Let Your Mind Run by Deena Kastor & Michelle Hamilton

By Audrey Andrews | May 12th, 2020

Let Your Mind Run: A Memoir of Thinking My Way to Victory by Deena Kastor and Michelle Hamilton is the best running book I’ve read. Most running books are authored by men, so Kastor’s memoir is an immediate standout. We are in dire need of more stories from female athletes; I hope this is not Kastor’s only venture into the void of literature. 

Kastor holds the American marathon record, which she set at 2:19:36 at her London Marathon victory in 2006. She also won the 2005 Chicago Marathon and has an Olympic medal from Athens. Although a standout star from her first childhood races, Kastor shares that she nearly quit running after falling out of love with the sport during college. She is hopelessly candid about the mental rigor of running, let alone racing at an elite level. 

After years of negative self-talk, Kastor decided to lace up her running shoes with a smile. She moved to Colorado to train and worked as a waitress. Kastor’s organic growth takes root from her ever-improving mental discipline. She shares her use of positivity and visualizing to, well, think her way to victory. 

As a runner, I know deeply the abounding negativity which cements your legs when the numbers on the watch do not meet expectations. However, I always found overt positive self-talk silly and forced. Kastor makes such an appealing case for self-love that I soon encouraged myself out loud on high-gradient hills and developed a pre-ordained phrase to push me forward as I strove for a P.R. in the 2019 Chicago Marathon. Thanks to Kastor, I ran a crushing all-time best. I cried with Kastor in her memoir and cried when I realized just how fast I was about to finish in Chicago. 

Today, Kastor lives and trains in Mammoth Lakes, California and is deeply involved with the Mammoth Lakes Track Club, where her husband is the head coach. Let Your Mind Run stands alone as an exceptional memoir, let alone a marvelous running book. Runners, women, everyone, should pick up these words of inspiration. 

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