Tag: deena kastor
My first race back was great. Not great in the sense that I am satisfied with my performance, but great because I felt strong and eager to come home and ramp up my training. The NY Mini 10K celebrated its 40th anniversary this year and along with that, celebrated the life of Grete Waitz. Grete was a huge inspiration to me and a pioneer in women’s running. Much of her success happened in Central Park, as she won the Mini many times and the NYC Marathon 9 times! What a feat!
With all this accomplishment, the most noteworthy of her successes came from starting youth running programs with the New York Road Runners. Because of Grete, the youth programs of the NYRR have helped over 100,000 inner-city school children to choose running. And we all know that if you run, you are pretty much choosing a life of success because of it. Grete wanted to share the sport she was so passionate about because she knew that the simple act of putting one foot in front of the other had a positive impact on every nook and cranny of our lives. Running makes you better at everything you set out to do. What an amazing sport we have all chosen. To help honor Grete, we should get out and recruit people to share in this wonderful journey.
With my first race behind me, I mostly look forward to training in Mammoth Lakes this summer. Once I am more fit, I look forward to running a Rock n Roll half event somewhere in the US. Maybe San Jose, Virginia Beach or Philadelphia. Hope to see you there!
It’s a joke that every time I sit down to write a weekly blog it is snowing outside. Check out the date and we are still getting snow! It may seem trivial to talk about the weather, but this is really notable. We are talking breaking records! In December Mammoth had the most snow of any ski resort in the world. It’s been snowing ever since. And as we pack for our first family trip to New York for the Mini 10K we are reaching far back in the closet for summer clothing. Far past the thick tights and storm-shelter jackets I just know there is a pair of running shorts and a matching tank top. It’s difficult to pack for a trip when the weather is 50 degrees warmer than where you begin the journey. Nevertheless, we are excited to get to New York and share this other world with Piper. We just know she will love the lights, noise and pulse of the city. We even hope the added stimulation has her sleeping more when the sun goes down! Wishful thinking, maybe.
Well, my racing uniform fits (thankfully) and my racing shoes are packed already. My fitness could use an extension, but I’m so excited to race. The elite field will have almost 50 women toeing the starting line. I may not win, but I’ll be the happiest one out there! Back at it after all these months. Here comes my first race of a long and anticipated season of racing. I look forward to sharing it with you in person or in my next week’s blog.
Mammoth is the training grounds for a lot of elite distance runners. For some of us it is “home” and others come here to incorporate an altitude training stint during their season. It was a particularly fun week to have Desiree Davila visiting. After her stellar 2nd-place finish in the Boston Marathon this April, she took some downtime and is visiting my Mammoth Track Club teammate Amy Hastings, who finished an amazing 2nd place in her marathon debut at the LA Marathon this March. Amy, Desiree and I enjoyed some runs together. I felt as though I was chasing them down the dirt roads and hoping their recent marathon mojo would rub off on me.
One of our non-running highlights was taking a gondola ride to the top of Mammoth Mountain and watching my husband Andrew and Desiree’s boyfriend Ryan ski. The five of us enjoyed lunch on the sunny deck at the base of the slopes. It’s been a great year for skiing as we have had over 600 inches of snow. Whereas so many people are enjoying the early sprouts from their gardens, we still have 15 feet of snow in our front yard.
I am typing this on Sunday evening and I’m tired. It has been a great week of training, not only because I had good company on my runs, but because I included some higher quality workouts to my weekly mileage. The inclusion of 200s, a short tempo run and a long run with pick-ups has me wrapping up the week with a combined sense of elation and exhaustion. I am overjoyed with the fatigue from training and to have seen such great progress in my running. Whereas a lot of progress is gradual, this week proved a good-sized leap forward.
This week marked one of great adventure. I needed to be in Pasadena, California to help announce a new Rock ‘n’ Roll Pasadena Half Marathon, but didn’t want to make a three-day trip to Southern California with Piper. My only other option was to charter a Cessna plane and pilot to take me to Pasadena for the day. I left Andrew and Piper at home in the early morning and flew only 2,000 feet above the ground as the Sierra Nevada peaks towered over me to the right. Mount Whitney was still snow capped as we flew under her.
It was a typical day in Pasadena as we were greeted with 95 degrees. The town was so charming; no wonder the Rock ‘n’ Roll series is adding this to their list of great cities to host a running event. Colorado Blvd was lined with new shops and restaurants, and I’m told the street is on the Rose Parade route. After a sushi lunch, I met runners at A Snail’s Pace running store and we went for a run around the Rose Bowl. It was a happening place. The three-mile loop was packed with dog walkers, moms with strollers, cyclists, runners and one man on horseback (odd).
After the run we sat around and chatted about training, racing and parenting. I’m new at this parenting thing, but still was anxious to get home to Piper. This was the first day I spent without her. At dusk, my pilot Jeff and I headed back up Owens Valley to home. I walked in the door at 10 pm and had been gone for 15 hours. It had been a busy day for me, but Andrew looked exhausted having had Piper all day. We all slept well that night.
