Deena and Andrew Kastor (and baby) on top of their “office” on Sherwin Creek Road, Dec. 21. (Photo: Kastor)
Deena Kastor, who along with hubby Andrew calls Mammoth home, has run races in the most prestigious venues all over the world … London, New York … and in the most prestigious of races, namely the 2004 Olympic Marathon in Athens, Greece, where she won a Bronze Medal. She’s garnered many accolades, and has been an inspiration to runners, both professional and amateur.
These days, however, she’s running a different kind of race … one that marks its finish line with a delivery date. That’s right … Deena’s becoming a mom. The Kastors recently said Deena is currently pregnant with a young “runner-in-training.” The next winner’s podium she’ll reach will yield her the biggest prize of her life.
We asked Deena for a look back on 2010 and ahead to what comes next for “the running mom.”
Sheet: Okay, the obvious questions: due date? Boy or girl?
Deena: We are having a girl, who’s due at the end of February.
Given her career and the demands of her line of work, did the Kastors decide the time was right or did it just, as these things do sometimes, happen? “With our ambitious, busy schedules, parenthood was something we didn’t seem to have time for,” Deena related. “We talked about it for years and the timing never seemed to be right. There was always more to accomplish in our careers and we always chose to postpone having a child. It needed to ‘happen’ this way and the joy we feel makes us wonder why we ever postponed doing this!”
Kastor’s very candid about how the baby has changed their lives. “The best line I keep hearing is, ‘Your lives are about to change.’ Well, our lives changed the second we found out we were expecting. But we’ve traveled the world for more than a decade and haven’t found anywhere we like better than being right here in Mammoth Lakes; to be able to share this area with our little girl is the best gift we can give her.”
Deena said she stopped intensive training immediately when she became pregnant. “Maintaining an elite level of fitness seemed so absurd when wanting to make sure I could nurture this baby throughout the pregnancy.” Deena said her goals changed “immediately” from winning last November’s New York City marathon, to wanting to ensure the baby was healthy and strong. “My coach and teammates have been so supportive. I can’t run at all without terrible side-stitches, so I just don’t. I get to catch up with teammates over coffee or dinner instead of a 20-mile run.”
Sheet: How has the last year or so been for you overall?
Deena: This last year was fun and, as always, teaches us great lessons. I was heavy into training for the ING New York City marathon when I found out we were expecting. To make such a huge adjustment to the focus of the remaining 2010 was so easy and made me question why other transitions seem so difficult to digest. I think Andrew and I both will take life with more flexibility in the future. Our careers have always had us well planned and organized, but this was lesson in the immense value of flexibility.
As to short term/long term plans, Deena likened the months and years ahead to something of a balancing act. “I haven’t been able to workout during the last couple months so I have lost a lot of fitness while gaining the knowledge of motherhood. I look forward to running and racing again, and embrace the climb back to the world stage of marathon running. This is a great opportunity to be a role model for our little girl as I balance being a good mom, wife and athlete.”
How soon will she be back up to full speed? “Since it will take me 9 months to de-condition, I assume it will take me just as long to get my legs under me again,” Deena posited. She’s hoping that happens sooner rather than later. “I’ve been running competitively since I was 11, so this long hiatus not only gives me motivation to return to running, but I feel really healthy having not depleted myself with running 120 miles a week.”
Her story may have its own sources of inspiration, but at least for now, if you want to read about a local running star’s life, she actually recommends reading Meb Keflezighi’s book. “Meb has a great story to tell and did it well in ‘Run to Overcome.’ I read it in one day and although I knew a lot of it, I was moved by the words on the page,” she said. “He not only comes from a challenging background, but every member of his family has lived the quintessential American dream. I am fortunate to know Meb’s dad as being the ultimate storyteller, but he is also a supreme motivator in that all his children are doctors, lawyers and so on. My story, unlike Meb’s, was an easy one. I’ve always had a ton of support and smooth pavement to run across and that doesn’t make for exciting reading.”
Sheet: What about your cookbook?
Deena: Yeah, the cookbook. It’s been finished for a while I just haven’t pursued publishing it. That is the only book I want to put on the shelves!