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World-Class All Around: Exclusive Interview With Deena Kastor

  • By Mario Fraioli
  • Published Sep. 30, 2011
  • Updated Oct. 30, 2011 at 4:46 PM UTC

Heading into San Jose this weekend, do you have a time goal in mind or some other goal you’d like to achieve in the race?

Terrence (Mahon), my coach, and I are driving out there so I’m sure more of a structured race plan will be the conversation on the five-and-a-half hour drive to San Jose.  But whenever I get out there I just give it an honest effort and I’m hoping that it’s somewhere in the 1:11 to 1:12 range and the flexibility of that time will depend on weather and the course and whether I can stay mentally engaged in that time.

Kastor capturing bronze in Athens in 2004. Photo: PhotoRun.net

Now you had mentioned your first workout of the day is your primary workout. Are you running mostly by yourself or have you been able to get in workouts with some of the other women or men in the group (Kastor is a member of the Mammoth Track Club) during this buildup?

This summer I actually was training mostly by myself and that proved a little difficult. We had so many of our teammates that made the world championships team that went over to Daegu I found that for the first three, almost four months this summer that I was training by myself and I got to this certain fitness level and really couldn’t push past that. In the past few weeks just having my teammates back I can tell it’s just really elevated me and my training so I definitely need people around. I’m a team player and I like to be surrounded by my teammates and feel that we have a great synergy in working together, so it’s definitely good to have them back. I’ve noticed a huge difference in my training since they’ve arrived.

Your (training) group, which has some newer women such as Amy Hastings, who had a great marathon debut earlier this year in LA. Is there a different kind of energy in the air as you build up to the trials in January, as opposed to last time around when you were mostly flying solo?

Yeah, I think all of my teammates have had a great year. Terrence has done a great job of getting the right teammates together so that we work extremely well together. I feel very grateful that we have a great leader in him and I think everybody–now that the world championships are behind us–is excited to move forward and get the Olympic year underway and progress off where they found themselves this year. We do have a great energy in the group but it’s a great testament to our coach and getting the right teammates together to work together to reach our goals. We have anywhere from 800-meter runners up to the marathon and it’s amazing that we can work so well together by just tweaking our workouts a little bit. But it seems everybody is working together on a daily basis and it’s pretty exciting to see that work out so well.

Heading into the Trials in January, a lot of things have changed in American distance running since (the last Olympic Trials Marathon in) Boston in 2004. Talk about the depth on the women’s side of American distance running right now and how much tougher it’s going to be to get one of those three spots in Houston in January.

The marathon is definitely the event next year on both the men’s and women’s sides. The depth is extraordinary. And to me, I feel that it couldn’t be more exciting to be part of American distance running right now because of that depth that we see in the marathon. I’m ecstatic to be a part of it. It’s been a huge motivation for me coming back from this pregnancy to be ready for these trials and we’ve been cautious and calculated and even held back a little bit, been very conservative in my buildup right after having Piper. For me, I don’t feel there’s any room for error here. We really have to have a perfect buildup. There’s no time for injury. There’s no time for fatigue. There’s only time to build and get stronger. As far along as we are right now I feel that we’ve done a perfect job getting back to where I want to be and now, only a few months out, it’s very exciting to me that I could be making my fourth Olympic team.

What would it mean for you to make that fourth Olympic team and go after another medal in London next summer?

That’s my sole motivation right now and I feel very grateful that I have a family that supports me 100% and a new fan in Piper and just such a great team to work with. It’s definitely going to be a tough team to make but it’s pretty exciting to me  that as an American we could really choose 6, 7 or 8 women and all of them will surely represent the U.S. well. We just don’t know who those top-3 women are going to be right now but it’s exciting that there’s that kind of depth we’re bringing to the world stage finally.

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Mario Fraioli

Mario Fraioli

Mario Fraioli is a senior editor at Competitor magazine. A cross-country All-American at Stonehill College in 2003, he now coaches the Prado Women's Racing Team in San Diego and was the men's marathon coach for Costa Rica's 2012 Olympic team. His first book, The Official Rock 'n' Roll Guide To Marathon & Half-Marathon Training (VeloPress, 2013) is available in bookstores, running shops and online.

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