Deena Kastor turned 41 just last month and will be competing in only her third half-marathon as a masters runner this weekend at the Rock 'n' Roll Dallas Half Marathon.
A 25-time U.S. champion and U.S. record holder for the marathon, Kastor made U.S. half marathon history in 2005 in Philadelphia when she shattered Joan Benoit Samuelson’s long-standing American record by 41 seconds with a time of 1:07:53. She bettered that time with a 1:07:34 in Berlin in 2006, and the American record has stood ever since.
If Kastor can run between a 5:25 and 5:30 pace per mile in Dallas she has a great chance to break as many as four American Masters records, and race organizers have set up a timing plan to capture her splits at all four distances — 15K (9.3 miles), 10 Miles, 20K (12.4 miles), and the full half marathon.
You were forced to withdraw from the Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Half Marathon last month with the flu. How is your training going? How much did being sick early this month set back your training?
Being sick set me back in training, but I am back to training even better than prior to Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans. I was so excited to race and was extremely let down by the timing of the flu. I am excited to race Rock ‘n’ Roll Dallas as it will be my first race back since I ran the world championships marathon last summer. That race nearly sent me into retirement, but my desire to compete has come back and I am excited to race one of the Rock ‘n’ Roll series’ premiere races in Texas.
What made you decide to run the Rock ‘n’ Roll Dallas Half Marathon?
Choosing races is never easy, but the Rock ‘n’ Roll Dallas half is on my list of Competitor events. I hope someday to have run every Rock 'n' Roll event, but it is even difficult to keep up with the growth of this series. Now that includes international races, so I have a lot of planning to do! And as much as I want to experience new Rock ‘n’ Roll events, there are my favorites that I love returning to.
What are your goals for Sunday? Is it a specific time goal or preparation for another upcoming race?
I love the thrill of competition, so I look forward to racing the men and women in Dallas and challenging my fitness level. This race stands alone in my schedule as a destination race mixed with a substantial effort. I believe I am in 1:11-1:12 fitness, so that is a benchmark; anything faster and I’ll be ecstatic. Any slower, I’d be disappointed.
There are numerous American women’s masters’ records seemingly within your reach. Which, if any, are you motivated to break?
Breaking records is fun when great training meets a perfect day on the race course. My job is to be as fit as possible and hope the day unfolds well come race time. Although I was sick and had to pull out of Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans, I felt ready to run really fast there. In hindsight, the weather would not have cooperated in chasing a record that day.
How are things going with the Mammoth Track Club and what are the club’s goals as the next Olympic cycle gets under way?
My Mammoth Track Club teammates are young and talented. Andrew, my husband and coach of the team, in a very short time has developed five Olympic Trials qualifiers. They are taking to training so well and I am sure we currently have an Olympian or two in our group. The potential I see in them is so exciting if they can be smart in taking care of themselves outside of training.