By Farah F. Jadran
Long-distance running Olympic medalist and American Record holder Deena Kastor, 41, made her first visit to Syracuse on Tuesday, June 17.
As a part of the Team ASICS brand appreciation to the Fleet Feet Sports stores, Kastor visited the Syracuse location for a lunchtime talk that benefited the Food Bank of Central New York. The event included a Q&A session and an autograph signing by Kastor.
The elite runner was born in Waltham, Mass., and now resides in Mammoth, Calif., where she and her husband (and personal coach) operate the Mammoth Track Project along with coaches Elaine Smith and Jim Smith.
In an interview before her presentation and Q&A, Syracuse Woman Magazine sat down with Kastor one-on-one to talk about the importance of women’s health and how to balance running goals with being a mother.
What do you suggest to women looking for balance with family and fitness?
It’s about finding the time in your day and in your schedule every day. It shouldn’t be haphazard. You need to create that niche in your day. As a wife, mother and runner, I know I am going to be my best at all of these if I got to bed at night feeling good.
I’ve seen many women before me…and I’m following in their great footsteps to do this and fit all of it in.
After having my daughter, Piper, 3, I thought my running wouldn’t be as important. But I wanted to show her I was following my passion and lead by example. I want her to see that you can pursue your passion joyfully.
What are your current goals?
Right now I am really focusing on the Asics Mammoth Track Club. We train professional runners and other runners with different goals. We have races throughout the summer and we also train runners long distance (out of the area) and that’s really more for advice.
Out professional team has trained 12 Olympic athletes, 64 National Champions, 26 American Record holders, and two Olympic medalists. Our goal is to get more of our team on the 2016 Olympic Team.
What is your advice for those interested in running?
I encourage people to enhance their health and fitness in running. Once you get into it, you’ll stick with it because the benefits infiltrate your life in such a positive way.
Once people see progress and make that commitment, they will see that they’re better at functioning in their workplace and in your life as a mother.
The running community here (Central New York) is so strong…it’s using the sport for your own health and fitness.
Kastor answered numerous questions about her diet and nutrition and her training regimen. She emphasized her commitment to eating fresh and organic foods and only eating meat and butter from grass-fed farms, or eating wild fish versus farm-raised. She also eats a lot of pickled herring and kale for their Vitamin D nutrients.
Plus, Kastor told SWM she can “feel the pain” of Central New Yorkers since she lives in a ski resort community. “We get 600 inches of snow,” Kastor said. “I wait for the plows to come at 6 a.m. just so I can start my morning run!”
During the Q&A, Kastor took suggestions on where she could run in the Syracuse area before she traveled to Albany on June 18. And when asked if she enjoyed any other form of training or any other sport, she replied, “No, I don’t enjoy anything else.”
While Kastor is focusing on the half-marathon distance (13.1 miles) — she said that she has not yet ruled out the idea of training for the full marathon distance for the 2016 Olympic Trials since they’re just around the corner.
She did share a few other “imaginative” marathon plans with the group. “I do think about running New York City in the fall,” said Kastor with a smile. “Running Paris in the spring…”