through NRC and he is often out there leading his interval crews keeping them honest when it’s time to stop walking and get back to running, but a popular misconception almost kept him from coming out at all. When it came to NRC and running clubs, Rick thought you had to run races straight through without any walking.

“The concept of intervals never entered my mind,” he confessed. “What a life changer the C25K and running intervals has been.”

Rick heard about NRC through Scott Alexander, who he’s known for over 20 years from their Service Merchandise days. He jokes that even back then Scott loved to give “high fives”! Although, they were not always appreciated as much as they are with the NRC crew.

Rick Sears ChinaRick tells an awesome story of a trip he and Scott took overseas. Rick says, “Notice the picture of us at a golf course in China (Yes, that is me as a much larger person and yes, Scott has hair under that cap). At one of the holes Scott drained a long putt for par and wanted to give one of the caddies (pictured with us) a “high five”. The poor woman did not comprehend what he was doing and acted as if he were going to hit her! Thankfully, we were able show her what he was trying to do and all was good after that.”

Rick has a list of accomplishments starting with his first 5k at the Change for a Chance race, one of only a few right in Nolensville proper. His first half was the Rock and Roll in New Orleans in Jan 2015 which he ran with Melissa. He will always remember that race as being a great one with a level course. Since then they have completed 10 half marathons together.

Rick Sears Turkey Trot 2015One of his favorite runs was his third leg running Ragnar 2015 as a Hellcat. It was a 6.5 mile hard route… and he loved it. He slapped the orange bracelet on and left his exchange at about 4:30 in the morning, a slight misty rain was in the air as he ran from Kirkland down Cox Rd near Arrington Vineyards and ended up at Page High. “It was an awesome run!” he recalls.

His current goal is to keep running. It’s that simple. When pressed, he said he hopes to maintain at least 8 miles every Saturday. His running plans include the Grand Prix races and Middle Half. With the Grandbaby on the way this November, there will be no out of town races for them this fall, but next year they have already planned to do Birmingham Half, Ragnar Trails in Fort Knox, KY, the Oak Barrell Half, the Nashville Rock and Roll Half (will be their third time) and Down Hill at Dawn. What better way to make sure you keep running, but to sign up for some races, right?

Rick Sears New OrleansWhen not running, Rick and Melissa both love the water. “Ask anyone we run with on Saturday mornings when it is warm,” he laughs. “We’ve got to get this done, because we’ve got to go to the lake.”

Rick Sears has been a realtor with Crye-Leike for almost 11 years and loves the flexibility it offers. As a support to NRC, he’s once again sponsoring NRC’s Grand Prix Series which kicks off June 18th!

“I am glad to be able to sponsor the NRC Grand Prix again this year,” he said. “I think the timing of this event is perfect for those just finishing the C25K and it gives you more races to have on your calendar and keep you engaged.”

By the numbers, it’s easy to see that Rick is an inspiration. For anyone who is starting at zero, don’t let misconceptions keep you on the couch. We are so thankful that Rick took that first step to find out NRC is not about running as long and as fast as you possibly can… it’s about finding your own pace and the freiendships you make along the way. Congrats, Rick! So glad you’re part of our crew!

Rick – Speed Round

One thing that you dislike about running: Having a hard time breathing

Dream car: Tesla Model S

No one in NRC would guess… James Earl Jones played my uncle in a movie (good luck finding which one, and no I am not related to Darth Vader)

Summer must-have gear:  Just started running with a hydration pack for long runs; sunglasses

Favorite movie: Animal House

Nickname: In High School and College, some people didn’t even know my first name. Always went by Sears.