In 2016, she became a Canadian Olympian. Today Krista DuChene marks another milestone as she turns the BIG 4-0. Even though she’s an elite athlete, she’s still a mom with competing priorities, someone who knows firsthand about struggling with life balance and making time for herself. Here, DuChene looks back on 15 years of marathon running, speaks to the the advantages of parenthood, and explains why she believes the marathon improves with age.
iRun: Today you turn 40-years-old. What do you know now that you wish you knew at 20?
KD: Can’t really say there is anything I wish I knew then! I think it’d make life a bit boring if we knew our future.
iRun: Which you do you like better and why?
KD: I think I will have to go with the 40 year old Krista. I have excellent memories of my past and continue to dream about my future.
iRun: Which you do you think is a better runner?
KD: Considering I ran 3:28 when I was 25 yrs old, and 2:29 when I was 38, I am definitely a better runner now! Wouldn’t it be exciting if I was even faster in my 40’s?!
iRun: You’re the second fastest Canadian female marathon runner of all-time. And you set that record last year. Can you still get faster?
KD: I ran 2:28 in 2013 when I set PB’s in many other distances. It was definitely a banner year but yes, I do believe I can still get faster. I’m making several changes in 2017, starting with a coaching move to Dave Scott-Thomas with Speed River. The change is exhilarating.
iRun: What do you think is the effect age has on long-distance running?
KD: My marathon experience of nearly 15 years has allowed me to mentally excel, which is key to long distance running. And marathoning is a perfect sport for the “ageing” so that works for me! I’ve steadily and consistently invested the work for years, going from recreational to elite, which is exciting to see the return and know there’s more to invest.
iRun: How about having children? You’re a mother of three and racing young bucks like Lanni and Rachel who probably have their moms still making them lunches. Do they hold an advantage?
KD: Being a parent allows me to manage my time efficiently, set priorities and multi-task. And another advantage is that I can be a role model to my own children, which is inspirational to me.
iRun: What do you like about running and how has that changed through the years?
KD: I like hopping out of bed and out the door to start my work day. I don’t think there is any sport as simple and easy as that. I particularly love the fresh air and sunny skies. When our children were young, it was more difficult to get out but it made me a better person. I loved being a mom with my kids. I loved running with my Saturday morning friends. When doing one thing I didn’t wish I was doing the other.
iRun: Obviously after the Olympics you have no plans on slowing down and you recently switched coaches and training programs. How do the programs differ and specifically what are you after?
KD: I did not want any regrets, thinking “Why didn’t I just change things when I could have, when I had a few more years to give even more?”. It was all about getting out of my comfort zone and not continuing to do the same things just because of familiarity. It was about taking that final step up. I am after a PB in the marathon!
iRun: As one of the greatest Canadian runners ever to lace up a pair of shoes, where do you think you can still improve?
KD: My main goal is to focus on getting faster in the marathon. We are examining all areas: workouts, mileage, drills, cross training, diet, etc. As for the shorter distances, perhaps I will aim PB’s but for now it’s tackling this new season and the changes with it.
iRun: The people have come to not only respect you but hold you in that rarefied air of someone they feel something very close to love for, or at least sincere affection. How does that make you feel and can you describe your relationship with your fans?
KD: I’m honoured. It is very special. And take it seriously; I think about every word and picture before posting on social media. I aim to be real and I appreciate the support from those who cheer for me. Although I have not met all of my “fans” I will often re-read messages they have sent me or posted, which encourages and motivates me to continue being my best.
iRun: Lastly, one of my favourite “Krista Anecdotes” is the visual of you doing speed work around your daughter’s daycare after drop off. Firstly, do I have that story correct? And secondly, if so, talk to us middle or back of the pack enthusiasts. Where do you find that motivation and, quite frankly, how can we?
KD: Yes, all three children, practically since birth, were lovingly cared for at the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre where I train. At times they could look out the window to see me doing intervals around the facility when the roads were clear of snow but the track was not. I’ve never had to hunt for motivation. I’m always ready to jump out of bed to run in the morning. Part of this is made possible by going to bed at a decent time. Having comeback from 3 broken bones and 3 babies, I appreciate every run. Also, setting goals and objectives provides motivation.
iRun: Happy birthday and best wishes and, whoops, one last question: how are you going to celebrate the big day? Are you going to run your age or eat it in cookies or something totally else?KD: Actually, I have to work (Registered Dietitian). I will run but not my age!