“It seemed like no matter what I did, I couldn’t get things right,” said Hastings at a roundtable media session on Thursday. Questionable choices, bad moves, doubt and indecision; overtrained and overweight at the same time. Do I really want to do what it takes?
Not being fully committed, she admitted on Thursday, “is just a bad place to be.”
Then, three years ago, Hastings joined the Mammoth Track Club, where she began to train with Olympians Deena Kastor and Jen Rhines, athletes who had been her idols. Some days, she could hardly believe it. Under the tutelage of coach Terrence Mahon, she learned how to train consistently; with the guidance of Rhines and Kastor, she learned a bit about life.
Whether in a race, training or life, Kastor taught her, there will be good miles and bad miles. “There are good times and bad times,” Hastings said she learned. “You don’t know when they’re going to happen or when they’re going to hit you. You can do everything you can to prevent the bad miles, but they’ll be there.”
It’s getting through the bad miles that makes one an athlete.
“When you’re at the bottom and kind of struggling, you need to know that someone else has fought throught it, too. Having someone there who just can be supportive, who’s so successful and is such an amazing person who’s there being like, ‘you can do this, you can get through this, it’s going to happen, there will be good times ahead’; when you trust someone like Deena and know that she’s gone through it, it makes it a lot easier to keep fighting.”
Hastings decided on a last-ditch effort to salvage her career: she would commit – fully commit – to training for the 2011 Honda LA Marathon.
“OK,” she thought. “I’m going to give it one last shot.”
In March, Hastings confidently battled back and forth for the lead on the rain-soaked streets of LA, finishing second in 2:27:03. It was the third-fastest debut ever by an American woman.
It was a good choice, and a great move. That marathon, and the training that lead up to it, changed everything for Hastings, who will turn 28 next week. Now, she said, “I have so much hope. I can see the possibilities, and that wasn’t always there.”
The Leavenworth, KS, native comes to the Trials with the fourth-fastest qualifying time and renewed confidence. Asked if there is any scenario in which she does not see herself making the team, she said with a trace of neither doubt nor indecision: