Deena Kastor is arguably one of the best and most versatile female distance runners the US has ever seen. She's set several American Records throughout her long career, and as of today (March 28, 2018), her American record in the marathon (2:19:36) set at the London Marathon in 2006, still stands. On top of her statistical success as an athlete, fans love Kastor for her bubbly-positive personality and her willingness to give back to the sport that has shaped every facet of her life. So, it comes as no surprise that she's written a memoir (published April 10, 2018) to chronicle the journey.
Let Your Mind Run is at once an inspirational journey into the heart of using positivity and gratitude to fuel success and also a girlish, almost diary-like coming-of-age book about Kastor's life as a woman and elite athlete. The book starts in the prologue with an inner dialogue from the 2004 Olympic Marathon in Greece—a private moment with which, as runners, we can all identify.
Chapter One then takes us back to before Kastor started running. She describes her youth with childlike naivety (after all the first sentence is this: When I was a kid, running was play). Throughout the book, though, even as she matures as an athlete, her writing remains youthful and exploratory. It feels almost like we're getting a secret glimpse into Kastor’s personality when she describes each new running lesson, as though every piece of knowledge is a near-miraculous discovery.
It’s after college, when Kastor starts working with legendary coach Joe Vigil in Alamosa, Colo., that she starts to shift her attitude, thanks in a large part to his coaching and influence. It’s also during this time that Kastor turns her early success into a professional career. She learns that attitude and determination have a lot more to do with success than talent.
She skillfully weaves together her experiences as an elite athlete with valuable life lessons about the power of gratitude and positivity. And her transition from running with fear to running with strength, power, and courage, is one of the narrative’s defining moments. As readers, we’re along for the ride.