5 Questions With: Kara Goucher
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For this installment of “5 Questions With” I have the honor and privilege of again interviewing America’s sweetheart, 2-time Olympic marathoner Kara Goucher. If you follow the blog at all you know I had the opportunity to do an in-depth interview with Kara at the beginning of 2014, shortly after she moved back to Boulder. If you have been following her career you know that 2014 has been a huge year for her, from joining up with new sponsors to making a triumphant return to racing. Kara gave me the opportunity to catch up with her as she prepares for the TCS New York City Marathon on November 2.
If you do not follow running at all let me share with you a little on Kara’s back story. Born in New York City, Kara moved with her family to Duluth, Minnesota at the age of 4. Fast forward to college at the University of Colorado, where in 2000 she became the NCAA Outdoor Champion in 3000 m and 5000 m. In 2008 she ran her debut marathon in New York City (I was actually helping with the elite athletes that morning – small world), where she placed third in 2:25. She went on to qualify and compete in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics in the marathon, and now has her eyes set on Rio, the host of the 2016 Olympic games. Kara currently lives in Boulder with her husband Adam and son Colt. You can find more on Kara by visiting here website and by following her on Twitter.
5 Questions with Kara Goucher
Earlier this year you signed on with Oiselle. How has your relationship with Oiselle worked out so far? Has it been everything you hoped it would be?
Teaming up with Oiselle (story) has been much greater than I hoped for. I really feel like I have a role in helping Oiselle grow and to help with our mission to support and inspire other female runners. My voice and opinion really matter with Oiselle and that has been incredible for me. I have had a great 8 months with them so far. While the entire experience has been wonderful, some highlights for me would be going to Boston, getting to know Sally Bergesen and having her become one of my closest friends; supporting other Oiselle athletes at the Payton Jordan invite; and walking the runway in NYC at fashion week.
What lessons did you learn from running the Philadelphia Rock N Roll Half Marathon in September?
What I learned at the Philly half was that my coaches know what they are doing! They said I’d run between 71-72 min and I did! I learned that even though I’m not at my best, things are coming along and that I will be ready for a solid race in NYC in November. I can’t express how great it was to just be back out there. It was a special run for me – even though I was way off the lead pack!
What are your specific goals for NYC, and how has your training prepared you to get there?
My training for NYC has been great. Obviously after two stress fractures in March I’m not as prepared as I’d like to be, but I’m happy with what I got out of the time I had. I haven’t run a marathon in a year and a half so I have a very conservative goal which is to run 2:28. This might sound slow, but NYC is a very difficult and technical course and if I can run 2:28 that would be a very solid return and set me up well as coming back for my goal to make a third Olympic team in 2016.
As an Olympic athlete and mom, you are a role model to so many people. What message do you hope to impart on others, especially women who are mothers and young girls who are just starting out as runners?
Running has been the greatest friendship in my life. I run whether I’m happy or sad; I run to feel like myself. Before I discovered running I was shy and had little confidence. Through running i learned how to achieve goals and I learned to respect myself. Running is such a huge part of my life and I want more people, especially women, to be empowered by it.
Looking back on your career, what were the specific moments before making each Olympic team where you thought “I can do this”?
In 2008 I was very confident that I would make the team. The year before I won a surprise bronze medal at the World Championships in the 10,000m and after that I knew I was going to make the team as long as I was healthy.
2012 was much more difficult. I had my son in 2010 and then I spent the 2nd half of 2011 injured. The trials were in January 2012 so I was under a major time crunch. I really didn’t think I could do it until about a week or two before the trails. But about 10 days before I had a great workout, and after that I just believed I could make it and I stopped entertaining the doubts in my head. So much of running is mental. Making the team in 2012 while not really healthy or fit was a mental battle for me. That’s why I am more proud of making the team in 2012 than in 2008.
Bonus: Who has been your favorite person (runner, celebrity, etc.) to meet, and who would you still like to meet / run with?
Honestly running has introduced me to so many incredible people. My childhood heroes Lynn Jennings and Joan Samuelson, some of my greatest rivals and heros of the sport Paula Radcliffe and Shalane Flanagan. Meeting Larry Chloupek in Boston this year was so inspiring. I feel so lucky to know so many running legends. I’d literally blow my 18 year old’s mind if I knew who I’d have in my contacts list on my phone. As for who I’d like to still meet and run with, there are so many people! But I think it would be fun to round-up the last three presidents and go for a run. Rib them all on some decisions they’ve made. That would be pretty cool.