Saturday Spotlight- Nancy Yost

Name: Nancy Yost

Married with two kids, Ryan 13 and Maggie 11
High School Math teacher in West Islip

Here goes…..

Good morning, Warriors and Happy Christmas Eve!!! I should thank Lou LaFleur for choosing me for this prestigious honor but at the same time I am cursing him and myself for it being this week…there’s presents to be wrapped, food to be made, etc…and here I am composing the story of my running life!

As I was thinking of what to write, I can sum it up pretty quickly (but of course I will give you more detail!)…I’m a girl who runs. Nothing spectacular here, I joked with a friend that I need to lose a limb or get hit by a bus or mauled by a bear to spice up my story and make it inspirational like so many other stories have been. But I guess slow and steady (pun intended) works too!
I grew up in West Islip, awesome parents, 2 great brothers, Irish catholic, 12 years of catholic school, church every Sunday no matter what, you did all your homework and whatever else you were told or God only knows what would happen. I wouldn’t know what happens because I was too scared to test that! So I was a good kid, pretty nerdy, who played soccer. I don’t remember how old I was when I started playing soccer, maybe 3rd grade or so. I was ok, loved it so worked hard. When it was time for high school, I went to St. Anthony’s and tried out for their soccer team. I don’t think I truly knew what I was getting myself into but by some miracle I made the team. They were good…really good! Playing on that team was probably one of the best experiences of my life. In my mind, that’s what defined me…I was a St. Anthony’s soccer player. I was never one of the best and worked really hard to keep my spot on the team. On the off season I started to run track just to stay in shape. I didn’t love it, it was fun, I was with my friends (including some guy on the boys team who turned out to be my husband), but I was always one of those kids trying to convince the coach to scale down our track workout or finding a way to pretend I ran 5 miles when I only did 3! I did ok, never the worst, never the best (which continues to be true in my running career)!
After high school I went to SUNY Geneseo (best 4 years of my life!!!!). I was a math major and also getting certified to teach high school. I was devastated when I didn’t make the soccer team. My roommate and best friend Amy suggested we try club lacrosse. (girls from long island didn’t play lacrosse way back in the 1990’s) So the girls from Syracuse taught us how to play. We were self-coached, arranged games with other colleges and had a REALLY good time!!! It helped me stay in shape, along with some runs here and there with Amy.

After graduating from Geneseo I moved back home, got a teaching job (best job ever!!!), and that’s when the race circuit began! My dad had started running while I was in high school and so we would sign up for races all over long island. I remember feeling so accomplished the first time we did the Aspire race, probably in 1995 or 1996. I couldn’t believe we did a 10K! Soon we moved on to the Long Island half marathon and then who knows why, we signed up for NYC Marathon! It was so different then, my dad was retired NYPD so we both joined the NYPD running club and had guaranteed entry! We trained together, but looking back now we had no clue what we were doing! No GPS watches, no map my run…we would just go out for a really long time and guess how far we ran. No nutrition, dri-fit, crappy sneakers…well who cared! Our first marathon was the 1997 NYC marathon which is a story for another day. We must have liked it because we did it again in 1998, I was injured in 1999 but my dad still did NYC again, we did Dublin, Ireland in 2000 (my brother joined us that year) and NYC again in 2001. We did them all in about 5 hours – finished in one piece and kept coming back for more. I don’t know how many people can say they ran 4 marathons with their dad but I think it’s pretty special! I would love to be able to do that with my kids some day!!

After the 2001 marathon, there was a long marathon hiatus in my life. My high school track buddy and I got married in August of 2001 and we had Ryan in August 2003 and Maggie in December 2005. I ran through both pregnancies and after I had them all I wanted to know is when can I run again! I took 2 years off from work after I had Maggie and when I went back I started running in the morning before work. (This is now 2007). I think I might have been the only one in the world running at 5am. I would almost try to hide it from people and if they found out they would say I was crazy! Fast forward to today when any given morning I can find endless people to run and starting at 5am makes me look like a slacker! So I continued to do my thing, then I decided I wanted to do NYC one more time. My dad told me I was crazy and on my own so I went at it solo. I got in for the last year of the 3 time loser program….rejected from the lottery 3 times and next time you’re in. So I was in for the 2013 race! It was amazing as always, not fast, but my best at 4:40. I was brave and took the Runner’s Edge bus with no friends (but of course made some). My cousin who runs for FDNY saved my freezing butt before the race and got me into the NYPD/FDNY tent before (the best deal around in case anyone’s wondering!) I swore I was retiring form marathons after that not because of anything bad, just the training took up too much time. So far I have remained in marathon retirement but now being surrounded by so many runners I might dive in again.
So how did I become a SHW? My house backs up to Bayport high school and for a while I would see these people on the track doing workouts on Thursday evenings. Stalker disclaimer…I would stand at my window and time your laps and see if maybe I could run with you! But I didn’t know who you were. One day in my stalking I spotted my neighbor Dawn Testa out there. So the next time I saw her, I asked about it, she told me to come to a workout and I did. I felt like a middle school kid trying to join a party…what if they don’t like me, what if I’m too slow…my husband was practically pushing me out the door….just go, you’ll be fine…and of course it was. So then Dawn started taking about coming to the hills. I really never had any intention of going except that if I didn’t go I couldn’t be on the facebook page and couldn’t get the track workouts from Lou before. Since I’m a planner (math teacher likes everything lined up) I finally gave in and went…on a 97 degree Wednesday afternoon. We met Nichole Ryann Ellis there and the rest is history….I have been so inspired, so motivated, and impressed with everyone. I love the realness of people – sometimes things stink and we run through it, sometimes we have great moments and we share with our friends. We are all in this journey together and the more support, love and running there is, the better!

Running is such a huge part of my life, besides my family it’s probably the first thing I tell someone about myself and the marathons I have completed are probably my biggest accomplishments (of course after the family!) I think it’s not so much the running, although a quiet solo run can do wonders for the soul, it’s the time spent with friends. Everyone knows what happens on a run stays on a run and there is no better therapy. There have been emergency texts to my running girls…we need a run – STAT! and we do it and I always feel better after. There is nothing better than walking into school before 7am to start my day and not only do I have the feeling of accomplishment that I ran that morning but I have spent time with wonderful, positive, caring people. There is no better way to start your day! Just yesterday Anne Marie Diventi Dunn and I banged out 8 miles before a crazy last day of school before Christmas break and we felt like rock stars!
Well that’s all for now…Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Festivus, or whatever else you may be celebrating!

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