Boston Marathon 2021 – The Navy SEAL Foundation experience

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Qualifying for the Boston Marathon 2021 with my Cape Cod 2019 marathon gave me the opportunity for a bib for the 125th running of the Boston Marathon. I ran a 3:44 at the Cape in crazy windy rainy off the ocean with waves crashing into the course! For more about that race link here.


It’s not what you preach, it’s what you tolerate

My 36th marathon and 12th Boston \"💙\"\"💯\"\"🍀\"Felt like a rockstar the first 10 miles pushing the pace.

At mile 11 I tripped on uneven road and crashed my head on the pavement. It cracked my Garmin but it still worked! I said to the medics that ran up the street to help that I was doing ok and wanted to keep running. My head hurt and it was tough to keep going but the cheers from the patriots in the crowd fueled my motivation.

I stopped 5 times at medical tents to rest and regroup. I know a bunch of medic volunteers and say hi and look for encouragement. I said hi to Jacqueline Shakar and Serge McKhann\"❤️\". It was tough at the end and I saw my husband Steve in Brighton for one last push to the long awaited Citgo sign \"💪🏼\"\"🍀\".

I started the race so strong, felt like the wind was behind my back and just pushing me along. The crowds were amazing as always along the streets heading to Boston!

Things that kept me going:

  1. I was running for the Navy SEAL Foundation (I qualified but was fundraising for the foundation and a part of the team) and kept thinking – Don\’t ring the bell!
  2. Does anyone ever really want to quit? Especially not the Boston Marathon — it was just so epic as always! The crowds were more amazing than I remember! The medical tent volunteers were the best – stopping 6 times the last half of the marathon — they kept me going! I promised myself if I felt off I would stop, but I didn\’t want to….
  3. My Garmin ForeRunner 735XT was still ticking event though cracked…. if it can keep going so can I? Do you ever depend on technology for that extra boost?
  4. I trained for this race with my indoor rowing – I became obsessed with my Concept2 and have a virtual membership to a studio in Florida with these amazing coaches. I set the American Record for the marathon on the indoor rowing machine for my age group with a 2:59 in March of last year. 3 days of running (one long run) and the other days all rowing. I really wanted to show that this type of cross training translates and I think I did that.
  5. My friends and family along the route– the best cheer stations are in Boston — people are everywhere with signs — my husband met me in Brighton <3 and kept me going too!

The last 2 miles was so incredibly motivating with the crowds! I love this marathon The people. The volunteers and the town’s leading into Boston. Running for the Navy SEAL Foundation was a great experience and the cheers from the crowd were heartfelt along the way. Our team of amazing runners and supporters was so fun to be with and meet in person.


Grateful to all my donors and coaches Denny Krahe and Justin Knust from Live2Row Studios. I ran this marathon using my indoor rowing training in combination with rowing 6-7 days a week, long runs on the weekend and a couple runs midweek. and felt very prepared and proud of my result \"💙\". Boston finisher Boston qualifier 2021. #bostonstrong#bostonmarathon

Discipline equals freedom 

Looking back and thinking about what it took to toe the line at this marathon and that is discipline. I had a coach to give me a plan and do some light follow up. My rowing continued strong every day with a plan in place to try and break some American Records. I showed up to run 2-3 times a week and getting my long runs in to make it all happen. When I fell and thought I might not finish, I didn\’t accept that, I kept moving. I finished and finished strong. Freedom at the finish line looking at all the work that I had incorporated to get me there.


This team of runners was amazing in their fundraising and training. Meghann ran an incredible race. Geoff finished his first Boston Marathon and didn\’t quite beat that 4 hour mark and has pledged to come back strong. Dan and Scott finished together and Dan was featured on the reel posted on Instagram by the BAA. Truthfully, the most incredible, kind, strong and giving people I have met in a very long time. It was an honor to run on this team and this will be a memory I will cherish a lifetime. in total the team raised close to $30,000 for the Navy SEAL Foundation.

More to come in a blogpost about marathon training by indoor rowing – I love it and I think it is saving my joints and keeping my body in tune — hoping to have many more years of running because of it!

What\’s next? Rowing has been my passion of late, but I continue to want to stay strong as a runner and cyclist. Stay tuned!


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Nancy Cook 2021

About Nancy

Nancy Peck Cook is a trainer and speaker who has presented in front of large and small audiences for the past 25 years.  Her work as an executive and volunteer trainer for the American Cancer Society during the growth of the signature activity Relay For Life trained professionals to be more confident and successful in their roles. 

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