Sunday was my first Mother’s Day. After a great long run on the hills around Owen’s River Road I headed back home to a delicious breakfast that Andrew made. He bought me a gliding bench for our back deck. It has large arms to host whatever I’m drinking at the time I’m enjoying this space under the pine trees. The plaque on it reads “Happy First Mother’s Day! Love, Andrew & Piper”. I can’t wait to lightly rock on this bench while enjoying my morning coffee. I look forward to swinging mid-day while drinking a post-run smoothie. And lastly, I anticipate sharing a glass of wine with Andrew here at the end of the day.
This wish list will have to wait, because as I type this it is snowing! Unbelievable! So, instead of gently rocking on my new bench, we are inside sitting on the couch watching the snow fall while the fireplace warms the house. Today is a far cry from the warmth that embraced me in Pasadena. I look forward to returning there next February to run the half marathon and for another break in the cold weather.
Its Boston Marathon Monday and anyone who watched the races unfold there were inspired by what they saw. Desiree Davila came so close to breaking the tape, while offering every American a bit of hope. She showed us that American distance running is alive and kicking. On television, you could hear the crowds on the sides of the streets chanting U-S-A as she passed by. I was emotional watching such a worthy distance runner come so close to taking the Boston crown, but Desiree maintained composure the entire way. Beautiful.
On the men’s side, Mutai smashed the Boston course record and bettered the World record (though Boston isn’t a certified course due to the net downhill). It was the single most impressive marathon victory I have ever witnessed, which topped my previous favorite which was last year’s Boston win. Okay, Paula Radcliff’s world record is a tough one to top! Also within this amazing men’s race was Ryan Hall who defied critics and ran the race of his life. Although we miss our teammate that left mammoth Lakes to train on his own, I could not be happier for him that he pursued his dream and conquered it on the streets of Boston. He didn’t win the race (though his time would have in other years) his time of 2:04.57 will be talked about for years to come.
So, I got out for my run a little late today and was carrying with me the inspiration I got from the performances on the other side of the country. It is no wonder that I had a great run. It was one of those runs that went by so quickly because my mind was busy dreaming of a “comeback”. It was a run that had me “seeing” myself at the races and fighting for the finishing tape. It isn’t really the win that makes the races sweet, but the chase that thrills me. As I continue with this marathon buzz, Andrew is skiing fresh powder on the mountain. The new snowfall doesn’t faze me because my mind is already a season ahead. Many miles ahead.
Last week, I dusted off my GARMIN and got my running shoes dirty. I even found myself relying on my MP3 player to get me jamming on a windy day. And on Sunday I was elated to meet my teammates for practice while Andrew watched Piper. We are settling into a routine as we balance our new roles as parents with our careers. We are having a blast as we figure this all out. I’m sure just as we think we have it down, Piper’s schedule will change. I am not complaining about the changes because one of those changes allowed us to sleep for four straight hours last night. Yes!
I look forward to building up my mileage this summer and racing again come late summer and fall. While I’m chasing my fitness at home in Mammoth Lakes, I will also be hosting running camps. So, pack your bags and come to Mammoth this summer. All the proceeds of the camps directly fund the Mammoth Track Project. Our local, non-profit running club High Sierra Striders is in the final stages of breaking ground on this beautiful facility. These camps are available for youth, high school and college runners as well as an adult Marathon camp. The youth, high school and college camps will be held at our beautiful Cerro Coso Community college apartments and will be packed with running adventures. The adult running camp is sure to be a first-class experience as guests of this camp stay at the renowned Westin Monache here in Mammoth Lakes. Highlights of all the camps include runs to the top of Mammoth Mountain and Rainbow Falls as well as “Dinner with Olympians”. Find out more and register at www.mammothrunningcamps.com . It will be a summer to remember and I look forward to sharing it with you!
Andrew and I managed to get out on our first date! We forwent the dinner-date and opted to connect over a run outside before Mother Nature decided to open up her bowels and dump (my husband added this colored commentary) nine feet of snow. This storm made for the snowiest winter in Mammoth history, 600 inches and counting! Grandma Kastor held baby Piper and sang her nursery rhymes as we set out on the “Kastor 20 minute loop” around town. I was relieved that our 20 minute loop only took 19 minutes because, I was expecting 25 plus! We even got to add on in our neighborhood which seemed foreign to me.
The only two things I was denied during pregnancy was my passion for running and my love of wine. Running or walking gave me horrible side stitches and wine tasted like rancid grapes. Now, I feel smooth and lighter than ever on my feet, and I didn’t have to “re-train” my pallete for wine. As I type this, I seem to have gathered some resemblance of my old routine, drinking a nice glass of The Maven by Torrin Winery of Paso Robles after playing with an interval session of 1 minute “on” one minute “off” earlier today.
It is great to run again, but I really look forward to “training” which requires a whole new level of commitment. We are finding our routine with Piper so that this week ahead looks a little more structured. I plan on logging miles again for the first time in over 6 months! This last month I have merely logged feedings and dirty diapers, so mileage is a welcomed addition.
