I'd like to introduce you to our newest East Nasty of the Week (ENOW), Phil Zimmerman! If you've been to one of our Wednesday night runs, you've probably seen Phil. You can't miss him as he's the tallest person there. Also, he & his wife Gretchen host the annual East Nasty Christmas Party at their lovely home on Woodland Street.
I spoke to Gretchen before writing this post & she said, "Phil loves the neighborhood & loves the East Nasties. He is always happier after a run & has gotten a lot of his friends to become runners, too."
Phil is a born & raised Nashvillian. One of the few. He grew up across the street from Percy Warner Park, which might explain why he caught the running bug.
In middle school Phil was a huge nerd. In high school Phil was a huge nerd that ran. He started cross-country & track in 6th grade & did both until he graduated. He also participated in plays & musicals & enjoys being the only 6'3" male tap dancer that you know.
Note to self: get Phil to tap dance at the next EN Christmas Party.
Phil attended Vanderbilt University, majoring in Engineering & Communications. During his senior year, he & his roommate started a closed-circuit tv show, like you do. They showed horror movies *MST3K style & rated them on “style” & “substance” (they used different terms). Phil was the Gore Guy and his roommate was the Bush Boy.
Tap dancing, b-rated horror movie aficionado by night, by day, Phil is a software consultant. He goes to different companies in town to help them implement Salesforce.com. He's from a family of OB/GYN’s so he feels he succeeded just by avoiding that career.
Phil started running in 6th grade, but quit after high school. He dedicated his college years to growing a sizable beer gut. Then a friend convinced him to sign up for the Country Music Half in 2005. Two weeks before the race, he ran his first trail race, Rock/Creek River Gorge, & fell back in love with running. Since then, he has run over 100 races, including 15 marathons, five 50k’s & two 50 milers. You know, the same amount of races you've run (!?!).
As you may guess, Phil has more than one accomplishment in running. He gave me his top five:
"Finishing the Race for the Cure with my mom (11 years after her breast cancer diagnosis & less than one year after brain surgery) & my now-wife Gretchen
Winning the inaugural Nashville Beer Mile with a time of 8:57
Running the Shelby Bottoms Boogie the morning of my wedding with my wife-to-be & about 10 other people from the wedding party in the pouring rain
Completing the 2011 Mountain Masochist 50 Miler in Lynchburg, VA
PRing at the 2012 Flying Monkey Marathon."
Gretchen says, "Phil became a much more serious runner when his mom was battling brain cancer. His 5K & half marathon races became 50Ks, marathons, & after her death, almost a race every month. He ran a 50K before he ran an official marathon, & I will never forget spectating that race with his parents. His mom would always yell "I love you Philip" & I can still hear her voice. As she was dying, & after she was gone, running kept Phil from drinking too much whisky & gave him a way to connect with really great people."
Phil has been running with East Nasty for about 4 years. He started when he & Gretchen moved to Woodland Street. In fact, he says that East Nasty was a serious factor in moving to East Nashville: "I loved the fact that I would have such a strong running community in the neighborhood. My favorite EN experience has to be the Christmas party every year. Close to 200 East Nasties take over our house & it is such a blast. The things I enjoy most about EN are beer & running, in that order."
Gretchen says, "One of the reasons that I love Phil so much is that he loves being around people. Since we have moved to East Nashville, running has been a big part of our lives & we love hosting the East Nasty Holiday Party."
If Phil's not running, he's reading, drinking at 3 Crow Bar, restoring classic pinball machines, or watching some b-grade horror movie. I hope he adds "practicing my shuffle ball change" because I'm serious about getting him to tap dance at the next Christmas party.
Phil, you are awesome, your wife is awesome, your house is awesome & this ENOW title is long overdue. Congratulations & welcome to the ENOW club!