So after stumbling upon a tiny ad in the paper announcing that Deena Kastor would be appearing at a local sporting goods store, I had all sorts of grand intentions of how I was going to conduct a little impromptu interview with her there for Alison's new running news website. I planned out my whole day around this intention, starting my scheduled long run bright and early to give myself plenty of time to get down to Union Square, where the store is. The run went quite well and I added on a couple additional miles to make it 17, but that was where I started falling behind in my schedule. I had visions of there being a long line of fans waiting to talk to Deena and as the subway crawled slowly down the length of Manhattan, I berated myself for the fact that I surely would now be at the tail end of a long queue of runners.
Once I finally arrived, I was honestly shocked to see Deena sitting at a table by herself, the patrons of the store seemingly unaware that they were missing the opportunity to meet one of the most significant and accomplished American athletes ever. I apparently have a somewhat distorted view of the importance of distance running in this cultural fabric of ours. You might think that this situation would have presented ideal circumstances for me to then conduct an exhaustive and revealing interview and surely you are anxious to read it. But alas, that is not at all what transpired. When I actually said hello to this young woman (I forget that she's younger than me!) that I so admire and aspire to emulate...I became completely flushed and flustered and could barely put two sentences together. So much for fancying myself a journalist.
Still, we did chat briefly there and I learned that her middle name is Michelle, which isn't really unusual, but I think is really cool anyway. She told me that she's feeling a little burned out on the longer distances right now and is planning to refocus on track distances for a bit and really work on her speed. She said she'd taken a real vacation after her sub 2:20 run in London, just vegging on a beach and enjoying the rest. I wish I'd asked her some more about what specific goals she might have in her sights over the next year or so.
In hindsight, there are really a lot of questions I wish I'd asked. She and I are of such a similar size and shape physically, so why does she hold multiple American records and I'm still trying to limbo under three hours? I'd love to know how much of her talent she thinks is natural and how much is due to the work that she's put into it...and how much of what she's been able to do is attributable to the fact that her body is just plain durable enough to handle the training that she throws at it. Does she get black toe nails and bunions and weird aches and pains that mysteriously appear and disappear on a daily basis like the rest of us? What does she do in the way of cross-training, massage, physical therapy, yoga, pilates, etc. to keep everything working and in alignment? How helpful is it to be married to a physical therapist and does she ever limit how much he's involved in that part of her life in order for that relationship to stay healthy and normal? I also wanted to know more about the writing she's done and whether any of her fiction is published...I'd be curious to read it. I'm sure some of this stuff has been addressed in past interviews, so I'll probably do a little googling to see what people have asked her before. Probably something I should have done before I met her, but all you can do is live and learn.
So that was my excitement for the day. Tomorrow I'm going to do a short, easy track workout in the morning and an easy 7 miles with a friend in the afternoon to hit 65 miles for the second week in a row. I'm so looking forward to my easy week after that and then next Saturday is the 10K where I'm hope hope hoping to break 40.