Since running has come back so easily, I look forward to racing in the late summer and early fall. The Carlsbad 5000 is next weekend and I secretly wish I was ready to race there. It is one of my favorite road races on the running circuit. This year marks the 11 year anniversary of my American Record and the 9 year anniversary of my World Record in Carlsbad. I hope to be fit and fast to join the starting line next year. All the best to those who will be running there.
I ran! It felt so uplifting to open up my stride and move forward again. As I laced up my shoes in our mudroom, I gave myself a silent pep-talk not to expect too much out of this expedition. After all, I haven’t run in months. Imagine my surprise that instead of a clumsy, awkward stumble I was rewarded with a gliding and effortless three-mile stroll. Invigorating! I felt light and liberated during the run as I reflected on how lucky I am to have a beautiful and healthy three-week-old daughter. I thought of how grateful I am to have such a loving and supportive husband. And I laughed with joy at being able to run again. In 3 miles I was granted the gift running so often gives us: Everything has a silver lining.
I returned home and with the baby still quiet, I even had the added bonus of being able to sneak in a shower. Under the stream of water, my mind began to flood with running and racing goals. “Welcome back” I said aloud. Even though I didn’t gain weight during pregnancy, I have a long climb back to fitness. I look forward to chasing fitness and inching closer to the lofty goals stirring around inside me.
Day by day, mile by mile, I hope to inspire our daughter Piper to be a dream chaser herself. She has a lifetime of choices ahead of her and I hope we can support all she pursues. I always honor the fact that I found my niche in running at such a young age of 11. For 27 years I have enjoyed the mileage, the travel and visiting with those who share this running passion. After more than three months of not being able to run, I couldn’t have asked for a more rewarding return to the sport I love so much. Now, if only we could sleep through the night!
Teammate and friend Josh Cox and his wife, Carrie, just welcomed their little boy Asher Legend into the world! Asher and our two-week-old Piper will see their fair share of scenery as our significant others drive next to us during our long runs. Carrie and Andrew will give the kids a driving tour through the dirt roads and trails surrounding Mammoth Lakes. Carrie will undoubtedly be playing some U2 from the car for Josh while Andrew gives me some inspiration through Techno music. Our kids will also be well-traveled as they come to our races and meet the great community of runners we are a part of.
Piper loves to walk. Actually, she loves to cry but is soothed by walking. During my pregnancy, she seemed to revolt against any type of activity, but she now loves the rhythm of walking and the hum of the treadmill. March is too cold to take her outside, so the treadmill has acted as her “pacifier”.
It seems so clear to me that going for a walk or run is a great way to pacify any of us. In fact, the 45 minutes I walked was more time than I slept last night, and it is amazing how that walk recharged me. There are so many problems that get solved by simply putting on your running shoes and logging a few miles. As I settle for walking right now, I can’t wait to open up my stride and head out for a run. It’s been a while! In fact, while I was walking on the treadmill today, it was everything in my power not to turn the speed up and start running with Piper in my arms. The anticipation to run is equally exciting as when I finally get out the door for what will be the first time in months. I have a brand new pair of ASICS gel-Stratus waiting by the door for the much anticipated day. I hope to write about it soon…
Experienced moms have told me to take advantage of the baby sleeping and get some rest myself. I am choosing to blog instead because of the gratitude I feel for the support so many running fans have offered during my pregnancy and the congratulations that followed her birth. Andrew’s and my first child was born last week. My typical days of 12 hours sleep are long gone, but I have this new surge of hormones to keep me on cloud nine, at least for the time being. Piper has all her dad’s features with the exception of having acquired my large, protruding rib cage. I’m not saying she’ll be a distance runner, because she may be may be a flutist, a balloon-blowing circus clown or anything else requiring a large lung capacity.
I am itching to run again once we get this parenting thing down. I assume in a couple weeks we will have found a flow, and I look forward to blogging about my first run back after this long hiatus. After giving birth, no hill will be too steep, no interval too taxing and no long run too enduring. I was told repeatedly throughout my pregnancy that giving birth was like running a marathon. To that, I say certainly not. Giving birth was more painful from the very start as opposed to merely hurting in the final 10K, it lasted longer than 2 hours 19 minutes, and the scenery never changed as time ticked by. The only thing similar was that I hung some inspiration on the bulletin board in our hospital suite just like I do when in my hotel room when I’m racing. I had the “I LOVE YOU” note Andrew and I have been passing back and forth for the past 10 years. It is always present when we are going through a landmark moment. The other poster on the wall was the ASICS acronym, Anima Sana In Corpora Sano, or a sound mind in a sound body. These qualities are necessary to succeed in anything we set out to accomplish. In running, I reflect on these words often, but the foundation of the company is appropriate in so many of life’s endeavors.
So, it’s been quite a week and I relied on a lot of tools that have made me a successful athlete, but delivering a baby is no marathon. Delivering a baby is the hardest thing I have ever done, but our most difficult tasks are the most rewarding. I look forward to seeing you at the races with our baby girl in tow. We are grateful to raise her in such a supportive running community, full of positive role models.