NEW YORK — As the American record holder in the marathon, half-marathon, 15K and 8K — with an Olympic bronze medal in the marathon to boot — Deena Kastor doesn’t have anything left to prove. But on Monday, she’ll toe the line at the Boston Marathon alongside Shalane Flanagan, who won the New York City Marathon last November, Desiree Linden and other current luminaries in the sport.
At 45, Kastor doesn’t expect to keep pace with these women, but hopes only to challenge herself in her first marathon since setting the American Masters record in the Chicago Marathon in October of 2015 with a time of 2:27:47.
The run-up to the race is also the perfect time for Kastor to promote the release of her first book, “Let Your Mind Run,” a memoir of the mental and physical tools she has used to reach the pinnacle in long-distance running.
During a breakfast at the Asics store here Tuesday morning, Kastor said she believes “[my] greatest talent is my mind.” Although she is obviously genetically gifted and has an enviable work ethic, it’s her ability to “cultivate positivity in life” that she believes has allowed her to achieve so much during her career.
She said that right before the Chicago Marathon in 2015, she was suffering from allergies, was impacted by the wildfires in her home state of California, was traveling a lot for her long-time sponsor Asics, and then caught the flu from her young daughter a few weeks before the race. All of these “challenges” made her feel she wasn’t ready for the race and she flirted with the idea of dropping out. But she decided to run anyway and wound up taking almost a minute off the former American Masters record time.
By keeping a positive attitude and looking at disappointments as challenges to overcome rather than disappointments, she hopes to help others overcome the adversities in their lives through this book. “The book is not intended to learn more about me,” she said, “but to help the person reading it grow and evolve.”