This week’s East Nasty of the Week tries to “stay under the radar” but because she’s great at running and even better at giving back to the community, that couldn’t happen. It is with great pleasure that I introduce your newest ENOW – Nina Stroud! Nina came into this world unique and awesome. She’s the third child in a set of triplets (two girls and one boy), and she was born and mostly raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. According to Nina, she was the nerd of the bunch. She loved to read all the time, do research, and write stories. She was that kid that would cry when she missed a day of school (what?!). However, she fell in love with track in middle school. Both of her parents ran in school so they used to watch track and field competitions on tv together. Nina ran in citywide meets and would compete in 100m dash, 200m hurdles, and 4x100m relay as the third leg. In high school, she was back to the books and academics and was involved with the school newspaper, yearbook, Novel book club, and many other “nerdy clubs”.
A couple of months after graduation in 1993, Nina’s dad was relocated with General Motors to Nashville. Since moving here, her family has always lived in the Priest Lake area and still does. She had never heard anything about East Nashville until meeting her husband who was born and raised in East Nashville. His father grew up on Forrest in a little white house behind the post office. Her in-laws and extended family are still residents of East Nashville so she feels like it's her second home (that plus a little running group, right, Nina??). Nina and her husband, Damon, have two daughters, McKenzie and Brooklyn, a son, Damon, and a granddaughter, Zari. She says they all keep her pretty busy. So does her teaching gig at Harris Hillman School Exceptional Education. The students who attend school there have multiple disabilities and are medically fragile. After subbing for a couple of weeks, she was offered a permanent position, and she’s been there for the past six years. She says she’s in a classroom with 8 of the best 9th-11th graders you will ever meet! They keep her sharp, smiling, and most of all, humble.
As for running, Nina always had a goal to run a marathon. A fellow ENOW, Shelley Norton, would always tell her about a running group called East Nasty. Never in a million years did Nina think she could run with them. Shelley encouraged her to do the Potato to Tomato 5k training during the summer of 2012, but Nina didn't want to do it alone so she begged her "sole sister" Misty Cross to join her. They’ve been running buddies ever since. Nina also had the great luck of starting her running career during the summer of 2012 – one of the hottest summers in Nashville's recent history with record high temperatures! Nina says that was one of the most grueling training sessions ever! Thankfully, Nina had hard-working and driven coaches such as Susi Willis, Joy Howard, Kim Koch, and Mike Clark! Susi even encouraged her to move up to a faster pace group.
Susi’s knowledge, kindness, and encouragement had a lasting impression on Nina. She wanted to give that back to someone else so she paid it forward. Nina has been a P2T coach every year since and then some. She became a run coordinator for Black Girls Run, an organization that encourages and inspires African American women to live a healthy lifestyle and is a running buddy for Girls On The Run, an organization dedicated to encouraging girls in grades 3-8 to achieving goals through training for a 5k. She volunteers every year with Achilles International for their Hope and Possibility 5 miler, which brings together ablebodied runners with athletes with disabilities to complete their race. Finally, she coaches her daughter's track team for Nashville Youth Athletics. WHEW! Who feels like they need to go volunteer a little now?!
Nina’s biggest accomplishment in running is helping a person gain the knowledge and love for running that she has and then seeing that person cross that finish line for the first time. There is no greater feeling. As for what she enjoys most about East Nasty, it’s the laid back atmosphere. Everyone is welcome. You can walk, run, do intervals. You can bring your dogs, kids in strollers...no pressure...just get moving! Her most memorable East Nasty experience is being chosen as an ENOW. She says it’s unbelievable, and she feels so unworthy and like the most unlikely candidate. (Wait, I’m sorry, Nina. Did you not just read the previous paragraph?! You’re superwoman, girl!) She can't stop smiling because she’s so “under the radar” all the time.
Nina loves racing, but somehow they always seem to be in bad weather or when she’s injured. She started running in extremely hot weather, but her first Country Music Half was 2013 – the year it rained the entire time. She had never run in that type of weather ever and was not prepared. Her next race was the Hot Chocolate 15K in February of 2014. It was 20 degrees but felt like 12 with wind! She tried another CMM 1/2 in 2014 and ran with a severely bruised shin. Ouch! She says she hasn't given up yet. She’s signed up for the Middle Half in Murfreesboro and hoping for good weather and to PR. She also signed up for CMM 1/2 next year where her goal is to be under 2:30. You got this, Nina!
When Nina isn’t being super mom, giving back, running/racing, she enjoys genealogy and tracing her roots.
Congrats on ENOW, Nina! We are so thankful for everything you do for the running community, and I couldn’t think of anyone more deserving!