Being part of teamASICS for the New York City Marathon has been an incredible journey so far. I’ve made lots of new friends, connected with amazing, inspiring people, and have had my own coach!

Andrew Kastor, better known as coach Kastor, has been an incredible tool in my training. A little bit about him…Coach Kastor has been running for a pretty long time, lots of cross-country, track, and road running. He has a degree in Exercise Physiology.  After graduating college, he created and coached a non-profit running club called the High Sierra Striders. He is now the head coach for the ASICS Mammoth Track Club and the LA Road Runners. He is also the very supportive husband to none other than Deena Kastor.

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When teamASICS New York City Marathon bloggers were introduced to Coach Kastor, I already knew who he was. I reached out and wrote him an email explaining my um…situation. He was the first coach that didn’t turn me away! I was so excited and kind of shocked! It sounds silly, but there is a lack of professional support in my corner so this was HUGE.

Coach Kastor tip: Eat morning meal at least 90-120 minutes before the start of the race.

He had set training plans but I made him well aware that things needed to be different with me. So instead of him being confused or lost, he actually gave me useful information and told me some stretches to do. Little does he know that I always stretch. Every single day, whether I run or not. But he did include some stretches that I needed to do into my routine.

Coach Kastor tip: Have 3-5 oz. of gatorade every 20-25 minutes and gels every hour while out running long distances.

When I completed my first 20 miles, I told him horrible I had felt and how much I struggled through it. He told me to take it easy. His best advice was for me to let my body dictate what seemed appropriate. While I already do that, he also wanted me not to stress or worry if I wasn’t able to hit those high mileage runs. I still had plenty of time to try again. If I had to rearrange my schedule then so be it. But to let me body do what it needed.

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I was letting him know about my progress and set backs. He never discouraged me, he would push me when I needed it, and supported me when I asked. Coach Kastor was so happy and excited for me when I got those high mileage runs with minimal issues! He was definitely proud of me and so was I.

Coach Kastor tip: Eat a high carb meal around 5 p.m. the day before the race.

When we were hitting the tough parts of the training, he made sure to give the team a good boost of positivity, energy, and support. Coach Kastor being a runner himself, has been there. He has experienced a lot so he knows what it’s like to hit the bumps on the road. While he may not know what it’s like to have a curving spine and try to run, he does know what hitting the wall is like. He would email the team, lots of motivating, inspiring quotes and words. And he gave us tips on keeping our motivation up. They worked:

The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare. – Juma Ikangaa

I just wanted to take a second and thank you Coach Kastor. Thank you for believing in me and supporting me. It’s not easy to find people like you. Thank you for helping me get through training and help me get one step closer to my dream race. Thank you for taking the time to help me, and find other ways I can stay active despite my limitations. You have played an important part and I appreciate all the help you have given me. THANK YOU!

Now in total taper mode, my dream race is less than 3 weeks away!

2015 TCS New York City Marathon.
2015 TCS New York City Marathon.

-the Scoliosis runner

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