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Natasha Kaiser-Brown

Running can be a pain, Natasha Kaiser-Brown has found. The silver medalist in the Olympic 4 x 400 relay has been struggling to come back from persistent stress fractures in her feet. The prognosis at year's start: so far, so good. "I've come a long way from where I was a couple of months ago," she says. "But still they're aching." In December, doctors finally gave Kaiser-Brown the green light to run.

She hopes to return to the form that allowed her to lead off the last Olympic relay and follow with an even better 1993. That year, she struggled through her first winter in Louisiana, and separated from her longtime training situation, she nearly retired. Thinking better of it, Kaiser-Brown ended up clocking a lifetime best 50.17 to win silver in the World Championships 400, and contributed the third leg to the winning relay squad. So close to the tantalizing 50-second barrier, Kaiser-Brown focused her efforts on breaking through. In 1994, she won her first major outdoor title, beating all comers in the USA Championships. Her European season wasn't quite as hot. She ranked No. 5 in the world--only the third American--and clocked a best of 50.38.

Then, in the 1995 indoor season, her feet gave out. "It's just happened from 21 years of running on them," she explains. "I have real high arches and slowly the bones are breaking down. I have the hardest time on the turns because there's so much force on the foot. If you're running on your toes then it kind of kicks that heel out a bit and puts it at odd angles." Significantly, the injury first appeared at the USA Indoor Championships, where the banked turns of the Georgia Dome track put an even greater stress on Kaiser-Brown's fragile arches.

Luckily, over the past year, Kaiser-Brown has had plenty of other activities to keep herself busy. She is an assistant coach at her alma mater, Missouri, in charge of the sprint crew. "It's a good team and it's fun, and that makes it a little easier," she says. After work she comes home to her husband, Brian Brown, a 7-8 high jumper who won the USA title in 1989. She reports that he still has hopes to make an Olympic team; he was 5th in the 1992 Trials. "He keeps coming back in training. He's going to give it a shot still."

Then there's his culinary skills. "He can cook, but you really don't want to eat it," she warns. "It's all going to be spicy this, spicy that. Cajun Hot Sauce." Brown is finishing his Ph.D. in education. "When he's through, if we have any money left, maybe I'll go back," she says. "Right now, only one at a time." Kaiser-Brown had hopes, when she started at Missouri, to train to be a museum curator. That's a field she still might pursue. For now, though, the challenge is to get healthy, and there's no quick cure for her feet.

"There's nothing I can really do," she concedes. "The thing that would be best would be to just stop completely and let it heal, but that could take years. I'd rather work up to the point of pain, then back off and bike and swim and work back up to it. Right now, as far as the conditioning's gone, I've gotten back into shape. It's coming."

When the pain hits these days, Kaiser-Brown is usually ready to close up shop anyway. "It usually happens on the last thing I'm running so I can get most of the workout done, and then the last one's always a struggle. The recovery is just so slow. I can't believe how long it's taken, just to get to the point where I can get my spikes on."

For a competitive person such as Kaiser-Brown, the struggle to get into racing shape is worth every painful frustration. Still, the feel of running, she indicates, is as enjoyable as it was years ago when her elementary school phys-ed teacher started the class off each day with a warmup run. "We had to run before we could play anything. It was always my thing to find where the guys were and ease up to them and race them. We'd start out just jogging, but the last 50m were all-out sprint."

She doesn't indicate who won. She doesn't need to indicate who went farther.

Career Stats

Born May 14, 1967 in Des Moines, Ia

5-9/1.75m	130/59kg

Roosevelt HS (Des Moines) '85 

Missouri '89

Foot Locker AC/Mizuno

PRs (outdoor):

100--11.88 '93

200--23.36 '92

300--36.47 '93

400--50.17 '93

PRs (indoor):

300--36.44 oversized '92

400--51.92 '89

Major Meets (400 unless noted):

1984	2h)USA Junior 200

	6)USA Junior

1986	5)NCAA

1987	7)NCAA


1988	6)NCAA Indoor



	6s)Olympic Trials

1989	1)NCAA Indoor



1990	2h)USA Indoor


	7)GP Final

1991	5)USA Indoor


	4)Pan-Am Games

1992	3)USA Indoor

	3)Olympic Trials

	6s)Olympic Games

1993	4)USA Indoor


	2)World Championships

1994	3)USA Indoor


	6)GP Final

1995	dnc-f)USA Indoor

Major Relays:

1989	4h)NCAA Indoor 4 x 400 [4]

1991	1)Pan-Am Games 4 x 400 [1]

1991	3h)World Championships 4 x 400 (won silver)

1992	2)Olympic Games 4 x 400 [1]

1993	3)World Indoor 4 x 400 [4]

1993	1)World Championships 4 x 400 [3]

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