“Follow your heart” is one of my favorite sayings. I’ve trusted my instincts a lot in my life, and it has gotten me pretty far. I trusted my gut when it told me to go to Colorado over Georgetown way back in 1996. Nothing against Georgetown, but Colorado was the perfect fit for me. I trusted myself when in 2004 I felt I needed a coaching change and moved out to Oregon. I listened to my heart in 2009 when the voice inside said, “you need more.” Colt was welcomed into our lives in 2010. Two years ago I made a switch to a different training group, and I landed on the 2012 Olympic team. My heart hasn’t let me down.
And so here I am, 35 years old, 12 1/2 years into a professional career, and I am following my heart again. Adam, Colt, and I are moving back to Boulder, CO. I am returning to finish out my elite career under the program in which I started. Mark Wetmore and Heather Burroughs are my new/old coaches. I could not feel better or more confident about this decision.
How I got to this point is a long story. The short story is that I felt like I needed something different. I reached out to Mark and Heather and they were kind enough to welcome me back. Their other post-collegiate athletes were kind enough to welcome me as well. Jerry Schumacher and Pascal Dobert, my current coaches, are sad to see me go but very supportive of my decision. My teammates have been very supportive as well, especially Shalane Flanagan and Emily Infeld.
This is not an easy move. Adam and I have lived in Portland for more than 9 years. We built a life here. We grew as a couple, built a home, had a child. We connected with the community, which embraced us from the beginning. We have made friendships that we will cherish for life. Our son is a native Oregonian. We have endless good memories here.
Yet, I have felt a calling to go back to Boulder. I feel almost giddy with excitement when I think about training with Mark and Heather. I have a lot of big goals left and I feel like they are the ones to help me achieve them. Although I am saddened to leave a place I love, I know the right decision is to move back to Boulder.
I can’t thank everyone in Oregon enough for the great years. The friendships we have made here, personally and professionally, have been great. I will miss my teammates so much. I will miss having the boys on the team tease me for being so old, miss the endless chats with Shalane and Emily, and I will miss the positive energy I get from Jerry and Pascal.
There is no dramatic story here, I just need something different. I have had to be brave many times before, and I’m being brave again. I have found the courage to trust my instincts and to follow my heart. After 9 great years in Oregon I am headed back to the place and the coaches who helped me begin this journey. It feels right and I’m excited about the future. 2014 is going to be an exciting year. I feel like my future is limitless.
Trust yourself. Be brave enough to bet on you. The guidance in your heart is there to help you.
Looking forward to a great 2014. -Kara