“I’ve always taken the philosophy that you have to dream a little in this sport. If you stay in your comfort zone, you’re not going to do anything special.”
It was October 12, 2018. A Friday. I had the day off from work, I planned to pick up my race packet that afternoon for my first half marathon, which was to take place the following day.
After several days of hot, humid weather (typical of Tennessee), cool autumn weather had arrived just in time for the weekend. As a native Michigander, this was a huge blessing to me. I’d could finally be comfortable during a run. Thank you, Mother Nature.
What could make this race weekend better? Answer: Attending a three mile group run with Deena Kastor, that’s what.
Deena Kastor was in the Nashville area to promote her book, Let Your Mind Run: A Memoir of Thinking My Way to Victory. She was being hosted by Fleet Feet Nashville for a couple of book club events.
I learned of this via Instagram on Thursday night, while on a lunch break at work. By that time, she had already given a talk and done a book signing. But then I saw that she still be around Friday morning! Deena would be attending a morning run, and then stick around for a coffee social afterward and sign more copies of her book.
I should add here that Deena Kastor has been someone I’ve admired since professional running appeared on my radar. So I was very thrilled to learn of this opportunity.
Thankfully, I’d already arranged to have the day off from work. Bonus: I already had a copy of her book!
I made it to Fleet Feet by 5:40am; enjoyed a lovely group run through the neighborhood, got her book signed, and even managed to visit with her for a few during the coffee social that was held in the store.
What did we talk about? We gabbed about Grand Rapids, the River Bank Run, inspiring kids to run, and audiobooks.
What’s she like? Gosh. She’s exactly as she comes across in news media, YouTube, and in the movie Spirit of the Marathon.
In my opinion, Deena has the tough-as-nails confidence of a Shalane Flanagan, balanced against the unassuming sweetness of a Des Linden. And she’s incredibly gracious. She took her time with each and every person who went to see her.
And she’s an excellent storyteller! I’m looking forward to reading her book.
Who knew the weekend of my first half could become more memorable than expected. Thanks, Deena Kastor, for adding to the memories.
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