Follow This Mother!

What better way to celebrate the new year than with a tutu and your BRF? Nancy and her BRF, Jill.

Nancy Capen, a 32-year-old mom of one in Cotuit, Mass., caught my eye on Twitter because of her handle, @lilFancyNancy. Call me silly, but I’ve loved the Fancy Nancy series of children’s books since a neighbor gave the first one to our older daughter. This real-life Nancy gives off the same sort of spirited attitude, summed up by the name of her blog, Living the Dream.

Nancy and her daughter before the New Bedford Half-Marathon.

Best recent run: A few weeks ago, I left the house for a long run with a lot on my mind (the never-ending struggle to potty train; my daughter's 3rd birthday looming; the pressure of wanting to be a stay-at-home mom but needing to work; self doubt about running; you know the drill). For my first mile, it was all weighing me down. I finally stopped and decided that I would tackle a problem each mile: how I felt about it and what I was going to do about it, then let it go. The stress melted away as each mile ticked by, along the beach and winding through neighborhoods. By the time I arrived at my house 12 miles later, I felt like I’d left behind each thing that had weighed me down; I felt as free as a bird.

Focused on fuel: Throughout my life, I have struggled with my relationship with food. In my teens and 20s, I was scared of food and denied myself as much as possible. After having my daughter in December 2008, I committed to having a healthy relationship with food. My focus this year is to be healthy and fueled, meaning I am paying attention to replenishing carbs and protein after a run and taking in enough before I go for a run. Like instead of just grabbing cereal before I dash out the door, I make a “green monster smoothie” with spinach and flax seeds.

Back in action: After having my daughter, I was eager to get back into shape--probably a little too eager. I hired a trainer and started training for a half-marathon just 12 weeks after my C-section delivery. One day, while working out with my trainer, my back seized to the point where I had to be taken away by ambulance. It was tough, and I had to spend four days in bed not picking up my daughter. Then I had to slowly get back into exercise. I mended and ran the half nine months post-partum, but now I’m super-mindful of my lower back and its need for rest.

Nancy plus hubby: "my biggest fan braved a NorEaster to watch me!"

Finding my way: Last year we moved from north of Boston down to Cape Cod and finding running routes was right up there with finding the right daycare! I had one route that began at my in-law’s house, but I was in search of one that left from my front door. I started by driving to our local park 2.5 miles away. Em and I would run there each afternoon and take a break to swing and slide. For my long runs, I strapped on the Garmin 110 and put on my Dora the Explorer hat. I just kept going, turning down roads to see where they would lead. It was a great way to learn a new town.

Virtual races, real running: I am all about virtual races—I did 15 to 20 of them last year. I love pushing myself, competing against people all over the world. I also love supporting other bloggers and their passions. Final bonus: They’re free!

All in the fam: Nancy and her sister before her sister's first 5K.

Fancy Nancy? I am all about skirts when I run: Flattering and girly, they are like an answer to my prayers. When I race, I try to look my very best to match my hat/band, skirt, and shirt/tank. If I feel together, I find I run faster. Oh, yeah, and I have also been known to break out the tutu from time to time if I’m feeling particularly festive!

Top 5 shake-it songs: Five songs that currently have me shaking my rumpshaker: “Don’t Stop the Party” by The Black Eyed Peas; “Shake Senora” by Pitbull; “Party on Fifth Ave.” by Mac Miller; “Here We Go Again” by Joey McIntyre; “Sexy and I Know It” by LMFAO

Follow this mother at: and on Twitter.

16 responses to “Follow This Mother!

  1. Love your profile, Nancy, and your honesty. I could never be so devoted to good nutrition as to eat a spinach/flax seeds smoothie.

  2. Interesting mama! I love reading about Cape Cod mother runners (my parents have a house there, so it’s very close to my heart.)

  3. Hey Nancy! This took me back to running when my daughter was very young and I was working 50-hour weeks as a single mother. Hang in there! Your dedication and love for running will pay huge dividends as the years tick by. Great attitude and outlook!

  4. Dear Fancy Nancy!!!

    I can recall the very day that the ambulance pulled you out of the parking lot and towards the ER . I watched them strap you into the gurney and take you down the stairs as I loaded Emma into her car seat waiting for your husband. It broke my heart!! I also recall the determination you had to make the necessary changes to become a better athlete. I have been honored to work with you during your pregnancy and post pregnancy….. BUT the most impressive is to see what you have done for yourself! I am so proud of you! You are an inspiration to all mom’s out there!! Continue your journey with that gorgeous smiile! I miss and love you!

  5. Cotuit! My in-laws live there! (Well, now just in the summer…) It’s very cool to be able to picture exactly where you might have been running on that 12-miler. Can’t wait to hear more about your adventures in your blog. Maybe I’ll “run” into you this summer when I am down visiting…? I did the Johnny Kelley 1/2 last year over Memorial Day but I’ll be just about 6 weeks postpartum for that race this year, so probably a no-go. : )

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