It is my pleasure to introduce you to our newest East Nasty of the Week (ENOW), Lana Marie! I met Lana at the Richland Creek Run in April of 2012 when I recognized her from East Nasty & asked if I could run with her. I was coming off a knee injury & didn't know if I could run the whole race. I told Lana she wouldn't know I was there, that I wouldn't talk, if she'd just let me run beside her. Well, that lasted about 1 minute. I talked the entire run & we've been friends ever since.
Let's get to know Lana!
Lana was born in & grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska. She attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for both her BS in Math and her MS in Biometry. We'll get to this later, but because one of Lana's hobbies is acquiring degrees, she also has an associates of applied science in computer information systems and is working on her MA in Conflict Management. Also, just for kicks, Lana studied at Mansfield College (part of Oxford) for a summer semester.
Lana has lived in Nashville for almost 12 years. She's a genetic statistical analyst. She looks at genetic and environmental data to see if she sees any patterns that might explain increased risk to various complex human diseases. You know, just like you do at work every day.
Lana started running in 2005. Her friend Shannon and her boyfriend (now husband) Steve asked her to do a triathlon with them. Lana said sure, she wasn’t doing anything else. After she said yes, she figured she should do some research because she had no idea what she had just said yes to. So she got some books, did some reading and promptly freaked out. She said that she remembers having a conversation with Shannon that kind of went like this:
"They expect you to do all three events right after each other? What if I get tired? What if I get hungry? (Clearly the more important concern.) Shannon said not to worry as Steve had told her about a friend that, during transition, got hungry, sat down and ate some cookies. Done. Any sport I can stop, sit down and eat some cookies during, I’m in."
Buster Britton was Lana's first tri, and she came in fourth to last. She didn’t care. She had finished something she never thought possible. After that, she was hooked. So she did three sprint tri's that summer. Once the tri season was over, she kept up with the running by signing up for races, tons of races. She ran her first half marathon in 2008 and has run 16 more since then.
Lana's not sure she's had her biggest accomplishment in running yet. She says, "I never would have thought about doing a tri larger than a sprint and to be doing one that is Olympic distance is just mind-blowing to me. I think my biggest accomplishment is yet to come. Now I know anything is possible."
Lana heard about East Nasty in the spring of 2010. Her friend Whitney had heard about it and suggested they go check it out. Lana was back in school and could only go over her spring break that term. She had such a great time, it was hard to have to wait until the semester ended to return. After that, she made sure her classes weren't on Wednesday nights. And she has been here ever since.
When it comes to East Nasty, Lana enjoys the people and the community the most. She says, "I have met so many amazing people who I feel so lucky to have as friends. I am forever grateful for their support and encouragement, not just in running, but also in life."
Lana's most memorable East Nasty experiences all center around firsts: the first time she came to a Wednesday night run; the first time she ran The Nasty; the first times she met several friends at the women’s half training, at 3 Crow Bar, and at races; the first time she led the 10:30 pace group; the first time she coached Potato to Tomato; the first time she wore an East Nasty shirt during a race. "All of these are reminders to me of the great community I get to be a part of, as well as all the opportunities I have gotten because of East Nasty."
Vanessa: "I am so happy that Lana was picked as an ENOW. She is a kick ass person. I first met Lana when training for the Women’s Half Marathon in 2011. I was relatively new to running and new to the group and Lana was one of the first East Nasties to approach me and make me feel welcome. We have since grown to be great friends. I am lucky to have Lana as a friend because she is thoughtful and kind. She is always willing to bake her famous cinnamon cupcakes for her friends’ birthdays and any EN events. East Nasty is lucky to have her as member."
Last summer, Lana & I were coaching Potato to Tomato & Lana told me about this circuit class at the Margaret Maddox Y that she had just started taking, how much she liked it and how strong she was getting. I was aware of the class, but honesty, I was terrified of it. Lana convinced me to try it. So I did. And now a year later, I make the drive from West Nashville to East Nashville twice a week for a 6am class that I lovingly refer to as Hell Class. Hell Class's fearless, Hungarian leader has this to say about Lana:
Nikoletta: "It has been my pleasure to watch Lana's confidence, her athletic abilities and her muscles grow in my class! Lana, you are a true inspiration, and keep up the great work!"
When Lana's not running or solving life problems with math, she can be found canning jams and jellies, pickling, baking (scones!!), quilting, & taking photos of lattes.
Author's note: Earlier this summer, Lana & I did two sprint tri's: Cedars of Lebanon & Old Hickory. Lana suggested (strongly) that we register for an Olympic distance tri, that she could make a training plan for us. I was REAL hesitant, but I trusted her & if Lana thought we could do it, I believed her. The day after we did Old Hickory, we registered for the Tri Fall Creek Falls Olympic distance tri & commenced training. Early in our training, I had a heart to heart with Andy Moss & realized we weren't training hard enough. Lana, assuredly knowing that I had no idea what I was talking about, let me alter our training plan. Andy said, "Work hard, train hard, race easy." And that's what we did. The race was yesterday & we nailed it!
Lana, this post is well deserved and way past due. I'm so glad I made you talk to me at that race last year. There's no one else I'd rather spend 9 hours a week working out with. Heart you, friend. Congrats and welcome to the ENOW club!