Deena Kastor will be leading the Team USA Women‘s Squad this year in BolderBoulder’s International Team competition on Monday. She has won the race three times before and placed third in last year’s race despite dealing back issues before and during the race. That turned into an almost career ending injury which took her over two months to finally find relief. Deena is always friendly, very approachable and a true ambassador of the sport in every sense. But when she steps on the line Monday morning the competitive fire will be burning bright in her eyes.
Just last month, she raced against International Team Challenger Ethiopia’s Aliyu Aziza in the More Magazine/Fitness Magazine Women’s Half Marathon in New York and despite the surges she put in trying to shake her, Aziza stayed with her finishing just 7 seconds behind. But as Deena noted, “This is another weekend and another story, you never know how that fire burns, and there are plenty of other girls here who are ready to run fast. We (Team USA) have our work cut out for us.”
Last year’s women’s race went out a bit conservative for her liking as she recalled, “The first mile can be a little conservative from people who don’t train at altitude.” Because she lives in Mammoth Mountain, a bit higher in elevation than Boulder, she would love that race be aggressive at the beginning since she knows she can withstand the faster pace in the beginning,
“I’m all for and aggressive race, thats kind of my racing style anyways. I like to be aggressive and hang on as long as I can that’s what feels most natural to me.”
Boulder Running: What do you enjoy about the BolderBoulder?
“This race has amazing camaraderie, its just a fantastic tradition to continue to be part of the whole weekend here is really a whole Bolder Boulder Memorial Day Festival. It’s so fun for me to run on bike path and have dozens of people shout my name, its just a sports fanatic town, and on weekends like this its even more so.”
Deena won the U.S. Cross Country Championships in 2007 when it was hosted in Boulder at the Flatirons Golf Club and she is looking forward to returning.
“I would love to be back, I was so excited to see that XC was coming back to Boulder in 2014-15. 2007 was a great race for me, the Boulder organizing committee did just a superb job at putting this race together and hosting it, it really elevated the National Championships in the U.S. and across the board. So it’s great that its coming back here and I look forward to being part of it.” She added, “I love cross country, that’s deep in my bones.”
BR: Your husband Andrew mentioned that racing different now, you are having a lot more fun with it.
“I’ve always had fun with it, but before I had to say no to so many things. You have a specific race or marathon, world champs or Olympics to focus on, so sometimes its hard to fit in all the races you want. At this point I’m not trying to make sure my career lasts another decade, I’m saying yes to everything I want to and I’m having fun doing it.”
“I think we have always enjoyed the sport and the places we’ve gone in it but its always a bit more fun when you can say yes to all your sponsors and say yes to people who need a helping hand, and for that I am happy to start giving back a little bit more now.”
BR: Has it been hard to make that transition?
“No its come naturally I think honoring your instincts in the sport are important.” Her and her husband Andrew are now leading the charge with the L.A. Road Runners in the area where Deena grew up.
After the BolderBoulder she will start a training block specific for the Marathon World Championships in Moscow in August.
“I want to be ready with my best performance, I like to make top 5. Its a tall goal, but looking to a good training stint this summer.”