Kara Goucher

A couple of years ago I shared a message on twitter. I said, “Once you make the decision that you will not fail, the heart and body will follow.” At the time I was struggling with self-doubt and confidence in my running. I was slated to run the Boston Marathon, but I had been struggling with getting my fitness back after a long foot injury following the Olympic Marathon the summer before.


I was in a battle at the time about what I wanted in my heart versus what my brain was telling me I was capable of doing. After going through the motions for a month, training hard and not really making progress, I realized something needed to change. I had to mentally make the decision that I wasn’t going to fail. I wasn’t promising that I was going to PR or have an amazing race, but I knew that I wasn’t going to fail because I was going to listen to my heart and truly commit to what I was doing.

After I made that mental decision, believe it or not, my training started to turn around. And even though I didn’t PR in Boston, I ran a solid 6th - something that seemed so unattainable just a few short weeks before.

I try really hard to balance my head, the realist and sometimes harsh critic, with what my heart and soul want. My brain picks apart my training, gives too much credit to my competitors, and leaves me feeling overwhelmed. My heart is always beating and telling me, “you can do this. Dream bigger!” I know there are times when my heart wants more than I am ready to do (um, going for the win in NYC this fall after a year off on a crazy windy day?) but also there are times when my head talks me out of taking a chance on myself or truly dedicating myself to my goal. It’s a balance, but in the end, my heart always seems to win out. What about with you? What wins out for you? What your practical head says or what your dreaming heart does?

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jacquelyn scofield