New mom, Deena Kastor looks to 2012

It has been almost four years since Deena Kastor crossed the line at the 2008 Olympic Trials - Marathon in Boston, Mass. - winning the women’s race with a time of 2:29:35, and subsequently punching her ticket to Beijing. Over the past four years, a lot has changed in Deena’s life: she has willed herself back from injury (most notably from breaking her foot at the 2008 Olympic Games), she has devoted time and effort into the Mammoth Track Project, which will hopefully break ground in Spring 2012, and she has added ‘mother’ to her long list of accomplishments when the Kastor family welcomed Piper Bloom into their lives earlier this year.

With everything that has taken place in Deena’s life since the last Olympic Trials, one thing remains the same – her desire to represent the United States at the Olympic Games in London. With the support of her team, family and friends, Deena will vie to make her fourth Olympic team as she competes in the Olympic Marathon Trials in Houston, Texas on January 14, 2012.

Recently, USATF asked Deena about the many life changes she has experienced over the last few years and her thoughts heading into the 2012 Olympic Trials.

On February 21st, you and your husband Andrew welcomed your first daughter, Piper Bloom into the world. How is it having a third member of Team Kastor? What's the biggest change to your training routine? How do feel as you begin preparation for the 2012 Olympic Trials?

It has been fun having little Piper in our lives.  Andrew is an amazing father and has been great with her while I’m at practice.  I specifically enjoy Sunday morning long runs when Andrew and Piper ride along side me in the car so I get fluids.  One change to my long runs is instead of electronic music coming from the car, we go with Piper’s favorite, reggae.  Since I took so much time off during my pregnancy, I have been slow to gain my fitness back.  I see small amounts of progress on a weekly basis, but when I look back at my running log a couple months ago, I am leaps and bounds stronger.   My goal is to be ready before January with some tune-up races.  (Another way my routine has changed is that it takes me 5 times longer to type emails; I’m hen pecking the keyboard with Piper in my other arm).

Do you feel added pressure going into 2012 because of your success in winning the 2008 Olympic Trials?

I never feel pressure going into races.  If anything I feel tremendous support from family, friends and teammates.  I don’t rely on past successes for anything, but need to continue improving and creating new successes.  Don’t get me wrong, I am very proud of what my team and I have accomplished over the years, but I’d like us to continue reaching new goals.

Since your win in 2008, how has your training changed heading into 2012? Or have you maintained a consistent regimen?

Wow! A lot has changed since 2008.  I took time off after breaking my foot in the Olympics.   After the rest, I came back so strong.  I was in great fitness going into a couple of my marathons, but was unfortunate to have “off” days once the races came.  As I was training for the NY marathon last summer I found out we were expecting a baby girl.  Running quickly became so uncomfortable, I chose to take time off during pregnancy and enjoy the process.  I have felt really good as my training continues to progress, but I have a lot more work to do.  I’m enjoying the process.

What are your thoughts on the men and women running together this year?

It is great that the men’s and women’s trials are being hosted together.  There is going to be a fantastic energy in Houston this January that no running fan will want to miss.

With names such as Desiree Davila, Kara Goucher and Shalane Flanagan, what are your thoughts on the changing landscape of women American marathoning?

It is great that American distance running has us lining up so much talent on both the men’s and women’s Olympic Trials Marathon. The bigger thrill comes in the fact that we are sending a stellar team to London, we just don’t know who those six marathoners will be.

Being the veteran of field, and having already qualified for three previous Olympic Games (2000, 2004, 2008), do you see yourself running in the Olympic Trials in the future? Or do you have other plans?

In Houston, I will be trying to make my fourth Olympic team.  Each Olympic experience has been so totally different and each has been special in its own way.  Once I have 2012 behind me, I will assess where I am in my career.  On a realistic side, if I am in Rio in 2016 I will most likely be a volunteer or another fan in the stadium.

Can you tell us a little about the Mammoth Track Project?

I love the sport of track and field and feel it should be accessible to everyone, everywhere.  My husband and I have been working on the Mammoth Track Project for the past 5 years and look forward to seeing ground break in the Spring of 2012.  Next year is looking to be a great one with the Olympics and seeing our project finally complete.  We are in need of some final funding for the grand scale project, but have the money for the synthetic infield and all-weather track, so we’ll get that started.  I can’t wait to see people in our community and visitors running around the track, playing soccer or even hosting concerts there.