As you know, the Tomato 5K took place over the weekend as part of the 10th annual Tomato Art Fest. What you may not know, is that every summer, East Nasty offers free couch to 5K training for this race, called Potato to Tomato. P2T is an 8-week program that takes you from couch potato to Tomato 5K finisher.
This week's East Nasty of the Week (ENOW) is a P2T participant that I coached for the first time last year, and then again this year. She's had quite a year, which I think you will find as inspiring as I do. On paper, she's a crazy cat lady from Long Island. But in person, well, she's still a crazy cat lady from Long Island, but she's also kind, effervescent and warmhearted. It is with great pleasure that I introduce you to my friend, Cat Lorenzo, our newest ENOW!
Let's get to know Cat!
Cat was born in Brooklyn, New York and was raised on Long Island. She went to college at Tampa Technical Institute for Art in Tampa, Florida. She has lived in Nashville for the past 7 years and works at Catapult Marketing as a MAC Production Specialist (that means graphic designer).
Cat has been running for over 10 years. She had major, open heart surgery in January 2013 and says, "By the grace of God, I am back running and doing more than I expected. I am blessed each time I come to one of the runs - with the help of each of the coaches, I have seen much progress - so exciting!!!"
Cat learned about East Nasty through her friend and running partner, Astrid. They both needed to do something to jump start their workout. They started running with East Nasty in May 2012, then joined the 2012 Potato to Tomato group. I coached them both last year, and then again this year. Cat says, "I had the small setback with my heart surgery, but I am back!!!"
Author's note: I coached Cat last year, pre heart surgery, and she had a lot of trouble breathing and had to stop and walk a lot. It was my first time coaching and I wasn't sure how much to push her. I didn't push too hard, which THANK GOD, because come to find out, she had an apple-sized blood clot in her heart. This past January, they took out the clot & replaced her heart valve with a pig valve, which has become a source of comic relief for both Astrid and myself. Astrid was by Cat's side during the entire thing and lovingly calls her Piggy now. While coaching Cat this summer, I often quoted Mark Miller during our longer runs & told Cat to run with her heart, except I would say, "Run with your pig heart!".
When asked what she enjoys most about East Nasty, Cat says, "Learning new and interesting ideas of running, cooking and eating properly, but mainly the wonderful friends I have made along the way - cannot beat that!"
Cat's most memorable East Nasty experience is getting caught in a downpour, which she loved and describes as fun and funny, all at the same time . She also mentions this past summer when she ran her first 2 full miles since heart surgery. She says, "What a great feeling!"
The Cat I coached last year is not the Cat I coached this year. Last year's Cat was frustrated with her progress and kept to herself, running with earbuds in and only talking to Astrid. This year's Cat was thankful for the second chance she's been given and really opened up, sharing her story with others and inspiring them to push themselves. She was the life of our group this year, or maybe I should say, she was the heart.
Cat is a busy lady, but in her downtime she enjoys cats, drawing and photography. (I warned you about the cats.)
Cat, I'm so glad I met you last year and I'm happy to call you my friend. I can't wait to start running with you and Astrid on the regular Wednesday night runs. Welcome to the ENOW club!