Deena Kastor, one of the elite athletes taking part in both the Bank of America Chicago Marathon this October and the Legends of the Lakefront series put on by the race during the summer, stopped by the Lakefront Trail near North Ave. Beach on Wednesday to spend some time offering advice to area runners, taking photos, signing autographs and leading a fun run along the water.
“There’s a sense of community in this sport,” Kastor said during the event. “We’re a tribe of people that are all the same, using strength and determination.”
Kastor answered questions from the runners gathered at the event and offered a wealth of inspiration from her long and prolific career, especially related to the mental aspect of running.
“Being positive isn’t ignoring that things feel bad: it’s seeking solutions despite what’s going on,” Kastor said. “It’s important to practice that in training and train yourself to think that way.”
Kastor noted that she loves keeping a paper log of her training, as it enables her to physically see the work she put in leading up to a race. She highlights particularly good workouts, making it even easier see visual reminders of all the good moments she had rather than focusing on workouts that didn’t go as hoped. Before a race, she identifies three reasons why she should succeed and memorizes them so that she can pull them out during difficult parts of a race.
“It’s not just a race: it’s about your character,” Kastor said. “You’re defining yourself to yourself, who you want to be at the finish line. Making that choice is significant because it shows your character.”
Legends of the Lakefront will continue next month with an appearance by Joan Benoit Samuelson on Sept. 16. Specifics of that event will be announced in the coming weeks.