MISSOULA — Deena Kastor is one of the most decorated female American marathoners.
She won a bronze medal at the 2004 Olympics, captured two silver medals at the World Cross Country Championships, is the only American woman to run a sub-2:20 marathon and holds a number of other records.
In April, she finished a task that was much tougher and more demanding than any of those races she’s attempted: writing a book.
“By far, writing has been my hardest accomplishment to date,” Kastor told 406mtsports.com in a phone interview. “In running, you have rest and recovery days in between. With the writing process, I didn’t have the luxury of kicking my feet up and resting in between deadlines. It was a pretty intense effort.”
Kastor will be making her first trip to the Garden City this weekend for the Missoula Marathon to promote her book “Let Your Mind Run: A Memoir of Thinking My Way to Victory.”
Kastor’s book is a memoir about her 33 years in running and how her first professional coach, Joe Vigil, helped her develop a positive attitude that kept her from potentially quitting the sport.
More than a biography, she hopes her book can help others learn how developing a positive attitude and mental strength can aid them in discovering more about themselves and can benefit them beyond just running. As she illustrates through a story in the book, she learned to tell herself: "Find a thought that serves you better."
“My greatest hope is — no matter what situation someone is in, whether they find themselves in the tough spot of a race or they’re being challenged in life in small or big ways — that they have the ability to shape their perspective and use it as a springboard for growth,” Kastor said.
“We always have it within us to choose our spots. It may take more conditioning and a relentless mind to do so, but life can be a pretty beautiful journey if we take hold of our perspective and uplift ourselves one thought at a time.”
She’ll have a meet and greet and will be signing books at Runner’s Edge noon Friday, will be making an appearance at the Run Wild Missoula merchandise booth at Runner Expo 5 p.m. Friday and will hold a public presentation at DoubleTree by Hilton noon Saturday.
She’ll also be hosting a private talk for current and prospective high school and college runners, and will be handing out medals after races.
“This is a really special thing to have somebody of this caliber in Missoula and be part of our event,” Anders Brooker, owner of Runner’s Edge and the Hellgate cross country coach, said. “She’s been at the highest level for 30 years, and I hope people will come out, meet her and listen to her talk.”
Kastor is hoping to one day run the Missoula Marathon but is unable to this year. As she focused on her book with co-author Michelle Hamilton for four years, including a final year that she estimated required 500 hours on Skype, she hasn’t been able to properly train.
The fact that she’s not running won’t take away from the enjoyment she expects to have as shares the message that’s played a crucial role in her life.
“I’m really excited to be there, to immerse myself in the running community there,” Kastor said. “For me, it’s a selfish trip also because Missoula’s such a beautiful place, especially in the summer time. So to go and share my time in a beautiful scenery with like-minded people, I think, is really fantastic.”