Runner’s World, Deena Kastor, and How to Choose Between the Things You Love


Last weekend, the Runner’s World Half and Festival was held in Bethlehem, PA, and Doug and I were lucky enough to be invited back for a second straight year. It was sponsored again by Altra, whose co-founder, Golden Harper, was a guest on NMA radio last year.

Just as before, the races, people, and events were a total blast. It was re-energizing to run with blogger friends, inspiring to hang around the Runner’s World crew and tour their headquarters, and entertaining to be hosted by the Mayor of Running himself, Bart Yasso.

But the event that stood out most for me wasn’t any of the races or the tour of Runner’s World, but instead the lunch chat we had with Deena Kastor.

For those who don’t know Deena, she’s arguably the most accomplished American female marathoner, and the American women’s record-holder for the marathon with a 2:19:36. Most, though, know her from her role in the documentary Spirit of the Marathon (which I used to watch on the eve of every marathon I ran).

During Deena’s time with our group, she talked mostly about the mental side of running, but also touched on her struggle to balance a career as an elite runner and the responsibilities of being a mother (to which she has, fortunately, found a resolution).

It’s a topic that hit home for me, as I’m still figuring out exactly the right balance among being the best father I can be for my two young children, running a business, and achieving my fitness goals. So in today’s episode, Doug and I decided to share our own thoughts on the topic, and how we attempt to navigate the constant give-and-take between the things we love.

Here’s just some of what we talk about in this episode:

  • Our favorite moments from the Runner’s World Half and Festival
  • Deena Kastor on running with your brain
  • The question that immediately made Deena cry
  • Is it possible to be a great parent, partner, or friend, and still do the things you love?
  • Why it’s so important to involve your partner in your training

Click the button below to listen now:


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  1. I appreciate this post because ever since I was 15, I have been struggling to balance exercise and my Bassoon. But, in reality, there is no balance, and one has to do their best all the time. Prioritizing helps, and being committed helps. This is great information for all of us who are trying to do it all.:)

  2. Just wanted to post regarding your slight slump in inspiration for running and dealing with the work life balance. I recently got into the podcast / site as I train for Ironman and have recently moved with my family to a vegetarian diet. We’ve found it to be quite simply all round better! The podcast is educational and helps inform and confirm that what I’m doing is the right way. I’d say your running / training is your work and makes you who you are and inspires others to do the same, without running or training your not being true to yourself but you wont be living proof of a no meat athlete either. You don’t need to be training for an event to run, run to inspire and help others and as a by product you’ll be a running machine!
    I have a baby daughter, work a 9-5 as a company director, and train for Ironman. Even though i’m not a morning person I made the choice to begin training every day before my family wakes as then I’m not taking any time away from them. I fit other bits of training in as I need to build volume for an event (i’m racing Ironman Malaysia on 14th Nov) but following the race I’m just going to keep the morning training when the family are in bed. I feel no guilt if my wife and daughter are sound asleep. I commute on my bike and get training done in other ways. Results wise I just did a 1.20 half mara and have a 10.46 Ironman PB which I hope to improve in Malaysia. Wish me luck!

  3. Matt, it’s interesting you say you wish you had a a baby now (at age 35ish I imagine?). I’m 31, vegan, very active and working a great job, and my husband and I are still undecided as to whether we will have children. A recurring theme I hear from friends, family, my doctor and society in general is that I’ve already waited too long and I need to get pregnant yesterday if I want to remain healthy and active if/when a child arrives. It feels like they’re trying to give the impression that once you hit 35, suddenly having a baby or a young child goes from a total joy to an impossible chore. Part of me laughs it off as total nonsense but another part of me is scared that they can’t all be wrong. I’d love to read or hear you and/or Erin elaborate on the subject of having babies and raising children as active, healthy, vegan parents and whether or not you think parental age is an important factor.

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