Kara Goucher is racing the Rock 'N' Roll Philly Half Marathon this Sunday, 9/21! For her first race back this season and her Oiselle kit debut, we know you will be fan girling with us. If you're in Philly, head to Cowbell Corner (aka: Oiselle cheer station) at Arch and 16th Street, 7am Eastern. If you're like us cheering from afar, follow @oiselle on Twitter for updates and sign up for Runner Tracking to follow your favorite runners. Read our Q&A with Kara to get the excitement started.
You decided to race the NYC Marathon, congrats on the announcement! What was the deciding factor between NYC and Chicago?
I really wanted to run the NYC Marathon last year and wasn't able to because I broke my foot. Even though I was leaning towards Chicago at the beginning of the year, when I got injured again it was kind of a blessing in disguise because New York gave me three more weeks to get ready. I haven't run there since my very first marathon and I've always wanted to go back as an accomplished marathoner. All the stars aligned for me to go back this year.
Take us back to 2008, your marathon debut in NYC. You had never run over 23 miles, yet you made the podium being the first female American in over a decade. What was that experience like?
I was really nervous, I'm not going to lie. I remember thinking that they paid me all this money and I don't even know if I can run that far, let alone be competitive at the distance. So I was really, really nervous. But once the race started I got into that race mode. Things definitely fell apart the last few miles - I got overwhelmed with the distance and the fatigue - but I still kept it together and finished. I went through that classic response "I'll never do it again," and then an hour later, “I want to do it again!”
What is it about the 26.2 that you love most?
It’s hard to describe to someone who's never done one. Running 26.2 miles is such a rush and is the biggest thrill, it gives me goose bumps. Some people don't get it and think you're a little crazy, but it really is such a rush. The fans, the ability to run 26.2 miles, having people lined up and cheering - it's amazing. Anyone that has run one gets it.
Do you feel that rush throughout the whole race or is it after you’ve finished?
I've learned to temper my excitement. The first time I ran Boston and also at the Olympics I took in the crowd a little too much and it cost me a bit. I've learned that wearing sunglasses and not making too much eye contact with the crowd helps me focus. But when I have a low moment in a race, I use the crowd to my own advantage. Every time I have a dip in my own energy, I try to take some from the crowd.
Coming up next for you is Rock 'n' Roll Philly, one week away! How has your training felt the past few weeks?
Training has been great. This week has been a little up in the air. I had a great workout in New York but then I went to Los Angeles to shoot a commercial and it was a lot more tiring then I anticipated. My last two workouts have been solid but nothing crazy. When I look back at everything I've done leading up to this, I know things are coming along really well. I'm not ready to PR but I'm ready for a good solid race and I want to just get back out there. I know I will be so nervous as it gets closer because it’s been so long but right now I'm more excited then anything.
Have you mapped out racing goals?
Yes, I think something around that 71-minute mark would be solid but of course I hope to have more than just a solid day. I think it will depend on what the leaders do. If they're running sub 70 pace I'm going to have to let go. I'm hoping they will slow down around mile 8 or 9 and I can kind of reel them back in. For me it’s not so much about the time as it is a successful return to racing so I'll be conservative through the half way point, then let the reins off for the second half.
We know the ultimate goal is Rio '16. What will it take to get there?
I think to make that Rio team and be competitive I need to get back to my fast. After the NYC Marathon I am going to totally switch gears, lower my mileage and really focus on a track season next year. I plan to race some indoor races, the US Championship and hopefully the World Championship. I need to get back to running 31 minutes for the 10K and right around 15 minutes for the 5K. I think if I can get my legs back to that turnover, when I go to run 5:20 pace it will feel easier, or it should anyway. I would like to do one more marathon before the Trials so I'm looking at Chicago Marathon or Berlin Marathon next year. After that it will be a short break so I can give it everything I have for the Olympic Trials on February 13th.
Off the subject of running…you just rocked the runway at Nolcha New York Fashion Week! What 3 words would you use to describe that experience?
Oh wow. Exhilarating, nerve-racking and empowering. Obviously the big part was walking with Oiselle and seeing how excited we were for each other. I was surprised with how it made me feel empowered about myself afterwards. I think we all are self-conscious about our bodies, how we look and how we walk. Walking on the runway is the ultimate of that. Everyone can judge you because you are so exposed and they see every angle. I am insecure about my body just like very other woman out there and to feel that empowered after the show was a relief. I’m no supermodel but I could say, “Yah I'm pretty hot" after it was over! It made me feel good about myself, which I was happy about.
Lastly, give us a few hot spots in Boulder now that you've had some time to settle in. Good eats? Trails?
Boulder is all about working out and brunching. That's what we do! A few trail heads you can't miss: Coot Lake, The Reservoir, Mesa Trail, Teller Farms. They are beautiful, easy runs with varied terrain that you can't get lost at. After your workout you have to go to brunch, it's a way of life here. My favorite places are Snooze, The Buff and Tangerine. Lastly, you have to go to Whole Foods and get Kombucha – the Kombucha aisle is ridiculous. I go back and forth between brands but right now I'm jiving on Health-Ade. There are so many to choose from, it’s quite the experience.
COMEBACK MARATHON WORKOUT
Now that your base mileage is built and you've added some speed work, increase your endurance with 800-meter repeats on the track. This is a simple workout to push your body and get comfortable with your marathon pace. Throughout your training, the number of 800-meter repeats at goal pace should increase - 10 being the max.
20 min warmup
4-6 x 800m at goal marathon pace; rest 400m jog
10 min cooldown