Name: Nancy Walker Anderson
Married: to Paul Anderson for 16 years
Children: Hunter (12) and Skylar (10)
Occupation: RN at Huntington Hospital on an Ob/Gyn unit caring for Moms and their newborns and for women having “lady parts” surgery. I get the amazing opportunity to see life as it begins and to help women transition into their role as “Mom”
First of all I’d like to say thank you to the Godfather of our beloved hills, Mr. Lou Lafleur for asking me if I’d like to be WOTW. I felt very honored and humbled but also nervous to do this as I am so not a writer. Ok so here goes folks.
I grew up in Brentwood and am the oldest of 3. Both my parents immigrated to the U.S. from El Salvador. I have one brother and one sister. My parents were not athletic, my Mom was a stay at home mother caring for us 3 kids and running us all over for whatever activities we were involved in and my Dad is a retired electrical engineer who put himself through college and worked while raising a family.
My siblings and I were all involved in sports growing up. My brother played soccer, baseball, and hockey. My sister soccer, softball, and dance and I did softball, basketball, dance and twirling. I still remember as a kid about 12, 13 playing softball for BYA in Brentwood and my coaches would always comment about how fast I ran around those bases.
In highschool I didn’t play any sports which I don’t know why as I was very active prior to highschool. After highschool I went on to college but wasn’t really sure what I wanted to be when I grew up, although i knew it would be something in the medical field. I lasted one year at SUNY Oneonta aka “Stoneonta”. I had to much fun partying and having a good ole time but had the sense to realize this wasn’t good, my parents are paying alot of money for me to go here so i packed my bags and returned to Long Island. I did a semester at Suffolk Community in Selden and then got accepted into the nursing program at Molloy College in Rockville Centre. I got my BSN in 1992 and started my career as an RN. My first job being at Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola on a medical/surgical unit.
I met my husband Paul in 1995 at a bar in Smithtown, used to be called Molly Blooms. I knew after my first date with him that this was the man I would be spending the rest of my life with. I know, cheesy right? LOL! But true! We were dating one year when Paul got accepted into the L.A.P.D. in Southern California and so we packed our bags and headed to the west coast. To me this was an adventure in this game of life so why not. We got engaged my first month there in Jan of 1997 and we lived there for 2 years then returned to Long Island and got married in May 1999. As much as we loved Calif. and the beautiful weather our families are both here in NY and we knew once we started having children we wanted to be close to our own families. And this is where running entered my life!
I was working 12 hour shifts, 3 days/week, had no children yet so I had alot of free time. We were living in Lake Ronkonkoma with my inlaws to save money for a house so I started running around the neighborhoods of Lake Ronkonkoma. I never timed myself, had no idea about my distance or pace. Pace? What was that? I just got out there and ran and loved being out there lost in my thoughts. Although I do remember when I got home I would get in the car and drive the route I ran to see how far I went. Boy have times changed!
Then in Sept. 2003 I had my first child and becoming a new Mom with all its responsibilities and lack of sleep running was put to the back burner. Now I had seen women out there running with jogging strollers but for me running was my “me time”, me, myself and I. To me running with one of those strollers and having to stop here and there if needed to took the fun out of running. But thats just my opinion. And in Dec 2005 I had my 2nd child. So now having a newborn, a toddler and working I said bye bye to running for a few years. We’ll meet again someday!
