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I’m a Fan Girl. #KaraGoucher

Let’s step back in time for a sec. My very first race expo experience was for the inaugural 2009 Chicago Rock n’ Roll half marathon.  I took the South Shore train to Chicago and had no clue what I was doing. I followed the herds of people and picked up a bag full of coupons, safety pins,  goodies and advertisements for companies I had never heard of, a race bib and a shoe chip timer. I watched the tv monitor to learn how to put the chip timer on my Nike’s and then watched again so i wouldn’t mess up. I was new, nervous and walking around alone.

The expo was huge and at the ripe age of 21, I had never been to anything like it before. Every booth had weird food and strange massagers. I never knew running had it’s own little world. I turned a corner and saw a few runners talking to a very pretty, slender brunette. Then I saw the brunette’s face on a promotional poster nearby and realized she must be someone important. Kara Goucher. That name meant nothing to me at the time, but now it’s one of the many reasons I love to run.

She crushed the half marathon that next morning. 1:08:04. She beat every person, male & female in the race. I had found out about her accomplishments that week as I started looking up her stats online. I thought it was super cool I stood 10 feet away from the overall winner of my very first race.

I saw her at another Chicago half marathon expo a year or two later, but this time she was pregnant and I was starstruck. I didn’t have the courage to walk up to her or say hi, even when Cameron encouraged it. I also had no clue what I would say to her. I left another expo without talking to her, but just seeing her and being in the same room was amazing.

You wouldn’t believe it. But as recent as the 2014 Philadelphia Rock n’ Roll 1/2 marathon I almost hit Adam Goucher (Kara’s husband) with my car. No joke. I was pulling out of the paid parking lot after the expo and some dude bolted in front of my car, crossing the street and I slammed on my breaks. The guy gave a quick wave and I yelled “OH MY GOD THAT’S ADAM GOUCHER!” and excitedly looked over at Cameron, like he knew who the heck i Adam was. He just knew I had a crush on Kara. He even took pictures for of her at the start of the race and surprised me with them after I finished. (Of course I can’t find those pics now).

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Kara, Colt, Adam Goucher (source)

Since the very beginning of my 1/2 marathon love, Kara has been a part of it. As strange as that sounds. The earliest memories I have of the sport are paired with a memory of her. I’ve loved following her career over the years, watching her race, reading her interviews, enjoying her candid blog.  There have been many times when i’m out on a difficult run envisioning how Kara mentally gets through tough runs. It always gives me a burst of energy and puts a smile on my face.

“Once you make the decision that you will not fail, the heart and the body will follow.” – Kara

Goucher-Nuun

look who drinks Nuun too! (source)

After all the missed opportunities I had, if i could say anything to her, I would just tell her thank you. For being honest and transparent to her fans, for being gracious, and giving her everything to the sport she loves. Her passion and dedication is the most inspiring thing I’ve ever witnessed as a fan girl. Good luck in LA.

HEAD UP, WINGS OUT!


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Like a G6!

Thursday workout: 6 mile easy 9:55/pace, 10 min abs

Yesterday I ran 6 miles and it was easy to slow down because the humidity did it for me. I didn’t even look at my watch cause I knew I was shuffling & struggling to breathe. I always tell people not to even pay attention to pace when it’s this hot and humid out. When you’re not breathing normally, oxygen can’t get to your muscles, so don’t expect for them to run fast. You know those days where it’s so hot you can just see the steam off the ground? That was yesterday. The picture below was taken so you can see how sweaty & gross I was even though I was running 2+ minutes over my race pace. Sunday’s race weather is set for partly cloudy 55 low/75 high, couldn’t have asked for better race weather!

you can see that my pink Brooks sports bra + yellow tank= orange!

my pink sports bra + yellow tank= bright orange!

The last days leading up to a race I watch videos of races & runners to get me pumped up. Lately I’ve been watching the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials. Every time I see Kara Goucher finish she inspires me beyond the meaning of the word inspire.  At my very first 1/2 marathon in 2009 she raced and finished in a blazing 1:08:05. If that’s not impressive enough, she actually won the entire race– over every woman AND man. I didn’t know who she was when I saw her during my first expo experience and I knew nothing about the elite running world while I was training, but she definitely changed the way I thought about running and my passion for the sport.

A few months ago I let her know I adore/love/watch/stalk her…and she LIKED MY POST. I freaking love this girl.

Screen Shot 2013-06-24 at 9.31.05 AM

Besides stalking elite runners, another thing I do is get my 1/2 Marathon Playlist in order for race day. I am a firm believer that you can’t just wing it when it comes to music. You can’t play Pandora and hope the commercials won’t get on your nerves at mile 8. You can’t shuffle your ipod and mess with skipping songs for hours on end. For the love of God, pull yourself together and put ten minutes of time into orchestrating THE SOUNDTRACK for your race. There have been plenty of studies showing how music can help you push through fatigue and pain during workouts, so use this to your advantage!

 Here are some tips to pull off a playlist that will get you to the finish line: 

-What is your estimated finishing time? Make sure the time of the playlist is long enough so you don’t hit the end of the playlist and have to mess with finding more music. You need your playlist to last as long as it will take you to cross this finish line–and then some. Just in case you don’t hit your goal time, having an extra 10-15 minutes of inspiring & fast paced music will help you finish strong, instead of giving up just because your MP3s do.

-How are you pacing the race? Are you trying to start out slower to save energy? If so, don’t play Skrillex or crazy dance music right out of the gate.

-When do you normally get tired in training runs or races? For me it’s about mile 8 where I start to feel it. This is where I will estimate the mile 8 time in my playlist and place music that inspires me. Power songs. Put them where you think you will need a pick-me-up! Your playlist will be ready to give you inspiration, energy and encouragement without you having to search for the songs and waste time.

-And always, make sure you charge your iPod/MP3 player the whole night before your race so it doesn’t die on you halfway. The biggest letdown/heartbreak is the sound of silence halfway into a race.

Now I’m off to pack for the weekend. I almost forgot I already put my Checklist on here!

What are your running plans for the weekend? Long run? 5k? Race? I’m coming for you Philly!!

What is your favorite pump up song for racing?? mine is Like a G6 by Far East Movement.