Kara Goucher: One Year Later

Matt Orlando
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When I first interviewed 2-time Olympic marathoner Kara Goucher last year, it was the beginning of a tremendous change in her life: a new home, a new coach, and the uncertainty of with whom she would sign. We spoke about what the future held for her, her career, and her family. She was focused on staying healthy and getting back in competitive shape. It was a year filled with promise. We caught up briefly in October shortly before New York City, where she shared that “running is such a huge part of (her) life and (she) want(s) more people, especially women, to be empowered by it.”

One year later, I am honored to have the opportunity to talk with her about the past year, her plans for 2015, and her focus for the 2016 Olympics.

We first spoke just over a year ago. You had just moved to Colorado, changed coaches, and had yet to decide on a sponsor. A lot has happened since then! Can you talk about where you saw yourself in year, and if your expectations have come to fruition?

Last year I was hoping to find a company or companies who believed in me as an athlete, but more importantly believed in me as a person. I was hoping to find more of a partnership rather than a typical sponsorship. I could not have imagined how well it would all work out. I am currently working with 6 companies with a few other opportunities getting ironed out as well. These are all partnerships and mutual beneficial relationships. They have exceeded my wildest dreams.

I know that you said the move was a little tough on Colt last year. Have you, Adam, and Colt managed to find a good “new normal” in Colorado?

The move was very difficult on Colt and as a parent it was very hard on Adam and I to see our vibrant happy child shy and upset. Fortunately we have now established a new circle of friends and a new routine and Colt loves Colorado. There are still things he misses about Oregon – our old home, his nanny Abby, and his cousins – but he has adjusted well and is back to being the happy outgoing child he once was.

You spoke just recently about the need to refocus your efforts on your training and to remove all the distractions. What has been the most difficult sacrifice you have had to make, or will have to make, to get yourself where you want to be?

While partnering with multiple brands has introduced me to many amazing people and businesses, it has also taken away from my time to train and recover. This year I have the goal of getting back to training, resting, and living like a professional athlete. That means fewer appearances and getting some of my partners to work together so I can travel and do business trips less. It really means refocusing back on the athlete side of my life and really committing to giving myself the best chance at making a third Olympic team.

You previously mentioned that you are aiming for a new 10K PR as “a little icing on the top” to making your third Olympic team. You had talked about a racing schedule that seemed to indicate that is something you are aiming for this year. How is training going on that front?

Training is great. I had an unfortunate situation in January, but am doing great now. I don’t have any races planned at all in 2015. I will race when I am ready. The ideal season would be a combo of track and roads, but I am no longer in a situation where I have to race and I’m not going to put myself in a situation again where I am on a big stage and not ready to go. The only race on my calendar is the Olympic Trials Feb 13, 2016. Anything else is secondary to that goal.

When we last spoke in October it was just before the New York City marathon. We all shared tears with you during your post-race interview, and know that the race definitely did not go as planned. What were you able to take away from the race, and how is it shaping your preparation for the Olympic trails?

What I took away from NYC was that the desire is still there. Even though I had two great months of training before NYC, the two years leading up to it were filled with serious injuries and stress. But when I got out there on the streets in NYC I forgot about the past two years and I just started running to win. Obviously it cost me dearly in the end, but the desire, and the ability is still there. Now I must focus on my health and well-being and get to the line healthy and ready in 2016.

Speaking of the Olympics, what is your outlook for Team USA for the Worlds in Beijing in 2015 and the Olympics in Rio in 2016?

Of course I respect all of my competitors but I believe my chances are solid. We have exceptionally deep fields in both the 10,000m and the marathon so for me to make the team this summer for Beijing or to make the Olympic team, there can be no mistakes. The US is just too deep for me to have an off day and still make the team. But, if I am healthy and fit, there is no reason that I won’t be vying for a position on both teams.

Switching gears, your recently redesigned website,, looks incredible and offers a great way for people to get to know you. What part of this effort are you most proud?

I love that people really reach out to me on my website. It’s fun to hear people’s stories or to read all the comments that come in after I post a blog. It’s a feel good site, a place for positive energy and positive support. I am proud of the little positive community I have formed there.

You are very active on social media. Did you ever imagine having such a large, world-wide following? What positive experiences have you taken away from this?

I could never have imagined in a million years the social media following that I have. I remember when I had to get twitter in 2012 because of a contract that I signed and I thought, “who will follow me?” It has been incredible and I am so thankful to my fans and followers who support me along the way. Sometimes I just laugh because really I’m just this shy nerdy girl from northern Minnesota who really has no idea why people care what I think and do. But the support I receive on my sites has gotten me through some of my darkest days. It literally blows my mind that people care and I can’ t really believe it.

Any final words on what to expect from Kara Goucher in 2015?

I am just trying to be the best person, mother, and athlete that I can be, while trying to get more people involved in the sport. I always hope to encourage more people through the tough times.

Most importantly, I am aiming to see myself back on the podium again!