Fast forward and I discovered the world of Facebook. I connected with a girl, Linda Kuhn that I graduated with from high school. We went to St. John the Baptist in West Islip. Yes, I was a Catholic school girl with my plaid skirt! Funny thing is that I knew who she was in high school but we hung out in diff. crowds. She was also into running so we decided to meet up and run together. i thought, ooh, a running partner! At this point I had never done any kind of road races and she had so she talked me into doing a 5K. A what? A 5K? What’s that? What’s with the letter K, can’t they just say how far that is? I remember being sooo nervous to do one but thought, what the hell, let me give it a try. And so at the age of 40 in Oct. 09 I did my very first 5K in Setauket, can’t remember the name of the race but we started at Gelinas Jr. High School. I can’t remember my time but I think it was around 32 minutes and change. I’ll never forget how it poured rain that morning and me thinking oh my God, how am I gonna get through this?! My husband and kids we’re gonna go see me race but it was a cold, rainy day out there and my kids were young so he stayed home with them. My sister Brenda who is my rock and was pregnant with her first child came out in the pouring rain with her big belly to watch me do my first race. I remember taking off and although it wasn’t ideal running conditions thinking wow, this is so cool! Well, I was hooked and went on to do more 5K’s. Then my friend Linda said ok time to step it up to a 10K and she told me about a 10K race called Cow Harbor that she had run. Never heard of it, of course I was intimidated, had no idea what it entailed but I registered for it. And i still remember hitting that key on my computer to seal the deal for the registration and thinking oh my God, I’m really doing this! So I did my first Cow Harbor in 2012 in 1:01:31. It was very challenging but that feeling of wow I did it was such a rush. I remember hearing about this James St. and how hilly it was and I do remember struggling to get through that stretch, huffing and puffing away. Well little did I know what was later to come in the town of Selden! So of course after completing a 10K, Linda talked me into the Kings Park 15K and ultimately the Diva Half Marathon which I’ve ran twice.
So moving along I connect with another fellow high school graduate and hillbilly Noah Lam and along with Linda and a few others we graduated with we start doing races together and even get a group of us to do Warrior Dash in upstate Windham, NY in July 2013. We had a blast, stayed together for the course and laughed and reminisced about our days at SJB.
So one day I mention to Noah that I’d like to incorporate hills into my running as I live in PJS and my surrounding neighborhoods are flat. Noah tells me about a group that meet in Selden on Sunday mornings at 8am and that they run a hilly 10K course. Meanwhile I live a town away from Selden and had never heard of this course or group. I do remember driving up the 7 sisters of Adirondack not realizing that was part of the 10K course. So I say to myself why not, let me give it a try. And on 8/10/2014 I show up to the parking lot in front of the old Selden Thrift Store, not knowing anyone there, introduce myself, say I’m new here and run my first of many 10K’s on our beloved hills! I was hooked! I believe I ran it around 1:05. For the life of me I can’t recall who I ran with but I do remember meeting Lou that day and everyone was so friendly and welcoming. I told myself Nancy you’ve found your running group!
THEN Rizzo comes into my life! Yup, those 6 degrees of seperation came into play. One of my dearest friends is dating Rizzo’s brother Bobby. Now I had met Bobby before Rizzo and he always mentioned to me that his sister Michele runs and that we should run together. I say sure I’d love that. So Rizzo and i are introduced at my girlfriend’s summer party. I have to be honest here and Rizzo and I laugh about this now but she snubbed me when I started talking about racing. Oh that Rizzo! But that’s ok, I didn’t take it personally. So I get her number, text her one day and ask her to join me for a Sunday morning run with the hillbillies. So she meets me there on 10/12/2014 and gets inducted herself into the secret society as she called it. Then about a month or so later Mike Oliveri came into my life through Rizzo and the 3 of us become a trio meeting a few mornings a week to run the hills and Greenway Trail. And on 2/11/2015 the 3 of us take the plunge and do the Slaughterhouse together for the first time! I love them both and because of them I was able to get those hills done in under one hour! Now Rizzo has this insane thought to get me to 55 mins. Yeah, that’s pretty comical! LOL! I love being a part of this group. I’ve made so many great friends here and have gotten so much inspiration through this group. And never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I’d be waking up at 4am on Wed’s to run at 5am! I love those vampire runs! This was my first year doing Ocean to Sound and I had such a blast with my She Devils. It was such a fun day full of silliness and tom foolery, can’t wait to do it again next year. I am so proud to wear my red Selden Warrior shirt. We truly are a family and look forward to many more runs and shenanigans with you all! Looking forward to that sea of red tomorrow at Rob’s Run! Thanks guys!