Nancy Cook Not Only Conquers Mountains But Cancer As Well
Nancy Cook has a long and accomplished running resume, but the hardest battle she has won wasn’t on the roads.
Nancy is a cancer survivor and never let her health stop her from continuing to do what she loves most.
I am going to try to keep up with Nancy Cook today as we go a few easy miles.
Mountain Goat At Heart
Nancy Cook has been running since college and in that time she has raced various distances.
Over time Nancy has found that she prefers any sort of race that takes place on the trails or up a mountain.
She is so proficient at running, not just uphill, that she won the New England All-Terrain Runner Series in 2018.
Competing in the All-Terrain Series gave Nancy a new appreciation for events such as track and field.
Though she enjoyed taking on new challenges, Nancy’s heart is in the mountains.
The Mount Washington Road Race is a particular favorite for Nancy having completed it for the sixth time this year.
Mount Washington is a prestigious road race that goes uphill for the entire 7.6 miles.
The weather can change drastically in an instant and the race provides just as many mental challenges as physical.
Running is not the only sport that Nancy has excelled at.
While in college, Nancy played on the basketball team and also competed in triathlons.
Her competitive spirit has been a driving force in continuing to push her limits over the years.
Nancy has finished 4 full Ironman triathlons and even qualified for the World Championships for the half Ironman.
With a friend’s encouragement, Nancy followed a training plan for a marathon.
Nancy ran her first marathon, one which wasn’t at the end of an Ironman, in a time of 3:14 while in costume.
She was just beginning to realize what her full potential as a runner may be.
Even a nor’easter during Boston didn’t stop her from running a PR.
Nine years ago Nancy was in what she thought was the best physical condition of her life.
She had recently won her age group in the Marine Corps Marathon and was at the top of her running game.
After her age group win, Nancy went straight into training for the Chicago Marathon.
Nancy had signed up to raise money for the American Cancer Society for the marathon.
It was during training that Nancy found a lump on her stomach and went to get it checked out.
Nancy was delivered a shocking diagnosis of stage 4 lymphoma.
Her specialist allowed Nancy to continue running with the agreement that she would listen to her body.
As the weeks and months went by Nancy continued to run as she went through chemotherapy.
She managed to successfully merge her training plan with chemo.
Continuing to run and do what made her happy had a positive/healing effect on her body.
Nancy was two-thirds of the way through chemo when she ran the Chicago marathon.
She shocked herself and ran a Boston qualifier during that race.
Finishing the marathon that year was a life-changing moment for Nancy.
Running is what kept Nancy going through her fight with cancer.
Her love for running has never faltered over the years, but her reasons for running have changed.
Empowered To Run
Running after beating cancer looks different for Nancy.
Her running is more focused and she doesn’t take any runs for granted.
She has continued to push her limits and completed her first 50 miler a year after being cancer-free.
Being diagnosed with cancer has made Nancy even more aware of taking care of her body.
She is vigilant about taking at least 1 full rest day each week to allow her body to recover.
Nancy has been a lifelong alpine skier and continues to use that activity as cross-training.
At most Nancy only runs hard 2 times a week and runs the rest easy.
At 55, Nancy is now recovered and stronger than ever and she owes so much of it to running.
Mentioned In This Episode:
- Mount Washington Road Race
- American Cancer Society
- New England USATF All-Terrain Runner Series
- Mt Toby Trail Run
Stay connected with Nancy Cook by checking out her blog and/or following her on Instagram and Twitter.
Nancy Cook is an accomplished runner by anyone's standards. It was her battle and ultimate win over cancer all while running that is her proudest achievement. Running was the ultimate medicine. Click To Tweet
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