Note from Editor: Deena is the fastest female marathoner in United States history. She is an Olympic Bronze Medalist (Athens 2004) and the American Record Holder in the Marathon (2:19:36 - 2006 Flora London Marathon) and has graciously shared one of her most memorable marathon stories with us. If you would like to learn more about Deena, visit her web site at DeenaKastor.com. In addition, if you would like to learn more about Deena's experience at the 2005 Chicago Marathon, check out the web site of the soon to be released, feature-length film Spirit of the Marathon.
My coach, Terrence Mahon, has me running 100-140 miles a week. This includes short intervals (1K and miles), long intervals (2 mile repeats), tempo runs, and long runs.
My race day experience was worse than I expected. I had never won a marathon. Four months of training emphasized a "controlled" effort to run a sub 2:20 marathon - 5:19 per mile. I was so excited and confident I could reach my goal, that I ran 5:10 for the first mile! 5:08 for mile 4. There were some 5:13 and 5:15s in there as well. At halfway, I was on pace to run a 2:18 marathon. At one point, I was 2 minutes ahead of the leader. I continued to run about 5:20 with some surging of quicker miles, when I hit "the wall" for the first time in my career. The last few miles went like this:
I didn't have any problems with my recovery. I did absolutely no running. Because I live in the mountains, this is a great time of year to hike and explore when I finally have the time and energy to do it.
Running Gear Recommendations:
Tips/Words of Encouragement:
No matter where you are in the pack, the finish line is emotional and rewarding. Marathoning teaches you how to accomplish a goal, by making strides each day. Once you figure this out, you can do anything!
Plans to Run Another:
I plan on running the Boston Marathon in April 2007. Despite a bronze medal in the Athens Olympics and two World Marathon Major wins, I still get people saying, "Oh, you haven't run Boston! Well, my son qualified twice!". I'm running to legitimize my career!