Runner Mom: 5 Questions With Kara Goucher

Kara Goucher gave a short talk and met with fans at the expo for the Rock 'n' Roll Portland Half-Marathon. Photo: Brian Metzler/Competitor

She’ll definitely run the Boston Marathon again, but her heart will forever be with the bombing victims.

A month ago, Kara Goucher capped a comeback from a late fall injury with a very credible sixth-place, 2:28:11 effort at the Boston Marathon. But, as with everyone else who was in Boston, her race was completely overshadowed by the terrorist bombings that occurred later in the day. Goucher is planning to run her next marathon this fall — either Chicago or New York City — but in the meantime has been rebuilding her speed for the upcoming track season.

PHOTOS: Kara Goucher Career Highlights

We caught up with her at the Rock ’n’ Roll Portland Half Marathon race expo over the weekend while trying to keep son Colt, now 2-1/2, contained as husband, Adam, gave a presentation about training.

When are you racing again and what are your plans for the summer and fall?

My next race will be the 10,000m at the U.S. track championships [June 19-23 in Des Moines, Iowa]. I was thinking about running a race at the Portland Track Festival [June 7-8 at Lewis and Clark College] but I think I’m just going to go for it at USAs with one big race. I absolutely want to make the U.S. team for the world championships (in Moscow). If I make it, I’ll focus the rest of the summer on getting my speed back. If I don’t make it, then I’ll find some fun road races to run and start thinking about a fall marathon.

Do you prefer racing the 10,000 or the marathon?

They’re so different, but I love them both. I love the 10K because of the speed of the race. I love how much the bell lap means. I love kicking the final 400 meters and I miss that when I’m in the marathon because it’s a different intensity. You’re so tired at the end of a marathon you hope you can sprint. But I love the art of the marathon. I love how much planning goes into it. I love how meticulous you have to be.

What has your training been like since the Boston Marathon?

I took a down period after Boston where I didn’t run as much and now I feel really good. I took a couple days completely off and then I spent about three weeks just easy jogging, then a couple of weeks of really easy workouts. Now I’m kind of back into the swing of things. I’ve been running 30 miles a week less than I normally do — right about 90 miles a week — and I feel a lot better and a lot fresher on my legs. I’m not going to race before the U.S. championships. For me, it’s just about getting my speed back. So for now, twice a week, it’s about hitting the speed, feeling sore and slow, but eventually it’s going to click in.

Are you ever amazed about your celebrity status as a runner?

It’s always odd for me, because at the core I’m just this nerdy girl from Minnesota that’s not really that athletic or cool or anything like that. It’s always weird for me to hear people say they follow me or they’re inspired by me. I don’t know that any of that will be ever be normal. But I love it and I very much appreciate all the people who follow me, but I always have to laugh because I’m really such a dork.

It’s been a month since the Boston Marathon. What kind of reflections do you have about your race and the horrible acts that followed?

Honestly, the racing details of that day are all lost for me because of what happened. I look at my medal and think about it and all of the people who were hurt every single day. We were a block and a half from the finish line at the athlete hotel when the bombs went off, but we get to go on with our lives like nothing happened and yet there are people who lost family members, people who lost limbs … and their lives will never be the same. So for me, I don’t really remember the race. For me, 2013 will be a reminder to live my life more righteously and being more appreciative and thinking about the people who really suffered that day and will continue to suffer.

I love the Boston Marathon and I absolutely will go back and race it again. What happened does not deter me from that whatsoever. For this year, it’s a bigger-picture thing and when I look back I’m always going to remember the people were affected and not really my race at all.

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