Name: Aleks Kajstura
Aleks in the Seven Sisters Trail Race
Job: I’m the Legal Director of the Prison Policy Initiative, a local non-profit working nationally to end mass incarceration.
Where are you from originally (if not from here), and what brought you to this area? Krakow, Poland. Moved to Ossining, NY when I was 9 and then to Western Mass in 2001 for college (Smith) and more or less stuck around ever since. It’s nice out here, isn’t it?
Runner since: 2015-ish?
Favorite distance to race/run: Just about anything between 5 and 50K. Except 10K.
Favorite place to run: Mt. Toby (and surrounding hills) – has everything you could ever want, unless what you want is flat.
Favorite TV Show: Rosemary and Thyme. It’s a murder mystery worth re-watching (over and over again); it passes the Bechdel test with flying colors and witty banter.
Interests (besides running, of course!): Gnomes, moss, and triathlon
Secret ambition: Shhh, it’s a secret.
Recent memorable moment while running? Owls hooting in the woods… nothing fancy, but it was nice.
Training partners? Most consistently, my dog, Peanut
Cross training activities? Cycling, Swimming, Ice Hockey, Weight training, Hiking… so it’s more like: sometimes I run.
Favorite season to run in? Hot or cold? Time of day? How come? Winter/spring mornings are best –fewest mosquitos and people. I really like to pick a challenging late-spring race so that I get to do my serious training in the winter and spring and then get to use that fitness all summer for whatever catches my fancy at the moment.
What is one of your biggest running aspirations? To arrive at the trailhead as excited as my dog
Favorite piece of gear (for running): Microspikes – for when the trails become luge tracks
Favorite piece of gear (for training): Agility ladder – be prepared for when the trails are less of a trail and more like a space between trees littered with a loose collection of rocks and other miscellaneous nature.
What was the last running event you participated in? Vegan Power 50K – virtual
What is your favorite race? 7 Sisters
Favorite indoor activity: Tabletop games (current favorite is Race for the Galaxy)
Last movie you watched: Clue (it’s still good)
What does your daily workout consist of? A bit of grumbling, grudging acceptance, and feeling of accomplishment
Ever been injured? Bruised ribs and knuckles. Lost a foothold on the ice and fell down a cliff, hitting a tree and losing a microspike on the way down. Had to hike back to camp with single-footed traction; do not recommend.
What is your diet like? Mostly food
Favorite food: It’s fall, so vegetarian Łazanki (sautéed onion and cabbage with egg noodles).
Favorite recovery drink: The tears of my enemies
Best advice you ever got: “Branch! DUCK!”
Personal goal for this season: Get back to running more regularly. Vague, I know, but right now it’s about 1 run every other week so pretty much anything will be an increase in volume. Maybe once the temperature drops the bike will be less inviting and I’ll get back on my feet.
Originally published in The Sugarloaf Sun November/December 2020 issue.
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Original artwork by SMAC member JoEllen Reino. Originally published in the January/February 2021 issue of The Sugarloaf Sun.
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