Third Time’s a Charm

Kara Goucher. No, wait. KARA GOUCHER! I’m hoping you know that name. If you don’t, you should. Kara and her husband, Adam Goucher of Run the Edge, are well-accomplished former CU Buffs running stars, to say the least.

Kara is a two-time Olympian and has made countless appearances at additional distinguished running events such as the World Championships and the Boston and Chicago Marathons. She’s even more beautiful in person than in photos. And, she’s sweet, personable, down to earth – just generally freakin’ awesome.

After two missed opportunities, I can finally say that I met her. FINALLY!

I first missed meeting her at the Denver Rock’n’Roll Marathon and Half Marathon in 2011. She was at the race expo – the expo of which I, of course, barely caught the end – after Kara left. Damn!

Then, I missed her at the Bolder Boulder in 2012 – at the expo after the race. Had I zigged to the left rather than zagged to the right at a corner in the expo, I would have seen her. Double damn!

So when I found out that I would not only have an opportunity to meet Kara at the Boulder Running Company but also to run with her, I was all over it.

There was lots of excitement at the store that Wednesday night, and I chatted with a few other Kara fans while waiting in line for my own autograph and picture:

Third time's a charm!

Can you say, ‘marathon training motivation’?!

Shortly after that, we all took off for the group run. Kara, myself, and about seventy other people. I figured I had had my shot at a one-on-one with my one-minute conversation-slash-photo opp. Well, at least I can say I sort of ran with Kara Goucher, right?

Off we all went for a five-mile jaunt on a drizzly Wednesday Boulder evening. I ran for a short bit by myself amongst the crowd before a fellow runner started a conversation with me. “I didn’t know this was going on. I just had running stuff in my car and figured I’d jump in.” “No way! That’s awesome!”

Nicholas kept me company for about the first half of the run before running ahead. “I’m going to take off.” “Have at it. It’s an easy run for me tonight. I’ll see you after the run.”

It was right when he took off that I noted a trio running just ahead of me. I looked at the girl directly ahead. I took note of her tan, her form, her stride. Huh. This chick looks like she is a ‘real’ runner. And then, I realized that it was a ‘real’ runner – it was Kara herself! Gasp! Oh my gosh!

I listened in on their conversation and was thinking of ways I might become a part of it. I mean, it’s not every day that I have an opportunity to run and to chat with an Olympian, ya know. I wasn’t going to miss a shot at both – no matter how brief – with Kara Goucher if I had it!

I hung tight with the group for about a mile, and then Kara picked up the pace to move ahead. Ugh, damn. Don’t have it in my legs to keep up on an ‘easy’ day. Maybe I can catch her back at the store. So I ran a bit more amongst the group but on my own. There are too many people who will want to talk to her. There’s no way I’ll have a chance.

And, just when I had given up all hopes of having a chance to talk with her, I caught up with the group at a stop light. . . Kara was just ahead of me again! I waited for a lull in the conversation, saw my chance, and took it. “So, Kara, what advice do you have for overcoming negative thoughts during a race?”

We ran together for almost the last mile of the run. She – of course – was gracious and gave great advice. Then, she asked me about my own running goals. Wow, really?! An elite athlete asking about me?! HA! We chatted a bit through a few more stop lights and finally found ourselves back where we started.

“Thanks so much! It was great to run with you!” Aaaaaaand just like that – in less than a mile of conversation – my week was made.

Colorado is cool enough all on its own, but opportunities like this are chocolate icing on the most delicious of chocolate cakes – my personal fav in case any of you want to get on my good side. Mmm, chocolate cake. Maybe I’ll celebrate with a piece. . .after the Pikes Peak Marathon, that is. That PR’s not gonna put itself on my Garmin, after all.

Melissa Mincic, Ph.D., a long-time road and trail runner, conducts applied child development research and works to influence child development policy and practice at the University of Denver. Follow Melissa on Twitter at @nerdinrunshoes.

2 comments… add one
  • Terrell Johnson June 29, 2014, 9:02 pm

    Melissa this is so cool! I can’t believe you met Kara Goucher — how amazing.

    • Melissa Mincic June 29, 2014, 11:59 pm

      It was awesome! If you ever have a chance to meet her, take it!

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