Friday, June 1, 2018


“As an athlete I’ve found aside from hard work, the greatest tools for success are optimism and gratitude."
~ Deena Kastor

She's an Olympian.  She's an American record holder in multiple distances.  She's a coach.  She's an author.  She's a wife.  She's a mom.  There is really not much this woman can't or doesn't do.  Particularly when she puts her mind to it; a skill that she has seemed to master over the years.  Today I am thrilled to introduce you to the amazing Deena Kastor.  In 2004, Deena won an Olympic Bronze Medal in the marathon in Athens, Greece, a feat that no American woman had been able to accomplish in this event for 20 years before her.  I happened to be 29 at the time and just starting to think about getting into marathoning.  So this little bit of running news completely blew my mind.  I have followed her closely since then as she has continued to win races and shatter records along the way.  Her accomplishments put her in a category of her own but she has worked insanely hard to become an athlete at this level, both mentally and physically and her story is what makes her so inspiring and, believe it or not, relatable.  

Personal Bests
3000 m: 8:42.59
5000 m: 14:51.62
10000 m: 30:50.32
Half Marathon: 1:07:34 National Record
Marathon: 2:19:36 National Record
Half Marathon:1:09.39 Masters World Record
Marathon: 2:27.47 US Women's Masters marathon record

Back in February, I was out in Seattle and a friend mentioned that Deena had just written a memoir, Let Your Mind Run, which not only told her story but that really focused in on the mental element of training and racing.  She happened to have a copy which I flipped through (borderline devoured) after which I excitedly pre-ordered my own copy as the book would not be coming out for the rest of us until April.  When it finally arrived, I finished it in two days.  For me as a runner, coach, even as a Mom, it is a total game changer.  When she was just getting started as a pro, her coach focused on keeping things positive, always staying optimistic and most importantly being grateful for all the she had and all that she could do.  She has carried this mindset with her for her entire life and continues to do so today.  In my humble opinion, everyone should read this book.  It applies to all of us in how we approach what we do, regardless of what 'that' is.  Immediately after I finished the book, I reached out to Deena directly, first to thank her for the positive impact her story has made on my life and then, knowing she was passionate about both running and music, to see if she'd let me profile here in the RWR series, which she graciously agreed to.  So, here she is folks.  Meet Deena Kastor, a runner who rocks.


Name: Deena Kastor
Where you're from: Agoura Hills, California
Where you reside now: Mammoth Lakes, California
Age: 45
Occupation: Athlete—Olympic medalist and American record holder in the Marathon

What do you love most about running? 
I love running for the freedom of exploration, the sense of community and the thrill of challenging my limits. My favorite trail is the one I haven’t explored yet.
What do you love most about music?
I love music for how it can both connect us to an emotion or task, but that it also has the ability to distract or transcend us.

Deena & her crew
*Photo credit:ASICS

Band (current, all time or both): U2. I love how they have recreated themselves over the years and that they connect to political movements of the time they are performing. I have listened to them in High School and then twenty years later saw them in concert and still resonated with the old music as well as the new.
Album (current, all time or both): Madonna's Ray of Light. Every song in this album moves me greatly. From spiritual songs to house music, its all here on one album.
Race venue: Stockholm Stadium, for its history and good vibes—oh yeah, and that all my personal bests have happened there each summer.
Music venue: Aloha Stadium or my living room. I saw the final performance of the U2 world tour here. In that night, Bono invited fans on stage which gave it such an intimate feel. We were treated to performances by Pearl Jam and Billie Joe of Green Day. When we were walking back to our hotel at 3am, runners of the Honolulu marathon were up having breakfast and making their way to the start line. It was the meeting of my two passions—music and running.
Race distance: Half Marathon - its half the marathon distance, all the fun, and none of the soreness.
Show you've seen live: Madonna at the Staples Center in LA in 2001.
Ice cream flavor: I’m a new fan of Talenti Coconut Almond Chocolate, but have been a decade’s long fan of Ben and Jerry’s Coffee Coffee Buzz Buzz Buzz.

Sweet or salty? Salty. It replaces the minerals in all the sweat I’ve lost while working out. I‘d rather have an extra slice of pizza than dessert...but I’ll hear the dessert menu first!
Live or recorded? Live, hands down! Recorded music is convenient, but live is an intimate experience.
Coffee or tea? Coffee—black and chewable, preferably a French Press as opposed to the trendy pour over.
Summer or winter? Rain, snow or shine, I can still do all the things I love!

Which band or artist would you go see tonight if you could? U2 or Bjork
Which band or artist would you like to have dinner with tonight if you could? Ella Fitzgerald
Which band or artist would you like to be playing alongside you during your next race (or long run)? Madonna. And I’d like to play alongside her on stage!

Madonna, Ray of Light

Today, I feel like….(fill in the blank):
The entire universe is in a conspiracy to see me happy!

Photo credit: Andrew Kastor

Top 5 Songs for running, dancing or both: 
The Night Out by Martin Solveig 
Something New by Robin Shultz 
Light it Up by Major Laser
Cheerleader by OMI
One Kiss by Calvin Harris

Last 5 Songs you listened to today:
Nevermind by Dennis Lloyd 
Love Lies by Khalid 
Spotlight by Deflo 
Looking Too Closely by Fink 
Stolen Dance by Milky Chance

Listen to this:
The Night Out - Martin Solveig

1 comment:

  1. I LOVED this book so much. It wasn't just a floofy memoir or just a training book but a perfect blend of the two. I got so much useful knowledge for my training out of this book. I agree - a must read!